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Blog

  • Introducing The Highland Collection

    We are proud to announce the release of the Highland Collection, a 8-piece capsule of bags, sleeves, and carry-alls.

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    “The Highland Collection brings a summer vibe with echoes of linen and flax,” says Dan Maravilla, Co-Founder. “The rich texture and tonal color story are there to compliment long, warm summer days.”

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    The collection features an engineered linen blend that is treated for water resistance.  Nude leatherette accents and gold strap webbing compliment the antique copper hardware to achieve a new look with a classic feel.  Interior device pockets are lined with micro fleece to keep devices pampered and protected.  The Highland Collection is timeless in its roots and current in its execution and will pair well with a modern summer wardrobe.   The Highland Collection is priced from $29.95 to $129.95.

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    Worth noting in the Highland Collection are 2 new envelope sleeves for iPad and iPad Mini, or other tablets.  These offer a stylish way to easily protect your tablet in the most minimalistic way possible.  The inside is padded and fleece-lined, and the envelopes are trimmed in the same nude leatherette at the rest of the collection for a sharp new option and a great entry price-point into quality HEX gear.

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  • Field Report: Stumptown Coffee - LA's Brew Masters

    Coffee is the world's second most valuable commodity behind petroleum, so I think it's fair to say that most people enjoy a cup of coffee to get their morning started. Well over half of American adults drink coffee daily and to most, coffee is just coffee, no matter where it comes from.  For others, it is much more than that.  Studies and statistics are showing that coffee drinkers are ditching their basic beverages for quality, strength and taste. Gourmet coffee, fancy espresso drinks and unique coffee concepts are becoming super trendy and sought after these days.  In a market that is so saturated and competitive, roasters and brewers have to focus on perfecting their product and differentiating themselves to stay on top.

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    I'll admit it, I was not a huge coffee drinker, but I enjoy the taste and it saves me from passing out at my desk a few times a week. When I first stumbled upon Stumptown Coffee, via one of its milk carton cold brews, I instantly loved it. It was chocolate milk for adults and man was it strong!  Since we are always downtown at meetings, events or photo shoots, Stumptown's Los Angeles location at 806 S Santa Fe Ave has become one of our favorites. This place was not only a coffee shop, but a full on roastery and distribution hub for the southwest - an extensive operation. I thought to myself, this would make an awesome Field Report, and with the help of manager Lisa Reeve, we made it happen!  It was incredible to see the whole process and we can't thank the staff enough for rolling out the welcome mat for us.

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    Stumptown is doing it right. You walk in to a large, open space that is clean, modern and minimal - just the way we like it!  There is usually a line, but you might just be lucky enough to walk right up. As you place your order with a friendly and educated staff member, you are tempted by a variety of fresh pastries in a case next to the register. Today we were fortunate enough to meet assistant manager, Jason, and master barista, Matt, who were both crazy busy, but managed to answer all of our questions and let us taste a ton of great espresso drinks. You are in good hands with these gentlemen, they know their coffee!

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    The staff are not only super chill, but they know pretty much everything there is to know about coffee. This isn't your average cafe, it is a full circle coffee operation from bean to brew. While working in a roastery, you see it all and learn it all. Stumptown's mission is quality, taste and consistency. Their coffee and techniques are so far from average that they have a large test kitchen to train baristas and wholesale accounts their ways. Training can last from 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on experience. We couldn't wait to get the full tour and learn more, but first we had to do some taste testing.

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    The cafe has a great atmosphere and vibe.  Barista, Matt puts on some classic tunes before whipping up some tasty espresso for us.

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    Unlimited Cold Brew on tap.  Don't think about sleeping anytime soon...

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    Cold Brew with Nitro.  A unique twist that makes their ridiculously strong Cold Brew with nitrogen like Guinness.

