As the wise old idiom says, “… in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and having to wear shirts.”
Or something like that, but sadly, most things in life will require that you clothe your torso in fabric. Why not accomplish this with classic styles, made in America, that also donate to charity? Meet Rockridge shirts.
Rockridge, founded by Randy Wells in Oakland, California, is based on a simple idea: great shirts of great quality offered at a reasonable price. “The goal was to always start a company that could make really great clothes at a reasonable price point and make meaningful contribution to society,” Wells tells us. “As an African American male growing up in a working class neighborhood, I couldn’t afford the more desirable brands that I grew up with like Air Jordan’s, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren. As I learned more about the business of fashion, I learned that the reason the particular brands and most luxury brands are expensive is because they are marked up 8-to-10 times. Rockridge aims to change that pricing model while still producing high-quality shirts.”
After working for major fashion brands, Wells decided it was time to open start his own fashion line done his way. After business school, Rockridge was born. There are five styles of their twist on the classic Oxford button down: the 100% cotton Locksley shirts are slim fit with mother-of-pearl buttons. They utilize a single needle stitching and have raised the armholes for a better, tailored fit. The Locksley Oxford comes in white, grey, blue, blue/green plaid, and a flashy but cool grey Gingham. Each shirt is just $110.
Wells took things a step further and had these great shirts offered at a reasonable price made in the ol’ US of A. “We always planned on making our clothes in the U.S.,” says Wells. “The level of craftsmanship, detail and care is superior to working overseas. We currently work with a factory in Brooklyn, New York to manufacture our shirts, but all the materials including the label, buttons and hangtags are all sourced in the U.S.”
Rockridge also donates two percent of its proceeds to Donors Choose, a nonprofit that helps teachers get the supplies and experiences students need. The current public school system has a money problem: richer communities have better funded schools than poorer neighborhoods. Donors Choose helps to bridge that gap.
“We had three goals in mind when we thought about our social impact,” Wells explains. “The first was that we wanted to focus locally. The second is that we wanted to address public education needs and we wanted a partner that could help us scale the support as the business grew. For these reasons DonorsChoose.org was an easy fit. Not only do they check all the boxes above, but their platform allows us to make our contributions specifically to Oakland public schools, which is also where we are based and where I live.”
A well-fitting Oxford is at home in any man’s wardrobe, but a well-fitting Oxford that’s supporting American jobs and education? That looks damn good on you.