Local manufacturing in the name of fashion

Yesterday I saw a post on Product Hunt for a denim company, which seemed odd on the tech-focused blog, but not out of the ordinary considering there have also been postings for book releases and food (and if you have not yet checked out Product Hunt, go spend some time nerding out, browsing the postings). Hiut Denim Company is a startup based in the small Welsh town of Cardigan, only 4,000 strong, that used to be home to a denim factory that employed 10% of the town and churned out 35,000 pairs of jeans a week. Then the factory closed, “but all that skill and knowhow remained,” though few outside the town would know.

Hiut Denim was founded to restart the factory, utilize the existing skills, and bring economic vitality back to the town. The brand prides itself on a singular focus: “We make jeans. That’s it. Nothing else. No distractions… No kidding ourselves that we can be good at everything.” They also strongly advocate a no wash policy for the first six months, the factory can only make 100 pairs a week,  and they currently only work with stockists in Europe, but the restrictions give it a clubby, in-the-know feeling. Though the company has been around for a few years, will be interested to follow their progress now (and the blog!).

Hiut reminds me of another startup, Satya Twena hats, which started with a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to restart operations at a New York hat factory that she had been using for her business. I participated in the campaign, got my custom made hat, and have been following their progress since – several of the hats were even featured in Bill Cunningham’s “On the Street” weekly piece. Twena’s efforts are part of a larger push to bring fashion manufacturing back to New York, and with two successful Kickstarter campaigns and a slew of press, I hope the millinery will be part of the movement for a while.