100 Thieves dropped their new always-available Foundations apparel collection on Saturday.
When it was announced last week, the collection was met with a lot of excitement from fans looking to grab some of the new pieces. When the collection dropped on Saturday, however, some fans were taken aback by the high prices attached to the various items.
While some items like the hat are at a typical cost of around $35, other items like their hoodies and anoraks are going $90 and $135 respectively. Many were also surprised at $68 nylon shorts.
These prices are definitely on the upper end of esports merch, but 100 Thieves founder and CEO Nadeshot defended the prices, explaining: "We are an apparel brand, not a merch company. We hire the best designers, we work with the best manufacturers, and we use the best materials. From our custom YKK zipper pulls, custom metal aglets, and water-resistant nylon.”
Nadeshot makes a strong point.
Many of those who are criticizing the price of the new Foundations series may not be looking at the full context surrounding 100 Thieves’ new apparel line. Not only is it a high-quality, original line of clothing, it was also released into a post-pandemic street-wear environment, where these prices are honestly pretty standard.
100T premium apparel, not merch
We can start with Nadeshot’s argument: They are apparel and not merch.
This is an important distinction for a company to make when they are selling clothing. 100 Thieves is one of several major esports organizations to create and manage their own in-house apparel team. They don’t just put a design on a pre-manufactured shirt, they make the shirt. These organizations are raising the bar for esports fashion by creating their own original in-house apparel lines, they are competing with actual clothing brands.
The fact that they are creating their own original pieces means we can expect higher prices. The company invested more time, energy, and talent into creating the product. And they have curated every aspect of the clothing.
100 Thieves has also demonstrated its ability to produce high-quality products that stand the test of time in the past. And while I haven’t gotten my hands on this collection just yet, we can expect that a collection they intend to sell for years to come is going to meet the standards they have met in the past.
So in summary, this is not just another piece of esports merchandise. This is a unique line of clothing that you can’t get from anyone but 100 Thieves. We can’t expect that to come at Walmart prices.
It’s actually cheap... for Streetwear
Look, I get it — $135 is a lot of money for an anorak and I personally have never paid $90 for a hoodie, at least not yet. These prices are expensive for me too, but they are downright reasonable when you compare them to the streetwear market they are trying to compete in.
A $90.00 hoodie may sound bad until you find out about Off-White’s $1,000 crazy sweaters or Supreme’s classic $200 t-shirts. For streetwear, the Foundations series is actually considered to be relatively cheap.
Even when compared to more established sporting brands like La Sportiva, Fjallravin, or Patagonia, 100 Thieves’ jackets are still cheaper in many cases.
While all of these companies’ products are probably also making better products than a newcomer like 100 Thieves, the point is that 100 Thieves is putting themselves in a particular price bracket and thus a particular position in the market.
By choosing this pricing scheme on their jackets, hoodies, shorts, etc., they put themselves above Addidas and on par with Premium Nike fare.
The real question is not "are they too expensive?" The question is, are they as good as Nike? Do they live up to the price bracket they put themselves into? If you had $135, would you rather buy a high-quality Nike anorak or the 100 Thieves version?
After looking at the market, I don’t think that 100 Thieves’ prices on their new collection are particularly unfair, assuming they live up to the high expectations that Nadeshot has set.
It might not be worth it to you, but the cost will be worth it to someone.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.