- “H3 Podcast” host Hila Klein held a packed pop-up for her clothing brand Teddy Fresh.
- Hundreds of fans lined up in East Hollywood for a chance at getting inside the free event.
- Online disputes over the crowded pop-up illustrate how large the podcast’s fandom has become.
At 81 degrees, November 13 was the hottest day of the month in East Hollywood. The sun shone down on hundreds of YouTube fans who waited for up to 10 hours outside the pop-up for a chance to get into the highly anticipated free event.
Even though “H3 Podcast” hosts Ethan and Hila Klein had already left the venue, the line of their fans stretched down Sunset Boulevard, past a tiki bar, a tire shop, and a Scientology studio. As the line looped around the block, fans who said they had shown up “on time” for the free 8-hour event worried about their chances of getting in.
The “H3 Podcast” channel, which hosts multiple shows and has 3 million subscribers, has become a massive online cultural hub, due in large part to the runaway success (and eventual crash and burn) of its “Frenemies” podcast — featuring Trisha Paytas as co-host — during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Separate from the YouTube world, Hila launched her passion project — clothing brand Teddy Fresh — in October 2017, six months after the creation of the dedicated “H3 Podcast” YouTube channel. Both projects have since grown exponentially, and the Kleins promote the brand on YouTube, leading to a devoted Teddy Fresh customer base within their fandom.
“I love vintage stuff. I just love the amount of detail that you’ll find in those kinds of pieces, the novelty craft,” she told the publication. Hila’s capsule collections tend to sell out thanks to fan support, and this month’s Los Angeles pop-up store was no exception.
In line with the retro, childlike aesthetic, Teddy Fresh has collaborated with brands like Spongebob Squarepants and Care Bears. For the November 2021 collection, the brand partnered with Warner Bros. to feature iconic “Looney Tunes” characters like Tweety Bird, the Road Runner, and the Tasmanian Devil.
The day of, Hila showed up early to survey the scene and take pictures with Bella Poarch, a TikTok star and pop singer with more than 85 million followers. She and Ethan also showcased the long line outside the pop-up on social media, but they were gone by the time fans were able to enter.
Posts mocking complaints about the pop-up and defending the Kleins appeared on the subreddit after a few individuals said they waited for hours and still didn’t get in. One particular poster claimed that they overheard fans in line bashing the event and planning to smear the Kleins, which echoes division among some “H3 Podcast” fans.
Two days after the event concluded, Ethan apologized to fans who didn’t make it inside.
On his “H3TV” show, Ethan said the hot weather was unexpected, as well as the volume of fans who showed up. He thanked attendees and said that after canceling their meet-up, he and Hila were afraid no one would come.
“For some reason, it was the hottest fucking day,” Ethan said on his podcast. “We were passing out water bottles trying to make sure people stayed hydrated.”
One subreddit user who posted a picture of herself with “H3 Podcast” crew member AB Ayad wrote that she drove from Arizona to LA for the pop-up, waited 8 hours, and didn’t get in — but was still happy to have met Ayad.
In September 2020, Ethan accused YouTuber James Charles of copying Hila’s color-blocked hoodie design for his own merchandise. Charles denied that he was aware of the Teddy Fresh design, but conceded that his own branded hoodie looked very similar.
The interaction spawned a war on Charles led by Ethan that has continued up to the present day.
“I’m ready to go home, but I’m glad I came so early,” she told Insider.
On the subreddit, fans praised the freebies that were offered to attendees, which included Teddy Fresh face masks, stickers, and signed posters — although the event eventually ran out of some of the goodies.
“You can tell there was a lot of love that went into the event. Good vibes all around from the fans and the whole H3 crew,” one attendee wrote.
The “Looney Tunes” collection was later released online, and it ranges in price from $US35 ($AU49) knit beanies with character appliques to a $US350 ($AU486) varsity jacket.
Customers could choose from 13 Teddy Fresh designs, some of which referenced past collections, and others that drew inspiration from traditional tattoo styles.
Beniston’s designs mesh with Hila’s style: she said in a 2018 interview that she aimed to challenge the idea that “colorful equals tacky” and “tacky equals bad.”
“‘Looney Tunes’ and fashion was really a crossover that affected all kinds of people,” Hila told the outlet. “It’s something I personally grew up on. It’s just such a nostalgic collaboration.”
Ethan said that Warner Brothers loaned Teddy Fresh the Bugs Bunny statue for the event, but that the head of the statue fell off when it was in the process of being returned.
“I receive most of my business inquiries through my Instagram,” Tokyo told Racked in 2016. “I’ve always been surrounded by art, and loved to draw since I was a little girl.”
“A thousand people showed up and about six hundred went through,” Ethan said. “It was a big project for us and a good time.”