Hudson Jeans founder Peter Kim is known for going against the grain. As the purveyor of one of the first premium denim brands of the early 2000s, he helped define the essence of laid-back luxury, creating a company recognized for a rebellious and free-spirited culture.
A self-described feminist, Kim continues to push the boundaries of both business and community—he even brought the Hudson crew to the Women’s March in LA. We caught up with Kim before he headed to Las Vegas for the winter MAGIC trade show to talk empowerment, authenticity and rock ’n’ roll.
On the importance of company culture: “Back in the early days, people would say, ‘That’s not what the brand is about; that’s not for the public,’ and I didn’t agree with that concept. The brand is the company culture. You have to start with a core purpose and something that’s greater than just a product or logistics. You have to believe in something more than product or money. There’s got to be a deeper meaning. The product becomes the thing that connects you to the consumer. We have a simple but very strong core purpose and core belief ... to help inspire the power of self. It’s really about, ‘How do we empower people to make a difference in their lives?’ And we do this by making them feel good and look good, not just physically but emotionally and everything else. Passion, humanity and not being about bullsh*t. That is the core of who we are.
On why Hudson doesn’t airbrush ads: “I have twin girls that are 16. I watched this documentary called Miss Representation, all about how the media portrays girls and women and how it really screws up their psyche. And it hits home. You take a model who is somewhere between 16 and 22, and you get these amazing photographers and stylists and take these beautiful pictures and then we Photoshop the f*cking sh*t out of these girls, shaving off their chins and jawlines and lengthening their legs. It’s not human. We’re not just telling an innocent lie. The cut is so deep. We’re telling young girls, ‘You suck. You’re horrible. You’re not pretty enough. You’re not rich enough. You’re not cool enough, and you never will be.’ We’re calling that real and inspirational, that this is what you should be striving to be when we know you can’t. We had to make a change. Once you realize how bad those consequences are, how do you go back to doing something that’s horrible? For us it was a pretty easy decision. We’re just trying to tell the truth and be real and authentic.
On Hudson’s heart: “We have seen so many phases of premium denim, and it’s been a really interesting ride. Our business is a completely commoditized industry. How do you de-commoditize a commoditized industry? For us, we’re about jeans, we’re about denim, this whole spirit of rock ’n’ roll—and that’s deep within us. This is how we live our lives. I think that’s our next phase of where we think it’s going.”