Ebbets Field Flannels, which recently moved around the corner to more spacious digs in Pioneer Square (119 S Jackson St.; ebbets.com), has always seemed misnamed for a Seattle-based company. But the 26-year-old retailer honoring the ballpark where the old Brooklyn Dodgers used to play makes up for it with plenty of Seattle-centric options. Consider the faithful replica jacket of the 1941 Seattle Rainiers, who won the Pacific Coast League baseball championship that season for the third year in a row.
This isn’t apparel you get in a typical sporting-goods store. Virtually everything that Ebbets Field Flannels sells is made in the United States or Canada, says Jerry Cohen, who owns the company with Lisa Cooper. Cohen explains that the new location offers more retail space plus additional room for manufacturing, inventory and offices. It’s also a block away from the 500 new residences at Stadium Place next to CenturyLink Field.
The workmanship that goes into Ebbets Field Flannels’ products is as impressive as the research conducted for every item—right down to fabric authentic to the period. Prices reflect this obsession with detail: Jackets like the Rainiers version sell for $349; team shirts retail for $195. Caps ($40–$48) and T-shirts ($29) are a bit friendlier to the bankroll.
The designs appeal to sports memorabilia enthusiasts, typography/graphic design geeks, advertising/branding aficionados and, of course, the retro/vintage crowd. The simple block lettering on a 1910 Seattle Giants shirt of gray flannel with green pinstripes and bright green collar has an unsophisticated charm that Nike could never hope to replicate. The same goes for the matching Seattle Giants eight-panel ball cap, which evokes a time of childlike insouciance.
The letterman-style Rainiers jacket harks back to sock hops and poodle skirts while venerating a retro vibe as timely as thrift-shop browsing.
Appropriately, Ebbets Field Flannels introduces a Macklemore/Ryan Lewis collection—the first of other collaborations Ebbets Field plans to do with artists—on June 12, which coincides with the Seattle Mariners’ Macklemore Bobblehead Night at Safeco Field. The limited-edition collection featured two coach’s jackets (in red or black satin), a white baseball shirt and a ballcap, all featuring the duo’s Shark Face Gang logo. But vintage sporting apparel from obscure minor league and Negro league baseball teams of yore remains the entrée on Ebbets Field Flannels’ home plate. Last year, the firm provided the minor league and Negro league uniforms for the movie 42, about baseball great Jackie Robinson.
And therein may lie the secret to a quarter-century of success: Whether it’s a cap of the 1880 Tombstone Tigers, a shirt of the 1915 Chicago Whales or a jacket of the 1942 Memphis Red Sox, Ebbets Field Flannels doesn’t follow trends. It follows history. Besides, who needs another Yankees cap?