What better time than Cyber Monday to trot out a gift guide? From head-to-toe, below are seven ideas for stylish American-made gifts for men.
One nice thing about the options below, and others you might discover via directories from the likes of American Made Matters, retailers such as William Rogue and Co or Made Collection, or Modern Fellows’ roundup of Northern Grade Richmond, is that they offer opportunities to make a gift a little bit more meaningful by providing a story behind it. From Goorin Bros.’ effort to revive hats for men to the rise of Alabama-based Zkano’s organic socks, the companies below provide interesting anecdotes to accompany your gift this year.
Thanks in part to Don Draper and the recent revival of Jay Gatsby, a new generation of men are discovering hats, and Goorin Bros. is one of the movement’s major suppliers. While fourth-generation hatmaker Ben Goorin’s 28 retail outlets and web store are stocked with top hats and bowlers, the company also carries a range of knit hats and beanies for those who might be intimidated by sporting a fedora.
One of my favorite stories is the handmade ties produced by Louis Walton, a school bus driver by day who taught himself to sew. He is stocking a nice collection of silk repp and grenadine ties at the moment, though the promised 2 week turnaround time for each custom tie may be cutting it close for a Christmas arrival. For quicker delivery, Billy Reid’s heirloom collection boasts some interesting wool and silk blends in 7 or 9cm lengths.
For made-in-America custom shirting, Ratio Clothing impresses for the ability to find a guy’s fit with minimal fuss and a gorgeous set of imported fabrics that can be dressed up or down. While the logistics of getting a shirt by the holiday are difficult, a gift certificate offers a nice way to get to know to Eric Powell’s Colorado-based company. Raleigh-based Lumina Clothing offers more casual ready-to-wear options.
DC-based Hugh and Crye makes some of the most attractive pocket squares around that serve as excellent stocking stuffers. If you’re comfortable buying your gift recipient underwear, I have been testing out terrific American-made undershirts from founder Mike Schwarz’s Ribbed-Tee.
If one more watch company opens in America, we’ll have to call it a movement. Shinola, which set up shop in Detroit to much buzz but little inventory, is finally ramping up production and has a respectable selection of watches in stock and ready to ship for the holidays. Weiss Watch Company, owned by Swiss-educated and WOSTEP Certified Watchmaker Cameron Weiss, aims to produce accessible heirlooms and “rediscover the legacy & prestige of the manufacturing processes” that began in the United States.
New Jersey-based designer Todd Shelton has been rolling out an increasingly robust collection of American-made trousers, khakis and denim and writing about his manufacturing experience. Lumina Clothing and DC’s Read Wall offer American-made business casual options.
Gina Locklear continues to grow her Alabama-based sock business. She recently entered into a partnership with Billy Reid to offer a limited-edition collection of men’s socks for the holidays. Billy wrote about the collaboration:
As he does with most endeavors, Billy takes his time and is thoughtful when identifying the right partnerships to pursue, down to the brass tacks of choosing factories that produce his garments and the people whom he works with during that process. This intentional care led him to Gina Locklear, the founder of Zkano, an organic sock company based in Fort Payne, Alabama, that she created under the umbrella of her parents’ company, Emi-G Knitting. This season, Billy Reid partnered with Zkano on a limited-edition collection of men’s socks.
For more American-made ideas, see Modern Fellows’ list of Where to Buy American.
Photo credit: Images courtesy of Billy Reid, Goorin Bros., Hugh & Crye, Louis Walton, Ratio Clothing, Shinola, and Todd Shelton.
Disclosure: In the past, Modern Fellows has received merchandise for free from Ratio Clothing, Ribbed-Tee, and Zkano.
About JakeJake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.
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