the shoulder pad theory

October 3, 2019

notes

I found my all-time favorite shirt at a consignment shop in Seattle. It’s 90’s vintage. An awkward length - not quite a shirt, not quite a crop top, with random holes through the sleeve and rib band. I will wear this to a wedding, on a boat, to a brewery. Because I feel damn cool when I put it on. That’s my intention when I design our products, because - it's ok to feel fucking cool.

One thing I should mention: the shirt has shoulder-pads. Who knew I wanted shoulder pads so much in my life?! But I’m here to tell you you do need that hidden zippered pocket on a fanny pack because no security guard is going to check that shiz for a flask - I want to give you the thing you didn’t even know you were looking for, but you can't live without. There is something undeniable about shoulder pads - and my theory is it’s cuz they’re just a little bit strange, they create angles that weren’t there before and just sit there demanding attention. Eyes are caught and drawn in. Magnetism and undeniable attraction - I can dig it. So yes, I’m a stickler about beauty, perfection, and fit, but honestly, if our product doesn’t pass the Shoulder Pad Test, we’re not going to make it.

Feeling cool is an act of rebellion - one that doesn’t mean distance, but means showing up just as yourself and connecting with others who do the same. Cool means embodying a sense of being larger than life, of being just beyond understanding. In my book it's ok to belong at the cool kid's table, we just desperately need to redefine the definition of who belongs there.

It's for the people who live out loud. Who make a statement.

Who piss some people off because you know that if everyone likes you, or what you're doing, you're doing something wrong.

I found my all-time favorite shirt at a consignment shop in Seattle. It’s 90’s vintage. An awkward length - not quite a shirt, not quite a crop top, with random holes through the sleeve and rib band. I will wear this to a wedding, on a boat, to a brewery. Because I feel damn cool when I put it on. That’s my intention when I design our products, because - it's ok to feel fucking cool.

One thing I should mention: the shirt has shoulder-pads. Who knew I wanted shoulder pads so much in my life?! But I’m here to tell you you do need that hidden zippered pocket on a fanny pack because no security guard is going to check that shiz for a flask - I want to give you the thing you didn’t even know you were looking for, but you can't live without. There is something undeniable about shoulder pads - and my theory is it’s cuz they’re just a little bit strange, they create angles that weren’t there before and just sit there demanding attention. Eyes are caught and drawn in. Magnetism and undeniable attraction - I can dig it. So yes, I’m a stickler about beauty, perfection, and fit, but honestly, if our product doesn’t pass the Shoulder Pad Test, we’re not going to make it.

Feeling cool is an act of rebellion - one that doesn’t mean distance, but means showing up just as yourself and connecting with others who do the same. Cool means embodying a sense of being larger than life, of being just beyond understanding. In my book it's ok to belong at the cool kid's table, we just desperately need to redefine the definition of who belongs there.

It's for the people who live out loud. Who make a statement.

Who piss some people off because you know that if everyone likes you, or what you're doing, you're doing something wrong.

I love the Shoulder Pad Theory for the people it attracts and it informs the spaces we create. Every day people walk by our shop and do a double-take - a glimpse into our space and you’re confronted with industrial sewing machines, an overstuffed leather couch, soaring shelving in the shape of damn mountains, a hand-poured concrete bar top, and a work table meant for giants (if you ever wanted a dinner table that sat 30, here’s the one). People don’t 100% understand what’s going on - there’s something weird about the extremeness of the sizes that draws the eye, as well as the intentional retail set alongside the industrial visuals of manufacturing. This is our statement - that if you’re the type of person who needs to understand everything you’re getting into - we aren’t for you. But if you’re interested enough to walk through our door, you’re probs our type of human.

Nothing exemplifies this more than the first leather bag we made: the NUMA. Early on I told Dan I HAD to have a leather fanny pack and although he fought me at first, I finally won out. I loved the first very first prototype - cool, but as classic as a well-worn cowboy hat. As a customer commented, it is

“design that walks the line between city elegance and country cool” - amen.

At our next farmer's market, Dan sold it immediately. No biggie, he made another. And sold it. And another, and another, until I refused to let him keep selling my bag and made him bring it on in our product offering.  It's our all-time top selling product for good reason, because it epitomizes the Shoulder Pad Theory. Some people think fanny packs are the bane of their existence, they would never wear one. Good, we craft stunning ones for those who can rock it and we don't worry about the others. Go on, go check it out and see what other people have said.

-Mal

p.s. If you're feeling like going to the thrift store right now, do it. Those shoulder pads are calling.

I love the Shoulder Pad Theory for the people it attracts and it informs the spaces we create. Every day people walk by our shop and do a double-take - a glimpse into our space and you’re confronted with industrial sewing machines, an overstuffed leather couch, soaring shelving in the shape of damn mountains, a hand-poured concrete bar top, and a work table meant for giants (if you ever wanted a dinner table that sat 30, here’s the one). People don’t 100% understand what’s going on - there’s something weird about the extremeness of the sizes that draws the eye, as well as the intentional retail set alongside the industrial visuals of manufacturing. This is our statement - that if you’re the type of person who needs to understand everything you’re getting into - we aren’t for you. But if you’re interested enough to walk through our door, you’re probs our type of human.

Nothing exemplifies this more than the first leather bag we made: the NUMA. Early on I told Dan I HAD to have a leather fanny pack and although he fought me at first, I finally won out. I loved the first very first prototype - cool, but as classic as a well-worn cowboy hat. As a customer commented, it is

“design that walks the line between city elegance and country cool” - amen.

