In 2012, we reviewed the Freeman Jacket, an impressive, made in Seattle, rain jacket sized for ladies and gents. Freeman is the perfect alternative for folks seeking a well styled, classic jacket made from more technical fabrics. Freeman now sells a range of jackets and appearel in a new brick and mortar shop located on the west side of Capital Hill in Seattle. We’re pleased to say that Freeman now sells a few of our favorite AC bags including the Archival Rolltop, the Flap Musette and Dopp Kit. I stopped by on Friday to say hello and take a few snaps.
Archival Rolltop in cinnamon canvas duck plus Freeman waterbottles by Liberty
Freeman branded cap
Classic range of Freeman jackets
Pointer Brand Chore Coat and Freeman Shirting
Of of my favorite Freeman offerings – the Freeman/Tellason Denim Vest
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.
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.
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.
Evidence – Filson garment tags on vintage Cruiser jackets
From the archives – vintage Filson wool pants, hunting vest and a Mackinaw Cruiser in scarlet
Patched and refurbished Filson luggage en route to the new flagship store in London. Everything old is new again
One of my favorite new luggage styles – the Large Twill Carry-On
Roller luggage awaiting repair
Seattle factory worker smock (I want one!)
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.
Recipe for a bag – hardware, thread and fabric samples are kept on the Filson factory floor for reference
Filson bag library (reference bags for every model in production at the Filson Seattle factory)
Crescent Down Works is one of those amazing northwest companies that is better known in Japan than in the US. Crescent was founded in 1974 as a custom down vest company in Seattle, WA. The company’s founder, Anne Michelson, got her start at Eddie Bauer another exemplary regional manufacturer. Crescent produces a tightly edited collection of down vests, jackets, parks, sweaters and children’s clothing. I’m hugely fond of this down shirt. You can buy directly from Crescent or wishfully shop from Japanese web shops like Warehouse.
On Friday, Tom and I visited Nina, the Cutting Room Manager, to work out the details on a future Archival x Crescent collaboration (coming in Fall 2012). Here are some snap views from our visit.
The kind folks at Freeman sent us a jacket to try out. They’re based in Seattle, and make the jacket out of their house – an impressive feat, since it’s sewn as professionally as anyone could ask.
It’s made of a two-layer waterproof breathable, which, for those who didn’t memorize Patagonia catalogs as a child, is an outer nylon shell with a laminate underneath – a laminate that’s very fragile and must be lined. The Freeman feels like a Patagonia or Sierra Designs jacket from the late 80s – it’s light, but not so light that it feels insubstantial.
Flapped pockets with logo debossed snaps. This type of spring clasp jingles a bit when it’s unfastened, so if you’re OCD about jingly hardware, keep it snapped!
Nice soft cotton flannel lining which is a joy to wear and is pleasing to behold. Ideal for the “sidewalk socialite,” as Freeman puts it. I don’t know if this would be my first choice for backpacking or skiing due to the cotton lining and lack of pit zips, but that’s no deal breaker.
The fit is outstanding, and that’s the main difference between this jacket and something vintage. I ended up with a size or two too small, but it’s still nice and trim and the hood fits really well. I love the red drawcord and cord locks.
Recommended as a nice, clean, simple rain shell, made in Seattle by a super friendly crew. Classic synthetics don’t come much better than this. Go check ’em out!
Last March I lamented the loss of the Cooperstown Ball Cap Co. To my relief, Cooperstown has resurfaced with a new focus on caps from minor league and non-professional leagues. Cooperstown Ballcap Co. manufactures reproduction caps from bygone eras using original methods and materials. These caps are made from a sturdy wool flannel and feature a soft leather sweatband, just like the originals. Sized for a true fit, with a 3 inch brim. Because of our Northwest heritage, we have reissued the following caps from the Pacific Coast League: the Portland Beavers (1927 & 1956) and Seattle Rainiers (1941 & 1956).
Here’s a shopping opportunity for vintage climbing packs and apparel from Seattle based Yak Works. AC reader Alan Wenker was kind enough to supply me with these original scans. Alan is interested in vintage backpacking apparel from 60s and 70s. Like Archival, Alan wants to see as many of these original catalogs made available for general viewing. So many have disappeared from view. Where else can you see evidence of lost products like Scottish Polarwear, Norse net shirts, Gore-tex cycling chaps and Swaledale mountain shirts from the Lake District?
