Los Angeles’s relatively young fashion history has been an eclectic swath of varying styles blending the local influences of skate/surf while borrowing from New York’s hip hop street style. When limited releases fueled by hype became the norm for the streetwear community, resell culture naturally arose with it. Resell was born out of necessity — a symbiotic relationship with the burgeoning community — but eventually it also took on a life of its own.
Now, at the forefront of this hand-in-hand relationship — leading the wave and setting the trends — is the now iconic yet somewhat wacky heavyweight, Round Two. To gain a small glimpse into how this humble buy/sell/trade store from Richmond, Virginia took such a foothold, we decided to take a look at one of the founders.
I decided to sit down with Luke Fracher, one of the three founders behind Round Two, to get more insight into how he is as a person. Here at SANDALBOYZ, we see individuality or the pursuit of individuality as the engine that fuels growth. I want to let this profile of Luke inform our readers how such an eclectic shop became so successful.
Ryan Chang | Luke Fracher
So Virginia right? Born and raised?
Uh, yeah. Lived there pretty much my whole fucking life. Then moved out to LA when I was 26/27.
Well, so, I went to school at VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University). So, I lived in Richmond from 18 years old all the way until I moved, almost 10 years. But, I grew up in Charlottesville, a small college town about 70 miles west of Richmond nestled right beneath the northern part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A lot of vineyards, farms, and shit.
What were some of your fondest memories growing up?
Hanging out with my family, going like apple picking or something, haha. You know, doing something out in nature.
That’s dope. So were your parents outdoors type people?
Oh no, not at all. They weren’t crunchy or anything like that. There were just a lot of things like that to do.
Let’s talk high school real quick. Any extracurriculars? Sports?
Na, I just fuckin’ smoked weed and worked at a shoe store.
Ah, so that’s probably where it all started, working at a shoe store?
Yeah. That was a big part of it. I was obviously into clothes, shoes, and hip hop. I wanted to emulate rappers or other people from bigger places like New York. My second job ever was actually as a lifeguard at a waterpark when I was 14. Then, when I turned 15, I got a job at this place called Legends which was the most popular sneaker store in my area.
Was the scene pretty big out there already?
Uh, I mean, not really. I was on NikeTalk which helped get me more into it.
Who were some of your favorite hip hop artists?
I think the first rap album that I bought was Stillmatic by Nas in ‘02 when I was like in 7th grade. That’s when I started smoking weed too.
Cam, Dipset, and 50 Cent are who really got me into it.
So, there was a lot of New York influence.
Yeah, I would say anywhere south of New York up until like North Carolina was pretty much a big suburb of New York.
I try to tease out where Luke’s entrepreneurial spirit comes from, but he consistently reflects on a humble past with no real standout stories beyond lifeguarding, working at a shoe store, and then eventually peddling a little bit of weed in college. It becomes apparent to me that it is these qualities of humility and consistency are probably the ones that continue to drive him towards success today.
He recalls that when he finally opened Round Two in Richmond, some of his old high school friends said, “You always said you were going to open your own store.” He claims, however, that he doesn’t ever remember saying anything like that.
So, Richmond is where you met the boys?
Yeah. I knew Sean before, and then I met Chris through Sean.
How did you meet Sean?
Uh, you know just being around the way. There weren’t a lot of other white dudes in our area that were into the shit that we were into like sneakers, Polo, hip hop.
Do any cool stuff in college?
No man, I fucking hated college. I almost failed out like 3 times. I studied urban planning. I just chose a major because I wanted to finish school.
So how did the “let’s start Round Two” conversation start?
They [Sean and Chris] said they wanted to start a store, and they knew I worked retail back in Charlottesville. We took over someone else’s retail spot. It was $700 a month. We started by just filling out that spot with all of our own stuff. And since we all wore different sizes, we were able to kinda fill the store out with a variety of items. I think we made like $1000 the first day.
How did you guys get the word out?
We opened during like this street food festival and people just walked by. It spread through word of mouth organically from there. We were buying a bunch of things at the time and paying pretty well for sneakers and Jordans. Our initial vision was for clothes, but eventually sneakers came flowing in faster than the clothes.
What are some of the things you’re into right now that aren’t work related?
I love architecture and real estate. I love cars. I watch a lot of random YouTube videos on that stuff. I watch a lot of science and history documentaries. I’m just interested in learning about whatever.
I remember when we were in New York, you were telling me about the Westminster Dog Show. Tell me about that.
I just love dogs you know. There was that movie Best In Show. Really, it’s just like me and my girl are really into dogs. We just love dogs so we decided to see if the dog show was accessible. Turns out it wasn’t too expensive or hard to get to, so I decided to go. We don’t really do live music or anything, but we love doing things like dog shows or museums or walks in the park.
What did you parents do?
My mom was an English teacher and my dad was a shrink.
What qualities do you think you take from your parents?
My mom was a really sweet lady. I try to be good to people. My dad was a really hard worker. My dad was often up until like 4 and left for work like at 6.
How do you stay grounded and focused? Meditation or anything like that?
I just chill man. I just go.
You seem like a chill guy.
Yeah, I mean I’m always fucking going through it. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I’m without stress. I just try to live a solutions-based lifestyle. I’m going to try and fix the problem if there is a problem, but if I can’t fix it, I’m not going to stress out over it. I think it’s just important to be pragmatic. There’s no point in trying to kill yourself in trying to fix what you can’t fix.
What do you have planned for the future?
I’m working on clothes. I’m also planning on opening a market/juice bar. I’m just trying to figure it out.