‘The Hundreds is Huge’ (insert trademark logo here!) and if it continues to grow at the current rate, we should see a flagship store in Dubai by 2009! The brand has created a cult following using its online magazine as a vehicle to showcase its clothing, lifestyle and retail locations. Initially starting with a line of tees, The Hundreds has evolved to include a cut & sew and denim line, accessories, and this season, a major push into footwear. Don’t believe me... check it for yourself!
How is L.A. life treating you and how has the smashing of the Lakers' morale affected your day to day?
Hahaha, I knew this was coming. Well, the dust has settled around here and I think we've all internalized our grief and frustration over the Lakers' loss in the NBA Finals. Yeah, that was a pretty disappointing finish, but what can I say? The Celtics are a great basketball team, and those guys deserved it. One word for next year: Bynum.
The Hundreds has developed an online presence that doesn't necessarily revolve around your apparel and is visited by customers and non-customers alike. Was the website something you wanted to develop to stand alone or did it grow into what it is organically?
We have always built the website to correspond with our brand in terms of relaying our lifestyle and the daily goings-on surrounding our crew. The Hundreds is a very personal brand, and we wanted to let our customers in on that experience, so they can feel as much a part of the brand as anyone in-house. When we started five years ago, it was difficult trying to explain to the general buying public what we did, who we catered to, and what our niche of streetwear stood for. At the time, if you were an apparel brand, you were mad hip-hop or whiteboy skater. There really was no in-between. So we utilized our website to push attention towards street culture and these amazing brands, artists and designers that were unknown in the wider market. It not only helped to fortify the culture and scene, but also legitimized our brand in terms of what we were all about.
Your product range has grown from the standard graphic tee to a full-blown ‘cut & sew’ line. Was it a hard transition from creating graphics to having to design cuts and fits of clothing?
Technically, sure, I had a lot to learn on the design end. I didn't go to school for fashion design (nor graphic design), and the two worlds of graphics/silkscreening and apparel con-struction are so far apart, they really have little to do with each other. Thankfully, Alyasha Owerka-Moore mentored me through the process, and I have also been educated and trained through a legendary designer named Ben Cheung. And really, I just recall what got me interested in apparel as a youth, why I was drawn to workwear; simple lines, casual fabrics, and adjust it with a The Hundreds tweak. With cut & sew the possibilities are endless, but there is such a fine line between boring and rehashed, creative and smart, and flat-out ugly. Staying on the right side of that line is the tricky part.
Now the next step in ‘head to toe’ domination for The Hundreds is footwear. How did the Gravis collaborative project come about? Why Gravis?
Gravis approached us to work on the next Blackbox Project, which is a huge honor considering the repertoire of artists they've worked with in the past. Not only was it our first footwear collaboration, but also an opportunity to work on our own customized luggage. It took over a year of work, but the final results are exactly what we were looking for in terms of branding, functionality and overall design.
Did working with Gravis help you decide that The Hundreds branded footwear was something you wanted to do?
We've always been looking to sink our teeth into footwear. For the past few years, our customers have been able to rock The Hundreds from their underwear to their socks. And now, with our stores in S.F. and L.A., you can get kitted, minus the shoes. So we jumped on it. Inevitable!
What did a young Bobby wear on his feet as a kid and how much does it influence what you are doing today?
I grew up in Southern California, so I had to wear Chucks and Winos. I had a pair of Vans, Agassis, Airwalk NTS2s and Duffs. I always wanted Jordans but my mom wouldn't buy them for me. Instead, she took me to Payless and I velcro'd out in Pro Wings and XJ-900s. As I got into high school, I was all about vegan shoes and skate shoes at that. In all honesty, I never really stressed my shoes like a lot of sneakerhead kids do. They were always an afterthought, just something to complement my attire, but not the focal point as many kids now emphasize it to be. I always figured that a dope outfit can make wack shoes work. On the flipside, you could have the flyest kicks in the world, but if the overall package is off, or if you just don't got style, your shoes stink.
Tell us about your first model, the Johnson?
So that being said, the ‘Johnson’ is exactly that. A clean, understated shoe that serves to emphasize the wearer's overall appearance. And it has everything to do with my roster of kicks growing up in Cali. It's really a concoction of all my favorite shoes that are representative of youth subcultures: Chucks, Winos, Doc Martens, Vans... I even tried to have the laces staggered like a pair of early Jordans do from an above-perspective. I think I managed to pull off a very sophisticated shoe that retains some character, but is ultra basic when it comes to lines and silhouette.
It's not a good thing to assume... you know the old saying, What can the people expect with The Hundreds footwear?
Right now, I'm working on the next two styles. For now, it's following the same aesthetic that The Hundreds is already known for. Keeping it classic, casual and Cali-influenced.
A Lakers 2009 NBA Championship hat.
INTERVIEW :: Frank The Butcher
This article appeared in Issue 13 of Sneaker Freaker. Buy it here