Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Posts Tagged ‘american workwear’

For the record – Farmerette uniforms of WWI

September 28th, 2016

Browsing the Library of Congress Flickr photostream, I stumbled upon these amazing images of female Farmerettes, first participants in the Women’s Land Army of America. Further research revealed that from 1917-1919 these women supported the war effort by filling the agricultural labor gap at home. According to this fascinating article in the Smithsonian: “Most of these women had never before worked on a farm, but they were soon plowing fields, driving tractors, planting and harvesting. The Land Army’s ‘farmerettes’ were paid wages equal to male farm laborers and were protected by an eight-hour workday. For many, the farmerettes were shocking at first–wearing pants!–but farmers began to rely upon the women workers.” While I’m very familiar with the iconic, coveralls and kerchief look of Rosie the Riveter, I have never seen the WWI era uniforms issued to the “Land Lassies.” What strikes me in the first photo is how close the Farmerrete’s coveralls resemble something released by FWK Engineered Garments or Nigel Cabourn.

I’ll be digging deeper to secure more visual evidence of these women and the specific of their uniforms.

Questions: who manufactured the uniforms, what were the specific uniform requirements, were the uniforms region specific, and do any sample garments remain?

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Archival Report – ProjectNYC

January 28th, 2013

We had a great time participating in the MADE by Project pop up show in NYC.  This week, I’ll be posting photographs from the event.  Today, I wanted to reprint snaps of three of my favorite Project exhibtors – Rising Sun Jeans, Arn Mercantile and Chippewa Boots.

 Mike Hodis, Rising Sun founder
 Mike’s custom Rising Sun boots (daily drivers)
Brendan in his day 3 layers, Archival knit cap
 
Khue in her belted, heritage ensemble
Tom modeling a new Rising Sun vest style

Me (LL) sporting an indigo plaid waistcoat patterned for women
Project visitor wearing his Rising Sun work apron

Rising Sun Jeans – as finished on the inside as the outside

As a longtime fan of the classic, Chippewa made, LL Bean Engineer boot, I was thrilled to see the relaunch of Chippewa’s new heritage inspired line of boots  Chippewa is now creating a footwear line based on original, historical models from the company archives.  Even the brand packaging and Vibram soles on the new boots are based on an original designs that had to be remanufactured for the brand relaunch.   Per usual, I submitted my request to have Chippewa size the line down so that it could be worn by women or gents with smaller feet. 
  
Neil, co-founder, Arn Mercantile

  


The Archival booth was fortuitously located across the way from Arn Mercantile,  a UK brand that blends traditional, 1920s workwear style with Japanese fabrics and expertly tailoring.  Check out the Arn website to read a terrific interview with Neil in which he discusses Arn’s brand history,  production methods, fit philosophy, etc.  

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.