The gentleman who embraces American heritage is quite an enigma. He is of the present, but also avidly honors the past.
I am encouraged by this rediscovered trend. It echoes a time in our life, shortly before Franklin’s discovery of electricity, that we found inspiration in the heritage and tradition of American-made clothes. As youngsters, we embarked on a quest for original Levis 501s: raw, rugged and shrunk to fit, as if they were the Holy Grail of Style.
This current movement, which reminds us of our fabled youth, reflects a feeling for quality and tradition, while respecting the old fashioned American work ethic. Indeed, when a dapper gent was a mere youngster, American manufacturing was a given with a strong presence by Levi Strauss and others. Now with a proliferation of goods made in the countries whose governments don’t really feel the love for us, there is a substantial movement to rediscover what the American worker can do.
Heritage is not just about America, of course, but is a respect for skills learned, passed down through generations, and sustained through a modern enlightenment of the origins of what we wear. In a sense, it is no different from the farm-to-table movement; the interest in jazz, blues, bluegrass, and other indigenous forms of American music; and the strong aromas of regional and cultural blends in the melting pot of America.
Heritage is about the merging of ethnic groups and cultures to find a common ground in the making of fine quality, a common ground in which we all believe in a common goal. While many of our finest tailors have a past born in other lands, the skills and work ethic they bring to the table are among the finest in the world, and we can certainly find a pride that such diverse people can create marvelous products for the benefit of all.
That is why, when practical, we must support the American worker, as well as our neighbors and trading partners throughout North America and Europe. Although the initial cost might be slightly greater, the value added, for all of us, will far exceed the cost.