Traditional Heritage Brands
Traditional heritage brands convey imagery of the cabin in the woods. They have a rustic earthy feel that reminds us of fallen leaves, and damp fall mornings. Many of the traditional heritage brands find their roots in early workwear.
Brands like Barbour, Filson, and Woolrich craft their apparel using natural materials like cotton, wool, denim and leather. “They don’t make them like they used to” doesn’t apply because traditional heritage brands still make them every bit as tough and durable as they used to.
Founded in 1894, Barbour first made a name for itself on the international stage in the 1930s when it started making motorcycle jackets for the British Racing Team. Today the country style has found its way back to the streets, but Barbour still makes its classic outerwear in the South Shields, the city it was born in over a century ago.
Whether you’re looking for a classic Waxed Jacket like the Ashby, or the lightweight warmth of a Quilted Jacket like the Powell, you’re sure to find quality at every stitch.
Another West Coast Brand, Filson has been dedicated to making rugged quality clothing for almost 120 years. Born during the Great Klondike Gold Rush in 1897, Filson got it’s beginning outfitting all those from San Francisco to Seattle, who made their way up to the Yukon in search of treasure.
They continued to make clothing long after the last stragglers made their way north, and turned to the demands of hunters, lumberjacks, and fisherman as they continued to make a name for themselves. A classic like the Mackinaw Cruiser has endured the test of time and is as reliable as it was over a half-century ago.
Woolrich is the “Original Outdoor Clothing Company.” Their origins go as far back as the 1830’s when John Rich built his first woollen mill in Pennsylvania. In 1850 they introduced the Buffalo Check Shirt, a favourite of lumberjacks and hipsters alike.
The brand has a storied past, that included making blankets for Union Soldiers, and again for American Soldiers fighting in World War I. Many things have changed since the brand was born almost 200 years ago, but one thing that hasn’t is Woolrich’s dedication to making quality outerwear.
Technical Heritage Brands
Technical outerwear hasn’t been around as long as some of the more traditional outerwear brands, but it’s made up for it by pushing what we wear to the limit. Brands like Fjällräven, Patagonia, and The North Face have carried us to the top of some of the world’s coldest, wettest and most unforgiving places.
Fjällräven was born ten years before the packs bearing its name were being sold in stores. In 1950 a young Åke Nordin, living in Nothern Sweden, decided to design a backpack that met his own needs. An explorer from a young age, he needed a more structured pack that would maintain its shape. The first prototype he built was made of wood, and the rest they say is history.
Classic gear like the Kanken backpack and the Expedition Parka is still made using the same three principles that Fjällraven has applied from the beginning: functionality, durability, and dependability.
Like many technical outerwear brands, Patagonia’s origins are linked to climbing. Founder Yvon Chouinard discovered a passion for climbing at the age of 14 that would last him a lifetime. Patagonia was born after Chouinard experiment with Rugby shirts as replacements for traditional climbing apparel.
Innovation and a need to create sustainable apparel has lead to classics like the Lightweight Synchilla, and the Better Sweater. The brand has continued to grow, and today their lightweight down jackets and fleece sweaters can be found on the backs of climbers and mountaineers around the world.
The North Face
A global name in outerwear, The North Face has been making gear and apparel since 1968. The logo is based on the north face of Yosemite, and the brand is named after what generally considered the most treacherous side of any mountain, so it’s no surprise that they find their roots deeply ingrained in mountaineering.
Since their beginnings in San Francisco, they’ve gone as far as any outerwear brand can, creating industry-changing technologies like Futurelight, and ThermoBall. Despite these changes, they remain true to their roots and continue to pay tribute to their iconic heritage with classics like the Nuptse and the Denali Jacket.
Heritage Boot Brands
Over the years footwear has gone through many changes. Constantly changing styles, and experimentation have led to ultra-lightweight boots with futuristic designs. While some boots have been up to the challenge, others have been run ragged. Heritage brands like Blundstone, Danner, and Red Wing Shoes pride themselves on quality and craftsmanship, and the assertion that there’s no school like the old school way of making boots.
Blundstone’s heritage started off the coast of Australia in 1870. Tasmania was known at the time for its rugged terrain and wild landscapes, and it’s no surprise that bootmaker John Blundstone was inspired by his surroundings when designing the boots that bore his name.
The slip-on design was a favourite amongst the locals and lead to quick expansion. In the 1960s, with more boots than they could wear, they expanded globally until these iconic Chelsea work boots were being worn worldwide. Today the boots are more popular than ever, and no matter the season, you’re sure to see the Classic 510’s or the sleek 068 Chisel Toe on city streets and beyond.
Since 1932, Danner has been one of the most trusted brands when it comes to boots. Founded in Portland, Oregon where their headquarter are still located, they started out making boots for loggers and lumberjacks. The clientele doesn’t get more rugged than that, and they’ve continued to this day to make rugged durable boots for hiking and working in every environment.
They’ve shown that sometimes it doesn’t get any better than the original with the Mountain Light series, while also showing they can adapt for the demands of 21st-century mountaineers with the lightweight Mountain 600 Boots.
Red Wing Shoes
Red Wing Shoes is another brand that has close ties to the military. Founded in 1905, they were the primary suppliers for the American Army during the first and second World Wars. Bootmaker Charles Beckman started making boots for miners, loggers and farmers in the town that gave the boots their name, Red Wing, Minnesota.
Over a century later, iconic boots like the Iron Ranger are still made with the same dedicated quality and craftsmanship, and you’re just as likely to see them on the feet of labourers as you are on the feet of stylish urbanites.