"The Ralph Lauren of hip hop," Ecko is an urban entrepreneur and owner of a billion dollar fashion empire.
Marc Milecofsky grew up in Lakewood, N.J and as a teen Milecofsky used
"Ecko" as his graffiti tag and also started charging his classmates to airbrush designs on their jackets and shirts. He went on to study pharmacy at Rutgers, but dropped out to concentrate on developing a fledgling clothing company and in 1998, on the brink of declaring bankruptcy, they gave the business one last push: They borrowed more money, created the rhino logo—a play on Polo's horse and Lacoste's crocodile—hired new designers, took out ads in The Source and Vibe—and sales of Marc Ecko Unltd's baggy streetwear shot up to $36 million, with particularly brisk trade in Federated-owned stores like Macy's and Bloomingdales. Ecko's companies now include over a dozen different apparel and accessories lines. There are also several entertainment and publishing ventures in his portfolio. A men's magazine, Complex, video games, and venture capital funds.
In 2006 Ecko filed a first amendment lawsuit against Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Councilman Peter Vallone and the City of New York, challenging anti-graffiti legislation that made it a criminal offense for anyone under the age of 21 to be found in possession of spray paint or broadtipped marker pens—and succeeded in a getting a judge to block the enforcement of the amendment.
Ecko and his college-sweetheart wife Allison have three children. [Image via Getty]