There are a few staples in motorcycle fashion that never go out of style; a black leather jacket, a pair of Ray Bans, and some dark blue jeans. With vintage bikes and modern classics increasing in popularity, there seems a lack of similarly styled apparel and gear that reflects the bikes we choose. Moto gear seems to be catching up with collections like Dainese’s 36060 gear and we’re seeing some cool retro helmets like the Bell Bullitt and Biltwell’s Gringo. In our never ending quest for new gear we stumbled across a California-based company, Hometown Jersey, who is making some cool throwback jerseys, reminiscent of the old vintage racing jerseys we all know and love.
We instantly fell in love and knew we needed a jersey of our own! After reaching out to Hometown Jersey’s owner, Jill Smith, we learned that we could get our own custom Bullitt jerseys made. Hometown Jersey has two style options; the Original Hometown Jersey Raglan Sleeve and the Set In Sleeve. We opted for the ‘raglan style’ and couldn’t be happier.
Currently, The Bullitt is in the process of a site redesign and will be adding a new e-store where Bullitt jerseys will be available. In the meantime, feel free to email pat(@)thebullitt.com to get one directly. We spent a little time with Hometown Jersey’s owner, Jill Smith, and asked her a few questions about her business:
Hi Jill. Can you tell us a little about your business and what inspired you to start Hometown Jersey?
I started making my vintage inspired jerseys when looking for a new logo shirt for my husband TK’s business. He builds custom guitars. We had always made silkscreened T’s but wanted to create something different and unique to promote the business. Everything about his work is of another time, beautiful craftsmanship, high quality and completely made in the USA, and his instruments are made with shop tools from the 1930’s-1950’s. We had an old jersey that we liked and used it as inspiration. Our friend and musician JD McPherson wanted a Smith Fabrication jersey, then he asked for one with his hometown on it. He mentioned getting a jersey to show his hometown pride. That conversation inspired me to start Hometown Jersey.
Where is your business located?
We’re based in Southern, CA near Joshua Tree.
Your jerseys are reminiscent of motorcycle jerseys from the 40’s and 50’s. What was particularly special about that time, and style, to you?
For years we have been into vintage cars, music, clothes, architecture, you name it. The first half of the 20th century was so full of new and creative endeavors in all aspects of American life. So many great products were being made right here at home, and at such a high standard of quality. As companies have taken manufacturing off shore, thats more the exception today than the norm. Of course I wasn’t alive then so maybe I just live in a fantasy! The era in general has been an inspiration since I was a kid. Motorcycle, Car Club and sports fashion was so much more interesting to me then, than it is today. Look how many items like clothes or furniture still exist today from the years before 1960. Most of what people purchase today will be in the trash next year. So I guess whats special to me about that time is to look at it as an example that we can still make high quality, great looking products in America.
Are you a car girl, or motorcycle girl yourself?
I love vintage motorcycle fashion but I don’t personally ride. TK and I have cars. A ’56 Ford pickup, a ’53 Buick and a Model A roadster pickup, which is now my car. I’m getting ready to paint it as the official car for Hometown Jersey. TK built the car from the ground up but has just given it to me. Lucky girl! Now I’m learning to take care of it myself.
What’s your favorite car/bike?
My roadster is definitely my favorite! Another evolution of it coming soon….
What is the you favorite design or collaboration you’ve done with Hometown Jersey?
I don’t really have a favorite because they are all so much fun to make. We only use felt for our lettering and designs. Its so great to work with people and companies on custom cut felt. We are lucky to work with Sta-Lube who have been around since the 30’s, we’ve made jerseys for the The Jalopy Journal, the Wilkinson Brothers and we’e making custom jerseys for the Antique Motorcycle Club of America right now, just to name a few. I make a lot of custom logos for car and motorcycle clubs all over the world which is really gratifying. Clubs always get a price break when they order from Hometown Jersey as a group because I love supporting their passion. I hope that younger guys and girls continue to carry on the tradition of club jerseys, coats whatever. It’s so cool to see a club showing their pride and so much fun for me to make them.
Do you have any new products in the works?
We do. We recently introduced a new color Raglan Sleeve jersey. It has a heather grey body with a full burgundy sleeve. Our jerseys are mens sizes but I have had so many requests for size XS for the ladies that we’ll have that any day now as well. XS will come in black and the new heather grey Raglan Sleeve jerseys. In the late spring, we’ll have our own brand of T-Shirt where we will also offer custom felt lettering stitched on. We just could not find a mens T made in the USA we liked so we’re making our own.
As of the first of the year, we also moved to 100% recycled shipping materials. Packaging can be so unnecessarily wasteful so I just wanted to do our part to make sure once you receive a jersey, you can either re-use the packing materials or put them in your own recycling bin. And, its all made in Colorado which is great.
What does the future have in store for Hometown Jersey?
My intention is to continue to offer great looking vintage inspired custom sportswear. What I love about Hometown Jersey is that we can offer our customer a completely unique, high quality garment that they get to choose what they want it to say. I want to keep the choices simple but the design ideas from the customer limitless. Its so much fun to see what ideas for a jersey design come in each morning when people have ordered over night! I can’t wait to get to the shop each day and make someone else’s vision a reality.