Creative Cuff Links by Five American Artisans

It’s fun to wear accessories that reflect your personality and not just the style of the day. Here are several American artisans whose designs you might enjoy:

Disclosure: We’ll get a small commission if you buy through the links in this post. Please do!
Colorful postage stamps are the key to these unusual designs from HudsonBlue.Celebrate your favorite sport with cuff links from Urban Metal Designs.The cuff links from Beluga Home Studios are special keepsakes, celebrating something unique about you, whether it’s the location of your birth or the day you walk your daughter down the aisle.If you like accessories that are charmingly quickly, check out these cuff links from Mark Poulin.Try Tesoro Jewelry for a different spin on initials.

Regards, Kathy


American Designer Offers Re-Dye Service for Faded Black Jeans

Have you worn and washed a beloved pair of black jeans so often that they’re looking more like grey jeans? Todd Shelton, a designer and manufacturer of American-made men’s and women’s clothing, has the answer: a re-dye service that will restore your jeans for $39. According to Shelton, “The act of repairing before replacing is a great step towards being a responsible consumer. Extending the life of black jeans not only reduces environmental impact, it gives you more time with your favorite jeans.”

All brands of jeans will be accepted. The dyeing process will take place once per month. Check the website for the next deadline.

Also, take a look at Todd’s clothing while you’re there. He’s one of Paul’s favorite designers and he recently started making women’s clothes too.

Regards, Kathy

New Jewelry Sophistication From Alex and Ani: Made in USA

In 2004, Carolyn Rafaelian started making jewelry in Rhode Island. Her goal, she said, was to create items that “adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit.” She named her business Alex and Ani, after two of her daughters. The company manufactures and/or assembles all of its jewelry in the USA.

Disclosure: We’ll get a small commission if you buy through the links in this post. Please do!The latest jewelry from Alex and Ani is a departure that reaches a new level of sophistication.The new crystal necklaces are especially attractive. Left, the Golden Ray Spike Pendant Necklace.  Center, the Rose Glow Spike Pendant Necklace. Right, the Icy Moon Spike Pendant Necklace.Matching earrings are also available. 

The newest “Carry Light”  necklaces are really special, made with copper saved from the restoration of the Statue of Liberty.

See all the Alex and Ani designs here.

From Barnwood to Beautiful Media Cabinets and Consoles: Made in USA

The industrial look is still going strong as is the demand for recycled materials. Here’s a product line that combines both:

Disclosure: We’ll get a small commission if you buy through the links in this post. Please do!Wood that once stood as barn walls on the prairies of America has been combined with industrial accents and made into beautiful sets of media cabinets and consoles at the Sundance Catalog . The Sliding Door Media Cabinet has multiple storage shelves and sliding panels that resemble barn doors.The console, too, shares the industrial look combined with a rustic weathered feel.To see more USA-made items, including additional barnwood designs, go here.

Regards, Kathy


All-American Jeans for $59? Meet Dearborn Denim

 When I heard that there was an American-made pair of jeans that sells for $59, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. When I read that the material was a stretch denim from a US mill with US sourced cotton, I was downright incredulous.

So I called the founder of Dearborn Denim and Apparel, Rob McMillan, and, after an hour-long conversation, I started to think, ‘wow this guy is onto something.’The business started out as Four Star Denim  (people kept questioning Rob why it wasn’t ‘Five Star’), then evolved into Dearborn Denim and Apparel. The inspiration came from  Henry Dearborn an influential US Congressman and Secretary of War from the 1800’s.

Dearborn Denim and Apparel is based out of Chicago and employs about 10 people including Robert who is chief, cook, bottle washer and the guy who makes the leather belts by hand.Like many makers we’ve met, Robert had a prior corporate life  – he was a bond trader who felt he needed to do something else. While his home brewing hobby could have made for an interesting business, he felt that going after a high-quality, affordable pair of jeans would be something unique.

So after researching and understanding that the supply chain in the apparel industry can cause pricing to skyrocket, he decided to limit his business to online selling. This eliminates the multiple mark-ups that typically occur as your clothing makes its way to the department stores; mark-ups that would have turned his $59 item into something north of $200.The material is a US-made stretch denim loomed in Georgia from Texas cotton. Like many small manufacturers, Rob had trouble meeting the mill’s minimum order requirements, but he is making it work.He  stressed to me the importance for him to pay his workers a competitive wage. That includes a strong production manager and sewing professionals who can be hard to find due to the slow death of the apparel industry in America. His pattern-maker used to work for Levi’s and while the first pair of jeans took about 9 hours to build, production efficiency has improved significantly.The result: Women can buy a straight leg or skinny high rise that come in light, medium or dark wash.

Men options include a relaxed fit, slim and tailored in a light, medium and dark wash.

The only non-demin offering on the site today is a beautiful hand made belt. Rob explained how his leather tools were acquired through a salvage company and how he works with while Horween leather. One thing that I really appreciate is the use of a Chicago screw to fasten the belt – it also allows you to switch out your favorite buckle.

What’s coming up next? Keep a look out for tees, more leather goods and black denim in the next few weeks. If you want to keep up with the new goods you can sign up on their mailing list.





One couple's search for a Made-in-USA lifestyle