Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Archival Field Trip – Filson Factory Tour

Posted on: October 9th, 2013 by Lesli Larson

I’ve been a brand fan of CC Filson since I was a teen.  Over the past few years, I’ve republished favorite Filson catalogs on the Archival blog.  My own clothing archives includes a number of Filson twill bags,  wool vests, vintage Cruisers  and key selections from the  women’s line. While the past decade has produced some corporate headscratchers (overseas manufacturing and the  Passage Line), I still consider Filson one of the best American brands.  What I admire most about Filson is its manufacturing ethos: make the best product from the best available materials and back it up with a lifetime warranty.  It’s hard to  identify a better role model for Archival than CC Filson.
On a recent trip to Seattle, I scheduled a tour of the new Seattle building which includes a production facility entirely to dedicated to luggage. I’ve been hearing from Filson reps and friends that Filson is changing as a company. Filson is trying to bring all of their manufacturing back to the US, updating their collection for women (Fall 2014), introducing a line of bike luggage and revising their dated fit system. Here are some of my notes and snaps from the tour.

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Filson is now collaborating with Detroit based Shinola on panniers and a front handlebar basket bag. Cyclists should be thrilled to have their own line of twill luggage.

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New Filson wax vests and jackets in an updated fit.   I love the integration of more traditional hunting jacket features like the front loading game pocket.  Sadly, Filson has no immediate plans to release these  styles in sizes for women.

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Evidence – Filson garment tags on vintage Cruiser jackets

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From the archives – vintage Filson wool pants, hunting vest and a Mackinaw Cruiser in scarlet

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Patched and refurbished Filson luggage en route to the new flagship store in London.  Everything old is new again

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One of my favorite new luggage styles – the Large Twill Carry-On

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Roller luggage awaiting repair

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Seattle factory worker smock (I want one!)

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I was amazed by the complexity of the piece work in the factory.  Bags were assembled over many different work stations.  I love seeing all the stacks of bag bits.

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Recipe for a bag – hardware, thread and fabric samples are kept on the Filson factory floor for reference

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Filson bag library (reference bags for every model in production at the Filson Seattle factory)

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Our stylish, delightful tour guides -Jack and Amy

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