Made In The USA | A Continuous Lean.

A True American Craft: Handsewn Shoes.

Aug 20th, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Jake Gallagher, Made in the USA | by Jake Gallagher

maine_hand_sewn_09

It’s hardly a recent revelation that the pieces that define “American style,” are so rarely produced in this country anymore. If you’re reading this site, it’s safe to assume that you’re aware of the steady deterioration of America’s garment industry, but (thanks in part to our shared awareness) there has also been the reactionary effect of bringing production back to the states. This can be seen in the multitude of shirt factories, denim labels, brands, and sites such as this across all categories that have opened over past decades.

These contemporary companies were not formed to compete with the mammoth conglomerates that produce overseas, rather they provide a higher quality product for a conscientious consumer. Again, this is not at all new revelation, but it does place the sheer resilience of America’s hand-sewn footwear brands in context. While many industries exported their production and have only recently begun to see a continental renaissance, our country’s small-scale hand-sewn shoe businesses have endured all along. These footwear brands, some of which have been around for over one hundred years, were able to convert the Native American moccasin tradition and weather the mercurial attitude of the American consumer year after year.

Russell





Shopping New York | Billykirk

Aug 19th, 2014 | Categories: Accessories, Bags, Jake Gallagher, Made in the USA, Menswear | by Jake Gallagher

14734141788_ba59ee7fdc_o

Billykirk is what I would call a foundational brand. When a new menswear store pops up, be it a brick and mortar boutique or an e-comm behemoth, Billykirk’s bags are sure to be available right from the start. In their fifteen years (yes, fifteen) Billykirk has amassed nearly one-hundred stockists, and while that figure is certainly impressive Billykirk hasn’t had a store to call their own until now.

It was nine years ago that brothers Kirk and Chris Bray transplanted Billykirk from Los Angeles to the East Coast, establishing their headquarters in Jersey City. And now, as their business continues to expand they’ve made yet another, albeit less dramatic move, setting up their first physical shop just over the Hudson on a burgeoning street in Downtown Manhattan. While Billykirk’s leather goods will still be produced over in New Jersey and at workshops throughout the U.S., their Orchard Street location will function as a proper homebase for the brand.

14920760375_f577b611cf_o





North Menswear | Shopping Anytown USA

Jul 16th, 2014 | Categories: California, Made in the USA, Shopping | by Michael Williams

NORTH1

The excitement was palpable. The feeling of exhilaration was present because of the unexpected nature of it’s arrival.

While on a weekend trip to Southern California I was pleasantly surprised to meet North Menswear in Laguna Beach and I probably got more excited about it than normal. Surprised and delighted to be exact. Part of this is due to the fact that North is a great shop, but the real reason I was aflutter is because I wasn’t expecting to see anything like this in Laguna. I was expecting to languish in the Real Houswives vibes and here I was browsing a great collection of menswear.

Over the past few years something amazing has happened: A version of North (basically a cool men’s shop with an Americana slant i.e. Unionmade) has opened in cities across America. If you expand out from Laguna Beach you’d get Orn Hansen in Long Beach, Lone Flag in San Diego, Berkeley Supply in Denver, Askov Finlayson in Minneapolis, Willy’s in Detroit, Cincinnati has Article, there’s Supply & Advise in Miami, Reserve Supply Co. in Houston, Federal in Washington D.C. and a million stores in the Northeast.

Five years ago there were only a few shops keyed in on this. Steven Alan, Context in Wisconsin and Need Supply in Richmond to name a few. What was very much the of the blog world for a period of time seemed to have given rise to a new market for menswear. And it wasn’t until I stepped into North that it really made sense. I knew there were a lot of people all over the place interested in this stuff, but when you’re a little off the beaten path (not that LB is really out of the way, but it’s not TriBeCa) and you see a shop as good as North do you really realize the scope of this thing.

DSCF3706

North Menswear founder Pete Surprenant.





Nice and Simple | Bags in Progress.

