PRT: DERBY OF SAN FRANCISCO…THE ORIGINAL TOUGH GUY JACKET IS BACK

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photo: Dave Glass

This week on Product Review Tuesday, we offer up the glorious return of the real pride of San Francisco: the Derby Of San Francisco jacket!

Originally, the Derby was a workhorse of a jacket made for the special kind of fog and cold that San Francisco can deliver. It was also durable and sensible for the guy who spent some time out in that weather for work or under the car on the street or standing outside Pissed Off Pete’s out on Mission at 2am. The kind of jacket that a man with no real sense of fashion or flash could wear and wear out, over time. Which was why a Frisco native might have a few different Derbys in a few different colors. A hero of the working class Excelsior District, the Derby became the calling card of the “Excelsior Boys” and it was generally understood that you thought twice before mixing it up when you saw one of those jackets across the bar.

The Derby disappeared at some point in the late Eighties. And, as these things generally do, they became ‘retro’ and collectible for those in the know, quickly bringing a couple bills on ebay or one of the many Bay Area swap meets for a gently-used one (which was hard to find). Tan, light blue, navy, black, light yellow and even red, the Derby was now a vintage piece of San Francisco history.

Until now. Victor Suarez and his crew have brought back the Derby with a vengeance. Paying attention to all the details that made the Derby so legendary –– including the classic gold paisley quilted lining, Victor has painstakingly returned the Derby to the masses. And what’s even neater is the box the new jacket comes in! While we dig the dandy Edwardian map illumination style of logo in gold on the box cover, we dig even more the fact that this legendary working man’s jacket retains the original Bay Bridge-n-Roy Rogers logo that truly embodies the ethos of the rarely-celebrated, hardscrabble, knock-around, take-no-shit, hard-drinkin’ Frisco natives.

Take a look at the pics below and order yours directly from Victor and his crew (here).

27 Responses to “PRT: DERBY OF SAN FRANCISCO…THE ORIGINAL TOUGH GUY JACKET IS BACK”

  1. Thanks for the awesome review. This has been a long process minus the small runs we sold for years this has been a HIT! I never thought we would do over 1350 sales in one day! I did put a lot of time into this and really paid attention to all the details. I learned from from a famous someone that you need to put your all into it even in the “Parts No One Will Ever See”. It is very motivating to see the success of this and drives me to create other products aside from the ones I have sold before. I guess I will have to go to the archives and do some re-adjusting and get these hidden products out.
    We have a plan….
    Here it comes…
    Victor

  2. Mike Swain says:

    Hello, I remember my dad during a 15 year period when he only wore Derbys. I’d love to bring him over to the shop and surprise him with a new one. I just don’t know where. Can we come by? I live in Alameda… Thx, MIKE

  3. Jimmy Mac says:

    Purchased one today. People crave “authentic” and the derby is authentic.

    Everybody wore Derby Jackets back in the day. The vatos on 24th Street. The brothers in the projects. The Italians in the Excelsior and the Irish guys in the Sunset. From Juvi Hall to St. Ignatius Derby with Benn Davis.

    It took big gonads for Victor Suarez to invest in this. Best wishes to him.

  4. Big Ben Davis says:

    My Dad grew up in Bernal Heights back in the 50s and 60′s when St. Anthony’s Church was on Army, and the Meat Market was on the Corner of Precita and Folsom.
    Back in 63′ Lightstones on Mission and Valencia started selling the Derby Jackets when my Dad was going to Horace Mann Junior High School. From what my Dad remembers the Derby’s were the selling quick he had bought one for $15.00 or $20.00, and back in 63′ $20.00 was allot of Money I would like to pick up a Derby for the same price hahaha lol.

  5. Sal Micallef says:

    I grew up in the Excelsior district off of Silver and Mission and I could tell you for sure all my friends and myself wore Derby Jackets. Now that I think about it my sisters even wore them, they are a part of our memories as teenagers. We wore them with our Benns. That was just how how dressed, right? I will buy one for myself and my boys when I have a chance to purchase them. Victor thank you for bringing back Old School Frisco.

  6. Roger Shoaf says:

    Frisco???? Frisco is a town in Colorado. The proper casual form of address is “The City” when referring to San Francisco.

