HOUSTON – Harvard Blvd is Houston’s newest hot spot for men’s apparel.
Founded by three brothers from South Central Los Angeles-- Brandon, Mark and Kin Eaton-- Harvard Blvd is set in the heart of the Houston’s Third Ward.
It aims to outfit men of all sizes.
“Harvard Blvd is cool and fashionable. HB is also hip-hop and pop culture, but more than anything, it’s something for the fellas,” its website says.
From graphite and quilted tees, to joggers and jerseys, Harvard Blvd has styles to fit your personality and budget.
But Harvard Blvd isn’t just about fashion trends and looking good; it’s also about community.
Harvard Blvd is not the brothers’ first business venture. They own successful hair companies in Houston, Austin and L.A. Through the beauty industry the brothers have been able to give back to the women in their communities via giveaways and prom sponsorships, but the question became, “What can we do to affect the men in our community?”
“We figured we want to help them (men) out. Let’s go into clothes,” Brandon Eaton said.
Thus, Harvard Blvd was born.
Borrowing from L.A.’s fashion-forward trends, Eaton said he and his brothers decided to “step out on a whim” and start Harvard Blvd.
Its location is no coincidence. Eaton said he and his brothers intentionally planted Harvard Blvd in the historical Third Ward.
“We want to bring the community together. We want to do positive things for the community whether it be through mentorship, sponsorships or bringing businesses together so we can affect our community," Eaton said.
With a host of boutiques and black-owned businesses surrounding the store, the Eaton brothers knew 5219 Almeda Rd. was the perfect location for Harvard Blvd.
The store has a feeling of home when you walk in. Hanging on its walls are reminders of Eaton’s past in L.A. Photos of the apartment building where Eaton grew up, a capture of the L.A. riots, the Los Angeles Coliseum, and a snapshot of Kobe Bryant going head-to-head against former Houston Rockets player Dwight Howard dress the walls.
“Our grandmother lived in the same apartment building,” Eaton said. “Mother and father in the house. Family was always important to us.”
He said the lure of the streets is what prompted his parents to move the family to Houston.
“Before I got too caught up in the streets, my mother decided it was time for us to move. The family uprooted to Houston in 1997,” Eaton said.
Not only does the art-covered wall tell the story of his history, some of the clothing does too.
“Black Wall Street” T-shirts designed by Creative Group Economics, a brand Harvard Blvd partners with, commemorate the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma black business owners who thrived during racial segregation during the early 20th century. Their businesses were eventually destroyed in the Tulsa race riot.
White residents killed hundreds of blacks and tore down neighborhoods in a matter of hours. The riot is considered one of the worst in the U.S. history of race relations.
But the same sense of community and binding ties that drove "Black Wall Street" to success, remains a part of Harvard Blvd’s fabric. With the help of family, the Eaton brothers are on their way to reviving "Black Wall Street" in Houston’s Third Ward.