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 – thats 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 CEOs and owners of Hood Prep clothing, theyre
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 youre 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. Im 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 Preps?
Troy Bolden: Our slogan is Dont 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, Dont let it fool you how Hammer dresses because Hammer will
put it on you. So thats 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 youngins are letting the clothing make them. I walk the clothes – the
clothes dont walk me!
AllHipHop.com: So would you say that Hood Prep a fusion of
Troy Bolden: Yes, its the Hood Prep fusion, thats 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,
its what we call the Hood Prep spectrum and we have a lot of things that are
in development right now, were not just t-shirts. Were 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. Were about individual style that you can put together, its a
collaboration of different style and blending it to match your individual
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 were preparing Hood Prep like the music industry. When we came out we
looked at it like this – were 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 were 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 hes 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, hes
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
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 thats 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. Theyre everywhere, theyre going to be seen more
and theyll 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
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, were about to do some new uniforms for
them. We created a Hood Prep fresh movement, our thing is, is you hood prep?
Were not telling you what you are, were asking you. If your Hood Prep welcome
to the Hood Prep movement, if you not, you got to roll playa! [laughs]