When Allen Onyia founded online luxury fashion magazine UpscaleHype in 2008, he probably didn’t expect the brand to be named “Menswear’s Most Important Instagram Account” by GQ a decade later. And this week, Onyia was named True Religion’s artistic director for both the men’s and women’s collections, despite having no formal design experience—a testament to what the media has called his “spidey sense” for what’s next in streetwear.
According to a press release from True Religion, Onyia will use his new role to reinvigorate the brand, which has seen some major changes since bouncing back from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017. As artistic director, Onyia will be innovating elevated streetwear that contemporizes the brand’s aesthetic roots. Onyia plans to apply the same ethos to design as he does to his platforms–“look good, feel good and be a part of something.” Onyia’s brother Kyle Onyia, who he co-founded the website with, posted a congratulatory message on UpscaleHype.
Onyia has an existing relationship with True Religion, and has worked with the brand as an ambassador and collaborated on a limited-edition t-shirt in the past. Onyia said he’s excited to be working with the company again. “I have always admired True Religion as an iconic brand with deep roots in the streetwear category,” Onyia said in a statement. “I am thrilled to join the team and bring my vision to reestablish a brand people can associate with, in this new age of streetwear.”
True Religion’s CEO, Chelsea Grayson, said the team is thrilled to have Onyia come aboard. “We have been driving towards this watershed moment since I joined the company,” said Grayson. “I am excited to work with Allen to return True Religion to its rightful place among streetwear leaders.” Grayson is the interim CEO following John Ermatinger’s decision to retire late last year, and remains a member of the company’s board. Before joining the board of True Religion in 2017, Grayson was CEO and a board member of American Apparel.