The primary workwear memory of my childhood isn’t Dickies or Carhartt (though I owned both - I used to sag double-knee carpenter jeans). It’s Ben Davis. I had no idea until a few months ago that Ben Davis is a regional brand operating from the Bay Area. It was the brand of choice for cholos in my neighborhood. This advertising mural was literally around the corner from my dad’s house when I was growing up. When the Ben Davis store went out of business, it became Arik’s Levi’s, and they kept the sign. The mustache was a later additon.
Ben Davis started his clothing company in San Francisco at the age of 21. He never left. He passed away at 95 just over a year ago.
By the way, if you’re in San Francisco and spot the sign, head two doors down and have some papusas at Los Panchos. It’s one of the only other things left in the neighborhood that reminds me of home, and not of polar fleece and Ford Escape hybrids.