Established in 1895, The Stronghold was Los Angeles‘ first denim manufacture that set the standard for quality and workmanship. Having to close it’s doors in the mid 1900’s, it was reopened in 2004 by Michael Paradise and Michael Cassel. Both are fans of old world craftsmanship and agreed to recreate products with historical authenticity and most importantly, constructed here in the U.S.A.

Their denim shop apron holds true to their vision. Made of sanforized selvage denim, this 14oz fabric will hold up to the toughest test. Double needle stitching and metal rivets add reinforcement to pockets and hems.

Kaufmann Mercantile has a good supply of these shop aprons. They carry two versions, short or long, both at $125.00 and to top if off, FREE SHIPPING!


Based on the Original 874 work pant, the Detroit 874 is made of the trademark Dickies dark navy 65/35 twill. Keeping the classic tunnel belt loops and signature permanent leg crease, Dickies added red contrast stitching, pocketing and logos, to make this limited edition pant special. (Only 5000 pair were made) Most importantly, the Detroit 874 is hand made right here in the U.S.A.

Launched last September with partnership from the Detroit Salvation Army, the Dickies Detroit 874 was designed to take on unemployment in the Metro Detroit area. For every Detroit 874 that is purchased, Dickies has pledged to donate a pair of the Original 874 to assist a Detroit worker in need. Dickies has also pledged $25,000 to help combat the economic crisis that has hit the Motor City.

“Dickies and Detroit have some inherent similarities. Both have the hallmarks of a classic American work ethic; both persevere no matter what obstacles arise; and both have an undeniable authenticity steeped in pride and independence,” said Tad Uchtman, Sr. VP Marketing for Dickies. I could not agree more with Mr. Uchtman and urge you to head over to Dickies and pick up a pair of the Detroit 874. By doing so, you will no only support workers in need, but also the spirit and beliefs that this great country was built on.


I was able to get a copy of The Real McCoy’s Fall/Winter 2010 Catalogue this past week. If you are into vintage clothing, The Real McCoy’s is a company that you need to know about, if you already don’t. They are a Japanese brand that takes their inspiration from American military, workwear and the all-American lifestyle.

The garments are then constructed with the highest quality materials, using construction methods matching those used in making the inspirational garments. This process allows for the final product to be a perfect replica of its predecessor. (at times the replicas are better than the original)

Some pieces of the fall/winter line can be found at the UK website SUPERDENIM.


On my recent trip to NorthernGRADE I had the pleasure of meeting Billy Moore from Cause and Effect Belts. We were introduced at the welcome party held at MartinPatrick3 the night before the event and from the minute we starting talking, I knew Billy was a person I had to get to know better.

Our conversation started with our professions and why we were at the event. Over the course of the night, it evolved into how we both had been to the Quaker Steak & Lube in Sharon, PA numerous times and what were the outcomes of those visits. I am keeping most of the details between Mr. Moore and myself, but lets just say those visits included underage drinking, a boilermaker contest with a ‘made man’ from Youngstown and a fight that one of us did not remember until a parent woke one of us up the next morning and asked ‘who’s blood was all over your clothes’. (See, I told you I knew he was somebody I had to get to know better.)

The next day at the event I was able to see Billy’s goods. He had all his leather belts, straps/cuffs and copper buckles laid out on display. The leather comes from various places, some from Horween, some from random tanneries and some vintage Amish harnesses. He treats the leather belts and straps/cuffs with nontraditional methods. Some are hand pounded with rocks while others are soaked in a river and laid to dry in the sun. All of this buckles are handmade from copper, and like his leather, none are the same. I was able to pick out nice piece for myself, a Horween belt with an anchor buckle for $150.00. Billy was so nice that he threw in GWP (Gift With Purchase), a cuff made from a vintage Amish harness, that the wife wanted for herself.

We hung out after the event and into the early AM with the rest of the crew from NorthernGRADE, with Billy telling stories at each stop we made along the night. There was a post a few months ago stating that there was this ‘hillbilly’ from Tennessee that make belts. After meeting the man and seeing his product and great passion for what he does, that post needs to be revised to read ‘an artist and true talent’


This past weekend I had the pleasure traveling north to Minneapolis, MN and attending NorthernGRADE, an Ad-Hoc Men’s Market, held at Architectural Antiques. This event, hosted by J.W. Hulme Co. and Pierrepont Hicks, was a showcase of great menswear vendors, who’s products are all made in the U.S.A.

The hosts made sure to invite an array of vendors, ensuring that all parts of a man’s wardrobe would be covered. The boys from Baldwin Denim, out of Kansas City, brought their expertise and extensive knowledge of fits and fabrics. Red Wing and Russell Moccasin made sure to have the best rugged footwear to be made in the U.S.A. J.W. Hulme Co. and Duluth Pack, both haling from Minnesota, had an assortment of bags that would rival any top Italian collection. MartinPatrick3, a local favorite, had a fine selection of vintage watches and some great pieces from Gitman Brothers. Pierrepont Hicks neckwear was a perfect match with the gents from Taylor Stitch. Cause and Effect rounded out the show with its handmade leather belts and accessories. (I’ll have more details on some of my finds in future posts.)

I feel that the event was a huge success, it filled a much needed niche by creating a venue that promotes and celebrates companies that strive to continue manufacturing high-quality goods here in the US. NorthernGRADE hit the proverbial nail on the head, combining both relatively new brands along with those that have been in the “American-Made” business for years. I only hope that the next year’s event grows larger with more companies that are willing to make the grade.