Rounding out our seasonal coverage of the trade shows are two of the big ones from this February in Vegas–Liberty Fairs and Capsule. Pretty much everything that follows is slated for this upcoming fall, so strap in, we’ve got a lot to cover!
The guys at Knickerbocker MFG have quickly built up a name for themselves producing hats out of their Northern Brooklyn workshop. Well they’re about to take it big time with a full line of tops, bottoms, and outerwear to go along with the caps. They’re still making it all themselves and seem to be drawing heavily from the work sportswear of the 1930s and 40s. Glad to see another in-house operation taking off, especially one whose principals aren’t near retirement age.
While brands like Red Wing and Wolverine have turned their heritage lines into massive operations, Wesco (short for West Coast Shoemakers) never stopped making boots like they did in 1918. The below pair of Engineers are two years old and were a special make-up for their brand manager’s wedding day. In fact, most of what they had on hand was for specials. You could pick out your sole, leather, stitching, and laces right there on the floor!
Kortney Hastin of Norman Russell is expanding his reach to outerwear, including a selvedge denim peacoat with a hickory stripe lining and a leather moto jacket. The peacoat also comes in wool with denim accents.
We’re now a few seasons out from The Hill-Side’s “Order 66”–where they jumped from small fabric accessories into a full line of shirts, outerwear, bottoms, footwear, and even pottery–and they show no signs of slowing down. Their long stint making pocket squares and scarves (as well as curating the fine store Hickoree’s) have gave the Corsillo brothers ample time to develop a unifying vision for the brand. In fabric choices, cuts, and details, all their products seem to live and breathe The Hill-Side.
Aside from some interesting shirting and outerwear, the standout this season is a pair of “winterized” sneakers that maintain their earlier high-top silhouette but are waterproof, have a gusseted tongue, a specially treaded sole, and a terry cloth lining.
Dickies 1922 & Palmer Trading Co.
Dickies 1922 is based in Austin, Texas, so the majority of their designs are oriented towards warmer climates–lighter weight fabrics (quite a few 2×1 weaves), looser fits, and almost everything is made of cotton. They’ve also had an ongoing collaboration with New York’s Palmer Trading Co., which uses many of the same fabrics but plays on classic Dickies designs.
Palmer Trading Co. x Dickies 1922
Ebbets Field Flannels
The folks at Ebbets Field Flannels have long been producing more than just period accurate baseball caps, but their operation looks to expand again. They recently revived an old knitting machine, which can create the football jerseys and hockey sweaters of yesteryear. There are only a few patterns on offer at the moment, but the sky should be the limit for what Ebbets can knit up in the future.
On the hats front, they’re moving into the “orange brim” era of the late 1970s and early 80s, when the hats were made from a wool twill instead of flannel. Expect to see more from their transit and uniform revival line as well.
We caught up with the guys (and the couch) from Freenote Cloth again in Vegas. Not much new as Inspiration was only a few weeks before, but this ultra-slubby dark weft caught our eyes this time around.
Portland’s Danner Boots seems to be one of the only heritage shoemakers poised to crack into the women’s market. They now have a full line of women’s footwear based off of the Mountain Light, including the below boot which Reese Witherspoon wore as she tromped around in the movie Wild. The men’s Mountain Light will soon have a more urban-oriented cousin that will be nearly 25% lighter than the Danner classic.
Also of note, is the mil-spec boot Danner currently produces for the US Marine Corps is coming off of contract and will soon be available for the public to purchase. If you want a tough as nails boot, look no further.
The Texan boot company, Chippewa, is also beginning to aim more upmarket following the release of their Originals collection a couple years back. They have a couple of Engineer-cum-Cowboy boots (the very same Teddy Roosevelt used to wear) that seem more equestrian than many of the workwear oriented shoes that seem to dominate this market. Chippewa’s also partnered with Vibram to reproduce a branded rubber sole with their name baked into the tread.