Thing Thoughts: Taylor Stitch has Gone Global

Taylor Stitch Jack Shirt Made in California

There’s nothing I love more than small local homegrown businesses that put out exceptional quality stuff via local manufacturing. One of the businesses I love that does that is Taylor Stitch, although they aren’t so much anymore and that makes me sad.

I discovered Taylor Stitch back in 2016 when I lost a lot of weight and no longer fit into any of my clothes. Of course since I wasn’t spending as much money on food, naturally, I decided to put it into clothes that fit. Having already been enamored of US-made stuff (which consistently cost more but lasted much much longer) I started looking up local clothing designers and manufacturers and came across Taylor Stitch, a small company based out of San Francisco that was making their clothing in California. I jumped on the opportunity to redo do things. For all intents and purposes, I have since become a Taylor Stitch collector. I have bought their Jack shirt in numerous colors and also own their Chore Pant in all available colors, including some not available on the site (only available in their San Francisco stores.). The Chore pant is awesome, but it does suffer from some fading issues. I might cover that later in a separate post.

Unfortunately, earlier this year, Taylor Stitch decided to move much of their production overseas to, most notably, China. One of the things I like about Taylor Stitch is that they often let customers vote on future clothing releases by sending you to a survey site to gauge your interest in upcoming releases. The most recent survey was entirely items made in China. In the past, they had outsourced items like some of their leather accessories and their Democratic Chinos to factories in Spain. It would appear that both Spanish-made items were/are consistent in quality to the goods they were making here in the US and this may be that they were made under the auspices of Taylor Stitch’s initial charter and what it expected in outsourced goods. In fact the only real issue I have with the Democratic China (which is an awesome pair of pants) is its use of a print of a map of San Francisco inside the pants…despite being made in another country. It’s just weird.

Unfortunately, I have no faith in the quality, materials, or fit and finish of items made in China. I’ve consistently been let down by clothes and shoes coming from China, and while I understand that it allows fashion designers to tag items with a 100,000% markup on items, it also allows them to rely solely on their branding and visual design to earn repeat business, which they get by importing Chinese-made clothing that [possibly deliberately] wears out and falls apart quickly. Given that there is little to no accountability and quality control, this is to be expected from countries with garment factories that place high volume/low price above high quality/low output. One consistently sees a difference here.

To digress for a moment, last year I made the switch from Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star lows (made in China) to SOM Footwear Zephyrs made in Colorado. The difference in fit, finish, and manufacturing is astonishing. I have highly arched small toes which would wear holes through the sides of Chucks in under three months and the sides of the midsole would crack and split. I am now eight months in wearing my Zephyrs and there is ZERO sign of fatigue in the shoe fabric and the soles aren’t cracking at all. On top of that, these shoes can be resoled for $35. I’m so happy with them, I haven’t ordered a resole yet…I ordered a new pair of SOMs (the Briquette) to start a collection, and will get my Zephyr’s resoled once the Briquettes get here. You can make the argument that the Chucks are cheaper, but with the option of resoling, the SOMs will outlast any single pair of Chucks by years. I’d show you a comparison pic, but I tossed the Chucks out eight months ago. I’m still getting used to the whole notion of documenting things here. I covered SOMs briefly in an earlier post when they sent me stuff for winning a contest, I’ll talk about the shoes more themselves in a later post.

Getting back to Taylor Stitch, For me, the red flag went up when I pre-ordered/crowd-funded my favorite cut of shirt ever, the Taylor Stitch Jack insofar as the reverse jacquard variant was the only one I’ve received that wasn’t made in California, rather, it was made in Portugal. The difference in sizing and cut was noticeable and I wonder how it will hold up. In fact, as I write this, I wonder if perhaps Taylor Stitch’s owners sold the company recently, whether as an ouster or part of a planned exit with venture capital investors. If that is the case, that is unfortunate and I would highly recommend you go buy up whatever US-made goods remain in their inventory, I know I’ll be taking a careful look myself.

So in conclusion, I have every intention of continuing to support Taylor Stitch’s domestic efforts, but the more production they move overseas, the less interested I become.

Sad Thoughts: Goodbye Romancing the Bean, Magnolia Park, Burbank, California

Well, Romancing The Bean, it’s time for me to move on.

Romancing the Bean is a lovely little cafe in the heart of the Magnolia Park shopping district, flanked by numerous vintage clothing and curios shops as well as the delicious and highly addictive Porto’s Bakery. It has been so successful in fact, that other businesses rallied to get 1-hour parking restrictions installed on the street in front of it so as to keep would-be diners from hogging parking away from shoppers who might want to visit one of the other small businesses along the blvd.

Romancing the Bean served a great independent coffee roaster, Groundwork, always had nice Pandora stations playing, and the staff was kind and amenable. But the clientele wrecked it all. Continue reading “Sad Thoughts: Goodbye Romancing the Bean, Magnolia Park, Burbank, California”

Sad Thoughts: So Long Book Castle Movie World, Burbank, California

Well I suppose this one was inevitable: Book Castle Movie World is closing. The shop has been a fixture of Downtown Burbank for, oh geeze, it has to be 40 or 50 years at least.

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The shop had all the appearances of a film curios shop that might stock or display props, costumes, reproductions, movie posters, screenplays, and other ephemera to tickle a cinephile’s fancy. The shop front had the dilapidated Art Deco look of a repurposed clothing store from the 40’s that had gone long unoccupied until the Movie World tenant moved in. The displays featured faded movie posters for past great films and even the latest and greatest stuff in theaters, all showing an equal amount of fading and weathering.

But the reality inside was somewhat different. Continue reading “Sad Thoughts: So Long Book Castle Movie World, Burbank, California”

Sad Thoughts: RIP PF Chang’s in Burbank

The other morning, I noticed this sign outside PF Chang’s:

This makes me sad. I am far from an alcoholic, I’m a lightweight in fact. My poison of choice is probably coffee, but even coffee I can’t stomach after 10:00am. That being said, I was very sad to find out that P.F. Chang’s had closed the doors of the location in Burbank, California.

You see, I’m not a big drinker, and because of that, it only takes a couple for me to not feel so great the morning after imbibing with friends, and everyone knows the cure for any hangover is terribly awesome greasy food.

*Disclaimer – I know it’s not actually a cure. There is no cure for a hangover the same way there is no cure for being born straight.

**Double Disclaimer – There is, of course, Hangover Heaven if you happen to live in, or be near the area it serves.

With all that being said, PF Chang’s was an excellent hangover placebo. Their Lo Mein consistently made me feel better and left me with such a fond memory that I typically would go back roughly three days later and order it again…and regret the hell out of that second visit, swearing I would never be hung over again.

This sort of thing typically happened to me once a year, and I almost found myself looking forward to it, but alas, no more.

I wildly speculate that this was not the result of people not going there (PF Chang’s appeals to a lower-but-not-lowest common denominator, and thus, is is usually pretty full of people, but rather, it could be that Chang’s decided to pull out of their lease after the Burbank Town Center Mall failed to complete their renovation on time, and by on time, it was supposed to be done before Thanksgiving 2017, and is nowhere near being complete.

Of course, there are no winners here, whether it’s the staff of the restaurant (who hopefully got reassigned to other nearby locations…but probably didn’t), mall patrons, regular diners, casual diners with one less option , or sad sorry hung over folks such as yours truly looking for a little comfort on their day of suffering, nobody comes out ahead here.

With any luck, the new tenant will serve up a similar style of salty greasy goodness that brings joy. That’s all one can hope for.