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Fade Journal

The KATO Pattern Maker - 5 Minutes With Nikolay

The KATO Pattern Maker - 5 Minutes With Nikolay
Meet Nikolay, he works with KATO as our lead pattern maker and has worked with some of the most noted brands in the denim industry. His unmatched attention to detail with his passion for denim is a big part of the reason you see the quality and fit stand the test of time in our garments. 
How long have you been working with patterns and textiles? 
30 years

What inspired you to get into the industry? 
My first rigid Levi’s and rock culture.

What's your favorite thing about designing for KATO? 
Great fabrics, construction details links to vintage denim traditions.

What makes KATO a unique brand from others you have worked with?  
Great team that knows and loves what it does.

Favorite KATO product?  I can’t name one but the traditional 5 pocket rigid jeans at the top of the list…

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Q&A With MacCallister Byrd

Q&A With MacCallister Byrd
 This week we sat down with our friend and actor MacCallister Byrd to see what he's been up to in Los Angeles. Check him out on Instagram here.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you're up to these days
Hello! My name is MacCallister Byrd (Mac if you'd like) and I am an actor from Chicago. I have been living and working in LA along with my beautiful fiancé and our 2 year old dog. Most mornings I can be found on my back patio talking to my succulents and drinking my coffee. I really love the outdoors. Often when LA gets to be too much I'll take trips to local hidden mountain ranges to escape and hike. Also recently I've been working with a small team on creating new content which includes a podcast, short films, and music.


 What does fashion mean to you in your line of work?

In the business of entertainment in Hollywood, fashion is a very unique concept. Essentially, if you do it right, you can pretty much wear whatever you want! Or maybe that is just how I see it - I can show up to a red carpet event in a nice suit and match it with a fresh pair of Jordans. One day I can rock a vintage tee with basketball shorts and some beat up chucks. The next I'll put on a nice button down and chinos and look totally different. I guess that is what fashion means to me specifically. Having the versatility and pushing the limits of the norm while still being fashionably logical. My closet has a wide array of threads.  


How did you get started in acting and how do you keep yourself motivated?

Well. I really fell in love with acting in high school. I was primarily an athlete so I never had enough time to fully immerse myself in the acting world at that point. Once college rolled around it was either I keep playing baseball and follow that path that I had known for quite some time, OR, go down the acting route and try something I had always wanted to do. So from that point I decided to put all my efforts into the theater. I graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in theater studies integrated in the performing arts and moved to LA right after. I stay motivated pretty easily. I have visions of being on billboards and seeing myself in these big roles and that definitely keeps me hungry. 

 Most challenging part about being an actor in LA?

Dealing with no. Acting work is a lot like an iceberg. You only see the little bit of the success while in reality there is a lot more that happens under the surface. A lot of the time losing out on a role can have nothing to do with natural ability. There had been an instance where I lost out on a series regular role because I was too tall. ITS CRAZY! But, it's important to not take things personal and to also know, for me, it's never a matter of if, but when. I can only control what I can control, and for me that's doing the best I can do for every opportunity that comes my way. 


What's your favorite role you've played so far?

As of right now I will have to say Private Hank Fisher on CBS' Strange Angel. Strange Angel was a period show that is set in the 1940s in Pasadena California. The series involves real life events that took place around times of WWII and aerospace. I was fortunate to do my own stunts including being suspended on a 100ft bridge over the course of a night. I got to wear an authentic soldier uniform while smoking period accurate non filtered cigarettes that made my head spin after 50 different takes. Just experiencing the grand scale of such a fun and exciting Hollywood project will stay with me for a long time. Also recently I had just wrapped filming on a indie movie titled 'Evan Wood' that should come out sometime in 2020. The cast and crew were an amazing pleasure to work with along with director Niki Byrne who had such a great vision for the film. 


What everyday items do you carry on you no matter where you go?

Iphone, leather key clip, old trifold wallet, and some headphones of some sort. I also tend to walk around with my reusable water bottle that is decked out with a lot of decals. More often than not I can be found wearing a hat too. It's easy and can really complete whatever look I am going with for that day. 


What's your favorite KATO piece and why?

My favorite Kato piece hands down is the short sleeve pineapple/floral shirt. I wear it all the time. It's a perfect shirt that can be worn in versatility - I can dress it up or down. To the beach or to an event. The fabric is also breathable so I can wear it comfortably too. It is a timeless and essential piece of my wardrobe. 


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Made In America: Randolph

Made In America: Randolph

 This week we sat down with our friends at Randolph to learn more about their story. Known for their rich heritage in manufacturing certified military eyewear, they produce some of finest and most durable eyewear we've ever seen. They also make the perfect holiday gift if you're shopping for some premium, built to last American made eyewear. Shop here.

Tell us a little about Randolph and how/why their products are made in the US.

Our founders, Royal Air Force navigator Jan Waszkiewicz and machinist Stanley Zaleski immigrated to America in the years following World War II, they had a dream: to build the world’s finest eyewear. Together, they used their expertise to design the tools and machinery to build a proprietary 200-step manufacturing process, and engineered nearly indestructible frame joints. In 1973, Randolph Engineering was born - named after our home-town of Randolph, Massachusetts. 

We began to see traction with our Authentic Aviators in 1978, when we became a sub-contractor for the US Military. In 1982 we became the premier supplier of Military Aviators for Fighter Pilots, and we’ve held our Military contracts ever since.  Our founders believed in doing things the right way. That’s why we handcraft our frames in the USA - it’s not the cheapest or the easiest way of doing things, but that’s not the point. We are focused on quality, authenticity and durability. We believe our American workforce are some of the best in the business. Our factory is a hive of highly-skilled talent and engineering - true artisans, some of whom have been with us for over 30 years(!). Today, we’re still handcrafting our frames out of our factory in Randolph, virtually the same way we did when we started over 45 years ago. One of our mottos is “Never compromise.” - this is something we live by.

