The Epic Origin Story of the Hoodie

Much like the heroes who fill our beloved comic book pages, even something as seemingly timeless as a hoodie has an origin story. Our clothing, whether we think about it or not, had to start somewhere.

While hoodie-style clothing obviously appears in art and literature well before the twentieth century (think the Grim Reaper) it wasn’t until the 1930’s that the original Champion hoodie first hit the market. The team over at SHOWStudio took some time to analyze the way the hoodie has evolved over the decades. Throughout the 40’s and 50’s, hoodies were originally created for performance, functionality, and warmth. No one at the time even fathomed they might one day become a fashion statement as well. Well into the 60’s you could flip through catalogues and see hoodies advertised for “sitting on the bench.” It was such an innocuous piece of clothing, nobody even thought to patent the design and varieties of the hoodie style were seen everywhere (oh to have a time machine!).

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Fall Hikes Near Seattle You Don’t Want to Miss

One of the undeniable benefits of living in the fertile and lush region of the Pacific Northwest is being within a day’s drive of some of the most breathtaking hikes in the world. While yes, we might be a little biased in this matter since Yesler calls Seattle home, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strap on your boots and go investigate for yourself. Even if you are not from around this area you should still make it a goal to travel to the upper left of the United States and explore these trails. 

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A Preview of the Technical Hoodie

We’re very pleased to give you an early preview of our latest flagship product: The Yesler Technical Hoodie.

We like to think of it as the last hoodie you’ll ever need; With tailored fits, technical fabrics, adventure anywhere with total versatility.A nexus of form and function, it’s constructed out of Polartec® Power Shield® Pro.

This advanced fabric was developed for even stronger balance between warmth and breathability while drastically increasing the inherent ability to repel water.

We’ll do a small run of pre-orders via Kickstarter beginning mid-October with a planned delivery before the end of winter (March 2016).

Learn more here: Men’s | Women’s

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Five Awesome (And Doable!) Bike Trips in the PNW

The idea of a bicycle trips seems like the ultimate getaway – hitting the open road, winding through forests and meadows, stopping to picnic near a lake. Picturesque yes, but what about all the planning?  If you’re not an avid cyclist, preparing and planning for a bike trip might sound overwhelming – especially if biking around the city has you gasping for breath. Fear not, novice cyclists of the Northwest! This list brings you five low maintenance bike trips that you can take this weekend. None of them require much planning, though some are more strenuous than others. Pack a picnic, tune up the old bicycle, and saddle up. 

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Washington Whiskey – The Next Big Thing in Craft

Aside from heaps of kale, fresh seafood and people who wear socks with sandals, Seattle is making its mark as a craft beer destination. Brewers of micro operations proudly call Seattle home, and Washingtonians are happy to have them. What we’re hearing less about however, amid all the beer-related festivities, is the (not-so-secret) mission to put Washington State on the map as the perfect place to create world class single malt whiskey. Leading the charge towards fine whiskey fame? Westland Distillery, located in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood.

Yesler Journal recently caught up with Jim Stephens, a whiskey-pouring-trained-tasting-professional who told us about Westland’s whiskey, the near-perfection of Washington’s climate for whiskey making, and, the possible secret ingredients making their way into our whiskey (er, mastodon?)

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Top Ten Summer Hikes in the Northwest

 

The Pacific Northwest is a hiking Mecca – people who live here know that getting out to explore the great outdoors is part of our identity. Many of us northwest dwellers keep a pair of hiking boots by the door, ready to be donned at at the drop of a hat, whenever adventure may call.

With all the options available, it’s hard to know where to spend our precious summer days. That’s where this list comes in. It’s a bold statement, I realize, ‘The 10 Best Summer Hikes in the Northwest,’ but I’m comfortable with that. As a long-time Northwest resident and avid adventurer, I can tell you with confidence that these are best of the northwest’s summer offerings. They should be on your bucket list, whether you live here or not. They are iconic, or breathtaking, or both. They are not all achievable at the drop of a hat, but they are all achievable by the active, but not necessarily elite, hiker. Some might take planning for future summers, some might take planning for future weekends. Most of them are not for kids, or dogs, and none of them are particularly easy – but when you are in the PNW, it’s likely you’re not that into easy anyway. 

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The Impact of Our Fast Fashion – Part 3: The Return of Made in America

The Return of Made in America

If you’ve been following along with our series covering the Impact of Fast Fashion,  you know at this point that our current dependence on fast fashion is problematic at best. A system that allows a pair of jeans to be sold for less than a meal at a mid-range chain restaurant cannot possibly be ethical, sustainable or viable for any foreseeable future.This final installment in Yesler Journal’s series The Impact of Fast Fashion focuses on what’s happening in response to the current state of fashion affairs – particularly the shift toward made in America.

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The Impact of Our Fast Fashion Part 2 – Consequences of Disposable Clothing

The internet has been speaking out over the past couple months about the impact of aptly named “fast-fashion,” mainly in response to The True Cost, a recent documentary. The film, debuted on May 29, “pulls back the curtain on the untold story [of the fashion industry] and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?” 

While the documentary delivers a striking reality, critics point out that The True Cost doesn’t divulge anything the collective ‘we’ didn’t already know. Sure, we are perhaps not thinking logically about the impact of our choices when we reach for the $5 tank top at H&M, but the West at large does know $5 tank tops can’t be made ethically.

Further criticism stems from the documentaries ‘shame-on-us’ approach to a solution to the multi-faceted problem of fast-fashion. Though stampeding our fellow citizens in order to get the best deal on already cheap clothing can never be justified, the issues facing the role fashion plays in the world (both the developing world and the western one) cannot be over simplified. 8486799634_3cc984e5df_z

For many of us, the moral implications of cheap clothing present themselves in the form of general unease, rather than a truly informed understanding of the issues at play. We know in general that the people making our clothes are not living the dream, but when pressed for details, the average mall-shopper might not be able to recite them.

