Chris ‘Spanto’ Printup, founder of L.A.-based clothing line Born X Raised, dies at 42

Chris 'Spanto' Printup wears a white long-sleeved shirt and leans against the side of a car
Chris “Spanto” Printup, Born X Raised founder and treasured champion of Los Angeles culture, died Wednesday morning after succumbing to injuries sustained in a Sunday car accident.
(Jake Inez/For The Times)
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Los Angeles streetwear icon and Born X Raised founder Chris “Spanto” Printup has died. He was 42.

Born X Raised confirmed Printup’s death to The Times saying in a statement, “Spanto was in a car accident on June 25. He passed away at 7:56am local time, June 28 in Albuquerque.

“He leaves behind his wife Anna and three children Marilyn, Carter and David, a sister, three brothers, his mother, step mother, and step father, his beloved grandparents, his family at Born X Raised, his extended native family, the city of Los Angeles that he loved and championed, and an extensive network of true friends.”


Born X Raised launched in 2013 and amassed a cult-like following in Los Angeles, and its founder, Spanto, became a treasured local celebrity. The brand’s collaborations with the Dodgers and Rams would sell out in minutes, and their epic ragers, including the FOMO-inducing Sadie Hawkins Winter Formal dance, were featured in The Times, Vogue and the New York Times with stars like Danny Trejo, Miguel, Nadia Lee Cohen and Freddie Gibbs planning their fits for months in advance.

“Spanto was all about the people,” one Angeleno wrote Tuesday on Instagram. “Going out of his way to help many communities. When he let us know that he was walking in solidarity for the children who have cancer, many of us joined him and walked in solidarity to raised funds” for the Ronald McDonald House SoCal.

Spanto also gifted pairs of the Born X Raised Nike SB Dunks to the 2023 graduating class of Venice High School.

Spanto, a Venice native of Apache and Seneca heritage, used his Indigenous background and his devotion to Los Angeles to inspire his fashion designs and the way he advertised them. He often used friends, family and people he admired to model his pieces, including his mother and siblings. Born X Raised recently collaborated with Levis, and Spanto used the opportunity to honor his late father, Butch, who died in a car accident earlier this year shortly after Spanto got the call to design the collection.

What really goes down at Born X Raised’s epic ragers.

March 17, 2022

“I grew up in Los Angeles in the ’80s and ’90s, when the way you dressed was a very loud statement,” Spanto told Vogue earlier this month. “We wore our clothing like a suit of armor and a badge of courage. I keep and carry the same energy with me when I design my collections.”

Spanto was born June 6th, 1981, and grew up poor, the son of artists and musicians. His father was homeless and played the blues on the boardwalk for change, and his mother was an artist, musician and writer. But in a 2022 interview with Fuse, the designer said he was lucky to grow up poor, and that the struggle in his early years made him who he was.


“Growing up poor, you have to have an identity,” he said. “You have to have something that you can call your own, because you don’t have material items.

“What do you think of when you think of starving artists? My family was always in a constant state of transition. We grew up not with a lot of money, but we grew up surrounded by a lot of deep, rich culture in terms of music, art, food.”

In his younger years, Spanto was in and out of jail and admittedly sold drugs. He developed the idea for Born X Raised while incarcerated, a project he said was born out of heartbreak for the way he was living his life.

“There was no business model. There was no investors. There was no nothing,” he told Fuse.

Chris Printup gestures while sitting in the front seat of a car
Chris Printup a.k.a. Spanto of the L.A.-based brand Born X Raised.
(Jake Inez/For The Times)

But the brand meant something to him. He had a vision and he wanted to shine a light on Los Angeles culture — authentic, born and raised, earned Angeleno culture.

“I realized that there was so many people that come to L.A. and they chase after the L.A. dream. Or you know the stereotype L.A. has ... the Tinseltown, TMZ thing that everybody chases after.

“We actually oppose that,” he said. “Los Angelenos as a culture, as people, we’re very prideful. So I decided to shine a light on the communities that built this place. Born X Raised is like a love letter to the city that I once grew up in, and is gone now.”

When Spanto was released from jail, he printed 36 T-shirts and sold them from the trunk of his car. With the money from the sales, he printed more and more.

“It’s really just like sellin’ dope,” he joked.

In July 2013, shortly after launching Born X Raised, Spanto was diagnosed with terminal T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and underwent treatment through 2017. Spanto said chemotherapy treatments and hospital bills stripped him of everything. He was down and out with no money, no car and no place to live. But he and his business partner, Born X Raised creative director Alex 2 Tone, worked on the brand throughout Spanto’s chemo treatments. And by 2018, he was cancer-free.

The ethos of the beloved L.A. streetwear brand is tradition. Its new collection with Levi’s is a living eulogy to Spanto’s late-father, and a way of keeping the energy of the ancestors physically close.

June 8, 2023

“The silver lining for all of that, as corny as it may sound, was our company. We designed the next season in the hospital bed. And I think if I didn’t have that to keep me occupied, I probably would have given up.”


Spanto’s dedication to Los Angeles and the Venice community made him a beloved figure, but his transcendent parties and keen ability to capture the cultural pulse through his streetwear made him a legend.

“When I was 19 or 20, I would get dressed to the nines, as fresh as I could possibly be,” he told The Times in March 2022. “I would go to the door at some Hollywood nightclub and a cornball from Wichita was like, ‘You can’t come in here, bro.’ I was like, ‘I’ll be back. I’m going to start my own party for people like us.’

“If I was to leave this Earth, this s— is going to live on and on. We built it for the people of Los Angeles.”

Times staff writer Julissa James contributed to this report.