The History of Hoodrich + Exclusive Interview With Founder, Jay Williams

Any lover of modern streetwear is familiar with Hoodrich, the U.K.-born clothing brand offering everything from men’s and women’s hoodies and joggers to tees, utility vests, caps, and more. However, what you may not know is the inspiring story behind how Hoodrich clothing started, as well as its fascinating rise from a one-man show to a global, celeb-backed brand.

Keep reading to learn about the history of Hoodrich and to read our exclusive interview with Hoodrich’s founder, Jay Williams.

The History of Hoodrich

From selling tees from the trunk of a car to being backed by musical royalty such as 50 Cent, the history of Hoodrich is a gripping tale of determination, passion, and smarts.

Hoodrich Beginnings

Hoodrich was born in the Birmingham bedroom of founder Jay Williams in 2014. Although he was barely out of his teens, Williams decided to start his own fashion brand as a means of combining his greatest passions: rap music, streetwear, and urban culture.

Hoodrich is more than just a fashion brand, however. It’s a lifestyle. It’s not just about looking fresh but feeling fresh too. That’s why Hoodrich clothing and accessories feature uncomplicated and easy-to-wear designs in high-quality fabrics. With bold branding, they’re designed to help you stand out, not blend into the background.

Hoodrich’s tagline — “from nothing to something” — resembles the brand’s modest beginnings. What started with £200 and an initial batch of 30 tees soon saw Williams driving all around the nation to sell his unique designs from the trunk of his car.

The Rise of Hoodrich

Williams continued to solely manage the ins and outs of Hoodrich for an additional three-and-a-half years before the brand gained huge traction. After sending some Hoodrich clothing to 50 Cent’s stylist, the famous rapper was spotted in the brand — not once, but twice. While Williams remained humble, it was only a matter of time before success came knocking.

Hoodrich was soon picked up by large retail stores (including JD Sports), which allowed the brand to quickly expand its operations outside of the U.K. and into the U.S. and European markets.

Hoodrich’s Popularity Now

Fast-forward to the present, and everything from Hoodrich hoodies, tees, sweaters, and accessories have been spotted on celebs like Dizzee Rascal, Giggs, Ashley Walters and more. The brand has even welcomed some inspiring and big-name brand ambassadors into the fold, including Fumez the Engineer and K-Trap — both of whom embody Hoodrich’s “rise above” philosophy.

Hoodrich is also making waves right here on JD Sports with its wide selection of women’s and men’s streetwear.

 

We recently chatted exclusively with Hoodrich founder Jay Williams to delve even deeper into the brand’s fascinating story, as well as to find out what exciting developments are on the horizon.

 

Tell us a little about your life before Hoodrich. Where’d you grow up? What were some of your hobbies and passions? What did you want to be when you grew up?

I grew up in Birmingham in an area called Erdington, before HOODRICH I was a  teenager who was heavy into streetwear and rap music. A lot of influence in my earlier years came from American brands and my aspirations to not live an average lifestyle, this is what shaped me as a person and made me want to start the brand.

When did fashion and design come into your life?

I always had a passion for clothes from an early age, taking pride in my ‘fits. My hobby has always been looking online for new bits to style up, that’s my world and from this starting a brand just made sense. I didn’t actually get into designing clothes until I started HOODRICH.

How did Hoodrich come to be? How did you choose the name?

HOODRICH came from me listening to American rap music when I was a young teenager, HOODRICH was an American term that stuck with me from my early years which means someone that has nice things but doesn’t necessarily have any direction which I resonated with before the evolution of the brand. I ran with this brand name and wanted to give the term HOODRICH a positive spin to parallel my journey.

Have you run into any challenges during Hoodrich’s growth? If so, how did you overcome them?

There have been countless hurdles and challenges during the growth of HOODRICH, it’s difficult to name one but something that was significant for me was finding a team that shared the same passion about the project and getting them onboard. People have relocated from all over the UK to be a part of the journey, without my team the brand is nothing and wouldn’t have got this far without them.

What was a memorable moment in Hoodrich’s history? For yourself and/or the company.

It’s hard to name all of the memorable moments in HOODRICH’s history, for me a key moment for the company was when I got a message from the buyers at Footasylum, which meant we were officially moving into retail stores here in the UK. Another stand-out moment for me was when 50-cent wore the brand. My childhood was listening to his music and taking styling inspiration from his ‘fits, to grow up and have 50-cent wearing my brand was a 360 moment and special day which I will always remember!

Tell us about Hoodrich’s slogan, “From nothing to something.”

‘From nothing to something’ is about my journey from being a 20 year old chasing after a big dream, its a personal slogan which the brand now embodies. It just reminds me that I’m on a journey and I want to prove to myself how far I can take it and what the brand can become.

What are some of Hoodrich’s most popular pieces? Do you have a personal favourite?

At this point we have brought out too many pieces to name my favourite, woven jackets are a personal favourite. I was with the team the other day and they showed me a new piece that is coming later this year and that could potentially be my new favourite, stay locked in for the drop!

How do you want people to feel when they wear Hoodrich apparel?

When people wear HOODRICH I want them to feel like they are part of a community and that they are accepted and contributing towards the brand ethos, embodying our message, I hope they are on their own from nothing to something journey, whatever that may be!

What advice would you give to someone with big dreams?

I’d say to someone with big dreams, start small, create a vision board, understand that there is going to be a serious amount of sacrifice for you to achieve your goals, stay dedicated and determined. Along the journey always remember why you started and what you’re doing this.

What’s on deck for Hoodrich in 2023?

For 2023, there’s more of what we have been doing already, just improving all areas of the business internally as we grow internationally and also more alignment with artists from across the globe. Let’s see where the journey takes us this year!

 

The Future of Hoodrich Clothing

Hoodrich is the fastest-growing streetwear brand the U.K. has seen, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Get in on the action by checking out JD Sports’ wide selection of Hoodrich clothing and accessories for men and women. From best-selling Hoodrich hoodies and tees to sweaters, utility vests, track pants, accessories, and more, you won’t want to miss out.

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