California Culture Since 1957
Kennington is an iconic apparel brand
with a history deep in authentic
California counterculture that has thrived
through seven fashion generations.
From the hippie counterculture of San Francisco,
to the laid-back surf lifestyle of Malibu,
from the Cool Jazz sensibility of the Bay Area
to the Muscle Cars in the San Fernando Valley,
Kennington has always been there.
Kennington Ltd., Inc. was established by Stan Tendler in 1957 in Los Angeles, California, in his parent’s garage. It was an unremarkable beginning for a company that would go on to become a West Coast fashion industry force and a California cultural icon.
Kennington Ltd. has been credited with bringing "California Style" to the masses, across the U.S. and around the globe.
1950'S + 1960'S
Kennington exploded on the fashion scene, in the late 50's and early 60's with a button-down shirt that merged several trends at exactly the right time: a roomy, structured shirt made with an Ivy League Style silhouette, done in prints inspired by postwar Californian counterculture
Kennington put a distinct West Coast spin on the look – smaller collars, more adventurous prints – and made a big bet on production. It was one of the company’s first hits and helped put Kennington on the industry map.
1960'S Surfer Culture
The 1960's were the "golden age" of surfing in Malibu and Kennington was right there. Surfers flocked to Kennington's laid back button downs and board shorts with the distinct and playful prints that helped to define an era.
Always ahead of the trend, Kennington partnered with the then newly created Malibu Surf Association, now one of California's first surf clubs and one of the oldest surf clubs in the world.
The 1970's brought the introduction of the polyester and jersey blend "Disco" shirts made popular in clubs and street wear. It also introduced our most coveted shirts during our license agreement with Disney -- Kennington was the first clothing brand to license the characters.
Today, there is a virtual cottage industry of vintage Kennington garments from this era. Our rarest issues can be found for $150-$300 online. Vintage Kenningtons have literally compounded in value.
1980'S + 1990'S
The 1980's and 1990's brought back both the classic Hawaiian shirts of the 50's and 60's and the Club-style shirts of the 70's with updated cuts and fabrics.
The phenomenon was reborn as a new generation discovered Kennington and customers of previous style decades longed for the nostalgia and good vibes Kennington is associated with.
Today, we strive to align our high standards with an awareness of how the manufacturing process affects the environment and the workers who make our apparel.
Our production facilities create a safe work environment for factory employees, who earn a living wage, while also reducing its carbon footprint by knitting, sewing, screen printing, and finishing the garments within a few mile radius.
Alan Walters, the Director of Production at Kennington Ltd., for more than 25 years, is now at the helm and proud to continue the legacy created by our founder and his family. Alan's history in the apparel industry is unparalleled --- as an African-American designer, it is ground-breaking.
There have been many changes over the at 60 years, but one thing remains the same: top-notch apparel infused with that classic, laid-back, Californian cool.