Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Posts Tagged ‘tin cloth’

Archival Reprint: Filson Japan Lookbook

October 13th, 2011

Per yesterday’s entry, I’m reprinting a few of my favorite views from the strangely compelling, Filson Japan lookbook, “The Ballad of Portraits”. I love the stylized presentation of the figures who look like colorized, plasticized transplants from a 19th century daguerreotype (if Dodge Sportsmans appeared in daguerreotypes). Since most web image content disappears from view or gets redistributed away from its original source, I wanted to archive a copy for myself for future reference. It’s a shame we cannot mail away for a print copy.





Wishful Filson

December 17th, 2009

by Lesli Larson

I’ve been wishful holiday shopping for discontinued Filson plaids. In Japan, you can purchase a classic Mackinaw cruiser, vest or matching hat in blue x black buffalo plaid, a fabric that was discontinued by Filson years ago. When I emailed Filson to ask about a custom order in the blue x black plaid, I was told that the fabric would not be available for domestic orders (though lap blankets and tote bags can still be found at Portland Filson).

As a consolation, I’ve been browsing the pages of a Filson catalog I reprinted here last summer (when I was more fixated on poplins and cruiser vests). The catalog taunts me with lost opportunities to own Filson garments that were the best of their kind–the forestry cloth hiking trousers and matching cruiser coat, for example. My latest nostalgic longing is for the red and black plaid cape coat (now only available in predictable greens and greys). I expect that many of the garments pictured below might be resurfacing in Japanese web shops in next year.

Blue x Black Mackinaw Coat

Red x Black Mackinaw Pants

Red x Black Cape Jacket

Original Hunting Vest

I’m including photos of the the original Filson cotton duck hunting vest, a favorite Filson design. The vest has a wonderfully arcane pocketing system and fits (me) like an A-frame tent. It was discontinued a few years ago but brought back by custom request. However, my understanding is that sales remain slow. So, please consider supporting the archival garment cause by purchasing one in 2010.

Japan Plaid

Archival Review: Filson totes

September 7th, 2009


Tin cloth tote (new tan webbing)
On Sunday, Sara and I did a quick spot check on the new totes at the Filson flagship store in Portland, Oregon. It’s a little early in the season for wool, but apparently the new versions are selling–even the crazy electric blue/black plaid tote (a version not currently shown on the Filson site). Though I love the eccentric look of this tote, and robust blanket weight wool, it doesn’t quite stand up on its own and I question its practical use value. Since I own more totes than I’ll ever wear out, I suppose this version could be my indoor, workplace, hallway or elevator tote. Send along your own suggestions for the proposed function of a wool rather than waxed bodied bag (for snowdrift climates, I imagine?).
After the classic tin cloth tote w/green webbing disappeared from the Filson website in July, I was concerned that this practical, affordable, Seattle-made bag had been discontinued. Several friends and I use this bag on a daily basis, and after a year of wear, the bag still looks great (though mine is slightly frayed at wear points on the webbing). Although I love the classic twill Filson tote, the tin cloth version, with taffeta lining, really forgives sloppy use as a grocery bag or bag-within-a-bag commuter. To my relief, Filson reintroduced an unchanged version with khaki webbing. Though I prefer the graphic contrast of the green webbing against the tin cloth fabric, I’m happy to see this basic model back in the Filson line-up.
On the subject of totes, I want to campaign for Gilles Berthoud, French bagmaker, to produce a tote bag that combines the fabric and leather trim of his bicycle panniers w/the carrying capacity, basic structure, of a Filson tin cloth tote:

Archival Update: Filson Summer Sale

July 27th, 2009

Vaughn Wascovich, Neylandville,Texas #2

Yesterday, friend/photographer/collector Vaughn W. emailed to tell me that Filson is closing out their first generation collection of tin cloth luggage.

Sale page here.

From what I know, Filson is changing the color of the webbing from olive to tan for a more “monochromatic” look. Personally, I prefer the contrasting olive webbing so I’ll be placing an order for the small shell bag (and possibly the field bag–though I loathe those plastic quick release buckles). The tin cloth line is designed for shooting and hunting (as an alternative to the 22 oz twill luggage), but I’ve found that the lighter weight fabric, w/taffeta lining, makes for perfect grocery and bike errand bags. If you hunt around (or call Filson directly), you might be lucky enough to locate remaining stock of the original tin cloth tote with olive webbing–the best tote ever made…

What do you think of the new khaki colored webbing?

Addendum: if you know of a top quality source for US made webbing which looks like the kind used for the straps on the Filson tote… please send me an email (full Archival Webbing report coming soon!).

New luggage.





