As a men’s lifestyle writer, I’m consistently in close proximity to literally tens of cool, stylish people who are easy for me to shamelessly copy in every way possible. So, in the spirit of sharing the wealth of hard-stolen knowledge, the editors at PacificSD have asked me to take you on a journey around town to show you some of my favorite style brands, shops and new arrivals to get you looking fit in the New Year, because that gym resolution certainly isn’t going to do it...statistically speaking, of course.
Aloha Sunday Supply Company
3118 University Ave., North Park
Launched in 2011 by a pair of friends who met working/shredding for local clothier Jedidiah, Aloha Sunday Supply Company is the duo’s adult answer to typical surf shops they felt were all “geared towards younger kids.” Until December, they’d released only small collections of their own designs, but now they’ve dropped their first full line. Inspired by the Hawaiian trade winds locals know as makani (Hawaiian for “the life-giving spirit of air”), the breezy collection will shroud you from neck-to-ankle with everything from short-sleeve Hawaiian shirts to graphic tees.
Because you’ll want service at some of the places you go, the shop has you covered with the necessary shoes, plus accessories, men’s grooming products and even a few surfboards in case you absolutely need a painful reminder of why you’re too old for those other surf shops.
701 8th Ave., East Village
Two Bonita Vista High grads who joined forces after college to launch a graphic design firm quickly diversified their art-outfit, Product Etcetera, and now have a hand in everything from street-art installations in Hawaii to the “Bring Back the Brown” campaign aimed at putting the Padres back into their original colors. No longer content to make only other folks’ stuff look cool, the crew now releases collaborations and their own gear, featuring clean logos like “Westside Love,” which they intended as “a sign of affection for [their] home, the Pacific side of the United States”. Co-opting a hand gesture typically used to boast territorial superiority, the design maintains the pride element while shedding the combative vibe commonly associated with the image. This thoughtfulness is a constant in their work, as is a positive message and clean design aesthetic especially apparent in their 24/7 logo, designed to pay homage to the Yankees, “the team that never sleeps.”
The only place in town to pick up Product Etcetera goods is East Village streetwear shop 5&A Dime, opened by Jason Huggins in 2005 as a space to showcase his friends’ brands. The Dime crew is still carrying on the tradition today, providing retail marketplace for local companies like 9Five Eyewear and Lovewright Company, while also offering a selection of their own gear including their first shoe collab with Dekline.
Often described as “the Argentinean Ralph Lauren” (possibly because it’s the brand the national polo team wears), the-cooler-because-it’s-foreign Etiqueta Negra (Spanish for “Black Label”) comes from designer Federico Alvarez Castillo, who pulls his timeless, gear-head aesthetic from his extensive classic car and motorcycle collection. Made with only the finest fabrics from across the world - Columbian denim, Argentinean lamb leather, Italian cotton - the collection comprises clothing of such high quality it graciously takes the attention off of you.
Previously available only in flagship stores in NY C and Miami, Etiqueta Negra can now be found in San Diego. Huddled around a 1911 Indian motorcycle (from Federico’s collection) in Bloomingdale’s Fashion Valley, the first West Coast pop-up is now fully stocked. And while the leather jackets and formal wear can get a little expensive, the brand sports plenty of comfortable casual wear that won’t break the bank.
Kyle Hall is the San Diego editor of men’s lifestyle newsletter Thrillist, which provides a no-B.S. take on the best in food, drink, entertainment, nightlife, gadgets, and gear in your ‘hood.