I sometimes loath to write blogs. I feel tired, run down, exhausted and weird about sharing. I am trying to win people over, get fans, find followers and mostly explain the things I think about all day long. Sometimes I just don’t feel like sharing. Today is the opposite. I was photographing jackets that I made over the last 3 months and thought “how do I describe what goes into these jackets.”. I think about price and brand all the time. I definitely do not want to “go off brand” or make a “bad image” for myself. Sometimes I worry and even get hatemail and nasty commentary.
I guess part of the benefit of hanging it out in the world is the great feedback that you get. Part of the cost is the bad feedback and the naysayers that try and knock you down. This project is expensive and hard, and tough, and demoralizing at times. It is also new and invigorating and a journey into my past, family life and reviving history and making beautiful things. Hopefully I will turn it into making a living one day too. This post is about how I came up with my first design. I thought it might help to understand what I am trying to create over here at HBL.
I have been very very proud of my heritage. Not just my culture, not my family but everybody and everything that went into creating the great North American brands. Yes many many of the creators were Jewish, or American, or Canadian, but these histories were also built by immigrants of Irish, Italian and European descent, great Empire brands of the colonial period and the roots of North American settlement and the interaction with indigenous peoples here. I am trying to assemble all these threads into my jackets. My first design was the Heron. I drew rough sketches on a canoe trip into the wilderness of Ontario. I realized that my brand needed to bring back the genius of many Canadian brands that had been lost. In the vintage business there is often a belief that all the good brands only came from the U.S.A. with a little room for English brands and others. In my opinion Canada and the U.S. were an integrated immigrant community and I don’t think this concept that good brands were strictly American holds up historically. I celebrate Canadian names and some Canadian jacket motifs, mostly I celebrate the history of beautiful jackets and am trying to recreate the spirit of that past in my jackets. There were so many connections between manufacturers and companies and families and there is a history gap between vintage lovers and the makers of great vintage brands.
I saw a Heron on that trip and the majestic fisher was going to be my first jacket. I knew I wanted to make an A-1 style jacket. I had 20 years of experience looking and and selling vintage jackets but I know nothing of design and making a jacket reality. The sketch is the first step. I assembled a silhouette of the Heron and started to try and imagine the perfect parts to make it. Here are the pictures from the early designs. I wanted to try and crawl into the headspace of a 1920s jacket maker and come up with the most authentic purpose built design possible!