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Meet a Member: Robert Arredondo in Ukrainian Village

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Robert Arredondo balances being a student and a business owner.

Robert was raised in Chicago’s southwest side in Brighton Park, along with his four siblings. Having lived in an underprivileged community with few opportunities, Robert joined the military after high school, serving in Kuwait in 2012 and finishing his contract in 2016. He had a vision, so he started a clothing line, enrolled in college, and created a business. Here’s what he had to share about being a brand owner and local talent in Ukrainian Village.

First things first, introduce yourself!

My Name is Robert Arredondo, but my friends call me Robby.

I started my clothing line Hundreds Only Crew in 2017 and decided to utilize my tuition benefits for school, which I just started last year. I’m currently in my second semester of majoring in Fashion Design/Fashion Business, so I can learn as much as I can about the industry, challenge myself creatively, and take my clothing line and clothing store TWENTYFORTYEIGHT to elevated levels.
robert ukrainian village

Photo courtesy of Robert Arrendondo

Why did you choose to live at Common? How does it compare to previous living situations?

Previously, I was living on my own in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. I chose Common because I wanted to not only save money while I was going to school, but I also wanted to engage with a community and meet new interesting people.

Can you tell us more about your clothing line, Hundreds Only Crew? Where did you get the inspiration to start it?

My clothing line Hundreds Only Crew came from growing up in Chicago’s southwest side. My brand identity revolves around always having the feeling that I am from such a beautiful city that can feel so divided at times. We’re all living within these invisible lines, created between one another, within our own neighborhoods and sometimes within our own cultures, thus creating a divide that can sometimes become violent.
robert ukrainian village

Photo courtesy of Robert Arrendondo

When I put together my brand’s identity, I made it one of my goals to be able to bring people together through my passion for streetwear and fashion, while creating this cohesion between people who share the same interest in clothing and style. I wanted to create a feeling of unity in the sense that once you own a piece, you aren’t just purchasing a garment, you’re becoming a part of the community.

Since we exclusively release 100 pieces per design, only 99 other people in the world will share that specific design and experience with you, across any and every culture and from all walks of life. I like to place the word “CREW” on the back of most of my pieces because I want to give you that feeling that you are a part of something greater than just the t-shirt on your back. It’s about overcoming a social divide between one another, unifying under a common identity and sense of solidarity. It’s about conquering the divide.

You have retail space on the ground floor of Common Damen. What’s it like owning your own store, and having it so close to home?

Owning the clothing store TWENTYFORTYEIGHT with my business partner Ray Moreno feels surreal at the moment. It’s always been a dream of both of ours to own and operate our own retail space. As brand owners, we’re very passionate about the concept for the space. Being local brand owners ourselves, we not only get to carry our own brand, but we also have the pleasure of carrying local designers too. We really want to put Chicago on the map for fashion and focus on carrying Chicago’s top emerging designers.
robby ukrainian village

Photo courtesy of Robert Arrendondo

What’s your favorite spot in Ukrainian Village?

Currently, my favorite spot in my neighborhood would have to be Damen Tavern. Not because the establishment itself is a bar, but because I like the mural that was done on it by the local artist ANTBEN. I really like street art; I grew up around a lot of graffiti artists, and that’s pretty much what my friends were doing, so I like the calligraphy mural that Antonio Beniquez did on the building. Interestingly enough, we are currently working on a collaboration for our storefront with him where we’re going to showcase his work as a brand and an artist in our space. Plus, we have a really cool t-shirt that we’re exclusively releasing at the event first week of April, so stay tuned for that.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring designers or entrepreneurs?

My advice to any aspiring designers or entrepreneurs would be to stick to your dream and vision and do one thing every day to work towards accomplishing that dream. Something that also worked for me in the past was to turn off all the noise around me and just do it. I didn’t discuss any of my projects with anyone, and I didn’t ask anyone on whether it was a good idea or not, or if I should even do it. I simply just did it; I knew it was what I wanted, so I executed. I think that’s what’s really important — the execution part, just jumping, not being afraid of what happens. I didn’t know everything, so everything became a learning experience for me. I’m still learning a lot along the way, and it’s a lot of fun. So that’s my advice to you: find what you love and just do it.

 

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Interested in visiting TWENTYFORTYEIGHT or becoming suitemates or neighbors with Robert? We have beautiful homes in Ukrainian Village and Pilsen in Chicago, right by the storefront. Take a free tour today.

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