Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 11

HEADLINES
Make
It Here
With experience in core
outdoor sports and overseas
manufacturing, the founders
of 1620 Workwear have
figured out not just how to
make apparel in the USA,
but how to do it their way.
By Doug Schnitzspahn
JOSH WALKER AND TED DE INNOCENTIS
founded 1620 Workwear because they
were tired of playing the same old game in
the outdoor industry. When they looked
at the workwear industry, they saw a deserving
customer who didn't make buying
decisions based on snowfall. Walker was
a founding member and VP of marketing
for Bern Unlimited for 12 years, helping to
propel the upstart helmet band to global
prominence. De Innocentis spent a decade
working for high-end ski apparel brand
Kjus and later in front office operations at
a factory in mainland China. In 2016, the
two combined talents in their home state
of Massachusetts and launched 1620 with
a mission to build clothing for a dedicated
customer and do it all here in the USA.
This is what they have learned.
What made you think American manufacturing
could succeed? What did you
learn in Asia that has applied to manufacturing
in the U.S.?
Ted De Innocentis: I realized early on in
my time in China that logistics is the secret
sauce to manufacturing. I was very fortunate
to have an intimate look behind
the scenes of how best-in-class apparel
brands operate, from Arc'teryx to Rapha
to Norrona to VF. For the most part, they
were still subordinate to their manufacturJosh
Walker in the
1620 factory in
Massachusetts
ers who controlled all of the logistics-access
to the raw material suppliers (fabric,
trims, ect.), the ability to bring them to the
labor, and the ability to get those goods from
factory to market. I recognized there were
still some great fabric mills and pockets of
highly skilled workers in the U.S. that were
mostly focused on high-end suiting and
tailoring. Unfortunately, the fabric being
made here is mostly getting sent to Central
America and Asia to be sewn into garments
by lower-cost labor and sent back here for
sale in U.S. stores. And the garment factories
were mostly using fabrics milled in
Europe or Asia to sew their wares. By identifying
these two complementary resources
(fabric and labor), we knew there was an
opportunity to pair some of the best fabrics
in the world (e.g. Tweave, Polartec) with
skilled sewing machine operators trained in
classical tailoring to make the best workwear
in the world.
What have been specific decisions you
have made that have been the biggest
keys to your success? What are the biggest
challenges of U.S. manufacturing?
Josh Walker: Staying true to who we are
and making it about the brand and product,
not about us. A lot of founders love to make
the brand about themselves and post endless
videos about their journey. They want
to be the next big deal. This is not about us.
The brand embodies the often-maligned
working man and what he loves about his
way of life-not ours. Staying true and authentic
to that is key, because this is a tough
customer who is tough on the stuff he uses
every day. He can smell BS a mile away.
What has surprised you along the way?
What are you learning that you did not expect
to be learning?
JW: What has surprised me the most-but
probably not Ted-is how much more expensive
everything from overseas has gotten. Also, how
out of touch most consumers are to the reality of
the American garment industry and of actually
how little of anything we still make in America.
If more people knew how important manufacturing
still is to a lot of communities and states,
they would want to support more and pay more
to support American manufacturing. These
jobs matter; they are super important right
now for the opportunity to build a life here for so
many. And they are important for our country.
TDI: For me, it's seeing factories not realizing
the world around them is changing and if
they want to survive, they also have to change.
Evolution is part of the world we live in, but
these businesses have been running on slim
margins since their inception, and most don't
have the resources to invest in the future.
Where do you see U.S. manufacturing
growing both for 1620 and for other
businesses?
TDI:The future of all manufacturing lies in
more regional supply chains. These past six
months have been eye-opening for anyone
trying to import goods from overseas. Similar
delays happened after the 2008 financial
crisis, but that was more to do with factory
labor shortages. As the logistics of importing
become more difficult (yes, there may be a
short-term reprieve, but China's aspirations
of world economic dominance and shift toward
a service economy will continue to make
it more difficult), it's going to force the hand of
the larger brands to innovate with their factory
partners and build more regional resources
as a hedge. This is already happening. It's not
a transformation that will happen overnight,
but the reality is there are no more cheap labor
markets to colonize, and a garment merchandiser
in China is now paid more than a minimum
wage job in the U.S. O.R.
July 2021/ OUTDOOR RETAILER 11
Courtesy 1620 Workwear
https://www.1620usa.com/

Outdoor Retailer - July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outdoor Retailer - July 2021

Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 1
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 2
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 3
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 4
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 5
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 6
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 7
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 8
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 9
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 10
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 11
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 12
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 13
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 14
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 15
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 16
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 17
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 18
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 19
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 20
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 21
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 22
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 23
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 24
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 25
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 26
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 27
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 28
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 29
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 30
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 31
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 32
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 33
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 34
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 35
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 36
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 37
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 38
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 39
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 40
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 41
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 42
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 43
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 44
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailySM2022_Day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailysm2022_Day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailySM2022_Day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2022_Day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2022_Day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2022_Day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2021_day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2021_day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2021_day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/outdoor-retailer-august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/outdoor-retailer-july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/outdoor-retailer-june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/may_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/april_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/march_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/february_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/january_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/december_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_07302020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_07212020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2020summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_07072020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_06302020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_06232020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_06162020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_06092020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_06022020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_05272020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_05192020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nxtbook_bhtest/weeeekly_05052020__JJ
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_05122020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_05052020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/postshow2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2020_day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2020_day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2020_day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/preshow2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2020winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/postshow_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/day3_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/day2_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/day1_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/preshow_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2019summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/postshow2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2019_day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2019_day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2019_day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/preshow2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2019winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2018summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2018winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/201707
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2017summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2017winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2016summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2016winter
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com