Category Archives: Shirts

Hucklebury Shirts Kickstarter

There is a difference between Premium and Casual. While Crowdfunding has been quick to show success on the casual end of the market with more denim brands than you can shake a stick at, some of which have expanded to other clothing projects, the premium menswear scene has been a tougher nut to crack. Hucklebury is a relatively new company attempting to do just that. While I have not had a chance to check their stuff out in person, I have been very impressed with the photos they have sent me, especially the  one to the right. This detail shot of the Mother of Pearl Button shows a closeup of the fabric, which has a somewhat herringbone-like construction in the twill. A very nice detail in the fabric, which comes from a mill in Italy that uses Egyptian Cotton in it’s products.

The Promise
Hucklebury aims to bring jobs to a factory near Washington, DC with a promise: For every 1000 shirts they sell, they will employ another worker. That’s a strong promise that I haven’t seen many producers make, and it’s refreshing to see it at the forefront of the project.

The Quality
It’s hard to judge the quality of a clothing article without getting my hands on it. That having been said, I am impressed with the details in the pictures I requested: Combination chain stitch and single sticking are used throughout the shirts. Canvas reinforcements strengthen a tall collar, while double-stitch full length seams line the button placket. Closeups of the fabric show a complex weave that gives the shirts an interesting visual texture, and the seams are aligned so that the pattern is as continuous as possible along the entire shirt.

The Sell
I’ll be interested to see where Hucklebury goes after Kickstarter. Based on what I am seeing so far, I am hoping they get to expand their offerings with an online shop– The current options for shirt fabric are very nice, but as with any clothing item of the sort, may not appeal to everyone. Still, there are a few patterns that have caught my eye, and may catch yours as well. And with Hucklebury’s 365 day satisfaction guarantee, I would definitely consider trying them out.

Hucklebury is funding for 23 days as of this posting, and is already 75% towards it’s $20,000 goal. $78 will get you shirt, and larger packages also available. More info over at


PS: For another review on the shirts, be sure to checkout The Silentist’s review from November 2012.

All photos in this article courtesy of Hucklebury Clothing

Klaxon Howl Shirts and Watch Cap

In 2005, Matt and Bram Robinson opened a store in Toronto, Canada that specialized in military-inspired clothing constructed in-store. Now, they hope to bring their product and some construction to the US by opening a store in New York City, and they are using Kickstarter to fund the effort.

Deriving it’s name from the horn used on submarines in naval drills (the one that makes the loud “KAYOOGAH” noise), the Klaxon Howl label has garnered a bit of a cult following north of the border in Toronto.

I reached out to the Robinsons about writing a review, and they sent me a few items to look at. The arrangement is for me to return all but one of the shirts following the review, although as of this writing they are sitting all in a box in my office.

Those items included two flannel button downs, a chambray button down, a T-shirt, and the Klaxon Howl “Signature Watch-Cap.”

The T-Shirt

My personal approach to putting together an outfit doesn’t include wearing T-shirts outside of layering, or the gym. This print design was inspired, as KH Founder Matt Robinson explained in an email, by a photo of a US-Navy Seabee Sailor in the 98th Naval Construction Battalion (left). The sailor wore a shirt with a similar design to this one by Jack Kellogg. The monster style was updated to a darker style inspired by Ed Roth, and the Da Nang tag at the bottom of the shirt shows a separate deployment to Viet Nam in 1965.

This Vietnam Era monster by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth
is a contributor to this  T-shirt design.

While this shirt’s design is full of meaning, I don’t find it stylistically appealing. But in terms of construction, this shirt is excellent. Made using a tubular design like the Velva Sheen shirts my brother wrote about last year, these shirts have no seams down the sides. The cotton is a little stiff, but it looks like the print design is actually dyed onto the top layers of the cotton. This means that instead of simply being printed using an acrylic that will come off over time, this design should stay on the shirt for a very long time without cracking off. The internal stitching of the T-shirt uses very tightly assembled stitches, and the shoulder seams are reinforced with a narrow piece of extra fabric.

The Chambray
Chambray is a woven fabric that assembles a colored warp with a white weft, giving the fabric a mottled look. Because the fabric is woven at a 1:1 ratio, the front and back of the fabric looks the same. This shirt’s fabric feels nice, and the craftsmanship is excellent. Seams are triple chain-stitched, while the cuff is double-lockstitched. Bartacking reinforces stress points, and the buttonholes are very well trimmed.
This shirt has a detail I have never seen before: A diamond-shaped reinforcement patch extends from a few inches past above the cuff to a few inches below the shoulder, reinforcing the elbow. The patch is double-lockstitched onto the sleeve. This shirt also has two large front pockets, and the left pocket has a pen-slot separate from the flap enclosure. These pockets feel more useable thanks to the oversize buttons, and are large enough to fit a Samsung Galaxy S II vertically or horizontally. Bartacking on top corners reinforce the flaps and pockets, ensuring that using them will not cause them to break.
The fit of this Chambray Shirt is straight, without any noticeable taper, and it runs pretty large. This one did not fit me very well, but you can check out our Google+ Album for fit pictures.

The Flannels

Made from cotton, these flannel shirts are some of the heaviest I have ever seen: I have a few light jackets that give less warmth than these shirts. The ones sent to me came in two colors and styles: A black, double-front pocket and a blue with one external pocket on the left and an internal one on the right. Both shirts feature a heavy elbow reinforcement patch that extends all the way to become a part of the shirt cuff, giving extra padding, although the design differs between the models: The blue one has a round design that extends from the center of the cuff’s button hole, while the black one has an arc-design that extends to the sleeve’s seam. Both are double lockstitched to the fabric.

I enjoy reviewing items that are solidly built, and am happy to say that these shirts fit that description. While heavier than something I would typically wear here in North Carolina, I do think that these shirts would be easy to incorporate into a wardrobe as an overshirt in colder climates, which is why if I get to keep one of them, I will be sending it to my brother in Portland Oregon.

The Watch-Cap

I’ve been looking for a good winter-cap for a while now, and I just might have to buy this cap from Klaxon Howl. Made from a single piece of thick wool fabric, stitched together using four seams in a cross with one extending all the way down the hat, one of the nicer details in this hat is that the longest  seam is almost unnoticeable from the outside of the hat. This thing fits my big head, and the fold-back can be repositioned to fit any size head. Drawing it’s inspiration from the Navy’s man-on-watch, this cap would be equally as well placed in a casual winter wardrobe as it would be in the lookout nest of a navy vessel. While I am wearing it high on my head, it can be worn lower to cover more of the ears and hairline.

In Closing
Stylistically, shirts are not one-style fits all. While this Chambray and T-shirt do not fit my style, the flannels would be easy to work into any winter or coldweather wardrobe, and I look forward to hopefully getting lots of wear out of one of them. And the Watch-Cap is excellent, I am seriously considering purchasing it. But overall, every item Klaxon Howl sent to me was at minimum well thought out and solidly constructed, and I expect this to be true of every item they make. When you personally oversee the assembly of your own product line, and are as devoted to the idea of clothing that lasts forever thanks to solid construction like the Robinson’s are, you’re going to end up with a nice line of clothing.

If you would like to see more pictures of these items, check out This Google+ Album. If you are interested in supporting Klaxon Howl’s efforts to open a store and bring construction jobs from north of the border into the USA, you should head over to their Kickstarter page.

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