Our Story


I think in order for anybody to understand why the johnnie-O brand was created, they might need to know a little something about yours truly. I spent most of my time growing up on the north shore of Chicago in a town called Winnetka, a place where blue blazers, khaki pants, and “alligator” shirts were pretty much the norm. Ten years later, I moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA. Suddenly, I saw fewer blue blazers and more corduroy OP shorts. Needless to say, my penny loafers got a lot less play than my new flip flops.

Upon graduating from college, I moved back to the Midwest. But before I knew it, I was back on a plane to Los Angeles, and I haven’t looked back since.

- John O'Donnell, Founder


After a few more years in advertising sales and some walking in my sleep selling financial printing in LA, I had an idea, an idea that was rooted in years of blue blazers, penny loafers and khaki pants coupled with years of flip flops, board shorts, and graphic t-shirts. Eighteen years later, johnnie-O, the brand, is making good on my original vision of bringing WEST COAST PREP® to life.


When we sit down every season and hash out our offerings, we have one main focus in mind - high quality. It’s what the johnnie-O guy has come to expect, and we’re not interested in offering anything but the best.

Aside from the quality, there’s something extra special about a johnnie-O garment. We like to call it our ‘top spin’. To put a quick hammer on a nail here, it’s about that unexpected, but much-appreciated add-on feature. Take our patented Tweener Button® for example. It’s a tiny button with a huge impact that’s been a serious game-changer for any guy that’s come in contact with it. We just keep pushing that button…literally.


With our headquarters in Los Angeles and offices in the Midwest and East Coast, we’d like to think we offer the best of both worlds when it comes to the look and feel of our collections.

Who’s to say a guy can’t wear khaki shorts with a blue blazer? Who’s to say a guy can’t drink margaritas with a strip steak? Or eat fish tacos with a glass of red wine, for that matter? Who’s to say a guy can’t love links golf at Chicago Golf Club and still love playing in the canyons of Bel-Air Country Club? Who’s to say a guy can’t love swimming in a fresh water lake and surfing in a saltwater ocean? And who’s to say a guy can’t love his family and friends just as much on the west coast as he can in the midwest?

Certainly not us.