Introducing Heddels CO-OP – Products Made in Collaboration

We love nothing more than the stories of how our favorite things are put together. Over the past five years, we’ve written thousands of articles on construction techniques, historical designs, small studio manufacturing, material sourcing, and more.

It’s been our mission to tell you the who, what, when, where, and why behind the making of a pair of jeans, a boot, a backpack and countless other high quality products. But we’re still on the same side as you. We’re ultimately consumers and there’s only so much we can see while watching other creators do their work.

An image from a recent visit to New England Outerwear in Lewiston, Maine.

An image from a recent visit to New England Outerwear in Lewiston, Maine.

Where did the raw materials come from? How did the design itself develop? How long does it take to bring a product to market? As a consumer, one can only see the creation of the finished product; how it got there often remains a mystery.

Inside Tanner Goods stockroom in Portland, Oregon.

Inside the Tanner Goods stockroom in Portland, Oregon.

In all of our years of covering the wide world of heritage and high quality clothing, we knew we had to get closer to the source. Simply, we love product too much to just write about it.

In the PF Flyers factory in Boston, Massachusetts.

In the PF Flyers factory in Boston, Massachusetts.

Today we announce Heddels CO-OP, an ongoing series of limited release collaborative products made in cooperation with brands we respect and admire.

This isn’t the first time we’ve stepped into retail. If you’re a longtime reader of this site, you may remember Rue+State from several years ago, which sold a small number of core basics.

The goals of CO-OP, however, are completely different. With the wide variety of brands and retailers already producing and selling amazing products, we didn’t want to get back in the game unless we brought something new to the table.

Our intentions are:

  1. To create products with brands we respect and admire that combine novel materials and designs.
  2. To profile the people and production processes involved in making a product with a variety of brands from a firsthand point of view.

But the collab game can quickly get out of hand. In an age of generic Kickstarters and dime-a-dozen collaborations, we want to push ourselves in the other extreme–to create new and interesting products that stay true to the ideals of ourselves and the collaborating brand.

In 1995, filmmakers Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg saw problems with overproduced movies. In response, they developed a series of rules called the Dogma 95 “Vow of Chastity” that they believed would create more realistic films.

We’ve generated our own rules that we believe will help us accomplish our goals with CO-OP.

The Rules of Heddels CO-OP

  1. All source materials must be minimally processed, raw, and undistressed.
  2. The source and contents of all materials and hardware must be made explicit.
  3. Design, sourcing, and production decisions must be made to produce the best possible product. Cost considerations must be secondary.
  4. Products must be wholly original to collaborating brands in design, name, and material.
  5. Products must represent the joint decisions of Heddels and the collaborating brand. The process will be a true collaboration, not a private label or made to order good.
  6. Products must be limited, numbered, one-time-only releases. Collaborating brands may continue to use a CO-OP developed design but never the exact makeup as the CO-OP product.
  7. No more than 500 and no less than 5 units of a CO-OP product will be produced.
  8. Heddels must physically visit and document where the product is made and the people who make it.
  9. Every individual involved in the creation of the product must be credited by name.
  10. Products cannot be sold until the product is on hand and paid for by Heddels. No crowd-funding, no pre-sales, no net 30.
  11. A product’s retail price must not exceed twice the unit cost of the creation of the product.
  12. Products must be accompanied by an article documenting its design, sourcing, and production.
  13. Products must be accompanied by a relevant souvenir, aka the “party favor”.
  14. All sales are final except in the event of a manufacturing defect.
  15. Products must be sold by Heddels.

If we cannot fulfill this list, we don’t believe collaborations are worth pursuing.

And as for our first project, look forward to more details soon…

heddels winter session