Streetwear chiefs Bobby Hundreds sat down with CLSC founder Josh Vides to chat about the realities of building a streetwear label and the direction this “creative sport” is going. Vides shares his story of how CLSC came about, the trajectory, and development of the brand, all the while touching on the get-rich-quick success of the entrepreneurial generation, the death of longevity for streetwear brands, and changing role of retailers. Read a few highlights from The Hundreds interview below and make sure to get the full story here.
BOBBY HUNDREDS: Take me back to how CLSC started.
JOSH VIDES: I was 19. Before CLSC, there was a brand called DOnUt, which you know about.
It standed for “Do you, not them.” So the D-O-U were capitalized and the N and the T were small. It was Nelson, Mateo, Sunny, etc. It’s a group of kids from the I.E. [Inland Empire], the logo was a baker, and one of the guys who started the brand actually owned a donut shop. So we would make T-shirts and put them in pink donut boxes, which is actually kind of cool if you think about it…
So you go from like $50,000 to 150, 200. What’s going through your mind at that time? I feel like now you’re living the streetwear dream, right?
I mean, I was happy. We had an ill office in downtown and obviously like, we didn’t have to worry about money, you know what I’m saying? I mean, we weren’t making money like that yet; I was paying myself shit at the time. I was getting a couple grand here and there, but we were doing what we wanted to do and didn’t have to worry about doing some craze sh*t and finding cash for it. We would walk around tradeshows, not working for anybody anymore… We’d walk by Russ [from SSUR], Aaron [Levant], and you guys and be like, “Yo!!!” Everybody was happy for us, and obviously that is a great feeling. 2014 was great and 2015 was better.
What happened [in 2014]?
I think 2014 set us up or showed us a little more of what we were capable of. International business started moving and we were opening great accounts. We got into stores like Wish Atlanta, and everybody was like, “What the f***?” You know, Sneaker Politics, etc. So opportunities started falling in our laps that hadn’t before, like collaborations. That was just most of my day to day at that point besides designing. Go find projects and convince bigger companies why they needed to do a project with us. And we did a shitload.
Yeah. I mean, up until that point, to me, even going back to the beginning, streetwear at that time, it was like formula. I looked at you guys, I looked at Crooks, I looked at Black Scale, there was a specific formula that everyone was doing at that’s all that existed.
Which was what?
Do collaborations, get in cool stores, open your own retail store, you know? Whatever. Get road reps, get an East Coast guy, get a West Coast guy. That’s all it was. Get on HYPEBEAST. Do good lookbooks, do cool projects
Do you think you’ll ever do a brand again? Like your own brand?
Yeah. But my idea of one is different now. Look at how many brands are popping up now—and succeeding. The blueprint that existed back in the day—gone. There’s brands like Chinatown Market, PLEASURES, there’s brands like Brain Dead and Carrots. They’re all doing it differently. The routine brand guideline’s book pages got ripped out and colored on. It’s a beautiful thing. So yeah, if I’m going to do it, it’s not going to be as serious, I guess. From the beginning of CLSC, my idea was to create a very, very successful and structured streetwear brand that will allow me to retire.