11 California Clothing Brands You Need to Know About

NYC isn't the only fashion capital

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Aviator Nation

Although many consider New York to be the country’s preeminent fashion capital, there is something about Californians’ usually laid-back style that has recently propelled the region to the forefront of trend-related conversations on both sides of the Atlantic. 

And it’s not just about how folks in California dress, but about how they build their closets. West Coast-born brands seek to manifest a specific sort of attitude through garments that are stylish and comfortable but also eco-friendly. Most of these—the 11 California clothing brands you should know about—have made a commitment to the environment, developing socially conscious lines that don’t compromise style for ecological responsibility. 

1. Noon Goons

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Noon Goons

Surfer Kurt Narmore founded Noon Goons back in 2016 in an effort to appeal to both surfers and punk-loving style aficionados. Think old-school joggers, loads of plaid, and eclectically constructed (and colored) pants.

2. Aether

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The epitome of style-meets-function, standout articles by Aether include motorcycle jackets with removable armors, easy-looking pants made with a textured Italian jersey and a pair of motorcycle boots boasting the kind of refined urban aesthetic that Los Angeles is now known for. The brand was founded back in 2009, when Palmer West and Jonah Smith settled on a design-focused collection that would fit their outdoors lifestyle without compromising the elegance that all city dwellers boast.

3. James Perse

James Perse

Back in 1991, James Perse was looking for a baseball cap. Following a grueling, fruitless search, he decided to design a cap himself, which he eventually sold to Maxfield. Three years later came a T-shirt collection and, four years after that, an entire collection. From standard, plain T-shirts to jersey lounge trousers and all things cashmere, the line is stocked with the kind of subtly cool pieces that you’ll likely don for many years.

4. Outerknown


World champion surfer Kelly Slater launched Outerknown to "lift the lid on the traditional supply chain and prove you can actually produce great looking menswear in a sustainable way." Boy, was she right. All the manufacturers involved in the brand’s production systems abide by the Fair Labor Association and Bluesign guidelines, which means that the hoodies, sweatshorts, tees, polos, and jackets sold aren't only pretty to look at but completely eco-friendly.

5. Aviator Nation

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Aviator Nation

A lifestyle brand launched in 2006 by Paige Mycoskie, Aviator Nation is in the business of casual wear. All pieces boast a vintage essence defined by a worn-in look and expose natural stitching. Shop trucker hats, beanies, shorts, swimwear and look the boldest you've ever looked.

6. Skingraft

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Inspired by performance art, brothers Jonny and Christopher Cota launched this California brand in 2006. Since then, Skingraft has achieved a sort of cult status, defining local trends for years on end. Celebrities the likes of Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz, Usher, Missy Elliot, Beyonce, and Rihanna have donned the brand's signature dark designs, including unisex military jumpsuits and punk cargo pants.

7. The Elder Statesman

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Elder Statesman

This luxury fashion brand by Greg Chait, The Elder Statesman, has come a long way since first launching in Los Angeles in 2007. At first, Chait released a line of custom blankets. Today, ready-to-wear cashmeres are the brand's specialty, which prides itself on the production of incredibly luxurious pieces "with a relaxed West Coast look and attitude."

8. Simon Miller

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Simon Miller

Taking classic, traditional styles and imbuing them with a modern flair, Simon Miller is an LA-based brand helmed by Chelsea Hansford and Daniel Corrigan. The label launched in 2008 solely carrying men's denim. Today, the men's collection, which now includes shirts, sweaters and much more, is complemented by a coveted women's line.

9. John Elliot

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John Elliot

High-end sports clothes made in the heart of Los Angeles are John Elliot's specialty. Launched in the spring of 2012, the brand seeks to coalesce function and modernity through unique fabrics that are custom knit in the United States and usually sourced from Japan. Block color T-shirts and one-of-a-kind hoodies dominate each season.

10. George Esquivel

George Esquival

George Esquivel is by many considered the king of men’s shoes and leather goods. If it's a classic-looking shoe that you're in search of (black leather, burnished brown), he's got it. If you're looking for something a bit more eclectic (pink ostrich-colored footwear, anyone?) then you're also in luck. Most of the details on each product are hand-painted inside the brand’s very own lab.

11. Parabellum

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This is a California based leather goods maker, Parabellum, boasts its ability to create each product by hand in Los Angeles, "using bison leather and technical ceramic hardware.” An ethical brand at its core, it seeks to make fashion efficient by working with a domestic supply chain and offering products at relatively "reasonable prices." The brand launched in 2008 with a single item, the Peacemaker Belt, which made the media rounds and eventually cascaded the launch of other products, from handbags to wallets and even more belts. The owners and founders are Mike Feldman and Jason Jones.

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