Gold Leaf Apparel Jumps Back in Time to Create Inspired Clothing


Show your love for Raleigh via Gold Leaf Apparel. 

“Inspired by the past, made for now,” Gold Leaf Apparel uses Raleigh’s history, landmarks and old photos as its muse for the brand’s locally inspired tees and other accessories. Think a cozy tee sporting a 1937 NC State Fair catalog cover or a tumbler emblazoned with a U.S. Air Mail stamp. 

Owner James Hill started the online shop this spring after seven years of running an apparel store in DTR and attributes the “golden” idea for it to other Raleigh merchandise he’s seen. Translation: He wanted to create something truer to the heart of a Raleighite than acorns or squirrels (an idea def worth getting squirrely about). 

“We used to pay our rent by selling Raleigh T-shirts, so we thought there might be something here—just a simple, classic Raleigh T-shirt brand,” says Hill. 

The logo and name come from the idea that good things are often hidden in plain sight—our native ironwood trees, for instance. Beautiful in their own right, but because they do not grow as tall as oaks, they tend to often go unnoticed—a reminder to look for the hidden gems in everyday life. 

Hill draws from that inspiration around town—from old Raleigh license plates, enamel pins and soda bottles to a search of the NC archives.

“My goal is to have people wear stuff that actually has meaning, is connected to the city and has history behind it” says Hill. “Everywhere I went, I felt like Raleigh shirts were made by people who don’t live here. These are shirts I hope people will actually wear, that are comfortable and represent who you are and your lifestyle.” Get ready to rep your city, Raleighites!


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About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.