A few years ago on a trip to Seattle (before this blog was around) I stopped into the Filson flagship shop in downtown Seattle to look around and pick up something from one of America’s most rugged outfitters. I grew-up obsessing over Filson bags in Ohio via the outfitter’s ubiquitous catalogs. At one point my mother banned me from including Filson bags on my Christmas list because I had amassed an arsenal that made my bedroom look like a Filson flagship store.
If you have ever touched anything from Filson, you know that the stuff is basically indestructible. They call that quality being “over built”, which seems to be something Americans love. A lot of the bags I have had over the years are literally just now coming into their own — what I mean is, they are just now getting to the wear-point of looking partially broken-in. It’s not that Filson stuff stands the test of time, it literally drags time down by aging so slowly.
During my first visit to Seattle I could see the factory from the shop floor, but I never had a chance to step inside and see the place. Honestly, before ACL I had barely ever even seen a clothing factory. When I went back to Seattle some five years later I was pleased to get a chance to finally check the place out. For me as someone who has had an affinity for Filson nearly my whole life, the significance was not lost on me.
The factory is an interesting mix of clothing, leather goods and canvas bags — a combination rarely seen under one roof. There’s definitely a “Filson way” of doing things there, which is an evolution of making such heavy duty stuff. Apparently, it takes a lot of skill from the workers to make the Filson goods because the weight and thickness of the products especially challenging.
While you see a Filson bag in the wild often these days (especially in the city) it still makes me happy to know that these things have stood the test of time literally and figuratively. It goes back to the idea that authenticity doesn’t go out of style. [CC FILSON CO.]