Our last blog discussed three brands that exemplify the best of America- Hickey Freeman, Allen Edmonds and David’s Master Collection. Here’s a little more on the first two- if you’re already a fan, perhaps some things you didn’t know. Or, if you are new to these brands, hopefully this information will encourage you to try them out!
Hickey Freeman started in the early years of the 20th century, built on the vision of Jacob Freeman and Jeremiah Hickey- to create a suit that would be a testament to both the delicate artistry of hand-craftsmanship and the steady consistency of modern technology. As they like to say, “Look closely. This is Hickey Freeman. You can tell.”
– every button is fastened with silk thread
– buttons made of mother of pearl and water-buffalo horn.
– suit lined with Bemberg lining, the gold standard, won’t fade or shrink
– lining of undercollar made of the finest Irish linen (instead of felt)
– fabrics from the Biella region in Northern Italy
– fabrics woven to Hickey Freeman’s exclusive and exacting standards.
All of these components are then hand-pressed and hand-stitched at their “Temple”- the 77,000 square foot-factory in Rochester, New York. Here Hickey Freeman creates what they call the American suit- a suit like a second skin that moves with you. It is balanced in the way it rests on your neck and shoulders, with no gaping at the neck and no popping of the lapels. Shoulders are cut with a gentle curve forward, the sleeves echo the bend of your arm, and the shoulder pad is hand-fit to the armhole to ensure a perfect shape.
For made in America shoes to go with that American suit, look to Allen Edmonds, a company build on midwestern values. With nearly 100 years of doing business, Allen Edmonds sees their longevity as testament to their devotion to their core values of hard work, honesty, humility and trust.
Based in Wisconsin, Allen Edmonds uses premium leathers that breathe, repel moisture, hold their shape and age gracefully. At their plant in Port Washington, team members craft shoes that can match the contours of millions of feet, by using 50,000 lasts in 19 different shapes in all manner of lengths and widths.
Next an operator attaches a 360 Goodyear welt, a strong leather strip stitched around the shoe. This labor intensive process leads to the durability of the shoes. Then a layer of cork is added between the insole and outsole, which provides a comfortable cradle for your whole foot.
The last stages involve hand-finishing and polished techniques and final inspection. In this process, over 100 sets of hand touch each shoe! The pride in American production is evident in the process.
With a combined two centuries of craftsmanship, these companies you will not only make you look spectacular, but you can enjoy patronizing two of America’s finest companies.