Why high taste was the driving force behind JJJJound

JJJJound has been defining what it means to enjoy the finer things in life since 2006. Founder Justin Saunders launched the entity as a “digital mood board,” an endless scroll of aesthetically pleasing, color-coordinated images of interior spaces elegant, exotic automobiles, minimalist fashion. and female role models. Over time, JJJJound has grown into a full-fledged, direct-to-consumer design studio whose products range from successful sneaker collaborations alongside New Balance, Reebok, ASICS and Vans to apparel, tote bags, bikes, coffee mugs and more. .

Despite all of JJJJound’s accolades, the untrained eye cannot easily spot what makes it successful. The brand is not reinventing the wheel. The majority of its drops consist of basic sweatshirts, oxfords, chinos and blank tees, many of which fall into the J.Crew type mold. JJJJound’s shoe collaborations are largely earth-toned remixes of classic silhouettes with minimal branding and no narrative. Its prices are not accessible to everyone. On top of all that, he has an unusual amount of J in his nickname and an obscure clip-art character for an IG profile picture. And yet, here he is, constantly making noise in the ultra-competitive arena of streetwear. But how does a brand that says so little flourish so much?

It all comes down to one word for JJJJound: taste. It’s been Saunders and his team’s calling card since day one. The ability to discern and promote timeless and essential products, elements of pop culture and aspirational lifestyles has given the label an identity, which has allowed it to create, foster relationships with impactful partners and develop. build up a cult.

Pioneers of branded mood advice

Whether Saunders intended it or not, JJJJound was ahead of its time in harnessing the potential of digital moodboards. Not only did the creation of JJJJound predate the era of platforms such as Tumblr and Pinterest, but it effectively capitalized on the later Instagram boom.

One of the remarkable aspects of JJJJound’s rise to prominence is that it garnered a devoted following and established its brand identity long before it had any tangible products to sell. For an individual to be part of the JJJJound universe, two simple criteria had to be met. You first had to be aware of its existence, which often required being in tune with the online culture and the creative world. Second, and most importantly, individuals had to share JJJJound’s vision of “good taste”. By emphasizing these principles, JJJJound created an inclusive community where individuals could connect and be part of a shared aesthetic sensibility. It was not about social status or origin, but an appreciation of the quality, simplicity and beauty of well-executed design.

The look and feel of today’s social feeds is more important than ever for building a brand and gaining visibility. These days, creators and brands are prioritizing content because they realize there is an opportunity for monetization. The effects of JJJJound’s efforts are evident in accounts like @hidden.ny and @oldmanalan, both of whom have found ways to start their own clothing lines and build strong followings based on their well-curated feeds.

Key co-signers

JJJJound’s credibility has been bolstered by the validation Saunders receives from the luminaries of the streetwear industry. His exceptional curatorial skills led him to forge relationships with Virgil Abloh, Matthew M. Williams and Heron Preston during the BEEN TRILL era. He is also consulted for The New York Times’ T-magazine and was publicly acknowledged by Ye. The latter showed love for Saunders during a 2016 interview with Surface, as he mentioned he wondered if his designs were “approved by JJJJound.”

In today’s digital age where exposure and virality are at their peak, a single cosign can change the trajectory of your entire brand or career. A simple story re-shared or posted has the power to open doors. Through these influential relationships, JJJJound gained access to new audiences and gained further recognition within the streetwear and creative communities. “Saunders can still use this recognition as a crutch to fight anyone who hates his job,” Alan Galloway, better known as @oldmanalan, told Hypebeast. “Even if you don’t buy JJJJound products, this validation by the biggest names in fashion is major and, at the very least, forces you to pay attention to his every move.”

Minimalism and Essentialism

Rather than chasing trends, JJJJound intentionally eschews elaborate storytelling and leans into the already solidified air of staple-making. Whether it’s a J90 crewneck, J90 t-shirt or weekend cap, JJJJound’s apparel can appeal to a wide range of individuals such as enthusiasts of Gen-Z sneakers, the technical brother or even the stylish grandparent. Although priced a bit higher (hoodies are $195, oxfords are $155, and weekend caps are $95), they’re made with premium fabrics and are available in colors that can be worn all year round.

When it comes to JJJJound’s involvement in sneaker collaborations, the brand is often tasked with refining already popular silhouettes. Models such as the ASICS GEL-KAYANO 14, New Balance 990v3 and Reebok Club C have been redesigned with neutral colors and minimal branding. And because JJJJound’s taste is so respected among sneaker fans, his sold-out releases are causing a halo effect. We’ve seen it with silhouettes like the ASICS GEL-KAYANO 14, New Balance 990v3 and the aforementioned Reebok Club C, all of which saw a surge in popularity once the Montreal brand put their special sauce on them, and we will likely see the same result when his adidas Samba and Vans collection releases in the coming months. “You can criticize JJJJound for making tiny design changes to their sneaker collabs, but you have to remember that’s exactly what got them here,” Galloway said. “You can’t find those details on other sneakers and the main benefit to them is that people are actually going to buy them and wear them all the time.”

The brand also recognizes that its fans seek to elevate not only their personal style, but also their living spaces. And so to meet this desire, JJJJound offers a carefully selected range of products that allow its fans to imbue their home with the brand’s aesthetic and represent it in their daily activities. You can hydrate with its Nalgene bottles, sip your morning espresso in its Acme cups, jot down your best ideas on its notepads, and even improve your bedding situation with its soft collaborative Tekla set. Through these lifestyle products, JJJJound goes beyond fashion and footwear and provides fans with a holistic brand experience. This world-building concept has been the intention of nearly every brand since Ralph Lauren first offered a complete “lifestyle” — instead of just clothing — through Polo. And in JJJJound’s case, he’s built his own “tasteful” world, even if you can’t define exactly what that taste is.

Right time, right place

Timing is crucial in the success of any brand, and JJJJound’s rise can be attributed to its ability to align with changing market trends and demands. As more and more consumers become aware of the environmental impact of the fashion industry, there is a growing demand for prints that prioritize sustainability and sell products with a longer lifespan. As the Y2K and vintage fashion trends of the 90s slowly begin to return, the streetwear scene has seen a noticeable shift towards a more mature, minimalist aesthetic. Plain sweatshirts, blank t-shirts and lifestyle running sneakers have grown in popularity, and JJJJound has established itself as one of the pioneers in the space to satisfy this appetite through both its online offerings and their common projects. After all, all it does is expand on the world they started generating with this Tumblr in 2006 and they found a pocket in which to thrive.

JJJJound stands out from other players in contemporary fashion and design by its ability to make noise without making it. While still an “if you know, you know” type label, JJJJound’s “less is more” approach has earned the respect of the streetwear industry and consumers alike. And due to its timeless ethos, the brand’s wave doesn’t seem to be expiring any time soon.

“JJJJound the product brand is about not compromising,” Saunders said in Hypebeast #21. “Our mantra is to design and produce items we need and want to be judged for.”

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