As this is my last post for this season, I would like to end this off with the streetwear brand that has influenced me so much this past year. Without their influence and all of the content they have put out regarding their brand, I don’t think I would have had the ability or know how to try and build Simplex Minds with depth and meaning.
The brand I am talking about is, The Hundreds.
I’m going to be honest, I never owned one piece of Hundreds clothing until this past year and never identified with the aesthetic of the brand. I always thought it was too loud and flashy for my personality growing up. It still might be to a certain degree, but the ethos of the brand and what the founders Ben and Bobby Hundreds have done with the brand has earned all of my respect and love.
In this piece I will mainly be talking about Bobby Hundreds, simply because he’s the one I was first introduced to online and more familiar with.
I have always had an itch to start some sort of company.
Probably could've said that better, but I was 18, and in my first year of college.
It’s been something that I always found myself constantly daydreaming, or sleep depriving myself about, and subconsciously developing. Overtime, it became an inevitability; it turned from a matter of "if", into a matter of "when".
In 2017, Complex came out with a series called “The Blueprint”. Basically a series where successful professionals in different realms of culture, mainly hip hop and streetwear culture, tell you how they succeeded and got to where they are today.
Bobby Hundreds was featured on the 2nd episode. In that video, he goes deep into his life journey and his journey with the Hundreds. He made creating a brand from scratch feel achievable. It’ll take a lot of hard work, but it’s achievable.
That was my first introduction to Bobby as a person and from that day I would consume any Bobby Hundreds content I would stumble upon.
As time went by, I was more focused on building my video career than building a company. I mean rightfully so, I was a fresh college grad at the time. 2017 was spent sending in job applications into the abyss. 2018 was spent freelancing as a videographer/editor. 2019 was spent trying to regather myself. Then 2020 was spent understanding myself.
In 2020, I decided I wanted to read more. There was one book I really wanted to read. The book was “This is not a T-shirt” by Bobby Hundreds. That was the first book in idk how many years that I read all the way through and I read it in I think less than a week. Major accomplishment for me. *pats shoulder*
In the book, Bobby took us on his whole journey with streetwear and the Hundreds.
Bobby moved to LA after he went to college in San Diego with the idea to pursue acting or design. He envisioned himself as an accomplished artist, but without any formal training. He had no clue as to how he would get his work seen. He fell back on freelance writing and photography. He didn’t have many gigs, but was able to get by with it. After 9/11 hit, all of those freelance gigs dried up and he had to begin to look elsewhere to get his work out there.
He then started bobbykim.com; a central hub to showcase his work. He had sections for his art, photography, and writing, but his biggest hit was his blog. He’d write daily about his everyday life. Post an outfit of the day every so often. Talk about sneaker releases and artists he admired. Basically just a public journal about his life and interests.
This was before analytics were a thing, so he didn’t know if anyone was really reading what he was putting down. He was just blogging for the love of it. Then one day he posted a blog post about Evisu jeans and a representative of the Japanese denim label emailed him thanking him for the post and saying he was a huge fan of his.
Later on, he decided to move with his girlfriend to Japan for a year; she was teaching English out there. In Japan, Bobby was able to get gigs writing about street culture. He would freelance for Japanese streetwear magazines looking for stateside contributors. Then he would also write for stateside magazines interested in the growing Japanese street fashion scene. From there, he was able to land a gig where he would then spend 3 months interviewing rappers and designers in Tokyo on the history of Japanese hip hop culture. He was fully immersed in the culture.
After that year he moved back home to go to Law school. The plan was to become a lawyer so he could live financially comfortable for the first time in his life and then be able to do art on the side. After his first year of school he decided to print his art onto a shirt and sell them to boutiques and write about it on his blog. There was no plan to actually turn this into a brand; he just wanted people to recognize his talents through these t-shirt sales. Then this project then turned into what The Hundreds is today.
That is only just one tiny synopsis of one section of a portion of the book to my understanding.
I learned so much from that book and why the Hundreds have stuck around after all of these years where different brands fall to the wayside.
