The Value of Artisan Produced Goods

There is a movement, a resurgence of manufacturing taking place in North America. The resurgence is taking place with small mom and pop type shops. This is a movement away from massive factories with hundreds of workers chained (figuratively speaking, of course) to machines.

People like Railcar Fine Goods – makers of fine denim wear.

Railcar Fine Goods

Railcar Fine Goods

The amazing thing about these jeans, made from what I understand is raw selvedge denim is that you do not wash them very often and you NEVER put them in a machine dryer.

The pair pictured to the right have been worn 384 times! With one cycle through a washing machine!

The thing that makes these jeans even more attractive as they age are the creases that develop in them. I believe it is called “fade”. The deeper the fade, the more street cred you have.

About the jeans pictured here, they are owned by Suzy, a Facebook friend of mine who lives in Texas. Suzy is also part of that resurgence of creating goods. She owns and runs an Etsy shop called The Lazy Leatherworker. In her shop she sells wallets and small leather goods like Field Notes covers, leather bookmarks and other interesting things.

The belt in her jeans is from Sweet Trade, another one of those small, owner operated studio workshops. In their “about” page they talk about working with American sourced goods and how it costs them a little more and takes a little longer but they feel it is the “right” thing to do.

Before you go all “why the promotion of American made goods,” another denim worker I follow is Naked and Famous Denim. These people use only the most unique and rare denim fabrics from Japan. The prestigious mills in Japan, from which they import all their fabric, are committed to producing only the best (and most expensive) denim in the world. Even though they use the finest denims they can get their hands on and everything they produce is made in Canada, you can still get a pair of awesome jeans for $150 or so.

Levi 501s

Levi 501s

Some might think that is a lot of cash for a pair of jeans. But keep in mind these are produced right here in Canada using premium quality denim.

Compare the $150ish price to the internet price of $60 I paid for my raw denim Levi 501s (pictured to the left) and I see the value in supporting the smaller, home grown artisan-like people who are producing goods.

The cool thing is that the internet has made it so that artisans are available and accessible to a much larger marketplace making their chances of success that much greater.

Anyway, enough rambling away by me. All I am really saying is, before going to a mall and buying mass produced goods, consider buying from a small shop. It may cost a little more but typically you are receiving premium quality goods and equally important, you are putting your money into the hands of the person who made the goods and that is just all-round good for society.

Oh one last thing, my Levi 501s in the picture above have been worn since May, about six months ago without once being machine washed. I sat in my kids’ pool one hot summer day with them on but that is it. They are developing a beauty of a set of fades.

One more last thing, the belt in my 501s is from the guys at A Simple Leather Belt (I love their belts and the story behind how they are made!).

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