B E A U L A W R E N C E
Interview} Ken Waller
Photography by} John Russo
Location} Santa Barbara, California
Grooming} Laly Zambrana
Styling} Ace Rivington & Diadora
Produced by} Photohouse productions
Models} Dre Nubine, Noah Shapiro, Adrien Paynel, Robert Moore, Josh Newman, Ethan Ledger, Patrick Welsh, Owen Fox & Ken Waller
KW: So tell me… Who is Ace Rivington? What kind of man is here?
BL: Ace Rivington is the inspired badass who every wife, girlfriend, and partner wants their guy to be. Born on a “Fly-In” fishing camp in Alaska…Ace is a modern-day private jet pilot who travels the globe with effortless style. Ace is confident, can fly anything, and brings passion and charisma into every life experience.
KW: Tell me about the evolution of the brand? From concept to fruition.
BL: The Ace Rivington business plan started back in 2010 as a dream while I was deep in the trenches of corporate apparel design (at the time working as head designer of Men’s Jeanswear for the globe at Guess Jeans). I wanted to build a brand concept that was inspired, had continuity in the story line and was based on only the best products that I could produce. After 4 months of building a one-hundred page business plan, I pitched the concept in early 2011 and it flopped. The guy I pitched to said my concept would cost $2M and he didn’t have the time to invest. The business plan sat on a shelf in my closet until November of 2013. At that point I had started to see the shift in crowd funding platforms (away from things like film financing that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon pioneered in the early 2000’s) into consumer goods. In early November of 2013 I quit my job and came home to my wife (who was six months pregnant with our second child at the time). I showed my wife a small piece of fabric and told her that was our future. By the end of December 2013, I had built a prototype for a sweatshirt and launched it on Kickstarter. By the end of January 2014, we had sold almost 900 sweatshirts raising over $60,000.00. Kickstarter was the beginning, the last 9 years have been filled with many adventures, failures, triumphs and lessons. Today Ace Rivington is a full denim lifestyle brand based in Santa Barbara, CA with our flagship store on State Street (SB’s main street). We offer full denim tailoring and a lifetime warranty on our consciously built goods, and have recently opened our own Wholesale Distribution Center and Micro Factory at the Santa Barbara Airport (Ace would be proud).
KW: What differentiates Ace Rivington from other mens lifestyle brands?
BL: The magic with my process at Ace Rivington (much like the same practice that Sir Paul Smith maintains with his business) is time spent with the customers one on one. Customers are the best source of truth when it comes to testing a new fabric, adjusting a fit, or getting feedback on a graphic. Being open, approachable, and really caring makes all the difference in how I’m able to take customer feedback to build the best goods possible. I also learned a lot by observing the retail experience that I watched my parents receive when I was a kid in the 1980s. People cared, Big Box wasn’t what it is today, and service was a thing. I’ve applied these thoughts and lessons into my process and how we manage our service experience…with the only goal of creating the best denim experience you’ve ever had.
KW: How did the partnership with Diadora come about? What is the synergy between the brands?
BL: LOL…this one is funny. I asked “My Sock Guy” who’s shoes I should sell. He told me to call this dude, Bryan Poerner, at Diadora. I did my research and figured (much like many other pitches I had made over the many years prior) that I should make the call, ask for the moon, and not be disappointed when I had only spent 10 more minutes of my time that didn’t go anyplace. So, I called Bryan, told him that I wanted to ship our Italian denim to his factory in Treviso Italy to make a custom Ace Rivington Diadora….and that I also wanted him to get Wu-Tang to perform in my store in Santa Barbara (Diadora had been working on a collaboration with the band). After that call I didn’t expect anything, and was surprised when he called a week later letting me know he was flying out from Philadelphia and wanted to meet. I’ve been blessed to have Diadora as an incredible lifestyle partner for Ace Rivington ever since. Diadora has been hustling since 1948 with only the greatest perspective on quality and being the best in sport and life. I’m especially proud that Ace Rivington is one of the select Heritage Collection dealers in America. I’m still waiting on the Wu-Tang concert in our Santa Barbara store.
KW: Any future will collaborations planned with other brands?
I’m excited to share that we have the biggest collaboration since I started the brand launching in August of this year. Included is a collection of super inspired product that unfortunately, I can’t say anything about. What I can share is that I’d be thrilled if readers would stay tuned for updates, ideally by signing up for our mailing list at acerivington.com
. I promise I won’t spam you with emails…as I’m lucky to send out one a month. Stay Tuned!!!
KW: Will we ever see the character Ace Rivington on tv? Who is your dream casting to play him?
BL: That’s a toss-up. Not sure if Ace will show up on tv, or if it will be the big screen first. As a pilot, there is certainly no looking any further than Glen Powell. Powell has the heat, knows plenty about time in the sky, and looks amazing in our product (did you see the last issue of Gio Journal)? You can’t technically get very far in the sky without a Co-Pilot, though…and that’s where Brodie comes in. He’s the only co-pilot in the sky who knows absolutely nothing about flying a plane. Steven Strait certainly has Brodie’s strong, silent type nailed…and who knows…he just might have a few secrets to share. Stay tuned for more at acerivington.com (or just buy some jeans and make your own story).
Follow Ace Rivington @acerivington