This Oceanside hat maker is opening first local brick-and-mortar store in Encinitas
After scoring a clothing deal with The Clash lead singer’s estate, Brixton to open two new stores in San Diego
Clothing and hat maker Brixton, which was founded in an Oceanside garage and has grown into a global retailer, is opening its first stateside, brick-and-mortar store in Encinitas.
The company’s new spot is slated to open in November on the main retail strip of Highway 101, just steps from another local clothing brand’s store, Vuori. The 1,000 square-foot shop is designed to evoke vibes of a vintage milliner, or hat maker, offering services like hat fitting, customized orders, steam cleaning and in-store pickup from online purchases.
Hats are what Brixton, founded in 2004, is best known for. The company makes styles familiar to any West Coast surf or skate shop, such as snapbacks and beanies, and its products are sold in big chains including Tilly’s, Zumiez and Nordstrom. But the brand also makes a huge variety of more vintage-inspired hats, like newsboy caps, fedoras, fisherman and fiddler caps, made with felt, wool and straw.
In recent years, Brixton has also expanded into men’s and women’s clothing, with styles drawing inspiration from West Coast Americana — think flannels and button-ups in subdued colors, faded polos, and denims.
Although the brand was founded in San Diego County, the original three founders sold Brixton to a private equity firm called Altamont Capital in 2014. Since then, about two-thirds of the company’s leadership team is new, including CEO Raphael Peck, who’s held roles at big brands like Oakley and Adidas.
Brixton has retained its headquarters in Oceanside, which is home to a 90,000 square-foot office that houses finance, marketing, design, product development, merchandising and sales for the company.
Since joining in 2019, Peck has taken Brixton in a different direction than before.
Rather than just selling online and at major retailers, the brand is now opening brick-and-mortar shops. Its first store opened in Sydney, Australia, in 2019, and the new Encinitas spot will be its second. Later next year, the company hopes to open a third location in Oceanside on South Tremont Street.
And Brixton has also grown its apparel line, and expanded into womenswear.
“We’ve gone from a brand that leans heavily on the classics in music, art, culture, and moved into idea of new Americana and classic American silhouettes,” Peck said.
Brixton isn’t abandoning its inspiration from classic music, however. The company just signed a major pop-culture collaboration with the estate of Joe Strummer, the late lead singer of the punk-rock band The Clash.
“The Strummer estate actually contacted us,” Peck said. “We came together and agreed with Joe Stummer’s wife that she would have final creative approval on anything we did. In return, we got full access to the estate.”
Brixton sent designers to look through Strummer’s closet, examining headwear, shirts, and clothes Strummer wore, and studied drawings sketched by the musician himself.
This line has special meaning for the brand. Founder David Stoddard named his company after The Clash song “The Guns of Brixton.”
Strummer-inspired apparel in this new line will include fisherman caps that feature the frontman’s sketches in the lining. The collection will also include T-shirts and hoodies bearing graphics with words from the anthemic Clash song “Know Your Rights.”
Peck said he imagines some of Brixton’s more political and social-inspired apparel will be popular in the coming months due to the heightened emotions of the election season.
Brixton’s new local store will open at 670 S. Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas.
— Brittany Meiling is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune
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