At our next farmer's market, Dan sold it immediately. No biggie, he made another. And sold it. And another, and another, until I refused to let him keep selling my bag and made him bring it on in our product offering.  It's our all-time top selling product for good reason, because it epitomizes the Shoulder Pad Theory. Some people think fanny packs are the bane of their existence, they would never wear one. Good, we craft stunning ones for those who can rock it and we don't worry about the others. Go on, go check it out and see what other people have said.

-Mal

p.s. If you're feeling like going to the thrift store right now, do it. Those shoulder pads are calling.

model, Roma

pictures, Alexander Beal

learn more about taking a class

the shoulder pad theory

October 3, 2019

notes

I found my all-time favorite shirt at a consignment shop in Seattle. It’s 90’s vintage. An awkward length - not quite a shirt, not quite a crop top, with random holes through the sleeve and rib band. I will wear this to a wedding, on a boat, to a brewery. Because I feel damn cool when I put it on. That’s my intention when I design our products, because - it's ok to feel fucking cool.

One thing I should mention: the shirt has shoulder-pads. Who knew I wanted shoulder pads so much in my life?! But I’m here to tell you you do need that hidden zippered pocket on a fanny pack because no security guard is going to check that shiz for a flask - I want to give you the thing you didn’t even know you were looking for, but you can't live without. There is something undeniable about shoulder pads - and my theory is it’s cuz they’re just a little bit strange, they create angles that weren’t there before and just sit there demanding attention. Eyes are caught and drawn in. Magnetism and undeniable attraction - I can dig it. So yes, I’m a stickler about beauty, perfection, and fit, but honestly, if our product doesn’t pass the Shoulder Pad Test, we’re not going to make it.

Feeling cool is an act of rebellion - one that doesn’t mean distance, but means showing up just as yourself and connecting with others who do the same. Cool means embodying a sense of being larger than life, of being just beyond understanding. In my book it's ok to belong at the cool kid's table, we just desperately need to redefine the definition of who belongs there.

It's for the people who live out loud. Who make a statement.

Who piss some people off because you know that if everyone likes you, or what you're doing, you're doing something wrong.

I love the Shoulder Pad Theory for the people it attracts and it informs the spaces we create. Every day people walk by our shop and do a double-take - a glimpse into our space and you’re confronted with industrial sewing machines, an overstuffed leather couch, soaring shelving in the shape of damn mountains, a hand-poured concrete bar top, and a work table meant for giants (if you ever wanted a dinner table that sat 30, here’s the one). People don’t 100% understand what’s going on - there’s something weird about the extremeness of the sizes that draws the eye, as well as the intentional retail set alongside the industrial visuals of manufacturing. This is our statement - that if you’re the type of person who needs to understand everything you’re getting into - we aren’t for you. But if you’re interested enough to walk through our door, you’re probs our type of human.

Nothing exemplifies this more than the first leather bag we made: the NUMA. Early on I told Dan I HAD to have a leather fanny pack and although he fought me at first, I finally won out. I loved the first very first prototype - cool, but as classic as a well-worn cowboy hat. As a customer commented, it is

“design that walks the line between city elegance and country cool” - amen.

At our next farmer's market, Dan sold it immediately. No biggie, he made another. And sold it. And another, and another, until I refused to let him keep selling my bag and made him bring it on in our product offering.  It's our all-time top selling product for good reason, because it epitomizes the Shoulder Pad Theory. Some people think fanny packs are the bane of their existence, they would never wear one. Good, we craft stunning ones for those who can rock it and we don't worry about the others. Go on, go check it out and see what other people have said.

-Mal

p.s. If you're feeling like going to the thrift store right now, do it. Those shoulder pads are calling.

I love the Shoulder Pad Theory for the people it attracts and it informs the spaces we create. Every day people walk by our shop and do a double-take - a glimpse into our space and you’re confronted with industrial sewing machines, an overstuffed leather couch, soaring shelving in the shape of damn mountains, a hand-poured concrete bar top, and a work table meant for giants (if you ever wanted a dinner table that sat 30, here’s the one). People don’t 100% understand what’s going on - there’s something weird about the extremeness of the sizes that draws the eye, as well as the intentional retail set alongside the industrial visuals of manufacturing. This is our statement - that if you’re the type of person who needs to understand everything you’re getting into - we aren’t for you. But if you’re interested enough to walk through our door, you’re probs our type of human.

Nothing exemplifies this more than the first leather bag we made: the NUMA. Early on I told Dan I HAD to have a leather fanny pack and although he fought me at first, I finally won out. I loved the first very first prototype - cool, but as classic as a well-worn cowboy hat. As a customer commented, it is

“design that walks the line between city elegance and country cool” - amen.

At our next farmer's market, Dan sold it immediately. No biggie, he made another. And sold it. And another, and another, until I refused to let him keep selling my bag and made him bring it on in our product offering.  It's our all-time top selling product for good reason, because it epitomizes the Shoulder Pad Theory. Some people think fanny packs are the bane of their existence, they would never wear one. Good, we craft stunning ones for those who can rock it and we don't worry about the others. Go on, go check it out and see what other people have said.

-Mal

p.s. If you're feeling like going to the thrift store right now, do it. Those shoulder pads are calling.

learn more about taking a class