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Chained Together - Made in LA

Chained Together - Made in LA

Behind one of the many metal doors that grace the streets of east LA there is a garage sought by many but the location of which is not readily known. Inside there are custom bikes, painted choppers, and striking low riders ready to bounce. An air tank is draped with a welding mask inscribed with the words “Fuck off” in case it’s menacing appearance didn’t already give that impression. Street art litters the walls with rebellious chants while a mannequin, equipped with only goggles and a Shriner hat, keeps the one empty corner occupied. While unique, most of this would not be unexpected in a garage. That, however, is not all that is housed here. There are spools of thread and roles of material in wooden containers and hidden within metal cabinets. There are clothing designs and traced jacket patterns sitting on the shelves. They also have sewing machines. More tattoo parlor than design house, the spread out machines look more like mounted drills with their exposed gears and personalized touches. This is the home of Chain Gang LA, one of the few shops in the US that has mastered the art the of the chain stitch. 

Chain stitching is an old school form of embroidery whereby specialized sewing machines loop the thread together causing the finished stitch to resemble a chain. One of the most unique aspects of chain stitch is, while durable, there are slight imperfections and different ways to texture. This means that one artists chain stitch can look different from another’s. To purists, this is what makes each piece one of a kind.

 Chain stitching became extremely popular amongst the car clubs and biker gangs of the 1950’s and 60’s. Receiving a patch from your associated club or gang was taken very seriously and seen as an honor. By the 70’s mass production had called for an easier and quicker stitch. The chain stitch machines and masters became rare to find. This is what brought Chain Gang cofounders Tul Jurgarte and Tommy D together. Tul wanted a more authentic patch for his car club and Tommy was the go-to-guy in Los Angeles. After the two met, a partnership was created and Chain Gang LA was born.

 

Coming from humble beginnings, they have grown into a team of seven that has since partnered with Adidas, DC Shoes, Crooks and Castles, Levis and Topshop. They have also constructed custom pieces for the likes of Pharrell Williams, Kate Perry, A$AP Ferg, Alisha Keys and Miley Cyrus. 

 Recently, Playboy partnered with Chang Gang to customize a one-of-a-kind jacket for our Playmates. Materials were experimented with, and several patterns were cut until the perfect jacket was created. 

 

 

This one-of-a-kind jacket is 100% handmade.