the highly coveted melanzana
If you haven't heard of Melanzana, you're missing out. This is a story of the most unlikely of clothing makers, and how they've garnered a cult-following amongst the outdoor crowd.
Melanzana started in 1994 by a scrappy guy named Fritz and his childhood buddy, Kevco. Fritz literally sewed a tipi, and squatted in it for his first two winters in Leadville. To say this guy has grit would be an understatement.
They were committed to locally-making affordable outdoor gear (and still are committed to these values!). Producing hoodies, beanies, sweats and other highly durable outdoor clothing, these guys have become the unlikely heroes in the crowded market of outdoor retail brands. Their success is hard-won: the business slowly evolved, gradually moving into bigger and bigger spaces over the years, and adding staff and production capabilities.
Now, they're perhaps best known for their micro-grid fabrics, for which they've received wide accolades and explosive demand. This fabric is a super-soft, lightweight fleece with a grid of open channels for breathability. In short, it's amazing. And highly-coveted.
See, here's the thing: Melly's are exclusively made- and sold- in their Leadville headquarters. That's right: the ONLY place you can purchase a Melly is in their store. For those unfamiliar- Leadville is the United States' highest town, sitting at an elevation of 10,000 feet. It's about 100 miles West/Southwest of Denver, roughly a 2 hour drive. So you have to be fairly committed to get your hands on one.
Further, it's a bit of a crap shoot once you arrive at their charming store (that literally has sewing stations behind the counter). Their inventory is limited, to the point that they now have traffic light icons on each piece of clothing on their website, indicating the current stock.
Bottom line: you may- or may not- be able to buy one.
Now here's where we are exceptionally lucky. My awesome brother Tyler lives and works up in Leadville.
Being a small, remote mountain town, every year-round resident knows each other, and knows each other well. Ty is good friends with the gorgeous Mountain Momma, Shoshanah. Shosh (as she goes by) happens to be the Quality Control Manager at Melanzana
You see where this is headed...Shosh HOOKED US UP with an amazing little tiny micro-grid hoodie for our baby girl, Lila. It is perfect. It is adorable. It is rad AF.
Lila will surely get use out of this awesome little hoddie for years to come. Camping, hiking and romping around in the Great Outdoors, this is now her staple piece of clothing.
Bottom line: it pays to know people in high places. And if you don't, then get your butt on up to Leadville and (try) to get your hands on one of these incredible fleeces.