This article reviews some of the major impacts (both positive and negative) of the globalized world of cheap clothing manufacturing. If you’re interested to learn how we got to this state, check out Yesler Journal’s article “The True Cost of Your $5 Leggings.”

According to Luz Cladio, in the article, Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry, American’s throw away 68 pounds of clothing per person, per year. Our throw-away clothing and textiles accounted for 4% of the municipal solid waste in 2006 and that number has only gone up.

Our clothing culture encourages cheap, trendy and disposable garments. The average lifespan of a piece of ‘disposable couture’ is 5 weeks in a western closet. According to Maxine Bedat, co-founder of Zady, an e-commerce platform and lifestyle destination for conscious consumers, “the fast fashion industry pushed me to buy crazy trendy items, but the problem is crazy trendy items from one season purposefully look terrible with the items manufactured for the next.”

Though about one-fifth of the throw-away items are resold for lower prices at second-hand shops in the US , there are not enough people in the country to take in all the cast away clothes, even if they were given away. The cast-off items that aren’t resold in the states are bulk shipped to developing nations to be sold at street markets, or chemically repurposed into other goods.

As our demand for cheaper clothing increases, the lifespan of the items decrease. With a drop in price means a drop in quality – fewer items are able to be resold to anyone, because they are not made to last for any significant number of wears.

Much like the organic and local food movement, the first instinct of many green-minded westerners is to buy local when they look for clothing choices as well. While this may be a better environmental option, it disregards the human-system that also depends on a globalized clothing market-place.

In many developing nations, the impact of our addiction to fast fashion is an economic staple. In Bangladesh, for example, garment manufacturing accounts for almost 80% of the entire economy. Economies that can meet the demand for lower and lower wages win out in this battle – and if an economies only means of survival is a lower wage, the stakes are quite high.

The impact of the fashion industry for women in nations like Bangladesh is most striking. Although conditions in factories are often-times quite horrific, the ability to earn any wage at all offers a chance of survival. In traditionally patriarchal cultures, women are more often than not pushed even further to the outskirts of basic human needs. The ability to work, move to an urban location and fend for oneself without an education or the support of a male counterpart is unquestionably important.

It is undoubtedly because of this desperate situation that garment manufacturing factories are allowed to exist in the conditions they do. The day to day life of a garment worker is grueling. Women, often very young women, work for 6 days a week, for abysmal wages. There is little in the way of worker’s rights – some reports state that union organization is shut down by the state. Workers who speak up about low wages and unsafe conditions are silenced, sometimes brutally.

Beyond the devastating day-to-day reality lies the dramatic and more shocking truth. Thousands of workers have been killed by factory fires and collapsing buildings in Bangladesh, these devastating cases have been covered widely by international media. Little has been done to prosecute factory owners (who are often also government officials) who had a hand in creating the deplorable conditions that lead to tragedies such as these. Western companies can’t be forgotten in the discussion of responsibility – they demand more and more production, for less and less pay. The race to the bottom continues.

As the world at large becomes more aware of the cost of our desire for cheap clothing, there is, perhaps only superficially, a change on the horizon. Economies that depend on garment manufacturing would collapse if they were suddenly pushed out of the competitive marketplace, but standards cannot remain where they have been. Since the Rana Plaza Tazreen Factory Fire in 2013, the government in Bangladesh has allowed for the registration of Unions, and Western nations have signed on to agreements that hold them accountable for the safety and conditions of overseas factories.

The small steps being taken in garment-manufacturing dependant nations are far from a solution, but the social and economic impact of this industry on many countries is undeniable. Asking consumers to boycott cheap clothing is both naive and destructive – like it or not, globalization exists and people’s lives depend on our spending. In a utopian universe, it would be would be lovely to interact directly with the people who make your clothes, barter with them for a skill you can offer and share have organic cocktails afterward – but we don’t live in that utopia.

So, what can we do?

Demanding more transparency about the working conditions of the factory in which a garment was made is a good start, and more and more companies are making these facts available.

Consider purchasing fewer items, and spending more per item. Invest in things that will last, that won’t get thrown away after just a few wears.

Make purchases at consignment stores, thrift shops and garage sales. The internet has created a wonderful marketplace of resale clothing – look there first before heading to the mall.

Top 5 Underdog Stories in American Athletics History

Whether an athlete is acting alone, or a team of players is fearlessly charging forward, getting behind an important match, race or game brings people together. What is it about athletes that can unite a high school, a home town or even an entire country? Perhaps it is the reminder that we are capable of so much more than many of us set out for in our everyday lives that brings us together. Or, the visceral appreciation for the prowess of the human body. Maybe we’re all imagining ourselves pushing ever-onward in the struggle of the impossible game we’re watching, and cheering ourselves on. Maybe it’s realizing, if only for a moment, that the impossible is possible – that with great risk comes great reward – if we just have the courage to take it.

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The Impact of Fast Fashion — Part 1

A Brief History of $5 Leggings

Regarding the fashion industry, The True Cost director Andrew Morgan, believes that “there is consistent irresponsible care of the environment, and clear violations of the most basic human rights.” May 29th saw the release of Morgan’s documentary film, The True Cost, which outlines the grave consequences of Western reliance on cheap, low quality garment manufacturing.

The True Cost presents a grizzly reality – as a culture, we’ve grown accustomed to an ever-changing selection of inexpensive trendy items available at stores like H&M, Forever 21 and Zara. Even those of us with limited budgets can access fashion quickly and easily, but the environmental and human cost of those purchases is staggering.

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