While the trade wars currently dominating news headlines can be worrisome, they do provide an interesting opportunity to reconsider America’s homegrown industries. When it comes to fashion, and luxury fashion in particular, the majority of what Americans consume is produced abroad. The United Kingdom is revered for traditional handknits, France excels at shirting, Italy does the lion’s share of leather goods. But that wasn’t always the case—and there are still a handful of American makers that remain dedicated to crafting their wares stateside. One such brand is J.W. Hulme, a St. Paul, Minnesota-based bagmaker that’s been proudly made in America for the past 113 years. Their latest collection of utilitarian-luxe accessories celebrates the brand’s rich legacy with, in true American fashion, style and practicality in equal measure.
The new Heritage Canvas collection nods to the brand’s origins as a canvas awning maker. Its expertise in ultra-durable cotton canvas led them to produce military tents during World War I, and eventually gave them the cache to expand into duffle bags and backpacks and, later, the fine leather goods and luggage that it is known for today. The range is a measured step back in history, swapping the now-standard all-leather construction for a water-repellent canvas much like the one that first brought J.W. Hulme to fame. The deep hunter green fabric is remarkably handsome considering its ability to withstand the elements, and much like leather, will develop a patina over time making each bag unique to its wearer. For even further personalization, everything can be embellished with a monogram.
The line is comprised of four silhouettes: a roomy weekender duffle with a removable shoulder strap ($295), a classic tote ($145), a larger carry-all with additional exterior pockets ($195), and a streamlined dopp kit ($75). All of the pieces are finished with American-tanned leather (an increasingly rare find), solid brass hardware that offers a subtle glint, and virtually indestructible cotton-webbing straps. Just as with the rest of J.W. Hulme’s products, everything in the Heritage Canvas collection comes with a lifetime warranty, but given the material’s unrivaled durability, the chances of requiring a repair are unlikely even for the most rough-and-tumble travelers.
The bags embody a particularly American kind of luxury: finding beauty in functionality, elevating something as simple as what you haul to the beach or farmer’s market. That’s the kind of domestic product everyone can get behind.