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Shopping in a Cave was Never so Fun
by Jialin Luh on May 16, 2008
With SF-born stalwart Huf and establishments like True, Upper Playground, Fatlace and Invisible Stripes, San Francisco has not been at a loss for streetwear as the scene continues to burgeon. But the addition of a unique storefront from LA’s The Hundreds in the Tendernob puts a new spot in the upper ranks of streetwear destinations for the denizens and visitors of SF.
If you’re familiar with streetwear you probably already know about The Hundreds store that opened on Post and Taylor in March. For those of you scratching your heads in befuddlement and wondering what the hell “streetwear” is, well, it’s a whole “subculture” that’s grown to encompass boldly colored t-shirts, hoodies, fitted hats, sneakers and the now passé all-over printed garments of your choosing -- the more limited, the better. Owning a very limited-edition item earns bragging rights among those “in the know” and leaves slow people who “slept on it” in the dust.
A prime example: the first two collaborations The Hundreds brought exclusively to the San Francisco store: t-shirts with SF darling designer Benny Gold and old-school hip-hop act Hieroglyphics. The Benny Gold shirt, featuring a hand holding a key with the trademark bomb The Hundreds logo, some paper airplanes and simple text “Benny Gold for The Hundreds; San Francisco, CA Welcome to the City” sold out in a matter of hours after the store opening. Similar, the Hiero shirt sold out the day of the opening. These two pieces and a slew of San-Francisco store exclusives comprise a collection dubbed “Rosewood"; The LA (Fairfax, to be exact) flagship store also has its own Rosewood collection with an imprint distinctly LA.
The Hundreds was actually an online zine started by Los Angeles native Bobby Kim, better known as Bobby Hundreds, and two close friends. Hundreds’ printed shirts followed shortly thereafter, and in February 2007 the flagship store opened in the Fairfax district of LA. Today, The Hundreds is self-described as a two-part project: clothing line and online mag. Refreshingly, they break their mag into several distinct blogs that are image-and video-heavy for those of us who prefer visuals to words.
“Ask Yasi” is a comedic column by a long-time friend of The Hundreds who answers amusing (and admittedly apt-to-be-viewed-as-stupid) questions from readers such as whether a guy who has graduated high school should accompany his high school girlfriend to her prom; whether some dude who visits LA can meet up with Yasi at “one of those special coffee shops that they have out there in Cali, you know the ones that let you smoke pot and maybe after we can go for a lil hike along the mountains id love to see the view of the golden gate bridge preferably while on shrooms!”; and what the polite way is to tell a female she needs to wax her upper lip, and the like.
“There’s Neek” is a blog by 19-yearold Las Vegas-based photographer Neek, who does more than provide evidence that the fixie scene in Vegas is alive and kicking, and that yes, there are people who are fashionable, cute, and not old and fat in Sin City. Meanwhile, “Video Daze” showcases the latest YouTubes favored by The Hundreds staff -- let’s just say to be safe you should not be drinking liquids while viewing. “The Feed” gives the lowdown on streetwear happenings including what lines will be dropping new hotcakes when, and “ynot” aka “Tony” backwards is the blog of SF store manager Tony Rodriguez, who engagingly photoessays happenings at the Post street store. Check the “Photo Booth” blog for your cronies who visit the LA or SF store hamming it up. But alas, I digress.
Upon entering the unassuming façade of the SF store marked only by their trademark smiley bomb, you might feel like you’ve gone for a ride into Pirates of the Caribbean or some such dark ride at an amusement park, as the entire store has been designed and built to resemble a cave marked by skulls. Being engulfed by darkness with lighting strategically placed to display the wares very effectively showcases the goods The Hundreds has to offer. Basically your options lie on your left and right sides of the cave: On your right is where you’ll find the modest but vibrant women’s clothing line -- “Tens”. The ladies’ line, as you’ll find with The Hundreds’ other lines, is nicely limited to less than 10 designs but all available in at least three colorways. This simplifies shopping considerably once you’ve honed in on the designs you like.
The Hundreds now has four major lines: the title line is pretty much comprised of t-shirts, and as mentioned before Tens is the women’s line. Public Label features cut-and-sew pieces well-constructed with high quality materials and distinctive stitching. This season you’ll find men’s denim under $100 with a variety of colored thread stitches available (gold and purple, to name two), button-ups and windbreakers (very appropriate for SF and nicely executed with classy subtle Hundreds logo embroidered on the left shoulder). One of my favorites was the “spaghetti and brown” buffalo plaid button-up (men’s of course). The Rosewood collection houses exclusive in-store pieces. Aside from the Benny Gold and Hiero collaborations, a popular and now-sold-out piece was the “POST” hat. But for those who missed the earlier tip -- a new line of Rosewood is set to drop June 1st, including a “snap-back” (denoting adjustable vs fitted) “The Hundreds San Francisco” hat in Oakland A’s colors. Still available in store are those in the Giants and Warriors colors.
Said store manager Tony Rodriguez, who moved from Southern California to open the San Francisco store: “What I’ve noticed about the Bay Area is that all the kids really have a lot of pride for SF. The SF store exclusives sold out first and continue to sell more than anything else.”
It is interesting to note that despite being designed by the same agency as the LA flagship (LA-based tylerspencer), the San Francisco store is distinctively different: not only from the Fairfax location (which houses about 15 shoppers at one time versus a decidedly more spacious abode here) but from SF shops as a whole. Even if “streetwear” is not your bag or you have no idea what said phenomenon is, you owe it to yourself to pay the store a visit just to experience it. And who knows? You just might find that pair of paisley socks you’ve been looking for.
by Jialin Luh on May 16, 2008
Photo courtesy The Hundreds
Photos courtesy The Hundreds
Photos courtesy The Hundreds