Zac Clark is only 25 years old. But he’s been running Fuck the Population, his renegade streetwear brand, for 10 years. Coming up in Culver City and Crenshaw, California, he started FTP in high school, making T-shirts for friends to wear, first spelling “Fuck” backwards to avoid detection. Over that decade, Clark worked hard to build FTP into a formidable operation, collaborating with everyone from Fuct to DC Shoes, and expanding his line to include hoodies, denim, flannels, slides, and even jewelry. And he’s grown the brand all on his own, with no outside investors. That independence allows him to control his own messaging and production. “I’m calling my numbers. I’m just controlling it from the back end. So I want to do 100 shirts, I could do 100 shirts,” Clark explains. 

But now Clark faces a new challenge, one that has nothing to do with owning a company while still in his mid-20s. Today, Clark is fighting felony gun charges that could result in a substantial prison sentence. And hard work alone might not be enough to make them go away. 

At first, it’s difficult to believe the charges are real. But some digging reveals that they are. There, on Reddit, under /r/fuckthepopulation/, is an arrest record for Zachary Clark, age 25. “Charge Level: F (Felony),” it reads. “Bail Amount: $415,000.” They’re serious charges, and no one knows that better than Clark himself. On the day of this interview, he says he feels like he’s “fighting for my life right now.” It’s easy to see why.