Wearing work wear means getting dirty. Back before Julia Child, an apron wasn’t a symbol of domesticity but rather of work that had so much grime and muck that even your jeans couldn’t handle it. Several raw denim companies have recently attempted to bring that hard wearing identity back to the humble apron.
Los Angeles based clothier Rising Sun & Co. created a limited release of Merchant’s Aprons for their retailers to wear in store. We were lucky enough to get our hands on one for review, and it’s a beaut. The Merchant’s Apron is another perfect example of Sun’s ability to adapt early American aesthetics into an incredibly practical design.
- Name: Rising Sun & Co. Merchant’s Apron
- Weight: 10oz. 2×1 woven selvedge denim from Cone Mills
- Other Details: Utility watch and pencil pocket, branded leather patch, bartacked pockets, and riveted seams
- Available at: Currently only available to Rising Sun & Co. retailers
Rather than stick to the typical long butcher’s apron cut, Sun opted for the hip-length merchant’s style traditionally seen on turn of the century shop keepers. This choice immediately sets the piece apart from your conventional idea of an apron, the silhouette is something you’d expect to see on someone at a hardware store or a lumber yard instead of leaning over a stove.
Practically, this design leaves your legs exposed but allows for much more mobility than a longer cut. The apron’s straps also cinch securely around the wearer’s neck, hips, and back so there’s never any of that usual apron “flutter”, it’s no more obtrusive than wearing a light jacket.
The “watch pocket” at the chest level perfectly sheathes everything from a wallet to a smartphone for protection and easy access. The main hip pockets flop open effortlessly to store tools or a notebook and these pockets have rounded instead of squared bottoms so you’ll never have to dig deep into the corners to find anything.
The 2×1 Cone Mills fabric has a nice raw crunch but at 10 ounces is light enough that it’s not restrictive. The denim is singed, calendared, and sanforized so it has an even hand to it as well. Only time can tell what apron fades are going to look like, but I imagine mine will also have a nice patina of glue, grease, and tomato sauce to join them.
And like anything Sun produces in house, the quality level is out of the park. Copper rivets secure the areas of most stress on the straps, the bottom pockets are double stitched, and accented red bar tacks reinforce openings on all the pocket. The exposed selvedge on the pockets is a nice visual touch but also ensures the openings will never fray. The apron itself is finished in the same heavy cotton tape as the straps with the same red accent as the bar tacks. This thing’s going to last for years.
My only critique is the branding is a little heavy for my tastes–there’s both a Rising Sun patch and label on the front. You can hardly blame them, however, as it’s still far from gaudy and the apron was designed mainly as an in store advert.
The apron itself is fantastic, but what’s doubly impressive is that all of this incredible design, quality, and attention to detail went into a piece that was never even supposed to go to consumers. Let’s hope they’ve got another batch in the works!