Made In The USA | A Continuous Lean. - Page 3

New Balance: Made in the U.S.A.

Jun 27th, 2013 | Categories: Footwear, Made in the USA, Sponsored Post | by Michael Williams

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Look at the list of major athletic shoe brands that are Made in the USA and you will find a total of one entry: New Balance.

It all started for me with the 993. Then came the 574, the 1300 and the 996. I love them all equally. That perfectly tilted “N”, the toe shape that is just right and that “Made in the USA” (Where the domestic value is at least 70%, New Balance labels its shoes “Made in the USA”) stitching on the tongue. To me, New Balance are as classic as it gets.

The fact that the company is the only one that has maintained production in the United States is remarkable. It speaks to the commitment to the people of Maine & Massachusetts where the factories are located. It shows the commitment to the men and women of the U.S. Military who wake up early and lace-up New Balance Made in USA running shoes. It speaks volumes and there’s only one real voice out there.





Short Sleeved | Gitman Bros. Vintage SS14

Jun 20th, 2013 | Categories: Made in the USA, Menswear, Pitti Uomo 84 | by Michael Williams

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Every season at Pitti the guys from Gitman Bros Vintage do a little something playful, this year that meant making every sample in a short sleeve button-down, nearly all of them in crazy colored prints. I attribute all of this quirkiness to Gitman’s Minnesota bred leader Chris Olberding.

When I say “leader”, I mean to say that Chris is part designer and sales guy, part PR man and production manager. Along with his lone deputy, he’s basically a one man show. Some of you might remember him from one of the Pop Up Flea, where he would be hawking his Pennsylvania made wovens with much enthusiasm. That type of energy is his modus operandi. Anyone at one of the many European or North American tradeshows would agree, as would the staff of Gilli I’m guessing.





Compelling Characters | Four Barrel’s Jeremy Tooker

Jun 5th, 2013 | Categories: Denim, Made in the USA, San Francisco | by Michael Williams

One thing you notice when you go to Four Barrel on Valencia Street in San Francisco is a decided lack of people camped out working on their laptops. This is intentional, there’s not power outlets or wi-fi provided because the focus is on coffee — as it should be. Granted, some people want to post up in a coffee shop soaking up all of the oxygen, but that’s why God invented Starbucks.

The guys at Tellason worked with the very talented folks at SF based Vertical Online to profile the compelling characters that wear Tellason jeans, including this video and the previous release that focused on motorcycle builder Todd Blugaugh. These short films are beautiful pieces strictly from a visual standpoint, but it’s nice to know that these connections are real and the guys actually wear the jeans. Much respect to Four Barrel, Vertical Online and Tellason for keeping it real.

Related: ACL’s 2009 interview of Tellason’s Tony Patella.





Sperry Top-Sider: Made in the USA.

May 17th, 2013 | Categories: Footwear, Made in the USA | by Michael Williams

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I wore Sperry Top-Siders every summer on Cape Cod as a kid. (to be precise, I wore the Authentic Original which is pictured above.) Over the years I have continued to wear them and love the brand because of those great memories growing up. I love all of the associations that Top-Siders embody: preppy, summer, clam bakes, sail boats, beaches, vacations and so much more. I love that the laces won’t stay tied until you get them wet and I love the history. With all of that said, in 2004 I stopped wearing Top-Siders altogether.

That summer I needed a new pair and I went to the store to see if there were any original Top-Siders that were actually made in the USA. I knew they would cost more, but I just felt like the shoes I had been wearing didn’t age all that well, and more than that I really wanted something more authentic. After a long search I couldn’t find any Sperry Top-Siders that were made domestically. I wasn’t really surprised, but I was disappointed so I just stopped purchasing shoes from the brand.

The other day, after a long time of not even really even considering the brand as an option, I went to Sperry’s website and there it was: Sperry Top-Sider Made in Maine collection. I was pretty astonished, and pretty happy to see that the thing that I had hoped for so long ago had actually come true. I just discovered this collection the other day on the company website (oddly, this was sent to me last year but I completely missed it — maybe its because I wrote them off? Looks like the same thing happened to James Fox last year) not in a magazine and I didn’t catch any word of this other places.

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The Hunt | Luggage Tags

Apr 7th, 2013 | Categories: Made in the USA, The Hunt, Travel | by Michael Williams

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The Hunt is a series that aims to find the best-in-breed products that we’re all searching for — let’s dig deeper.

You can buy a luggage tag almost anywhere. What you strangely can’t buy very many places is a high quality and tasteful luggage tag. It’s honestly a bit of a paradox. Most small consumer goods in this country are so cheap in both price and make that anyone looking for something well made has to spend an absurd amount of time looking for something that will last longer than a few rungs through the carousel of destruction at the hands of your friend airline baggage handler.

There are actually a lot of synthetic/plastic options out that there that seem decent enough, but I don’t want to put something too tech on my luggage (personal preference maybe). Additionally, there are quite a few companies that make good luggage tags from nice leather, but the problem I always seem to encounter is often that they use cheap hardware. A shitty clasp is a deal-breaker for me, I want something solid that is going to last for at least two decades and I am willing to pay for it. Enter the Tanner Goods luggage tags and my hunt may be over.

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Ready to Roll | Red Wing’s Finest

Apr 3rd, 2013 | Categories: Footwear, Made in the USA | by Michael Williams

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Some of these Red Wing Heritage boots you can actually get, some you can’t. Well, you might be able to get all of them but these black 6″ moc toes are going to pose a bit of a challenge. Released and only available in Japan, these boots are actually part of a small collection of special edition Irish Setter boots that were resurrected especially for Japan a few seasons ago.

Keeping with the exclusivity thing, the 9874s are only even available at the best Japanese Red Wing retailers, namely: Beams, United Arrows, Ships etc. Want a pair? Make a friend in Japan or just book a flight. If you ask me, the long haul would be worth if. Never before have black and brown worked in partnership so well.

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The Hunt | iPad Mini Cases

Mar 27th, 2013 | Categories: Made in the USA, Technology, The Hunt, Travel | by Michael Williams

The Hunt is a series that aims to find the best-in-breed products that we’re all searching for — let’s dig deeper.

It’s surprising that I have such a difficult time finding cases that I like for my technology. Everything is either too synthetic or too complicated for my taste. There are certainly a lot of options out there and I’m sure plenty of good things I have yet to discover (feel free to comment and suggest). Gear Patrol did a nice round up of options a while back which I referenced a lot (and seriously considered a few), and Lotuff makes a few really good options, but much of what I see is just too logo-heavy and or is made from materials too synthetic. I wanted something simple from natural materials that fit with all of the other stuff I wear in my daily life. For the past few years the undisputed champion of my iPad protection program has been Portland, Oregon-based The Good Flock and its simple wool sleeves. I’ve traveled all over the world with the iWooly and couldn’t be happier with it. Then came the iPad mini and I was back in the market looking for a new case.