10.Deep founder Scott Sasso who launched the brand in 1995 has announced on Twitter that he’s no longer associated with the brand. Implying he had lost control of the brand to investors, Sasso wrote, “Today my ties to 10.Deep were severed once and for all. Big bank, takes little bank. But with what goal? I’m not sure of the answer to that question is. I think of what I’ve seen with the other brands that share the a similar history.”
Sasso started 10.Deep while he was attending Vassar College in New York. The brand was part of a first wave of city-centered, independent brands inspired by a mash up of local hip hop, skateboard and music scenes that were starting to take root in U.S. cities. When asked in 2014 to describe 10.Deep in an exchange with Vice, Sasso said, “just youth culture.”
More than just garments, 10.Deep was instrumental in ushering in a new wave of hip hop and r&b artiss, which came of age during the mid-2000s through a series of mixtapes featuring Kid Cudi and Wale, among others.
Sasso didn’t name the investor who’s taken control of the 10.Deep brand, but he hinted it was the same company that took over several other streetwear brands. “It is done,” he wrote. “What happened to MeccaUSA? What happened to AlphaNumeric? What happened to PNB [Nation]? What happened to 10.Deep? The particulars of the stories are different, but all had ‘partnerships’ with the same company, and the results ended up being the same.”
Businesses commonly take money from outside investors or pair with a manufacturing partner to help expand the business or cover expenses during financial rough patches. However, the investment usually comes in exchange for partial ownership of the business, including intellectual property. As the investment increases, the brand often gives up a greater share of ownership, which can lead to the founder transitioning from a majority share holder to a minority share owner with no decision making power.
Sasso could be referencing Shah Safari Inc., which includes MeccaUSA among the list of its house of brands. MeccaUSA was founded in 1994 by Tony Shellman, Lando Felixand Evan Davis, in partnership with International News, a New York-based clothing manufacturer. The trio exited exited the business in 1996, unhappy with brand direction.
The brand’s Instagram hasn’t been updated in a year and a half and the website currently isn’t operational. Weighing in on 10.Deep should it resurface under new ownership, Sasso wrote on X, “And please, when you see the trash that comes from the brand going forward, just don’t @ me on it. I didn’t do it!”