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Thursday, July 13, 2017

CALIFORNIA HOODIES


Image result for american giant hoodieAmerican Giant: San Francisco-based American Giant claims to make The Perfect Hoodie.  I bought one.  It is.

Kanan: Los Angeles-based Kanan does more than any wide-distribution clothing designer/manufacture that I’ve found that employs Californians to make California clothes out of California materials.  Kanan’s luxury-quality t-shirt fabric is made from California cotton.  The zippers for their hoodies are manufactured in Los Angeles.  I own an ever-growing collection of Kanan t-shirts – they are my favorite t-shirt brand, by a wide margin.  I do not yet own one of Kanan’s hoodies, but I’m betting that they are top shelf.     

Patagonia: With Ventura-based Patagonia, you get what you pay for.  What you pay is a lot.  What you get is exactly what you want.  Patagonia’s gear and clothing looks great, it works perfectly, and it is manufactured as ethically and sustainably as reasonably possible.  I do not yet own a Patagonia hoodie.  But I do own a broad cross-section Patagonia clothing and gear, all of which may very well last me forever.  
 
Image result for espinoza's leather The hoodieEspinoza’s Leather Company: Or maybe you'd like a very different kind of hoodie?  Rosemead-based Espinoza’s is a family shop that makes custom-tailored clothing for motorcyclists, including leather hoodies.

Mountain Hardwear: Richmond-based Mountain Hardware has been my go-to supplier for camping-and-backpacking clothing and gear for more than a decade.  They also make hoodies, which probably are of high quality, and which look nice, in an a-backpacking-company-made-this sort of way.

North Face: Alameda-based North Face makes pretty much everything an outdoors-enthusiast could want.  They also make outdoors/urban-hybrid hoodies which – judging by everything I’ve bought from them so far – likely are of high quality, if a bit over-logoed for my taste. 

Olivers Apparel: Los Angeles-based Olivers makes shorts, shirts, and sweat clothes for runners and gym-goers.  Their thin, structured hoodies also would work well as streetwear.

Volcom: Orange County-based Volcom is a one-stop shop for skater/surfer/snowboarder fashion, from hoodies and sweatshirts 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.

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 hoodies. 

AG 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 high-end hoodies.

American Apparel: So here's the thing about Los Angeles-based AA: It's well made, and it looks great on the people who it looks great on.  For everyone else, AA seems designed specifically to highlight the ways in which it does not look great on them.  Don't know which category you fall into?  Well, the folks around you do.  Ask someone you trust if you're one of the people who AA designs its clothes to fit.  If the answer is yes, then lucky you -- you have a one-stop shop for relatively inexpensive, ethically manufactured, long-lasting basics.  If the answer is no, walk away from this brand forever.  

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