Syracuse Surge Accelerator-Meet the Teams: HippoH Apparel

Posted on December 13, 2023

Syracuse Surge Accelerator HippoH Apparel

Marrying technology and fashion is not necessarily new. It often comes in forms like water resistant or heat insulating fabrics. Hasan Stephens, however, saw an opportunity to use technology and fashion to bring culture directly to the people.

“Culture can be worn. It can be performed, seen, heard and expressed,” Stephens said. “Imagine if we could actually bring all of those things together in a culminating force at one time and provide that to the consumer.”

This idea became HippoH Apparel, a boutique streetwear brand that empowers BIPOC creators to curate experiences for fans shared through wearable technology collaborations. It’s one of five businesses selected for the inaugural Syracuse Surge Accelerator, through which Stephens is working to grow his business.

Stephens said HippoH Apparel’s technology and collaborations allow for multiple industry disruptions. One is the ability for artists to push out exclusive content to fans wearing HippoH Apparel collaborations through microchip technology embedded in the clothing. Stephens said HippoH Apparel would work with artists to curate an experience. Then, the microchip will communicate with a consumer’s phone, sending push notifications when an artist releases content.

“We can send specific and intimate or exclusive content, like an interview of the artist that no one else has, or a new song that's that won't be publicly released,” Stephens said. “It’s like ‘Here's the taste of the album before it gets released.’ There's a million different ways and different things that we can do with the artists that would provide beneficial content to the consumer.”

HippoH Apparel also aims to empower the BIPOC creators that are on the forefront of creating popular culture. BIPOC artists are often creating trends without receiving credit for doing so. Stephens said HippoH Apparel collaborations will share a higher percentage of profits with artists.

“Black and brown creatives have not been valued for their intellectual property, and they have not always been paid or compensated. So, another component of what we're doing is putting the ownership back in the hands of the creatives.”

Stephens said the Syracuse Surge Accelerator is an opportunity for he and other BIPOC entrepreneurs to refine their ideas and access resources needed to grow. With the help of advisors and other members of the accelerator, Stephens has been able to rethink and better understand his primary customer. In the new year, Stephens is getting ready to release HippoH Apparel’s first curated experience and collaboration.

To learn more about HippoH Apparel, visit its website If you have a startup that you think would be right for the Syracuse Surge Accelerator, please click here to fill out our interest form and receive information about when applications open for the next cohort.

Get to know the five Syracuse Surge Accelerator inaugural cohort teams in our weekly profiles. This is the fourth of the series.

Photo by Shanay Bradley-Light to the Darkness Photography 

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