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The Real American Apparel

[audio:http://dreamlandapparel.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Bruce-Springsteen-Born-In-The-U.S.A..mp3|titles=Bruce Springsteen - Born In The U.S.A.]

The world of fashion has many capitols. The most prevalent include Paris, Milan, and London. Yes, European domains reign supreme, but I argue this is a limited outlook. Certainly brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Burberry provide these cities with well staked claims, but what about the scattered settlements of the Wild West? What about San Francisco, the Bronx… and Beaverton Oregon?

In the 1800’s San Francisco was full of Forty-niner’s; gold hungry frontiersmen sifting streams and striking stones for riches. German immigrant Levi Strauss arrived at this City by the Bay in 1853, and twenty years later teamed up with Jacob Davis to create the clothing rivets that would immortalize their brand. In 1886 “The Two Horse” leather patch was introduced, and in 1901 the rear back pockets.

Strauss died the year after but his company’s legacy continued to grow. In 1927 their staple was introduced to the world, the 501’s. With 10 oz. red salvage denim developed exclusively for this line these jeans were woven for durability unsurpassed then and ever after. By 1936 the red tag was attached to the garment to differentiate it from competitors, and by 1947 it was perfected.

To this day the 501 series remains an icon. Despite the additions, subtractions, and divided approaches of fashion houses the world round, no one has ever done denim better than the company who created it.

Eighty-six years after Strauss immigrated to San Francisco a son was born to another adoptive citizen across the country. Ralph Lifshitz entered the world a Bronx native with Belarusian roots. With dreams of becoming a millionaire Ralph began his quest by selling ties to fellow class-mates. However, his ambitious goal was sidetracked for decades thereafter. It wasn’t until 1967 and a name change that his dreams began to blossom.

With financial backing from a man with a fashionable name (Norman Hilton) Ralph Lauren opened up a necktie store and sold his designs under the “Polo” label.

His focus centered on quality, taste, and style. By 1970 his eye for excellence earned him a Coty Award, and shortly thereafter he was designing costumes for famous films such as The Great Gatsby and Annie Hall.

Since then the brand has expanded beyond even his own expectations. With stores the world-round and ponies on chests of all colors and creeds there is no use questioning the brilliance of this American brand.

Just three years prior to Ralph Lauren opening his first necktie store, Bill Bowerman and Philip Knight founded “Blue Ribbon Sports” in Beaverton, Oregon.

Initially these two gentlemen were importing and selling Japanese sneakers, but as their profit margins grew their supplier went under. Thus, they decided to launch a brand of their own. Bill and Philip hired Carolyn Davidson to create a logo for them. She returned with a simple “swoosh” and charged them $35 dollars for her services.

In 1971 this simple check-mark was attached to a soccer shoe they titled “Nike,” a name they took from the Greek Goddess of Victory. By 1978 the name had become so popular that the company was renamed as such. Two years later they became the largest and most successful sneaker manufacturer in the nation.

Nike is now a mega-corporation. Not only do they have a variety of lines and plethora of clothing related items, they also have acquired several other American companies such as Cole Haan, Hurley International, Converse Inc., and Umbro.

“The Real American Apparel” is a blog idea I came up with awhile back. Not only did I want to establish the fact that America is filled with fashion houses to be proud of, but also to give the stories behind the reasons why. And to conclude Christopher and I would like to show you a couple three-piece outfits utilizing these brands and their current collections.

My 3 Piece Picks:

Ralph Lauren Purple Label: Tailored Jockey Knit Shirt (Buy Here)

1947 501 Rigid (Buy Here)

Nike Dunk Hi (Buy Here)

Christopher’s 3 Piece Picks:

Inspired by Notre DameRudy.

Polo Ralph Lauren: Custom Fit Bold Stripe Rugby (Buy Here)

















Levi’s: 511 Skinny Cycling 5 Pocket Pant (Buy Here)











Nike: Sweet Classic – White Leather (Buy Here)












  • Chris Elliott

    Loved this piece man. One of your all-time best. Thanks for making me a part of it. It’s crazy how much these 3 houses have been responsible for in American culture.

  • Chris Elliott

    Loved this piece man. One of your all-time best. Thanks for making me a part of it. It’s crazy how much these 3 houses have been responsible for in American culture.

    • Anonymous

      Glad you enjoyed it, it is a bit lengthy, but the purposefully so. I enjoyed your picks (much more cost effective than my own, lol). Much love for always showing it my man!

  • Anonymous

    Awesome summary of not so well known historical events. Really interesting. 

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