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- Photos by Elizabeth Daniels
- Bird’s-eye view of the Hudson Jeans facility.
- Peter Kim, Founder and CEO.
- Kim’s office.
- A rainbow’s selection of thread for the premium denim line.
- Ironing product.
- Hudson labels.
- Sewers going at it.
- Exposed zipper and the recognizable Hudson tag.
- Kim moved the company moved into its current space two years ago.
- The smallest of patterns.
- …and the making of patterns.
Peter Kim, Founder and CEO of Hudson Jeans, is an Angeleno from birth. Growing up, he was around his parents' apparel company and even helped pull it out of a slump in the 90's when the industry took a turn. After high school, Kim chose to stay in LA to study business at USC, "The majority of what I do and who I am is a result of growing up in LA," he says. "This city is in my DNA more than anything." In 2002, the beginning of the premium denim boom, Kim launched Hudson Jeans in part because he liked the idea of standing up against the norm. He loved to see jeans, once thought only for the working class, make their way into high fashion establishments. "It felt like such a rebellious idea," he explained. "I wanted to be part of that rock-and-roll take over, that middle finger to the status quo." Today, Kim and his creative team continue to work with that same cutting edge mentality, to think outside of the box while still creating the best product possible. We checked in with the entrepreneur at the company's headquarters in Commerce and got the deets on the brand's redirection.
How did you come across this location?
I fell in love with the space because of how simple and unassuming it looks from the outside, and how much we have going on indoors. We joke that it's like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.
We love your outlook on the industry, who inspires you?
Me, personally? I am always living somewhere between people like Bruce Lee and Steve Jobs, I think. Or whatever book I'm reading at the moment. But there are so many different folks who move me every day, from the amazing organizations we get to work with, kids we get to help here in Los Angeles, pioneers of different fields, and my own team here at Hudson. I am inspired every day by those who are challenging the norm and pushing creativity to it's limits.
What ultimately made you decided to redirect the company?
I had been having a series of these awakening moments. They were coming to a point, and after seeing a few documentaries, articles, and having some profound conversations with close friends, I realized that it was time to make a change. It didn't start with the rebranding, the rebranding is just a flicker of what we are brewing at Hudson. We are really deciding to take what we stand for as people, what we think and feel about how the world works and where it needs to head, and make it our whole brand position. Everyone advises companies to just keep it simple and focus on product but we feel, and are moved, and want more, and dream big, and want to be inspired.
Tell us about the Hudson Spotlight.
This idea was our first answer to, "How do we tell more compelling stories to inspire our audience?" We knew that our greatest contact point was all of our campaigns, so we wanted to make sure we were telling the best stories possible in those spaces. That meant we didn't want to just use models as our first impression of Hudson, but instead showcase people that fully embodied the same spirit we stand for. The spirit of creativity, of adventure, of purpose. We have a few amazing spotlights lined up for spring to launch the Hudson Spotlight project on our main stage, and will also spotlight people on our website whenever we come across someone we admire.
Where do you find these "everyday" people?
So many people do so many fantastic and compelling things, and the spotlight is to push back against the idea that something is "everyday" just because you aren't already famous for it. Truly inspirational people are not in short supply, just in short PR. We try to find them as organically as possible - it could be a friend of our team, someone that we admire that is a few degrees separation from us, or sometimes we just came across someone's work and reach out to say hey, we love what you are doing, and want to support it.
How is Hudson different than other premium denim lines?
Well, we have really amazing product that I am proud to stand behind, so that's first. Great fit, great design, great recovery. But then, there is an even bigger point of pride - we are a company you can be proud to wear. That is why making our message and philosophy public was a no-brainer; it only creates more bridges between us and the people who wear our jeans.
What inspired #shushthebrush?
#shushthebrush was really just our announcement in the fall, our promise to our audience to not manipulate the bodies of the people in our images. It's not revolutionary by any means, just a long-overdue hard line that we wanted to stand behind.
What else is on the horizon for Hudson?
Show and prove is our motto here. Just wait and see.
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