Undefeated Interview via Breaks Magazine.

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Breaks Magazine recently sat down with the founders of  Undefeated to discuss inspiration, innovation and implementation.

There are sneaker stores and there are sneaker stores. Then, there’s Undefeated. Few stores carry quite the same reputation and widespread recognition as the LA originated store. Not happy with simply selling footwear, the store mutated into a sports lifestyle brand, heavily influenced by classic American sports silhouettes and military ruggedness in order to satisfy every corner of their customers needs.

The brand now encompasses seven locations, two of which are in Japan, and with the latest collection dropping right when we visited, and the slew of top-tier collaborations continuing to emerge, it doesn’t look like James Bond and Eddie Cruz’s powerhouse brand is slowing down anytime soon.

James and Eddie are two of the streetwear industries most respected figures. Eddie runs Stussy, Union and Supreme in LA, while James is the man at the other end of the phone when adidas need help with their David Beckham line, as well as countless other design projects.

One of the most exciting things the brand has done in recent times is their foray into technical sporting goods. They’re the first brand from their peer group to do this and it’s exciting to see a brand birthed in street culture genuinely make a legitimate step into this world. So now you can not only wear Undefeated to go about your day to day in, but also to run marathons, hit the gym, or play basketball in.

For those that don’t know, how you fill in the gaps between living in New York, opening up Stussy & Union on La Brea, then opening and starting Undefeated?

Never ever not working

On opening, what was the goal with Undefeated and how does running that store differ from Union & Stussy?

The goal was to be a sustainable alternative to corporate sneaker chains by creating an environment that’s more conducive to street culture. Running Undefeated is basically the same as Union & Stussy. Same clientele.

How did you meet James?

E: James had an awesome shop called K-Bond. I would attend events they would have, so eventually we met.

Where was K-Bond, New York?

J: Los Angeles

What would you say your first innovation was, as Undefeated? 

J: I would say not doing a conventional store, water fountain, materials and design of store gave us a edge. At that time rivington club, foot patrol were changing the face of sneaker retail.

The apparel design is heavily influenced by military and sports, yet to me those things are kinda mutually exclusive. Why combine them? 

J: Sports and military have the same ideology, regiment, process of authority and uniforms, football as an example is very military inspired from the men who brought american football to forefront in 50s after WWII one man at top (general) terminology, formation, bomb, field general (QB) etc.

Is this military fascination from experience from either of you? 

J: It’s not so much a fascination but more inspired by regiment and utilitarianism fascinated by sports / teams and organisations and the flow of communication as they are very symbiotic in nature.

How did the technical sports collection come about and what was the reasoning behind offering that kind of product? 

J: The collection came out because we wanted something we could wear while working out that was ours.

Customers, when faced with buying technical sportswear, have a large range to choose from, so what is it about your product that stands out, or is unique in it’s offering? 

J: We are looking to add to the overall brand experience instead of just being before and after we are pushing to be the during activity. What makes us unique is our core customer and what they look for in a garment as they continue to support us and help us grow there sense of style will resonate in places we’ve never been before.

How difficult is it to get a start in that market? Especially manufacturing? How much testing has gone into the product? 

J: Well its something our team is passionate about so no task is to difficult when you really want it, we have a partner that did the research to find manufacturing which was a big help and testing was done by us.

What else are you doing around sports tech? For example, you outfitted the gym at LA’s Ace Hotel, any more plans to do things like that? Become more ingrained in the sports industry?

J: Yes, we’re always looking for these type of opportunities to move the brand forward.

Apparel-wise, what else is on the horizon? 

J: Time will tell whats next.

You can see our latest selection of Undefeated here.

[Source: Breaks Magazine]

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