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THE EVOLUTION OF A BRAND

SIT DOWN: TRENT VALLADARES / HEX

The items that we carry with us write our story, and they help define who we are as modern explorers. These safe keeps pave our careers, define our style, and assist in enhancing travel through daily life. When it comes to the construction of what keeps those items organized and protected, look no further than Hex, a company that continues to set the bar for craftsmanship in the form of carry. To learn more about how this company was born, we caught up with co-founder Trent Valladares to chat about how Hex is forged by music, style, and the city of Los Angeles.

CYTIES: Talk to us about how your experience in fashion and music factored into the creation of Hex?

TRENT: When I was actively involved in the LA music scene, I was booking bands for various clubs as well as promoting and performing with my band. I looked at the concert experience much the same as I look at HEX as a brand now. Meaning that there was a musical performance, but we also did art installations to visually transform the venues as well. We were looking to provide a total sensory experience, which is very applicable in brand building in general. With HEX, I look at the products, but also the community, the brand voice, the imagery, events, etc., to make sure that the customer’s engagement with the brand is a holistic one.

CYTIES: The LA music club scene has always been amazing. We read that it was in the late 80s that you and your band were making noise, can you give us a glimpse into what that looked like?

TRENT: Everything you hear about the Sunset Strip in its heyday is true. It was a very vibrant scene. There were always a lot of bands playing at the various venues. The streets were crowded and there was just tremendous energy about the place—there was just so much music going on. Like so many other places, Sunset Strip is much more commercialized now. I know it makes me sound old, but it was just so much more Rock n Roll then. Those are great memories for me.

CYTIES: What are some personal experiences that helped draw the design inspiration for Hex collections?

TRENT: I love design and architecture, so HEX has always had modern, minimal roots. We love tech as well, and that was really the genesis of HEX: merging tech needs with a minimal design ethos. Dan (the other co-founder) and I were becoming businessmen as we built the brand. But we felt that the term was so restrictive. We wanted to do so much more than just business. We still thought of ourselves as creatives. HEX provides that outlet for everyone who has more to them than just one label.

CYTIES: What are some of your personal favorites out of the collections?

TRENT: I really like the Ranger Collection, especially the smaller slings and bags. They are really functional and adept camera bags—premium performance and premium materials. But beyond that, these bags transcend borders. People use these bags for fly fishing accessories, barber tools, and even firearms. Plus, they look great, so they are striking a chord for fashion as well. The Ranger bags are a perfect example of how we built HEX to be a brand that crosses demographics.

CYTIES: What type of gear are you currently taking with you on a creative trip? Any EDC carry items you can’t live without?

TRENT: I am currently traveling with a prototype of a new Daily Duffel we are testing. I can’t reveal too much yet, but I can say that I can travel for business or pleasure and this is the only bag I need to take.

CYTIES: We here at CYTIES are also very inspired by music, what is currently on your playlist?

TRENT: Great question! I like a lot of different styles of music. I listen to some of my favorites, like System of a Down and Muse, especially when I’m editing images or videos. Death Cab for Cutie is on the list, and I love The Cure. As far as newer stuff, I like Aurora—she creates fascinating sounds and arrangements. I just saw Twenty One Pilots, and I like their stuff a lot. “Black Summer” from the new Red Hot Chili Peppers and Badflower come to mind as well. But I will also crank up the Stevie Ray Vaughan or get in the zone with Miles Davis.

CYTIES: Your Hex Camera and Travel bags are packed, the plane ticket is purchased… What city are you headed to and why?

TRENT: Probably Paris. It’s always the first city I think of for personal travel. Just a beautiful city, with great food, art, history. You can’t go wrong with Paris. Istanbul is somewhere I want to get to since I’ve never been there. The blend of Arab and European cultures and design really interests me.

CYTIES: How has Los Angeles helped you define the story of the brand?

TRENT: LA will always be in HEX. I believe you can see the diversity of LA reflected in HEX. There are so many cultures and talents here. LA has the ability to dress up nice or get dirty down in the streets. HEX has always been an aspiration brand with cues from California Modernism, but it has also always had a harder side. A grittiness that is so
very LA.

CYTIES: James Bond Q question—and we’re sure you’ve thought about this—in your wildest of dreams, is there a tech HEX pack that would be 007 worthy?

TRENT: Two words: Jet Pack. Maybe it has a Batman utility belt worked into it as well.

 CYTIES: You have built an established brand. What advice would you give to someone just starting in this industry with big dreams?

TRENT: It’s going to sound cliché’, but: Stay true to yourself. If you have the vision and the commitment to start a brand, then trust yourself. Make sure you like the direction your products or brand are taking. It’s good to get input and keep ideas from others in consideration. But in the end, make the choice that resonates with you. You can fake it for a year or two, but to have any staying power you have to be working towards your vision. It’s not always going to be fun, so build something that you can lose yourself in and get back to your core values.

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Thanks for sitting down with our team Trent, and inspiring how we not only transport the items we hold closest to us but also shedding light on how creating a brand or small business can be the ultimate adventure inspired by the things you love the most. See you in Paris for a drink. Shop all of Hex Brand with the button below.

 

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