Chris Gibbs
Owner of Union Los Angeles

Over your years operating within the fashion industry, what are the biggest challenges you’ve faced?

By far the biggest challenge for us has been the transition from brick and mortar retailer to online retailer. We are and were experts and very successful in brick and mortar but the whole game got flipped and turned upside-down with ecommerce and it’s been a big challenge for us. And nowadays, everything is changing damn near weekly so just as soon as you think you have some shit figured out, the current changes. It’s very hard to stay on top of these things. Also, I would add that at its core foundation this store was built for a customer that has knowledge of self. Someone who knows what they want and doesn’t follow or need others to tell them what’s cool or not. These days, those kind of customers are harder and harder to find as it seems like everyone is looking to social media to tell them how to think, act and well… dress.

What have been your biggest learnings?

Stay true to yourself and people will eventually come around.

It’s a marathon, not a race.

Things are never as bad as they seem… things are never as good as they seem.

What are your thoughts on the current state of streetwear?

I think it’s a really exciting time. A couple years ago I was asked the same question and I remember saying that we were in need of a new era and that things were getting stagnant. I could smell it coming. Well FUCK! It’s here and it’s more creative, bigger and badder than I could have ever anticipated. All these new designers are really pushing the boundaries of what streetwear can be and is, and it’s really exciting. It seems like the possibilities are endless and that is incredible! Beyond my wildest dreams...

What do you think are the biggest issues that the fashion industry faces today?

I think the biggest issue(s) might be related to fast fashion. There are a lot of facsimiles of the real thing out there now and they are reacting to the market with astonishing efficiency, which is forcing some brands and designers to make adverse decisions. Everything is dessert now, ‘cause that is the easy, most immediate quick fix. So not a lot of people are concentrating on the foundational looks and pieces ‘cause they get copied too quick. It’s turning the industry into a cupcake industry with no real sustenance.

Do you have any expectations for where the industry is headed?

Everything goes in cycles. Right now streetwear is king. I think streetwear is finally here to stay but people will eventually want something different and will find new and creative ways to express themselves through fashion.

What’s been your highlight of 2017?

Working on our own line and opening a store in Tokyo!

What are your short-term and long-term goals for Union, and personally?

We are opening up a Union Tokyo next year. We are launching our own private label this year. Both are long overdue and very exciting for us. For me I am just excited to be able to push myself and learn new shit everyday. I am excited to be able to do things the honest and genuine way and be successful in that. There is a lot of wack shit out there and I am just psyched to be a part of the dope shit.

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