A Visit to Mother Freedom

Sometimes we get discouraged.

American companies used to make high quality products and be proud of it, but that's changed for some. Now the goal for those is not to make a great product at a reasonable price, but simply to make every product, including clothing, as cheap as possible.

So what, if those who take the "as cheap as possible" route find themselves cutting corners and turning a blind eye to obvious problems as evidenced recently by the horrific accidents at clothing factories in the Far East? Business as usual, right?

You can see we were getting pretty fed up with the state of the world and the clothing industry in particular. Definitely time for a vacation.

We headed north for a change of scene and a visit with designer Jeff Rose at his newly hatched company Mother Freedom in the old whaling port and former textile center, New Bedford, MA.
A native New Englander, Jeff has always believed in the can-do spirit of American ingenuity. That belief combined with his penchant for outdoor adventure-- along the windy New England seacoast, hiking in the mountains, spending chilly nights under the stars-- has led him to design what he calls American gear, outerwear pieces with a purpose such as barn jackets, safari coats, raincoats, and vests.

We loved the designs he was working on and showed us. When he enthusiastically described Mother Freedom as an "experiment in unmatched quality", we were hooked.

Jeff told us that he wanted to make his clothing in the USA 'though there are excellent factories in Europe he could work with. He chose to locate his factory in New Bedford because of the skilled craftsmen in the area without whom he could not produce garments of the quality he wants, and he showed us through the painstaking sewing process to prove it.

Recycling an old factory by refurbishing it with with up-to-the-moment equipment, providing safe jobs for skilled workers at appropriate wages, helping to keep sewing skills alive in this country, making a high-quality product that everyone involved can be proud of-- a noble experiment, don't you think?

According to Jeff Rose, "There are old ways of doing new things."

We know he's right. And we aren't so discouraged anymore.  

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  • Margaret Arndt

    What a beautiful video and inspiring story. Thanks for sharing!

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