It was a completely different game when Bobby and Ben Hundreds founded their brand in 2003. The streetwear genre was still considered obscure, rebellious, and had a noticeable “members only” vibe running throughout. But as time went by, the landscape started to shift. Streetwear became a profitable trend, which led to an oversaturated market that has negatively affected so many OG brands like The Hundreds. But, while many of these names are denying or hiding their recent decline, Bobby has decided to keep it 100 and address why 2015 was the worst year on record.
In a candid editorial published on Hypebeast, Bobby outlines what factors have resulted in a widespread slump some streetwear brands are experiencing.
“Streetwear was established on this notion of mystery and exclusivity,” he writes on Hypebeast. “Therefore, it can feel a little awkward and uncomfortable out in the open – in the mall window or hanging on a celebrity. Even for non-wholesale brands, a box-logo or ape face used to act as a secret handshake amongst gatekeepers making moves behind the scenes. Today? You have to admit – from one fan to another – it’s inescapable. Ubiquitous.”
Bobby even provides an actual list of reasons that have led to streetwear’s declining numbers. Everything from Kanye West’s evolving personal style, to the long arm of the Internet, to extended sales is mentioned. But the biggest mistake, Bobby believes, is when designs began to abandon distinction.
“Streetwear once held significance,” he writes. “That prestige wasn’t just derived from exorbitant price tags or classist snobbery á la high fashion. Whether it was scant distribution or thoughtful design, we gravitated towards these brands because they felt special. In turn, we felt special. Everyone longs to feel spoken to, regardless of where they sit in the marketplace, in society, or in the schoolyard. Wholesale or direct, mall or boutique, it’s about making things that matter, are better, and push people further.”
You can read Bobby’s entire editorial at Hypebeast’s website.