By Tracey Lomrantz, Glamour magazine
A recent story from Forbes brought news about as confounding as hearing that Charlie Sheen was opening up an orphanage, or that Paula Deen was getting into the weight loss business: Chad Hurley, CEO of YouTube (and certified web geek), is leaving his job to focus full-time on a fashion line.
The Cut uncovered the story, which explains that Hurley--who sold his company to Google for $1.65 billion a few years back, buying him some free time and cash to dabble in whatever he pleases, we're guessing--has been working with business partner Anthony Mazzei on a menswear line called Hlaska since 1994.
The line consists of button-down shirts, chinos, T-shirts and leather messenger bags, and Hurley says it's really no different from what he did at YouTube: "We make wallets, bags and shirts we'd want to see sold in stores. In that sense it's exactly like YouTube. We wanted something that wasn't available, so we built it ourselves." They're planning to expand the brand with new stores in New York and L.A. in 2011, and he'll be devoting himself full-time to the endeavor.
Hurley says he's expecting the company to "go viral" the same way his Internet baby did, but with word of mouth instead of link-sharing. And he has some serious ambition (and confidence) for the brand: "We're trying to do something here at Hlaska that hasn't been done maybe since Levi Strauss filled a void and remained true to his roots. We admire great designers like Paul Smith and domestic companies like American Apparel, but in the end we're doing this because we want to bring back American production and build off that to grow."
The clothes are about as nerdy as you'd expect--this is, after all, a man who originally wrote web code for a living--but it's kind of cool that he's doing things his own way, for a brotherhood of fellow computer dudes. After all, Coco Chanel started making pants because she was uncomfortable in skirts, right?
What do you think, ladies? A Silicon Valley gimmick, or a legitimate fashion venture?
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