3sixteen offered a preview of their 2008 Spring collection, the “11th Hour”. The theme is based on the notion that the 11th Hour represents the concept of time running low and its something that must be used to its fullest effect. Much like their most recent works, the brand strives to achieve a dark and aggressive nature. Founding member Andrew Chen had a chance to sit down for a short interview which can be seen after the jump. Look for the Spring collection to arrive in March.
HYPEBEAST: So the MAGIC grind is coming to an end, how was this year’s MAGIC?
Andrew Chen: It was good, it was alright.
HYPEBEAST: What was the highlight?
Andrew Chen: Honestly, it’s nice to meet the buyers and meeting the people that are putting the product into the hands of the customers. We’re like lab rats, we spend all day designing, it’s good to interact with the people. In general getting the sample work done is exhausting, you’re usually running on empty in the tank when you show up here. Pretty stoked to go home.
HYPEBEAST: How were sales this season compared to previous seasons?
Andrew Chen: We’re starting to look more at accounts that appreciate the work we put into our clothes. Some stores might be pushed out by price points as we’re looking for stores to push cut & sew. Being an artist and businessman, it’s hard to reconcile, because on one hand you want to make stuff that is true to who you are and at the same time you want to maximize profits. Sometimes the two don’t go hand in hand.
HYPEBEAST: In reality this relationship can be applied to many situations, including the so called blogging world. You can’t always keep your editorial direction unbiased.
HYPEBEAST: How is America’s recession going to affect brands?
Andrew Chen: I’m not going to lie, this MAGIC has been slower for a lot of people. Overall there has been a lot of retail accounts closing in the last six months. The market craze that we experienced in the past 1-2 years is pretty much fading.
HYPEBEAST: Is this why we’ve seen a quick directional change towards more mature aesthetics which create functional over many situations?
Andrew Chen: I think it’s interesting because there are still many brands that are doing what they’ve been doing in terms of color palettes and design direction. People are saying the grown man look is the new all-over print hoodie. The more cutting edge brands are maybe progressing towards a more mature look. If you go to ‘hood stores, it’s still the same circa half a year ago, same stuff such as techniques and applications you were seeing a year ago. The economy is affecting people unless you have parents with deep pockets you’re going to be forced out soon.
HYPEBEAST: If both of your interns had to battle to the death to stay at 3sixteen, who would win Matt or Caleb?
Andrew Chen: I don’t know both of them are pretty wiry.
HYPEBEAST: How important are interns to streetwear companies?
Andrew Chen: I know brands that refuse to bring interns in or have had really negative experiences with them and we’ve been thankful to have really good interns. Honestly, I’m not a mean person and make a person make me a cup of coffee. I really think it depends on how you treat the people that intern and ultimately they are here to learn. Our interns do a lot of work for us. It will be hard to replace them. I can only speak for us and I’ve spoken to some brands that have had crappy interns. Running a business, you need to know that you can’t do everything by yourself.
HYPEBEAST: Sum up in a few words where 3sixteen will be in a years time.
Andrew Chen: Alive and well…