Jul 11th, 2014 | Categories: Bags, Jake Gallagher, Japan, Made in the USA | by Jake Gallagher

combo-leather-cover

At one point during my visit to her Garment District showroom, Chiharu Hayashi, the designer behind Bags in Progress, describes her bags as tool totes for everyday life. As she says this, Chiharu gleefully picks up one of her bags to show me how each interior has a specific purpose. One pocket is for an iPad, another is cut specifically fit a Moleskin, and one of the side slots is perfectly proportioned for a pair of sunglasses. A place for everything, and for everything a place.

combo-leather-015

Comments Off




Seeing the Light with Pilgrim Surf Supply.

Jul 2nd, 2014 | Categories: Jake Gallagher, Made in the USA, Men's Stores, Menswear | by Jake Gallagher

Pilgrim-LB-SS-2014_7 Pilgrim-LB-SS-2014_9

Can clothing be spiritual? Can a single brand make you see the light?

As both a consumer and commentator of clothing, we’ve been plagued by a series of nagging questions lately. Why another brand? Why does this brand deserve my attention? And for that matter, why do they deserve my money? These questions can raise doubts in the mind of even the most levelheaded observer, and after a while it becomes tough to discern if you like something simply because it’s new, or if you like something because it’s actually worth your admiration.

That distinction, between something novel and something noteworthy, was made crystal clear to me as we leafed through Pilgrim Surf Supply’s twelve piece debut collection. Admittedly, at first glance, PSS’s offering is not striking, but this was a deliberate decision by their design team. The palate is derived from Pilgrim’s shoreside roots, most notably the sun-burnt oranges and washed out blues that appear on a variety of pieces throughout the collection. On its face, the collection evokes visions of salty beaches and cresting waves, which is a predictable aesthetic for one of New York’s only surf shops, but it’s what lies below these washed out colors that elevate the collection beyond a simple store collection.

Pilgrim-LB-SS-2014_12 Pilgrim-LB-SS-2014_11





Red Wing Updates the Iconic Postman.

Jun 6th, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Made in the USA | by Michael Williams

3104_LS[7] (1)

At the Pop Up Flea this weekend, Red Wing Heritage is launching two new and exclusive (never before sold in the U.S.) styles. Inspired by Red Wing Heritage’s style no. 101, known as The Postman. Originally developed to meet U.S. Postal Service requirements, The Postman style is probably best known for being featured in an iconic advertisement by Norman Rockwell. After many years of status quo, the Postman shape is getting a much desired update. and just in time for summer.

More details about these two new Red Wing styles:

For the first time since 1954, Red Wing is expanding this style. The new Postman are built with the same features as style no. 101, including a dog tail, blind eyelets and Goodyear Welt. They are crafted with premium leathers made at Red Wing’s own S.B. Foot tannery. The cushion crepe outsole gives these boots as much comfort as the original shoe.





Mazama Wares

Mar 28th, 2014 | Categories: Made in the USA, Portland Oregon | by Michael Williams

Mazama-Fall13-Product-8_large

At the end of a walk through of the Tanner Goods workshop in Portland, co-founder Sam Huff gave me a beautifully-made ceramic coffee mug. It was cold outside and a cup of hot coffee in a nice mug was not something that was overlooked. Sam sort of casually mentioned that he and his wife and a group of others had been working on this new ceramic company and I should check it out. This on top of building the Tanner Goods empire, I was definitely intrigued. What I learned is that the hand-made line of Mazama ceramics is the result of an amalgamation of six designers, artists and craftspeople including Huff, Meghan Wright, Meagan Geer, Tory Cross, Casey Keasler and Connie Wohn. Everything is shaped, fired and glazed in a studio Portland, Oregon.

It’s hard to explain, but fine ceramics have always been intriguing to me. Those in Korea and Japan take this art to the highest heights and it’s hard to go there and not appreciate the beauty, simplicity and craft that goes into their ceramics. Not to say America doesn’t have a strong tradition in ceramics. One of the best known brands is Heath and nearly every time I am in LA I make a point to spend an hour at the company’s shop on Beverly. Most of the time I just go to look, seeing as I thoroughly intrigued by the company’s California-made creations. A few years ago I met Adam Silverman in the studio at Heath and have been a fan of his ever since. I’ve come to appreciate the fact that ceramics occupy an interesting place between art and everyday object.