Alternative Apparel Label

Alternative Apparel: Eco-Friendly and Comfortable

While I was ordering my Whites Boots from Animal Traffic in Portland Oregon, I had a look through some of the clothing they offered. One brand that stood out to me: Alternative Apparel. We reached out to the company to learn more, and they sent us a few garments to try out. From their hoodies to shirts, their fabrics had fantastic texture and color, but their label carried an important message:

Make a difference with what you wear.

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Check out this awesome Raw Denim Shirt

 Over on the rawdenim subreddit, denim enthusiast and hobbyist Zach (reddit name dorksquad) posted a personal project. Using two yards of a 10 ounce black warp denim with red selvedge ID sourced from Pacific Blue Denim, this shirt has great texture and design. Selvedge ID tags are exposed on the sleeves and a bit on the pocket’s sides. Continue reading

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White’s Custom Boots

I got a pretty amazing birthday gift this year. Our parents decided to spend most of their spring out in Portland Oregon to spend time with Wefty and his family. Moving from the suburbs to a downtown apartment resulted in a lot more walking than my parents are used to, and my Dad looked into getting himself a new pair of boots to help with the foot fatigue. He ended up at Animal Traffic, which stocks the ever famous Red Wing Boots, and the somewhat less-known White’s Boots made in Spokane Washington. After relieving his own foot pains, and knowing that I often have similar problems, Dad decided to get me a pair as a birthday gift when I came out for a visit at the end of May.

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A Tale of 3 Razors Part 1: Dollar Shave Club

You’ve probably heard this pitch before: “You’re spending way to much on razor blades.” It’s probably true: Target carries my current razor blades, the Gillette Mach 3, at a price no better than $3 a cartridge. Costco carries bulk packs that bring that figure closer to $2 a cartridge.  No doubt, Gillette (and competitor Schick, for that matter) are making money hand over fist with their blades. Can we get a better deal? That’s what I set out to find out in this three part series. First up, the ever popular Dollar Shave Club. Continue reading

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Wolverine 1000 Mile– Boots which surpass their name

The average American walks around two and a half miles a day. It would take one of us 400 days to walk those 1000 miles, but from what I can tell based on my experience with the Wolverine 1000 Mile Line, these boots might be better named Wolverine 10,000 mile. Wolverine boots are all hand-crafted in Michigan or Missouri. I reached out to the company and they sent me a pair of their flagship 1000 Mile Boot, which uses Horween’s Chromexcel leather– Widely regarded as the best leather available.

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Heebee Jeans: Sanforized Fit and Initial Impressions

Heebee Jeans Fit Pic

 

Hello, my name is Jon. I am a new contributor to this blog, and am extremely excited to be here. Wefty and Mash have selected me to review a fresh pair of raw selvedge denim jeans to contain my legs in. I will be documenting the fading process here, as well as posting some other content related to the wear patterns of denim and leather.
This pair of Heebee Jeans uses 14 ounce Left Hand Twill from the Kaihara Mill in Japan.
When I first received this pair, it was clear that these jeans were stiff. The denim is very rigid, and extremely starchy to begin with. This can be good for developing quick fades, but may be hard to get used to for those new to raw denim. It has a pretty normal texture at first glance, but looking closer I noticed quite a bit of hairiness and just a tiny bit of irregularity in the yarn thickness. The hairiness is likely an effect from the Left Hand Twill, as the fiber shape tends to expose more of the fiber than a right hand twill will. I’ll be curious to know how this characteristic differs from right hand twills I am used to.
When it comes to the color of the denim, it is more grey than dark. I wasn’t able to see any true “blue” in the denim, and they aren’t particularly dark either. I’m guessing this is because of the bright white weft showing through, because the indigo dipped yarns are extremely dark, possibly using a different indigo treatment than most blue jeans you see (more sulfur content?).

While the quality of the jeans is strong, I definitely disagree with some of the aesthetic choices. To some extent, these design choices interfere with the functionality of the jeans. The most obvious of these choices is the button fly, which is exposed rather than hidden like most jeans. While it is certainly a bold choice, the button holes are hard to use. Pushing buttons through three layers (two for the fly extension inside, and one on the outside piece) of extremely rigid denim is a chore. I want to be able to take my jeans off quickly and easily, and this design aspect prevents that to some extent. I am very interested to see how this changes over the first few wears: Mash says it will get better within a couple of weeks, but I remain skeptical.
Another issue is the front pockets. As with most raw denim, the pockets are too tight for me. The pocket bag fabric seems nice though, it’s a shame that I won’t be able to use them easily.
As for the fit: As you can see, they fit. Pretty well, actually.
The inseam is on the longer side, even with large double cuffs there is still some stacking occurring. While these stacks will settle down, I may end up getting them hemmed instead. While this is a straight-leg cut, I thought that the legs could be tapered a little more at first. But after wearing them a bit, I’ve started to like how they look.
The back pockets are enormous. They fit my extremely long handmade wallet (more on that in a later post) very well though, so I don’t have a problem with it. However, those who prefer not having to fish through their butt to grab their money may not care for this feature.
One thing that also threw me off was how it fits between my legs. I was able to feel that the crotch seam was off centered while I was walking which proved to be uncomfortable.
My last concern is about the rise. The front of the jeans feel just fine actually because they reach a spot on my waist that I am used to, but the rear rise seems much lower, barely getting over my butt. This makes a “plumbers crack” likely, especially because I have an occupation in building maintenance.
But despite some flaws, I am  happy about wearing these jeans. Sporting solid construction and “innovative” design features, they make for a nice change of pace. I even received a compliment on them today. They will be a nice alternative to all of my other jeans. I’m determined to fade them fast, and am excited that the heavy starch will make that possible.
This pair was sent to me by Wefty + Mash, who received it to review from Heebee last year. And I look forward to seeing what happens to them with more wear!
- Jon

