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One of America’s influential streetwear creatives this epoch, San Francisco-based Benny Gold is the epitome of graphic designer done really, really well. Like most graphic designers, Benny had his humble beginnings in a small design firm before working his way up through a slew of larger entities and discovering one day that his creative spirit had become thoroughly stifled along the way. Thankfully, instead of immobilizing him with despair like it has countless others, the realization promptly triggered off his inner innovator instead. It was just a simple sticker inspired by the saying “stay gold”–a thought originating from Robert Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” that was later popularized by S. E. Hinton’s novel The Outsiders when it was adapted to film in the ’80s. But it was Benny’s passionate ingenuity and persistent, audacious talent that led him to paste those stickers all around the city on his off days when no one was watching.
That simple sticker has since led to a wide-range of fashion and accessories alike. Benny Gold’s ever-expanding and impressive design portfolio of collaborations with dozens of labels can be viewed here, and the Benny Gold label has become an international brand stocked by over a hundred retailers around the world with its flagship store and design studio based in San Francisco. While “Stay Gold” in Hinton’s coming-of-age novel meant to stay innocent and true, Benny expands on the adage: “To me, it’s a reminder that all the ideas and experiences that we hold dear are the real gold inside each of us. This is what shapes us, what preserves our sense of self, and what keeps us young.” We’re so glad he believed this strongly enough to creatively pursue his dreams instead of surrendering to the tedious corporate life. Benny Gold is staying gold, and we can tell by looking at his Essentials here — Levi the unofficial brand mascot and man’s best friend, waste bags for Levi (because he believes in karma and doesn’t want to step in shit), design reference books, sketchbook and sketches (because he really is a designer), a Native Cruiser board, and among other things those simple stickers that started everything. Stay gold, Gold.