Our City in a Suitcase series takes a closer look at the art, design and architecture through the eyes of four international cities and creatives who live and work in them. Each will pack a TUMI 19 degree suitcase full of items that they feel best represent their city’s culture. Take a look:
If ever there was a melting pot that made the most delicious stew, it would be Los Angeles. When you get past the Hollywood hullabaloo, you discover that LA is rich with culture that runs deep and wide. Bobby Kim had an idea for a t-shirt and wanted to get it made, so he started The Hundreds in college with his friend and now business partner, Ben Shenassafar. They worked out of a location right off of Fairfax that now houses their Flagship retail store. The Fairfax District, historically a Jewish community, is a 1.23-square-mile neighborhood in the Central Los Angeles that has artisan coffee and tea shops, sneaker and t-shirt stores, and cool restaurants that took off when streetwear brand Supreme opened its doors in the early 2000s. Bobby and Ben watched this happen, while growing their business to become a nationwide store chain and a worldwide lifestyle brand.
Bobby does a lot of the design work for The Hundreds, as well as dabbling in logo design for fellow business owners and friends. We visited him at their LA shop to talk to him about how LA has changed over the years and why it has become such a diverse art and design destination:
Bobby takes us on a cultural tour of LA through his eyes as he packs a TUMI 19 Degree suitcase full of LA treasures. Bobby’s choices reflect his commitment to supporting the local artisan and business community—his affection for it runs deep and he’s always trying to find a way to lift up his fellow creatives. In fact, so much so, that this is just a small sampling of the items he bought locally (with a couple of his own thrown in, of course):
Here’s a list of Bobby’s diverse selections, where he bought them, and why:
Abandoned Ramparts, Harp’s Garden, Apart lies zines from Babylon
Babylon is regarded as the coolest new LA shop when it comes to streetwear and skateboarding, but the first station I head to isn’t the T-shirt display or the special projects tables. It’s the reading section, showcasing ‘zines from local and international authors and photographers. ‘Zine culture never died, and has only multiplied. This is a ripe cross-section of which ones to flip through.
Black t-shirt by Good Posture
I just met Theo the other day, he came by with our mutual friend Anwar Carrots. We shared a good conversation about work and legacy, and then Anwar later told me Theo has his own streetwear brand called Good Posture. The concept behind it is so different, that it’s unforgettable. I didn’t even know Virgil Normal stocked Good Posture until I visited, and that’s the best part of the authentic streetwear community. Friends turn into your favorite labels and shops, and it’s all about good people supporting each other.
Nasty Galaxy by Sophia Amoruso and Surfers 1985-2015 by Raymond Pettibon
Sophia Amoruso just released her second book, Nasty Galaxy. Her Los Angeles signing was at the Barnes & Noble in The Grove, and I went to support because Sophia is a good friend. Although she hails from Northern California, the Nasty Gal brand is a true LA story. It has been also inspiring to watch her crossover from fashion to publishing and entertainment, with her forthcoming Netflix show.
Raymond Pettibon is one of my favorite artists and also an Angeleno. His signature illustrative work has played a foundational role in the South Bay punk community, and now sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars in galleries. This book in particular is dedicated to his surf drawings. Being a surfer myself, this is the best of both worlds.
Slippers by Eddie Huang collaboration with Adidas
Eddie Huang is a born-and-bred New Yorker, but he recently moved to LA to further his writing and VICE show, Huang’s World. He recently collaborated with adidas on a pair of shell-toes, but my favorite piece was the addendum, a pair of slides. When brands and artists interpret adidas slides, they usually leave the three stripes intact, but Eddie went over the whole thing with this map print. I dig that.
Carrots from Virgil Normal
Carrots is one of the hottest young streetwear brands out of LA, and it doesn’t surprise anyone. The man behind the label is Anwar Carrots, a local celebrity in the Fairfax, music, and fashion scenes. I love his interpretation of a watter bottle, meant to resemble a carrot. I found it at Virgil Normal, a neighborhood clubhouse on the eastside for artists, coolguys, and people with all-around good taste.
Beats by Dre Pill speaker
Barry McGee is another favorite artist of mine, and this is his rendition of a familiar Beats by Dre pill. One of those rare instances where I can actually afford something he makes!
Prynt printer for iPhone
Prynt is a new company that integrates an AR phone experience with print photos. There’s no real way to describe it beyond that – just, that it’s like magic, and will impress anyone standing near you.
Another Day in Paradise coffee cup by The Hundreds
This is a coffee cup, pulled from our current offerings in our flagship store in LA.
Hat from Babylon in LA
This is a little controversial, but also very Babylon and timely. I don’t wear dad hats, no matter how trendy they’ve gotten over the years, but this is a pretty cool one.
Ice cream door stopper from Giant Robot in West LA
Giant Robot has been leading the “Asian Pop Culture” charge years before LV discovered Murakami. My personal history with the magazine and shop goes back to when I used to write for GR. Founder Eric Nakamura’s influence has been so profound on his community that over the years, his two locations (Giant Robot and GR2) have transformed their street, Sawtelle. You can always count on Giant Robot to stock Asian curios and gifts, like this Thumbs Up! ice-cream door stopper (that doesn’t work all that well, but is hilarious).
Retro gameboy toy from Giant Robot in West LA
Likewise, I found this ThumbsUp! retro pocket arcade at Giant Robot. It plays over 100 nostalgic 8-bit games, and although I’m not much of a video game guy, it’s a more fun way to pass the time than Instagram scrolling.
Sex Wax candle from Mollusk Surf Shop
There’s a Mollusk Surf Shop nearer to me in Venice, but since I shopped in Silver Lake, I visited their eastside location for the first time. It’s huge and I get pretty distracted by a couple boards that I’ve been hunting. At the register, they were burning this Sex Wax candle, which carries the familiar smell of Sex Wax surfwax. I have it in my office now and it’s second-best to actually sitting out in the water.
Slick and Rosewood Cutters Pins collab
My barber is Prince at Rosewood Cutters, and his shop collaborated with the legendary artist Slick on this pin collaboration.
She Chimp poster from Virgil Normal
She Chimp has hand-painted a bunch of these cool posters around Virgil Normal for his solo show, and I can’t leave without one. I love signpainting letters, something that traces back to the aforementioned Barry McGee and his late wife, Margaret Kilgallen.
Belt from The Hundreds
Our Ridge belt is part of our new Winter range, and is my favorite belt I’ve worn. The spandex polypropylene woven belt strap makes it so every pair of pants is has a comfortable pair of lazy elastic waist!
Bite Me bottle opener by GAMAGO
I have this problem where I collect more bottle openers than I have bottles. This one is not only difficult to use, but almost painful. But, it looks cool on your counter.
My partner Ben and I have season tickets to the Lakers.
Where are some of your favorite places to shop for local art and design in Los Angeles?
This post is in partnership with TUMI. Our partners are hand-picked by the Design Milk team because they represent the best in design.