Many of the makers we’ve featured on Classic American Style see their efforts through the lens of sacrifice. They continue to manufacture in the United States even when it would be vastly more financially expedient to outsource.
But there’s a growing subset of companies who embrace American manufacturing for its practical benefits.
Alex Crane is one of those.
This Brooklyn-based designer manufactures in the United States with a resolutely pragmatic eye. The company sums that perspective up thusly:
In all honesty, it (manufacturing in the United States) was a choice born of practicality, and not of any patriotic sensibilities. As small business owners, we’ve enjoyed being close to our manufacturers, both physically and personally. That we can take a subway train to visit one of our manufacturers not only allows us to be more hands on and involved in our production, but also enables us to develop relationships of greater dept with the very people who are cutting and sewing our garments.
Alex Crane cut his teeth as a bag designer for Jack Spade. In 2016, he set out on his own, launching the first elements of his collection.
He traffics principally in linen, one of summer’s essential fabrics, particularly for those of us who live in close proximity to the equator. Derived from the flax plant, linen’s propensity to wrinkle gives it an easy, lived in charm.
I recently purchased one of Alex Crane’s linen Playa Shirts, a pine green button down. The fabric is sumptuous, almost buttery in feel, with a thickness unusual for most linen shirts.
I will say that the collar roll is a bit idiosyncratic, with the buttons pushed out a bit farther than traditional, but some might suggest that gives the shirt a left-of-center charm.
The shirts are intended to be worn with matching linen shorts, a union that the New York Times recently called “a deconstructed take on linen ‘suits…'” I’m a bit agnostic on this combination, although I could see myself deploying the shorts on their own with an oxford cloth button down.
A note about the sizing: I’m 5’11” tall and ordered the small, which is listed on the Alex Crane website as having a 42″ chest. However, when it arrived, it was clear that the chest was more modest in dimension; it measured only 39.5″, a half inch smaller than the listed measurements for an extra small. The shirt still fit me, giving me the more fitted look I prefer. I’m not sure if this is an anomaly, or if all the shirts have this disparity between listed and actual size.