Paige Mycoskie is the Founder and Designer behind Aviator Nation.
Aviator Nation, a surf lifestyle brand inspired by vintage sportswear, was created as a result of Paige wanting to make clothes for herself that looked and felt authentically vintage. For years, Paige visited thrift stores collecting sweats and tee shirts from the 1970’s and in 2006 she decided the stuff she loved most was getting too hard to find.
While working at a surf shop in southern California, she purchased her own sewing machine and started spending nights after work teaching herself to sew. Paige was determined to create garments with the same look and feel of the pieces she had been collecting.
Paige, being an artist, already had pages of drawings in her journal so she decided to turn those drawings into her first prints. She purchased a small table top printing press and learned how to burn screens in her bathtub. Paige realized with all the colors she wanted to put into her designs it was not easy to get the effect she desired from only a print. At this point she reverted to the sewing machine and began sewing the actual designs onto the garment. Paige’s inexperience with sewing created a natural hand made look that would eventually become the back bone behind the unique stitch technique in Aviator Nation garments today.
Next was the battle to make fabric feel old. She began experimenting with dyes and washes in her home washing machine and soon discovered the perfect combination to break down her fabrics. It was a hobby/art project that turned into an obsession, and now it’s her life.
After a few weeks Paige had a handful of creations that she started wearing around her neighborhood. It was not long before people approached her and started asking what she was wearing and where they could buy it. After someone attempted to buy the shirt off her back she decided it was time to put her creativity into a business plan.
Mycoskie’s natural passions influence every one of her designs. If she doesn’t love it or believe in it then it’s not going to appear on one of her hoodies or tee shirts. To Paige it’s not about doing what’s trendy or what may sell best, she just does what feels good to her at the moment and what she would personally like to have on a tee shirt. The result is something completely original.
Mycoskie is extremely hands on with every aspect of her brand. Whether it be painting the inside of one of her flagship stores, drawing each graphic by hand or communicating face to face with her customers, she is very much involved in each element of the company. Her personal touch goes into every project, event and design that she puts forward which is probably why everything Aviator Nation has a strong attention to detail.
Mycoskie also has a passion for producing garments domestically. She purchased her own factory and employs her own sewers so that everything can be made in California. Regular visits to the factory are part of her weekly routine because it is extremely important to her that all the detail she believes in transpires into each garment she produces. If the design is not sewn on exactly how she sees fit, or the fabric is not broken down to extreme vintage softness, the garment does not pass her inspection. It’s all about the details to establish her authentic vintage perfection. In her eyes if it doesn’t truly look vintage than it’s not acceptable.
Paige is an avid surfer, musician and loves the Hawaiian Islands. These passions of surfing, music and her California lifestyle are all very present in her signature designs. Most people that meet her think she was born in a different time period. It’s as if the culture of the seventies is somehow running thru her blood. Not only do her drawings show it but everything about her resembles the days past.
Some would say Paige is a modern day hippie and Paige would say she just does what she loves and people like it. Either way it is clear that by creating Aviator Nation she has brought us something special.