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10 Apr

EXCLUSIVE: James Franco Revealed as Codesigner of Paly Hollywood

James Franco is sorry now that he didn’t hearken to his father’s advice and study math and business in college moderately than simply literature and art.

The skills that Doug Franco developed as a Harvard MBA and Silicon Valley entrepreneur would have turn out to be useful for his son’s latest project, Paly Hollywood, a streetwear-skewed fashion brand that he created together with his longtime friend Kyle Lindgren.

Because his father died in 2011, the actor, who’s best known for his roles within the “Spider-Man” trilogy and “The Disaster Artist,” has been leaning heavily on Lindgren’s father for a tutorial on the best way to create and run a business.

Up to now, so good.

James Franco and Kyle Lindgren


Paly Hollywood launched quietly last 12 months with a good collection of distressed T-shirts, sweatshirts and hand-knit sweaters titled “Hollywood Is Hell,” the graphics of which explore a few of the tragedies, conspiracies and area of interest heroes of Tinseltown. 

Subjects range from immediately recognizable figures similar to James Dean and Jayne Mansfield to producer Don Simpson and Larry Fortensky, the development employee who became the seventh and final husband of Elizabeth Taylor.

The graphics, attention to detail and the artistic bent of the inaugural collection quickly found a following — and retail customers including H.Lorenzo, The Webster and Patron of the Latest. What hasn’t been publicly revealed until now’s that not only is Franco a cofounder of the brand, it’s his artwork that’s used for the gathering. 

Franco has long had a love for art and even attended the Rhode Island School of Design’s art graduate program. Nevertheless it was the recommendation he gleaned from Jerry Saltz’s book “Art Is Life” that actually stuck with him. The book is filled with advice that features easy suggestions similar to: to grow to be good at art “just draw something each day,” Franco said. “And I hadn’t been doing that.” 

He took that suggestion to heart and it resulted in “1000’s and 1000’s of drawings,” Franco said, a few of which lent themselves to getting used on apparel.

Paly Hollywood

The gathering contains a number of graphics.

Aidan Cullen @aidancullen1

“His assistant began scanning them, gave me the link and I began mocking things up,” Lindgren recalled. “I’d rise up early before work and just throw together different graphics, almost for fun since it was so interesting. Then one thing led to a different and things type of snowballed, and we began making actual shirts printed on old blanks we got at flea markets.”

Franco quickly embraced this latest opportunity, drawing right onto denim jackets that he gave away to friends as birthday presents.

The germ of an idea for a business was born.

They got here up with a reputation based on Franco’s love of his hometown of Palo Alto, California, and enlisted Lindgren’s dad for business advice. “Kyle knows a lot about design and I do know the best way to be creative, but neither of us had every began a business on our own,” Franco said.

Lindgren has a wealthy résumé that’s rooted in merchandise product development, a skill he honed at the road/skatewear brand F–king Awesome in addition to Madhappy. But as Franco is proud to relate, his partner also graduated magna cum laude from the Los Angeles-based Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. 

They met around six years ago through mutual friends and bonded through their mutual love of art, film, fashion and humor, Lindgren said.   

“James was actually the one who encouraged me to pursue fashion,” Lindgren said. “At F–king Awesome I was a designer at the tip, but I got most of my skills through product development. And that has are available really handy for this — having an affinity for materials, knowing the way in which fibers react in numerous environments, and just having the ability to take a designer’s concept and follow it right through to completion.

“That definitely shines through in our products — you possibly can tell that somebody with a background in product development designed and created them,” he continued. “The screen prints for this primary collection, we literally sanded every print by hand like crazy people and stretched them in order that they cracked.”

Each of the styles is produced in very limited quantities and almost every unit is hand-painted and personally worked on by Lindgren and Franco. The material used for the T-shirts is a textured jersey imported from Japan and the fleece is constructed from a custom-knit, 17-ounce terrycloth made in Los Angeles. Every item has been garment-dyed, washed, and sun-faded to create a vintage feel. The entire fleece pieces and the sweaters feature a hand-numbered label.

The sweaters were all hand-knit by Lois, a renowned 85-year-old artisan in Palos Verdes, California, who has been knitting sweaters out of her house for greater than 60 years. 

Prices on T-shirts range from $225 to $285, crew and hooded sweatshirts from $440 to $495, hats are $110 to $145, and Lois’s hand-knit sweaters are $990.

Paly Hollywood

The road is sold direct-to-consumer in addition to at several specialty stores.

Aidan Cullen @aidancullen1

For the graphics, the launch collection drew from Franco’s large archive of drawings and homed in on the Hollywood theme. 

“Hollywood history has all the time just been something I’m super enthusiastic about, you recognize, I even made movies about it,” Franco said.

Because the launch, the sweatshirts with Franco’s artwork on them have been the most important sellers. Lindgren admits that creating these pieces was “an absolute nightmare” due to the work required to chop the side seams, remove the cuffs and flatten the piece on a digital printing machine. But he stuck with it and customers responded. “I personally just love all of James’ artwork, but most of it is probably not public,” he said. “So I believe it’s great that he can finally showcase his drawing abilities because they’re really good.”

Looking ahead, the partners have plans to further expand the offering into different classifications. Lindgren said next-up will probably be “fully merchandised pants, knits, outerwear and accessories.”

Now that Franco’s association with the brand is being made public, will Glamour magazine’s one-time “Sexiest Actor Alive” be the face of Paly Hollywood?

“I frankly type of love this concept that no one would comprehend it’s me,” he said. “But I felt that could possibly be seen as me attempting to hide or something like that. I’m happy with it and I want my name related to it. But I’m not going to be the model for it or anything like that. I’m the codesigner.”

Through the height of his film profession, Franco was the face of Gucci’s men’s fragrance and a friend of the brand. However the actor’s profession stalled after he was accused of sexual misconduct. He later revealed he had been in treatment for each sex addiction and substance abuse issues.

With that behind him, Franco said he has a pair movies and a series within the can and he can concentrate on his profession in addition to Paly Hollywood. Although he and Lindgren have ambitions to grow, they’re also being cautious. 

“There’s no shortcuts in doing things the appropriate way,” Lindgren said. “That’s really essential because we would like all the things to appear to be it’s either been worn before or something’s just spilled on it like paint by an artist. We work with lots of artisans and vendors, and as we grow we would like to to be certain that they’re growing too. It’s almost like family supply chain where we’re all on this together.”

It’s these partnerships that actually connect with Franco. “Coming from the film industry, it’s only a collaborative medium,” he said. “Kyle and I work on each piece together. What’s really fun for me is pitching an idea after which the opposite person builds on it. With that backwards and forwards, you get to a spot where you never would have gotten on your personal.”

Because the brand grows, it is going to proceed to construct on its storytelling prowess centered around each the famous and the unsung heroes of Hollywood. 

Many of the distribution will probably be direct-to-consumer so the brand shouldn’t be hampered by the standard fashion calendar and may introduce latest collections at will. But Lindgren said Paly Hollywood will even proceed to work with a handful of hand-selected retailers.

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