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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northeastern chapter.

The rise of streetwear empires, cultivated by Virgil Abloh and Kanye West, has reinfused an enthusiasm for street fashion in modern youth. Refracted, a rising streetwear company based in New York City rides this wave. 

Robert Yang, Founder and Lead Designer of Refracted, details his experience in growing his first-ever company as “Refracted started as a fun project.” 

With an eager passion to delve into the world of fashion and business, Yang searched for a niche in the streetwear world. His angle—quite literally—is the significance of mental health. In scientific terms, refraction occurs when light strikes water, ultimately bending the beam away from a straight line. Yang develops this scenario with a new player: tears, the universal symbol of sadness. Below is the company’s mission statement, showcasing its virtue of mental health.

Refracted (streetwear brand) lotus hoodie
Photo by Refracted

Lotus* Hoodie, $40. Credit: refractednyc.com


Refracted brand statement:

“Refracted is a streetwear brand expressing the full spectrum of emotion in the digital age. We believe that the ability to feel is what forms our humanity and its emotional nuance is what enriches our lives.”


From both his own experiences and acknowledging the ubiquitous, but often neglected topic of mental health, Yang realized that “emotions change worldviews,” a statement with timeless relevance.

From mentors on Reddit and Discord to partnerships with larger brands, Refracted’s journey moves at a brisk pace. Young founders like Eli Zied of Habits 365 indicate the saturation of the streetwear market while noting the growing undercurrent of societal issues in the fashion industry. 

Who/What brands serve as your inspiration?

Jun Takahashi, founder of Undercover, is definitely a role model for me. Brands like Golf Wang and Saturday NYC are brands I look up to. Some startup brands that have helped me grow my company are Resurgence and Teenage Funeral.

How has COVID-19 impacted your company?

Actually, the quarantining gave me time to grow my company. I used time to network with other companies in New York City and tried to take advantage of the time in this way.

How do you plan to grow your company?

Social media is a big factor in getting the word out. People I had never met started buying my shirts and hoodies just from Instagram!

What are some future plans for Refracted?

Partnerships with bigger brands are always great for smaller businesses. Joint pop-up shops help too.

Refracted (streetwear brand) tears hoodie
Photo by Refracted
Tears* Shirt, $22. Credit: refractednyc.com


With unique colorways and concepts, Refracted offers style to any wardrobe. Be sure to support Robert Yang and check out his brand!

If you want to explore Refracted, check out the links below:

Website: https://refractednyc.com

Instagram: @refracted_

Yeani Kwon

Northeastern '24

My name is Yeani Kwon. I am currently a freshman at Northeastern University majoring in biology on the pre-med track.
Sreya is a third-year combined computer science and business major. Prior to being Campus Correspondent/Editor in Chief from 2020-2021, she was an editor for Northeastern's chapter. Besides being part of Her Campus, she's also in HackBeanpot and Scout. She spends most of her free time watching cringy reality shows, scrolling through Twitter, and going to concerts.