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Thursday, July 13, 2017


Image result for Vaktare, M.G.Vaktare, M.G.: Los Angeles-based Vaktare, M.G. makes gorgeous, motorcycling-inspired coats and jackets that I have not yet been able to afford.

Volcom: Orange County-based Volcom is a one-stop shop for skater/surfer/snowboarder fashion, from jackets to board shorts to two-piece suits.  Because they target skaters – who shred clothes quickly, no matter how high quality – I did not expect Volcom to put much effort into the second-thing-to-go elements of clothing construction.  After all, why double-stitch a garment that’s going to be rags within weeks regardless?  But I was pleasantly surprised.  A few years back, I bought a Volcom button-up. It was a good purchase.  The shirt had a clean silhouette, but with slightly skewed seams that bent people’s eyes just enough to prevent them from looking past me.  And – because I do not lead a tear-through-fabric lifestyle – it lasted for years.

Image result for espinoza's leather mechanicEspinoza’s Leather Company: Rosemead-based Espinoza’s is a family shop that makes custom-tailored clothing for motorcyclists, including jackets of leather, wool, and/or denim.

American Giant: San Francisco-based American Giant claims to make The Perfect Hoodie.  I bought one.  It is.  They also make a couple of light, well-cut jackets for urban wear.  

Mountain Hardwear: Richmond-based Mountain Hardware’s streetwear looks like what it is – streetwear designed and manufactured by a company that specializes in backpacking gear.  That said, their jackets and coats have clean lines, and they probably are of very high quality – Mountain Hardwear has been my go-to supplier for camping-and-backpacking clothing and gear for more than a decade, and they’ve never let me down. 

Chrome: When I lived in the real Bay Area (i.e., the Bay Area in which you can see the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge with minimal effort), Chrome was the most ubiquitous brand of messenger bags and backpacks.  Now, they've expanded their line to include everything that a bike-messenger-type urbanite needs for day-to-day living, including outerwear that would look equally appropriate on a bike messenger or on a Sierras hiker.

DSTLD: Los Angeles-based DSTLD is an online-only, direct-to-consumer clothing designer and manufacturer.  Their wares include dark-hued jackets and coats in a variety of cuts and styles.  I do not yet own any DSTLD clothing, but I might give their Leather Moto Jacket a try.

North Face: Alameda-based North Face makes pretty much everything an outdoors-enthusiast could want.  And – judging by everything I’ve bought from them so far – they make all if it really really well.  They also make coats and jackets that a Californian – at least a Northern Californian – could call streetwear.   

Murga Boot Company: Rancho Santa Margarita-based MBC makes custom leather clothing, including some fantastic leather jackets.

The Ames Biker JacketAG Jeans: Los Angeles-based AG made its name designing flattering and socially conscious jeans, which my wife has worn happily for years.  They also make a variety of well and simply cut coats and jackets.

Band of Outsiders: I feel compelled to mention Los Angeles-based Band of Outsiders.  For more than a decade, they consistently have turned out interesting, runway-worthy collections.  That said, they've never made a single item of clothing that I've wanted to buy or wear.

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