The Art of Reselling: A Numbers Game That Demands Patience and Finesse

Whether or not you're a fan of the reselling game, you can't deny the massive market that has been created because of it.

To give you a better idea of its history and what goes into it, Complex News spoke with Supreme enthusiast Racks Hogan and Rich “Maze” Lopez of Sole Collector about the art of reselling and what makes one item more hype than others.

Racks says that while he does work in the reselling industry, he's not a fan of being called a reseller because there's so much more to the process. “I don't like the term 'reselling' because I feel like it takes away from the actual work that a person puts in,” he explains. “I would never call a person that freezes they ass off, dedicates their time, does their homework, I would never just degrade them to a term like reseller.”

Check out the full video above, and if you missed it, Racks, Jerry Lorenzo, ASAP Ferg, and more spoke with Chris Gibbs and Complex's Karizza Sanchez about the pros and cons of exclusive drops. You can watch that below.

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Don C. and Hiroshi Fujiwara on the Influence Japanese Streetwear Has Had on America | ComplexCon(versations)

At ComplexCon 2017, Union LA's Chris Gibbs hosted Hype East, a panel featuring Takashi Murakami, Don C. (founder, Just Don), Hiroshi Fujiwara, and Yoon Ahn (founder, Ambush), who dissected the influence Japanese streetwear has had on America.

“For me, when I look at it, it's always going around in a circle,” Ahn says. “We consume it and we make it better, and then the people who gave birth to it, they kind of appreciate it again.”

Takashi also explains how Star Wars and George Lucas have had a major impact on him, and Don C. praises Hiroshi Fujiwara for being an architect for today's scene. “Everybody up in here is here… maybe a few degrees of separation, but somehow because of you,” he says.

Watch the full conversation above, and keep it locked to Complex as we'll be sharing more ComplexCon(versations) panels featuring the likes of André 3000, Rick Ross, Lena Waithe, Ryan Coogler, Virgil Abloh, Cam'ron, and more.

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Jerry Lorenzo, ASAP Ferg & Deon Point Discuss the Pros and Cons of Exclusive Drops | ComplexCon(versations)

If you haven't lined up for a limited clothing release or sneaker drop, you probably know someone who has. It's a reality in streetwear culture today that affects retailers and consumers, and has also given way to a massive resale market. 

At ComplexCon 2017, Union LA's Chris Gibbs and Complex's own Karizza Sanchez hosted the Drop Science panel, which highlighted the pros and cons of exclusive drops. Jerry Lorenzo (founder, Fear of God), Deon Point (creative director, Concepts), Kevin Le (marketing supervisor, Bape), Racks Hogan, and ASAP Ferg joined in on the conversation to offer their insight on the topic.

The resale market for sneakers and limited drops has become a billion dollar industry, and retailers and creatives realize it's impossible to prevent people from selling the product to earn a few extra bucks. “It's definitely a gift and curse for sure. You like to see your product skyrocket and reach an elevated cost in what people paid, but you want people wearing your shit,” Point explains. “If I see a kid… they tag me in [a photo] like, 'Yo, I'm selling these.' Motherfucker I want you to wear 'em!”

Lorenzo offers a similar sentiment about his Fear of God line. “I love to see kids wearing it and enjoying it, but you can only do so much from this side. Once it hits the market it kind is what it is, and you have to not really be attached to that after part of the transaction.”

Racks Hogan has built up a rep as a go-to reseller in the New York area, and he breaks down his approach to how he decides the price for certain product. Ferg also recounts the time he waited in line to cop the Nike Air Yeezy, and based on his story it wasn't the safest environment to be in.

Bradford Shellhammer of eBay also drops in to share some data about the e-commerce giant, as well as give away a pair of the limited Shoe Surgeon x eBay x Jordan 1.

Catch the full video up top, and keep it locked to Complex as we'll be sharing more ComplexCon(versations) panels featuring the likes of André 3000, Rick Ross, Lena Waithe, Ryan Coogler, Virgil Abloh, Cam'ron, and more.

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Union LA’s Chris Gibbs Continues to Have the Best Eye in Streetwear

In 1989, Mary Ann Fusco and James Jebbia, who would go on to found Supreme six years later, opened Union NYC. The 300-square-foot shop—on Spring Street near West Broadway—carried American streetwear brands, workwear, utility pieces, and more. At the time, “there was nothing with this kind of feel,” Fusco said in an interview with the New York Times. Three years later, Union opened a brick and mortar in Los Angeles, right off the corner of W. 1st Street and S. La Brea Avenue. (The New York location was closed in 2009.) 

Over the years, Union provided an establishment for those who were into different youth sub-genres in New York. It's introduced generations of customers to new, sometimes rare, brands. Union carried Adidas Originals in 2001, when the brand had just launched, as well as hard-to-find Japanese brands—BapeNeighborhoodWTaps and, most recently, visvim—and up-and-coming local brands. Many have even credited Union as the place where they learned about streetwear. “Union was a mecca of a location for me,” Jeff Staple, designer of Staple, said during a panel at ComplexCon this past November. “It was probably the birthplace for the [streetwear] mentality.”

Not much has changed since then. Thanks to current owner Chris Gibbs, the retailer is still always ahead of the curve. Often carrying rare brands, Union LA is a shopping destination for designers like John Elliott, whose brand is sold there, and a breeding ground for great up-and-coming labels.

Gibbs, who grew up in Ottawa, Canada, first caught wind of the shop through his then-girlfriend-now-wife, Beth, after moving to New York in 1994. He was immediately hooked. “I used to be the captain of the basketball team, but I also listened to punk music and liked to skateboard,” he says. “I was all over the fucking place.” Chris found sanctuary in a store that was as eccentric and non-conformist as he was.

By 1996, Gibbs began working at Union NY. He knew he had to be a part of this cultural breeding ground that harvested youthful creativity. “At that time, we were dictating the market completely,” Gibbs says of Union. “Literally anybody could walk into the store on any given day and be like, ‘Hey, I’m a T-shirt designer. Can I show it to you?’ If we liked it, we picked it up right then and there. And if we didn’t: sorry. There was really dope shit coming through. Two, three times a week some kid from [Brooklyn, NY arts university] Pratt or I don’t fucking know, would come in and be like, ‘Hey, I have these T-shirts. You wanna sell em?’ And we’d sell em.” To Gibbs, brand names didn’t matter. Instead, what he liked were items of clothing that looked cool and represented the culture.

Before long, Gibbs had moved on from shop boy to buyer, picking up obscure brands he personally wanted to wear for Union. In 2004, he moved to L.A. and bought Union from former owner Eddie Cruz, who went on to found Undefeated.

Today, Gibbs continues to look for brands that fall within the same principles that he’s been fostering during his time with Union—dope shit that the youth can fuck with. But how does he do it? Complex hung out with Gibbs for a day—and even tagged along to an appointment with John Elliott at the American designer’s L.A. showroom—to find out.

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