October 07, 2015

Paper to Product: Edition 227


 The Maritime Shirt is the end of line for heavyweight utilitarian shirting. Working with a 19 oz. Italian wool, shirts don't get any beefier than this and jackets only hope for this heft. After this stop, if you want something heavier you will need to switch trains and take the Pea Coat and Parka line.

What a glorious fall finale the Maritime shirt is though. This year, we feel like we've one upped ourselves again. Partnering with the same Italian woolen mill, we developed a mammoth 19 oz. donegal-flecked boiled lambswool. The charcoal wool is ash flecked and finished with black urea cats eye buttons, and the moss green wool is woven with autumnal orange flecks that are further accented with mocha cats eye buttons.

One thing that hasn't changed a bit from last year is the fit. We were pretty sure we had nailed it during the pre-release fitting last October, but an onslaught of emails from customers telling us that our Maritime was not only an incredible value, but also the best fitting wool shirt they've ever owned made that assumption feel quite safe.

The classic styling still includes a modern 2.5" collar, two button-through chest pockets, shorter tail lengths designed to be worn over our shirts and rounded barrel cuffs. Scheduled to arrive just before Christmas, we'd suggest getting your order in through the workshop or risk having your opportunity closed out by the North Pole's Costco-sized wholesale order.

 There are the Patriots, Shipyard Brewing's Pumpkinhead Ale, the changing of the leaves and crisp nights that smell of crackling firewood. But let's keep these things in perspective and focus on what's really important about New England: heavy gauge cotton knit fisherman's sweaters.

The last time we were in the North East, we went to follow up on a rumor that there was an 85 year old knitting mill that was still making heavy gauge fisherman's sweaters outside of Boston. We pulled our economy sized rental up in front of a massive five story granite block industrial building from the 1800's. There were only a few cars in the parking lot, and a small sign on the side of the building that hung above the doorbell.

We let ourselves in and yelled out "hello" to an endless unlit floor full of dusty old boxes of yarn and retired knitting machines. Our greeting echoed back to us, and then we heard steps coming down the stairs. Dan, the fourth generation of the business, introduced himself and started into the rich history of the building and the knitting business.

Up on the third floor, a small team of veteran loom technicians, sewers and production staff still work together to produce classic styles of heavy gauge wool and cotton sweaters. The whole thing has a feeling of traveling back in time.

We looked through their extensive archive and got a kick seeing the old labels and styles from all the outdoor outfitting legends that used to make their sweaters in this factory. Although our size pales in comparison to those giants in their heyday, it feels really good to be keeping this manufacturing tradition alive.

We hope you enjoy our first collaboration with North East Knitting Mills. This Maritime sweater reflects a durable and practical New England sensibility, traditional manufacturing techniques and materials with a modern tailored fit that is in line with every piece we make.