Too Often, Brands Do Not Think About Longevity
The more I study other brands (specifically The Hundreds) and build my own, the more I come to realize the importance of having a brand story. Not only that but, also, making sure that your brand story still lives and breathes in your work throughout the course of your brands growth. And in that, my friends, I believe fruits longevity.
I sit and write this post shortly after being inspired by watching Bobby Hundreds' two-part video essay, which briefly walks you through the closing of their San Francisco brick-and-mortar to the grand opening of their (extended) new, long-awaited home on 501 N. Fairfax.
Streetwear, like Hip Hop, is becoming more saturated as media continues to deem only the glamorous highlight reels of its success(es) and the ability to "create" your own brand becomes more and more accessible. However, too often, brands that naively jump into the industry too quickly off the high of overnight success misconceptions do not think about longevity. All these brands that rush to print product off of what currently feels like a solid brand name lack a solid brand story, therefore lack a solid foundation to truly build off of.
You can have a great brand name but if there is no grit, wit, and genuine story behind what you are creating, then you're not in it for the long run.
And look, perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps these new brands I am referring to actually do have a solid story and I am underestimating what they are doing. I mean... when The Hundreds first started they were "brushed off as just a couple of T-shirt kids in LA," wrote Bobby. But even then, they were (and continue to be) engaged in their RSWD - and beyond - community. Bobby was blogging over a couple times a day documenting their surrounding street culture, writing stories, and sharing what they were building to worldwide readers. They went (and continue to go) against the grain in their buildout's with dope art installations and cultural artifacts that depict, well... their story.
As I continue studying The Hundreds and their upbringing, I have developed an increasing admiration of their brand story and how they incorporate that story in everything they create, as well as in their community. Since then, I seek out the story behind every brand and often come to find that there isn't one (or it at least doesn't come off genuine). And if there is one, brands lack the consistency of enveloping it into their work as they grow.
All this said, what makes The Hundreds fascinating, to me, is how they always creatively find ways to share their brand story in not only their products but also their digital and physical platforms. May it be their blogs (one specifically of Co-Founder Bobby Hundreds) or storefronts, you gain an understanding of what they are building from, of where they are headed, of their ever-evolving yet centered palette.
In reference to their new space, Bobby says, "This store is an amalgamation of our history, but it’s also the foundation for our future." In this alone you read and know that The Hundreds, a streetwear brand to admire and learn from, is here to stay beyond 15 years.