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    Highest quality, roasted daily.  This sign says it all.  Stumptown coffee is roasted to order with a three day lead time and a two week shelf life, so customers only get the freshest roast possible.  They care more about the quality, consistency and taste than anything else.  They take care of their suppliers around the world and aren't afraid to pay more for a better product.  A team visits each of their farms multiple times per year and strategizes with the farmer on growing, cherry/bean selection, separation and preparation.  Producing great coffee is expensive and Stumptown knows it.  They care so much about the quality of their beans, that, at their own expense, they help educate their farmers on what they are looking for and how to achieve this standard.  Long term relationships are developed with farmers to insure they can make the most profit and not give in to standard bean prices. Very impressive.

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     Stumptown works with coffee growers from all over the world.  Some of it's biggest sources come from Colombia (of course), Africa and Indonesia.

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    Raw beans, it all starts here.  The beans are picked in their cherry form (the fruit around the bean) and have to be picked at their ripest to ensure quality.

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    Beans are roasted daily in order to deliver the freshest product possible.  Each batch is made specifically to fill an order, so there is no excess produced.  Stumptown's Los Angeles roastery will usually roast 25-30 batches daily.  Batch size is 60 kilos (or 132 pounds), which means they roast around 3500 pounds daily!  Stumptown has roasteries in Portland, Seattle and New York, but when you are the only one in the South, you have to roast a lot of coffee.

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    Beans are sent directly to the roaster, where they roast at between 300 to 500 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the batch.  The massive Probat roaster acts more like a convection oven churning out very hot air that gives the beans an even roast.  It is very important that the beans get roasted evenly, not just on the inside or outside. The beans are checked very carefully during the roast to make sure they are roasting properly and do not burn.

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    As soon as the batch is done roasting, the beans drop into the cooling tray and are spun around for a few minutes to cool off.  You can only imagine how good it smells in the roasting room!  Head roaster, Ben Angelo, educated us on the full roasting process and walked us through it step by step.

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    After the beans have cooled, they are sucked up by this Willy Wonka looking tube, dropped into a bin, and go straight to bagging.  Freshness at it's finest.

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    The beans are brought to a packaging area in back where they are scooped up, weighed and bagged. The bags are stickered with the bean/roast information and then sealed tight for optimal freshness. From here they are ready to sell and ship to all of California, Arizona and Texas.

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    Fresh Stumptown beans can be found at finer coffee retailers, or you can subscribe at Stumptown's website and get coffee delivered right to your house!

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    We got a sneak peek into the Stumptown tasting lab, the key to their consistency.  This regional tasting guide was pretty rad and broke down the flavors.

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    Stumptown has 10 cafes in 4 states and a roastery in each state. They are growing rapidly and can be found across America in gourmet coffee shops, grocery stores and even taco shops. The key to their success is consistency and they do an excellent job of monitoring this. Each roastery sends weekly samples of their featured coffees and the time and temperature to roast at.  From there the coffee is roasted, brewed, compared and adjusted if necessary.

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    To serious coffee drinkers, even brewing makes a difference. This is a Chemex coffee maker that uses thick oxygen-cleansed filters. These filters regulate the filtration rate while extracting undesirable components and allow a perfect infusion of the grounds to give the coffee a richer flavor.  Stumptown's LA cafe specializes in amazing coffee, but they have a great selection of pots, filters and mugs to complete your caffeinated experience.

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    Hard at work. Touring Stumptown's Los Angeles facility was truly amazing and educational. We can't thank Lisa and the staff enough for having us and taking time out of their busy day to show us around.  Hats off to you guys, we had a great afternoon with you and will be seeing you real soon!

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     If you are downtown, go see our friends at Stumptown at 1pm daily for a free tasting. Warning: This is how they get you, you'll be hooked at first sip!

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    Take home a growler of cold brew and bring it back for a refill.  You can never have enough cold brew!

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  • Ghost Writer: Jeff Staple - Different Drums, Same Rhythm

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    Many of you know Jeff Staple, or think you do.  But to us, he is more than just the enigmatic force behind his namesake fashion brand, Staple Pigeon.  He is also an aficionado of art, music, and all things creative.  So, when he agreed to contribute to our Ghost Writer series, we knew we were in for a treat.  So enjoy Jeff's take on two current exhibits at The Brooklyn Museum and his exclusive words and pics.

    There are currently two exhibitions happening right now at the Brooklyn Museum  The pairing could not be more perfect and I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in town.

