Normally, when you hear about a 21-year-old who bails on the cookie cutter college path, becomes a phenom in their field, and generates millions in the process, it’s the story of a superstar musician or all-star athlete. It isn’t usually the story of a kid printing t-shirts. But here we are.
Sam LeBlanc and his brand, Half Evil, have made such an incredible impact in their first two years of operation that the entire streetwear industry is taking notice (and notes). The rising star and his anonymous-but-not-so-anonymous-if-you’ve-been-paying-attention co-founder are flipping streetwear on its head, combining striking designs and a dirt cheap pricing model in an era when the industry has never been closer to high fashion.
As retail prices keep climbing and the resale market inflates those prices into the stratosphere, Half Evil has taken a wildly different approach. For most of their drops, Half Evil offers a $3.33 graphic tee in the lineup alongside their other still-reasonably priced gear. The designs tend to be dark yet playful, a humorously sadistic walk on the wild side. Between Half Evil’s bold styling and value pricing, the brand has amassed an incredible following in just over two years. In a time where everyone and their brother has a brand, Half Evil has been able to set themselves apart from the competition in a way that has puzzled industry stalwarts.
When I stopped by Half Evil’s booth at ComplexCon in Long Beach, Sam said the only drawback to selling t-shirts for $3.33 — half of 666, get it? — was that sometimes people think there is some hidden catch.
“A lot of people didn’t even believe they were for real until we rang them out,” said LeBlanc about suspicious shoppers at the annual streetwear summit.
The nearly free t-shirts aren’t just a gimmick, even though the insanely low prices absolutely put asses in the seats. The $3.33 price point is for the kids. LeBlanc remembers what it was like working for minimum wage at the grocery store and having to put his whole paycheck toward a Supreme t-shirt. “With Half Evil, obviously we have our regular priced items,” Sam told me about their alternative approach. “But I wanted to make sure I give people who may not be able to afford the trendy expensive gear the ability to own at least one new piece from a brand they like every month and feel good about it.”
“I wanted them to be able to still get that feeling of getting a package in the mail, the feeling of taking the shirt out of the bag, the feeling of putting it on, the feeling of going to school or the skatepark with it and showing it to their friends.”