The quest for a stylish Southern California beach town T-shirt is what brought about the creation of Trident General Store.
The fledgling clothing and accessories line brings East Coast prep to the South Bay, with surfer chic T-shirts and hats for men, women and kids emblazoned with such insider locales as surf breaks El Porto and Lunada Bay and nature reserve Portuguese Bend, which are all on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Former celebrity style expert Jill Burnham moved from L.A. to Palos Verdes four years ago and started the company with two partners, Elvia Henderson and Aimee deLongchamp. She was inspired by souvenirs of childhood summer vacations on East Coast beaches, where rainy days were spent shopping for T-shirts with the tiny Cape Cod town of “Chatham” written across the front and for British-style “ACK” Nantucket car decals.
“A lot of the beach T-shirts I was seeing in Southern California had cheesy, neon squiggly writing,” Burnham says. “We wanted something more insider-y.... And it’s taken on a life of its own. We got blogged about on Urban Prepster, and now we get orders from Arizona to Maine. Most people are looking for the hat with the trident symbol on it.”
The trident is the graphic of choice, inspired by the King Neptune statue at Palos Verdes’ Malaga Cove Plaza and the Shoreline Preserve signs with white tridents standing guard over the area’s steep ocean bluffs.
“It’s cool and local but is also such a recognizable maritime symbol,” she says of the three-pronged fishing spear. “It can go anywhere an anchor or a fleur de lis can, which is why we named [the company] Trident General Store. We hope to make sweat shirts, cocktail glasses and plates, and we’ve already started making jewelry.”
The line features short- and long-sleeved tees for men, women and kids; hats and baby onesies. Burnham and her partners plan to introduce styles with the names of other coves across California soon. Next up: San Diego and Santa Barbara.
Trident General Store, $3 to $30, at the Pointe Discovery Shop at the Terranea Resort, 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes and at www.tridentgeneralstore.com.
Photo: A shirt from the Trident General Store. Credit: Catherine Manzella