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Raan Parton of Apolis

Los Angeles-based menswear brand and shop joins solid taste in clothing and accessories together with a global citizen mentality.

Interview By John Dugan, March 15, 2013

A socially-motivated lifestyle brand that touts its global-citizenship? Sure, those might be a dime-a-dozen these days. But Apolis of Los Angeles, founded by brothers Raan and Shea Parton, appears to walk the talk and stylishly, too. From a Chambray Linen hat, to space pens and waterproof journals to must-have-now menswear like its waxed French work jacket, Apolis has finely honed taste in largely locally-sourced and made goods that appeals far beyond the do-gooder demographic. Supply-siders might even pony up for an Apolis wool bow tie. Just don't tell them Apolis means "global citizen." Impressed by its offerings, Nothing Major enlisted the mighty Michael A. Muller to photograph the Partons and Apolis: Common Gallery in Los Angeles. Raan Parton of the certified B-corporation was good enough to accommodate our interview.

Photographs by Michael A. Muller.

What inspired you, Raan and Shea, to found Apolis?
We were fortunate to travel internationally with our family and began seeing that people all over the world have the same basic desires to love, provide, and feel worth. This inspired the us to engage in the apparel manufacturing space with a desire to see those values of love, provision, and worth being given to everyone in the supply chain.

What products did you begin with?
Apolis began with a small collection of T-shirts and sweatshirts and we have since built the brand into a full collection with luggage, outerwear, basics, shirting, accessories and home goods. 
Do you think you founded a menswear shop at a particularly good time? It seems to be on the upswing.
It has been a year and a half since we opened, and it has been a fun learning experience. Our office is behind the store, so, we get to interact with all the customers coming through the shop from all over the world and hear feedback on what they love, or would like to see in our collection.

What's the most popular?
Our most popular items are the Civilian Chinos & Blazers, Waxed Bangladesh Market Bags and small leather goods.  
Who are the typical clients for Apolis?
Typical clients are male (with a growing base of women shoppers now as well!), ages 30-50 who love to travel, and take pride in a well made garment. They are very international and are interested in the development work and global reach of the brand.

Can you tell us more about your manufacturers? Have you visited any?
We work with manufactures all over the world and many in our own backyard of Los Angeles. Most of the brand (60%) is made within 10 miles of our office in LA. The other items are produced in over 10 countries (Nepal, Bangladesh, Israel, Uganda, Peru, India, Honduras, etc) and range from small co-ops to large NGO groups who all make product that we collaborate with to produce the items we want to include in the Apolis collection each season.  

What's the Nomad Market all about?
The Nomad Market is a travelling pop-up tent that includes one of every item made by Apolis. We have chosen key retailers to partner with for 6-8 wks at a time to install the tent into their spaces and have a more complete Apolis presentation to their clientele. We always launch it off with an event and let their communities know about the pop up. So far, it has only been along the east coast, but we have plans to take it South and even to Asia.  

What's coming up for spring and summer at Apolis? Any favorite items you're excited about?
We just released a collab swim trunk with J.Crew, which we are excited to announce, and we are hosting Northern Grade, the longest running american made menswear pop-up, in the beginning of April, and ready to have a good time that weekend.

Shop Apolis online.