My mind has recently been on the manufacturing side of the fur trade. Since it would take a whole lot more effort to travel back to China to see where much of that occurs, there seemed to be no better time than today to visit one of Seattle's own garment manufacturers to see the action. C.C. Filson's Pioneer Alaska Clothing and Blanket Manufacturers opened here in Seattle in the 1890s..now you can just call them Filson...eventually fueled by the Klondike Gold Rush and the demand for goods to equip those often futile dreamers needing gear to stave off death. Long before Velcro or GoreTex or REI Cooperative or the broad categories of competing goods and manufacturers were close to seeing the bushels of money to be made from selling a "lifestyle", Filson made a name for themselves making quality survival/adventure gear. Thanks to a recent infusion of private equity and the influx of consumer interest in the trappings of the modern lumbersexual, Filson is seemingly thriving. So much so that they offer a cute but at best cursory tour of their factory a few times each week. Here's a quick peek at the manufacturing going on just downstairs from their seriously sexy retail showroom.
I love the splash of floral color amidst the otherwise industrial sewing stations.
The main product seen in production here was Filson's line of luggage and messenger bags. Much of their apparel is made in another factory, also located in Seattle.
Their retail store also features the "Filson Restoration Department" doing the work of turning many old, less-functional products into new, even-more-overpriced one-of-a-kind keepsakes. I'm not complaining...this sort of bespoke manufacturing is something I believe bespeaks of worthy reclaimation...although the $150 canvas and leather-bottomed "Ditty Bag" did chafe my mast a bit. The larger point being, seeing goods made close to home is worth the trip. No matter what materials are being used.