By Emily G. Peters
It’s summer in Los Angeles. It’s hot—insanely hot. And call us crazy, but it’s times like these where a kilt starts to look like a mighty desirable fashion choice. Luckily for us, Off Kilter Kilts (OKK) in Pasadena is here to help.
This boutique kilt shop is the new(er) kid on the block, popping up as Pasadena’s first retail kilt store in September 2015. It was founded by J.T. Centonze, a long-time kilt-wearer who had a personal reason for creating the business.
“I’ve been wearing kilts for 15 years and I was frustrated with the experience of buying them online,” Centonze said. “I realized there was a need that wasn’t being filled and decided that I wanted to fill it.”
The core OKK team consists of J.T., his fiancée, and two best friends. They focus on modern utility kilts but also offer tartan (the Scottish crisscross pattern commonly recognized as plaid in the U.S.) as well as wool. The shop also sells Verillas West, a fashion-forward brand offering kilts that are edgy, rugged, and—dare we say—sexy? You be the judge.
Still, the audience for these products is broader than one might think. Off Kilter Kilts carries jewelry as well as clothing for both men and women, and is a unique stopping place for someone who actually wants to try on their kilt before purchase.
“We have kilts for virtually everyone,” said Centonze. “As such, our audience is anyone who wants to liberate themselves from the tyranny of pants.”
Though undoubtedly a specialty item, Off-Kilter Kilts is active around town, regularly hosting Kilts and Drinks nights at local pubs and restaurants and participating in renaissance fairs up and down the coast. Though just two years young, they’ve already found ways to give back the community by working with a local organization to help young adults transition into working professionals through ongoing internships.
The community is taking notice. Off Kilter Kilts won Beacon Media News’ 2016 Reader’s Choice Gold Award for Favorite New Business and Pasadena Weekly’s 2016 Best New Business and Best Local Men’s Clothing Store. Yet like any new business with a niche, getting the word out can be rough when working on a budding budget.
“Our first phase was to reach people who were already looking for a kilt, either because they were seasoned kilters or because they knew they wanted to be,” Centonze said. “The next phase is to bring the message of #LibertyFromPants to people who have never considered a kilt.”
It might not be a simple sell, but a few more days of this weather could convert any Angeleno into a “kilter.” For the doubting Thomases among us, Centonze’s advice is simple.
“Try it. Summer isn’t going to get any cooler in the coming years and there are few garments more comfortable than a kilt,” he said. “The modern kilt has no rules, so there’s no reason to be bashful. Put a kilt on and enjoy your freedom.”
Off Kilter Kilts is located at 2610 E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. Contact them at www.offkilterkilts.com |(626) 817-9999 | firstname.lastname@example.org and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @offkilterkilts.
1 – Off Kilter Kilts founder J.T. Centonze has one goal: to liberate us from the tyranny of pants. – Courtesy photo
2 – Dapper kilt enthusiasts model how to wear a kilt for evening wear. – Courtesy photo
3 – A look inside Off Kilter Kilts. – Courtesy photo
4 – An adorable pup showing some kilt love. – Courtesy photo
5 – Yes, even kilts can be high fashion. – Courtesy photo
6 – A closer look at the leather kilt. – Courtesy photo
7 – A close look at a popular red and black kilt. – Courtesy photo
8 – Off Kilter Kilt’s logo, OOK. – Courtesy photo