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40s and Shorties are two things that can either make or break your night. Too much too fast of anything will get you in trouble, but when it comes to building a lifestyle brand, the faster the better. In a hyper-competitive industry where a brand’s 15 minutes of fame can be reduced to a few popular posts, it’s impossible to survive if you’re not ready to compete. We wanted to know how a small lifestyle brand from LA grew its business from selling funny socks to offering tees, fleece, and a cut-and-sew line in just over four years. We reached out to 40s and Shorties and got in touch with their lead designer, head of marketing, and head of accounting to learn a bit more about the day to day of 40s and Shorties.
What’s up guys! What are your names and what do you do at 40s & Shorties?Drew - Marketing, Adem Niazi - Designer, and Ryan - Accounting
What is 40s and Shorties? Where’s it based out of? And when did it start?40s & Shorties is a lifestyle brand based on our
Where does the name come from?We wanted a name that was funny, memorable, and not too serious. So, we decided to create a name that reminded us of the days we used to run around drinking 40s and trying to get girls - thus 40s & Shorties is born.
The brand has a carefree kind of party vibe. What’s work like on a Friday afternoon? And a Monday morning?Honestly, Friday still has lots of work. But, we make sure there’s plenty of trees on hand and drinks near by. Since our team is still small, we all gotta work crazy hours trying to build this brand into something bigger and better every day.
If you had to pitch the concept for 40s & Shorties to someone in an elevator, what would you say? Haha, shit… “We’re the brand that got Madonna to wear our socks on IG.”
Does every collection have a concept? And if so, where do the ideas come from?Nah, not really - each season is just inspired by our own style. A few years back, themes or concepts were more common in collections, but now, those rules don’t apply as much and we like doing design that isn’t necessarily restricted to a specific theme.
Your lookbooks are always entertaining. What are some concepts that didn’t get produced? Good question. We had a lot of ideas that didn’t make the cut - usually because of logistics (schedules, locations, timelines, etc.). But, one that we thought was funny was painting the tee graphics onto the models themselves. Have some models that were down, get topless, and have an artist come in and paint the designs on their bodies. Then you can show the actual tees after words. Maybe, we’ll still do that one, haha...
How has the brand grown since the first socks were produced and sold?A dramatic evolution has happened. Once we found success with socks and other accessories we knew the brand’s potential could grow beyond that. We’ve now transitioned from accessories being our bread and butter, to printables (tees and fleece). And, now, we’ve opened up a full cut-and-sew apparel category which has added a whole new dimension to the brand.
What were some of the biggest challenges transitioning from a sock brand to offering a full line of apparel?Breaking through the stigma of only being a sock brand. It’s tough growing past the initial thoughts a person has for your brand when the level of success we had was with such an identifiable product. But, with a shit ton of hard work, placement in great accounts, and partnering with dope collaborators, we’re starting to show people the brand is more than just one product, and more importantly, one idea.
Streetwear is a pretty critical place. What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from customers, haters, and other apparel brands?Our customers are the reason why we’re able to keep doing what we love for a living. They’re the most important people to our brand. They’re the ones who spend their money on ideas that we’re are privileged enough to create for a living. Love your haters… haha, nah, fuck 'em. Other apparel brands inspire us. They inspire us to know what to do AND what not to do. But, work your fucking asses off. Believe in what you’re doing and the team you’re doing it with. Be aware of what’s happening in the market/scene/culture but don’t let it dictate your brand.
How did the collaboration with Sam’s Hofbrau come about?Drew, one of the Co-Owners and head of our marketing, was cool with one of the girls there. He was able to get the manager’s contact from her and asked if they were down to work with us. Sam’s was hyped about the idea and really let us make the product we wanted. They let us have our own party there while selling the product at the same time. We loved that collab.
Where do ideas for new t-shirt/sock graphics come from? How do you decide on which make it to production? When we first started we’d all come together and just throw out ideas. The ideas that had us all say, “Ohh! We gotta do that,” were the ones that made it. Now that the brand’s grown, the process has been more streamlined and handled by myself. But, ideas come from everywhere and anywhere: music we grew up on, subcultures we’re influenced by, moments in pop culture… things like that.
Anything big in the future that we should look out for?Lots of collabs coming for the second half of the year.
Any memories of the CCS Catalog?Ya, I used to check the catalogs out at friends’ houses after school all the time.
Anything you’d like to add? Thanks for the interview. Check us out on Instagram: 40sandshorties.