Jordan Bentley Opens Hypland Store in L.A.’s Little Tokyo: A First Look

It’s a new chapter for Hypland founder Jordan Bentley.

The 27-year-old Los Angeles native — unifying the world of streetwear, anime and gaming — has opened his first physical shop at 200 South San Pedro Street in Little Tokyo. Launched in 2010, his brand has collaborated with the likes of Hello Kitty, Dragon Ball Z, Yu-Gi-Oh, as well as the NBA and Netflix, growing a fanbase along the way.

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“I think it starts at childhood,” he said of bringing his idea to reality. Speaking a mile a minute, he’s quick to note the support he’s had around him; at the root is his mother, Stephanie.

“She has just always been super encouraging,” he went on. “She’s the back end of the business.”

Seeing his love for both anime and drawing as a kid, his mom enrolled him in a youth art class at Otis College of Art and Design. And when he began selling sweaters with his designs to classmates in high school, she trademarked the business.

“I remember I made maybe 50 at the time,” Bentley said of the tops. “I brought them to school, and I made $1,000 that day. That’s when I thought, ‘Dude, this could be a serious business.’ And my mom naturally just always supported me. She was doing the things necessary to make sure I was set up.”

The 1,500-square-foot store features apparel from past collaborations and new drops, alongside vintage home accessories and <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:gaming;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">gaming</a> equipment.

He had unofficially started the brand when he was in junior high, influenced by L.A. streetwear and skateboard culture — admiring Supreme and The Hundreds.

“It was me just making clothes in my house,” said Bentley. “I was sewing stuff in my room at the time. I got a silkscreen machine. I was just literally drawing some stuff, printed in the living room, sold it at school. It was just an expression of myself.”

He was full of ideas — not yet focused on bridging fashion with his love of anime and gaming. It was the late Virgil Abloh who guided him toward that path. Bentley was in college then and enrolled in a mentorship program run by Abloh.

“I had the conversation with Virgil, in I think 2015 or 2016; he was just like, ‘Look, you need to figure out which one of these brands you want to do,’” Bentley continued. “In my mind, when I first had that conversation with him, afterwards, my initial thought wasn’t getting into anime. Anime was not at the forefront of my mind. But he was always very adamant on, like, ‘You can take elements from these anime characters and put them on things.’”

About two months later Bentley had a dream that he had collaborated with Dragon Ball Z. The Japanese anime series had been his favorite. (“I had all the games and figures.”) He decided to explore the idea after visiting Mike Cherman, creator of Chinatown Market, another mentor. Cherman was heading to an expo in Las Vegas where there would be reps from all the top anime brands and companies including Dragon Ball.

“I was really that kid that didn’t get a chance to go to the anime expos — my mom was so busy, and it was just me, her and my brother,” Bentley said of his childhood. This was his chance, however, and he took it. He drove to Vegas with his mother, he said, and there, he approached all the major companies.

“Everyone said ‘no’ but a lady at this company, Viz Media,” he said. “She took the risk, gave us the collaboration, and literally, like, from then on the brand just headed in that direction naturally.”

Hypland already had a following at the time with a growing online presence, but the partnership — which was with the Japanese manga series Bleach — was a turning point for Hypland, and Bentley had found his niche.

“There weren’t a lot of people doing anime stuff at that time,” he explained.

Inside Hypland in L.A.’s Little Tokyo.
Inside Hypland in L.A.’s Little Tokyo.

After hosting a series of lively pop-ups (serving as both entertainment and retail experiences, attracting lines with thousands) in L.A. and other major cities through the years, he found himself looking for a hub: “It’s not realistic for me to be doing pop-ups in L.A. every time, and I needed to make something permanent.”

In Little Tokyo, the 1,500-square-foot store features apparel from past collaborations and new drops, alongside vintage home accessories and gaming equipment. The space is designed to feel like a gamer’s home, with vintage coffee table books, manga magazines, anime statues and, of course, games — chess sets, PS5s, GameCubes, N64s and arcades.

“Because I’m genuinely a fan of the anime, gaming space, I know exactly what people want to see,” said Bentley.

Centered in community, the store is a fixed space to continue to unite and entertain; Bentley plans to throw many more events, while helping to support the businesses around him.

“There’s all these different things that fit adjacently with our brand,” he said of Little Tokyo, the vibrant downtown L.A. neighborhood. “It’s like, you come buy a T-shirt from us, but now you’re going to Mandarake to buy a statue or you’re going to buy vintage video games from the businesses next door. And if you’re into Japan, you probably like Japanese food. We’ve got the best Japanese food around us.”

Moving forward, he added, “For me, my main focus is really just to keep growing the brand through community.”

Inside Hypland.
Inside Hypland.

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