Anyone that reads this blog fairly consistently knows that canvas gets a lot of play here on ACL. It is just such a simple yet perfect fabric. I fondly remember the smell from an old army green canvas tent my dad had growing up. That is something you just don’t get with nylon. Occasionally I’ll get a little whiff of that tent smell the first time I put on my Barbour coat in the fall. So naturally when I saw the canvas goods from Portland, Oregon based Beckel I took pause. The crunchy, dare I say, campy company makes tents, bags, lawn tarps, just about anything you can think of from canvas and all here in the United States.
It is well know that I am a sucker for canvas bags, especially ones that are made here in the United States. Enter upstate New York’s Utility Canvas, who designed and produced the beauty pictured below. The bad news is, the company doesn’t offer this model anymore. Luckily the new men’s e-shop C’H'C’M (which stands for Clinton Hill Classic Menswear) still has a few for sale at $98. The shop is a new venture from English-born Brooklyn resident Sweetu Patel, who has a keen eye for quality and craftsmanship. C’H'C’M’ also sells some of my favorite brands like Mackintosh and S.N.S. Herning. During our correspondence, Mr. Patel informed me that he has some great new brands coming for next season, so make sure to check back. Shop C’H'M’C’
I had the pleasure of visiting the Urban Outfitters offices in Philadelphia yesterday to do some poking around and lunching with the men’s team. It was nice to be able to see everything first hand. Eventually, we walked over to the commissary to get lunch and it was embarrassingly and humorously apparent that everyone was essentially wearing the same thing. I suppose that was symbolic of our shared outlook on menswear at the moment. I’m impressed with the really smart and cool group of people that URBN has assembled. We could have talked forever about 60/40 jackets and vintage shopping and all sorts of other materialistic pursuits. This plus the fact that the UO HQ is located at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and is surrounded by massive U.S. Navy battleships made my adventure the ultimate ACL field trip.
One of the many cool things I saw in Philadelphia was Urban’s collaboration with the iconic American brand Filson. The partnership consists of a limited run of canvas bags that were made especially for Urban Outfitters in the special color ways. Launching in mid-April in selected cities (New York, LA, etc.) the special styles will be priced at $205 for the small duffel and $129 for the zipper tote. These special Filson items come on the heels of the cool Patagonia big label product last fall. Seems like URBN is two-for-two with men’s collaborations — I’m excited to see what is next.
The canvas bags from the Japanese maker Superior Labor seem to consistently rise to the top. This Enginner 2Way tote from Utility Coop is especially nice. How could you argue with a “Product by Handmade Superiority.”
I discovered the nautical inspired Mills canvas bags way back in April. I was especially excited about the American made bags because they are sewn right in my back yard in Greenport, Long Island. On a recent trip to the North Fork, ACL reader Chuck Mauro stopped in to Wm. J. Mills & Co. to snap some photos for the canvas bag faithful. According to Chuck: “Greenport itself is a great throwback — good eats, wineries, nautical artifacts.” Sold! Once the weather gets better I am there. Until then enjoy the photos.
The similarities between the men’s accessories company Makr and the Kentucky bourbon of a similar name are not lost me — both are distinctly American and each are made with care in small batches. Over the past year, Makr has built up a substantial following for its line of bags and leather goods. Recently, I had a chance to chat with the company’s designer and founder Jason Gregory about the burgeoning brand.
Ignoring the potential risk of being branded a canvas bag blog, allow me to introduce you to the Minnehaha Bag Co. I first learned about the company from an ACL reader — thanks Kevin — a few weeks ago. The canvas and leather bags are designed to be simple, affordable, utilitarian carryalls that get better with age and use. The concept for the Minnehaha bags was hatched on a 75 mile ride from Hinckley to Duluth (hometown of the classic bag company Duluth Pack) by two avid cyclists or as they say “bike nerds.”