Bobby’s World: An Afternoon with Bobby Kim of the Hundreds

If you’re reading this right now, you probably know at least a little something about our most recent feature – California native, Bobby Kim. 1/2 of the two-man wrecking crew who are the originators of streetwear label, The Hundreds. An obsessive documentarian, a proponent of counterculture (take that however you see it) and owner of a specially customized Delorean DMC-12 (Yes, the time machine from Back To The Future). He’s also hated on by a few forum-dwelling teens with prepubescent angst who think for some reason that he’s “sold out” to the masses; but on the flip side, or should I say lopside, he’s revered by the boatloads of sensible streetwear enthusiasts out there. To us, he’s really the Socrates to our Plato…okay maybe that’s reaching. More like the Michael Jordan to our adolescent Kobe Bryant then. It was truly a long shot in scoring this interview with Bobby, I mean even in the FAQ section of the Hundreds website there’s an outright “No” in response to the question, “Can we interview you?”. Fortunately, by the grace of Livestock’s Bone brothers, we were afforded the chance to meet up with the man here in Vancouver while on some annual Spring/Summer trade show business..

With the arrival of skate shops and niche retail some 10-odd years ago on Fairfax Ave in Los Angeles, the neighbourhood began to shed a little of its predominantly Jewish heritage to birth a communal hub for hoodied up, business-saavy skateboarders. At the time, The Hundreds wasn’t at the front of the pack, it was still cultivating its foundation in Venice somewhere, but when it finally came to life in the Fairfax district it definitely became that rose that grew from concrete. More like the Rosewood that grew from concrete I suppose – 7909 Rosewood Ave being the side-street where Bobby and business partner/friend Ben, decided to stake their claim as home for turning their 100s of fans into 1000s of fans which would in turn make them millions of dollars.

For any longstanding business, commerce is a universally accepted language but even for this Loyola Law School graduate, money has never been the root of his endeavours or success. Two disgruntled law grads silkscreening shirts in their studio apartment somewhere off the beaten path sounds a little unusual doesn’t it? You hear it everyday – Passion trumps $$$ – but how would you make that choice if strong potential for a stable, prosperous career was staring you right in the face upon graduation. Well, now Bobby can happily exist as a mogul in an industry that he can call his own. With a modest chain of 4 cutting edge retail spaces (in San Fran, Santa Monica, and NYC) it ain’t hard to tell that for what was once a strictly t-shirt pushing company, The Hundreds has become, in fact, Huge. That’s not all it is though.

Partaking in a good ol’ fashioned chinwag with Bobby a few weeks ago, adds another adjective to that brand slogan that not everyone may know – The Hundreds is Humble too. Bobby, their director of all things creative, truly leads his company in a way that is detached from any egomaniacal tendencies. Instead he carries an air about him that’s more down-to-earth than ever. There must be something in that Californian concrete that continues to breed such level-headed visionaries such as this man and the many other LA residents he swears by. He’s formed somewhat of a cult following, which has as much to do with his apparel as it does his incessant blogging for the past 7 years. The beauty of Kim’s California cult is that it’s never been based around him or Ben, but rather an outward view of his friends, his fans, his block and his travels. Getting our moment to speak with him, you really get a sense that he is genuinely invested in this befriending culture he’s created. Admittedly he sometimes feels like an onlooker of his own brand and a fellow fan of what that Adam Bomb logo encompasses.

Another big thanks to the Livestock crew for vouching for our interview so that we could step into Bobby’s World and see what it’s like putting him in front of the lens for a moment. Now watch our extensive 2-part interview below.

foreword + interview by Justin Lintag
stills by Mario & Marlon Soriano
film by Mario & Marlon Soriano
(additional video stills courtesy of Bobby Hundreds and Levi Maestro)

Bobby’s World: The Brand Before The Man

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Bobby’s World: On LA & Its Residents

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