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The Billy Reid Shiloh Shawl

One of my favorite stores in Wefty and my home town of Charlotte NC is Taylor, Richard’s & Conger. They have a great selection of menswear from casual to formal, and I don’t think a single item they carry is anything less than top notch. While TRC carries super-premium products including Kiton, they also carry a wide selection of items from designer Billy Reid. The last time I was in the store, I picked up one of them. And after work the other day (pardon the five-o’clock shadow), I thought I’d snap a few photos.

The neckline is the most interesting part of a truly comfortable sweater. Other than the leather fasteners (which I believe are top-grain), the entire garment is made of pure cotton in three textures. A french cotton terry adorns the interior, lending warmth and softness. The exterior is a cotton twill, while the neckline is a cotton yarn knit.

A great aspect about this shawl  is that you can still  show off a shirt underneath it, and contrasting textures are nice. Here I am wearing a one of the very warm Klaxon Howl cotton shirts underneath the shawl. With weather as crazy as it has been here in North Carolina this week, this outfit with a light overcoat definately works great for anywhere between 20 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. And shedding layers is easy enough to go even higher.

Laundered properly, I expect this all cotton shawl to last for years– And hopefully look every bit as good then as it does today. Dress up for formal wear or down for casual, it’s a great piece to have in your wardrobe. Check this and other items out over at Billy Reid, but be sure to know where your garment is made. This particular one is from Peru, but other items are made in Italy, the US, and many other locations.

Cheers,
Mash

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Heebee Jeans: Unsanforized Shrink Test

Heebee Jeans, Exposed Rivets

Last year, Wefty wrote a review of Heebee Jeans. This extremely small production company founded by Heber Saurey in 2010 uses limited stock Japanese selvage to make an interesting pair of jeans. I say interesting because of a few special trademarks: Firstly, the button holes on crotch are sewn through both layers of fabric, exposing the black buttons to the surroundings. The leather patch is made of sharkskin, and while it is a standard size, it is oriented vertically. There is a small, stitched owl poking out of the back right pocket. All of this has special meaning to the designer. In his own words:

The owl logo on the inside of the waistband is derived from a tarot card called the Heirophant. He’s an Owl because Owls’ represent wisdom and they are mysterious. The Heirophant is wise and is a judge and authority. This owl is an authority holding from the book of Jeans. which are golden in the book…

Heebee Jeans TrademarkHeebee is denim spiritualism. Heebees are your soul and like The Picture of Dorian Gray, everything you wear them through shows up on them. You take care of them like your temple, do not wash them traditionally. Even washing is a ritual, like baptism.

-Heber Saurey, February 2013
Eloquent words for a beautiful product. And speaking of the ritual of washing, I recently gave one of these pairs a shrink test. Here’s how it went. First, I turned the unworn, unsanforized pair of jeans inside out.

Next, the jeans were folded and placed in a basin. A mixture of hot water from the tap and boiling water from a tea kettle was added to the the mix, enough to saturate the denim.

I recommend weighing jeans down to keep them submerged. Here, I used a few bubble bath containers I had lying around. After an hour, you’ll notice color in the wash. Brown is mostly starch and particulates from the cotton. This 14 ounce unsanforized from Kurabo shed very little indigo to the water, although it was visible when I toweled it off later.

And the result? Shrinking in this way took an inch off the waist and inseam, as well as a half inch on most other areas, resulting in about 3% shrinkage in all dimensions. Less than I was expecting, but certainly more than sanforized denim. I’ll be posting fit pics after a bit more wear in a couple of weeks or so.

Heebee Jeans Trademark, Owl

Heebee Jeans are an interesting breed to be sure. The denim is very nice, and as Heber and his team do more production runs, we expect to see them get even better. Speaking of which, be sure to keep an eye out for an announcement very soon– Heebee is expecting to open up shop online in the coming weeks. We’ll keep you informed about it over on our Facebook page, or you can check out Heebee’s!

Heebee Jeans Sharkskin Patch, Owl Trademark
Sharkskin Patch oriented vertically enjoins an owl
poking it’s head out of the back pocket

As always, thanks for reading!
-Mash

Dedicated to quality goods that get better with time.