Sunday, March 28, 2010

Archival Custom Order: CC Filson


Most folks don't know that Filson offers a custom order service. If you like a specific Filson garment, you can request a customized version in a different fabric w/limited pocketing or pattern edits. In effect, you can create your own one-off, "Filson x you" collaboration (although the customer care page warns that they cannot create entirely new patterns). In addition to current styles, Filson can also make many discontinued garments. For gents, I'd recommend ordering the classic cruiser jacket in original whipcord fabric (forestry cloth not available). Wait time is about 2 months and surcharge can be up to 50% of the original retail price.

From the Filson site, here is the inventory of possible changes.
  • Extra long and short sizes (many coats and jackets)
  • Larger and smaller sizes (most garments)
  • Longer legs (pants, bibs and chaps)
  • Longer rise (all pants, bibs and shorts)
  • One arm or leg longer
  • All belts longer or shorter
  • Substitute snaps instead of buttons or vice versa (many coat and vests)
  • Left hand shooting patch (hunting garments)
  • Different colors and weights of wool (coats and pants)
  • Many Tin Cloth and Shelter Cloth garments are available in either fabric in Dry or Oil Finish
  • Shorter handles on all luggage styles with handles. Different strap lengths too.
  • Footwear in additional widths, larger and smaller sizes
  • We can produce many discontinued Filson garments

Here are two custom orders I've placed in the last two years.

Filson Creek jacket for women (from tin cloth to cover cloth)


Filson women's Creek jacket in 6 oz Cover Cloth

The Creek jacket is my all-time favorite jacket for women by Filson. The fit is perfect and I love the jacket's simple, uncomplicated design (unlined, snap front, band collar w/ moleskin trimmed collar, placket and pockets). I wanted a flyweight waxed cotton version for use as a cycling jacket in early Fall/late Spring. For the custom order, I swapped out the heavier dry finish cloth duck for waxed 6 oz cover cloth. I was strongly advised not to use the cover cloth since it is typically used for lined jackets and can be vulnerable to tearing. I also asked Filson to remove the stitching from upper left pencil pocket (a change that was originally rejected). I've been wearing the jacket for six months and have had no problems with the cover cloth fabric. I'd love to see Filson offer this style jacket in more of their stock fabrics (wool, waxed tin cloth, etc).

Filson Mackinaw wool vest (from 26 to 21 oz wool)



Filson women's wool vest in 21 oz. wool

This is my most recent customization. I've always been a fan of the grey diagonal fabric used by Filson for their cape coat (a garment they should really offer in a future line for women). I thought the fabric would make for an amazing vest. Again, I wear my Filson clothing indoors and for cycling so I tend to like a slightly lighter weight fabric. The new 21 oz wool vest is already a daily driver.

Here is an example of the limits of the custom order program.


Shelter cloth jacket (from waxed cotton to wool whipcord)


Wool whipcord work jacket

Several years ago, I ordered this men's shelter cloth jacket in gray wool whipcord (my favorite Filson fabric). I requested that the reinforcing arm patches be sewn in contrasting green whipcord (a customization that is no longer available). The jacket turned out well. But since it was a gent's cut, and since Filson would not adjust the original sizing of a garment, it never fit well and I re-released to ebay last Fall.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. I commend your bravery and clarity of purpose. I first considered making a custom order about 15 years ago, but have never pulled the trigger. A few years ago, I did inquire about a remake of a short duckbill cap, but they refused. I've thought of a number 8 vest in serge, but maybe charcoal whipcord would suffice. Or maybe a 5157 vest in green shelter cloth with green wool on the other side. My memory is fuzzy, but did they not make a mac wool version of that shelter cloth jacket at one time?

Robert said...

Thank you! Being a short guy, I have so much trouble finding clothing that fits well, especially outdoor gear. Most smalls are too big on me, and it's rare to find extra-small. I had been considering Filson, but figured their small would also be big on me. I hadn't realized they could do a custom smaller version. Now they are a definite possibility.

Jing Qian said...

quality post. I want the exact vest for a long time. Is there any other changes other than the fabric weight? Thank you, LL!

