Last weekend, I attended White Linen Night, an annual festival on 19th Street in the Houston Heights, where we get to pretend that wearing linen makes the brutal Southeast Texas summer somehow more bearable. It does, but only marginally so.
My favorite shop on 19th Street (actually, my favorite shop in all of Houston) is Manready Mercantile, a men’s store with a vibrant commitment to stocking American made goods.
Manready, as is its wonderful habit, pulled out all the stops for White Linen Night. Cocktails. Music. And its usual wonderful collection of domestically manufactured clothing and accessories.
That evening, Manready also featured a pop-up shop from New Union Clothing. Manready’s Travis had posted about the New Union pop-up on Instagram, and I was eager to see their wares in the flesh (or the cloth).
I was not disappointed.
Although New Union has plans for a broader product line, its initial collection is focused exclusively on shirts–divided about equally between long and short sleeves.
And they are something amazing.
The shirts are made in California from Japanese fabrics, with details that have been well and truly thought out. A button down collar with enough substance to have a proper roll. Sleeves that are trim in the way that I’ve only found before on custom shirts. Shoulder seams that hit exactly where they should. Thick mother of pearl buttons. Side gussets.
Being the eager beaver that I am, I was on hand as Manready opened its doors, and I made a beeline to the New Union pop-up. I ended up being New Union’s first customer ever (aside from the obligatory friends and family).
I ended up buying a blue and white bengal stripe button down. The stripes on the collar orient atypically, and the top of the front pocket angles upward toward the shoulder. They’re both nice touches, interesting modern updates to a shirt still rooted firmly in the classics.
New Union’s collection includes several other shirts, including versions with a banded collar (a look, frankly, I just can’t pull off). I have my eye on a light blue chambray pullover with an extreme cutaway collar.
One item of note: The shirts are cut slim. Very slim. I’m normally a medium in non-custom men’s shirts–even in collections, like Gitman Vintage, that advertise a trim fit. But in New Union, I was a large. So if you’re uncertain what size to pick, I recommend you size up.
It was truly a pleasure to meet Alfredo and Kaylene, the husband and wife team behind New Union. They are two of the finest people you could ever hope to meet, and their passion for what they’re doing truly shines through. It’s taken them two years to get to the point of offering their first collection; I think that kind of determination is something to celebrate.
Over the past couple of years I’ve been running this blog, I’ve come across many items I’ve been passionate about. But I can’t remember when I’ve been this excited about an offering from a new American company.