Having completely redefined the male shopping experience with his flagship store Alex Maine, pro-surfer turned American-made activist Bron Heussenstamm is using his love for the sartorial to produce a collection intent on raising awareness for homegrown fashion. Located on Sunset Boulevard, Alex Maine has carved a niche for itself as a mecca for men looking for a non-traditional shopping experience. Equipped with a state-of-the-art home theater including HD flatscreens, Xbox and Wii, in addition to a fully-stocked bar, the true testament to the store’s compulsory cool lies in the fact that every single article of clothing in the Alex Maine collection is produced in the U.S.
Even Alex Maine’s name and logo play into the overall aesthetic the store aims to cultivate. Alex (meaning “defender”) and Maine (meaning “homeland”) carries a logo comprised of two parts. The flag faces west and appears backwards to reflect how the American troops wear it on theirs sleeve in battle. The word Alex Maine is written in Georgia font in an ode to the type that was developed for The New York Times as an alternative to England’s The Times Times New Roman font.
With a tailor on site for quick alterations, as well as sewing machines on the sales floor intended for whipping up one of a kind t-shirts, it appears Alex Maine truly has all its bases covered. The menswear line, designed by Dan Marriner, focuses on non-denim pants, think linen and khaki, in flattering denim cuts. American-made t-shirts and hoodies are also on hand ranging from $36 to $44 for tees, and $90 to $105 for sweatshirts. Pants begin at $124 and go up to $158.
With such an innovative and exciting concept, I consulted with Alex Maine founder Bron Heussenstam to talk shop.
HA: Having a professional surfing background, what inspired you to get into fashion?
BH: I grew up in my parents surf shops of Newport Surf & Sport and Huntington Surf & Sport. Some of my oldest memories are hiding in the store and messing with customers. Having grown up in the business, I worked really closely with my clothing sponsors from 1997-2007. After doing the world tour for five years post high school, I went to college at USC and got my degree in Entrepreneurship. I knew I really wanted to get into retail and specifically clothing. It’s been a life long experience and passion.
HA: Why did you make the decision to keep your line made in the U.S.?
BH: I watched closely as all the companies started slowly moving overseas. It’s gotten so bad that now 97 percent of all clothing purchased in the United States is manufactured overseas. When the economy crashed, I started thinking about what I could do to help, what do I know? I’ve spent my entire life in this industry. I know it can be done. I want to show people that not only can we make clothing in the United States and bring those jobs back home, the United States can create, design, and manufacture the best clothing in the world!
HA: What item from your line do you wear most often?
BH: At Alex Maine we are a non-denim pants company first, and an apparel company second. I haven’t worn anything but an Alex Maine pant in five months, and I’ve loved every second of it. There are just amazing fabrics out there, and we love hunting for them. We take these extremely comfortable fabrics and put them into our custom five pocket jean cuts. This gives guys a more comfortable option in their wardrobes to designer jeans.
HA: How would you describe your personal style?
BH: My personal style is very laid back, Los Angeles influenced, and that shows in the clothes. I want to look great when I go out at night or to work, professional when I need to be, and most importantly be physically and mentally comfortable. We make clothes for guys. Alex Maine’s clothes are for all guys that want to be comfortable, look amazing and buy American.
HA: Currently I see the only women’s clothing you have on your site is the Brian Wilson FEAR the beard shirt, any plans to expand your womenswear line, or are you planning to stay primarily focused on menswear?
BH: We would love to get into womens! Look for it in the future.