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Who’d have thought a few tables of gear would cause so much ruckus?

Last weekend’s Pop-Up Flea (co-helmed by our esteemed editor, Mr. Randy Goldberg) has attracted the ire of some internet denizens, and it was enough to call forth this downright brilliant post from Put This On’s Jesse Thorn, defending well-crafted denim, designer interpretations of classic work shirts, and the Americana movement in general.

We’re not much for dwelling on the negative, but with all the accusations of bad faith, it seems healthy to bring things a bit down to earth.

We’re not kidding about the Americana thing. And we don’t think anyone else is either.

The clothes are expensive, for a lot of the reasons Jesse outlined (including small-batch, domestic production), but there’s very little irony to any of it. We talk about these things because we like them. We buy and wear them for the same reason.

Did you see the BillyKirk belts? They’re awesome. A little pricey, but that’s life. I wanted to buy one, but I couldn’t afford it, so I didn’t.

It’s not a front to care about how and where things were made. If you want better clothes, and you don’t have the time to trawl thrift stores, you’re going to have to pay attention to these things, or trust brands to pay attention to them for you. Along the way, those same brands are going to use more domestic production and better labor practices, which is going to mean, yes, paying more–but also getting more in return.

If you’re talking about things made in America, that’s going to mean pre-Eisenhower labels and a few modern recreations of the same. Yes, it’s going to mean more rugged clothing than Manhattan is used to. But for good reason.

One more thing worth appreciating: Probably the biggest reason people came to the flea instead of bargain-hunting elsewhere is that they got to meet the craftsmen who put their time into actually making this stuff–which, at the risk of sounding starry-eyed, is pretty cool. And the majority of the press was awesome, for which Mr. Goldberg conveys his undying gratitude.

So stay handsome, everyone.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom