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California Crown: Creating A Community Clothing Brand
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California Crown: Creating A Community Clothing Brand

Picture of Sarah Dunn
Updated: 30 December 2016
Born and raised in California, Jay Perlman has always held the Golden State close to his heart. Motivated to share his love for the West Coast, Jay and friend Misu Minhaz created the clothing line California Crown. We sat down recently to discuss what inspires him, what challenges him, and what we can expect to see from California Crown in the future.

What was your initial vision for California Crown, and how has it evolved?

When Misu and I initially started California Crown, we had the sole desire to create an artistic outlet for the love we had for our home state and share that vision with like-minded individuals.

While we still love our roots, our scope and mindset have broadened quite a bit. Both Misu and I have been fortunate enough to travel a great deal in our lives, and everywhere California Crown goes, we meet individuals that become part of this creative community. This has lead us to brand ourselves as a Community label. We strive to create pieces of the highest quality and we aim to build a network of people with unparalleled creativity.

Why’d you get involved in fashion in the first place?

I was heavily influenced by skateboarding, hip-hop, and the street wear that surrounded the culture in the those days. This immersion in street culture was one of the catalysts to me wanting to create my own label – one that emulated the style of the individuals who inspired me. As we continue to make new collections, we constantly refine our garments and create collections that are practical yet distinct. As we continue to do this, we find ourselves more immersed in the fashion industry.

What’s the most challenging part of your job, and how do you keep yourself focused?

It is difficult to pinpoint the one thing that is truly the most difficult. There is always room for improvement and we continue to strive to create garments that are close to perfect as possible. With these high standards we set for California Crown, it sometimes feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day for all the goals we set for ourselves. Regardless, we all have the same vision for California Crown, and our collective faith in our brand keeps us all motivated.

Where do you get the inspiration for your pieces?

The inspiration is really a blend of our natural, cultural, and physical surroundings. San Francisco is such a unique place in that it offers a rich blend of culture while also being in one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world (at least in my opinion). Every collection initially comes from some part of my immediate surroundings.

What’s something most people wouldn’t think would play a large role in the fashion industry?

I [think] a lot of people have misconceptions on how long it takes to make a collection. From concept to completion on even one design can take several rounds of development, which may last months. In conjunction with that, keeping on calendar in the fashion industry is extremely important, and that often requires being seasonally ahead of schedule by months (for example, we are working on finishing pieces for Summer 2016).

What’s an average day look like for you?

The day usually starts with me reading the latest within the fashion world. I hit my normal sites, see what is blowing up on the social media, and generally try and get a grasp of what is trending and what’s being talked about.

After that, I will be responding and sending emails for a large part of the morning. When I’m done with emails, I usually transition into a couple of hours of phone calls. Much of what I do is keeping in constant communication with a wide array of individuals – manufacturers, vendors, buyers – so most days are heavily focused on making sure that all aspects of the brand are moving in the right direction.

The rest of the day is dedicated to creative content. Whether it is creating marketing campaigns or designing new collections, I like to spend a solid portion of my time innovating new artistic concepts.

What’s the best thing about working in San Francisco?

Something I love about San Francisco is that it has a truly distinct perspective on fashion. Historically, San Francisco has not really been known as a hub for the apparel industry, but with the city developing the way it is, along with the inherent style that has always been a part of this city’s culture, we are afforded the ability to create a brand that is unique from other clothing lines that may come from more fashion-focused areas.

When you’re not working on fashion, what do you spend your time doing?

When I’m not working, it’s a safe bet that I’ll be with my friends at some sort of weekly event. Whether it’s ‘Wing Wednesday,’ trivia, or supporting one of the local Bay Area teams (Warriors for life!), I’ll likely be roaming around the city loudly conversing with new and old friends.

What’s your long-term vision for California Crown?

In an ideal world, California Crown will have flagship stores in major cities across the globe. Along with that, maintaining a collaborative community will always be part of who we are, and we see ourselves working alongside of the most prominent names in the industry.