Bobby was truly connected to the culture he eventually grew into. Bobby and Ben (the founders of the Hundreds) met because of streetwear. They met during one of their law classes, but what made them approach each other was the sneakers they were wearing. Sneakers only those entrenched into the streetwear culture would truly appreciate. They appreciated the culture and Bobby was now a voice for the culture.
The Hundreds doesn’t just sell t-shirts, they sell more than that. The Hundreds sells culture and community. Culture through their mutual appreciation, adoration, and participation in streetwear. Community through their events they host and their ideology of their storefronts. People wear and support the Hundreds because the Hundreds talk the talk and walk the walk.
What you wear is an expression of who you are as a person. Whether that’s a 3rd grader walking around with a sick new Minecraft shirt, an adult walking around rocking Rhude shorts, or even wearing a uniform while you are on the clock. What do you have that will get people to wear your clothing?
“Me and my friend have started our own streetwear company. We have some cool designs. We bought Instagram and Facebook ads, why aren’t our clothes consistently selling?”
What else do you have to offer besides cool designs? What will people think when they look at that shirt? Will it help showcase their personality? What depth does your brand have in order for people to want to rep it as their own? What are you all really trying to say with the brand?
I'm not saying that Simplex is higher than those brands. Shoot, we don't sell anything at all rn. But, I do want to get Simplex into a place where people want to support us because of the ethos we are promoting, not just because we have a cool design.
When I choose a shirt to wear, it represents a part of me. Whether I want it to or not. What you wear becomes the first impression someone garners of you. When you are walking around the city streets; going to the market; going anywhere publicly; people will make an initial judgement of your personality based on what you wear.
For me, whenever I go to a concert or festival, I always want to try and buy merch because I am connected to that event and enjoyed the music. I want to be able to connect with other people who enjoy the same kind of music. I love wearing merch from my favorite artists. It’s an easy way to connect to people without having to say a single word.
There’s so much I have learned from Bobby Hundreds from just his book alone. But the main thing I wanted to point out is that you have to be about what you are trying to promote if you really want to succeed.
Be immersed in and about the culture you are trying to portray and give a voice to. Be a champion of the ethos you are trying to sell. Add depth to your brand. If it's just another run of the mill startup brand with cool designs trying to make a quick buck, why are people going to go back to buy more from you?
If there’s one thing that is difficult to maintain, it’s longevity. The Hundreds have outlasted many of its competition and is in the midst of a new venture that will allow them to hold and expand their place in culture.
The Hundreds is what influenced me to finally begin this blog/site/platform/brand/etc. I have to be about the ethos that I am trying to promote. I have to get entrenched into the culture I am trying to promote. I know what I want is longevity. I know that longevity is not guaranteed. I know that success isn’t guaranteed.
That’s why I started this. To hold myself accountable. To be what I am trying to promote. To promote my process with this brand. My process understanding the complex.
Bobby and Ben are the Hundreds, and they stay involved in and promote the spaces they want to be in. They have a new venture in the NFT space, the Adam Bomb Squad. They have been involved in the NFT space for months and months before the release. This is something I am keeping my eye on and consistently watching. What the Hundreds are doing with the project is that they have released different iterations of the Adam Bomb character they have developed over their 18+ year history and turned them into digital collectables with perks. Combining their brand history, culture, and new technology into a first of its kind project; that I know of.
It’s amazing to see The Hundreds at the forefront of this innovation and willing to expand and explore new avenues. I currently have a few NFT strategies that I eventually want to get into with Simplex Minds, but we’ll do that when the time is right.
To learn more about the Adam Bomb Squad project, you can go here:
A dream is to hopefully someday have a similar kind of cultural reach that the Hundreds has. The more I work on Simplex Minds, the more it feels achievable but it will be a journey. One step at a time. We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. There’s so much work and structure that still needs to be laid out to even get an audience 0.01% as big as theirs. As long as we stay course and stay true to who we are, we will get to where we want to be.
Just have to trust the process and keep the momentum going.