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    “Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks” is on display until August 23rd and "Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic" is on display until May 24th. Their work is decades apart from each other chronologically, but their mission could not be more complimentary. If you read every single caption and subtext of the exhibition, you may notice a small coincidence (or maybe not) that both artists agree on one thing: They wanted to place people of color in a world where they don’t normally see it: ART. It’s extremely likely that Wiley is influenced by JMB, but you don’t actually get that feeling. Stylistically, they could not be more different.

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    Wiley is a master—and he knows it. You know how a skater will pull a ridiculous trick even though he knows he’s won the competition? He’ll risk humiliation or even worse, injury; all in the name of just going for it. Wiley does the same. It’s obvious he’s good at his craft. But he just rubs in it. Cmon! These pieces are on a level fit for Napoleon.

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    Basquiat on the other hand, wields what any pauper has at their disposal: A composition notepad found at any 24-hour bodega and a No. 2 pencil. Maybe sometimes a crayon if you’re lucky. Basquiat makes you think with his word play. Wiley makes you think with his sheer artistic prowess. The great thing about what you see in Basquiat’s work is his brainstorming process. Most of the words, phrases and sketches seen in these notebooks never appear in his actual exhibited work. It’s like being a fly on the wall in his thought process. It’s really a rare experience.

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    The curator of the museum gets five stars from me for pairing these two artists together. One from the era of Fab Five Freddy and Boogie Down Productions. The other from the Rocafella Era and Watch The Throne. Two artists from different eras, different instruments, but playing the same exact rhythm.

    - Jeff Staple

    follow Jeff Staple on Instagram

  • Vans Propeller: A Masterpiece 50 Years In The Making

    Vns_Propeller_Itunes_Ad.jpg7_Today is the day.  50 years in the making and with over 5 years of footage, Vans releases it's first ever full length skateboarding video!  We got a first look at the world premier held at the beautiful Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles.  Luckily, we got tickets in advance as the premier sold out and was packed full.  Crazy to think that this is Vans' first skate video, but it was well worth the wait.   No one was prepared for what we were about to see...
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    Los Angeles world premier flyer.  The first time Propeller was shown anywhere, and the first stop of 9 premiers that were held around the world.

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    Classic marquee shot before we headed inside.

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    Madness finding a seat in this place!

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    Everyone mobbing the bar before the video starts.

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    Steve Van Doren making quite the entrance in a mobile Old School High Top.  Why not go big on your big night?

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    The man himself, Steve Van Doren saying a few words and many thanks to his crew before bringing out the team.

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    The Team: Cab, Caples, Lutheran, Hunt Allen, Walker, Chima, Rowan, Dustin, Rowley, AVE, Barros, Grosso, Pfanner, Berle, Crockett, Hassan, Dill, Cardiel, Trujillo, Hosoi, Barbee, Alva.  What a lineup!  Everyone delivers, too many bangers to remember...can't wait to watch this at least 10 more times!

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    One of the best skate teams out there.  So many amazing skaters...Who's part will be your favorite?

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    My personal favorite.  #1 - A.V.E.  They saved the best for last, that's for sure.

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    That may have been the best skate video I have ever seen.  Greg Hunt created a masterpiece, it took a few years, but you can't rush perfection.  This is a straight-up gnarly skateboarding video.  A modern take on all aspects and generations of skateboarding that will make you want to get on your board and never stop pushing.  Full parts from some of the best in the business.  Check out Propeller today, get amped, lace up your Vans and go skate!

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  • Introducing The HEX x Nowartt Collaboration

    We are proud to announced the release of the Nowart Collaboration, a 7-piece capsule of bags, and cases.

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    The collection features a custom print by Japanese artist, Toyoki Adachi under his Nowartt label.  The printed canvas is then waxed for water resistance.  Black coated accents provide style and durability to the trim.  HEX combines this with their signature surplus grade cotton web strapping and interior micro fleece lined pockets for ultimate device protection-achieving both looks and performance.  The HEX x Nowartt Capsule fuses Japanese art themes with HEX style to create a visually progressive collection.  The capsule is priced from $50 - $140.

