Of the many streetwear brands bursting into the fashion world, The Hundreds is possibly the most daring. They’re a Los Angeles-based clothing and accessories designer that draws inspiration from California street culture. The Hundreds is considered a “lifestyle” project for local skateboarding, surfing, hip-hop, and punk fanatics, and they might be the world's first “social merchandising” company. Let’s briefly delve into these unique qualities to better understand what The Hundreds is as a brand.
What is the Hundreds? It's More Than Just a Clothing Brand
According to the brand’s official website, The Hundreds is a “2-part project that houses a Classic Californian Streetwear brand and media platform dedicated to Global Street Culture.” Those 2 parts of The Hundreds brand are, more simply put, (1) the influence of California street culture on the brand’s design aesthetic, and (2) the brands own media platform, designed for street wearers to bond over their shared fanaticism. Together, these 2 unique qualities of The Hundreds brand help to explain what The Hundreds is, and how it has attracted young adults from around the world.
- California Street Culture: Bright and sunny beaches, colorful retro advertisements, and pop culture iconography are just a few defining aspects of California street culture which are reflected in The Hundreds clothing designs. There isn’t another streetwear brand that more accurately and lovingly represents what it’s like to grow up on the West Coast, inundated with skateboarding and surfing all year round. Classic L.A. punk and hip-hop aesthetics, featuring colorful tattoos, graffiti, and a care-free attitude, have clearly influenced The Hundreds designs as well.
- Media Platform: On The Hundreds official website, you’ll find a tab titled “By Bobby,” which refers to the brand’s co-founder (one of two founders) Bobby Kim, or “Bobby Hundreds” as he goes by online. On the ‘By Bobby’ page, you can listen to podcasts featuring the brand’s creators, read books written by Bobby, and read his personal blog, which addresses streetwear trends and The Hundreds place in it. These original recordings and writings provide customers insight into what The Hundreds is and who’s responsible for its evolution. Best of all, it gives the brand a likable face: Bobby’s face, and Bobby’s voice as he shares his thoughts and opinions about fashion trends. You can tell that Bobby truly cares about streetwear and his brand reflects that passion.
These two defining features of The Hundreds brand developed from its creators’ own experiences growing up on the West Coast and their desire to inspire and empower their own care-free attitude in today’s youth.
The Hundreds was founded by Bobby Kim (Bobby Hundreds) and Ben Shenassafar (Ben Hundreds) in 2003. Their partnership began over a shared passion for local street culture in their hometown of Los Angeles, and they knew from early on into The Hundreds creation that their brand would pay tribute to the streets they grew up on.
To get their brand off the ground, Bobby and Ben only had a few hundred dollars (their personal savings) to contribute. However, their ambitions were far grander than their net worth, the two persevered with the dream of building their own clothing line. The fashion industry was highly competitive (just as it is today), but Bobby and Ben believed they could find a niche audience of young adults with a similar passion for L.A. street culture.
The duo’s first clothing line under their ‘The Hundreds’ brand was a series of screen-printed t-shirts, which they designed and manufactured for (very, very) cheap. Bobby and Ben enlisted a friend who owned a small 2-color clothing press, and imprinted blank t-shirts with simple, yet stylish, original designs. This DIY approach to fashion design persists in The Hundreds t-shirts and other clothing today, but with improved manufacturing quality. What The Hundreds used to be is, in many ways, what The Hundreds is now.
What began as a backyard t-shirt operation has evolved into a global brand with dedicated fans, critical acclaim, and most importantly, a unique presence in the highly competitive fashion world. Nowadays, The Hundreds offers an expansive catalog of streetwear and related apparel, including original t-shirts, jackets, hats, hoodies, shoes, and various collectibles, along with their own magazine (available online and in print). The brand has also expanded its reach over the years, collaborating with the WWE, Kit-Cat Klock, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, 686, and Samii Ryan, and being sold in more than 400 worldwide locations and several of their own retail stores. As The Hundreds grows, so does their loyal fanbase.
After 17 years on the market, The Hundreds growth has shown no signs of slowing. And what is The Hundreds but the creativity of its creators? Thanks to their unique, 2-part approach to marketing: Selling apparel that reflects California street culture, and operating their own media platform, The Hundreds creators Bobby and Ben Hundreds have proven that street wearers appreciate authenticity above all else.
Through their design aesthetic, Bobby and Ben have established a distinct care-free, punk attitude, baked by California sunshine and nostalgic pop culture iconography. Their personal perspective on street culture in Los Angeles permeates in each of their clothing lines, and The Hundreds would not be popular without Bobby and Ben’s authenticity.
The Hundreds clothing designs evoke surfing culture in the 1980s, skateboarding culture from the 1990s, and early streetwear trends at the beginning of the 2000s. These periods of low-key, minimalist fashion were hugely influential to Bobby and Ben Hundreds, as were more recent periods. The Hundreds embraces current trends in fashion while maintaining their own unique retro flare, and the results are, simply put “cool.” In fact, the phrase “California cool” might as well be a registered trademark of The Hundreds, because no other streetwear brands in the fashion world represent “California cool” more accurately than Bobby and Ben Hundred.
How to Buy The Hundreds
You can shop for products by The Hundreds online or at one of the many worldwide locations where the brand is available. However, you’ll notice pretty quickly that many of The Hundreds apparel is sold out, especially newer releases. That’s okay, as you can still purchase your favorite The Hundreds merchandise through a trusted online retailer who carries The Hundreds.
Due to resale values, the prices may appear rather high to you at first, but we hope you’ll appreciate the quality of on-brand apparel we offer in our own curated collection. For what the Hundreds is, we believe the price is worthy of the brand.