Field Trip: Rising Sun & Co.
Posted on May 20, 2013
I’ve known about Rising Sun for a surprising amount of time to have never visited them in person. I’ve spent years traveling across the country working on jobs in LA temporarily and noticed them when I used to visit friends in Pasadena and how incredible their shop looked. The American Classic wasn’t what it is now back then and I was lacking the confidence to galavant into a store, camera in tow, and start shooting. Rising Sun invited me out to their incredible workshop/retail space which has now moved to Eagle Rock, CA (not far from Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles) and I was more than happy to make the trek. Click here to read the full article.
Rising Sun was founded by Mike Hodis (ex-Lucky Brand) in his garage after reexamining his career path. Here’s a few words from him:
“It started as an experiment based in idealism….I wanted to create and produce Jeans that utilized the best American made components and have it be finished through and through on American soil by the best Craftsmen. It started in my garage with a handful of Vintage Industrial sewing machines and the desire to make things differently than the trend at the time, which was to send production overseas for more profit.The overall aesthetic is based in traditional tailoring techniques and good balanced design. Less is more in our book. There are quite a few details in the construction and stitching of our garments that are hidden from the outside view, and we believe that they are equally as important as the outside details.”
First and foremost: if you’re sick of workwear as menswear, time to stop reading. The thing to understand about Rising Sun is they do many things well but the one that speaks loudest to me is historical garment replication. These guys base almost all, if not actually all, of their products off of real original products from the 1800s forward. While this may not sound like something you’re interested in, in actuality it really fucking is. We preach about durability, handcrafting, made in America, etc. and we know a lot of brands that make a lot of things really, really well. Rising Sun is a unique case combining our sartorial longings of perfect-fitting workwear with actual functionality. These things are durable as hell. The duck cloth and canvas used is of an incredible grade that I haven’t seen utilized before. A lot of their internal promotional materials read “SELVEDGE DENIM” or something to the effect; the company’s title is also Rising Sun Jeans. Denim, while definitely their strongest suit, is not the only material they work with. Their shirts and pants come in a variety of fabrics that are equally as worthy of your interest and dollars.
The workshop/retail space is like a library of yester-year’s manufacturing techniques; the meeting room for Rising Sun is filled with research pieces and mood boards dedicated to future project development. Their collection of sewing machines, button-attachers, riveters and more (all industry terms, of course) surpasses all other companies I have visited. That being said, almost all production takes place in house. From research to design to manufacturing and sales, everything happens under one roof (with the exception of a few things such as tees and knits, based upon efficiency), compact enough to yell across the building from the sewing room to the shipping department. While the shop is open Monday-Friday (call ahead to make certain they’re there), visiting on Saturday almost guarantees you some time to chat with Mike and get the full tour of his product. Rising Sun is an asset in the sea of look-alike small-batch denim manufacturers and while the price tag may be too steep for you right now, someday their siren song of “attention-to-detail” will surely reel you in.