A brand to die for ‘

For many, Von Dutch is a brand that is synonymous with the early 2000s. From fashion icons like Paris Hilton to music legends like Jay-Z and Tommy Lee, almost every celebrity wore caps, jeans and designer clothing. Von Dutch brand. But what most ignore are the four men who claim responsibility for the creation of Von Dutch. Hulu presents The curse of Von Dutch: a brand to die for, a docuseries exploring how a brand inspired by famous stripper Kenneth Robert Howard turned into a story of greed and first degree murder.

Von Dutch store front | Hulu

“The Curse of Von Dutch: A Brand to Die For” is available on Hulu

From Andrew Renzi, the Hulu docuseries tell the true story behind the rise and fall of the iconic fashion label. Venice Beach surfers, gangsters and European clothing all vie for control of the infamous brand in this character-driven saga.

Eventually, Von Dutch went from obscurity to one of the most recognizable labels on Earth. After a decade of backstabbing and bloodshed, the lives of those involved have never been the same.

The curse of Von Dutch: a brand to die for is produced by The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC). It is produced by IPC’s Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman, Sheila Conlin and Renzi.

Who created Von Dutch?

Who is responsible for making Von Dutch the pop culture phenomenon changes depending on who you ask. Four men claim the brand by The curse of Von Dutch.

Howard’s work, also known as Von Dutch and a member of the Kustom Kulture movement, inspired the Von Dutch brand. Apparently Howard’s daughter sold the name Von Dutch to Mike Cassel and Bobby Vaughn after Howard’s death in 1992.

Pictured from top to bottom, left to right: Ed Boswell, Mike Cassel;  Bobby Vaughn, Tonny Sørensen in Hulu docuseries

Ed Boswell, Mike Cassel; Bobby Vaughn, Tonny Sorensen | Hulu

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In 1999, Cassel and Vaughn began transforming Howard’s art into a celebrity clothing brand. As Vaughn suggests in the trailer, Cassel, who had ties to Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, may have used the fashion label to launder money.

But according to Ed Boswell, an art dealer in Los Angeles, he is responsible for the infamous brand. “Don’t tell people you created the Von Dutch clothing line,” he says in the trailer. “Tell them what really happened.” Danish Taekwondo champion and entrepreneur Tonny Sørensen also claims responsibility for the Von Dutch brand.

Von Dutch Hulu docuseries reveal Kenneth Robert Howard’s ties to Nazi Germany

Von Dutch, which translates to “In German”, was an admirer of the Third Reich by his own admission. In a letter he wrote about dropping out of treatment for his lung cancer, he wrote:

“I am no longer ready to cross it to emerge in a place full of [N-word], Mexicans and Jews. … I have always been a Nazi and I still think this was the last time the world had a chance to be operated on with logic. What a shame so many Americans died and suffered to make the rich richer and save England and France again… Los Angeles weather).

Howard’s ties to Nazi Germany appear in The curse of Von Dutch. One of the parties claiming responsibility for the brand attempted to use the knowledge of Howard’s beliefs against another party, which she said was wrongly successful.

Find out how one of the world’s biggest fashion brands went from Von Dutch to “Von Douche”. Watch all three episodes of The curse of Von Dutch: a brand to die for from Thursday November 18 only on Hulu.


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