YG is best known for his honest, magnetic rap music that depicts life in Compton, but the latest collection from his fashion label, 4Hunnid, proves that he’s just as serious about fashion. And while many artists turned designers turn to big companies to design their brand when they launch a label, YG has partnered closely with his longtime friend and the line’s Creative Director, Gavin Mathíeu, and designer Charlie C. Pascascio for every step of the process. The latest collection is now exclusively available at Barneys New York.
A few months ago, he launched the latest collection with a combined concert and fashion show in L.A. to a packed house of both fans and industry friends, including P. Diddy and Russell Westbrook. The lifestyle pieces include hoodies, tees, and jackets, and reflect the L.A. culture YG is immersed in and has long shared with his fans through music.
Last month, Barneys Men’s Buyer Chelsea Sutrisno, who partnered closely with the team throughout the process of designing the collection, had lunch with YG and Mathíeu at Freds Downtown to celebrate the launch. She spoke to the duo to hear firsthand about what went into making it a success.
Chelsea Sutrisno: We’re excited to launch the exclusive collection at Barneys. When and why did you decide to relaunch 4Hunnid?
YG: I feel like it’s something we’ve been building up to. My end goal has always been to have a high-end brand. For the past few years, we’ve been doing that, and we were blessed to meet Barneys through our homie, Dan Maynard. We were lucky enough to show you all the collection, and now y’all rockin’ with it.
How did you three [YG, Gavin, and Charlie] meet?
Gavin Mathíeu: I met YG through his manager, B More. He brought him by my office one day and introduced us. I knew B Moore from parties around L.A. when we were young. And I knew Charlie since he was a young kid hanging out on Fairfax. He just had something cool about him. We kind of started creating merch for YG, and that’s really how we came up with the concept for the brand. This was around 2008 or 2009. It’s evolved a lot since then.
It was that long ago that you started conceiving of the brand?
GM: Yeah, but we were both young and busy at the time. He started making the tees and selling them on tour. From there, we had another conversation and decided it was time to go full-fledged with the whole fashion game.
What’s the origin of the name 4Hunnid?
YG: It comes from where I’m from, Compton. It was just something that I’ve been saying in my songs as long as I’ve been rapping. I noticed every time I come in contact with a fan during shows, they yell out, “4HUNNID!” I realized that Damn, this 4HUNNID thing is real. It’s bigger than where I’m from, and I can do some real things with it.
I did a mixtape called 4HUNNID DEGREES, and that’s when the logo was created. That’s when we started to push it and realized that this could be something bigger and had the real conversation about doing something big with this. We just kept pushing and pushing. I think we just moved at the right time. I started running with it, because people started running with it. That’s what y’all like? Cool!
That’s great that you guys did it so organically. Instead of pushing it on your fans, they helped create it. You also say “Stay Dangerous” a lot—what does that mean?
YG: “Stay Dangerous” is another phrase that came from the streets. My people from the streets use that. When we leave the homies, we don’t say, “Be safe,” anymore. We say, “Stay dangerous,” because Be safe is like waiting for something to happen. Stay dangerous is staying sharp and proactive, not reactive. Knowledge is dangerous. Doing the unexpected is dangerous. Handling your business. Taking care of your family. Raising your daughter, raising your kids.
What sets you apart from other celebrity/artist clothing lines?
GM: I think just what we talked about: First and foremost, the fans made 4HUNNID a brand. They adopted our whole lifestyle. 4HUNNID stands for “Forever One Hundred.” It’s more than just a clothing line for us. It’s a mentality and a lifestyle that we’ve been living. The fans just started to adopt it. So, why don’t we make clothes that they can represent? It was started by me and YG with our blood, sweat, and tears. A lot of other artists just hire a big company to run a brand. We designed it all ourselves. YG is super involved—more than people can imagine. I think that’s what makes it special.
What do you think was the best compliment that you’ve ever received from one of your peers?
YG: At the show, Diddy was excited. Everybody, all the big names were saying that they weren’t expecting it. We surprised people, and that’s what’s driving me. People don’t expect me to do certain things. We’re doing this at a high level, for the whole world.
GM: I think us sitting in the Barneys office was also a moment. That was a goal that we had from the start. To have the luxury retail world acknowledge our culture and embrace it meant a lot.
I know you guys have a lot of cultural references in the line. How does it reflect your life and style?
YG: We came from the streets, and we represent and respect the streets. The swag of the brand comes from me and how I dress. I was always one of the dudes at school that were dressed up—really put effort into it. I get inspired looking at old photos of homies from back in the days and seeing how they dress—wearing tight pants with their shirts tucked and boots and Jehri curls. It was basically some early days high-end street.
What does it mean to launch at Barneys?
YG: That’s like a milestone goal. I’ve been playing with fashion for a long time, but to enter the fashion industry—it’s new to me. Being picked up by Barneys let us know that, as far as being young entrepreneurs, hard work and dedication gets you to wherever you want to go.