Photos: Julian Berman
Model: Rocky Repp
As we began plans over a year ago to celebrate our 20 year anniversary, we wanted to launch small projects designed in conjunction with friends of the brand who have helped us to get to this important milestone. Alongside these collaborations, though, we also wanted to develop two specific capsule collections to celebrate our brand’s bicoastal presence. This weekend, we are launching the first of them.
Bowling has become something of a tradition for our team. For the past several years, every time we’ve gotten the entire company together in LA for our annual all hands meeting, bowling has been on the agenda. One year we were so into it that we bowled two out of the three nights we were together. Most of us at 3sixteen are not particularly excellent at it, but that’s part of the fun: that we are all on similar footing. The games end up getting heated and unexpected people catch fire; it’s an altogether special experience and something we all look forward to whenever we gather. Beyond that, we’ve always been infatuated by mid-century bowling alleys: the facades and interiors, the identity and graphic design, and the community-driven nature of the sport. We began to dream about what our ideal bowling alley would look like if we were to ever open one up, and there was only one person we thought to reach out to.
Our good friend Alyasha Owerka-Moore’s graphic design and lettering work has long been rooted in rockabilly since his seminal brand Fiberops, whose influence can be felt industry-wide to this day. He’s been a mentor and friend to 3sixteen for many years; we partnered with him for our 10 year anniversary to design a mid-century “Atomic Interlock” logo for us, which we subsequently reprinted last year to help raise funds for his chemotherapy bills. We actually hit up Aly to work on this bowling project right before he shared his diagnosis and he worked on it for us during his treatments. It’s impossible for us to state how much his contributions have meant to our brand over the years.
The brief we presented to Aly was to help develop an identity for a fictional bowling alley in the ‘50s, but besides sharing a few moodboard images, we didn’t give him any guidance on what to call it. He came back to us with “Stayinya Lanes,” a tongue-in-cheek nod towards what we believe to be our brand’s staying power over the years. Yes, 3sixteen has gone through several eras - streetwear, menswear, raw denim - culminating today in a bit of a mix of all three. However, what’s remained consistent over these past two decades has been an effort to stay true to our approach and to work with integrity no matter what our peers and the industry at large were doing at the time. We’ve never aimed to be the biggest or flashiest brand, nor have we chased trends or aimed for major splashes. Instead, we’ve valued slow growth and consistency and the approach has served us well. We couldn’t have thought of a better name had we tried.
Anyone who’s ever gone bowling is acquainted with the ugly clown-like rental shoes that you’re forced to wear on the lanes. Even professional shoes look awful; it was really confusing to us as to why no one made a pair that we’d be excited to wear. We reached out to our friends at Blackstock & Weber to work on a pair of vintage-inspired two tone suede penny loafers on a hard bottom stacked leather sole. Their classic Ellis silhouette was our ideal starting point, featuring a wide last and the perfect proportions. We then chose luxurious Italian navy and cream suedes for the upper and finished it off with the same caramel-colored accent on the heel counter that was featured on our first collaboration pair. These loafers look and work great as is, but should you want to turn them into bowling shoes, we tapped our neighbors at Goods & Services to offer a bowling shoe conversion. The forefoot will get a permanent slide pad mounted (which can be replaced or removed by any capable cobbler) and the heel receives a rubber brake upgrade. For $80, these loafers can be upgraded to regulation bowling shoes.
The navy & cream color combination from the loafers carries forward to the Open Collar Bowling Shirt. The fabric is a twill viscose with a very slight matte sheen to it; we love how it drapes just like a vintage example would. The highlight, of course, is the large embroidery on the back of the shirt featuring Alyasha’s typography that he custom developed for us. The entire shirt is cut, sewn and decorated in India by our partner factory. We worked with them on several different embroidery applications as India has a rich history of fabric decoration; at first we tried machine chainstitching just like you’d find on vintage American team shirts, but found that the resulting embroidery was too stiff and heavy for the viscose. We wanted the decoration to flow in the same way that the rest of the fabric did, so our factory suggested employing hand embroidery. While much more expensive and slower than chainstitch embroidery (which was already quite pricey), the end result is stunning. The embroidery itself has very little weight and does not interrupt the flow of the fabric. And as the case with any decoration that is not computerized, there are very slight idiosyncrasies from shirt to shirt that show the handwork. This is truly a shirt that could not be made anywhere else in the world and we’re incredibly proud of how it came together.
Rounding out the collection are a duo of graphic t-shirts that bear the “Stayinya Lanes” artwork silkscreened onto our new rinsed Heavyweight T-Shirts. We like to think of these as the kinds of merch tees that you’d actually want to buy from a bowling alley. We produced a small run of glass ashtrays with the bowling alley logo, and completed the capsule with some microfiber towels that are perfect for cleaning lane oil off your ball. All of these accessories are made in the USA using manufacturers local to Los Angeles.
The campaign for this capsule collection was photographed by Julian Berman and filmed by Rosanna Peng in conjunction with our longtime friend Rocky Repp, who’s been modeling with us for over 7 years now. We shot it at the historic Highland Park Bowl, which is Los Angeles’ oldest bowling alley dating back to 1927 during the height of prohibition. Over the decades, it changed hands and morphed from a bowling alley into a music venue until the current owners decided to strip off all the layers to reveal the incredible heritage within the space. After meticulous restoration efforts, the space was brought back to its former glory and served as the perfect backdrop for our shoot. Many thanks to Jenny, Bobby and the 1933 Group for their partnership.
The “Stayinya Lanes” bowling capsule collection releases this Saturday, May 27th at noon EST at 3sixteen.com. You can also find the collection in store via our NY & LA flagships on the same day.