It started with t-shirt, but the vision was always much bigger. Brothers Raan and Shea Parton, 34 and 32, respectively, founded their company, Apolis—a Greek word that roughly translates to “citizen of no country” (or, as the Partons prefer to interpret it, “global citizen”)—in 2004 to make clothing for a profit, but also to be a force for good.
They design clothes for the kind of man who travels far and lives hard, who wants durable, stylish stuff that’s been made the right way—which also describes them to a T. “Our parents thought we’d be Southern California monsters if we didn’t see the rest of the world,” explains Shea, who’s the CEO and business guy.
Raan, who handles the creative side, and his team co-design their wares with artisans from Peru, Portugal, and Bangladesh; one such product, the company’s famous jute-fiber “market bag,” has employed a group of Bangladeshi women for three years now. Apolis was the second clothing manufacturer ever to be named a “B-Corp”—which is like LEED certification for architecture, but with focus on environmental and social standards.
The roots of the brand lie in travel, and the brothers both get out on their road bikes as much as possible. Seeing the world and experiencing life, Shea says, “is what convinced us to start Apolis. It’s very entrenched in our brand to be a participant and not a spectator.”
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