May 15 2012
Given its San Francisco roots, it’s no surprise that the Dockers® brand should harken back to its West Coast origins for inspiration. That’s certainly the case with the brand’s new Art of Khaki collection.
If the mod check shirting looks familiar, it’s likely because you’ve seen an image of Jack Kerouac or Lawrence Ferlinghetti or one of their Beat Generation contemporaries wearing one. (We own no rights, so you’ll have to Google it yourself.)
In a conversation, Paul Dillinger, the Dockers® designer whose team is behind the collection, talks quickly and knowledgeably about the era. And also about how his team brought their inspiration to life. It helps that Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Bookstore and the Beats’ North Beach stomping grounds are only a short walk from Dockers® headquarters.
So shirts … gingham, Oxford, chambray. And pants? Chinos, of course.
But what about colors?
Paul says they took a faded photograph approach. Think – from your parents’ or grandparents’ photo albums – of a picture of a parking lot, adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge, circa 1957, with the big-finned Chevrolet Bel Air in the foreground. Yellowed, pale and creased.
Research tells us that the Chevy could’ve been Matador Red or Surf Green, and maybe two-tone, with white. But in bringing the collection forward, Paul and the team used finishing techniques to dim them, not unlike an aged photograph – or aging memory.
The red chinos were washed with white pigment towels, to give the pants a faded, sun-bleached appearance, like that car in the photo album picture. And the checked shirt? It’s Japanese gingham, made with a fiber-dyed process that means each individual color is, in fact, a complex arrangement of shades, feeling faded from the start.
“All of this imparts a degree of lost color, color forgotten,” Paul says. “It feels of that era, like an old Polaroid.”
But the optimism of the Mid-Century comes to life in the gingham pattern itself. And the crisp lines of the pants.
Dockers® is definitely a West Coast brand. And, according to Paul, taking inspiration from an East Coaster like Kerouac makes sense, once you recall that he was, after all, a Columbia student who dropped out and headed west – where he and so many others have become “Californified.”
Editor: The Dockers® Art of Khaki line is sold primarily in Europe, so if you live or are traveling there, check it out in finer department stores.
Posted By: Cory Warren, Editor, LS&Co. Unzipped
We welcome your comments.
When submitting a blog comment, please consider the following guidelines:
This is a moderated blog. Each comment will be reviewed. We reserve the right not to post your submission if it’s off-topic or contains any of the following types of content or violates other guidelines:
In addition, if you wish to share feedback with us about product selection, pricing, ordering, delivery or other customer service issues, please do not submit this feedback through this blog. Instead, contact us here.
You know our product – particularly Levi’s® and Dockers® – but we’re betting there’s a lot about Levi Strauss & Co. you don’t know.