Union Los Angeles was opened in 91 at the same location that it still occupies now, 30 years later. Eddie Cruz actually opened the LA store as a cobranded store with Stussy called “The Stussy Union”. Eddie had been a key member of Union since the original Union space that opened up two years prior in Soho NYC by Mary Ann Fusco and James Jebbia. But Eddie decided to move to Los Angeles and brought Union here with him.
Chris Gibbs the current owner of Union worked for Mary Ann at the NYC Union starting in 96. He later moved to Los Angeles in 2003 where he worked for Eddie Cruz at both Undefeated and Union Los Angeles before eventually taking ownership of Union Los Angeles in 2010.
THE STUSSY UNION
We have chosen the Los Angeles’ store opening of 91′ as the starting year because that is the Store that Chris ended up actually owning as the NYC store has remained closed since 2010. Union has a robust and complex history but the main thing it’s known for is that it was the first “streetwear” store in the world. In fact long before “streetwear” was the multi billion dollar industry it is now or even before it was an actual term. Union was the only place you could go to find the original brands from this yet to be established genre of fashion. In the early days Union was a place where young up and coming designers could come to showcase their designs, having no other outlet to do so. This was before Instagram, Facebook and really e-commerce even existed, so it was all word of mouth and if you knew, you knew, and if you didn’t well…you were assed out. As the store grew in stature we started forming a “silk road” with Japan that still exists today. Union started sharing resources and fashion sensibilities and Eddie formed a friendship with Hiroshi Fujiwara. It was Hiroshi who introduced Union to many of the new Japanese designers and through his guidance, Union became one of the first stores outside of Japan to start importing and selling the early Urahara brands from Japan; A Bathing Ape, Neighborhood, Wtaps, etc. Union later on added many more brands like Visvim, Wacko Maria etc.
So up and until Chris Gibbs took the helms, Union was still the foremost, quintessential and archetypical streetwear boutique in the world now selling American streetwear as well as Japanese Urahara brands. In 2010 Chris saw a new emerging market and wanted to share this with his customers. Chris saw the natural progression and evolution of streetwear happening right in from of him. What stated as a store that sold American streetwear; t-shirts, hoodies, etc. Union later went on to start adding Japanese brands like Neighborhood, Undercover and Visvim. It was these Japanese brands and their high quality, attention to detail and higher price points, that helped Chris realize there were no more boundaries.
Union started mixing in the European high fashion brands that gave Union a high/low mix that was pioneering in the fashion industry and has been followed by boutiques and fashion trends around the world and back. Today Union offers a robust, comprehensive and diverse mix of the best mens fashion brands on the planet!
Since very early on in the Union history the Frontman has been our main Logo. That said, we stopped using it for many years as we worked out some family issues but coinciding with the 30 Year Anniversary that we are celebrating, we are also relaunching the Frontman Logo.
The Frontman was designed by our good friend Sung Choi. On purpose we never really shared where we drew inspiration from on this. For years some people thought it was a dancer, others a skater and some also figured it to be some kind of angel due to the halo. We enjoyed that you couldn’t pinpoint the logo because UNION has always been a place where people of many walks and backgrounds can all come together and share information, stories and of coarse style! So for years we loved the ambiguity of our logo. But to commemorate the 30 Year anniversary we have decided to share one of the main inspirations behind the logo. The Frontman, as it were was inspired from some of the early movie posters of Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun. There is a scene in the move where the main character Walter, played by Sidney Poitier is jumping and that’s where we took inspiration from.
30 YEAR ANNIVERSARY
To celebrate our 30 year anniversary we have teamed up with a number of our friends and partner brands to make special commemorative product. We will be releasing these collaborations through out the entire 2021 year! Here is a small list of some of the capsule collections you can look forward to seeing from us this year:
- Bephies Beauty Supply
- Brand Jordan
- Born x Raised
- Cactus Plant Flea Market
- Camp High
- Fear of God Essentials
- Off White
- Real Bad Man
In addition to these brands we will have a couple of surprises throughout the year so please stay tuned!
But to kick off the celebrations right, we are starting this week with a special Union 30 Year capsule of our own.
We want to thank all the people over the course of the last 30 years who have helped us get here, and we look forward to not only celebrating this year, but the many years to come!!! #UNION30YEAR