Ellison drew widespread local acclaim in the 94941 in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis with his Front Steps project, in which he photographed families all over town on their front steps, providing both beautiful shots and some sense of normalcy in the early days of the (first) shelter-in-place. “It was really great to be able to bring a smile to some people faces through the chaos,” Ellison says.
Ellison worked for the North Face for more than 13 years, but decided not to follow its parent company’s relocation to Denver more than a year ago. He’d met Jeff Ladra, who worked at Jansport for many years, over the years through their respective roles in businesses owned by VF, a Fortune 250 company that bought North Face in 2000 and had previously acquired Jansport in 1986.
As many designers do, Ladra launched the Pladra brand to address his own personal frustration around outdoor apparel. He was “frustrated with not finding what he wanted in the market that had the timelessness and the sensibility of a well-made flannel shirt,” Ellison says, noting that Ladra sought a flannel shirt that “had the modern appeal in terms of the fit and the plaid patterns” but retain the classic characteristics of a flannel.
“(The relocation) provided me a great opportunity to explore a deeper role within Pladra,” Ellison says.
Largely manufactured in the United States, one of Pladra’s crucial elements, Ellison says, is that they’re made from Portuguese cotton, “hands down the best quality flannel, durable and doesn’t pill or shrink much,” Ellison says, pointing to the fabric’s reinforced, triple-needle stitching that holds up to high stress.
“No stone left unturned,” he says.