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prAna ambassador Anna Ehrgott speaks about sustainability, surfing, and the perfect triad created by the city that she calls home.
Started in a garage in Carlsbad, CA 1992, we have always been proud of our California heritage. This season we celebrate this tradition by profiling some of our ambassadors who share in that “Born In California” heritage. Anna Ehrgott is a second generation Californian with deep roots on the coast. This is part one of Anna’s story.
There is more than one definition of a “jungle”. Both the oak groves in my hometown of Topanga and where I work in downtown Los Angeles possess varying qualities of the word. My 45 minute commute down the winding canyon road, along the Pacific Coast Highway, and into Los Angeles proper leads me to textile paradise. Somewhere between the uppity financial district and skid row lies the flower district, and scattered between displays of roses and tulips are my favorite remnant and fabric shops where I buy the materials needed to make surfboard bags. A number of freeways encircle the grid of Downtown LA, with its beautifully aging brick buildings and 40+ story windows reflecting the golden California sun. It is here that I join a motley assortment of pedestrians wandering the streets and begin my work of going through endless piles and rows of remnant and vintage fabric in one crowded warehouse after another. It’s always inspiring to pick out fabric, touching every bolt to get a sense of thickness and durability, I tend to get lost in thoughts of wanting to start a million other projects with the silks, linens and hand dyed textiles. After searching through dozens of stores, wherein making one or two successful buys constitutes it being a “good” day, I load up my wagon and begin deciding on which trims, liners and ropes will match my new palette of materials.
I love the drive back into the canyon. I can unwind, breathe fresh air, and relax as the road twists and turns with the hills. My house is cornered by two creeks (which run dry a majority of the year) and backed by a brush covered hill. Despite its proximity to LA, Topanga remains rustic and largely undeveloped. There are no chain stores here; just a handful of mom and pop shops, including a health food store, a yoga studio and several art galleries which exhibit work from the many creatives who find refuge and inspiration here. It’s an ideal happy medium between being connected to wild nature and the urban jungle.
Sewing is a skill my grandma handed down to me when I was a kid. We spent countless hours making pillows and skirts with her collection of vintage fabric on her trusty Singer sewing machine. Her admirable patience and skills influenced me heavily. I started sewing board bags for myself and friends about 4 years ago, then slowly grew my hobby into a small business that has helped support me financially as well as giving me an imperative creative outlet.
Every element that makes up the bags is environmentally conscious- I recycle coffee bean sacks, use remnant fabric, trim and rope and ship everything out with plastic-free packaging. The bags have been sent all up and down the West Coast and as far as Brazil, Japan and the UK where they get to accompany and protect surfboards for beach missions, storage and travel.
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