Streetwear, as a concept dated chronologically in the pantheon of fashion movements, is the unruly millennial to high fashion’s elder statesmen. The trend of casual, comfortable, graphic-design-focused clothing which started in the mid 80′s has grown from the uniform of the counterculture to a money making monolith — with most youth oriented sportswear companies having a streetwear category placed somewhere — from high end fashion retailers to mall kiosks across the globe. A large proponent of the success of streetwear as cultural phenomena can be attributed to The Hundreds. The L.A. Based brand, started by friends Bobby Kim and Ben Shenassafar, began as a t-shirt line pledging allegiance to the hip-hop and skate lifestyles that they themselves prescribed to, but continues as a template for growth out of a niche market through collaboration and risk taking.
Ben and Bobby Hundreds
The Hundreds built a core audience rooted in California culture, with their retail outlets becoming a headquarters for those who shared their all-inclusive ethos. The meticulously built boutiques also served as a tourist trap for the culturally inclined, as hanging around the Fairfax back alley where the store was posted increased the likely hood of running into your favorite celebrity, or getting captured for the popular Hundreds Blog detailing the misadventures of the Hundreds staff.
The Hundreds have used collaboration as a means of shoe horning their brand name into spaces otherwise inaccessible for a mere clothing brand. Creating products like Hot Sauce, Furniture, and bikes, and expanding into media with their own magazine featuring “IT” girls like Karrueche Tran, Olivia Munn and Rita Ora have helped to build exposure outside of their immediate fishbowl of onlookers and have cast them out into the ocean to wrestle with the rest of the big fish. They’ve always been bitten. Now they get to eat.