Hood Prep: Dream Big! From Katrina to the Olympics

 

 

Welcome to Hood Prep! This is the story of two brothers Troy and Alfonzo Bolden from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Growing up on a plantation, the only dreams that seemed attainable to them was

in the welding industry – that’s’ all they saw and they were the jobs making

the best money. Eventually, their uncle got them out and influenced them to

start dreaming, he told them to “dream big and dream beyond this place.”

 

Now as the CEO’s and owners of Hood Prep clothing, they’re

stepping into the fashion world, with the hopes of creating themselves a

permanent spot. First the Bolden brothers made sure they took care of the business

side of Hood Prep, a name which people laughed at in the beginning. The nay-sayers defined their terminology of “hood” as in “the ghetto,” but Hood Prep

is about where you’re from – every hood, everywhere.

 

We got the chance to speak with, Troy Bolden and we had a frank discussion about their journey from the destruction from Hurricane Katrina, the clothing and the future of this new Hood Prep movement – which includes some

play at the US Olympic games!

 

AllHipHop.com: Can you start off by telling us how Hood Prep

clothing came about?

 

Troy Bolden: Well Hood Prep was pretty much a style that was

worn in New Orleans, we always crossed styles. My brother Alfonzo, we call him the Black Einstein, called me one night and said, “I got something and he said “Hood Prep.” Then he broke the terminology down to me and I pretty much took it from there. I’m kind of like the guy in the back that makes everything move.

 

AllHipHop.com: Now every clothing line has a slogan or motto

that defines them, what is Hood Prep’s?

 

Troy Bolden: Our slogan is “Don’t let the gear fool you.”  I remember one night watching something on TV where Andre 3000 was talking about MC Hammer and the clothes that he used to

wear. He said, “Don’t let it fool you how Hammer dresses because Hammer will

put it on you.” So that’s how we came up with the slogan for Hood Prep. You

know, when we were coming up we made the clothing, as apposed to today it looks

like the youngin’s are letting the clothing make them. I walk the clothes – the

clothes don’t walk me!

 

AllHipHop.com: So would you say that Hood Prep a fusion of

different styles?

 

Troy Bolden: Yes, it’s the Hood Prep fusion, that’s what we

call it and we catch everything in between. We were not trying to create a line

just to make money; we are trying to build a brand. Basically with Hood Prep,

it’s what we call the Hood Prep spectrum and we have a lot of things that are

in development right now, we’re not just t-shirts. We’re oxfords and polos, but

we test market for years before we bring it to the forefront.

 

With Hood Prep we can go as far hood as we want, and as far

prep as we want. We’re about individual style that you can put together, it’s a

collaboration of different style and blending it to match your individual

style.

 

AllHipHop.com: Being that this is your first project, what would you say surprises you about the fashion industry? Is it as shady as the music industry?

 

Troy Bolden: Oh yes, just like the music industry [laughs],

and we’re preparing Hood Prep like the music industry. When we came out we

looked at it like this – we’re a hot artist with a single, so we better have

something to back it up. That first hit, believe me if its not hittin’ people

are going to say get them out of here. When we stepped on the scene we had to

show our creativity, that we’re different than the market and find us a niche.

 

AllHipHop.com: Can you talk about some of the different t-shirts

you have? How about the Dream collection, I love that one!

 

Troy Bolden: With the Dream collection we wanted to come out

with something that would show our creativity but yet be fashionable and give

the consumer something for their money. Everyone has a dream, so with the

dreamer t-shirt, you see the little boy is torn between adversity and

aspirations. The child is crying because he’s stuck between the two – a lot of

our Black children get stuck in that situation.

 

Look at the father with his hands over his face, he’s

frustrated and at the same time there are images of South Florida where everyone wants to be. So for the dreamer shirt we said the dreamer must be educated, motivated, supported and taught the value of positive self worth. We say Hood Prep is the clothing line that inspires a dreamer to make their dreams into a reality.

 

AllHipHop.com: Now the Big Easy t-shirt is deep in itself with images relating to Hurricane Katrina. Can you talk about the effects that Katrina had on you, as well as the creation of this shirt?

 

Troy Bolden: After Katrina we had to relocate and start all

over again. It was kind of a blessing in itself because it put my brother and I

in the same spot. We started working together; we revitalized Hood Prep and had

more focus.

 

If you look at the Big Easy t-shirt we took the image of the

people when they were in front of the Super Dome and the sign “We need water and food”. We took the

funeral man, we put tragedy at the bottom and at the top is the Mardi Gras

Indian, which is the cornerstone of the Black community in New Orleans. That is

a powerful symbol and that’s why we highlighted the Indian. All of the images

in the shirt are all coming towards the people.

 AllHipHop.com: As of right now do you have any celebrities

wearing your clothing?

 

Troy Bolden: Well right now we have upcoming artists. What

we learned in the industry is do not worry about a celebrity; pick someone that

is coming up just like you. They’re everywhere, they’re going to be seen more

and they’ll have more loyalty to you. Right now we have a lot of rappers,

groups and individuals hitting us to create them a style.

 

AllHipHop.com: If you had to pick one person to represent the

Hood Prep brand, who would it be and why?

Troy Bolden: I would say Juvenile, because he has that southern swagger. And if

you see in one of his videos, he had on his Gucci hat, jeans and Gucci

shoes.  That is Hood Prep, really relaxed and casual.

 

AllHipHop.com: What words of advice would you give to

aspiring designers or any one that is trying to break into the fashion

industry?

Troy Bolden: Before you do anything secure the intellectual properties, sample

and keep your volume very low.

 

AllHipHop.com: So 20 years down the line, where would you

like the Hood Prep brand to be? Where else do you see it going?

Troy Bolden: I see Hood Prep being a very diverse brand; I see it up there with

Sean John and Rocawear. Another thing about Hood Prep is we sponsor the badminton

team of the United States Olympics, we’re about to do some new uniforms for

them. We created a Hood Prep fresh movement, our thing is, is you hood prep?

We’re not telling you what you are, we’re asking you. If your Hood Prep welcome

to the Hood Prep movement, if you not, you got to roll playa! [laughs]

 

To join the Hood Prep movement visit hoodprepclothing.com and myspace.com/southernswagger

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