Ron Finley sitting in his garden while wearing
  The Carpenter Pant in Cedar Boss Duck and The Heavy Bag Tee in Chlorophyll.

Grit In The Garden

Taylor Stitch x The Ron Finley Project
Everything starts from a seed.

Ron Finley is a lot of things—gangsta gardener, fashion designer, family man, artist—but most of all, he’s an inspirational force of nature.

In 2010, a South Central local by the name of Ron Finley looked around and saw a neighborhood that he could only describe as “an open crime scene.”

Fast food restaurants and liquor stores on every corner, dialysis clinics popping up like Starbucks, and no quality, organic produce for miles. The inhabitants of South Central Los Angeles, like 26.5 million other Americans, are living in a food desert. So, he took action, turning an unused strip of grass between his sidewalk and the road into an organic garden. He adorned it with jasmine and other perfumed flowers to attract the attention of his neighbors and created a small ecosystem that was totally new for the area. Hummingbirds come in droves every morning, bees congregate around his flower patches, life—hale and vibrant—-was blooming. Ron invited neighbors in his community to take freely from his crop of fresh fruits and vegetables, eager to educate them and offer a readily available alternative to the ubiquitous fast food of the area.

Ron dancing in his garden while wearing The Heavy Bag Tee in Hibiscus and The Carpenter Pant in Cedar Boss Duck.

But before long, Ron had a new battle on his hands. He received a cease and desist notice from the city, claiming that though he owned the strip of land, it was in their custody. Needless to say, Ron was not having it. How is it that his city had no problem with discarded appliances and myriad refuse littering his land, but as soon as he tried to beautify it with food for his community, the hammer of the law came crashing down? The notice quickly escalated to a warrant for his arrest, but Ron would not back down. His actions at that moment would start a movement with roots reaching every corner of the globe, empowering thousands to take ownership of their land and their food.

Ron’s battle with the city over his community garden caught the attention of local news and social media outlets, and the response was overwhelmingly supportive. In the end, Ron did the impossible; he got the LA land-use laws changed, opening up the possibility of community gardens in unused lots for the entire city. Shortly after his victory, Ron hosted a TED Talk, taking up the title “The Gangsta Gardener” and blasting his message of opportunity to millions.

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Ron Finley in his garden wearing The Heavy Bag Tee in Chlorophyll. Diptych showing a plant growing in a shoe and the staircase in Ron’s garden. Ron’s garden in Los Angeles.

More than ten years later, his uplifting initiative has evolved into a powerful non-profit organization committed to empowering people living in food prisons to reclaim agency over their diets and beautify their communities with gardens of their own, The Ron Finley Project.

Imagine our delight to find out that Ron started off in fashion design, creating his first collection, the Dropdead Collexion as a one man operation in his garage. His bold style ended up gaining heavy traction with pro athletes, musicians, and movie stars.

We don’t need revolution, we need evolution.

Finley often cites how “everything starts from a seed,” and we couldn’t agree more. Much like the grass roots nature of The Ron Finley Project, Taylor Stitch started from humble beginnings with a few guys who wanted to create better shirts with a focus on craftsmanship and Responsibility. Over the years we have learned a lot, changing our practices with each new lesson, determined to unlock the relationship between building quality clothing and protecting Wild, Forever. As Ron says, “we don’t need revolution, we need evolution.”

Benefiting The Ron Finley Project

Somehow, between hosting a Masterclass, attending public speaking events across the country, and maintaining an enormous organic garden of his own, Ron has found time to partner up with us at the Taylor Stitch team in designing a run of Responsible, work-ready pieces engineered for those prepared to get their hands dirty in the name of change; The Digging In Capsule.

Every piece in the Digging In capsule is created with materials that are either upcycled, recycled, organic, or Responsibly sourced, and they’re built to withstand the rigors of renegade gardening For The Long Haul because when you’re doing good, the job is never done. And a portion of every sale will be donated to The Ron Finley Project to help support their urban gardening initiatives from coast to coast.

Gangsta Garden sign in Ron's garden.

First up, two eye-catching new colorways (Hibiscus and Chlorophyll) of our famous Heavybag Tee with the RFP motto, “PLANT SOME SHIT” emblazoned on the back in Ron’s signature font. Up next, a fresh spin on our popular Fillmore Hoodie, embroidered with a sunflower design—Ron’s iconic trademark. Then there’s the new Task Jacket in Olive Patchwork and Waxed Navy. With a plant-based waxed shell developed by the masters at Halley Stevensons and a battalion of functional features like extra pockets and an action back, the Task Jacket is an indispensable tool for the urban gardener or anyone with some hard work ahead of them.

Lastly, the Carpenter Pant in Cedar Boss Duck. These pants are the be-all, end-all of Responsible workwear—naturally as continuation of our Boss Duck line. They’re loaded with rugged touches like kick panels, internally reinforced knees, and large tool pockets, all in a tailored silhouette that keeps you ready for anything without compromising on style.

Ron sitting amongst the plants in his garden.

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