When you combine love for California, local craftsmanship, good design, great quality and a knack for smart and witty branding you get the über awesome Marine Layer – one of my favorite SF companies that’s making the most soft t-shirts ever. I was sold on Marine Layer already in 2011 when we toured California and discovered their first store on Chestnut Street. Their signature logo of a guy relaxing in a hammock tied to the Golden Gate Bridge was for me the perfect picture for this busy yet laid-back City by the Bay. Since opening in 2010 Marine Layer has expanded it’s product line to hoodies, dresses, bottoms, accessorizes & outwear and is conquering the USA in their famous VW Bus one – sometimes two – shops at the time. Check out here the bus time line.
Recently I stumbled upon Marine Layer stores in LA and Portland and it makes me happy to see that this company that values quality, keeps every step of the production here in California and actually started just because Mikes’ ( the founder of ML) girlfriend throw away his favorite shirt, is making its way and gains popularity everyday.
Few weeks ago I had the pleasure to visit Marine Layer Workshop in San Francisco and see where the super-soft t-shirt magic is happening. Located on California & Polk, an old movie theatre is now home to Marine Layer retail store in front and a workshop/office space in the back. Entering the retail space you are greeted by “OH HEY” floor tiles and shelves full of colorful Marine Layer pieces. Best way to experience the casual vibe of Marine Layer is by browsing the store, having some freshly popped popcorn and watching Baywatch projected on the wall. You will immediately want not only to buy a shirt, but to jump in your car and drive the Highway 1 up and down.
In the back the real stuff is going on…. Means the Marine Layer team is having fun while creating new designs, collections and keeping this cool company running. The open floor plan, brick walls and exposed beam ceilings mixed with sewing machines, clothes racks, colorful swatches, swings, lounging area and rolls over rolls of fabric fit perfectly the Marine Layer aesthetics.
The fine folks at Marine Layer also agreed to answer some of my questions, so scroll down and read on…
How did everything start?
First it was Mike who had the idea of creating the perfectly soft tshirt, after his girlfriend throw away his favorite one. He convinced his best friend, Adam, to help him out and since they are making awesome tshirts.
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Why is it important to you to keep production here in SF?
It’s part of our authenticity and belief in doing things in a slow but deliberate way. Plus we love California and sunshine.
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The brand’s voice is very witty? Who started it?
Mike, the founder, is still behind it, and actively writes copy. He is the brand, in a lot of ways.
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Beloved trend right now?
the Nineties and rosé, best served together.
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Annoying trend right now?
Not yet but Birkenstocks will be soon (but we love them right now).
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Favorite SF spot to have a picnic?
Crissy Field for people watching, and the Creek at the Presidio (right by the Palace of Fine Arts) for something more secluded.
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SF is a brunch city…Where do you go for some good scrambled eggs?
The city has a lot of options, but we like St. Francis Fountain, Chloe’s and Mymy, which is on the same block as our Workshop and headquarters.
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