If you’ve been a longtime follower of streetwear, you’ll recognize Bobby Hundreds. He’s been an active and influential figure who’s held it down for 15+ years, not only with his own brand, The Hundreds, but also by being an active voice for the culture. With streetwear being the behemoth that it is today, its underground and counterculture roots seem to be fading away. Bobby Hundreds has never been afraid to comment on the evolution of the industry and recently he published an essay that shares “the truth” about streetwear. You can find the full composition on The Hundreds’ website.
Not too long ago, I wrote a piece on the billion dollar industry that is streetwear, breaking down how brands leverage hype to build their businesses. I respect Bobby for sharing insider perspective on a space that seems to be lit on fire and is slowly losing its original identity. Typically the truth can lead to growth.
Hundreds calls streetwear the “bitcoin of fashion”, as there’s so much money pouring in (a great example is a private equity fund buying a piece of Supreme, valuing it at $1.2 billion). A far cry from what once was a “badge of defiance”
“People used to wear streetwear because nobody else wore it. Today, they wear it because everyone wears it,” states Hundreds. This is ironic because the fashion’s appeal grows out of exclusivity and being that one the few people who own that shirt or pair of sneakers. Bobby eventually takes on a critical tone, believing that “streetwear has prioritized commerce over community”. I sorta agree, as with most things that become super popular, decision-makers and stakeholders are tempted to maximize their returns. Look at former niche things like Coachella, SXSW, hip-hop. It’s capitalism. It’s hard to maintain integrity when you also want to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Ultimately, The Hundreds co-founder feels that “streetwear will return to what it knows best: the underground. And prosper.”
Bobby’s essay is a must read, as it’s written by someone who’s fully invested.