Lesli Larson said...

Thanks for your comments.

Jing--Make sure you order the XS. Here's one more request I wish I had made with the vest: "leave out the vertical stitching for the pencil slots on the left utility pocket." I don't really use the pencil slots as pencil slots so it's nice to regain utility of a second open pocket. You could also explore option of snaps over buttons just to push things a bit.

I ordered all of my jackets and vest is size XS. Tom has tried on the XS and it nearly fits him...save the arm length. I can totally see slim gents ordering a women's XS and having the arms lengthened.

The key thing with the Filson custom order program: make sure you know your size. Order a stock item and check fit before placing custom order. Items are non returnable.

Don't wait too long. I should have ordered a cruiser jacket while forestry cloth was still available.

I worry that the custom order might go away or become too cost prohibitive (the surcharge has gone up quite a bit since my first order). But in the scheme of things, the additional cost of the revised jacket is not too great.

Now--I just wish Filson would permit Archival Clothing to custom spec custom garments in greater quantities to sell in our shop. We'd bring back the old fitted duck billed (long and short) hats too!

Anonymous said...

I love wool clothing and have an ever-growing collection of older wool hunting coats that date back decades.
I'm the last one to complain about wool being too scratchy (I wear wool pants and sweaters well into the Spring)...
HOWEVER... I've found that whipcord fabric is the one wool fabric that ages poorly-- 30 to 40 year old whipcord jackets always feel like burlap!

-- Leif

Archie said...

I recently bought my first Filson item and I'm bowled over by how great it is. I picked up a green Mackinaw cruiser and it's perfect for London in springtime. I'm usually a size medium or large (in jap sizing) for jackets but had to go down to an xs cruiser as they come up massive. Real pity one can't find Filson very often in the UK.

www.thearchblog.com

J. Everett Dixon said...

Fear not: a new interpretation of the short-billed cap in is in the works!

Anonymous said...

>Fear not: a new interpretation of the short-billed cap >in is in the works!

Do tell...

J. Everett Dixon said...

I've taken it upon myself to re-manufacture it (with subtle changes). The first round of pattern drafting and sample making is happening as we type. Lesli and Archival Clothing have been/continue to be a huge inspiration and a big help.

Main Line Sportsman said...

I hunt upland game in a Filson field coat and wear their chaps for briar protection as wel...never knew they did custom jobs. Thanks. Great site and post

Jing Qian said...

LL - thank you very much for the detailed suggestion. Is there any chance that you are going to stock the Filson custom items? If so, i'd rather waite and order from you! BTW, I really love the musette:)

Lesli Larson said...

We would love to offer versions of these collaborations on AC. But for now--place your special order directly through CC Filson. And let me know if you need specific contact info. The folks in the custom order department are quite helpful (though pretty strict in terms of their can-dos and cannot-dos).

Andrew said...

I snagged a pair of whipcord knickers from eBay -- since they do out-of-production designs, has anybody tried to get them to make these?

Tony said...

I wonder if this means they'll make items in the blue buffalo check that's only available from filson.jp now? Hmm...

Charles Day said...

Here's an elaboration, from a Filson customer service rep called Zak, of the fabrics available for custom orders of the Mackinaw cruiser:

21-oz Mackinaw Wool (Navy or Gray Diagonal), 18-oz Mid-Weight Wool (Navy, Camel, Gray) or 17-oz Whipcord Wool (Forest Green or Dark Gray).

The 17-oz fabric is the same we use in our style 180 Whipcord Pants. The cost would be the current retail price plus 40%.

W said...

Definitely interested in the short bill cap. Anyone have any luck having the waist sizes trimmed? I have a Mackinaw cruiser liner and it fits like a box.

Anonymous said...

Thought someone out there might be interested in this find on ebay - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Filson-Duck-Bill-Cap-Last-of-the-Made-in-USA-/170923574887?pt=US_Hats&hash=item27cbd6c667

I can't swing the amount right now, but thought I'd pass along some karma.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Word is, Filson has made the decision to permanently end custom orders.