We’re lovers of Ripton over here. Their riding jorts, pants, and other creative creations caught our eye when the brand first burst onto the scene in all its denim majesty. Today we’re stoked to share with you a project from Ripton, shot on 35mm film and a short video from a recent California road trip in the Ripton Accord. Watch the video above and read a quick trip report below…
There are two Californias. The first lives in our imagination; it’s not so safe, not so manicured. The second is reality. Over the years, we’ve drawn inspiration from that first California, its aesthetic and spirit. Our imagination of the wild West Coast and its intersection with the Ripton ethos was obvious.
Earlier this year, we flew to San Diego hoping to witness a glimmer of that mythical version of this place. We thought that our persistence could unearth the California we wanted to experience in the flesh.
When we got to Del Mar, we realized that this mythical California only exists in fragments today, at the fringes — rural or raw, unrefined or primitive. The Steinbeck California? Once Upon a Time in Hollywood? Racing down Repack with hippies? It might be out there, that soul, that salty, sandy magic that pulled people across the country for centuries, that brought Levi Strauss trudging by foot from the unfinished Panama Canal toward the Pacific Coast, searching for the land of opportunity.
We needed to seek out that California though. It wasn’t waiting at the airport for us. And for starters, we needed a car to get on the road.
Our first Craigslist call on Sunday morning was to a construction worker in Jamul. He lived across from a nature preserve and a casino, where border patrol roamed a few miles from Mexico. Esteban would find and revive old Civics and other Hondas, lying abandoned behind job sites, buy them for a few hundred bucks and then bring them back to life, a side hustle.
We were there to see his 1986 Honda Accord, a coupe with flip-up headlights, which he’d put about $2,500 bucks into, fixing it up with new brakes, suspension, and more. We fired it up, and smoke poured from the engine. We got a few bucks off the asking price and went for it.
The next morning, we headed down to the San Diego docks to a shop. In the rain, pools of grey water and grit circled around the chicken and fish guts that were left out for the dogs. A colorful group of welders cut off part of the bumper and welded a giant F150 2” hitch onto the back of the car, so that our North Shore rack could be mounted appropriately.
At last, it was time! Time for something, for adventure, for blasting north through the clouds and fog and the rain.
An early monsoon gave way to three beautiful California days in Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. We hung out at Super Cuca’s Taco Shop with the Boom Boom Bike Room crew. We took time to shuttle laps on the loamiest trails we could find. We filmed this masterpiece above, but not the whole time. We took time to relax, ride, and digest the world as jortbags, as a growing new brand, that more and more people had heard of.
Like the new kid in school, everyone was curious and fascinated by the paradoxical nature of Ripton and performance denim as a category. It felt like daring to be different was even more of a rare commodity in the constant development of suburban California. Performance denim reminds us of that daily. The gravity of sameness, the march of newness and affluence are powerful forces.
Fighting the trends of development, gentrification, and the suburban explosion of e-bikes, our 1986 Accord stood out on the road that much more aggressively. We remembered lots of beaters on California roads only a few years ago, but now they are harder and harder to find.
Coastal Cruisin’ served to remind us — and maybe remind you — that there are universal parts of being human: the love of adventure, the wild, unknown, and unrefined, that are essential to our lived experience.
Californians originally had to be the most adventurous dreamers, unsatisfied until they got all the way to the coast. That’s the genesis of the elusive aesthetic and lifestyle we’ve been searching to find. Based on what we saw on this trip, it seems like some of them still dream.
If you’re jort-curious, roll on over to Ripton to see what they’re all about and use code ‘Coastal’ and take 10% off your next Ripton order!