Because we don’t offer factory-distressed garments, for environmental reasons, ethical concerns and plain common sense, we often get asked “How soon can I expect a worn-in patina?”… There is no easy answer besides “Just wear and find out”. Frequency of wear, type of activities, fit, … all play a major role in how denim garments evolve and fade, a role often more decisive than the specific fabric itself. Our denim twills and indigo canvases will fade overtime. Just enjoy the journey and don’t watch the water boil.
We have never been about fast fashion, and the Mister Freedom® denim catalog is not about instant gratification. But we believe there is an instant reward in knowing you are investing in ethically-made garments.
“I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth or shapes it into a garment will starve in the process.” Benjamin Harrison, President of the U.S., 1889-1893
Bloudini at work
MF® Cowboy blue denim Jacket, NOS Cone, made in USA Sportsman Fall 2015
Those familiar with some of my private after-hour rants will confirm that I’m not too big on consumerism (“the concept that an ever-expanding consumption of goods is advantageous to the economy“), mass marketing, and wasting resources in general. I find the “Think/Own less/Pay more” motto quite convincing, and personally live in relative detachment from un-necessary material possessions, however subjective the concept of must-haves is. I do own more vintage records than I need.
If my disdain for the accumulation of ‘things’ is not necessarily evident to the visitor of the ol’ pile o’ rags at 7161 Beverly, these feelings hopefully transpire once in a while via my blog posts. Much to the consternation of the Mister Freedom® sales department, I’d rather confess to existential concerns in awkward write-ups than concoct the perfect sales pitch.
A moment of “relative detachment from un-necessary material possessions”…
The perfect sales pitch
I got da goods, wha ya need there, Nitz?
Whether shopping for groceries or auto parts, the amount of tantalizing junk and gadgets one sees sitting on store shelves and inside push carts never ceases to baffle me. Some of my fine Angeleno counterparts cruising while staring at their phone screen might not have fully noticed yet, but there is stuff eeeeeeeverywhere. Stuff, stuff, stuff… All that ‘stuff’ is getting to me, ‘Falling Down’ style, with Boris Vian rapping “La Complainte du Progrès” on the turntable.
So now, it never fails. With each Mister Freedom® garment release, a side of me sincerely feels guilty bringing yet another manufactured widget on the market. Besides the paycheck that helps relieve the angst, it has become quite challenging for me to intellectually balance a strong anti-consumerism inclination with a professional occupation that basically consists in relentlessly adding clothes to closets.
There’s not much to discuss in regards to the particular style of our accoutrement du jour. The Mister Freedom® blue denim Cowboy Jacket is another MF® twist on a classic, this time a ‘type III’ trucker jacket, a pattern briefly addressed with the release of its wheat recent predecessor.
MF® Cowboy Jacket in wheat denim
On the other hand, for those proclaiming a passion for denim like it’s the best thing since pizza, there’s always plenty to chew on regarding what manufacturing a pair of jeans involves. For instance, setting aside COO-related labor issues for a minute, our beloved blue jeans are not exactly Natures’s best friend when it comes to H2O… As compelling evidences of climate change keep pilling up, one doesn’t need to live in the Atacama Desert to realize the urgency to conserve and preserve water. This summer, complying California residents even had to refrain from hosing down the old SUV…
From the extensive industrial farming of the cotton crop, to the amount of water necessary for dye-houses to keep our rear ends wrapped in indigo, the tally appears to be around 2,900 gallons per pair. Add a few extra hundreds thanks to the combined efforts of an International band of geniuses who figured consumers would buy more jeans if only rigid denim was soft and distressed, and you can get that environmental footprint in super size. To complete the marketing ploy, the resulting stone-washed denim beauties tend to, surprise surprise, magically fall apart within a year, blown crotch and knees, and get dumped in landfills with no chance of being recycled. A vacuum for more demand has been created. All is well.
If MF®, as a small clothing brand, admits involvement in some stages of this not-so eco-friendly chain of events, just imagine what the garment-churning fashion giant conglomerates might have to confess…
Knowledge is out there, if you take the time to do a bit of research. Being aware of what goes on in your own closet, not just style-wise, can be depressing but is never a bad idea.
That is why I’m always grateful for documentaries and stories coming out of intelligent investigating journalism. If one can’t expect much from fashion publications, more preoccupied by not jeopardizing the flow of sponsors and advertisers than actually educating its audience, traditional news or entertainment media, on the other hand, do have scoops on the Garment Industry at times.
