Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Archive for October, 2012

October 30th, 2012

Archival Down Vests by Crescent Down Works

October 30th, 2012

I really love down vests, so it was a treat to work with one of the finest down garment makers in the country on a really special project. Here’s our take on a classic work/hunting vest, done with a lightweight waxed cotton shell, a nylon lining for easy layering, and a worsted wool rib collar, knitted by Washington’s Centralia Knitting Mills. Made in Seattle, WA by Crescent Down Works.

The waxed cotton shell is weather-resistant and durable, much more so than the thin nylon typically used in backpacker’s down vests. The collar is cozy but not so big you can’t throw a jacket on over. The handwarmer pockets are stuffed with down so that your hands really stay warm. There’s an inside pocket for the phone, or matches, or playing cards.

I’m very proud of this vest – it’s handsome, durable, and functional clothing made in the Northwest – and that’s what Archival’s all about! Exclusive to Wilderness Workshop and our own web store. Very limited quantities  

We visited Crescent Down Works a few months ago, be sure to check out the report from that trip.

Archival at NorthernGRADE – Chicago

October 26th, 2012

If you’re in Chicago on Saturday, Oct 27th, come by and visit Archival at NorthernGRADE, a 100% made in USA, menswear pop up market.  AC friend and heritage clothing impressario. Brad Bennet (Well Spent) will be coproducing the Chicago edition of NorthernGRADE at Open Secret Studios, a new event space in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood.  Flying in from Oregon, we will be showing sweatshirts, trail caps, web belts, dopp kits, zip pouches, musettes, cuffs, wallets and our esteemed Roll-top packs.  Documentation and evidence of participation snaps to come on Monday.

Update – Archival Roll Tops

October 24th, 2012
The Archival Roll Top is now available for Fall in two new canvas duck colors: olive and terracotta.  The Roll Top is a comfortable, roomy, stripped-down backpack for keeping your belongings dry and safe in any conditions. Ideal for bicyclists, motorcyclists, and anyone else who regularly faces the elements. Featuring a roll-top closure secured by a stout Horween leather strap and solid brass roller buckle, double-layer bottom, an interior stash pocket, and two exterior side pockets great for keys, mini U-lock, or anything else requiring quick access.  Our Roll Top is also available for the Fall in heavy duty waxed twill

October 24th, 2012

Shopping from the USA: Carhartt

October 19th, 2012
When I was 14, the guys at the bike shop where I volunteered insisted that Carhartts were the only pants worth buying at retail price. I biked out to Coastal Farm and Feed in Eugene, dropped $40 on a pair of B01 double-knee pants, and have been a fan ever since. We’ve done a few little posts on the subject, but in general we defer to Mr. Fox, undoubtedly the king of Carhartt in these parts. 



Recently there’s been a little excitement as Carhartt starts to promote the styles still made in the USA. The WSJ had an interesting piece over a year ago, and Michael at ACL recently posted a great article (with, as usual, an entertaining comment thread). 



Carhartt kindly sent over one of their made in USA Active Jacs for me to check out. I love it – super warm and it’s built like a truck. Gotta dig that giant zipper pull. Regular/roomy fit, so you can layer sweaters underneath. $100. Seriously cannot beat that bang for the buck unless you’re buying used. 


Really happy to see the USA-made goods getting pushed, and here’s hoping that more and more of their goods can be brought home as demand increases. I asked a few questions about the USA line, and here are the thoughts of Tony Ambroza, VP of Marketing at Carhartt. I’m most interested in the links between domestic manufacture and the physical design of the artifacts being produced, so I would have loved to hear more about that process – maybe someday I’ll take a field trip to Irvine, KY to see the plant!

1)     What made Carhartt decide to bring the production of these styles back to the USA?
Our Made in the USA line of apparel was created in response to consumer feedback; they told us they wanted to know exactly which products we make and source in the U.S. We were able to shift some product to other manufacturing facilities in order to accommodate production of these popular styles.
2)     What advantages have you found in domestic production?
We never stopped manufacturing in the U.S. since the company’s founding in 1889. In the last 15 years alone, we’ve made more than 57 million units of apparel in our U.S. facilities.  Fortunately the family who founded the business still owns Carhartt outright and understands how the company’s heritage is linked to US manufacturing.  As a consumer focused American work wear manufacturer, serving and protecting hard working people with our products is extremely important to us.  We work to ensure our products are still built to the high standards established by our founder Hamilton Carhartt, while keeping our prices competitive and affordable.  Thanks to our manufacturing approach we are able to maintain US manufacturing without increasing the price for our US styles.
3)     Any drawbacks?
It is difficult to remain competitive in our industry with only domestic production when just 2 percent of clothing bought here is actually manufactured here.  This is why we have chosen a balanced supply chain strategy which includes domestic and outsourced production. It allows us to provide high-quality products at competitive prices. With that said, no brand makes more rugged work wear in the U.S. than Carhartt.
4)      Has it been easy or hard to find the needed skilled labor to produce at scale in the USA?
Fortunately, many of the employees who stitch together our products by hand have been with us for several decades or more.  The work is physically demanding.  It takes a great deal of training and time for employees to learn the skills required to build Carhartt to our exact specifications.  

Archival Fall Kit

October 15th, 2012

Here a few of my favorite selections from the Fall Archival line.  We’re now offering the Archival Rolltop in waxed twill (the perfect fabric for the damp) while reintroducing our Flap Musette in a lighter weight, carmine red canvas duck (a visual refusal of the gloom).  Small scale accessories for the season include waxed canvas trail caps, cotton jersey scarves and austere yet snappy leather cuffs by AC friend Nick Hollows.

Archival Restock – Macausland’s Blankets

October 12th, 2012

In time for Fall, we’re bringing back our MacAusland’s Woollen Mills throws and queen sized blankets.  Located on Prince Edward Island, MacAusland’s Woollen Mills is a family business built on traditional values of quality craftsmanship, beauty and durability.  This mill has been producing traditional blankets of 100% virgin wool since 1932.  MacAusland’s wool blankets are handcrafted from the best quality wool which is milled and processed on site. The raw wool is sourced throughout the Atlantic region.

Each blanket features a twill weave with three ecru stripes on either end. Edges are blanket stitched. For over seventy years, MacAuslands have been producing quality woolen blankets and yarns, made of 100% virgin wool yarn. Because of the high quality of the wool, the blankets are lighter than most but will last a lifetime.

Available here

Archival Napping

October 9th, 2012
With the advent of Fall, I’m happily adding archival layers to my wardrobe, but I’m also looking back with nostalgia on the warmer, sun weary days of August.  Boston Public Library posted photos of city dwellers from the 1930s napping in public parks – a communal practice that has sadly disappeared in the last seven or so decades.  As someone who shuns tank tops and ostensibly summerweight clothing, I love that most of the nappers, despite the swelter, are fully clothed, wearing long sleeved shirts, long pants and lace up shoes.