The Guatemala-born LA streetwear upstart giving us a red-band trailer of fashion’s future
Guillermo Andrade, head of design and co-founder of store 424 on Fairfax, is producing the freshest urban streetwear in LA. Andrade’s past collections have brought honest topics like police brutality to the forefront of his label, communicated via graphic sweatshirts and the iconic red armbands that have become synonymous with the brand.
Even as an undocumented migrant from Guatemala in sixth grade, barely speaking English and moving between multiple schools in the Bay Area, he was obsessed with discovering and wearing unique styles nobody else had. While everyone else wore Hurley, board shorts and thong sandals, he was wearing head-to-toe Southpole, Ecko, Triple Five Soul and all-white Air Force 1s. “They just looked at me like I was crazy,” he says.” Even though my family didn’t have much, I didn’t care – I decided I was always gonna look like a million dollars.”
Savvy and effortless, Andrade’s collections come in precise colourways and obsessively considered details – his latest collection, The Painter, features Carhartt tan, a Pantone-perfect shade 424 dubbed “Hazard Yellow” and beautiful Italian-made leather boots with crimson paisley embroidery. Most importantly, the clothes are accessible to those who desire them. “How many people operate backwards from, ‘I think people want to buy this, so I’m going to design this because it’ll sell?’” he says of his approach. “But then it doesn’t sell – and that’s because it isn’t genuine.”
Affordability is an important aspect of 424’s offering. Andrade has gone through an evolutionary decade of turning humble ideas into businesses, making everything from shoe accessories called Sneaker Crowns to miniature Jesus pieces which went viral before being copied by the mass-market. In many ways, his formative experiences growing up still directly inform and inspire his successes. “I remember every detail of the shift that happened in the urban community – specifically with the high end accepting the low,” says Andrade. The knowledge that I was lucky enough to (pick up) makes a big impact on everything I do now. I’ve always lived my life like that anyway.”