We love us some Benny Gold here at Attitude, so when Breaks Magazine sat down to interview Benny about life, design, and skateboarding, we couldn’t resist jumping on it.
Here are five things we learned from the interview. All quotes from Benny himself.
1. Benny did the original branding for HUF
You may have read our recent blog post We Love… HUF, in which we talked about Keith “Huf” Hufnagel’s move to San Francisco in the 90s. In the early 2000s, Hufnagel opened his first shop, which just so happened to be around the corner from Benny’s house.
We went skating together one day and he was complaining about how he doesn’t have any logos for the shop and one of my friends says, you know, “Hey, Benny does logos” and he looked at me and I said, “Yeah I do logos” and that’s how it started.
The rest, as they say, is history.
2. HUF’s iconic ‘weed socks’ were a happy accident
The HUF Plantlife socks are a streetwear classic, but they actually started out as a bit of a joke.
When I was still helping him [Keith Hufnagel] out, the designer after me, Hanni (El Khatib, HUF designer turned musician) was brainstorming, the weed socks just came from us joking around about San Francisco culture and hippy culture and like the Haight Street Burners, just a joke and they put it out after I was gone and I mean, Hanni designed it and he put it out and no one cared about it for years.
Who would have thought then that the ‘weed socks’ would go on to be one of the most iconic pieces of streetwear fashion in the world, as they are today.
3. It all started with a sticker
The Benny Gold brand started life as a humble sticker, which Benny used to plaster around the city.
The original sticker was inspired by the old ‘Stay Gold’ mantra – a reminder that the ideas and experiences we hold dear are the real gold inside each of us.
Stickers led to tees, which led to sales, and things grew organically from there.
It was just stickers and then I bought a little one-colour screen in my studio apartment and I screened this shit for me and a friend, we went to a party and Barry McGee was there, Twist (graffiti/street artist)? And he told my friend Will, “That shirt’s awesome!” and Will came back and he was like, “You won’t believe who just told me he liked my shirt!”, so I was like, “I gotta make more of these things.”
I went home and screened a couple more, gave them to friends and then a couple years later I met Keith when he opened his store and he told me to put some shirts in the store, and they sold. So he told me to put more shirts in the store and they sold. So that’s when I thought I should take a crack at this thing. It was never a big master plan or anything, it all just fell in place.
4. Hot girls help sell streetwear
Benny is known for working with Los Angeles based photographer, Danny Steezy. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Steezy’s work, check out his Instagram profile – you’ll get the gist (slightly NSFW)
Here’s what Benny had to say on his relationship with Steezy:
I’ll put my own lookbook out, put people in it, you know and then he’ll — same clothing — then he’ll shoot one with a girl and I’ll look and Hypebeast will post both of them, or High Snobiety or anybody will post both of them and I’ll look at the views, and one will get like 30,000 views and the next one will get like 300,000 views.
So does using hot girls to sell streetwear work?
It still works and then my wife’s always like, “Why were you sending this guy clothes again? It’s off brand” and I’m like, “It gets so many views, I can’t not do it!”
We hear ya, Benny.
5. Benny Gold is a stand-up dude
Honest, passionate and brimming with talent, Benny Gold is one of the coolest guys in the streetwear game today, and this shines through in abundance in his clothing designs.
We’ll be backing Benny til the day he quits, and if you know what’s good, you should too.
Read the full interview at http://breaksmag.com/2015/02/benny-gold/ – credit to Tom Kirkby for the excellent article.
Check out the latest Benny Gold drop here.