A CONVERSATION WITH...

Ben & Bobby Hundreds: The Streetwear Pioneers Moving Fashion to the Metaverse

The Hundreds streetwear brand heads to the world of Web3, NFTs, and the metaverse in the latest example of its founders’ boundary-pushing nature.

Scroll through The Hundreds’ Twitter timeline, and you’ll see graffiti graced walls, flyers for online tattoo conversations, and reactions to the Euphoria Season 2 finale.

What you won’t see as much? Graphic tees.

Ben Shenassafar and Bobby Kim, co-founders of The Hundreds. (Amy Graves/Getty Images for Chivas Regal)

Bobby Kim and Ben Shenassafar β€” now known as Bobby and Ben Hundreds β€” founded The Hundreds back in 2003. The company made its mark through shirts stamped with their bold font and booming logo. Ironically, they’ve maintained relevancy by doing everything but screenprinting.

From editorial interviews with legendary Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield to food festivals, The Hundreds is very much a lifestyle label beyond the clothes. Since its start almost 20 years ago, streetwear has effectively grown to encompass all elements of pop culture β€” and most importantly, the space to keep evolving and exploring.

For Bobby and Ben, that means owning uncharted territory in the world of Web3.

Finding Meaning in the Metaverse

Do not get it twisted: The Hundreds still cooking up plenty of hats, hoodies, and accessories to keep you cozy from summer to winter. But Bobby and Ben are hip to the complications of climate change and the new territories that fashion finds itself most pronounced.

Doing their part to appease each movement, they’re making their mark in the metaverse by dropping NFTs that don’t create factory waste. Just the same, the NFT collection provides the same social badges The Hundreds’ expressive streetwear has always offered.

“The reality is [that] we don’t need more clothing,” Bobby Hundreds told Boardroom. “I think Web3 and NFTs can resolve a lot of this. If it’s just for utility, we have that clothing. So why are we still buying fashion? For social reasons, to speak for values, and speak to your personality. All of those things can be acknowledged through NFTs.”

Keen to sift through the snake oil and pyramid schemes present in any new trend β€” and all the more elusive online β€” Bobby and Ben are doing the research on Web3 and urge you to do the same.

While Web3 provides a new market for The Hundreds β€” with endless opportunity and likely less overhead β€” it’s not simply a self-serving hustle. Rather, blockchain technology allows everyone to eat when it comes to buying, selling, and sharing NFTs.

“Blockchain technology actually resolves a lot of hardships and friction that exist in this world today,” noted Bobby.

The royalty system attached to an NFT sold by The Hundreds bodes much better for the holder than the transaction of buying and selling a t-shirt that could either resell for major money on StockX or simply exist as cotton excess.

With Web3, fans of The Hundreds from Inglewood to Nottingham can connect to the brand β€” and share it with one other β€” without cluttering their closet.

As Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 created a fabric for fans of movements to unite online, Web3 offers advanced abilities. As The Hundreds grows, so do its faithful fans.

“Our goal has been to keep this a family business,” Ben Hundreds explained. “Our community comes first.”

Uncharted Territory

Understandably, many consumers have trouble understanding the value and rationale behind buying an NFT.

The stigma of spending money on a JPEG seems silly β€” even if the enormous industry of streetwear is rooted in buying t-shirts that show a graphic image just the same.

This notion of novelty with no tangible meaning is not lost on Bobby and Ben.

While they’re doing the work to research and understand Web3 from the inside out, it shouldn’t be missed that they are facing the same skepticism in the NFT space now that they had when founding a streetwear company in 2003.

Daunting? Sure.

Exciting? Absolutely.

“For the first time in years, I felt like we hadn’t just stumbled upon a new continent,” began Bobby, “but we were building this new continent together. A world where we could collectively decide what the marketplace looked like, who’s going to be the biggest clothing brand. Why couldn’t it be me? And not only could it work, but it can also provide money, give people jobs, and change your art. That’s what started me on my journey.”

In their 19 years of existence, The Hundreds are as huge in 2022 as when it initially printed into existence. The brand’s rise, relevance, and reach is not just a testament to staying true to their interests but also appealing to their customers’ curiosities.

Why wouldn’t Web3 be next?

“As time goes on you’ve got to evolve and change,” Ben summed up. “We just do our best to evolve and change with it.”

Sign Up For Our Newsletters

Get on our list for sports business, industry trends, interviews, and more.

Subscribe

Enter your email below