Randomly, Arte has some fine documentaries. Vice did an interesting bit a while back. The Guardian relaying this photo essay actually shed more light on Fashion than the latest issue of your favorite fashion magazine…
I recently came across an insightful Newsweek article, after watching a short French TV documentary mentioning the city of Tirupur, India. If you happen to wear clothes on a daily basis, that article is a must-read. Tirupur is better known as Knit City, playing a major role in feeding the avid consumer of fast-fashion with endless yardages of unbeatably-priced knitwear.
If someone you know owns a color T-shirt featuring a “Made in India” label, it was probably milled and dyed in Knit City, the reason why Wal-Mart could retail it for $10.00. The compulsive apparel bargain-hunter will find relief in learning that local farmers of that southern India region, as a motivation, have been enjoying the perks of purple-colored toxic rivers and invigorating water-borne diseases for decades.
Sorry ’bout that.
At this point, the aggravated consumer, claiming a limited budget, usually comes out with a quip along the lines of “But who the **** can afford a $70.00 T-shirt!?!”, to whom you can politely suggest that owning TWO instead of TWELVE might help.
Bottom line, most of you probably don’t need more clothes, let alone another denim jacket. And besides our commitment to supply fun projects to the small family-owned factory locally producing the Mister Freedom® Sportsman catalog, and a desire to keep our jobs in Los Angeles, we don’t even have much valid reasons for issuing one either.
So I thought I’d spare you the usual brand skit about how “awesome, superior, essential, authentic, second to none, blahh…” the Mister Freedom® blue denim Cowboy Jackets are, and leave you with the usual ‘vintage inspiration’ imagery instead.
Richard Widmark in Lee® (1958) Courtesy Getty Images.
EP in Levi’s® type III “Stay Away Joe” (1968) MGM
Brando in Lee® 101, Dick Cavett Show (1973)
Paul Zastupnevich’s costume design for Steve McQueen in “The Towering Inferno” (1974)
Bob in Lee®, (1976)
Life’s rough. Johnson Outboards ad (1975) “Skin Diver”
Above vintage photos are shown for educational purposes only. To the best of our knowledge, credits are as follows:
* Richard Widmark’s photo in “The Law and Jake Wade” (1958) and M. Brando on the Dick Cavett Show (1973) courtesy of Getty Images.
* McQueen’s wardrobe sketch by Paul Zastupnevich for “The Towering Inferno” (1974) courtesy of this website via that one.
* Robert Redford in 1976 courtesy of Rex Features.
Having said that, the MF® Cowboy Jacket is designed and manufactured in California by Mister Freedom®, in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.
Inspired by traditional trucker-type denim jackets, aka third-type jackets.
Limited New Old Stock Cone Mills indigo blue denim, 12.5 Oz., white/red line selvedge ID, sanforized. Milled in the USA.
* Fairly trim silhouette, sixties vibe.
* Fabric selvedge displayed on inside front panels.
* Original MF® slanted flap chest pockets.
* Original brass cast MF® branded buttons.
* MF® yellow “M” stitching on pockets.
* Orange and yellow stitch combination.
* Blue 2×1 denim pocket flap lining.
* All cotton thread chainstitch construction.
* Buttoned cinch-waist side tabs.
* Copper rivet backed by leather washers for pockets and sleeve placket reinforcements.
* Debossed leather MF® original patch.
* Made in USA.
The blue denim Cowboy Jacket comes UN-WASHED and cut so that the measurements match the labeling AFTER an initial cold soak/line dry. This specific denim shrinks quite significantly.
We recommend our usual method for raw blue denim garments:
* 30-40mn cold soak with intermittent hand agitation, in minimally-filled washing machine or bath tub.
* Spin dry cycle (if using a machine).
* Hang dry.
* As an optional step, wear the garment briefly when still not fully dry, in order to slightly shape it to your body and set creases. Hang and let fully dry.
When following this routine, the denim garment will dry quite stiff, due to the re-activated fabric starch contained in the cotton yarns. This is normal and will subside with normal wear.
I went for the Medium (38) in the blue denim Cowboy Jacket, my usual size in msfc garments, although I had opted to size down to a 36 with the wheat version.
Please refer to sizing chart for approximate raw/soaked measurements. Soaked = 30mn cold soak, spin dry and line dry.
CARE: Wash when hygiene dictates and common sense prevails.
We recommend turning the jacket inside out to avoid marbling on the indigo side.
Hand washing can be a good option for those concerned with specific wear patterns and high-contrast colors fades. Otherwise, machine wash inside out with cold water, gentle cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry.
Please note that the debossed graphic on the leather patch will naturally ‘flatten out’ when soaked in water.
This first piece is called “From the Hips“. Its topic might be old news to some, hopefully enlightening to others. The agenda behind this humble editorial is neither self-serving nor net-working.
If you happen to wear jeans, and have the next 120 seconds available, spend them here.