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Orange County-Based Sportswear Label

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old Trovata versus new Trovata

  • Dec 9, 2008
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I splurged on a Trovata cropped khaki trench jacket a couple of years back, sometime around 2005 or 2006. With non-matching buttons and "secret" hidden pockets, it's basically the archeologist jacket that I never had (ahhh, my unrequited profession).  

Let me tell you: I wear it all the time, and it still holds up. The printed cotton lining is a high thread count, which means that even though it's a khaki jacket, you stay plenty warm (and it's snuggly and smooth). The multiple pockets (there are six!) are great for compartimentalizing my chapstick, keys, and BART cards. The materials are good quality, but they're simple — so unlike most high-end clothes, you don't have to dry clean. It's fine if you ball it up and throw it into the washing machine w/ the rest of your Gap stuff. 

My point is: the jacket is the perfect mix of aesthetic and practicality. It looks like it came out of somebody's storybook imagination, but it also holds up really well to the wear and tear of my daily life. I'd love to shop for another Trovata piece, but ....

Ever since the original group of designers disbanded and Whitledge was left holding the reins, I'm not a convert anymore. The designs are too simple, and while I don't know anything about the execution, it looks like most anything they're producing can be found at Uniqlo and Gap ... at much lower prices.

I'll keep an eye out for Trovata as this company evolves, but for the past there seasons, I've been really underwhelmed. 

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December 10, 2008
I'm not a big fan of Shipley & Halmos either. The "prepster" look they're going for isn't anything that you couldn't get out of Steven Alan. Maybe I'm too harsh. What Trovata used to have with its original founders was a very unique aesthetic, something that somebody who kept re-reading JD Salinger books would have dreamt up. You couldn't get that bizarre, oddly literary look anywhere else. Whatever that aesthetic was, it's been diluted b/w the new version of Trovata and Shipley & Halmos. In my opinion anyway...
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I'm a curious foodie, a devout fashion gawker, and an unrepentant print nerd. I work at one of the last mainstream commercial magazines that's still printing.      Other things … more
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Founded in 2001 by John Whitledge (creative director), Josia Lamberto-Egan (production director), Jeff Halmos (sales and marketing), and Sam Shipley, Trovata is made up of four individuals who describe themselves as possessing "nothing resembling a fashion resume" (although Whitledge had earlier interned at Abercrombie & Fitch). Whitledge and Halmos grew up together in Florida, and Halmos later attended the University of Colorado at Boulder with Shipley. During a trip to southern California to visit Whitledge, who was enrolled at Claremont College along with Lamberto, Halmos met the two and helped devise the basic plan that would turn into the Trovata clothing line.

In early 2001, a test line consisting of three pairs of shorts and one polo was developed. The brand approached buyers from American Rag, Fred Segal, and Barneys with what Whiledge has described as "two vintage suitcases" full of samples. Barneys bought the polo shirt in all available colors, and Trovata shipped its first collection from a Claremont College dorm room later that year.

In 2002, DNR described the brand as a "Hot New Label", while GQ picked Trovata as one of "today's best emerging designers." Vogue described the brand's creators as "four surfers hanging ten in the fashion waters." During much of this this period, the label was still being run out of a small room in Halmos' father's office in Florida.

In the summer of 2002, with a short video in hand, Halmos and Whitledge set out for Europe, Asia, ...

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