The Garrison Shirt, GB denim twill & Double indigo twill
SAIGON COWBOY Fall 2016
“From Saigon, the beat goes on”
American Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN) Channel 54 Aircheck.
AFVN 1970 (Courtesy Bob Mays)
The background and our intentions with this “Saigon Cowboy” collection has been outlined in the Spring 2015 intro, and in the subsequent posts illustrating each released garment.
The Evac Jak, the ‘Tahiti’ Shirt, Experimental Camo Utes, Tiger Board Shorts, Denim Utility Jacket, the Continental, Denim Utility Trousers, along with the Party Jacket all made for the first volume of the “Saigon Cowboy” collection.
For Fall, we will leave the 60’s Rock’n’Roll Flash vibe (a reference to an essay in Tim Page’s book NAM) and the Michael Herr’s “Dispatches” atmosphere behind, and turn instead to the Viet Nam of the first half of the 20th Century, when that part of South East Asia was known to most French nationals as Indochine, a term then encompassing Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
To the French, l’Indo meant a distant colony with ties to France stretching back to the 1850’s. A land of rich ancient culture. Guaranteed exotic adventures for the Troupes Coloniales. Challenging for early missionaries but a great source of commodities for settlers, in the form of rubber, coal, silk, rice, opium. Opportunities of prosperity and disparity for the local population…
All in all, perfect grounds for a lengthy and gruesome war of Independence.
French colonists called it home up until 1954, the French government eventually passing the imperialistic baton to the United States, already well familiar with the place, as the US Congress had been funding 80% of the French war efforts to keep its colony. In 1975, that baton was dropped, up for grabs for China and the USSR.
Amongst Vietnamese nationals, specifically those who still prefer to call Ho Chi Minh City by its old name, Saigon, a story circulates. It goes something like this… One day, Hanoi officials requesting economic aid from Moscow received a cable back that read: “Please tighten your belts”, to which Hanoi comrades replied “Please send belts”.
On September 2nd, the streets of Hanoi filled up with parades celebrating Ngày Quốc Khánh, National Day in Vietnam, marking the 70th anniversary of the declaration of independence from France, and Japan, in 1945.
Vietnamese Soldiers parading in Hanoi on Sept 2nd 2015 (Photo Minh Hoang EPA)
It is in the Indochine of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s that we have tapped for inspiration for the follow-up season of our “Saigon Cowboy” spring venture. Again, not to glamorize that past, not to take it either lightly or literally, and not to duplicate costumes for reenactors. But to acknowledge it existed, consider its place in World History, and its relevance today. And also because of the strange fascination the Vietnam War exerts, once one starts opening History’s Pandora’s box.
This season, wading through brown waters and green jungles, up arroyos of the Mekong Delta or down “La Rue Sans Joie“, with occasional high land encounters with montagnards, we will bounce between dark indigo (a reference to Black Hmong, hill tribes of Sapa, North Vietnam) and shades of green foliage.
Meanwhile, back at LZ 7161, first to drop of the Saigon Cowboy Fall 2015 collection is the Garrison Shirt, a plausible candidate for a 40’s local tailor-made officer shirt, for those with a large dose of imagination.
Our shirt is somewhat of an ‘international mutt’, and combines elements of both European and American vintage clothing and custom military uniform. Its stern appearance conceals the very intricate pattern work and challenging tailoring. The button placket features the fabric selvedge, concealed for the tuck-in crowd. At the risk of sounding like a car salesman, the attentive to detail will notice the complex folding of the placket, the tricky elbow patch pattern, and all around involved construction.
We have developed two fabrics for this garment. A dark indigo on indigo twill, reminiscent of a previous mfsc fabric known as ‘midnight twill’, and an olive green denim inspired by the fabric of a 1950’s British military utility blouse. Both textiles are milled in Japan.
Vintage 1952 British Military utility blouse.
The Garrison Shirt is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.
A) “Double indigo twill”: An indigo warp and indigo weft 100% cotton denim twill, 12.4 Oz., white selvedge ID. Milled in Japan.
B) “GB denim twill”: An olive green warp and natural weft 100% cotton twill, 10 Oz., orange color selvedge ID. Inspired by the fabric of 1940’s-50’s British military utility overalls and blouses. Milled in Japan.
* An original mfsc pattern, inspired by vintage military EU and US uniform shirts and tailor-made garments.
* Intricate button placket construction, exposed selvedge.
* Double chest pockets, arcuate flaps, one cut away pocket.
* Corrozo wood buttons.
* Elbow reinforcement patches.
* Selvedge side gussets.
* Flat felled seams, chainstich construction.
* 100% cotton stitching.
* Made in Japan.
Both fabric options come raw/unwashed and will shrink to approximately the same tagged size after an original cold rinse and line dry process. The Garrison Shirts are true to size, in a rather flattering uniform cut. I wear a Medium in both, my usual size for mfsc shirting.
Please refer to sizing chart for measurements reflecting a 30mn cold soak no agitation/line dry.
Launder when hygiene dictates and common sense prevails.
Machine wash. Cold water, gentle cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry. We recommend turning indigo blue/denim garments inside out to avoid marbling when washing.
Patina will develop according to activities and frequency of wear.
WARNING: The double indigo twill will naturally bleed, and color transfer to light color garments or furniture is to be expected. Indigo transfer will wash-off overtime.
A) Double Indigo Twill: $349.95
B) GB denim Twill: $329.95
Soon available from www.misterfreedom.com, fine retailers around the World, and our outstanding Los Angeles brick & mortar store.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for reading and for your support