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Photographs and film can convey much of the soul of a place. But we’ve found there’s nothing quite like experiencing the world the old-fashioned way – firsthand. Which is what took us to two shores of the Pacific, in Southern California and Oahu. At each stop, we met locals with a greater appreciation of the natural world and the preservation of tradition. People who explore new “old ways” of doing things, much as you'll find in this season's collection of Best Made. And we found a spirit in the Pacific. One that mustn't go unnoticed - or uncelebrated.


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AGAVE REVOLUTION

As a horticulturist for more than 40 years, and a retired professor on the subject, Doug Richardson knows a bit about helping plants thrive on the Pacific Coast. He founded California’s first organic banana farm, before developing a passion for agave’s amazing breadth of uses.


He is now a revered consultant for the Southwest’s budding agave spirits industry and the growers who support it, as well as property owners inspired by his concept of edible landscaping.

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RANCHO DEL SOL

Distillers and producers need growers, and growers need horticulturists. That’s how Mark Peterson and Doug Richardson developed a warm friendship over one hardy desert plant. Mark owns Rancho Del Sol, a key grower for distillers in Santa Barbara. He’s quick to mention that almost everything he knows about growing agave comes from Doug. Mark’s immaculate ranch offered an up-close view of both the life cycle of this wonderful crop, and this season’s Best Made collection put to proper use.

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BOARD INNOVATION

If southern California were a person, that person would be surfboard maker and punk rock enthusiast Barry Snyder. Barry grew up surfing the southern coast of California in his free time, and building surfboards for a living with the rest of his time. Today, he does more making than surfing. 


He crafts each board from his home-based workshop, where he meticulously hand shapes and builds each one. One of his signatures is to inlay a strip of homegrown dried agave stalk into his work - ensuring a little bit of southern California is baked into his boards.

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TESTING THE WAVES

One of Barry’s longtime customers (and longtime fans) took his latest board to the surf to put it to the test. Agave is a heavier board material than the more common polystyrene. But what it adds in heft it makes up in beauty and speed. 


The setting was also the perfect showcase for Best Made’s new linen and swimwear collections - as well as our new beach blanket after a dip.

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A few thousand miles to the west of Santa Barbara, we found a similar spirit of innovation fueled by tradition on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. There, the oldest Aloha Shirt company is blending new manufacture with 80-year pattern heritage to keep a Pacific staple thriving. And rum, the Caribbean’s native spirit, is finding unique expression in Hawaiian sugar cane strains that first came to the archipelago 1,400 years ago.

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RUM 1,400 YEARS IN THE MAKING

Kō is the native Hawaiian word for sugarcane – the heart of Kō Hana Rum Distillers. Each batch of agricole rum Kō Hana produces begins in a field on the island of Oahu, where they grow and harvest single varieties of sugarcane by hand. 


Once the cane is ready, it’s pressed to juice, fermented and distilled to perfection. And perhaps the most unique part of Kō Hana Rum is that it’s single estate – meaning the spirit in each bottle is distilled solely from the cane that Kō Hana raises in its fields. A true spirit of Hawai’i.

Kahala is the oldest – and likely the most storied – operating apparel company in Hawai‘i. Known for their creation of the Aloha Shirt, Kahala established the iconic style in 1936 and continues to finesse it today. Each of Kahala’s Aloha Shirts is a work of art made to reflect the unique lifestyle, landscape and spirit of Hawai‘i. Now available to our customers in two prints designed in Honolulu exclusively for Best Made.

ALOHA IS SOMETHING YOU TAKE WITH YOU

Kahala is the oldest – and likely the most storied – operating apparel company in Hawai‘i. Known for their creation of the Aloha Shirt, Kahala established the iconic style in 1936 and continues to finesse it today. Each of Kahala’s Aloha Shirts is a work of art made to reflect the unique lifestyle, landscape and spirit of Hawai‘i. Now available to our customers in two prints designed in Honolulu exclusively for Best Made.