The Hundreds : Sidestepping expectations and setting the bar for streetwear - Knotfest

The Hundreds : Sidestepping expectations and setting the bar for streetwear

Posted by Ramon Gonzales in Culture on July 15, 2020

The recent collaboration with Lamb of God is just another example of how The Hundreds stays ahead of the streetwear curve.

Since 2003, The Hundreds has been translating the multi-faceted culture of Southern California through it’s streetwear collection. The vision of Ben and Bobby Hundreds, the idea was cultivate a brand that best showcased the diversity of the region – music, art, culture, and style.

In the years since their start, the brand has become a global entity and developed a reputation steeped in credibility and authenticity. The world of fashion can be fickle, yet The Hundreds continuously finds ways to stay ahead of the curve, keep their finger on the pulse, and produce collaborative efforts that showcase they are not to be pigeonholed.

From Death Row Records to the Back to the Future film franchise, from film catalog of director Stanley Kubrick to hardcore legends Gorilla Biscuits – the brand has developed a knack for executing the unexpected and it’s at least part fo the reason the label has remained such a fixture for so long. The brand has found a balance of consistency while navigating reinvention in a way that makes them matter.

Further proof of just how well the brand maintains their finger on the pulse is the recent collaboration effort with metal juggernaut Lamb of God. Coinciding with the recent release universally-praised self titled release, The Hundreds and Lamb of God launched a collection of co-branded soft goods that quickly sold out and donated a portion of the proceeds to the Equal Justice Initiative. It’s that kind of forward thinking that was likely part of the vision for the brand from the very start – success on their own terms.

Justin Esposito of The Hundreds spent some time discussing the partnership with Lamb of God and how The Hundreds functions are a cultural aggregate, bridging music, art, and style sets the brand apart from the pack.

The Hundreds recently introduced a collaboration with Lamb of God. How did that partnership begin? 

ESPOSITO – We initially started a dialogue with drummer Art Cruz. He was always complimenting our drops and engaging with our social media posts. Once we realized he was taking over the drum throne for Lamb of God, we sent him some gear. He and Bobby Hundreds began talking and it developed into this collaboration to celebrate Lamb of God’s new record. Once Bobby met Randy, we realized they shared some mutual business relationships so it formed into kind of a perfect storm to release this project.

It’s rare to see streetwear labels work with artists that produce heavy music. Why do you think this is the case and do you feel partnerships like this are changing that culture? 

ESPOSITO – The Hundreds as a brand is a reflection of Ben and Bobby’s lives, influences, and interests. Music, specifically punk, hardcore, and metal culture is extremely important to Bobby, and the narrative of The Hundreds. Streetwear mainly functions in the rap and hip-hop space but as a storytelling brand, The Hundreds would never only look at one genre. Metal music has had such a massive influence on fashion and popular culture, completely unrelated to the music. Whether it’s Judas Priest’s revolutionary style or Mayhem’s Black Metal aesthetic, those influences can now be found all the way from Paris Fashion Week to Vogue, and even in rap and other popular music. Partnerships like this are re-establishing the music as the focus and also nodding to metal’s consistent contribution to streetwear and fashion. 

A portion of the proceeds from the collaboration are going to the Equal Justice Initiative. How important was it to make this kind of statement with the project? 

ESPOSITO – I think it reflects the mood and social climate of today. The internet has been a blessing with keeping people informed of what’s happening in our streets. Lamb of God and The Hundreds have been the soundtrack and clothing of choice of people all over the world standing up for social justice. It is extremely important to utilize platforms that cross so many cultural and economic thresholds like Lamb of God and The Hundreds to provide support to organizations that are front lining the fight for racial and social justice every day.

How well did the political ideology of Lamb of God mesh with that of The Hundreds? 

ESPOSITO – Both the ideologies of Lamb of God and The Hundreds are heavily rooted in community and social justice, so it was a natural fit. We also have similar trajectories with the growth of our brands and fans as well. When Lamb of God was really coming up in the 2000s, The Hundreds was doing the same in our respective lane. 

The Hundreds always comes to the table with unique collaborative efforts. What is the criteria for the brand when it comes to finding whom and who not to partner with? 

ESPOSITO – The Hundreds is all about storytelling. We look for collaborations based on the story and the message or ethos that brand, artist, or band represents. Also, The Hundreds is a reflection of the lives and influences of Ben Hundreds and Bobby Hundreds. So a lot of these collaborations and partnerships focus on their biggest childhood and young adult influences. It’s all about the right fit for the stories we want to convey to our audience.

How important is music in terms of the identity of the brand? More importantly, what do you say to the cynics that might not see the relationship between heavier artists and the streetwear culture? 

ESPOSITO – Music is extremely important to the fabric of The Hundreds. Everything from past projects, current designs, to our staff are extremely submersed and influenced by music. And to speak on the cynics, music and fashion have always been intertwined. Streetwear is a form of self-expression much like music. Connecting the dots between heavier music and the streetwear narrative is a natural progression that has no end in sight.

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