  7. F. Jasinski says:

    Salt and pepper corduroy pants, white button down shirts, rooster knit neck ties, and of course, the classic dark blue Derby jacket. All part of The City’s Catholic School look of the 60′s and 70′s – Me, from the Sunset, but the same look found in many other districts.
    Oh, and once onto Riordan, my Derby made a fine Friday night beer drink’n jacket, keeping me warm while at the Circle, socializing with the Mercy girls and various SI buddies (SI and Riordan? Yes, it can happen), and boy, those Skippers could really drink!
    I want my Derby back!!!

    To refer to The City as “Frisco” is a 99.999% dead giveaway of a non-SF native.

  8. The Wonger says:

    I wore a Derby and Sir Jac in the 70′s and early 80′s and remember buying my first Derby at the factory on 1st Street. Still have a Derby from the 70′s and Victor Suarez did a great job with the new ones. I bought two on the first day. There was a problem with the order but Victor made it right despite all the craziness when they wear released. Thanks also to The Hard Ware Store on Irving for helping get my order corrected. Also, agree that anyone who says Frisco isn’t from around here

  9. MR RUBEN says:

    Back in the late 70′s I had my first dark blue derby jackets wore by hard dudes, vato locos, lowriders, chicanos, and even my dad wore the this stylish jacket sold at JCPENNY or EMPORUIM. It was a comfortable jacket and I also had the black and brown jacket, so many of my friends had the same jacket. I am gald it is coming back this nostiagic jacket so cool.

  10. E Mcguire says:

    Even neater than the jacket is the box the new jacket comes in! Wow, high praise indeed. Victor Suarez is a short creep with zero business sense. Stick with your memories of the true Derbys from the 70s.

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  12. Stomper says:

    I remember as a kid my mom taking us to mervyn’s where derbys were wall to wall in the boys department…my and my brother wore are first derby’s a 12 and 13…back in 1977…every kid in our neighborhood down in South City had derbys…the big kids had the the steel toe boots..that came later for us. anyway, the derbys jackets are the coolest jackets ever made..

  13. China says:

    They’re made in China?

  14. T Pierson says:

    Are these jackets ever going to be released???? Delay after delay no e-mail updates!!!! Just tons of excuses!!! I don’t purchase excuses!!!! I won’t buy one now if they paid me to!!!!!

  15. mark says:

    Hi – any firm date when we can start buying the jackets? And price?

    Thanks.

    Mark

  16. Fifty150 says:

    So here’s the deal. These are made in China, and the sizing is off. An extra large will fit like a medium. Different stores in town carry them. Shop keepers will tell you that orders are hard to fill and that they can not receive regular shipments. What you see is what you get. If you can find a jacket in the color you want, and fits you, then you better snatch it up. Pricing is high. Your “out the door” after sales tax will be close to $200. For $200, there are a lot of options. Considering that this jacket is made from polyester, not waterproof, not windproof, or insulated with Thinsulate or goose down. For anyone who wants something actually made here in The City, go to Golden Bear Sportswear on Potrero Hill behind the Safeway. Those of us who grew up here will remember getting their high school letter jackets, wool with leather sleeves, from Golden Bear. Golden Bear is also a supplier for those leather jackets that motorcycle cops wear, and they make those famous A-2 bomber style flight jackets that pilots wear.

  17. Spencer Stuart (lives under the bridge) says:

    They were doing a photo shoot at Fort Point today (under GGB), they had all these sick cars with boxes of Derbys flying out of them.
    Said it was for the new catologe or something.
    “Victor Saurez” said “HEY” come here, I thought he wanted me to drive one of these sick cars or something, cause they had about 5 or 6 of em. Anyway he threw me a box and said here.
    Brand new Derby, XL, navy (just as I had when I thought I was a bad ass back in the day).

    DUDE IS COOL, Thanks a bunch, I look forward to wearing this thing with SF pride and great memories.

