We loved Railcar Fine Goods at first sight– its unpretentious vibe and gorgeous raw denim line had us at “hello”. Pair this with a simple mission statement: (“When you buy Railcar, you get garments made by Railcar”), and you’ve got a new favorite brand. Now, with its brand-new brick-and-mortar in Arcadia, CA, we can only expect to see more great things in the coming months. We caught up with Steven Dang to talk about his history, his approach to denim, and Railcar’s unusual start.
RYE & RIVET: When and how did you start creating your products?
STEVEN DANG: I started making jeans about 4 years ago– I started helping out my friend with a jean line that he created. After going to a bunch of factories in downtown Los Angeles, I took a big interest in the machines and the construction of the jeans. I think the machines really inspired me to make jeans. I love everything mechanical, and a sewing machine is pretty much one big transmission. I bought my first machine and learned how to work on it and use it. Then I bought another, and another… Now I have a full workshop full of them.
When I created the label Railcar, the name just came out. I am a full time mechanic at the Los Angeles Metro Goldline– I fix trains as my day job. And I make jeans the other 16 hours of the day (and night).
R&R: What three words would you use to describe your brand’s ideology?
SD: Quality, wearable, timeless.
R&R: What does “Integrity” mean to you in terms of modern production?
SD: We don’t use modern production in making our goods. We make all of our goods using non-automated sewing machines. The process is slower and takes a skilled operator to make jeans stitch by stitch. I’m not saying we have a factory filled with machines that you have to pump with your feet to make them work, but we use traditional old industrial machines to make the goods. No high-production robot arms.
R&R: Who is an inspirational icon for you at the moment?
SD: Craftsmen [who are] out there in the world specializing in something that they love. Whether it be cars, clothes, painting, metalwork, woodworking…anything. I think it’s very important to keep every trade practiced how it was before the world of robotics and automation took over.
R&R: What’s your drink of choice?
SD: Vodka soda with lime, and/or whiskey.
Thanks again to Steven Dang for talking with us. For more from Railcar, check out their site here.