When fashion turns deadly. Hulu’s latest true crime series, The Curse of Von Dutch: A Brand to Die For, looks at the rise and fall of the iconic label known for its trucker hats.
In the early 2000s, everyone from Lindsay Lohan and Hilary Duff to Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears wore the brand’s caps, as well as their jeans and jackets. “Von Dutch was iconic for Y2K fashion,” Paris Hilton says in the trailer for the three-episode series. “That was, like, our uniform basically.”
It was so popular that NBA legend Dennis Rodman claims in the same teaser that “everybody on the planet had Von Dutch.”
However, the true story behind the apparel company, which was founded in 1999 by Michael Cassel and Robert “Bobby” Vaughn, is stranger than fiction. “They didn’t know how to run a business,” one person notes in the trailer. “It was really a facade.”
The Hulu series, directed by Andrew Renzi, claims Von Dutch was a possible money laundering scheme with one person in the trailer hinting that the company was once worth “north of a billion” dollars. “Fashion’s the easiest to launder money,” Vaughn notes. Later, cofounder Cassel hints that the company once did business with a woman connected to Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar.
However, shady business practices weren’t the only problem the company had. One of its cofounders was charged with first-degree murder — though, those involved with the company still debate over who really founded the brand inspired by Kenny Howard, known as Von Dutch, an American artist and member of the Kustom Kulture movement.
Howard’s daughter sold the Von Dutch name to Cassel and Robert after Howard’s death in 1992 — but L.A. art dealer Ed Boswell claims that he is the one who really created the legendary brand. “Don’t tell people that you created the Von Dutch clothing line,” he says in the trailer. “Tell them what really happened.”
The series intends to get to the bottom of the unbelievable story of how the fashion line went from trendy to tragic over the course of a decade. “When the money comes, people go sideways,” Cassel says in the trailer.
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