My Father’s Son
A finely beaten pair of jeans. Born crisp like the crust of fresh apple pie, worn down like the rubber of tractor tire. The everyman staple of hard work reaping red, white, and deep blue dreams. Unequivocally the most American thing you can ever own.
When a brand prides itself on producing honest quality denim in the red brick heart of Virginia, it burns bright with stars and stripes, forever. But from a centuries-old avenue in downtown Richmond, Shockoe Atelier dares to be more.
“We think of our brand as denim-inspired sartorial,” explains Shockoe co-owner Matt Rho. “These are clothes that are meant to be lived in and worn carelessly. You don’t hang up our jackets when you get home; you throw them on a chair in the corner. The clothes are designed to evolve and gain more character and beauty with wear, because they increasingly bear the mark of the wearer.”
Matt’s imagery certainly conjures the bootstraps and elbow grease of the blue collar man, the Pabst Blue Ribbon man. But flip through their catalogue. Past the rivets and leather badges.
Quilted blousons, baby alpaca wool, never-say-die patchwork. Here, Singers croon rough & tumble, but others have joined the band with their own notes to play. Do we hear the beginnings of the pure American swan song? Not quite.
“The world of denim is multi-faceted, embracing not only American ruggedness, but Italian sprezzatura and Japanese wabi-sabi. Our garments honor the best of each tradition, making a new, unified outfit. This is American.”
This is also a recent development.
Photo via “An American Myth” by Someone Else
Opening in 2012, Shockoe’s founder Anthony Lupesco surnamed his brand Denim, since that’s about all he wanted to make. It was quickly recognized for world-class attention to detail, backed by a lifetime guarantee. Only recently has he offered Italian blazers and sartorial details to put a face to the Atelier. Some would call this an about-face. Others might point at Dylan with Judas singeing from the tongue.
It’s worth noting that the label was co-founded is Anthony’s father, Pierre Lupesco. His own resume includes forty years in European fashion, peaking with his own haute couture iteration, Linea Pitti. Yeah, that Pitti.
In its thread, the Lupesco brand bares a soul we’ve all faced: recognizing your father in yourself.
Fathers can personify qualities that we grow to almost despise. Eventually, sons may see themselves leaning ever so slightly towards their father’s sins, sometimes glacially, sometimes in bursts. And when we see it, we run. We reconcile.
“But in moments of clarity, we realize that to become our true selves, we have to embrace and then refashion both the gifts and the curses given to us by our fathers.”
Only by owning that birthright can you cut, sew, and make it into something for yourself.
Shockoe Denim began and continues Anthony’s proudly American crafted denim. Shockoe Atelier hails that he, too, is his father’s son, and embraced it for all its worth. A new name and line of intrepid garments isn’t just a rebranding; it’s a realization.
Shockoe Atelier is Linea Pitti’s indigo son. And it’s the most complete thing Anthony can ever own.