 “The American dream of being successful was entirely achievable through hard work, perseverance, passion, a targeted direction and a strong emphasis on quality.”

- Peter Waszkiewicz, President & CEO

Does Aviation play a big inspiration still today in the design and craft of Randolph eyewear?

Randolph sunglasses are - and always have been - purposefully engineered. Whether that’s for use in the cockpit or fishing on the water. Our sunglasses are designed with both fashion and function in mind. While some frames are more style oriented than others, they’re all built with the same integrity as our Authentic Military Aviator. “Respect where you come from. Reinvent where you’re going.” - these are the words of our founders, and we still live by them today. We are inspired by our customers who choose independent brands, risk-takers, tastemakers and adventurers who go against the grain. They inspire us to create new styles that will last a lifetime of experiences. Our frames will always have a nod to the aviation industry - whether that’s in the bayonet temple tips, designed to make our sunglasses easy to slide in and out of a pilot’s visor - or our military-style wingtip logo. Aviation always has - and always will be - a huge part of Randolph USA. Just take a look at our Instagram tagged images to see hundreds of pilots wearing our framers both in and out of the cockpit.


 What's the must-have pair this season everyone should have?

It’s got to be our latest release, the 23k White Gold Aviator, paired with our Polarized Cobalt SkyTec™ mineral glass lenses. These frames mean business. Built to the same specs as our Military Aviator and finished with luxurious 23k White Gold applied at 5x the industry standard. You can wear these frames for almost any occasion - from a hike in the mountains to a lake-side wedding. Our Cobalt lenses, released in 2019, have been a huge hit with our customers and it’s easy to see why. Their stunning blue iridescent mirrored outer grabs attention in the best way, but it’s the outlook that makes them even better. The Cobalt lens features our signature AGX green based lens, which is engineered to highlight nature’s relaxing green/yellow wavelengths, with premium polarization to protect from harmful glare. You really have to give them a try to see and feel the difference. For the months of November and December 2020, we’re also donating to an incredible non-profit called Angel Flight NE. For every frame sold, we’re making a donation to help them on their mission to provide free life-saving flights to those who need medical care outside of their geographic location. Since they were founded in 1996, they have provided over 80,000 free flights with the help of 400+ pilots who donate their planes, fuel and time. We’re so proud to be supporting this amazing cause.

Why do you think it is important for American made products and brands to support each other?

For us, it’s about independence, quality and authenticity. By making our frames by hand right here at our factory in Massachusetts, we’re able to have full control over our manufacturing processes and adjust them accordingly - we craft our frames in small batches and they’re all tested for quality and integrity. We know our frames inside-out. We know what works and what doesn’t, we’ve been perfecting our craft for almost 50 years, and it shows. When it comes to authenticity, our frames were originally designed for aviators (hence the name). We aren’t pretending to make ‘pilot style’ glasses - we have the heritage and the engineering background. We think this is the same for many other truly American brands like us, they know their history, their material, their craft and their customer. We often find our values align perfectly because of these things. It’s important to keep eachother going and sharing the word to our customers because they too share these values. We believe everyone has the right to choose, and many conglomerates are taking that away from the customer by launching ‘new’ brands that appear to be independent. Smaller, independent brands like ourselves are the ones founded on the American dream - and we think it’s imperative to keep that spirit alive.



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Meet Daniel, The KATO Wash Developer

Meet Daniel, The KATO Wash Developer
Why is the wash process important and what does it do?
The wash process is very important, because it gives the garments a very unique finish. Since kato’s garments are processed mostly by hand, every piece is unique... think of it like a piece of art where jeans are used as a canvas.
What do you enjoy about working with KATOs products?
I enjoy working with Kato because I like their products, that being said it just makes it fun because I get to work with what i like.
What advice do you have for people washing denim at home?
My advice for people washing their jeans at home... try not to wash them very often. Every whisker is like an untold story between you and your jeans.
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One Year Later: The Fade

One Year Later: The Fade

The fade of denim is a truly unique and personal experience. How often you wear it, what you carry in your pockets, how you wash it (see our wash video here) all add up to the creation of fades. The best fades come from raw denim over a period of time as the denim is worn. The characteristics of the denim fabric allow for it to age like a real pair of vintage jeans, only achieved after months of testing and developing our selvedge denim.

After one year of wear almost everyday here is an example of the fade created. This wearer always carries a phone - note the impressions made over time.

Our white leather patch (left) and signature orange stitching (right) after one year of consistent wear with moderate washing. 


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A Brief History Of The Denim Jacket

A Brief History Of The Denim Jacket

From James Dean to Marilyn Monroe, denim jackets have been a hit for decades. Upon the creation of the denim jacket circa 1880 came an everyday easy to wear utility piece originally designed for cowboys and miners during the gold rush era. You might say that the denim jacket was the first ever work jacket designed with true laborers in mind.

We took the traditional silhouette with horizontal pleats (for added maneuverability) for the base of our inspiration. Nick, our designer wanted to ensure we paid homage to the true denim blues but of course our added spin on comfort and durability. 

We added in pockets - and this denim jacket is made using the same denim fabric we use with our jeans (premium Japanese denim). It's 4-way stretch allows for the same flexibility our jeans offer while giving you the best possible fades. Check it out for yourself today.



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