ari jogiel

Alumnus Ari Jogiel Makes Apparel in ‘Freaking Los Angeles’ Jogiel’s company works with more than 200 brands, including North Face and Rachel Zoe.

Ari Jogiel ’11 makes apparel in ‘Freaking Los Angeles.’

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle is known as one of the best players in the NFL. Off the field, Kittle is known for his fashion sense.

He showcased some of that flair on his way to Super Bowl LVIII, when he was photographed wearing a black baseball hat with “SF” outlined in red. Some of his teammates also wore it.

At that moment, Ari Jogiel ’11 knew he had arrived.

The hat’s creation is the latest stop in Jogiel’s journey to the fashion world and is a product of his namesake company, which bears the tagline, “Made in Freaking Los Angeles.”

“Choosing to make a garment in Los Angeles is huge because I could easily make them anywhere else but I’m passionate and driven to make them here,” Jogiel says. “This is because of the value behind a ‘Made In USA’ label and the hard-working people behind every stitch.”

Finding His Path

Jogiel’s story began in his hometown of Mexico City, where he decided he wanted to be a fashion designer at a young age, though he was expected to become a businessman.

“I told my dad later, ‘I want to quit my job and start making hats,’” he says.

Jogiel had wanted to live in the United States since age 10, when he visited a friend in San Diego. He fulfilled that aspiration two years later, when his family moved from Mexico City to rural Sterling, Ill., where his stepfather was from.

But it wasn’t easy to adapt to a new environment. In Mexico City, all his friends were Jewish.

In his new home, “me and my brother were the only Jewish kids in school,” says Jogiel, whose grandparents were Holocaust survivors. He learned English and Hebrew at the same time.

The family moved to San Diego a few years later. Jogiel’s love of soccer motivated him to go to school and work hard. He played in community college, looking to join a four-year NCAA program, then got injured.

In 2009 he looked at universities to transfer to. One of his friends gave him a tour of Chapman University and he fell in love with the campus.

“I loved how small it was, the professors, how beautiful the campus was,” he says.

He joined the soccer team and made a lot of connections, including professors he is still in touch with. After graduating with a degree in business administration, he and his brother opened an advertising agency in Mexico City with advice from some of those professors.

He eventually moved back to the U.S. and got a sales job with Puma. But, he still dreamed of being a fashion designer.

“I needed to make more money to position myself for the next step,” says Jogiel, who also worked as a Spanish tutor and drove for Uber. 

Choosing Community Over Profit

After persevering through a variety of jobs, Jogiel had the confidence to take a leap of faith and left his corporate job to start his first designing project — making good on his comment to his father about wanting to make hats by creating and selling leopard-print lids online. He eventually added jackets and women’s and men’s collections. 

“I had the immigrant mentality to do whatever it takes to make myself successful,” he says.

Jogiel began driving to LA regularly to walk through the Garment District and immerse himself in the Southern California fashion world. 

Now fully ready to build his business, he raised $25,000 and hired staff, including Chapman students. He developed a mission and vision, committing to producing his clothing in the U.S., rather than outsourcing the work to businesses in other countries. 

“My whole message was, bring fashion back to America,” he says.

He was found by an avid Pittsburgh golfer who wanted a U.S. clothing manufacturer to make and design a collection for him. 

“After that I felt I was a natural for this, and that’s how ARI JOGIEL was born,” he says.

The company, which has the tagline “Made in Freaking Los Angeles”, turned seven years old in March. 

It bills itself as the “fastest-growing full-package company in the city”, offering consulting, development and manufacturing services. The 50-person team works with more than 200 brands, including North Face, Rachel Zoe and Penguin, and has its own house brands, including the ARI JOGIEL brand with a blue lightning bolt.

“It’s Made in Freaking Los Angeles because that’s our exclamation point,” Jogiel says.

He says the company’s work has been featured in Forbes, Vogue, GQ and Sports Illustrated. He hopes the growth continues despite rising overhead costs.

“At the end of the day it’s a choice to make clothing overseas. But if you choose to make it in America, I think that should be rewarded,” he says. “People don’t realize how much work it is to bring a garment to life from concept to finished product.”

Chapman has played a central role in the success of his company. 

Chapman students have become Ari Jogiel contractors, interns and employees. Jogiel credits Chapman professors, some of whom are friends, with developing his work ethic and helping him become a successful entrepreneur. He also used his experience as an immigrant to persevere and work for a better life.

That motivation to persevere keeps him hungry.

“I keep pushing to be better,” he says. “I want to keep striving until I’m up there with the best designers in the world.”

Listen to or watch Jogiel on Argyros College’s Campus to Career podcast.


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