Benny Gold shocked fans around the world in January when he announced that he was closing his San Francisco store and discontinuing his brand. It had been a staple of streetwear since the early days, and Gold is considered by many to be one of the pioneers of graphic design within the culture. For those of us that have followed it from the beginning, it was hard to fathom that it was coming to an end.
Change, both personal and external, are at the root of Gold’s decision to put his line out to pasture. Both streetwear and San Francisco’s landscape have shifted greatly during Benny Gold’s 15-year run. There are now hundreds of brands out there competing for shelf space instead of just a handful. And rent in San Francisco’s Mission District has gone up 10-fold in the wake of the city’s most recent tech boom. In short, competition is fierce and the bottom-line is more critical than ever.
Legendary pro skater Jeff Phillips once said, “If I’m not having fun, I’ll quit.” This simple phrase perfectly sums up Gold’s decision. When his creativity was challenged by increased demands to follow trends, and when the designs became secondary to business administration duties, Gold knew it was time to call it a day. You have to tip your hat to him for bowing out gracefully as opposed to sacrificing the legacy of his creation.
In the future, I believe that Benny Gold will be a point of reference as an example of a brand that was well-executed from start to finish. That said, It was only right to provide it a proper send off by giving Gold the platform to tell the story of the final hours of his dynasty.