Melanzana is a homegrown, hometown, truly local outdoor clothing company. Our store and factory are in a big old building, right downtown in historic Leadville Colorado. It is here that we design and build our unique line of Leadville-made performance outdoor clothing!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where did you get the name "Melanzana"?
A: Melanzana is the word for eggplant in certain parts of Italy. With us being pretend fashion designers and all, a name in Italian seemed appropriate. Our original name back in '94 was "Eggplant", but it turned out to be trademarked. So what's with the fascination with eggplants, you ask? Well, nothing really. At the time it just seemed to represent the exact opposite of every ultra-cool outdoor clothing company that is named for an exotic mountain locale, imposing rock face, or ancient Tibetan rite. Now we're just stuck with it. It does roll off the tongue nicely, though.
Q: What makes Melanzana different?
A: We are small! Twenty-three employees design, cut, sew and sell everything. We have created a clothing company that operates on a local, low-impact scale, yet produces performance clothes to compete with the big boys. Without cheap foreign labor! When you buy from us, so much more of your money goes to the people who actually make the product. A lot less cash goes to the costs of shipping materials & products around the world and back, or to huge corporate headquarters, secret teams of lawyers, and lame promotional campaigns. We barely advertise, we do not wholesale to other stores, and we pass the savings on to you.
Q: Where do you get your materials?
A: We use Polartec brand fabrics exclusively, made entirely in the US, with US-sourced raw materials. Polartec is widely known as the leading brand of high-performance knits for outdoor clothing. Formerly operating in Massachusetts for over 100 years, Polartec recently moved into a more efficient plant in Tennessee. We work with six or seven different styles of Polartec. These are proven fabrics that perform as good or better than anything else out there. Polartec also produces fabric in mills in Europe, Central America, and China, but Melanzana only uses their 100% US-made fabrics.
Q: What's so great about your clothing designs?
A: Our clothes are special because of what they are not. They are not covered in pockets, seams, stripes, zippers, velcro, etc. We definitely subscribe to the "Less Is More" theory of design. Clean and simple, without all the extra features found in most outdoor clothing. This kind of functional simplicity pays off in the end: our clothes are lighter, more comfortable, more durable, more versatile, less expensive and easier to layer with than most of the fancy "technical" offerings from the big outdoor corporations.
Q: Do you do custom work?
A: No, sorry! We did sew custom projects back in the old days, but it often turned out to be a big headache, and these days we are just too busy to bother. We can do some custom fitting for you, limited to shortening sleeves and inseams when they run too long, free of charge. But that's it. We will not add a zipper to that hoodie, or make a coat for your dog. It is what it is.
Q: Did you know that once you say you're "soulful", you no longer are?
A: Yes, we know. But we'll say it anyway... Melanzana: Original, Functional, Soulful!