Fast fashion has saturated the ready-to-wear market for over a decade. However, the desire to frequently purchase disposable clothes has begun to wear thin, eclipsed by the awareness of unethical working conditions that often produce such affordable clothing, as well as the lack of durability. In the last few years we have seen an increase in brands offering a refreshing injection of durable, beautifully crafted goods made under ethical working conditions. Brands such as Freenote Cloth, who offer a line of thoughtfully crafted menswear, focussing on denim, woven, jackets and t-shirts – all manufactured in the U.S.A.
Founded by brothers Matt and Andrew Brodrick in California, Freenote Cloth has been producing classic American menswear since 2013. Having an obsession with details, they carefully source and select their fabric, leather and hardware from Japan and the U.S.A.
Drawing inspiration from vintage American workwear, rock’n’roll and notable characters in film such as Bob The Butcher in Gangs of New York and Bob Morales from La Bamba – Freenote Cloth has developed a collection of practical, utilitarian apparel with effortless style, created to stand the test of time and age beautifully.
It’s been a little over a year since Dutil Denim proudly launched Freenote Cloth in Canada. We talked to Sales Director, David Strong, about the companies’ developments over the last year and his view on fast fashion.
In the year that you launched with us in Canada, what have you learned and how has Freenote Cloth progressed?
Whether its product, design, marketing, or communication we have been pushing ourselves to be better. Over the last year we put an increased focus on fine-tuning our fits – customer demands are constantly evolving and so our fits have to evolve with them.
There are two pillars that we think about daily which are to provide the best possible product and back it up with the best possible customer service. If we are constantly challenging ourselves to hit both of those goals on a daily basis, then I think we are doing our jobs well.
Freenote Cloth pays great attention to the details of a garment, are these details still as important to the product today as they were at the beginning?
This goes back to the first question of creating the best product possible. Matt is a hell of a designer and creates extremely cool and unique pieces, but will stew on something and review over and over again until the piece is as close to perfect as we can get. That type of patience is hard to find and I feel strongly that any success we are having is due in part to that level of patience. Subtle design detail can be the distinguishing piece of the puzzle from taking a pretty good item to something really special. Adding features just to add can be counter productive, so to find that balance of when enough is enough is what separates the good from the really good.
Why is it so important to make everything in the US?
U.S. production is important for a couple of reasons: to create and support local jobs and to control the production schedule. The manufacturing capabilities in California and elsewhere in the US have grown by leaps and bounds; we are able to create great quality product in our backyard. If you have the option to support local businesses and have top tier quality goods, then the choice is simple.
What have been your favourite pieces so far?
For denim, I wear the AVILA fit most days. The 10 ounce Black Japanese denim is my favourite piece we have ever put together. I think it is the quintessential rock and roll Freenote piece. Southern California’s weather is not always conducive to layering but when it gets cooler around here I am in our Classic Denim Jacket. The 1968 Cone Mill denim Matt used, breaks in and fades better than most of the denim out in the market so the jacket looks killer.
What do you think is the future of fast fashion and will it ever go out of style?
I think fast fashion is here to stay whether we like it or not. There are simply large populations of customers that want to stay current with affordable prices and assuming working conditions are good, I don’t really see a problem with it. If anything, it introduces people to the idea of fashion and the idea of dressing with purpose. Eventually those people will grow out of that phase and they will begin to care more about where their products come from and they will begin to care more about the background. There is already a surging population of customers that have grown out of that phase and want higher quality and fashionably durable goods and, more importantly, this age demographic has widened substantially.
Meet David in person at our Vancouver location on Saturday 28th November, 2015 to chat about the brand further and celebrate our one year anniversary with Freenote Cloth!
Photography by Freenote Cloth