In February, I received a direct message from True Brvnd on Instagram. The message read: “Hey Taylor, my name is Sang – I would like to communicate with you and Magazine D.” Typically, a message sent to my personal Instagram would end up in a box on the left. However, a click on Trvnd Brvnd’s IG was all the persuasion I needed to respond.
I have seen the upside down Dallas hat from True Brvnd for over a year. From La Privada on Jefferson Blvd to Oak Cliff to Dak Prescott at a Dallas Cowboys press conference and Dwight Powell on the march to a Dallas Mavericks game, the “SALLAD” logo has taken over town. It all started with a DM on Instagram.
In April 2020, Sang Truong, founder of True Brvnd, saw the Dallas Cowboys pick quarterback Ben DiNucci on the final day of the 2020 NFL Draft. Troung had followed the player on social media and decided to send him a DM. The message, a friendly welcome to Dallas and a gift of free hats, worked.
As fate would have it, Truong stayed across from DiNucci’s hotel. Later that night, the two met in person and immediately hit it off. Ten months after the reunion, DiNucci joined Truong as co-owner of True Brvnd.
Since then, you can find the mark on Trevon Diggs, Tony Pollard and Michael Gallup. He had an unofficial role on HBO hard knocks, where DiNucci wore a True Brvnd hat during each episode. Thanks to the power of word of mouth among the city’s athletes and reality TV stars, the brand has shipped hats to Canada, the UK, Australia, Sweden, Austria and Germany.
For Truong, the Boston-born, Dallas-raised streetwear designer, the brand’s global success is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. “I wanted to create something that really represents the city and the community,” he says. “We’ve seen a lot of New York and LA-based brands, but you don’t see a Dallas-based brand at all.”
Truong pays homage to By Way of Dallas, Hance Taplin’s streetwear brand, which is a must-have for anyone invested in local streetwear fashion and culture. The brand has partnered with Magazine D on an exclusive capsule line, and has been worn by Erykah Badu, Blue, The Great and a who’s who of creatives in Dallas. In the years since By Way of Dallas debuted in 2015, a number of local streetwear brands have sprung up to showcase their neighborhood culture.
Still, the Cowboys co-owner links the streetwear brand and hat company to the NFL’s richest team. In November, the brand partnered with the Dallas Cowboys Golf Club to sell hats at its Grapevine store. There are official licensing discussions with the city’s other professional sports teams. DiNucci is confident in the brand’s ability to occupy a new space at the intersection of streetwear and sport.
“The fact that there’s a Cowboys player at the forefront of this [brand] changed the whole look of this thing,” he says. “The guys on my team, who rallied behind it, pushed it to another level that some of these brands aren’t able to do because the Cowboys have such appeal here.”
Valued at $5.7 billion, Team USA is the most beloved sports franchise in the world. But Truong and DiNucci intend to expand their brand through other large-scale partnerships. Two on their list of potential collaborations are 7/11 and Wingstop, global brands founded in North Texas.
Think local, go global is the brand’s philosophy. “Let’s go back to town. Let’s go back to the roots. Let’s show people that these businesses and businesses are all from here. Let’s do a crazy collaboration to show what Dallas is all about,” says Truong.
In Dallas, hats are available for purchase from Daily TX. The streetwear brand and hat company are open to the idea of pop-ups during the summer and welcome customer feedback. All you have to do is swipe in DMs.
Taylor Crumpton is FrontRow’s online art editor, Magazine DThe arts and entertainment blog of . She is a proud Dallasite…