A rare interview with founder and president of CP Shades, David Weinstein…
“We produce a product with fabrics that have a femininity to them… and, most importantly, a life…” –David Weinstein, founder and president of California-based clothing company CP Shades
CP Shades began in the 70s as a circumstantial consequence of the popularization of pants, among other factors. (Title IX in 1972 banned federal schools to require girls to wear dresses to school.) They wanted to make comfortable, cool, all-natural tops to pair with pants, now gaining popularity and general acceptance. The specialty that CP Shades brought to the table, however, was the casual yet distinct fabrics people could not get enough of. “The vision has always been about people wearing clothing in their lives… comfortable, easy to care for… clothing that becomes favorites. The search has always been for unique fabrics that live and breathe… like the people that wear them.”
CP Shades is based out of Northern California, where they have always and continue to ‘mass produce their handmade product’. To this day, all manufacturing stays local. “In the late 70s we started cutting, sewing and dyeing our own product in the Bay Area.” CP Shades tells the story of locally made, sustainable fashion. Their fabrics remain all-natural, easy to wear, uber comfortable, and fashionably casual. As a native Northern Californian and a longtime fan of the brand, I have been draped in CP Shades goodness since I was a child and have loved every casual cotton and linen-filled moment of it.
Below we speak with David, and yes, the kid in me is dying.
How did CP Shades come to be?
CP Shades started in the late 70s as a by-product of fresh pants. Jean stores started in the early 70s… We were looking for items that went with jeans and focused on great colors, colors that were not found in the marketplace. We developed working relationships with mills to create knits and wovens that were all garment-dyed. Friends in the retail world started asking if we could sell them some of our product… and we did. That was the start of CP Shades…
CP Shades’ mantra is, “what you see is what you get.” Can you explain this?
Our mantra:”What you see is what you get…”
This is an important part of our product development. Everything is garment washed, dyed, produced domestically… We want a product that feels at home with the consumer, sort of like it just came out of the washer and dryer. For some people, this was not what they expected when they came to our showroom, and certainly not what they expected when they received product at their stores. “What you see is what you get” is just a reminder that we are who we are, and that the most important thing is for us to stay true to the vision, and to the product that we produce.
What kind of gal do you see wearing CP Shades?
If we are successful in making the product that we want, it’s for everyone. We see moms and daughters shopping together… We offer such a wide collection, so many different fabrics that we cultivate and develop, that there is something for everyone. Something for casual and something for dress up.
How would you explain CP Shades garments to anyone who hasn’t seen them yet?
We like to think of it as a “mass-produced handmade product.”
Every thing is designed and manufactured in Northern California — what kind of opportunities does that give you?
Manufacturing in Northern California gives us the opportunity to ‘react’ to the market and deliver a product to the consumer closer to when they want to buy and wear.
What is next for CP Shades?
Next….always next… In this industry, the future is right now. We are always developing new product, new concepts. Today is kids and men’s….maybe tomorrow, who knows? But we’re on it!
Thank you David! We’ll catch up with you soon.
+Shop all CP Shades on Free People here…