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Filson Goes Fashion-y
With Richard Chai


If the revival of American heritage brands is like a giant, unstoppable steam engine that continues to roll on, then the original conductor might be the folks at Filson, the 115 year-old Seattle based maker of rugged, classic bags that have changed little over the years. The brand has found enduring success in stores like Barneys and Steven Alan without losing any of its traditional rugged appeal, or even being forced to make a special "premium collection" for its luxury clients. It has been, in a sense, a gateway drug for the heritage brand-obsessed who pore over A Continuous Lean, Valet and any number of other styleblogs and Tumblrs.

No stranger to collaborations, Filson has chosen to work mostly with similarly venerable companies like Levi's, Sebago, Red Wing Shoes and even Vans, but this week they finally announced a partnership with an actual designer, Richard Chai. The New York based designer was named Filson's Creative Director on an ongoing basis, and will show his first capsule collection for the brand along with his Fall 2012 collection next week. The nine-piece line will, like most of Filson's products, will be made entirely in America and include classic Filson styles. Jackets and duffels will be re-interpreted in Chai's fabrics like his signature black stripe and monochromatic, patterned gray wools.

Filson President and CEO Mark Korros told WWD that the company was looking for a designer to add more of a fashion dimension to the brand, and Chai, a longtime fan of the label, approached the brand himself with a proposal to work with them. The collaboration, Korres says, will “enable Filson to appeal to our existing customer base as well as a younger customer who is more fashion conscious. It’s adding a real romance to the brand.” You can expect the line to start appearing in stores next Fall.

Filson Names Richard Chai Creative Director (WWD)
Filson (Official Site)


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