Best tote ever

Archival Details: 1930s Filson Cruiser

June 30th, 2009







Here’s a vintage, 1930s-era Filson cruiser jacket up for auction on ebay. The seller emailed the other day because he was trying to date the jacket and saw a similar version on my flickr photostream. Pricepoint for the jacket is too steep for me. However, I asked permission to post some auction photos to document design details– snaps, garment tag, double fabric arms, perfect pocking, stitching style–still found on current generation cruisers.

Randomly, at some point, I’d like to coordinate a comprehensive database of historical Filson garments, catalogs and print ephemera.
Related complaint: why has Filson not introduced a version of the Cruiser (a scaled down exact replica) for its women’s product line? If you were developing a heritage collection for women, wouldn’t you start with your most iconic garment (rather than offering new style shirts and jackets that just as easily could have been produced by LL Bean or Lands End or Liz Claiborne?).

1920s era Filson (split pockets!)


1930s-era Tin Cruiser

1949 “Shedpel” brand cruiser (rebadged Filson?)

Dry finish (Fil-Duck?) Cruiser from the mid-1980s

Filson Cruiser available now

From the Times: Filson Tin Cloth Vest

April 24th, 2009

From left, Richard Poe, Kristine Nielsen, Laura Benanti and Amir Arison in Christopher Durang’s new comedy at the Public Theater

On April 7, friend Brad W. and I both noted the stage right presence of a Filson Original Hunting Vest in a page C6 NY Times review of the play, Why Torture is Wrong, and the people who love them. Indoors, the tin cloth vest looks newly minted and out of place, like it just came off the shelf of a Filson flagship store.

In past blog posts, I’ve noted the presence of Filson and Barbour brands in David Mamet movies. I’m wondering whether Mamet’s influence on Broadway now extends to dressing principal characters in American heritage clothing brands?

While I’ve tried to champion oil finished Filson tin cloth as an indoor fabric, I’ve rarely seen this practice adopted by anyone other than Tin Cloth Monday participants. The original tin cloth hunting vest works well for indoor wear given its extensive, purse-like pocketing and ventilating arms holes.

Several years ago I had a local seamstress add some additional upper pockets and a brass grommet to my own tin vest. As it were, I ended up selling it on ebay due to irreconcilable sizing issues (it wore more like an A-frame tent). A photo:

Refab Filson Hunting Vest

Early (198x?) Filson catalog

Archival Salvage: Filson Semi-Annual Sale

January 31st, 2009

Filson Tin Waterfowl/Upland Coat
Tin Cloth Carpenter Pants
Alaskan Long John Zip-Neck

Upland Wellington Boot
Filson sent out an email today announcing a semi-annual sale. Since Filson never puts regular stock items on sale (try a web search sometime), one can assume that these “sale” items are actually going to be discontinued from the main product line (if only in oddball, big-tall sizes, or in specific colors). I’m highlighting a few sale items of note and one edition to the category Why Was It Made?

Filson Time Manager

Guest Baggage: Filson Sling

January 23rd, 2009





If you live in the Northwest and you’re a Filson fan, you’ve probably heard stories of people dumpster diving items from the Seattle factory. A Freeman, the source for my original refab Filson report, forwarded me a new set of photos of his wife’s sling bag. The bag is made from tin cloth scrounged from that apocryphal Filson dumpster.

A Freeman reports:
Hi LL– An acquaintance ran a small clothing concern in Seattle a few years ago, and among other projects, he was building bags out of found materials. Lo-and-behold, he “found” a half bolt of waxed tin cloth in Filson’s dumpsters one late night, and was able to produce a very limited number of sling bags from it. Over time it is gaining a beautiful character and is one of my wife’s all-time favorite things.

Refab Filson: Wildfowl Hat

December 4th, 2008



Blog reader A. Freeman saw my post about the Tin Cloth Filson Wildfowl hat and was kind enough to submit photographs own his own home Filson rebrication project. I really like his flapless remake of the Waterfowl hat since I agree that the cape (at least for non-waterfowlers) really only has an ornamental function/value. His design also nicely brings back the ghost of the discontinued, uninsulated, short billed tin cloth cap.

Freeman writes:

Wanted to send along a few photos of my “modified” Filson hat. I purchased it while trimming out a house in Minnesota’s North Woods some years ago, but with my return to the coast found that it was rarely cold enough to utilize the cape, and thusly it was removed.

I dare-say, at least looks-wise, that it has been much improved. Though with the addition of ear flaps (per the napkin sketch you posted) it would serve well as a cycling hat for those who still choose to go helmetless (I do not).

Do send along photographs of your Filson refab projects. A Freeman has promised some future photographs of a chic boutique bag made out of dumpster dived tin cloth!