Golden Bear Sportswear began in 1922, crafting dockworker coats for the longshoremen who hauled cargo up and out of San Francisco Bay, their sturdy leather collars upturned against the fog and the cold. By the 1940s, they have added bomber jackets to their line, as customers sought the rugged style of the pilots who roared high above Europe in the cockpits of the Flying Tigers, Hellcats, and Flying Fortresses. Twenty-five years down the line, you could find their fringed jackets on the backs of young adults on Haight Street and sported by icons of the counterculture—the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.
By the 1960s, Golden Bear had moved to Valencia Street, with a stop at 1st Street on the way, producing our timeless classic coats and some new styles, too. They took in worn jackets for repairs and dressed anyone interested in that timeless look of San Francisco. Varsity and motorcycle jackets joined the classic bombers and dockworker coats on the racks in their showroom, which you’d find next to the factory floor, up three flights of stairs from the street below.