We’ve Always Dreamt of Having Nice Things

This is part 2. Read part 1 here.

Modern Industry is on a mission to branch out, evolve, and, with any luck, take over the world. We are taking our first step in the process by building our first truly custom apparel piece. Now we just needed to figure out what exactly it's going to be.

So what values do we at Modern Industry hold most dear? How can these values be translated from bags to clothing?

Our mission here at Modern Industry is pretty simple. We can't find the products we want, the products you deserve, so we build them. We build products that get better with age using the best materials we can find. Our products are built ethically and as close to home as possible. We strive to deliver the best possible value we can.

These values are the core of everything we do at Modern Industry. They form the foundation of each new product we create. It’s easy for a company to make vague promises (i.e. Google’s “Do No Harm” philosophy.  Really Google, are you delivering on that promise?). It is much more difficult to publically lay out a set of guiding principles... and actually stick to them. That is what we do.

This commitment makes moving forward with our new project a little more complicated than just pulling an idea out of a hat. We needed a place to begin, so we looked at our first principle: “We can't find the products we want, the products you deserve, so we build them.”



After a short discussion, we settled on two articles of clothing that we really wanted to make. Both were jackets, another unhealthy infatuation we have here at Modern Industry. The first concept was to take our favorite fabric, waxed canvas, and turn it into your new favorite jacket. The second concept was to make our version, the best version, of a piece of clothing that every member of Modern Industry wears on a daily basis, the hooded sweatshirt.  

We know we live in California. We’re not supposed to need jackets here. But we do. Contrary to popular belief, the entire coast of California is not constantly sunny with a high of 75. The weather in San Francisco is consistent, but consistently weird. If you are outdoors long enough in San Francisco, you will need an extra layer. This typically occurs between the hours of 5PM and 7PM, which is inexplicably the coldest time of the day. This phenomenon was actually the inspiration for the Axial Mini Messenger.

We have learned that trying to do too much too quickly is a really bad idea. We couldn't make both, at least not yet. We had to make a choice, but how do we pick?. We want both really, really badly. Relying principle number one does us no good.

In some ways, a Waxed Canvas jacket makes the most sense for us. We already use, and love, the material. We can get it in a variety of colors and in fairly low volume, if necessary. The problem is everyone at Modern Industry wants a Waxed Canvas jacket, but we all want a different Waxed Canvas jacket. Not an ideal starting point given the short timeline we set for ourselves.

On the other hand, we all wear hoodies. We know what we like about the hoodies we wear... and maybe more importantly, we knew what we wanted to see changed. With this concept, we were able to reach a consensus about what exactly we should create very quickly.


At the same time, we were a little bit apprehensive. There are thousands of hoodies out there already. Was ours going to be different enough? And if not, are we wasting our time? Would we be better off just telling you to buy a sweatshirt from another company who shares our value system? Again, not ideal.



But this equation is not just about developing a product we want.  It’s also about partnering with local manufacturers to help revitalize a floundering industry. To create jobs for the thousands of sewers who had their livelihoods ripped away by corporations focused on shareholder profit and not their responsibility to society. So, our framework began to shift. What are factories in San Francisco really good at making? What factories could we help to stay in business. To grow. To rehire the sewers that had lost their jobs?

At this point, our answer quickly became clear. Sewing knit apparel is one of the most common core competencies of San Francisco’s surviving factories. Knits are things like yoga pants, sweaters, t-shirts, and, yes, sweatshirts. The tools, machinery, and skillsets required for making knit apparel are significantly different than the tools for making woven apparel (like our beloved waxed canvas jacket). As a result, factories that specialize in knits are unable... or unwilling... to work with wovens and vice versa. We found a great factory with a history of making some of the world's best sweatshirts. Our quest for factories with the capability to make our favorite waxed canvas jackets, on the other hand, has come up short.

That made our decision simple. We are going to make the be best goddamn hoodie you have ever seen. Now we just needed to design it.


Check back here for the next update. In the meantime, head over to our store and buy a backpack.

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