Behind the Brand with Benny Gold
Money Ruins Everything is a multi-faceted agency and showroom located in the fashion district of downtown Los Angeles. The owners, Elliot Graeber, Todd Millspaugh and Rob Naples bring years of experience in Brand Management, Sales, and Operations which are applied to develop global strategies for lifestyle apparel, footwear, and accessory brands.
Over the past decade, Benny Gold has grown from a small side project to one of street wear's most celebrated labels. The brand is rooted in the importance of staying true to your passions, growing up without growing old, and a DIY work ethic. With a killer aesthetic and a plethora of artists and brand collaborations, it's no wonder Benny Gold has won international recognition.
It all started from a sticker. Tell us about your mantra "Stay Gold," what does that mean to you?
It started as a pet project. I'd put "Stay Gold" stickers up around my neighborhood in the Mission or wherever I skated. It was a reminder to hold on to youth and follow your dreams--just an exercise in positivity. It's grown to mean a lot more though. The brand employs people and supports families, it has an international fan base. It's important for us to stay gold now more than ever.
The brand is strongly rooted in San Francisco - what are the implications of that? What makes San Fran special and how does it inspire the brand?
San Francisco and it's tight knit community of skaters, artists, musicians and weirdos is what has always inspired the Benny Gold brand. I grew up skateboarding in the 80's and 90's and worshipping the SF skate scene from afar. After graduating from art college I jumped at the opportunity to move here and be a part of that scene I admired so much. It's grown to mean different things to different people, but for me, the heart and soul of the brand will always be my admiration for this city and its people.
The Benny Gold line started as a small side project and has grown over the past decade into one of the most celebrated street wear lines in the industry. How has the line evolved since its inception, both aesthetically and as a business? What's stayed the same?
I cut my teeth as a graphic designer, creating t-shirt graphics and logos for any brand that would hire me. The Benny Gold line stemmed from the work I had done with Huf. Over the years we've been able to offer much more than just t-shirts, but as we continue to expand the line, we will always keep astrong graphic tee focus. It is our passion and we will always stay true to our roots.
Tell us a little bit about the guest artist series, how did that come about? What are some of your favorite renditions of the original glider logo?
The guest artist series is our way of merging our world of street wear with the art world we so much admire. Every season we invite a different artist to reinterpret our original glider plane logo. I couldn't possibly choose a favorite because I never tire of people's unique reinterpretations of something so dear to me. A few standouts would have to be Jon Contino, Andy Jenkins, Mark Gonzales and Grotesk. Thank you to everyone who has participated!
Absolutely love the SS16 Look Book, very cheeky and perfectly executed. What was the thought process behind that concept?
Thank you, It was really fun concept! We replicated Google Street View’s all-seeing eye for the look book. It was inspired by the shocking Google Street View captures we keep seeing on the internet. It's a fascinating unforeseen consequence of such a groundbreaking innovation that can be used both practically or voyeuristically.
What are some of the brands you think are doing a great job in the space and why?
I love the brands that have longevity, like Stussy and 10deep. It's one thing to put out your first season, but to keep it up year after year—that’s the trick. We have been around for close to a decade now and I still feel as inspired now as I did when we put out our first run of clothing.
This is the first time you've ever shown at a trade fair. Why now? What made you chose PROJECT?
We recently partnered with the showroom, Money Ruins Everything, and when they asked us to be a part of their booth I couldn't turn down the opportunity.
What's next for the brand? Anything exciting coming down the pipeline?
We recently secured a new location for our SF flagship store. We are expanding our entire retail model in the attempt to ensure a unique and meaningful shopping experience that isn't possible online.