Dress like L.A.'s coolest cactus gardener

And support food-justice while yr at it

Look at this cactus-wrangling king: dusted with potting mix … handling precious terracotta… straight-up radiating desert terroir. This is Carlos Morera of L.A.’s Cactus Store, and he’s wearing the shop’s “Garden Gi,” which they released back in April. Cactus Store is cool as hell — recently they’ve been doing things like offering shelter to local BLM protestors via Instagram and, for a week, donating 100% of proceeds from their online sales to L.A.’s People’s City Council Freedom Fund.

They pitched the Gi as rockable by both legit horticultural types and open-minded garment-appreciators. In the latter category, John Mayer popped up on ig wearing one, and even though his box-fresh version couldn’t hold a candle to Carlos’s, which spent 2 years in the dirt, it was still a chill look.

The Garden Gi sold out in ~12 minutes and, like that, became a micro-legendary jawn. At the end of May we hit up Cactus Store about a restock, and co-owner Christian Cummings told us “the production timeline is currently uncertain due to COVID — we’ll announce details when we have them.” In the meantime you can buy cacti from them if yr in L.A., and other charming gear through their webstore.

Now, BLACKBIRD SPYPLANE is the no. 1 source across all media for “unbeatable recon” on dope under-the-radar-joints, and our copilot Erin happens to be a green-thumbed & eagle-eyed jawnspotter — so this week, inspired by the Garden Gi, we went Mach 3+ to find an array of horticultural drip to irrigate yr damn fit game, all the way “from the botanic garden to the boardroom”™ baby…

Ppl at a Planting Justice community farm getting a stretch in before caring for some crops

It’s important to emphasize that gardening, like everything else in this beautiful fucked-up country, is shot through with issues of race and class. If yr lucky enough to have outdoor space where you live, whether it’s a backyard or a fire escape, do yr soul a favor & plant there … If you want to do your soul another favor, go chop it up / pitch in (safely) at a local community garden. Among other things, these are great places to learn more about food justice: Near BLACKBIRD SPYPLANE HQ there’s cool groups like Spiral Gardens Community Food Security Project, where “organic food is distributed among the volunteers who grow it and given for free to people who need it,” and Planting Justice, which “works to address the systemic exploitation of food-system workers (especially undocumented farm and kitchen workers) and the lack of access to fresh, nutritious food in low-income communities of color.”

You can search for terms like “community garden” + “food justice” + “food security” to find groups near you w/ similar missions.

As botany-loving print-wizard Dries Van Noten knows, no fancy gear’s required to garden — look at Dries above right, getting off these exquisite Antwerpian cuttings while keeping the fit simple. Christian from Cactus Store described what he wears on the job along similar lines: “I usually prefer 501s and a tee.”

But the fashion world does have its eye on gardening right now: Fendi’s SS20 menswear collection was all about stealing horticultural valor at a luxury level, and while we do not fux with their $4,000 leatherbound watering-can (LMAOOO), above left, we are curious about those white rubberized gardening sneakers — more on them later.

Salomon just put out their own rubber-treated “XA-Alpine” shoe in collaboration with Paris’s Broken Arm, framing it in promotional images not as a hiking boot but rather as a beautiful piece of garden-gorp perfect for tending fields of flowers.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Albam make a cool noragi-style jacket in briarpatch-tuff ripstop, available in navy and fir (above) with matching trousers to complete the uniform. (This is the closest thing we found to a Garden Gi alternative.)

“Thank you Blackbird Spyplane, that’s pure flames, but I want a garment with a half-dozen pockets minimum when I’m out here pruning, potting and/or protesting and I need to carry mad shit” — that’s where this excellent Field Utility Pullover from Japan’s Snow Peak comes in, which has storage all over the place…

Actually getting yr hands into the soil will not only nourish yr spirit but also give you an excuse to cop these fly “Diggers” gloves from the woman-owned upstate-NY brand Woman’s Work, whose name, logo & ‘80s Body Glove-style hues are dope across the board:

Plus it’ll give you an excuse to cop a beautiful Japanese-crafted pruner from our favorite artisanal-hardware treasure trove, Hida Tool of Berkeley, CA, whose webstore is here.

Meanwhile, there’s a “wellness studio” called Mount Sunny in Phoenix that put out an Earth Day-themed gardening-apparel collection. It’s pretty much sold out BUT there are still a couple sizes in our favorite joint of the bunch: a naturally dyed, US-made, 100% hemp garden shirt. It’s available at their webstore in red and yellow

Besides the Salomon x Broken Arm boot, when yr stomping thru compost heaps and kicking it among nasturtiums, what’s on yr feet?? Another solid option is the handcrafted, vulcanized-rubber “Alweather” sneaker from Kurume, Japan’s Moonstar, who have been around since 1873:

The Alweather looks like a tennis shoe wearing a duck boot, and it is sick. You can find it in a variety of colors at places like Tortoise General Store, High Tide DTLA, Blue in Green and Totem… (Moonstar made the Fendi joints pictured up top, which are clean as hell but cost way more.)

Finally—Crocs are tight & we appreciate the Merrell Hydro Mocs as much as the next dope-joints newsletter… but:

If u really wanna do the Fred Astaire on a brick of E.B. Stone fertilizer, check out the Birki — Birkenstock’s decades-old, relatively slept-on polyurethane clog / moc, a certified heater that comes in a ventilated Birki Air Antistatic version & a fully sealed Super-Birki.”

They both go hard, esp. when styled with these colorblocked German-ass utility pants we spotted on the Birkenstock site. We asked some Berlin-based SPYPLANE correspondents for help ID-ing these pants… but so far no dice.

We vow to locate these arbeitshosen!!

UPDATE 12:45 p.m. PT: the BBSP Global Recon Network came thru and identified the pants as the “BUNDHOSE DYNAMIC STRONG” by IMS Arbeitskleidung. Thank you for the tip @kcinnays

-Read more about Planting Justice and their work toward “food sovereignty, economic justice and community healing.”
-With a presence in L.A. & the Bay, Black Earth Farms is dope, too, and they do a CSA.
-Here’s Shoppe Black’s “Ultimate List of Black Owned Farms & Food Gardens” across the U.S.

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