Co-Written by Annie Zhao

A little over a year ago, my best friend Nick and I were sitting in the car talking about what was trending in fashion at the time and how certains brands were getting plastered all over Complex and Hypebeast. Neither of us were hiding how we were annoyed about the two media platforms’ contribution in clouding up the streetwear space and taking advantage of society’s already-short attention span in digesting content. Yet, both of us realized why headliners like “10 Things to Pick Up This Summer”, or, “Checkout What’s Dropping Next Week” can sound appealing for readers and new fashion enthusiasts.

Nowadays, it’s easy to know about the latest drops, newest collections, and most iconic pieces to cop for the season. We live in a world that is always switched “on”: we receive Twitter updates seconds after major news events occur, and watch live streamed games enabling us to experience the action first-hand. The moment we check our phones, we’re flooded with notifications that provide easy access to byte-sized content, perfect for us to take a quick glance or spend hours scrolling through.

This instant feed of news has benefited a lot of successful brands, but could eventually prove to be detrimental. Youths and those late in the streetwear game can catch up to the latest hype pretty quickly, by looking up what their favorite influencers and celebrities are wearing or Googling a brand name. Brands gain this sense of “virality” in terms of awareness and sales, but as they become over-popularized and too easily attained, they potentially lose value and meaning in its craftsmanship, creative development, and cultural significance. Just look at favorite brands like Adidas, Anti-Social Social Club, and even Supreme. As a consequence, few people take the time to truly understand the design of an iconic piece, read between the lines of a song’s lyrics and production, or learn how an artist’s life experiences have led them to their creations. Instead, most people only seek personal gain in an attempt to jump into the culture that their material purchases embody, without much understanding of what, exactly, they’re buying into. Like Edison Chen of CLOT said in his interview with SSENSE, “It’s about showing the youth what the difference is between seeing and knowing.” [1]

Although, what I’m saying isn’t meant to bash on brands and their marketing practices. Simply take note, “It’s a cultural shift – the desire to do and create things that become cool has been overtaken by the desire to simply be cool.” [2]  As a result, “brief moments of relevance, and ideally virality, are more attractive than long-term sustainability” [2] for brands and their followers. Sales and profit begin to drive the creative process, instead of the other way around.

In order to fix this, we need to switch up the notion of “profit driving creativity” to “creativity driving profit.” What that means is for brands to purely focus on perfecting their craft, and for society to appreciate that dedication. Nick and I, along with our close friends Brendan, Phong, and Ian, started this journey in hopes of contributing to such a movement, where creative appreciation is the norm rather than chasing fads that come and go. Eventually, we might discover greater value in the work that artists, designers, musicians, or photographers invested years to create and perfect.

These are the thoughts that developed into an initiative that could help bridge the gap of understanding between artists and consumers. Through The Stack LA, we want to develop a platform for creators to share, discuss, appreciate, and celebrate their experiences and untold stories. As an artist, it’s a place to shed light into your own hard work and craft while connecting with others with similar drives and passions. As a reader, it’s a place to be inspired and educated on the unique journeys each artist took to get to where they are today. Regardless of whether your passions are a side project or a full-time job, we hope that creating this online platform will allow aspiring or successful artists to open up and share their work and inspirations, in turn, influencing our readers to discover new ideas and immerse themselves in creative avenues.


  1. Edison Chen Unlocks Globalized Swag
  2. What Was ComplexCon?

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