East West Musical Instrument Company

The East West Musical Instrument Company had the most officially musical name for a company that had little to do with music.  They made leather goods – totally badass, hand-crafted, utterly amazing leather goods worn by everyone who was anyone (and had a bit of cash!) in the 70s.

The small store was founded by Norman Stubbs.  Its artisans were hand crafting leather and suede garments for rock gods from Janis Joplin to Carlos Santana (even Springsteen owned an East West), and every hippy with great taste.  They were right up there with Nudie and Granny Takes a Trip, but there is surprisingly little information on the web about East West …

… which apparently makes it all the more easy to knock them off.  Of late, Miu Miu, Balenciaga, and Urban Outfitters have done it …

Miu Miu 2011

Miu Miu 2011

Left – Balenciaga Resort 2010, Right – East West Parrot Jacket, 70s

Urban Outfitters

… and a store called South Paradiso in L.A.  The owner, Romulus von Stezelberger, was lucky enough to track down some of the orignal East West patterns, and produces the designs with the blessing of East West founder Norman Stubbs.  I’m not so sure how I feel about it, though …

South Paradiso Parrot Jackets

South Paradise "Rodeo"

South Paradise “Rodeo”

Either way, it all definitely proves one undeniable truth – the East West Musical Instrument Company of San Francisco was totally rad.


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