Hardly anyone who’s into raw denim these days is a stranger to the folks at Railcar Fine Goods. We’ve been following founder Steven Dang and company since the since the early days, back when the brand was an extension of Dang’s desire to apply his industrial skills to areas outside of passenger trains for the Los Angeles Metro–part of Steven’s past, as he has now fully dedicated his time to Railcar.
Up until recently, the brand made its home in Arcadia, California (about 20 miles east of Downtown LA) but they recently acquired a new space just down the road in Monrovia. Part of what makes RFG special is that they produce all of their goods in-house, housing all of their denim, threads, and machines under one roof. The move was prompted by a need for a larger space to accommodate their growing operation, as well as a desire to offer a retail space where the public can come check out the goods firsthand. I was lucky enough to visit the space a few months ago during their grand-opening celebration, and it is definitely something special.
While Railcar has always been open to the public, Steven told me that some people were a little intimidated to just walk on in to a fully operational denim workshop. The retail space gives the consumer the opportunity to check out the denim–along with a number of accessories–firsthand in a more traditional retail environment.
The shop itself is only a small part of the space. The bulk of the square footage houses the many machines that go into the production of their goods. As one would expect, much of the retail space is devoted to displaying Railcar’s different denim offerings, including jeans, jackets, and even aprons and handkerchiefs. There’s also a cabinet filled with the brand’s pomade.
In addition to their own offerings, the shop also houses a selection of Red Wing Heritage boots and accessories. When I was there, they were one of the few American retailers offering the 8-inch Harvester boot in both black and amber harness.
Beyond boots and jeans, the shop offers up a wide selection of goods from artisans. A central table–welded and constructed by Steven himself, no less–held journals from Studio Pennylane, Vermilyea Pelle Horse Quarter Front Wallets, and jewelry from Bird of Virtue. Hanging around the shop were bags from Thrux Lawrence, as well as scarves and blankets from Faribault. They also offer grooming products from Triumph & Disaster, and denim- and shoe-care products from Mr. Black.
The selection of goods speaks to a dedication to the same attention to detail and craftsmanship that Railcar embodies, with a real person behind the brand rather than a conglomerate.
As the needs of Railcar are unqiue, requiring a production space in addition to the retail space, the store is located in a more industrial area of Monrovia so it’s most definitely a destination spot. As a self-admitted denim geek, it was a real treat to be able to walk down the hall of the shop and right into the production space, where I was surrounded by rolls of denim, and Union Special and Singer sewing machines.
The design of the space has the feel of bygone days, with lots of wood and vintage signs, furniture, lamps, and even Old Glory hanging in the dressing room.
If you’re in the area or want to make a trip out of it, you can ring the store’s bell Monday through Friday, 8 to 5, or make an appointment for a Saturday visit. They’re located at 800 S. Primrose Avenue, Monrovia, CA, 91016. If you’re lucky, they might even let you take a peek inside their workshop, where all the magic behind Railcar Fine Goods happens.