In a world of one-season throw-away shirts, it's nice to come across a clothing maker that is more interested in putting together a great product than they are in making a quick buck. The folks at Pladra make high-end flannel shirts that are designed and sewn right in San Francisco. Old-school outdoor prints add personality to the quality of heavy-duty fabrics and custom patterns.
You can feel the quality in every Pladra shirt. There isn't a trace of the frantic funk of a company that's just in it for the money. There is, however, a clear, clean vibe of authenticity and passion. Details like custom branded buttons and original patterns that account for fabric shrinkage show that, from the drawing room to the sewing room, someone cared about what they were making and how these shirts would function in the real world.
Pladra lines the cuffs and yoke of every shirt with vintage-inspired outdoor prints. Fish, deer, mountain goats, and pine trees in old-timey prints add a splash of color and a whiff of nostalgia that might remind you of your family vacations in a rustic cabin or the wallpaper on your Grandpa's old camp trailer.
Pladra also takes the time to actually line up the plaid lines throughout the garment. It means more work and no skimping on materials, but they believe that the clean style of the finished product makes it worth the extra effort.
The people behind Pladra are more committed to quality than they are to profit, so they invest in their local economy as much as possible. Pladra's design work, sewing, and embroidery all take place right in their own home town of San Francisco, and the custom buttons are made by a button designer just a few hours down the road in Los Angeles.
As passionate outdoorsmen, we have never found a flannel that we could wear both in the field and to the bar after getting blood on it. This is the foundation and inspiration behind Pladra: making a high quality, field-ready flannel with a unique sense of style.
We sat down with Jeff Ladra, co-founder and designer of Pladra. Here's what he had to say about starting Pladra, his obsession with Plaid, and keeping it local.
Treeline: Tell us a little bit about how Pladra got started.
Ladra: It was always in the back of my mind. I've always been a huge fan of the plaid flannel shirt. It was always my go-to when I went out in the woods. I'm a huge outdoorsman; I grew up fly fishing, so I decided to go back into design and focus on outdoor clothing.
Treeline: You use really unique outdoor prints on the cuffs and inside yoke. Where did the idea for this come from?
Ladra: We thought it would be cool if this shirt, that's so classic, had some sort of modern touch of 'us.' We never thought it would be the hook. But, we started doing it, and people love their favorite animals. Hunters get the deer, fisherman like to get the fish.
Treeline: Where does the name 'Pladra' come from?
Ladra: It almost started as a joke. It was kind of my nickname. It's a combination of the word 'plaid' and my last name. I wear a lot of plaid.
Treeline: You use custom buttons, custom brand labels, and your own patterns that account for shrinkage. Where does this attention to detail come from?
Ladra: We really wanted to go about this the right way. Time wasn't an issue. The best thing about our brand is that we're trying to do it the right way. We're not trying to blow up and rush to get out there. We just want to make the most perfect flannel shirt and really specialize in making the best single product. We also build in shrinkage which a lot of people don't do. The biggest thing with that is the way we match up plaid lines.
Treeline: What does it take to match up plaid lines?
Ladra: It's more classic, more rugged. It makes it harder for the sewers, but we aren't trying to pump shirts out. If you're going to make a quality shirt, this is how you do it.
Treeline: Your website says that until your shirts, 'We have never found a flannel that we could wear both in the field and to the bar after getting blood on it.' Do you go to bars covered in blood a lot?
Ladra: (Laughs) It's something you can wear fishing or hunting and then meet your buddies at the bar. We first strive for a shirt to be worn in the field, and then second, we focus on the design and the style. It's what we would wear. I'm actually headed to Northern California today to hunt for wild boar, and I'll wear one of my Pladra shirts.
Treeline: You manufacture right there in San Francisco. We're guessing that you're into working with locals?
Ladra: We thought it was really important to have it manufactured in the US. We try to support our local economy as much as possible.