How Rhude’s Rhuigi Villaseñor Reimagined L.A. Model

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The whole thing should have gone sideways; It is not clear to me – or to Rhuigi – why it was not. The answer that comes up is, of course, the clothes that fans of NBA stars, rappers, and especially the kids who want to dress like that have made. Villaseñor has been launching the hypebeast catnip since 2015: box-shaped t-shirts, shorts with a low crotch and Jordan-inspired sneakers. Obsessive details – triangular pocket flaps on jackets, extra long yellow cords on the lower parts – became characteristic details. Villaseñor attributes his radar to his unusual upbringing. “I grew up interested in all the things I thought were luxurious because I came from an immigrant’s perspective,” he said. “I was outside and just saw what America is. I thought it was Beverly Hills. “The background that he thought would actually hinder him helped:“ I may not come from America, but I can really reinterpret what American luxury is. ”(After nearly 20 years of uncertainty, Villaseñor became last summer finally an American citizen. “I’ve never felt this emotional in my life,” he said.)

Coat off the line. Vintage shirt. Pants from Marni. Shoes from Rhude. Audemars Piguet watch.

This reinterpretation of American luxury has found its audience. The brand has sales of roughly $ 30 million and has proven resistant to an industry-devastating pandemic. His customers remain bizarre and unusually hungry. “Last month I sold the most leather jeans I have ever sold,” he said, surprised. “Where the hell are you going? I have no idea. I want to know because I want to wear leather jeans too. Tell me where you all are going “

Life inside was about as cool as he’d dreamed it would be. A barrage of collaborations follows both the brand’s growing ambitions and its own development interests: Vans, LA’s official sneakers; a Formula 1 collection with McLaren for the Monaco Grand Prix; Rhude cigars with Davidoff; a hat with the Los Angeles Lakers that he and his friend Jay-Z wore together at court. “[There are ] Two people I have always said that I would never be comfortable, ”he said. “It’s Kobe and Jay-Z.”

Villaseñor can finally afford the advanced flavor it always had. He’s relieved that his customers are growing up with him – that they see his McLaren and his collection of handbags and his closet with fine tailoring and decide that they want to live in Rhude World too. “Our customers want me to speed it up because they see the things I love that we don’t currently do,” he said. “After a while, the child doesn’t want to sell any more toys. He says, ‘Give me the real car. I don’t want the toy car anymore. ‘”

Sam Schube is the managing editor of GQ.

A version of this story will originally appear in the February 2021 issue entitled “Welcome To Rhude World”.

PRODUCTION CREDITS:
Photographs of Emman Montalvan
Care over Hee Soo Kwon with Fresh at The Rex Agency

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