Sticking Out as a “Sore Thumb” Is What Inspired This U Student’s Clothing Brand


Branden Wilson, founder of Sore Thumb clothing brand, poses by his first collection of clothing on Nov. 22, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Courtesy of Branden Wilson)

By TJ Ross, News Writer


Branden Wilson, a University of Utah senior and entrepreneur major, created his own clothing brand that he hopes points people to creativity, gratification and individuality. 

Wilson created the brand Sore Thumb last fall, which is inspired by his childhood. Wilson explained he created the name because of years of family, friends and doubters telling him he “stuck out like a sore thumb.” He’s launching his first official clothing drop on March 15. 

Growing up half-Black and half-Mexican in the predominantly white area of San Clemente, California and playing D1 college lacrosse made Wilson feel different. 

“The way I talked, the way I walked, to the way I dressed. It was just different,” Wilson said. “As I got older I started to realize I wasn’t put on this earth to fit in, I was put on this earth to stand out, to be who I am, to show my uniqueness off.”

The term sore thumb has a negative connotation around it, Wilson said. He created this brand to put a positive light on that phrase.

“It’s ok to be different, it’s ok to be yourself, if everybody goes right, it’s ok to go left,” Wilson said.

With the brand’s value leaning on individuality, Wilson explained that Sore Thumb will use abstract art in hopes of expressing individuality through visual representation.

The motivation for visual representation stems from Wilson’s past, and he views it as a message people can relate to. 

“For a while growing up I didn’t always know how to fully express myself through words,” Wilson said. “I used art and the way I dressed to visually express myself.”

Sore Thumb already has consumers sharing the message of confidence from abstract art and expressing individuality.

Mason Ressler, one of Wilson’s customers, said Sore Thumb has allowed him to dismiss what others think and wear the clothing that best represents the way he feels.

“This helped my confidence, by putting on what I wanted to wear and not going by what other people want or tell me to wear,” Ressler said. “This confidence boost has bled into all other areas of my life.”

Clothing runs in the family for Wilson. His grandfather started his own clothing brand in Los Angeles followed by his father, Bryan “Weezy” Wilson, who helped kickstart many notable clothing brands.

Wilson’s father has worked for Stance Socks, LRG, and is now the CEO of the clothing side of Cookies. Wilson says he dedicates much of his success to his father.

By using his father as a mentor in marketing, Wilson has created a ton of attention to the brand before the brand’s first official drop.

Wilson utilized his 50+ college lacrosse teammates here at the U to gain this attention, giving them merchandise to wear around during the fall. He also reached out to local DJs and athletes and sold shirts at football games.

At the USC vs. Utah football game, a student wore a Sore Thumb shirt in the background of quarterback Cam Rising’s postgame interview on national TV, Wilson said.

Wilson is gathering attention to Sore Thumb through his personal social media platforms, totaling 9,000 followers across all platforms and 270,000 likes on TikTok.

With exposure in the fall and Wilson’s personal social media following, Sore Thumb’s Instagram page climbed from nothing to 1,200 followers in the last three months.

Wilson points students to his capsule collection drop on March 15 on his social media platforms. The drop will include sweatshirts, crewnecks, t-shirts, socks and a trucker hat.

For more information on Sore Thumb check out its website, Instagram and TikTok.



[email protected]