A strong local and national following? Check. A tour with G-Eazy? Check. Recording studio time with Freeway? Check. A national clothing brand? Next up.

Born from humble beginnings in North Philadelphia just off Temple’s campus, the movement that is Ground Up began in 2008. Since then, this hip-hop trio has performed with everyone from G-eazy, AER, Asap Rocky and Trinidad James, to School Boy Q, Meek Mill, Action Bronson, Rick Ross, Black Star, The Wu-Tang Clan, Nappy Roots, and Rakim (Summer 2014).

The visionary behind MDCCXI’s design, who also happens to be Ground Up’s Director of Merchandise/Special Operations, Deane Nanni, sheds some light on the origins of the brand:

“MDCCXI was formed about 2 years ago when we just didn't know what it was going to be. We dreamt about starting a clothing line to share with the loyal fan base that already has a love for Ground Up. Once we felt the band had a strong enough base, we began the transition. Now, we have a clear vision to make MDCCXI a full multimedia conglomerate.
The origin of the name is the address of our first house where Ground Up was established and the first mixed tape was produced- 1711 Montgomery Ave, North Philly. Everything really started there for Ground Up.”

Now, Deane works from his home studio with the upstairs fully equipped as a sewing room. One look at the designs coming from his Fairmount-based studio, and the quality is obvious- Most likely because of Deane’s attention to detail and internal drive. Nanni is a self-taught creator who’s determined to produce high quality, consistent apparel at an affordable price for all.

MDCCXI released their “Land, Sea & Air” Spring ‘14 line last month with positive appraise from the streetwear and Ground Up community. The brand is even selling clothes from EthikNY on 640 South Street and have seen quite a response.

Nanni comments on his inspiration for the themed line:

“We want this brand to be different, and to bring into play a higher level of thinking behind the designs. So we didn’t do what every other brand was doing for Spring clothing. We put out the Nautical pieces as long sleeve t-shirts and windbreakers, because when you’re on a boat it’s chilly and the wind is tough, so you need more than a t-shirt to keep warm. We used plenty of nautical symbols, colors we thought reflected each theme, and vertical letters for the “1711” tank to represent flight. The designs use a lot of symbolism”.

Staying true to their movement, the group wanted to push the limits for MDCCXI’s Summer ‘14 editorial lookbook. They took it back to their roots in Bucks County at a local airport. As luck would have it, one of the pilots let the crew use his private hanger plane that truly made for the perfect setting.

When asked what’s next for MDCCXI, Deane’s response was certain:

“Knowing the guys I work with, there is no end to what is possible.”


Now, throw on your new summer anthem from Ground Up and grab your MDCCXI apparel before it's off the shelves!