mike and chris on latimes.com

  1. This is a great video and article from Mike of Mike & Chris hoodie fame.

    Slouchy hoodie gets a makeover

    By Melissa Magsaysay
    Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

    September 16, 2007

    NO one knows hoodies like Mike Gonzalez and Christine Park-Gonzalez, the husband and wife team behind the label Mike & Chris. Two years ago, they produced a tight group of hooded sweatshirts that redefined the garment, trading slouchy fleece for chic details such as pleats and ruching, and fabrics such as leather, metallic leather and nylon.

    "An interesting hoodie is the one piece that can define an outfit," Gonzalez says. "You can be wearing a simple tank and a pair of jeans, and the hoodie becomes the focal point."

    Now the line ranges from their signature leather hoodies to a full collection of men's and women's tops, pants, bags and shoes. Jessica Alba, Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore are fans. And Mike & Chris pieces sell for hundreds of dollars, alongside the coolest lines at Barneys and American Rag.

    On a recent visit to their downtown L.A. studio, we asked Gonzalez to show us how to customize a basic hoodie into something stylish. In an astonishing 40 minutes, with little more than a needle and thread and a length of elastic, he turned an oversized men's sweatshirt into a fantastic hooded tunic, with a sporty feel and an origami pleat in the back.

    "We've always liked to take something simple and generic and make it more interesting and individual," Gonzalez says.

    He started with a gray, XXL hooded sweatshirt that he bought downstairs from a street vendor for $12.99. "You can also take an old sweatshirt from your brother or an old boyfriend and do this."

    He laid it out on his work table and chopped the body in two. He picked up the top half and attached a strip of elastic inside the shoulders to create a ruched effect, then grabbed the bottom piece and fitted it tight at the ribcage. The excess material formed a flap at the back that, with a quick ironing, turned into the long origami pleat. The original side seams created a flattering corset effect.

    He sewed the top and bottom back together. A few more snips and he'd cut off the sleeves and folded them back to create a contrasting fleece cuff. And there it was: a ridiculously stylish silhouette, tight where it should be, the excess fabric falling at exactly the right spot, the enormous front pocket flattering the hip and stomach. A shorter woman could wear it as a dress; taller women will want dark leggings or skinny jeans. And the more you wash it, the less stiff it will be and the more like your favorite old hoodie.

    Gonzalez was so pleased with the result, he plans to include the dress in the next Mike & Chris collection.