  18. Tim says:

    FRISCO BABY!! I’m from here, not like the Castro Clones who refer to it as ‘The City’. However that said, ‘The Town’ is Oakland. Don’t get it twisted, the truly hard core know it as Frisco and most have moved out of ‘The City’ as it like the China made jackets, is a hollow shell of what it was in the 70′s. How many Prius drivers will be buying several hundred dollar made in China jackets and pretending they are not actually from Bejing or the East Coast? Well I might just buy one to see if I like it, but I’d prob do much better spending the money on/at Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic. Here is some old school: Copper Penny on Geary, Zims on Van Ness, Chick ‘n’ Coop on Taraval, Clown Alley in the Marina. Oh and the tunnels between great highway and the beach.

    One last thing, why didn’t you just make the Jackets in one of the TL’s many sweatshops? We all know they are there, ahh but it is cheaper to import stuff from China. Cheaper as we don’t have to think of “those” people as slaves, just as we don’t think of the Mexicans in the Central Valley working in horid situations as slaves, but they are.

  19. Dreams says:

    Just copped mine at 415 Clothing! Classic and Clean

  20. GanPa says:

    When I was a kid I usta wear a Navy Blue Derby Jacket. Top button only with a Blue Hooded Sweatshirt underneath along with Black, Brown, or Green Frisco Jeans (Later Ben Davis) with Desert Boots, or White Tennis Converse Allstars with Colored Laces or just plain white Converse Tennis-Deck Shoes. The place to hang out was Shotwell Street, Precita Park (Lawn Boys & Baby Lawn), Army Street Projects, Mullen Street and Rolph Park. Those were the days of being a San Francisco Mission Native. You were either a Mun or a White Shoe. Ha! LOL! That was the best time to grow up in.

  21. Chris says:

    I grew up in San Fran, Mission, Sunset, Haight, wearing these with black Bens, ironed creases, throughout the 70s & into the 80s. They bring back tons of memories and I’ve been hoping for years that someone would start making them again. But not in China. The original ones were made in SF, I believe, then they outsourced to Korea in the 80s. The original ones were made with good, strong materials and were warm, even in the outer Sunset fog. The day someone recreates THAT Derby, and makes it here at home, is the day I’ll drop coin. I just can’t see paying $150+ for a sub-standard Chinese made jacket that probably costs like 1/4 that much to manufacture and ship.

    I’m waiting for REAL Derbys, warm, top quality materials, made tough and made HERE with love and respect.

    Peace.

  22. JoAnn Fowler says:

    I am very interested in purchasing a black derby jacket in size large before the holidays. Would you please get back to me to let me know if you have any or where I could get one (new). Thanks, JoAnn

  23. Mack says:

    Great Jackets, glad to see them back. Native San Franciscans who originally wore these jackets never referred to San Francisco as “Frisco”. Los Angelenos and vagabonds created and used that term and it was considered more of an insult. SoCal, NorCal, Frisco, all from L.A..
    Derby 100% San Francisco, Northern California! Also Dig the Derby Tee Shirts!

  24. Don says:

    I was in High School in the 60′s. When I started in 1965, I noticed that lots of guys were all wearing the same color jacket. I was well maybe its the school colors, wrong they were Derby Jackets and Dark Military Green or light Green, and it wasn’t a club just guys that went there. By my Sophmore year in1966 /60-70% of the guys were wearing Derby Jackets and more colors like Black and Brown were seen. I didn’t get one till I was a Senior and 18 and a buddy let it to me. It was a Dark Military Green jacket. I kept it for years till I was in my 30′s. Something that was different though, the lining was very heavy , I think it was a Cotton batting that set the Old School 60′s jackets apart from 70′s versions. I bought one in the 80′s new but it didn’t have that padding ,,I keep hunting for one On Ebay….

  25. Tyrrellicus says:

    I was all fired up to see the Derby back, but no way on $150+ for a Chinese version. If it’s sourced from China, they’re costing more like $30 to make. I’d go $80 for nostalgia.

    And anyone thinking ‘Frisco’ is correct, you’re ‘nu-old skool’. No one over 30 from The City would ever call it ‘Frisco’…ever.

  26. Tami says:

    How can I buy one of these jackets, I’ve been looking, where I grew up around el sobrante and Pinole all the guys wore these and I want to buy one!!

  27. sean says:

    Was the original derby factor in the ClockTower Building down by the bay bridge back in the 1980′s–I remember going into the outlet store once, as a kid with my dad to get derbys..but would be curious if anyone knows the location of the derby factory…thanks sean.

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