Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.
Entrepreneur, artist, tastemaker, and now author Bobby Hundreds — AKA Bobby Kim — joins us to talk about This Is Not a T-Shirt: A Brand, a Culture, a Community–a Life in Streetwear, his electric new memoir about growing up in Southern California, loving punk and skate culture, his turn from law school to the street wear that he loved, and how celebrating artists and creators became the calling card for The Hundreds, the now iconic street wear business that has made its commitment to “having something to say” and “people over product” the flag Bobby Hundreds proudly flies. This is Not a T-Shirt is also a candid look at how street wear thrives by crossing boundaries of race and class. That’s kept The Hundreds constantly engaging with the most significant issues of the moment — an approach that’s spawned a fascinating and wildly successful book club. Bobby Hundreds sat down in our studio with Miwa Messer for a conversation about art, commerce, and his passage from rebellious teen to steward of a classic business and brand.
The story of The Hundreds and the precepts that made it an iconic streetwear brand by Bobby Hundreds himself
Streetwear occupies that rarefied space where genuine “cool” coexists with big business; where a star designer might work concurrently with Nike, a tattoo artist, Louis Vuitton, and a skateboard company. It’s the ubiquitous style of dress comprising hoodies, sneakers, and T-shirts. In the beginning, a few brands defined this style; fewer still survived as streetwear went mainstream. They are the OGs, the “heritage brands.” The Hundreds is one of those persevering companies, and Bobby Hundreds is at the center of it all.
The creative force behind the brand, Bobby Kim, a.k.a. Bobby Hundreds, has emerged as a prominent face and voice in streetwear. In telling the story of his formative years, he reminds us that The Hundreds was started by outsiders; and this is truly the story of streetwear culture.
In This Is Not a T-Shirt, Bobby Hundreds cements his spot as a champion of an industry he helped create and tells the story of The Hundreds—with anecdotes ranging from his Southern California, punk-DIY-tinged youth to the brand’s explosive success. Both an inspiring memoir and an expert assessment of the history and future of streetwear, this is the tale of Bobby’s commitment to his creative vision and to building a real community.
Author photo of Bobby Hundreds (c) Amanda Demme.