For the first time in years, I purchased a book. The book is titled “This Is Not A T-Shirt” published by the author Bobby Hundreds of the famous clothing line “The Hundreds”. When I was younger I didn’t really pay attention to brands, I normally just bought things that I thought looked cool to me. My very first and only shirt from The Hundreds brand is the HIP-HOP IS DEAD t-shirt. I bought it because of the pure nostalgic era of music it had illustrated on the backside of the shirt. These guys were legends in the music industry. 2pac, Eazy E, Big Pun, Biggie, etc. This tee had dropped right when Nas had dropped the track “Hiphop is dead” which sent the music industry in a total frenzy.
But I’m not here to talk about old music legends, I’m here to talk about a chapter of the book I literally just read seconds ago titled “FIGHTING BACK”. This chapter inspired me a lot to write this article because I think the lesson behind it is truly empowering. The chapter starts off with Bobby and his business partner; Ben, getting a tweet from one of his fans on twitter asking if The Hundreds did a collab with American Eagle. You know, the brand that caters to fraternity boys and jocks alike. Where you walk past the store and you immediately need to put a respirator on because of the strong fumes of brohood coming from the store. Yeah, that store.
Anyways, Bobby wasn’t sure what the fan was talking about until the fan sends him a picture of some boxers with The Hundreds iconc mascot on it, Adam Bomb. Bobby immediately knew it was their illustration because of just how alike the shorts looked. Actually, now that I’m looking at the photo they actually did steal the picture of it (See below for boxers that American Eagle had for sale in stores).
So you may be asking yourself “exactly why am I reading an article about a pair of boxers for and exactly why would this make me feel empowered?” Just hear me out for a second. Bobby and Ben go into this huge legal battle in which they go back and forth with AE’s 9 lawyers vs. just the two of them. Before The Hundreds existed – Bobby and Ben went to law school so they knew a thing or two about legality issues. They weren’t well equipped with knowledge, but they damn sure weren’t going to go down without a fight.
During this battle Bobby and Ben are thinking of just how small they are compared to a company that just raked in 3 million dollars that year alone. They doubt themselves. They say “maybe we’re just going to lose”. They say so many things to put themselves down but then remembered that they have nothing to lose, but everything to gain. So with their lawyer stricken minds shaking off the cobwebs they continue to fight the battle with them. It wasn’t until AE said they were going to license the Adam Bomb so they could continue selling. Bobby was infuriated with this idea, not only did they say they were going to license it, they didn’t even ask. They were the one calling the shots on this issue.
Now I don’t really want to spoil the chapter all in itself in hopes that you will go out and buy the book to read about his journey. But I’m going to give away the good part of this chapter anyhow. 3 lawyers from AE call Bobby and Ben and say they’re willing to give them a percentage of sales from the boxers. Bobby and Ben thought at the time they were crazy to go against it, but with perseverance comes results. Bobby said hell to the no to this agreement. He then states he has already written a blog (The Hundreds brand actually revolves around more around the blog rather than the actual t-shirts. With the blog, you can actually visit it and see the inspiration behind the designs) about the issue and then states his influence in the streetwear fashion industry. He literally has millions of people reading his blogs, from rappers, sports athletes, to fans alike.
Then, AE finally backs down from the legal fight and says “we will discontinue and recall all the boxers if The Hundreds guarantees that there was no wrongdoing in regards of this issue and we will send the boxers to a charity we work with in Africa.” Bobby and Ben agree to these conditions and then shoots out a tweet to his “bomb squad” for everyone to check out the American Eagle retail stores to ensure that the boxers are no longer on display. It’s confirmed and Bobby and Ben win the fight.
So exactly why did any of this match to empowerment? I think it matches quite well because of just how much they realized they could do. They went against this goliath of a business vs just two dudes with streetwear dreams. They didn’t think they could even pull this fight off but they kept to their guns and kept their chests out because they knew what was right and didn’t want their art stolen. Also when Bobby had his bomb squad go out and scout the malls to ensure that no more boxers were being sold, shows just how much strength comes in numbers. If we could work together in unison as a community, just think of how many other things we can accomplish if we all got together as a family?
Anyways, I’m going to end it here. If you wish to purchase the book, feel free to visit your local Barnes and Nobles or it is also available on amazon, the link is right here.
I am no way sponsored by Bobby or by The Hundreds brand. I simply just want you to be inspired enough to pick it up to see how it is to read about the highs and lows of starting a brand. Catch you next time! Stay Wholesome.