The Mister Freedom® Ranger Shirt, Powerloom edition
NOS authentic Indian Madras
Made in USA
Working on this off-the-beaten-path MF® Ranger Shirt project has been quite the walk in the park for some time.
After years setting it on and off the back burner, we are happy and proud to finally share the results of its manufacturing journey. Here is the Mister Freedom® Ranger Shirt, latest addition to our USA-made Sportsman catalog.
Those of you familiar with the brick and mortar pile o’ rags at 7161 Beverly Blvd might have noticed an unusual stack of hopsack-wrapped bales sitting in the back of the store, at some point during a visit. Sometime around 2010, we came across a large lot of New Old Stock textiles, packaged into compressed bales. Although discovered in an old warehouse in California, these mysterious bundles of cloth originally came from India. More precisely from a textile manufacturer located in Chennai, a city formerly known as Madras.
How and why those bales ended-up in California is unclear, but even more puzzling was the content: stacks of folded yardages of unused cotton fabrics, a crazy mix of textiles in an amazing range of colors, checks, dobby patterns and textures, all selvedge… Most of them were no longer than six-yard strips, a realization greeted by a subtle wtf upon cracking open the first bale.
A yellowish packing list inside each bundle detailed the exact yardage content, and invoiced the shipping transaction back to 2001. The paperwork also described the original shipper as “Manufacturers and Exporters of: Handloom & Powerloom Fabrics in Cotton & Rayon as Madras Fast Colour Checks, Cross Colour Chambrey, Greygada, Dobby Checks, Stripes, Tie & Dye, Ikat Flannel, Seer Sucker, Bathik Prints, Marble Prints, Patchwork, Lunghies & Rumals…” (spelling as-is). A mouthful on a business card, but a very promising resume for the fabric addict.
The exact vintage of all these Indian mill textiles is unknown, but many feel quite 1960’s-70’s. With an average width of about 44 inches, selvedge to selvedge, they were apparently milled on shuttle powerlooms. Antiquated and obsolete shuttle powerlooms are still in use in India and other textile-manufacturing destinations today, not always to the benefit of pleasant working conditions. Let’s leave workers’ wages and other local labor issues aside on this one…
Old-school powerloom weaving is a disappearing technique due to productivity challenges, equipment maintenance, and the disappearance of the operators’ know-how. The produced textiles are often inconsistent, slubby and imperfect, not in par with our contemporary expectations of standardized mass-produced goods.
The selection of the fabrics contained in our bales definitely typified the ‘wabi-sabiness’ of textiles milled with shuttle powerloom machines: weaving flaws, texture variations, yarn slub and other traits of uniqueness. Apparently, no computer was harmed in the milling of these Madras fabrics!
(Powerloom photo credit here, some interesting facts/images of bleeding madras here.)
However amazing our eclectic fabric loot was, indeed a treasure trove for the textile R&D-inclined, turning countless disparate strips of cloth into garments seemed a bit challenging. In good ol’ MF® “Geronimo!” fashion, and following the old familiar adage “in life, there are no problems, only solutions”, we figured out a way to somewhat handle that soup sandwich. And boom, these yardages of Madras checks have now been given a new life, as upcycled wearables!
The MF® Ranger Shirt comes in dozens and dozen of very-few-of-a-kind variations in colors, textures and patterns. You will see Glenn checks, Madras checks, tartan plaids, windowpane checks, Tattersall, Pin check, houndstooth, gingham… Fabric texture and thickness is also all over the place, ranging from lightweight plain weave to muslin-types to dobby weave patterns…
Here is a sample taste of the Ranger Shirt menu:
The garment pattern of our Ranger Shirt is no groundbreaking revolution, as it is inspired by the same vintage pieces that heritage brands and mainstream labels alike have been playing with for some time, i.e. 1930’s-40’s workwear-type shirting featuring a chin-strap.
The ‘Ranger’ name reference is not a military one, but hints at Park and Forest Rangers and the early days of Conservationism.
The MF® Ranger Shirt, Smoky the Bear goes preppy Madras, for a fashionable patrol in your favorite National Park…
On sizing availability:
Each fabric style yielded a very limited amount of shirts. Often, only one specimen could be made, so this is as close as manufacturing vintage clothing as it can get for us. If sizing options are very limited for one particular check pattern, some of these checks can be regrouped in families and a different size in a similar fabric might be available. Check with firstname.lastname@example.org for special requests.
Oh, and each shirt features a combination of 1920’s-30’s antique buttons from Europe, for that International touch. The MF® Ranger shirt is adorned with an assortment of NOS white and tan glass buttons (don’t bang on these Briards type buttons, they are glass and will break), and one rare vintage sheetmetal button embossed with “For Gentlemen”…
This limited edition Ranger Shirt is designed in California by Mister Freedom®, and manufactured in the USA with New Old Stock Madras fabric originally milled in Madras, India.
Vintage New Old Stock Indian madras, woven on shuttle powerloom machinery, 100% cotton, selvedge. Assorted patterns, colors and weave, approximately regrouped by check families and color range.
Please refer to the MF® website regarding purchasing the Ranger Shirt online, in the Madras check of your choice.
* Original Mister Freedom® pattern, inspired by 1930’s-40’s workwear and casual preppy shirting.
* Relaxed silhouette and fit.
* Long sleeves.
* Double chest pockets, inverted box-pleat.
* Chin strap.
* Full button front, featuring French 1930’s vintage “Briard” glass buttons.
* European vintage 1930’s top button, debossed “For Gentlemen”.
* Selvedge side gussets, self fabric.
* Each shirt is unique, one or few-of-a kind.
* Very limited edition.
* Made in USA.
For general instructions on how we size Mister Freedom® garments, see here. Please refer to sizing chart to figure out what works for you.
To limit shrinkage dilemmas with the Ranger Shirt, we have opted to thoroughly launder/dry each shirt in-house.
This not only takes care of most of the shrinkage (we used cold water), but also results in interesting fabric/stitching puckering. As much as I am not into factory-distressed garments, I like the wrinkled ‘vintage look’ when it comes to casual shirts with a workwear feel.
All shirts were measured and size-stamped AFTER the cold wash/dry process. This lead to four size groupings (S, M, L and XL) with somewhat similarly consistent measurements. Two Mediums in two different fabrics will have some variations in measurements and proportions, but they still belong to their size family, as Mr. Dascalu’s painstaking and torturing sizing assignment have determined. Within one sizing group, they are still noticeable variations in length, meaning some Mediums will be shorter than other Mediums.
Putting each shirt in a specific sizing group was mostly determined by the pit-to-pit measurements. Praises or donations for the pleasant endeavor can be forwarded to email@example.com.
If your are generally a Medium in MF® shirts, it is safe to opt for a Medium in the Ranger Shirt, for a comfortable fit. However, some of the Smalls might also work for some, for a slimmer 1960’s silhouette.
(All shirts shown on the fit pix below are stamped Medium.)
Depending on the specific weave of each fabric, some stretching back and forth is to be expected as the shirt goes through wash/wear cycles. Please note that steaming or ironing will result in a garment that appears to fit more comfortably. Wrinkles tend to make light-weight garments look like they fit tighter.
Each Ranger Shirt has been thoroughly wash and dried.
Launder when hygiene dictates and common sense prevails.
Machine wash on delicate. Cold water, gentle cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry.
Available WASHED/MACHINE DRIED.
Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support,
Mister Freedom® 2016