A deep knowledge of fit and fabric earned Howard Gee a long-loyal customer base.
San Francisco native Howard Gee planted a stake in the city’s denim scene more than three decades ago, with the mission of bringing a personal touch to the art of selling jeans.
A deep knowledge of fit and fabric earned him a long-loyal customer base, along with a penchant for stocking hard-to- find brands like C.O.F. Studio, Freenote Cloth and Matias loved by true aficionados, as well as selling its own house label.
Located on the historic Grant Avenue, AB Fits stocks a global assortment of denim and clothing, cherry picked by Gee himself. While offerings have expanded since the early days, the goal of putting “people in clothes that embody character and quality” has not changed.
What will the denim industry be like in the next 18 months?
I think there will be an emphasis on quality, rather than quantity. Customers will have more time to research and reflect on their purchases. Vendors will need to be more open to stocking core pieces that retailers can re-order in season. As we see customers moving even more towards a casually thoughtful style of dress, the industry will see easier fits that deliver a controlled cut through innovative tailoring and fabrics.
What changes would you like to see in the denim industry as a result of Covid-19?
I hope that we will all use this slowdown to reflect on the choices we make on a daily basis—for the denim consumer to understand that by making educated purchases they can support businesses which treat their workers and the environment with respect, as well end up with a quality product that is produced to last. I would love to see people embrace slow fashion more fully.
How do you define sustainability in a post-pandemic world?
Sustainability is more than using processes and materials that conserve natural resources. It is about educating consumers on fits, fabrics and washes so they can make a connection to the design process. This enables the end consumer to choose quality and good design over convenience.
Describe your dream jeans.
For men, it is an easy fit in the top block that accentuates the package and creates definition in the back. The leg is tapered to the knee and slim straight to the leg opening.
For women, it is a medium high rise with a clean front panel, cheeky back and easy straight leg.
What is your most worn pair of jeans, and why?
How do I pick just one? Since my store is 30 years old this year, I need to pick one for each decade. My Blue System US1 Blue Blacks from the 90's, my Rogan Tunnels from the early 2000's and my Matias Lunados from this last decade. All three just get better with age, yet are timeless styles. I'm careful to rotate them, so I can keep wearing them for a long time.
Name one word that best describes denim.