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    “We love Toyoki’s aethsetic,” says Dan Maravilla, Co-Founder. “His mix of graphic and natural elements mixed perfectly with our minimalist designs and he is well respected throughout the art and design community.”

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    “As a textile designer, I have been mainly working with many Japanese brands for collaboration, and some of my works were introduced overseas”, says Toyoki Adachi.  “This experience opened my eye to foreign brands.  Because of this, I started attending shows in New York and Las Vegas.  Luckily, I was given a chance to work with HEX after a several trips to Las Vegas.  It was my great honor work with Hex because my design themes come from fashion, lifestyle, art and peace, so I feel strongly that I share the same feeling for the process of designing products as HEX does.”

    Adachi continues, “The design for this graphic was based on the idea of “Peace Camo” / “Horn Tree” and was created with the concept of a scene with many tree branches in the forest by using overlapping horns of deer, reindeer and moose.  This indicates a safe life of animals in the forest and awareness of our natural environment.  This graphic's theme is harmony with nature and peace.”

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    The HEX x Nowartt Capsule is available now for purchase at www.shophex.com and other select high-end retailers near you. For more information on the collection and HEX’s extensive line of techcessories, visit the website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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  • Coachella 2015 - Weekend 2 Photo Recap

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    We've been to a lot of music festivals and we love them, but Coachella is different.  It's the largest festival in the US, it's in the middle of the desert, and it's always good for a wild ride!  Sit back and enjoy our photo recap of weekend 2 from Coachella 2015.

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    And the madness begins...probably the best people watching you will see anywhere!

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    The worlds largest catepillar? Trippy art and statues everywhere you looked.

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    Captain America was hyped!

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    Found a Transformer, he was pretty chill.

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    Checked out Ride on the Gobi Stage. Good stuff!

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    With over 500,000 people in attendance over the 2 weekends, there wasn't a small crowd anywhere.

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    Behind the scenes. Where the artists hang out before and after their sets.

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    Started Friday evening with some Steely Dan. So good!

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    Everything was lit up at night! Everything.

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    Checked out Flying Lotus closing out the Mojave Stage, interesting to say the least...

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    Stopped to admire the fancy lamps on our way to the beer garden before AC/DC.

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    Some horny AC/DC fans.

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    AC/DC still killing it after all these years. So good to finally see them live! Thunderstuck!

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    Started Saturday off in a rave tent. Only at Coachella...

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    Punk legends Bad Religion ripping it on the main stage.

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    Knobs and cables. The devices that make it all work so you can see and hear your favorite bands.

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    Took a ride on the biggest portable Ferris Wheel and it was incredible! Coachella from 150 feet.

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    Coachella camping. Endless cars and tents. We can only imagine what went down over there at night...

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    Caught Hozier playing to a massive crowd just before the sun set for the night.

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    Just got into Run The Jewels. They brought out Travis Barker for a few songs and the crowd went off! Check them out for sure.

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    Saturday night's lineup was back to back. Started off watching Tyler The Creator get wild on the Outdoor Stage.

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    Had to pay our friend The Gaslamp Killer a visit. He played with a full orchestra and it was awesome!

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    A personal favorite: Tycho. The chillest music, we got close and loved every minute.

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    Jack White was amazing! Straight up rock and roll at it's finest.

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    The Weeknd closed out the main stage, going on just before midnight. Been a fan of this guy for some time, great to finally see him live.

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    Only a guest or artist pass can get you back here, headed back to main stage on Sunday afternoon to check out Circa Survive.

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    Anthony Green of Circa Survive getting the crowd going.

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    Drake literally brought a jungle for his stage props.

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    8 of this year's limited Coachella posters in the boutique. Of course they were sold out. Also...Coachella pajamas?

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    Pretty awesome to see a record store on site! This was the place to be, air conditioning, shade and endless vinyl.

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    Rad Artist & Guest Lounge right on a lake. Took it easy on Sunday and cooled it here for a while.

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    What a great experience! There is nothing quite like Coachella.  We had a blast and hope you enjoyed the vicarious tour.  See you next year!

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