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A Look Inside Rising Sun & Co.'s Eagle Rock Haberdashery

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Photos by Elizabeth Daniels

Nestled away on a discreet Eagle Rock street sits the Rising Sun & Co. store and workshop. Within those walls, founder and designer Mike Hodis has created the atmosphere of an old-school denim haberdashery with everything from black head sewing machines to the '20s and '30s tunes playing through the speakers. "You walk in and you are part of the experience," he said.

Hodis, originally from Romania, spent time designing for other brands before starting his own out of his garage. "It was my sanity," he admitted. After outgrowing their Pasadena location, Rising Sun & Co. moved to Eagle Rock to set up shop. Hodis relates to bygone eras when things were more simple and denim was arguably at its finest. He let the machines guide him as he built a brand that embodies what he feels denim should be: rugged, functional and without all the frills. "I believe there is a resurgence in men being men. There is that component in the line. To celebrate manhood in a way that is acceptable in this day and age. You can be well-groomed and still have a rough look to you without being out of place."

We met Hodis at the destination store where we also found the office, showroom and workshop—all under one roof. Our conversation covered hot rods and Rising Sun's unofficial Club House Day, a nearly-every-Saturday event which comes complete with custom tailoring and an ice-cold beer.

Why Eagle Rock?
"Eagle Rock is a neat place to be right now. It's up-and-coming with a lot of hidden pockets. Rising Sun has always been the idea of a destination. We want to be found as opposed to being in the thick of it all. The shop is not conducive for walk-in traffic because that is, to some point, a distraction."

Explain what draws you to the past.
"To me it is passion-based. What is it that one likes? If you're going to do something in life try to make it something that you enjoy. Then, at what point in time was it at its most purest state—what makes this what it is? If you go back to the golden age of denim you would go back into the '20s and '30s. My vision was, How do I capture that?"

How do the sewing machines affect your designs?
"The sewing machines themselves sort of dictate the styling, the level of craftsmanship. If you look at our garments, they are different in how we manufacture and all the details. They're not supposed to be shockingly different, they're different in a very subtle way. The most elusive element of design is designing a basic garment that in its own right looks iconic. It's supposed to look familiar but it has to be different. So familiar and different fight each other."

What gets the ball rolling in your design process?
"The most difficult is to come up with that footprint from the get-go. That's what takes the most time. From there, it's a bit easier in terms of how and where to take it because you already have something to work with. It may be inspired by other passions including cars, vintage bikes and things of that sort or the inspiration could come from books, movies or even music. Sometimes it's just stumbling across something, a trinket from a period in time, that triggers something."

What are some of your favorite off-duty spots in the area?
"We actually frequent a couple of places around here. One of them is Auntie Em's and another is The Oinkster. And for a bar, there is Black Boar up the street."

In addition to their Eagle Rock shop, Rising Sun & Co. is available online and at American Rag et Cie. Their curated collection is available at Barneys.
· Rising Sun & Co. [Official Site]
· Inside Jeweler Ariel Gordon's Charmed DTLA Design Studio [Racked]
· Behind the Walls of Kelly Wearstler's Ultramodern Design Studio [Racked]