The Forgotten 27th Letter … &

This brand has a story. So for the first couple post I’m going to be building the origin story  up and giving you insight into me and why in the hell this should even be important to you anyway. So Contrab&nd which I created in the trap is like the great dream of independence. So in the spirit of independence and empowerment I tried to incorporate symbols and images that invoked that spirit and gave a guideline to where we are going. One of the keys to this is the “&” symbol which is called the Ampersand if you ain’t know. In the Contrab&nd name the last “A” is replaced with the Ampersand and this ties into the history of Ampersand and also the legend of the Contrab&nd. I researched a few of things leading up to this movement to find meaning and context for me.


In my process of discovery I found this website Shady Characters which talks about the dubious origins and history of various characters and symbols in the English language and it’s cool that people do this and are passionate about different things.  A direct quote from the intro is “The am­persand’s is a true un­der­dog story.” and that will definitely be the story of Contrab&nd. The Ampersand had it’s origins in Rome as part of the Latin language and was the abbreviation or shorthand for “et” a Latin word which stood for “and” in those times. It starts with a Roman politician Cicero, his political career and his former slave Tiro who was freed and then became a gif­ted scribe who be­came Cicer­o’s sec­ret­ary, bio­grapher and con­fid­ante. To assist Cicero then Tiro de­vised a sys­tem com­posed of Latin ab­bre­vi­ations sup­ple­men­ted with Greek short­hand sym­bols, modi­fy­ing and ex­pand­ing it by de­grees to yield a cipher all of its own. The res­ult­ant notae Tiro­ni­anae were an ef­fect­ive sec­ret­arial tool and among Tiro’s notae was the so-called ‘Tiro­nian et’, or ‘⁊’, an in­noc­u­ous char­ac­ter rep­res­ent­ing the Latin word et. The usefulness of this system ensured that the symbol would be around for at least a millennium in our vocab. Well about a century later the shorthand would make a grand reappearance but not from “the grandees of the Ro­man es­tab­lish­ment; in­stead, it came quite lit­er­ally straight from the streets.” “If the Tiro­nian et was Tiro’s brainchild, the am­persand was an orphan: its cre­ator is not known, and the closest it comes to a par­ent is the an­onym­ous first cen­tury graf­fiti artist who scrawled it hast­ily across a Pompeian wall.”tschichold-ampersands-e1308409555653-592x1024

Once I read this y’all know I lit up inside. The symbol of our struggle had started as graffiti on the wall in the tragic city Pompei and I personally believe it was also a political statement as in “and !?”. So it gets a little deeper. Let’s jump forward to the 19th century when ” the am­persand was routinely taught as the twenty-sev­enth let­ter of the al­pha­bet, and in com­mon with those other let­ters which formed words by them­selves — ‘A’ and ‘I’, for ex­ample — it was pre­fixed by the Latin per se, or ‘by it­self’.3 School­chil­dren would re­cite “X, Y, Z, and per se and. ” The resulting ampersand name came from the slurring of “and per se and” by school children and there we have it.


So I know I went kind of long on this but follow me in short the Ampersand was birthed by a former slave who brought himself up to nobility. Reemerged in the streets as graffiti by an unknown dissenter as a political stance and gains notoriety from this protest. Becomes included in the English alphabet but as an outcast tho placed at the end and alone or “and per se” by itself as the 28th letter to soon be forgotten about and kicked out of the class forever.

This is the essence of Contrab&nd, this commune birthed from the streets as a defiant statement to the powers that be. We will be the outcast 27th letter at the end the Alphabet company. Our company is new and out on its own or “and per se” by itself. This is the spirit of the social movement and we are gonna be covering a lot of ground so that’s were the “&”comes in because we are into everything from Music &  Art & Fashion & Tech & whatever else fits with the vision. With a name like Contrab&nd,  things are for sale and a little extra is the ampersand is also used in an unusual configuration where it appears as “&c” and means etc. The ampersand does double work as the e and t. The Contrab&nd means that we were formed as a defiant statement, we are going to do it independently and by ourselves because that’s all part of the reward and we gonna have this lifestyle covered from A-Z … and per se … And. Which means we ain’t stopping etc… etc… &c. Contrab&nd … Defiance By Design …  Join the movement it is now.



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