San Francisco has a new fashion label that should interest men looking for affordable, quality, good-looking clothing: Prolific 54.
The company’s inaugural collection launched in September with 15 styles, none commanding a price tag over $50.
The seeds for Prolific 54 were sown in 2007, when co-founders John Wang and Jonathan Tam identified an absence in the market for affordable, fashion-forward men’s clothing. Along with friends Nick Pham and Alvin Chan, the team behind Prolific 54 aim to stay true to their vision of providing cost-efficient quality clothing and responsible manufacturing. The aesthetic is “young urban professional,” with a decided emphasis on “urban.”
In addition to putting out stylish clothing with an attractive price range of $10.99 to $42.99 (current collection), Prolific 54 offers a degree of exclusivity. It’s interesting to note, the terms “limited edition” and “affordable” are not often seen together. The quantity per each piece in the Prolific 54 collection is based on a single roll of fabric.
Purchasing custom fabric by the roll keeps costs down, and once the material purchased for a piece is consumed, the design is never reproduced. For crew neck t-shirts, a single roll of cotton fabric produces between 100-130 shirts.
Dedicated to San Francisco, where the founders grew up, the inaugural line was designed to embody “the metropolitan lifestyle of ‘work hard, play harder’.” Each piece is designed to go easily from the office to after hours.
Certain pieces were named after SF neighborhoods; the Fillmore Windbreaker ($32.99, blue or black) “represents the urban yet sophisticated style of the neighborhood,” while the water-resistant Tenderloin Jacket ($42.99, grey or black) pays homage to its namesake neighborhood: “heavy duty, tough exterior, to symbolize the urban aesthetics.”
With an embroidered collar (tasteful, not tacky), the crisp cotton South of Market Dress Shirt “embodies the soul of the professional.” Other offerings include checkered and plaid ties ($17.99), two styles of denim —Mission Skinny Jeans ($22.99) and the baggier Raw Denim Jeans ($37.99)—and black or white crew neck shirts ($10.99).
What’s the deal behind the name, you may wonder? “Prolific” refers to each piece being distinct, never reproduced in subsequent lines, hence a prolific design output. The “54” refers to the fact that “54 inches of cotton yarn defines a single thread, which is the building block of the textile industry.”
Currently Prolific 54 can only be purchased from the company’s web store, with future plans to open distribution to other retailers and then a brick-and-mortar storefront.