2017 was a good year for some, but a great year for a few. The DreamLife squad found 9 Houstonians who had their Best Year Ever.

2017 was quite the year for many, but this especially holds true for Houston, Texas. The city was hit with its greatest natural disaster in decades, by way of Hurricane Harvey and the massive flooding that many here are STILL recovering from. On the other hand, the Houston Astros made their second appearance in the World Series this century; and this time, managed to bring home our first-ever national baseball championship.

It was a transformative year to say the least for Houston. So some of The Day & A Dream Team took it upon themselves to identify nine Houstonians in particular who made huge strides over the last 12 months. These are the women, men, and brands who had their Best Year Ever in 2017:



Imperial X Empire, Houston-based vintage fashion brand

These guys are the new wave when it comes to vintage retailing! Imperial X is a store with 2 locations – one in Houston, one in Austin – and they are what the future looks like when it comes to bringing back the old-school. I’m a fan of what this brand stands for, and I look forward to seeing what Shogun and Company have on deck going into 2018. Check them out at their website, Shop Imperial. – David “D3 the Concrete” Landry




Raveen Alexis, creative and curator of the “Positive SelfTalk” Brand

It takes a special kind of compassion to act on helping others maintain their emotional health. Raveen Alexis spent her 2017 showing everyone how to start loving yourself and KEEP doing that, as well. Her journaling workshops had wonderful turnouts and served to help those seeking deeper awareness of themselves. At the same time, these workshops helped attendees purge any negative thoughts or beliefs that kept them from attaining true peace. Additionally, her “Love Yo’self” event not only brought together Houston creatives who are unapologetically living their dreams in art, music, and fashion; but also created an environment of true support and respect for others’ work. – Hope Carter




Troy Ezeq, creative and photographer

Kendrick Lamar coined the phrase “respect the shooter” in his song “Money Trees,” and it’s about understanding the power the man holding the gun has. I’ve found that “respect the shooter” applies more to photographers, because it takes real talent to capture moments in the right way and time. Troy Ezeq isn’t the only Houston photog to have flourished in 2017, but he definitely had the biggest come-up. He’s captured the glow of Houston artists like Erva Carter and Lyssa, and his penchant to get the lighting right made for some incredible concert and event shots. If you aren’t a celebrity, he knows how to make you look like one, without the airbrush. Hit Troy’s website to find out more and peep his Twitter for the randomest inspiring stories. – Bradford J. Howard






Hustlegrade – Houston creative collective and support network

Hustlegrade became the platform Houston creatives and intellectuals alike needed, whether we knew it or not. Even in 2017, it is often “shocking” to see women running the show, especially when it comes to music. But in less than a year, the founding women of Hustlegrade – Kelsey McDaniel, Justina Hay, and Joan Nwami – have made a name for themselves through their blog, events (like “Submission Sundays” and coordinating a Houston edition of Hip Hop Book Club), and their “Creative of The Week” spotlight to foster a creative community that’s more crucial than ever in Houston’s changing landscape. Hustlegrade, allies for the creative mind, are giving Houston independent artists the credit where it’s due. – Hope Carter




Trae The Truth – rapper/artist, philanthropist

Trae Tha Truth remains the only local rapper to actively have a campaign against him to prevent him being played on radio. He may call himself an “Asshole By Nature,” but Trae’s heart belongs to home (see, Trae Day). Trae dropped his ‘Tha Truth, Pt. 3’ LP this year, but his biggest accomplishment came after. When Hurricane Harvey hit, the city of Houston stepped up and none stood up quicker than Trae. Sure, JJ Watt fundraised millions for the victims; but it was Trae’s “Relief Gang” group that put boots on the ground, got resources to people, and even brought Beyonce home to feed those affected in Third Ward. It was enough to earn Trae an official Key to the City and a Congressional Hero Award. – Bradford J. Howard

The Tipping Point, Houston retailers and curated lifestyle brand

Most associate ‘The Tipping Point’ with being a Malcolm Gladwell book. David & Thomas took that one step further; they’re the homies but they have NEVER needed a co-sign from anyone. Their highly-keen and astute sneaker and streetwear curations are second to none. They established their The Tipping Point store in 2007 as Downtown Houston’s “first and only creative lifestyle destination.” The Tipping Point stepped it up as retailers in 2017, but they’re also contributors to the city of Houston at large and great philanthropists to causes that mean a great deal to them. Did I mention they played host to Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.” Tour Pop-Up Shop this year, too? Check them out at TheTippingPointStore.com. – David “D3 The Concrete” Landry


Hope Carter, Houston creative, philanthropist, Jill of All Trades

Call me biased but as far as 2017s go? Hope Carter did that, and then some. The Hive Society affiliate (and occasional model) broke down her personal story and her battle with chronic diseases – including ulcerative colitis and sickle cell – in her self-profile with Day & A Dream earlier this year; but you’d never notice it because she stayed so busy. In addition to being brought on board at UPROXX.com and blowing up her BigLivers blog, she also did her part to give back in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. People usually throw a birthday party. Hope? She turned her birthday into a fundraiser function featuring local DJs that resulted in many donated goods for those affected by the storm. – Bradford J. Howard






Kareem Day, Houston fashion tastemaker and founder, A Herd of Bison

It’s a challenge to re-invent yourself. But it seemed as simple as second nature for Kareem Day. His brand, A Heard of Bison, broke out in 2017 and is a brand unlike any other. It boasts a great selection of satin souvenir jackets, letterman varsity jackets, t-shirts, crewnecks, and many other dope fashion pieces. I personally watched this man go from his previous brand Exclusive Doofus (which was a success in its own right), to producing this magnanimous evolution of his brand through A Herd of Bison. Fashion means a great deal to Kareem, but his relationship with his family is even more important to him. You can check out his brand at AHerdOfBison.com. – David “D3 the Concrete” Landry



Izzar Thomas, Houston musician/photographer and creative

Very rarely are artists equally talented across different creative genres. But Izzar Thomas seems to have popped up out of nowhere and maintained an undeniable presence in Houston’s hip-hop scene. His catchy lyrics and aura both onstage and off left audiences wanting more in 2017 – that’s the only way to explain his vast support at concert venues and shows throughout the city, especially in the wake of his Somewhere New LP dropping. In 2017, Izzar surprised fans by supplementing his music using his photography skills. The Houston emcee with the undying smile and inspirational messages continues to make himself difficult to ignore as he writes, performs, drops music, and updates his photos for our enjoyment. – Hope Carter

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