BEST IN CLASS FOR BUILT TO LAST | CHIPPEWA BOOTS

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Circa 1939, Ola, Idaho — Farmers turned Loggers with a load ready to go to their self-help cooperative sawmill, started with a Farm Security Administration loan.

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From the desk of Contributing Editor, Eli M. Getson–

The thing about great American design is that, for the most part, function is the driving element.   It’s this functionality that’s ultimately the true spirit of what MADE IN AMERICA stands for.  It ain’t about being pretty; it’s about being tough and working the way it’s supposed to.  A lot of it harkens back to a time when Americans toiled long and hard outside, with their hands, and demanded gear that could hold up to their hard-scrabble lives, and unforgiving the elements.  The gear was simple, honest, and true.  You got your money’s worth.

Our forebears would probably be more than slightly amused by the fact that many of today’s American workwear brand purists are not loggers, miners, and metal workers– however, the quality, core values, and classic designs behind these brands still resonate deeply within us.  I believe down inside, most of us value the dignity of hard work, quality goods, and simpler times.  There’s something honest and pure that’s sadly missing in the daily gadget grind of our increasingly disposable lives.  It’s like some of us have a primal itch that we just can’t scratch– so we gird our loins with garb from days gone by, to pay tribute to a life and times we’ll never know, but long for so badly.

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Circa 1908– Lumberjacks in Northern Minnesota –Image by © Minnesota Historical Society

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Recently I had the honor of sitting down with Clark Perkins, brand manager for legendary Chippewa Boots.  Full disclosure– I am not exactly Charlie Rose, I am a cultural observer and men’s wear guy who gets excited about a lot of different things, especially product I use and love.  I traffic in hyperbole, but in this case everything I pen about Chippewa boots is 100% true!  Ok, maybe a little opinion is thrown in there, but when I interview brand managers, merchants, and design folks I admire, I melt into the form of  a 13 year old girl watching Twilight than an objective observer, but what the hell.  When you’re talking about ‘best in class’ products, respect is due.

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Circa 1930s– Loggers (or Lumberjacks) working every muscle in their body, and living off the land.

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Tell me a little about the Chippewa Story?

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Summertime Separation Anxiety | Living Without Boots

In all honesty, Summertime is not my favorite time of the year for several reasons.  

First off, extreme sun is not my friend.  I just wasn’t built for it.  I’m Irish (read: fair) with skin that burns like nobody’s business.  It ain’t pretty.  

Secondly, I prefer Winter dressing over Summer slacking– always have.  What can I say, I’m just not a shorts and flip-flops kinda guy.  

My lust is for layers of patinated denim, old worn-in oilcloth, chunky woolens, beaten & abused leather jackets, belts and boots.  So come Summertime, I hold on to wearing my favorite boots, jeans and jackets for as long as I can– before it’s just too darn hot.  I usually make it to July, then come back in September. What do I trade ’em in for?  Clarks suede desert Chukkas, what else?  Maybe a Chuck or Jack Purcell here and there on the down low.  Might even breakdown and get crazy with some sandal action on the side– when my guard is down and it’s just us chickens, that is.  

And in all seriousness guys– listen up, and never wear flip-flops or sandals on the job.  Your co-workers (especially the ladies) should never have to be exposed to the sight of your messed-up cheetoes.  Keep ’em under wraps, bro.  Please.      

 

An old worn-in pair of Chippewa Engineer boots and an arsenal of vintage Levi's 501s, with a helping of RRL thrown in for good measure.

An old worn-in pair of Chippewa Engineer boots and an arsenal of Levi's 501s and RRL denim thrown in for good measure. Had the Chippewa Engineers for about 10 yrs now-- you can't buy what can only come with time.

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