The world of streetwear fashion has roots in alternative cultural pursuits like skateboarding, surfing and punk rock.
In recent years, streetwear has enjoyed more mainstream success as brands like Supreme and BAPE gained wider attention, big-name fashion companies like Louis Vuitton or Nike entered the streetwear scene and celebrities like Jay-Z and Kanye West introduced their own streetwear lines.
But despite the dramatic evolution of streetwear fashion, Bobby Kim (a.k.a. Bobby Hundreds), co-founder of the Los Angeles streetwear company the Hundreds, says he has not changed his fundamental approach to his business — “people over product.”
“In 2003 we started a brand, my friend and I, Ben [Shenassafar]. We just designed a few T-shirts, put them up on an online shop and, before we knew it, it started taking off,” Kim said.
“I think it was largely propelled by the fact that I have this ongoing narrative around my blog,” Kim said. “Pre-social media, this was how we kept in touch with our audience and we’re also transparent about our culture and our lifestyle.”
The Hundreds has grown from a small Los Angeles-based project to an international brand. But Kim says he still tries to have conversations and interactions with the Hundreds’ fans and community.
“I do my best to do interviews like this, podcasts, and actually just be on the road, touring universities, touring shops, stopping in and just being as available to our customer base as possible,” he said, “especially if that means opening up my Instagram, or my Twitter, and spending hours a day just responding and helping young kids who end up becoming the next big fashion designers.”
Kim recently spoke with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal about the Hundreds, his business ethos and his new book “This is not a T-Shirt.” Watch his entire conversation here.
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