“There isn’t really a space for Hispanic people in America”: Meet Guillermo Andrade, founder of streetwear store FourTwoFour
Guillermo Andrade is the co-founder and head of design at store FourTwoFour on Fairfax, the most influential streetwear store in Los Angeles.
Having emigrated from Guatemala to the USA at the age of 9, Guillermo has always held a dual identity, something that really comes through in his SS19 collection.
How did your interest in fashion start?
I think it’s just always been there. As far as I can think back I’ve always really appreciated clothing. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have so much. The way that I interact with product has always been more emotional than it has been for other people. My outfits were set for a whole week when I was a kid. I didn’t realise at the time that I was into fashion, but I liked my outfits.
What was your concept when you were creating the FourTwoFour store?
There has to be a strong product. But for me it’s all about energy in the room and in the space. Everything about FourTwoFour, from the sale and retail strategy, to the way that it looks, is just an extension of me. If I had a house big enough, and I imagined what my dream closet looked like… that’s my store.
With your own designs, what inspires you?
I would say that my own personal work just reflects my life – up until now and where I would like to be in the future. It’s the history of me and the learning that I’ve done over the past few years. How my life changes is reflected in an art form.
Do you take influence from any other designers?
I have my favourites, for sure. I love Alexander McQueen. But more in spirit than influence. I’m trying to make stuff that I imagine, rather than taking someone else’s stuff and making it fit into my collection. When I think about McQueen it’s like this beautiful, dark mind. That’s enough for me, I don’t ned to go and try to make his garments. The real icons who have influenced my work are people you wouldn’t expect, like construction workers or chefs in a kitchen, because we have a mutual space and identity. We all wear jeans.
Would you say that your clothes are bringing luxury to practical clothing items?
Yeah, I would say that. I think they represent something a little bit more broad, more real. Take my pair of construction boots, for example. I made these shoes because I love my dad’s work boots. But you can wear them in a fashionable way. It’s taking a moment from the past and making it relevant to me today.
Why is it so important to you that so many of your clothing items are made in LA?
You create jobs, and if you do it right and for long enough you start to support families. I want to make it so that the workers are happy to be there. I’m trying to create products that feed back into the community, and manufacture in a way that treats people with respect.
Talk me through some of the pieces of your SS19 collection for FourTwoFour.
There’s a T-shirt that will probably look familiar to you; it’s just a collegiate style USA graphic. I grew up wanting to run away from this country to embrace Europe, Scandinavia or Japan. When I got there I realised, I’m pretty fucking American. But there isn’t really a true identity or space for Hispanic people in America. And I don’t believe in sports, I don’t buy into the bullshit of the American dream, so I filled in the letters of ‘USA’ in this kind of bloody, bruised way, because the state is broken. But I still want you to know where I’m from. If people ask me why I’m wearing a USA shirt, that starts a conversation.