Have you heard about Hypland yet? The up-and-coming brand has hit the streetwear scene and made a significant splash over the past few years. Hypland uses the global fusion of cultural diversity as its muse, creating a timeless aesthetic for the brand. Jordan Bentley is the man behind the brand, a 20-year-old full-time college student studying international business at the UC in Irvine, studying international business while simultaneously running Hypland. We got a chance to chat with the founder of Hypland, Jordan Bentley, and get the story and vision behind the brand.
What is it about streetwear that you are drawn to and what inspired you to start designing?
I am from Los Angeles and I grew up around the whole streetwear culture. I was a fan of brands like Diamond, The Hundreds, etc. and I really got to watch their growth while I was really young – in the 6th grade. At that time, me and my group of friends were into the Supreme aesthetic, and were like lets start making shirts like that between ourselves to kinda emulate that. Then it picked up and became a full-fledged brand. It didn’t start off as this idea like “lets start a brand”, it was more of a “yo we like these brands; lets make t-shirts that are similar.”
So you started the brand with friends, are they still involved? Is it true you sold candy in high school to make money for the brand?
No they are not. We branched off in 2011, a year or two after it initially started. We had some differences on what they all wanted to do. I keep it going for myself. The brand first started in middle school, and we didn’t have any money. Once I got to high school I was selling like candy, chips, soda, and whatever I could to fund releases. This was in addition to the help I would get from my mom. I almost got suspended for it, and even had clothes I tried to sell confiscated.
How would you say you got your brand out there in the beginning?
It’s been an organic growth since the beginning. It started in school selling to other kids, and then started getting picked up around the city. I remember one summer my mom and I drove all over LA to different counties delivering t-shirts to help get out the name. After we got tired of that we built a website finally. Some people who had friends in other cities started buying stuff online, and I remember after a few months I got my first international buy from Australia. The most powerful piece of marketing that helped me with the brand would be YouTube. I spent a lot of time in high school emailing out small magazines and blogs to get coverage.
Hypland originally started back in 2010 as “HypeLA” and 2 years later was changed to Hypland. What was the reasoning behind the brand name change?
Well we changed it from HypeLA because we didn’t want to limit ourselves to LA. That’s really why what you see now is Hypland Worldwide. n
Do you think your young age has any advantages or drawbacks in the streetwear industry?
I would say it has advantages and drawbacks. I think that with the young age I get a lot of kudos because I am young, but then at the same time I also get put in this position where people assume that I don’t have a lot of experience because I am young. I think that’s the drawback but at the same time, being young it makes it easier for me to go into certain situations. But then you do have those situations where since I’m not 21 yet, and there’s an event, I can’t go because I’m not old enough. I’d have to sneak in. You know, it has its positives and negatives.
How would you say your upbringing in the LA area has influenced your work and the brand?
I think it’s been in a more indirect way. I think that it’s given me this indirect way of seeing all these different types of cultures. Los Angeles is so different than other places like the Midwest. We have the beach scene, we have that skate scene also, and then we have Hollywood. You’re exposed to everything. It introduces you to so many different ideas, and in turn, it gives you ideas when it comes to designing.
What first drew you to the idea of creating an aesthetic of cultural diversity?
The first idea came about from an anniversary type thing when we released the worldwide long sleeves in 2011. It was really an anniversary for the first 4/5 countries that bought our stuff. So I decided, let me just make a piece that shows the 5 countries on our sleeves. I thought putting some flags on our sleeves would show that the brand is beyond just LA.
In addition to that in high school the next year, I took a class that was about international studies that taught me about different cultures and I was super interested and like the different perceptions of people from like Japan, the UK, and different countries. I decided to use my brand as a way to educate the people invested in the culture also.
Is there a method to what countries you release now?
Now it is more on a customer request basis. I almost look at the new flags as a way to introduce new people to the brand. It gives people that initial interaction and allows people to buy something that is close to home for them. Rather than just buying your typical USA flag. It gives new people a chance to rep their own home and connects them into the different cultural groups I try to show in the brand.
What is the story behind your different logos?
The worldwide logo came about after I did the worldwide long sleeve with the flags. Once the longsleeve did really well, it was only right to put the worldwide logo on the stuff with the flags. People started to really connect to it and the globe wire logo just kind of stuck. I have been trying to shift from the globe logo recently to the triple H logo. I’m trying to split the brand into two sub brands – one with the hypland worldwide globe logo where the collections are geared solely towards the worldwide pieces, and then have the triple h logo be just Hypland where I can focus on more cut and sew products. The items that feature the triple H logo are for those who aren’t as interested in the flags as much to have a way to support the brand from a different perspective. I wanna use it as a way to get into more classic streetwear with art and different underlying messages.
You tweeted that you will grow your brand 3x as much from last year. How do you plan to do so?
Well this year, I have some collaborations lined up, and I’m not being shy at all when it comes to reaching out to people. I just really try to build relationships. Last year I spent a lot of money on BS for myself, like spending money on shoes; and I realized I spent a lot of money that could’ve been put towards marketing and growing the brand. This instead of spending money on things that don’t matter, shift all my revenue into design, marketing, or collaborations. I’m gonna actually market this year.
As your brand evolves and you continue to grow as a person, what kind of clothing do you see yourself making moving forward?
Right now I do see myself in two types of clothing. I don’t know if I will do it with this brand since I know the market a little bit. I know that my current market is not super interested in the high fashion cut and sew. So what I plan to do later down the line is start another brand, and that will have nothing to do with Hypland. It’ll still be under me but that’ll be my way of expressing for the higher fashion and things that I’m interested in also. With Hypland I cannot really say the end goal is this split subdivision, I don’t know how it will turn out. That’s a little more difficult to say.
As a message to our readers, is there anything more you wish to add?
If you are trying to start a brand, just stay consistent. That’s the most important thing. Everyone has those days where you’re like up and down, this or that, but really staying consistent is so important to do if you want to build a brand. And also, for any industry whether it be a brand, a business, any person just in general you should know that having a powerful team is what really takes the brand to the next level. If you have a good team, you’ll go so much farther with your team than without a team behind you. You can’t do everything by yourself. It’s not realistic. We were not put on this earth to be alone; you have to interact with one another. You know it can get you to the next step in life or open doors for yourself.