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The twisted fall of billion-dollar fashion brand Von Dutch exposed in new docuseries

The twisted fall of the multi-billion dollar fashion brand Von Dutch has been exposed in a brand new docuseries that chronicles the creators’ fistfights and the murky demise of founder Bobby Vaugh, who was charged with first-degree murder in 2005.

In the early 2000s, everyone wanted to get their hands on a von Dutch garment.

Celebrities like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, Hilary Duff, Gwen Stefani, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Halle Berry, Anna Nicole Smith, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake and more were spotted wearing various items from the clothing company, taking them north of a billion dollars.

But despite being one of the biggest brands in the world, it was messy behind the scenes.

And now, through a brand new Hulu docuseries that aired on November 18, we finally got a glimpse into what really happened — including corporate feuds, backstabbing, greed, and even bloodshed and death.

The twisted fall of multibillion-dollar fashion brand Von Dutch has been exposed in a brand new Hulu docuseries that aired Nov. 18

The twisted fall of multibillion-dollar fashion brand Von Dutch has been exposed in a brand new Hulu docuseries that aired Nov. 18

#TheCurseofVonDutch: A Brand to Die For detailed the dark decline of company founder Bobby Vaugh (pictured), who was charged with first degree murder in 2005

#TheCurseofVonDutch: A Brand to Die For detailed the dark decline of company founder Bobby Vaugh (pictured), who was charged with first degree murder in 2005

#TheCurseofVonDutch: A Brand to Die For detailed the dark decline of company founder Bobby Vaugh (pictured), who was charged with first degree murder in 2005

Celebrities such as Britney Spears (pictured), Gwen Stefani, Halle Berry, Anna Nicole Smith, Justin Timberlake and more were all spotted wearing the brand in the early 2000s

Celebrities such as Britney Spears (pictured), Gwen Stefani, Halle Berry, Anna Nicole Smith, Justin Timberlake and more were all spotted wearing the brand in the early 2000s

Celebrities such as Britney Spears (pictured), Gwen Stefani, Halle Berry, Anna Nicole Smith, Justin Timberlake and more were all spotted wearing the brand in the early 2000s

Looking back! The company’s trucker hats, jeans and jackets were branded as the “celebrity uniform” of the period

But despite being one of the biggest brands in the world, behind the scenes there were fistfights between the founders, backstabbing, greed and even death

But despite being one of the biggest brands in the world, behind the scenes there were fistfights between the founders, backstabbing, greed and even death

But despite being one of the biggest brands in the world, behind the scenes there were fistfights between the founders, backstabbing, greed and even death

In the 1950s, Kenny Howard (aka Von Dutch) was a car detailer and mechanic. He was known for tricking cars with things like flames and pinstripes, and during that time he became quite famous for his work.

He died in 1992 and when his daughters sold the rights to his name to a man named Michael Cassel, the Von Dutch clothing brand was born.

Before starting the company, however, Michael did not have the best past. It turns out he was actually an incarcerated drug dealer.

Due to his past troubles with the law, Michael struggled to get the company up and running, so he won Bobby and another man named Ed Boswell.

But right away, things weren’t always as they seemed to the brand. For example, one of them admitted in the docuseries that in the beginning the Von Dutch jeans were really just Dickies with the Von Dutch label sewn on them.

But despite their shaky start, the brand quickly took off. In the three-part show – called #TheCurseofVonDutch: A Brand to Die For and directed by Andrew Renzi – Paris described the company’s “trucker hats, jeans and jackets” as the “celebrity uniform” of the early 2000s.

‘Celebrities were the X factor for them,’ Andrew told New York Post. “They got influencers before that was a thing.

“The difference then is that magazines came out once a week or once a month, and so it really caused a stir around this brand because every month Us Weekly or whatever came out and everyone would have a Von Dutch hat.” in the magazine.’

Sneaky: The creators revealed that things weren't always as they seemed.  For example, they admitted that their jeans were really just Dickies with the Von Dutch label sewn on them initially

Sneaky: The creators revealed that things weren't always as they seemed.  For example, they admitted that their jeans were really just Dickies with the Von Dutch label sewn on them first

Sneaky: The creators revealed that things weren’t always as they seemed. For example, they admitted that their jeans were really just Dickies with the Von Dutch label sewn on them first

Tonny Sorensen (pictured) became CEO of the company in 2000, and he started 'making heads' with the creators - eventually forcing them all out of the brand one by one

Tonny Sorensen (pictured) became CEO of the company in 2000, and he started 'making heads' with the creators - eventually forcing them all out of the brand one by one

Tonny Sorensen (pictured) became CEO of the company in 2000, and he started ‘making heads’ with the creators – eventually forcing them all out of the brand one by one

As the money poured in, Bobby, Ed, and Michael remembered “lots of girls, block parties, champagne, private jets, cars, houses and more.”

Unfortunately, the fun didn’t last long. Over time, the three creators explained that they “started banging heads,” with physical fights breaking out between them.

To make matters worse, Bobby was arrested for murder during the height of Von Dutch’s popularity.

According to The New York TimesIn 2005, he was hanging out with a friend who had just been released from prison.

Bobby told them during an interview in 2009 that the friend attacked him with a broken bottle. He fatally shot him and claimed self-defense. He was found not guilty of first degree murder.

He then moved from California to New York City to try to start a new life. But when he was arrested and charged with carrying an unregistered gun, things got worse for him.

He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge and was sentenced to five years’ probation.

Tonny brought in a French designer named Christian Audigier, who had a very different vision of Von Dutch.  This caused further feud between the founders of the company

Tonny brought in a French designer named Christian Audigier, who had a very different vision of Von Dutch.  This caused further feud between the founders of the company

Tonny brought in a French designer named Christian Audigier, who had a very different vision of Von Dutch. This caused further feud between the founders of the company

On the outside, the billion dollar brand looked like they had it all.  But in reality, one of the creators said it felt like 'snakes eating each other'

On the outside, the billion dollar brand looked like they had it all.  But in reality, one of the creators said it felt like 'snakes eating each other'

On the outside, the billion dollar brand looked like they had it all. But in reality, one of the creators said it felt like ‘snakes eating each other’

Things especially went south for the company after Michael brought in an investor named Tonny Sorensen.

He became CEO of the company in 2000, but when he started to change almost everything about the brand, Bobby felt like he was stealing the company from them.

He then brought in a French designer named Christian Audigier, who had a very different vision of Von Dutch.

“It was so much more flamboyant,” Andrew explained. “It was louder because Christian’s idea of ​​America was Michael Jackson. Christian was obsessed with Michael Jackson, obsessed with America’s really loud flair.”

Many disagreements broke out between Tonny and Bobby, and eventually things got so bad between them that Tonny went behind his back and bought Bobby’s stake in the company – eventually firing him. Ed was also kicked out of the company.

Michael and Tonny also eventually started arguing, and Michael was also forced to part ways with the brand after Tonny told him he would have to pay $2 million if he wanted to stay.

“They took this thing that I made, my baby, and they prostituted it,” Michael said in the series.

In the years that followed, Christian and Tonny released as many products as they could, including children’s clothing and even pet accessories. But this ultimately backfired on them.

“When you see dogs wearing von Dutch, it’s just not cool anymore,” Andrew said.

Tonny eventually sold his stake in the company and Christian cut ties with the brand in 2007.

Andrew added: “They’ve exhausted themselves a bit. They made a lot of money and it was a successful business, but it came at the cost of longevity.’

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