New York Times - October 15 2014

New York Times - October 15 2014

New Band of Fashion Brothers

Apolis, Bespoken, Ovadia & Sons and More: Brothers in the Men’s Luxury Fashion Market

As young boys growing up in Santa Barbara, Calif., Raan and Shea Parton traveled the world, including trips to Nepal and Mongolia, where they came to appreciate fair-trade manufacturing. So when they started Apolis in 2004, the brothers envisioned it as a socially motivated lifestyle brand, complete with a B Corp certification for “do-gooder” corporations.

What started out as a line of cotton T-shirts handmade in Los Angeles now encompasses a full men’s wear collection of button-down shirts, denim and chino pants, jackets and accessories.

The brothers travel the globe, teaming up with women in Bangladesh to weave vegan tote bags, a 50-person cooperative in Peru to sew alpaca beanies, and shoemakers in the West Bank to make leather sandals. Much of the manufacturing, however, is made within 10 miles of Apolis’s offices in downtown Los Angeles. They call their business model “advocacy through industry.”

Despite its global reach, Apolis is a family operation. Raan, 32, who holds the title of creative director, is in charge of design and fabric sourcing, while Shea, 30, is the brand director and chief executive, running the day-to-day operations.

“We believe that there are artisanal manufacturers all around the world who possess unimaginable talent,” Raan said. “Our goal is to shine light on this talent and bring excellent products to a global market.”

Started 2004.

The look Heritage-chic basics for the Toms Shoes set.

Sample item Standard Issue Civilian Blazer, a single-breasted unstructured blazer with three pockets, made with lightweight cotton twill in California ($248).

Sold at More than 50 stores in California, including its own boutique in downtown Los Angeles, as well as shops in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Appeals to Sustainable-minded surfer types who want to wear what they preach.

Philosophy “If the chef is going to take responsibility for anything that comes out of the kitchen, then the chef should be responsible for every step along the way,” Raan said.