Read The Stories Of 4 Famous Brands That You Didn’t Know Started As In-House Labels
If you didn’t already know, the dope thing about in-house brands is that it gives the sellers the opportunity to communicate who they are as a label much better. In-house labels let the retailer control the manufacturing, packaging and marketing to build a stronger relationship between the products and the store’s customers. This was the case for all the brands below, who began this way and blew up big time.
UNDFTD, HUF, Norse Projects and Supreme have grown to be some of the most known brands in the music/fashion/skate//sport culture today and below you can find out their stories back then as in-house brands & where they are now.
THEN: An independent, Los Angeles-based retailer started by James Bond and Eddie Cruz, and one of the first shops to sell limited and customized sneakers to a market in 2001. After Bond quit his job working on music videos and went on vacation in the South Pacific he had the idea to identify and create a business that didn’t exist at the time, and the effects on the brand speak for themselves. One of the brand’s first partners was the Canadian designer Raif Adelberg, who customised Nike Air Force 1s to ship to Eddie Cruz in Los Angeles, and this transaction kicked off many of sneaker collabs & sneaker customization for UNDFTD.
NOW: A sport-inspired streetwear label that has sneaker collaborations with the biggest names, from Nike and adidas to Converse and Vans. UNDFTD has four stores in California, two in Japan, and one in Las Vegas…from in-house to global. This year, UNDFTD linked up with BAPE for the Summer 2015 collection.
THEN: Living in New York, Keith Hufnagel would skate around the streets with his friends spraying “HUF ONE” through the city. The phrase “HUF” eventually stuck as a nickname Keith, and after he signed a pro skateboarding deal, it made its way into the products and clothing that he was creating. In 2002, after Hufnagel had moved to San Francisco and opened a skate shop, he took the initiative to link up his views on streetwear and skate culture by creating a self-named label for the shop. After starting with a line of T-shirts and hats, the shop’s house line became so popular that Keith decided to shut the store down to work full-time on the brand.
NOW: HUF is a brand that has held its ground through changing trends and tons of opinions of what a skate brand can or can’t be. It can’t be denied, over the years HUF has stayed winning…especially with its Plantlife designs. We know you can’t resist ’em. Check out HUF’s collaboration with South Park on the “4/20″ collection.
“In order to be the best I can be at producing clothing and footwear for my brand, I had to give up my original vision of having a shop where I sold other people’s brands.” – Keith Hufnagel
THEN: The story of Norse Projects begins with Tobia Sloth and Mikkel Grønnebæk. The duo was controlling a chain of skateboarding stores named Streetmachine in Copenhagen, Paris and San Diego, which was their first steps into retail. Years later, Norse Store opened in Copenhagen, selling limited pieces called “Norse Projects” based on skateboarding, which was sold with a range of other brands from a small shop in the city center. A line of artsy Norse T-shirts got a lot of love from the locals, before becoming an international success. Sloth leads Norse Projects as the creative director, while Grønnebæk plays the backbone of the brand’s menswear designs and collaborations.
NOW: A label selling menswear and womenswear, which has blown up into many more branches worldwide. Today, Norse Projects is known for being a smooth and stylish Danish brand. But Norse Projects still sticks to its roots showing art through clothing from the looks of Norse Projects “Artist T-shirt” line, which has featured the likes of Jake Blanchard, Daniel Frost, Sergio Membrillas and more.
THEN: Supreme was a pretty unknown in-house brand sold out of a skateboarding store in New York that sold other skate brands including Anti-Hero, Thrasher, Vans, Girl and more. The original Lafayette location of Supreme was designed so skaters could roll right into the store, without feeling out of place, and the founder James Jebbia invested $12,000 to open the shop in 1994.
NOW: One of the most iconic names in skate/streetwear & super popular in the music world, Supreme makes collaborations every season with some of the biggest names in the biz, including Stone Island, The North Face, Playboy and more. After many seasons of coming out with fresh gear for the weather, Supreme just continues to live up to its name & especially drive the teens crazy for every drop.