Archival Salvage

One of the main projects of this blog is to create an online visual archive of what I would consider “near vintage” American outdoor clothing & European country clothing. My sources are online catalogs, Japanese websites, flickr, motion pictures, other blogs, direct visual documentation and my own personal archive of clothing, bags, catalogs, and related ephemera (old leather samples from Russell Moccasin, tweed samples from Hebden Cord, Ventile cloth samples from Hilltrek, etc). I’m less interested in what is considered stylish at the moment although recent news items suggest that my obsessions are moving back into the mainstream.

I do not sell clothing although I do see myself in part as a chirpy, unpaid spokesmodel for many of these companies–at least the ones still in business. As it were–many of the brands I do admire have either gone out of business (Hebden Cord, Lewis Creek, Frost River, Atlantic Rancher) or have drifted (to varying degrees) from their original, classic, US made product offerings (Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Bass, LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, North Face, Levis, and on). As much as possible, I’ll use my blog to both document the golden years of these lost brands and provide interested parties with visual examples of current items worthy of inclusion in the future archive. Until out-of-date print catalogs and company websites are archived and made available through a public, centralized, searchable database, I’ll use my blog as a way to curate and preserve an Archival Clothing product line out of the visual continuum of online ephemera.

The irony of my project is that I do not own or cannot wear most of items documented on this blog–primarily because they are only produced in men’s sizes. My long term mission is to advocate for the creation of “heritage brands” in scaled down (not “feminized”) versions available for wear by Men and Women.

I’m a huge fan of Sierra Trading Post because they’re the only online retailer I know that sells many of my preferred, current brands at a reasonable price point: Filson, Barbour, Beretta, Icebreaker, Ibex, John Partridge, McAlister, Woolyback, etc. The site is terrific because they tell you a garment’s country of original (not just whether it was made in the US or “imported”) and also because most of the items they sell have been discontinued (which means that these items are no longer available for direct sale by the original manufacturer and more poignantly, will eventually disappear from view). So, as a reference resource for clothing images–STP is terrific! I’m going to start collecting and curating an image bank of the STP website images since so many of these items will disappear once stock sells out. Today, I’m showcasing some interesting experiments by Filson in camouflage waxed cotton, a nice Moleskin bomber jacket, Filson loafers (a short lived experiment), “The Most Dangerous Game” shooting jacket (which I never actually saw pictured in the original Filson catalog) and some experimental attempts at a more “modernized” hunting jacket (additional of more loops and clasps). I do not personally own any of these items but in the visual history of Filson product offerings it will be nice to go back and review these examples. I’m curious to know why were these items discontinued: poor sales, costly materials, design or fit problems or too close in style to something else already in the product line?

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