New England Outerwear

So, I’ve been in Boston for almost a week spending some time with a new company making hand sewn footwear in Maine. The company is named New England Outerwear. Currently they’re making hand sewn footwear in their own factory,  and I’m extremely excited to announce that I will be working with them on doing an apparel line that is 100% made in New England. I started Simple Threads with the goal of doing a field/workwear inspired apparel line, and this could not be a better fit. But more on that later…

We left early so that we could trek up to Maine on a Saturday morning to work on some new Fall/Winter ’13 samples and do some photos of the factory for Simple Threads. I could feel the temperature dropping quickly the farther we drove from Rockport. Slowly but surely, the farther North we traveled, the snow began to cover every inch of the landscape and created a uniform of endless white powder  along a road that seemed to go on forever. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and I can’t help but wonder what it will look like in the Spring.

After three hours piled in a Subaru Outback, we were finally there there. Well, the second I did, the 20 degree temperature change and the falling snow really shook my bones. I realized just how far from home I actually was. Trekking through the snow to an old two story house with no address numbers in sight, I heard the buzzing of a sewing machine and faint sound laughter. The woman sitting at the Singer is Michelle, and she is one hell of a sewer. She is sewing in the leather liner, which is the only machine sewing technique used on New England Outerwear’s shoes. Honestly, the machine is a foot driven Singer single stitch that looked incredibly hard to use, so I really consider this hand sewn as well.

I watched Michelle work on a few pairs of shoes, and was amazed at how she can sew two parallel single stitches and have them look absolutely perfect. I guess thats what 25+ years of hand sewing experience will do for you. Everyone was extremely welcoming and we had a really great time seeing how much work goes into hand sewn footwear. So without anymore boring text, here is a ton of photos that should give you a better idea of what goes on behind the scenes of New England Outerwear.

15 Comments

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15 responses to “New England Outerwear

  1. joi

    Nice workmanship!

  2. Fascinating work you’ve got going on here. The craftsmanship looks inspiring. I’ll be honored to pick up a pair. Incidentally I was just in Boston as well. Cold!!

  3. This is awesome. Can’t wait for the clothing line!

  4. Bob

    Cool post, and great photography as usual. I’m looking forward to seeing what your clothing line will offer. Is it going to be in the Engineered Garments / Post O’alls vein?

  5. Cheers on the project, man! I’m a huge, huge fan of your site and look forward to seeing what you and NEO cook up.

  6. ideallength

    Cheers on the project, man! I’m a huge, huge fan of your site, and I’m really looking forward to what you and NEO cook up.

  7. M

    Given the outerwear collaboration:

    If it matters, and if it’s not too far along in the process that my opinions aren’t of much use even if they were at one point welcomed, please know that I, as a life-long New England resident and conscientious purchaser of moderately stylish American-made goods, would do anything right now for a versatile fall/spring jacket. Everywhere I look are pea coats and field jackets, pea coats and field jackets, pea coats and field jackets that I feel obliged to take off indoors, that cover my back pockets, and that are more emulative than functional. A lined canvas or a wool blend, a zipper, slash pockets for my hands. Simple and versatile.

    Thanks for putting up with my two cents, and thanks for the great photography.

    -M

  8. D Chavez

    I’ve been following this blog for a while– it’s inspiring to see what opportunities it created for you. Great post and good luck.

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  10. Eric

    Can’t wait to see what comes out of this. Hopefully something that can be worn year round, not just winter/fall gear. Living in Florida really sucks for interesting warm weather clothing which you are well aware of. Oh and nothing on the extreme slim side please :)

  11. Pam

    Amazing writing and photography. I can feel the cold from here! I think this collaboration is a perfect match- can’t wait to see the new line! Congrats Ryan and New England Outerwear!

  12. gabe

    Very exciting! Congratulations. Looking forward to seeing what you produce.

  13. ctkwingchun

    This is unbelievable!!! I’ve never seen such work. I’m almost speechless in regards to all the effort it takes to make a shoe.

  14. Got mine a few weeks ago, FIELDSMAN BOOT black, the first pair sold to France, i like to be ahead, Great shoes. Can’t wait to see the garments line.

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