The New Sunset Garden Apron Is a Work of Functional, Sustainable Beauty
It's smartly designed, sustainably built, and tougher than denim—a product we're proud to place the Sunset name on.
Sometimes magical things happen in Los Angeles. Sometimes you’re just trying to sell an old Yeti cooler on Craigslist, but then the guy who shows up to buy it happens to work for a local hempwear company, and when he learns that you work at Sunset, he suggests a collaboration. And then you check out the company and learn that it’s LA’s incredible White Bark Workwear (whose projects include a kitchen apron for Bon Appétit), and that owner Charlie Pennes shares a philosophy with Sunset itself: We want clothing to be as sustainable and organic as the food we grow.
All of which is a long way of saying: We have a brand-new Sunset garden apron! It’s made of 100 percent organic hemp, which is breathable, super strong (30 percent tougher than denim!), naturally antimicrobial, and produced from regenerative crops. What’s more, it was designed (stylishly!) from the ground up with serious gardeners in mind.
When Pennes got the brief, he first called his sister, Sophie, the founder of Urban Farms LA, which builds edible organic gardens across the city. From her—and from other gardeners he knows, from Venice to Sonoma to Sacramento—Pennes learned what mattered. Durability was key, of course, in part because this is a garment that needs to put up with rocks, dirt, twigs, and thorns, but also because Pennes wanted to make a garment that lasted, not some annual throwaway.
Big pockets were important, too, for holding anything and everything—Sharpies and notepads, measuring tape and twine, gloves, phones, clippings, turnips. The ones Pennes designed are at once capacious but slim, and reinforced for lasting strength.
But pockets aren’t everything to gardeners, whose common tools—shears, sickles, and knives—often already come with their own sheaths and don’t always make sense buried deep in pockets. Instead, Pennes designed utility loops that such tools can clip onto (either through their sheaths or via carabiners), and remain in easy reach.
“I tried to take something tried-and-tested and beef it up with something that could be more modular for someone working in a garden,” Pennes said. “They have everything on them, they have extra space but not so much space that you’re falling over.”
While Pennes works with hemp on all products, there’s a special poetry to his having created a gardening apron. “My whole mission is that your clothing and your food are grown in the same soil,” he said. “Especially now with Covid, people don’t have access to the food supply. They’re freaking out, but they’re realizing they can grow their own vegetables that are better than the store. By using hemp, which doesn’t require herbicides or pesticides, it really ties together the notion—it’s technically biodegradable fabric. Otherwise, it’s like, What are you doing?“
We hope you’ll enjoy wearing and using the Sunset Garden Apron as much as we’ve enjoyed working with Pennes on its design. It’s available right now, for $125, on shop.sunset.com.
Read the 2021 Gardening Issue
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