Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Archive for January, 2009

Guest Baggage: Mackenzie Pack

January 31st, 2009

To my delight, readers keep sending in footage of customized or no-longer available outdoor fabric packs, satchels and shoulder bags. I’m going to post as many images as possible, for future reference, and to inspire current bag makers to bring back some of these lost designs. Scott H. forwarded along photographs of his robust, canvas and leather Mackenzie Mountaineering pack. Scott is the original owner of the bag, purchased, he says, in 1977 from Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis.  Of this bag, he writes:

Originally it had a waist belt too, but my wife cut them off: too many straps dangling in the wind. All that leather on the bottom, with the grommets, I can only think that was meant as the point to attach your crampons when not in use? I’ve searched the internet, and eBay (for five years) and have never turned anything up about this manufacturer.

If you have additional notes or comments about Mackenzie brand packs (brand history, models, catalog images, additional pack photos), please email me or post them to the blog.

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

Shopping from Montgomery Ward: 1949 Fall Winter catalog

January 30th, 2009

Although it’s great to see company’s like Patina bringing back boutique updates of historical shoe and boots styles, it’s good (illuminating) to remember that these were all just standard, staple offerings–w/payless shoe source availability–in 1949. Browsing the pages of MW catalog can be heartbreaking if you’re more accustomed to stalking these items in one off appearances in thrift stores or vintage shops. I’m struck by the promise of newness, the choice in quality grades and of course, the plentifulness (pages and pages) of offerings. Women fare pretty well in this world as well (if you promise to restrict your wear of your new MW purchases to garage or gardening chores).

Shopping from Guuwatanabe: Custom Bags

January 30th, 2009

I was thrilled to find that my favorite Tokyo bag maker, Co. Ltd guu-watanabe, is now posting photos to flickr. Though I’ve always admired Guu-Watanabe’s cycling luggage (available in the US, here), I’m newly interested in the custom bags he produces for everyday use (ukulele carrying cases, garden spade holsters, city totes, school satchels, etc.). To browse or make a purchase, see Guu’s Flickr photostream here.

Archival Finder: Ben Silver Collection Vest

January 29th, 2009

Male model, lifestyle (“weekender”) packaging and prohibitive price point aside, I really like this cashmere trimmed nylon vest by online catalog clothier, Ben Silver. Friend Tom remarked that it looks like a luxury edition of the Patagonia Retro-X vest. If it were my design, I’d swap out the cashmere (too shapeless and prone to pilling) for a more robust tweed and perhaps reverse the total role/ratio of wool to nylon in the garment. And of course, I’d retain the shiny metal zipper but give it two-way functionality.

Ben Silver was considerate enough to produce a version of this vest for women which appears to have the same cut/styling and lacks any token, feminizing details. However, illustrating the need for a future Archival Clothing petition, the women’s version only comes in two tragic colorways: fuchsia and white (which would be OK, I suppose, if there were at least one more traditional color option such as grey, brown or loden).

Archival Field Trip: Winn Perry

January 27th, 2009

Jordan Sayler, owner and operator of Winn Perry, is one of the nicest, next generation archival gents you’ll ever meet. On Saturday, friend Erin and I drove up to take photographs of Sayler’s shop and browse his Billy Kirk bag selection (and Obedient Sons dress shorts) .

Erin originally found Winn Perry while tracking down Duchess, a vintage inspired, made-to order-clothier sharing retail space with Winn Perry.

Winn Perry carries such admirable, hard-to-find-in-the-Northwest brands like Makr, Billy Kirk, Baxter of California, Alexander Olchs, Our Legacy, Obedient Sons, Gloverall, SNS-Herning, Grenson and Alden, as well as many original garments (pants, jackets and vests) created by Duchess. The shop also carries some cryptic gents’ accessories like shaving supplies, tie bars, cuff links, etc. , which I admired from afar but failed to fully document.

Duchess jacket lining

Sayler kindly permitted us to distract him with questions about his product offerings while customers streamed in to shop from the Winn Perry racks or coordinate fittings with Duchess. Sayler spoke with us about his future focus on primarily stocking USA-made products and our shared obsession with a low-top version of the Alden Indy boot (he produced a photo of a custom made pair, found online, in brown aniline calf leather).

Alden Indy shoes (custom jobber)

Sayler seems to still be sorting out Portland/Northwest demand for more premium menswear brands (we talked about Edward Green) while making sure his current customers have access to the kind of well made but reasonably affordable, heritage items offered for sale in his shop. Sayler is also interested in producing Winn Perry originals. For starters, he mentioned a potential collaboration with a friend on a Winn Perry canvas bag.

