The Stronghold in Los Angeles … An American Icon!


Los Angeles based The Stronghold is a purveyor of denim and other specialty / luxury goods fully manufactured  in the United States.  The building  and storefront is located on 1625, Abbot Kinney Blvd in the city of Venice and has stood there since 1895!  Store Manager Ryan Gray gave me a brief and interesting history lesson about the company and the philosophy of the owner in deciding what merchandise is carried in the store.  For me it was an interesting and timely find for an all American merchant (it’s Memorial Day weekend after all).

The store has a warm, old time relaxed ambiance as you walk through the front door.  In addition to the Stronghold label, customers can purchase classic brands of other iconic American companies like Alden Shoes, Red Wing Boots, White’s Boots, Filson Bags, American Optical, Russell Moccasins, Fox River Mills and Stetson Hats.

Upon entering the front door, my eyes were greeted to a display of Alden footwear arranged around a beautiful vase of Star Gazing lilies.  I knew I was in for a treat as I went about discovering what lay beyond.

Store Manager Ryan Gray is a friendly and knowledgeable guide and was a pleasure to deal with.  He introduced me to owner Michael Paradise, gave me a tour of the store and then helped me pick out a pair of selvedge jeans complete with complimentary and customized alterations.

Owner, Michael Paradise pictured below and featured in the video “Finding America”

The likeness of brand icon Stronghold Steve is apparent throughout. Quite an old time Americana character.

American Optical aviators on display in the showcase, more boots and women’s shorts hanging on the wall.

Made in the Northwest, Filson bags from Seattle are backed by the same guarantee since 1897 by Clinton C. Filson … “We guarantee every item purchased from us. No more, no less. Your satisfaction is the sole purpose of our transaction.”

A display of Red Wing Boots … another classic company from Minnesota that has been around for 100+ years with a rich heritage.  Their ethos is one of true American spirit and promise -” if one works hard enough, one can achieve anything”.

The South back wall of the store displays Stronghold label denim and Stetson hats.   See those decanters below?  Ryan pours his guests water or bourbon.  Nice touch.


A rich array of denim material ready for your bespoke jeans.  Some of it comes from Japan which is arguably the finest …

The store staple – straight up denim in straight and slim leg fits.  These styles are no-distress, clean, and selvedge.  About $300 ea.

More store staples – shirts, denim jackets and stylishly classic and quintessential LA hats.

Classic worker images and an appeal for labor on storefront walls …

Monk strap Alden shoes to dress up that denim.

If faded, unfussy and broken in denim is your thing, Stronghold can accomodate that too.

The store caters to the ladies as well – on display, boots for the fair maiden.

Sock monkeys in the backroom and denim cloth selections on the wall.

Mr. Interpersonal Ryan sharing his wealth of knowledge on all things denim …

And all things boots …

Comfortable seating area towards the back of the store … perfect for bourbon drinking or trying on footwear.

After a couple of hours in the store, it’s time to head out to next door to the Tasting Kitchen restaurant.  Saul, the sommelier there took good care of us.  Thanks Ryan!


Tres hombres bid us adieu … thank you gentlemen.

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