“Don’t Worry About Us—Worry About What’s Going On”: A Conversation With Union L.A. Owner Chris Gibbs

In the middle of my phone call with Union L.A. owner Chris Gibbs, he takes a step back. “We’re guilty of it in this conversation—if you go back and count how many times the word ‘looting’ came up, it’s coming up more than ‘police brutality’ or ‘protesters,’” says Gibbs. “I want that to be a reminder: every time we see someone looting, I want to refocus. Like: ‘Oh, shit, I got distracted for a minute. Police brutality, we gotta stop this.’” Gibbs is in what might seem like a conflicted position. Stores in Union’s high-end streetwear category, like Round Two and Staple Pigeon, along with a host of luxury stores, were looted or directly affected. It would be difficult to blame him for worrying about his store. And “it would hurt” if Union were looted, he says. But he’s not really concerned about that—his solution is to attack the problem with more empathy and more compassion. Even as people and experts have debated the efficacy of looting and more destructive protests, Gibbs comes down firmly on one side of the issue. “I’m not personally against violent demonstrations at this point, because I’m frustrated,” he says. “Hurt people hurt.” Read more at GQ.