Live field report: during our visit, a not quite my size, SNS-Herning fisherman’s sweater was sold to an actual customer and might be now sighted on the streets of Portland.

SNS-Herning sweater (sold!)

Although the Winn Perry shop is quite compact, Jordan has staged the space to highlight individual clothing categories without overcrowding the total space (again, in split screen mode with Duchess). An old dry goods cabinet (purchased from Craiglist in California) functions as the central display area for Sayler’s well curated selection of footwear. Winn Perry is located in a historic, brick building with high windows, double doors and a fetching, white tile floor. The total effect is that of a classic (but not fabricated) menswear shop that you might have visited with your parents during a childhood day trip into the city.

Sayler’s vintage, benchmade shoes

After I visited Winn Perry, I emailed Sayler to see if he could elaborate on his concept for Winn Perry and any specific, future plans he might have for his shop (and brand). Here’s what he had to say:

When I was starting Winn Perry, I wanted to create a sort of emporium for men to find quality items (clothing, shave products, etc). I also wanted it to incorporate custom clothing as that had become a much greater proportion of my own wardrobe, thanks to Duchess. When it started, it was really a place for men to get a custom suit made by Duchess and find accessories or a ready to wear suit if they didn’t have the time or need for custom. As time goes by, the store is slowly evolving into a place to come and find quality products that I think other people might find interest in.

Made in the USA is becoming an ever expanding part of the store’s ethos and I hope to continue that trend, although I am not against a well-made, well-designed product that is produced outside the USA. I do believe that it is important to support the local and domestic community, because as more manufacturing gets shipped off shore, we lose crafts, skills, and jobs that have supported Americans for generations and we become ‘reliant’ on a service economy — never a good thing. Made in the USA used to mean craftsmanship, reliability, and longevity. I hope that Winn Perry can do a little bit to help revive those ideas.

Billy Kirk bag on model

Archival Coffee

January 24th, 2009

Coffee service in On The Beach (Kramer 1959)

People who know me know that I’m obsessed with coffee. I’m not a bean snob or a machine snob. I only visit this site when I need to read consumer reviews or check the fair market price for coffee related appliances. What I do do with ritualized obsession is prepare coffee according to the fixed laws of the Time Life Beverages book. Following the advice of the book, I use a Chemex glass carafe brewer and Chemex bonded filters (cheaper to purchase as unfolded filter circles). And these are some of the rules, in condensed form, I follow: always preheat mugs and carafe, grind one more scoop of beans than recommended, wet grounds in 15 second intervals, wait until grounds “bloom” before pouring in large amounts of water, keep swilling coffee in bottom of carafe to avoid “bottom brew”, preheat milk, add small pinch of sea salt and or cracked pepper to final brew (it’s in the book!). Friend Hilary brought me back a reversible Harris tweed tea (now coffee) cozy from England. Wrapping the Chemex carafe in this cozy is my first sartorial act of the day.

My Technivorm Moccamaster ended up as a craigslist sale to someone in Kansas City, Kansas. I spent so much time applying manual brewing rules to the machine (making sure the grounds were evenly damp, turning machine on and off to retard the brewing process, etc.) that I lost whatever automated convenience the on-off button was providing me. Nevertheless, Technivorm remains a brand I admire since they still make their amazingly high quality brewing appliances by hand in Holland. For a coffee themed field trip, I’d recommend visiting Boyds Coffee Company, the US distributor for Technivorm (located near the Danner Factory store in Portland, Oregon, though I doubt Boyds sells factory seconds or Japan only models).

Guest Baggage: Vintage Brady

January 24th, 2009

Cartridge Bag

Discontinued model [name?] & Ariel fishing bag

Sandringham Game Bag

Another submissions to the Brady visual archives by Gus W. who purchased his first bag back in 1986. Here are his notes regarding his Brady collection which includes both fishing and shooting models as well as a more contemporary, urban shoulder bag (no longer available):

The smaller “Ariel” model is, as you know, a fishing creel with a snap in rubber liner. I bought it in 1986 when my son was born because I wanted a masculine and practical diaper bag. After serving its intended purpose flawlessly, I began using it for travel and urban adventures. I bought the second, larger Brady bag in London a year ago at The Dover Street Market to carry artwork. It is nice to see that the workmanship and quality of the leather is as good as ever with Brady. They are wonderful bags.

The [Sandringham] bag with the netting is also vintage since it has the Brady “Halesowen” tag. This heavy canvas bag has a fused rubber liner unlike the snap out liners found on today’s bags. I love the look of the netting. I want a large tote bag with that same feature to take to the farmers market!

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.