Last weekend we paid a visit to Hub and Bespoke in the Fremont district of Seattle, Washington. Unique among bike shops, there are no bicycles for sale at this stylish cycle boutique — just clothing and accessories . Co-owner Juliette, who has a background in product design and home textiles, stocks the shop with brands like Outlier, Nau, Ibex, Dellar and Vittoria. Her goal is to sell pants, sweaters and – yes – dresses that transition from bicycle to boardroom – pieces for men and women that are both functional and fashionable. You won’t find skorts with sewn-in chamois or high-tech “plastic” jerseys. Wool is the preferred fabric. One of her featured items is men’s wool trousers and knickers designed and constructed by Seattle seamstress Katharine Andrews. Juliette and her business partner Aldan are fans of Archival Clothing and we had a great time chatting with the two of them. We left a couple of bags at the store, and as you can see (below), they look quite at home there.
Custom covers for riding helmet style cycling helmets
Locally made cycling trousers and knickers from Telaio
Sara, Bruce and I took a quick trip up to Seattle. Our primary mission was to visit friend Eliz and select buttons for our shawl collar sweater project. Unfortunately, a highway breakdown delayed out trip by a half day as we waited out an alternator repair in Winlock, Washington. (Happily, this permitted us to catch up on Hollywood gossip courtesy of Payneless Auto’s well stocked library of Entertainment Weekly magazines).
We stopped by for our own visit last Saturday. We were curious to see owner Nicole Miller’s modern take on the general store. True to concept, The Field House had on offer squash, canned tuna, milk and chocolate, with eggs soon to come. The focus, however, was on clothing, and many familiar heritage brands were in evidence: Alden, Quoddy, Billykirk, Fjallraven, Filson, Pendleton and Woolrich. The shop also carries another prominent American clothing brand which we were asked not to photograph.
Unique among boutiques that carry these brands, The Field House offers clothing for women. I tried on a nice, vintage-style, blue wool jacket by John Rich Bros. for Woolrich. Sara liked a RVCA poplin shirt. The shop has a good selection of wool tops for women as well as a Filson garment or two. At the time of our visit, there were no Alden equivalent shoes for women. But they did have some sporty Tretorn lace-up boots.
After The Field House, we dropped in on Blackbird and Birgitta. The highlight of our visit was our conversation with owner Nicole who is a true evangelist for heritage brands for women. She gets that there is a need for classic pieces designed and sized for women. We are very excited about her future offerings.
I’ve been visiting the Seattle Filson store since its factory and showroom were located on 1st Avenue, current site of Safeco Field. Though I’m intimate with the product line (past and present), I still like to stop by and inspect items first hand. Things that you ignored in the catalog might surprise you in person. For example, we were impressed by this lightweight merino wool t-shirt:
I’m told that Filson will be expanding its line of merino tops to include different weights of wool. Before adding new styles, I’d like to see Filson offer this simple, short sleeved tee in sizes for women. Sara would prefer it to be long enough to tuck in with slim fitting short sleeves (not cap).
I always worry when an outdoor clothing company introduces a product line for pets. I’ve already ordered and returned the tin cloth dog bed because I didn’t think it was up to Filson standards (plastic zipper, dry finish fabric, unlined insert). But the Filson dog coat, made from shelter cloth fabric backed with thick red plaid wool, is a well designed, well made, Filson-worthy product.
Earlier this summer, I posted about the new Filson Upland Jacket for women. For the first time, Filson has duplicated/scaled down an item from their men’s product line for the women’s collection (same pocketing, same cut, same fabric as the men’s waterfowl jacket). Having tried on the jacket, it’s now on my wish list.
I love this display table. I know Filson tailored these pants to showcase different fabric selections and trouser styles, but I’d like to think that Filson is encouraging customers to experiment with more daring, Japanese magazine inspired inseam lengths.
Sara really likes this Upland Vest for women. Pocketing and fit on the garment are superb. I’ve already inquired about a custom version made w/out the safety orange fabric (prognosis doubtful). I can see the vest getting daily use as work, town or dog park wear.
We chatted with this gent who wondered why I was shooting so many photos. I’d like to take some credit for his Tin Cloth Packer Coat purchase. I encouraged him to size down to a medium for a tighter monkey fit. He opted instead for a size large with extra long sleeves.
Here’s Sara’s revision of the new Filson Cascade Vest. The bland design is perked up by reversing the garment, making the quilted baffling visible. Adding a two-way zipper would further improve fit.
I love all the vintage garments on display. Some of these look like items I sold on ebay a few years ago.