During our trip to San Juan Capistrano, we couldn't entirely resist the siren song of Los Angeles, that glittering Babylon to the north. Our visit coincided with Freenote's one-month residency at the Libtery Fairs pop-up shop in Beverly Hills. On the last day of our stay, Matt drove us to the 90210, where we spent a Sunday afternoon in the shop with Andrew.
... no, Willie and I have been talking about this. California actually feels a lot less judgmental than where we're from.
Matt and I put that out all the time. You see brands, and I hate to use the word, that we
with. It's like they're fighting for crumbs. Dude, live and let live. What's the point? I think the overall point of all these brands is to get well-made product where there's generally some sort of ethical balance to it. So I think that's what it's all about. I mean everyone starts a business at some point to make money, but you know, there's other things you could be doing. You know who does a great job at it, Jacob from American Trench. He's always talking about supporting your own region, supporting your own regionality of it. compete
Which goes into everything we've been talking about, like the California vibe.
That's ... but you can't put it in a paragraph, you've got to talk about it. I'm not a wordsmith, neither is my brother, so you just put together the feelings. Maybe yesterday we could've gone to the farmers' market, we could've gotten a killer cup of coffee at Rios Street—that's classic California. We want to put that vibe in the brand and also help people open up to it, that hey, this is inclusive rather than exclusive.
We're not trying to beat somebody to the punch. I can go into the denim too and say, "We have some exclusive Freenote denim from Yoshiwa Mills that no one else in the U.S. has." Who cares? I mean, we have that, and Matt and I get excited that it's hand-picked denim. If you want to get into the fabric, I'm all ears because im nuts deep in that as well, but that's like ...
Sometimes I think when you go too far into that, you're starting to compete for coolness: "I'm better than you because I have this denim," but a lot of brands in our space do that and can't ... I almost blush. It's bragadocious. I get embarassed. I'm like, "Wait—I'm not having this conversation right now." It happened on a denim forum. You can't argue with me if I don't care, and these guys were arguing over somebody else used our loomstate denim at some point, and it was like, "Well, first, I have no idea who used it. If I did copy them or Matt did or whatever, nothing was done intentional, but even so, I don't care if it was—but it's not, and I have no idea—so I'm not going to out-expert you on what you saw four years ago from Denim Brand X that used this and it reacted like this." It's like, "Who invented the wheel?" Some idiot was going to invent it the next day. We didn't invent denim. A lot of brands in our space are too competitive with that. Maybe you get a Freenote pair of denim and a top from another brand that's like paired up. I love it. I don't want you to be dipped in Freenote.
Before we go, it's true what people say, though. The driving here is brutal.
You get used to it. Matt and I drive crazy just because that's what the job requires. Some people have their manufacturing all in one place. We're a brand that does not. We have at any given time, four, five, six different manufacturing houses making our goods. Some are by the office, some are up here, so we're always ping-ponging around. So you have to drive. This is important for the interview: That makes it come back to why I call in to sports talk radio, and they say, "What's up L.A. Andrew?" I have to say L.A. because I'm always in L.A., so Mad Dog knows L.A. Andrew.
I'm always talking some sort of shit but I always try to have something funny to say. I'm always bagging on other callers and the hosts hate it when I do that, or they just gave the Detroit guy, Matt Millen, an interview and I'm like, "Whoo, Russo how much did you have to hold back in that interview? He's the worst GM of all time, are you kidding me?" It was driving Matt crazy on our drive cross-country, but then it started clicking in. Day five, six, Matt's like, "What time is Mad Dog coming on?" Matt kind of plays it off, like he doesn't know shit about sports, but he played and he knows. Don't let the mustache fool you.
Our visit with Andrew had its own fair share of sports-related shit talking. It turns out that our writer and the Brodrick brothers both grew up cheering for the Scott Skiles–era Orlando Magic. Check out our conversation with the Freenote co-founder in "L.A. Andrew" mode: