From Hot Sauce To A Hopeful Future With PUMA
Words: Caiza Andresen
I’m not a religious guy, but IF there is a heaven I don’t think that there will be a long queue at the pearly gates with tickets handed out only on Thursday. You won’t have to wait in line with people eagerly calculating the prices for which they can flip their tickets after they uploaded their #lpu pic of it to Instagram.
I think there will be two guys waiting for you with big smiles on their faces. One will hand you a burger made by The Oinkster in Hollywood, the other one will hand you a bottle of Tapatio hot sauce. You will recognize that this Tapatio bottle features not only one friendly face as always on it, but three. You will see, that these two guys are featured on the label, even though they are not in the hot sauce business.
They are Ben and Bobby Hundreds, who founded their brand The Hundreds in 2003. They did not just start a t-shirt brand. They shaped a culture. And for a lot of people their brand has been the gateway drug into the cosmos we call streetwear. I still remember buying my first The Hundreds t-shirt. And I still remember reading about the brand and seeing the iconic Adam Bomb for the first time. Back in the days when there were only a few pages on Hypebeast. But even back then The Hundreds was more than a fashion brand.
From 2008 to 2012 I worked I a skate/streetwear store in my hometown. I started there because when I went there to visit a friend, the store manager spotted me wearing Nike Air 180s. We talked and he asked me to work there. No job application, no nothing. He just checked what I was wearing and immediately saw that we would get along. And we both were into The Hundreds. Those where the days… I already mentioned Hypebeast and at the »dawn of the blogs« for me there was a holy trinity of logos: the box logo, the five strikes and Adam Bomb. I bought my first The Hundreds shirt in a size medium, even though back then I had to wear size large. But I wanted to be part of the movement. Part of a family that treats their customers like friends and takes them out to dinner (talking about dedication, just look at the happy faces in this photo recap of that happy and unprecedented event) and made every visit at their store feel like visiting a fair as a kid (they played rollercoaster sounds in there).
The Hundreds mastered the game of collaborations, something that was quite new to me then. Today it is not the invention of the wheel for a brand to have collaborations with shoe brands (The Hundreds did their own footwear line) or release the craziest accessories, but Bobby and Ben were pioneers and crushed it.
On the occasion of the release of their newest PUMA Collab now available at HHV I went down memory lane to reminisce over some (it is not possible to list every one) of my personal favorite The Hundreds collabs of all time:
The Hundreds x Lost Boys (2008)
The Hundreds are the beloved Lost Boys. Well not the sexy vampire ones led by Kiefer Sutherland, but the Peter Pan ones. Their San Francisco store was build like Captain Hook’s home, skulls and bones included. They even used small Captain Hook-like hooks for hanging their clothes.
Besides that the Lost Boys are a group of ever young kids enjoying their life when they are not busy fighting pirates. Pirates that the brand described as industry, bootleggers, whoever stands in their way. Adam Bomb imo is for streetwear what the Mouse is for animation. A symbol for groundbreaking achievements. But in contrast to Mickey I can’t see Adam sell out and hyper commercialize as Disney does on a regular with your favorite franchises (Please let the Simpsons die in dignity, Disney!).
I remember seeing this collab in 2008 and thought to myself that The Hundreds was more than most of the other brands if they can even win Disney to team up. We’re up to a good start.
The Hundreds x Tapatio Hot Sauce (2014)
We’re not talking about a red Oreo with a box logo on it, but a collaboration between two family owned companies who care for their products. I know that Ben and Bobby don’t actually share the surname Hundreds, but I mean, these guys really show their appreciation to their baby. If I would be a brand I would certainly wish for those two dudes to be my dads. By the way, this video of the »100 Dollar Dare« in which The Hundreds videographer Johnny Chang drinks a whole bottle of Tapatio Hot Sauce in one go is worth watching. Don’t try this at home, kids!
The Hundreds x Kit Kat Clock (2019)
I love Americana. Americana means artifacts that are related to the history, folklores and cultural history of the US. Apple pie, blue jeans, white picket fences. But to me the world famous Kit Kat Clock ranks next to Lady Liberty. You have seen this cool kitten hanging on the wall in multiple movies and TV shows. There is something so calming about the moving eyes and tail, that you might even forget that each second that passes brings you nearer to your certain death. That was dark. Sorry. But who needs a Rolex just to flex in the next horrible »How much is your outfit« video, when you can have company like this at home?
The Hundreds x Garfield (2010)
I grew up watching Garfield with my brother. Back then McDonalds included small Garfield toys in the »Happy Meal«, so I was crazy delighted when The Hundreds released a collab with this notorious Monday-hating feline in 2010.
The Garfield on a skate board toy still has a special place in my appartment and I might feel a little embarrassed that in 2010 I spend the last money I had left on this art piece. Fortunately I had enough pasta and pesto at home to get through the rest of the month. No lasagna, but fuck it: I have a big Garfield at home.
The Hundreds Battering Ram (2017)
Not actually a collab but this battering ram is a metaphor for how streetwear and The Hundreds came into my life: With a boom. No knocking. »Open the door, young motherfucker! We’re ‘bout to crash your world«. How crazy is doing a battering ram?!?
The Hundreds x PUMA (2019-2020)
When talking about streetwear you can’t let the sneaker game unmentioned. The Hundreds just dropped a new collection of sneakers and apparel in collaboration with PUMA. Funny how a traditional shoe company with a history spanning over 70 years and a brand like The Hundreds go so well together. But just like nobody could foresee the rise of streetwear, the so-called sneaker game was not more than a weird thought in 1948, the year PUMA was founded. Shoes were a utility. But that is how legends are born. They grow organically. Just like the Puma Clyde became a mainstay in Hip Hop and sports because of its classic look and its numbers of different colorways. Even skate culture and Hardcore adopted this silhouette. You can find multiple photos of Kurt Cobain wearing them. This shoe seems perfectly fitted to represent the Hundreds and all the subcultural influences which made the brand what it is.
But not only this classic silhouette and the legendary Future Rider were chosen by the creative wizards of Fairfax Street but also a RS-2k. A futuristic design paired with early 2000s aesthetics. To quote another iconic streetwear brand or the late Bob Marley »In this great future you cant forget your past«. From the past to a hopeful future: The collection is titled »A Hopeful Future« and sets a sign in terms of sustainability and conscious consumption. The sneakers are made of recycled rubber and polyester as well as chrome-free tanned leather and some of the garments made of organic cotton are reversible, e.g. the Reversible Hoodie.
Besides all those gems The Hundreds released a magazine, opened up the craziest store, host one of the best blogs about streetwear and Bobby even wrote a great book named »THIS IS NOT A T-SHIRT«, that every fashion fiend should definitely read. They introduced their customers to niche brands like Super Max, gave us a video of Karruche Tran washing a Delorean and showed us that you can live your dream if you stay true to yourself. That’s why I bought my first The Hundreds t-shirt one size too small when my size was not available in 2008, because I wanted to show the world how I feel. What I wanted to represent. Love, knowledge and community through a cartoonish bomb on my chest. That is why I will wear those shoes with pride while giving my 15 year old younger self a high five.
Remember my religious talk from the beginning? Don’t jump from a bridge to reach heaven, my Gs. Like my girl Lana del Rey used to say »Heaven is a place on earth with you«. This place is Fairfax Avenue in LA where the The Hundreds store is located and in my opinion will be there forever. Why? Because The Hundreds are HUGE. All hail the kings.
Check out the PUMA x The Hundreds collaboration at HHV: PUMA x THE HUNDREDS