Guillermo Andrade X Complex SHOP Celebrate 10 Years of 424 with an Archival REWORKED Capsule
Guillermo Andrade, founder of LA’s FourTwoFour on Fairfax, and owner/designer of fashion label 424 exudes a warm, congenial vibe that’s fiercely individual, yet also firmly grounded in a community-driven approach. Waxing philosophical with Andrade, you’ll hear recurring themes of him engineering a brand ethos purely from his own mind—but you’ll also hear him praise the talented league of fellow Los Angeles creatives he staunchly supports and is constantly inspired by.
Another facet of his persona that shines through is his ambition, drive, and persistence to tell his life story, through his brand, and the labels he discerningly curates for his Fairfax boutique. Andrade is now 10 years into his FourTwoFour journey, one that’s seen him pull off major collabs with Adidas and Arsenal Football Club, and attract celeb supporters like Kendrick Lamar, Kylie Jenner, and A$AP Mob. 2020 was supposed to be a major milestone celebration for his brand, but alas, Covid-19 had other plans. Many of the marquee projects he had slated to mark his first decade in business have been put on hold, but are still very much in play for when the world opens up again.
One project that’s moving forward though is an exclusive REWORKED Capsule in collaboration with Complex SHOP. For this drop, Andrade reimagined special archival pieces from the very first years of 424 for an upcycled 5-piece capsule. We chatted with him via phone in Italy, where he’s currently overseeing production of his FW21 collection, to discuss his inspirations, evolving brand philosophy, and collab drop with Complex SHOP.
First off, what would you say has kept you inspired and energized through 10 years of 424?
I try to find things that feel like it’s the first time that someone has done it. For example in the beginning, even though Sneaker Crowns was a cheesy, kitschy thing, it was mine and I liked that. With a world that’s pretty much full of distractions, when you find your thing, it’s easy to keep going. Now after a decade in business, maybe I’ve had enough failures and successes, and hopefully a balance of both to guide my path. In the beginning, all of it is just learning, and now I’m starting to really find my voice.
Speak a little more about the mistakes you’ve made with the brand, and how you overcame them?
The thing is, I know how to make money, but it’s not that simple. I’ve been fortunate that some of my products have hit really good and I’ve been able to withstand some of the really bad business decisions. You have to balance your creativity and curiosity with your pocket. Basically all the profit I ever made, I spent on more products. I’m not one that needs to see a lot of money in my bank account—I prefer to continue the growth.
Can you describe the underlying design aesthetic for 424?
424 is a reflection of my life story and my life experiences. I don’t believe in pushing my agenda on any other person. The more you learn, the more you can bring back into your world and share with your audience. If someone came to FourTwoFour 10 years ago, and they came now, I think they’d be pleasantly surprised at the way the brand has grown and evolved. I’ve also been able to decrease prices and increase the quality of my offerings, which is really difficult to do. I constantly feel like I need to reward the customers because they are my family.
Tell us more about how this REWORKED Capsule with Complex SHOP came about?
3 years ago, I went to our LA factory and saw all these boxes of old 424 styles, and I was like, “This is not cool – what’s the point of having all these clothes just sitting around, we can give it to homeless people and shelters?” I went through the boxes, and I made a commitment to myself to never let overstock pile up again. So I created a reworked program, and put it right into the main collection and made it something new. You take a loss on that, because those types of pieces are expensive to make. You have to deconstruct it and recreate it, so it’s a labor of love. For this Complex project, I used the really early pieces, the real patches, pockets, grommets, and it’s all made in LA.
Looking back at the last decade, what would you say has been your creative edge amongst other brands in your space?
I think the most important thing is that you are true to whatever it is you are trying to do. I don’t really believe that creativity can be competitive. Virgil’s ability to make a product his customer will love doesn’t change my ability to make a product that my customer will love. You don’t need an edge, you need a genuine story. No one’s interested in how you want to finesse the other guy, but people might be interested to hear your story if it’s unique and if it’s real. That’s my source of inspiration. I don’t fantasize, I’m very rooted in experience.
It’s no secret that you’re a heavy music head. How does that play into the 424 creative mix?
Everyone has a soundtrack to their life, and I came to America in 1993. I learned how to speak music when Hip-Hop was at a very euphoric place. I used to listen to Wu-Tang, Mos Def, Wake Up Show, Pharcyde, Living Legends, Hieroglyphics, etc. They were concerts 3 times a week, and there’s not a show I didn’t go to. Hip-Hop is very close to my heart and then later, you start to learn about the Dead Kennedys, The Clash, a beautiful voice like Sade, Bob Marley, Jimmy Hendrix, etc. Music is a part of the algorithm for me, it feeds the soul.
Lastly, at this point in time, do you have an idea of what you want your legacy to be?
It’s Infinitely TBD. You just always keep growing. Look at Rick, he did clothes for 25 years and now he wants to do furniture. So I think it’s a reflection of where you are in your life; how ambitious you want to get. Look, I haven’t gone back to Guatemala yet, and I don’t know what that’s going to feel like on a human level. It could be a whole new explosion of growth.
Guillermo Recalls Unforgettable Moments from 10 Years on Fairfax
Opening event on Fairfax in 2010: “I was in full Rick Owens gear, and people were probably thinking, ‘Who the fuck is this guy?’ All I had in the shop at the time was Sneaker Crowns. I was simultaneously nervous and confident at the same time—such a weird feeling. I’m happy to say that half of the people who showed up have all blossomed into amazing entrepreneurs and creatives – Aleali [May], Anwar Carrots was there, so many more. It was a special night.”
Halloween, 2010: “Sid, Tyler and Left Brain had a show in my shop. The kids on the block were telling me, ‘You got to fuck with them, because they’re fresh.’ People weren’t letting them perform in venues, because they thought they were kinda crazy. But I was like, ‘fuck it, I like their music, let’s do it.’ One kid skated all the way from Pasadena to see the show, and all he wanted was Tyler to sign his t-shirt, and he was crying hysterically. Everybody was worried they would destroy my shop, but they didn’t, and it all turned out great.”
Meeting Rick Ross in the FourTwoFour Shop: “He came into the store and bought 10 Jesus pieces early in the game when we were making jewelry. When he walked in, first thing he said was, ‘Who’s the Boss!?’”