In my quest to find gear that is manufactured in the US, the most elusive part of the job is clothing. However, there is a new/old company about to enter the outdoor retail scene based in Seattle, WA. Beyond Clothing essentially has a leg up on your typical start up: they have been making clothing for the military for a number of years. New owners have a new mission: enter the retail outdoor industry with varied products ranging from next to skin base layers to jackets and pants. I stopped by their shop unannounced today and turned out to be their first retail customer, as the only thing you can purchase at this time is the base layer top and bottom. However, I tried on some pants as they have example clothing hanging up but couldn't talk them into letting me walk out of the store with them, as these are preproduction samples and they are still tweaking the designs before final production.
Everything is right there in the Seattle shop: design, multimedia, patterning, and stitching to name but a few. They gave me a tour of the facilities and it is obvious that they are well established and equipped to enter the retail outdoor clothing arena. I wouldn't be surprised to see Beyond's line end up in some retail shops like REI within the next year as the clothing comes on line. After trying on the pants, I am itching to get my hands on a pair but the best way to do this is online. When the items are entering final design and production, you can preorder with up to 30 percent savings. My observation is high quality and somewhat rugged designs, but not overly done and not heavy. They are using the latest in materials like Polartech Alpha and seem to be targeting high activity lines that move moisture and breathe well, but at the same time can stand up to some abuse. Gimme!
For local Seattleites, it gets even better. You can walk into the store front and enter a machine that body maps you. They are then able to turn that map into a pattern adjustment and send it immediately to the sewers. Note, unless you are adding something like pockets or doing alterations to the design, this is NO CHARGE! Very tall, burly, large, teeny....if your body type does not readily fit into standard sizes, you can have all your Beyond Clothing made to order for your fit, a huge bonus for many people.
I liked the vibe of the shop, young people abound, lots of activity and super nice. If my treatment is any indication of their customer service, then they are off to a good start. If the pants and jacket come on line before the hiking season, I will use and abuse these items and see how they stand up in both the wear and stink department. But for now I am quite pleased to see a local Seattle company entering the outdoor clothing retail business with lots of experience behind them already. Watch out for Beyond!