I’m thankful for shops like Lone Flag because they make it impossible to look like a chump when you outfit yourself there. You don’t have to read fashion blogs or spend time cruising the mall, because you’re guaranteed to have guys like Sam Larson and gals like Kelli (husband and wife team) selectively placing every piece in the store. Shops like this are the absolute future. The sure fate of our entire consumer culture will be saved by these brick and mortar establishments, run by people who care about where shit is made, the story of the product, and the finite details that matter.
I got a chance to ask Sam about their shop, located in Del Mar in the Flower Hill Promenade, his inspiration and what drives him, while asking him to pick out his favorite items that grace the floor of his store.
Sam Larson: Our focus is on our brand (Lone Flag – available late Spring) along with a collection of brands we’d loved for a long time that just weren’t available in San Diego. It’s about 80% made up of Made in USA brands as well since I was personally hitting an age where fast fashion goods weren’t appealing anymore and I really had a vision for smaller brands that were making really intricate and well-built goods. For the past 3 years I worked for a company in Miramar which had brand licenses and we developed brands and sold them all over the country (Jedidah, Epokhe, Afends, CXXVI). Specifically working with CXXVI out of NY made me aware of all the amazing stores globally that carried small batch and better made goods. I loved the feel and aesthetic of those places and none existing down in San Diego. At a certain point in time, I just wanted that store here so I threw caution to the wind (with my wife Kelli) and just created it here.
WT: What was your experience that brought you to this point, where did you learn about running a shop, and what has been the driving force behind Lone Flag?
SL: Prior to this I worked with Nixon for about 5 years in operations before switching gears to go over to Jedidiah and take over there. Billy, Kahana and Michael had all just left to start Aloha Sunday and I was coming in to keep pushing Jedidiah forward. About a year in we actually took over distro in the U.S. for Afends, Epokhe and CXXVI. My work with all the brands was great but specifically with CXXVI I got really into menswear and made in USA since I just loved what was happening there. I made a lot of relationships with brands I grew to respect through doing shows with them in conjunction with CXXVI and I never looked back. I lost all interest in the surf industry or fast fashion stuff. There’s nothing wrong with that stuff at all, I’m grateful for my background there, it just stopped being inspiring and I was loving a clean and simple aesthetic and things that were made to last.
WT: Give us your top 5 items that are in your shop right now, and tell us a little bit about them!
1. Rogue Territory – the Maker Shirt: Pretty much anything they make is amazing and it’s our best selling denim brand. Made in LA and with such awesome detail. The Maker Shirt is one every guy should own. They are tailored to perfection and I wear this shirt (in 3 different colors) literally almost every day. – PURCHASE
2. Night Owl Espresso – I have massive caffeine issues and am a coffee snob of sorts. Working with James Roasters in Poway gave me a ton of SD pride that him and Coffee & Tea Collective were making such amazing small batch roasts here in SD. This espresso is amazing and we sell lots of it. – PURCHASE
3. THVM – Raw Skinny – we carry a lot of premium raw denim here in shop but I don’t think any of them come in a better value than this pair of THVM raws. They are selvedge like our Rogue Territory, Tellason or 3sixteens but they are made in LA and are really well put together. I have a pair that are 3 months in, 1 wash and look and fit amazing. 1,000 x better than a slightly cheaper made in China pair of Levis. – PURCHASE
4. Boutonne – Fold Top Carrier Bag- These bags couldn’t be more beautiful. Made by hand in San Diego, the oiled leather and raw denim combo just looks well put together and sartorial without being over the top. Good bags are so amazing because the more they wear, the better they look. Few things wear with time better than leather and denim so it’s a lethal combo – PURCHASE
5. Zuriick – Nico Preto Boot – Everything Zuriick does I love so I’m super biased but this is hands down the coolest boot I’ve ever seen for women. Usually they get the short end of the stick for boots since there are so many amazing guys profiles but these things take the cake. Any girl that has ever wanted a slim profile boot that looks amazing with cropped pants or super tapered ankles can do no better than these – PURCHASE