It was the Fall of 2005, and we needed somewhere to hang our hat. This building on the corner of Fairfax and Rosewood had recently burned down and the landlord was eager to flip the spaces. The neighborhood was largely sleepy and vacant at the time. Traditionally the historical Jewish district of Los Angeles, Fairfax Village was home to Canter’s Deli, Israeli eateries, and thrift shops. Supreme opened their West Coast location on the block, which started to draw the sneaker/street customer from La Brea, but other than the skate shop and the new Reserve bookstore across the street, all was quiet on the western front.
After some hemming and hawing, Ben and I took the middle space on Rosewood. We foresaw that this street could become our secret little universe, off the major path, but still central to the city. We initially set up the shop as our office/warehouse/studio/kitchen/clubhouse, but after the success of the (in)famous Paisley hoody, we gathered our funds and decided to build our first store here instead.
7909 Rosewood Ave. would be the future home of The Hundreds Los Angeles. Since our brand has always been in context of the color black – and in response to the cold, grey, minimalist Streetwear boutiques of the time – we imagined an opaque, wood store, proudly showcasing the product offerings.
We didn’t have much room to play with. Just a little over 400 square feet of selling space on the floor. So we capitalized on the tall ceilings by stretching out doorways and using cabinetry to hide inventory.
It’s strange to think back on now, because we were so young and naive, and had no clue as to what we were doing. We just did what felt right.
The night before our grand opening, we worked late, making sure everything was just right. We had kept the entire shop under wraps, both on and off the web. So the world wasn’t expecting what was to come. We just told them to show up on Opening Day, but they never expected a store like this from some little T-shirt brand out of LA.
This was one of the two sneak peeks I gave of the shop on our website that night. People assumed that this was what the interior of the shop would look like, but this was shot inside the dressing room (p.s. I miss that Fiberops hat, if anyone’s found it)
And this is what our line looked like that day. Mostly printables – we were still buzzing off the all-over-print stuff (was always proud of that Cherries T-shirt!) Our first cut/sew offerings from The Hundreds, under Public Label were lined up on the top rack. To the left, we had our vintage section of retired designs we had held onto. And there was even some TENS in that lower-left corner.
February First. 11:00am.
Most don’t remember this part, but we didn’t even have a sign on Opening Day. In fact, the store wasn’t imagined with one in mind, so I came upon the idea at the last minute – borrowing a concept from one of my favorite high fashion labels – and it wasn’t fabricated and installed until a few weeks after we opened.
Tofer’s “Corn Mouth” art installation wasn’t conceptualized until after the opening either. Initially, we used the tank to display some of my photographs of neighborhood homeless “friends” that were the true Fairfax Village pioneers.
This is how the story began.
And this is how this story ends.
Last night, all past and present employees of The Hundreds Los Angeles were invited to 7909 to say goodbye to an old friend.
We are missing some of the greats, like Tony, Alex, Steph, and Morgan, but for the most part, these are the men that built the house of RSWD over the past seven years.
Ground breaking. Mike Franklin aka Flowin’ Owen goes back to square one.
From then on, everyone had a part in dismantling the temple. Ben hits a home run.
The first two squares in the shop went to Ben and myself. We are planning on doing something special with the rest of the squares.
Owen knows how to make an entrance.
Past, present. And the future?
We made history here!
Looking back. Moving forward.