Beyond the Hill

Georgetown University students start urban culture website

Courtesy of Jelani Williamson

(Center) Jelani Williamson and (Right) Zachary Currie, both sophomores at Georgetown University, created the website "Nous Culture." The website is a central hub for all things related to urban culture.

Two students at Georgetown University have made it their agenda to create a central hub for all things related to urban culture with their website, Nous Culture.

“Nous” — as the young co-founders have defined it — is “a way of existing in the world where style and unconventional beauty are defining characteristics.”

The brand was developed by sophomore Jelani Williamson, an anthropology and economics dual major, and sophomore Zachary Currie, an Arabic studies major.

The two were brainstorming different ideas for how they could use their passions one day in Currie’s apartment and realized that they both had a mutual interest in urban culture, Williamson said.

He added that they talked about how much energy they had to put into finding more underground businesses and artists, which was one of the major inspirations in developing Nous Culture.

“Something that separates us is our commitment to grassroots culture,” Williamson said. “Some similar companies are a lot bigger than us but they lose themselves as they get bigger. It’s important to us that we remain a platform for up-in-coming people to promote their art and culture. We spend more resources doing the extensive research required to find out who those people are.”

Nous Culture has three main types of content that it is focusing on right now, Williamson said. The content includes articles that allow people to learn more about an up-and-coming star or business in the industry, articles that give insight into brands or companies that already exist and articles that focus on uncovering urban news, such as a story about an artist who recently dropped a collection that people may not know about.

Currie said the website’s followers are particularly drawn to look books. Look books are typically used by big clothing companies to promote new lines, he said, but Nous Culture has reinvented the idea to accommodate its focus on smaller businesses. Instead of promoting one brand, the outfits showcased in Nous Culture’s look books have pieces from many small boutiques, he added.

The website currently has a lot of content on clothing brands and fashion, Currie said, but he added that he and Williamson are working on trying to expand it to include more features of urban culture, such as music artists and graphic designers. Getting in contact with individual artists has proven to be more difficult than reaching out to businesses, he said.

In fact, so far, Williamson said the businesses have been very responsive.

“When you’re an up-and-coming brand, you want to make yourself as visible and contactable as possible, so they’ve been really receptive to the idea of being featured on the website,” Williamson said. “The hard part isn’t finding the brands. The hard part is making sure the quality of their products is up to par and that their aesthetic fits in with our vision.”

Both Currie and Willamson said Nous Culture essentially markets itself after companies featured on the site share content to their followers, who end up following Nous Culture.

“That adds up to a big following because they get infused into our project,” Williamson said. “This has and will allow us to pull together a network of many different companies and their followings.”

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