San Francisco | A Continuous Lean.

Compelling Characters | Four Barrel’s Jeremy Tooker

Jun 5th, 2013 | Categories: Denim, Made in the USA, San Francisco | by Michael Williams

One thing you notice when you go to Four Barrel on Valencia Street in San Francisco is a decided lack of people camped out working on their laptops. This is intentional, there’s not power outlets or wi-fi provided because the focus is on coffee — as it should be. Granted, some people want to post up in a coffee shop soaking up all of the oxygen, but that’s why God invented Starbucks.

The guys at Tellason worked with the very talented folks at SF based Vertical Online to profile the compelling characters that wear Tellason jeans, including this video and the previous release that focused on motorcycle builder Todd Blugaugh. These short films are beautiful pieces strictly from a visual standpoint, but it’s nice to know that these connections are real and the guys actually wear the jeans. Much respect to Four Barrel, Vertical Online and Tellason for keeping it real.

Related: ACL’s 2009 interview of Tellason’s Tony Patella.

The AETHER STREAM Takes San Francisco

Feb 23rd, 2012 | Categories: Menswear, Retail, San Francisco | by Michael Williams

There’s no question the Aether pop up shop, which the L.A.-based outfitter has dubbed the AETHER STREAM, is one of the most awesome moveable retail deployments I’ve ever seen. In concept the formula is simple, take a 34′ Airstream PanAmerica (originally made in Jackson Center, Ohio — what what), hire Paris-based designer Thierry Gaugain to make it look like a bad ass hybrid den / workshop and then attach it to an especially made Armbruster WWII canvas army tent.

I caught the AETHER STREAM while it was in New York during December, but I never got a chance to talk about it here until this past week when I headed out to San Francisco for the third stop on its tour.

Revisting Unionmade San Francisco

Nov 7th, 2011 | Categories: Retail, San Francisco | by Michael Williams

While out in San Francisco this past week, I stopped into Unionmade to see what the guys have been up to since I first profiled them on ACL two years ago. First of all, the SF store has grown considerably with a recent addition of the space next door, which in its former life was a dry cleaning shop. The addition more than doubles the selling space and houses a little book area, tons of Alden shoes and the shop’s new Indigo collection. On top of all of the happenings at the original shop, Unionmade is also about to open a new outpost at the Marin Country Mart, which will be the third store for the burgeoning Americana-loving outfitter.

It really is a remarkable thing what Todd Barket and the guys at Unionmade have done. The selection rivals any store in the world, corporately owned or private. In fact, there’s actually a rumor going around that Unionmade is owned by a certain preppy-cum-rugged East Coast retailer. A rumor that Todd says is totally untrue. In my mind that hearsay is easily dismissible because there’s no way a big company like that could actually get out of their own way long enough to make something as good as Unionmade actually see the light of day.

We Build the Ladders by Which We Climb.

Oct 31st, 2010 | Categories: San Francisco, Video | by Michael Williams

A look inside the San Francisco Fire Department’s ladder factory, the only one of its kind in the United States.

[Thanks to Terry V. for the heads up.]


Jul 4th, 2010 | Categories: Denim, San Francisco | by Michael Williams

Launching today — for all you denim loving patriots — at the Levi Strauss & Co. flagship store in San Francisco (Union Square) is the Levi’s Tailor Shop, a one-of-a-kind customization area with special goods and services. The LS&CO folks have outfitted the Tailor Shop with a chain stitch machine, an embroidery machine and a darning machine (for repairs or maybe just to get the repaired look). At the tailor shop you can also make your own buttons, choose vintage patches, screen print to fully customize your jeans.

Archival Khaki in San Francisco

Feb 27th, 2010 | Categories: Americana, History, San Francisco | by Michael Williams

I don’t want to say that this fell through the cracks, but a few months ago I was in San Francisco for a quick business trip and I took the opportunity to visit Ms. Lynn Downey at the Levi Strauss & Co. archive. You may remember my initial meeting with Lynn when I interviewed her during a research trip to New York. (Read that interview here.) “Next time you are in San Francisco you should come by and see the archive.” Lynn told me casually at the end of our meeting in New York. Little did she know I fully intended on taking her up on that offer.

UNIONMADE | San Francisco Style Americana

Nov 17th, 2009 | Categories: Americana, Men's Stores, San Francisco | by Michael Williams


Let me first say it is good that new shops are opening. There was a point in this whole economic mess that no new brands were launching and no new stores were opening, it was depressing. Now, while just getting a new store is good, getting a new store like UNIONMADE is great. The men’s shop which was founded by Pennsylvania native Todd Barket, opened this past weekend on Sanchez Street in San Francisco and is an exercise in excellence. Barket spent 18 years at GAP working in various capacities including visual merchandising and marketing, and the man clearly understands retail. I think the worst part about this place is that it is so far away from me.