Behind the Design: "Concrete Jungle"
Station 590 in Central LA has a history that is as diverse and iconic as Los Angeles itself. We used a combination of hand-drawn art, subtle symbolism, and even special color selection to represent this historic station with a t-shirt that is an instant classic.
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Established in 1969, Station 590 in Central Los Angeles, on the southern edge of Downtown LA, is Southern California's oldest California Highway Patrol station. It is every bit as busy as you would expect the Highway Patrol's job to be in the nation's second largest city, and the one with it's worst traffic.
But Station 590 didn't earn it's nickname, "The Concrete Jungle," just due to it's congested urban surroundings - the station itself is located directly underneath the interchange of three separate freeways, each among LA's busiest, and can scarcely even be seen underneath the multi-layered concrete structures.
But despite it being concealed under millions of pounds of concrete, you probably have seen Station 590, in fact. It's been used in numerous movies and TV shows due to its proximity to Hollywood's film industry, most notably the TV series "CHiPs," and the movie of the same name. Station 590 has a lot of history and tradition and is an integral part of LA, and we sought to represent that in this unique design.
Based on a sketch provided by an officer in the unit, the design is an adaptation of the logo for the popular beer company Firestone Walker Brewing Co., also headquartered in Los Angeles, but with California Grizzly Bears in the place of the original logo's lion and bear. The two Grizzlies, adapted from the one that adorns California's state flag, stand upright in a fighting position and sport campaign covers, an iconic hat that is traditionally part of the CHP uniform.
Surrounding the body of the design is the name of the station, along with its nickname, "The Concrete Jungle." On the sleeves are the American flag on one side - a common request among police and military units - but on the other, we chose to add a vintage CA license plate with the letters "CENTRAL," with tags for October and the year 1969, when the station was founded.
As we did two versions of this shirt - one in Navy Blue, and the other in Black - we had two print colors to work with. Since the official uniform of the CHP is Tan and Blue, we thought that Tan would be a perfect fit for the Navy version - but it couldn't be any tan, it had to be that tan. So we asked the unit to send me a swatch of fabric from an actual uniform, and we mixed the ink during production to be an exact match to their uniform!
This project was a rewarding one to work on, as in designing it I got the opportunity to tour Station 590 during this project too. Walking through Central station is like taking a trip through the history of Los Angeles over the last 50 years - from the unique perspective of the CHP - and doing that was an inspirational starting point in putting together this shirt that, I hope, is as classic as the station itself!
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