When a Kickstarter campaign for a piece of clothing raises nearly $45k in two days, you might want to pay attention. When said clothing is made in Seattle and specifically for Seattle, you get excited.
New local line Yesler Apparel designed its crowd-sourced Technical Hoodie to be that ideal blend of form and function us PNWers love. With options for men and women, the tailored zip-up utilizes Polartec fabric that is water resistant, windproof, and breathable (things you want from your outerwear), but still soft, flexible, and cozy (things you want from your go-to hoodie). How's that for bells and whistles?
At press time there were 77 slots left to back Yesler on Kickstarter and get a first-round hoodie at 15 percent off the $199 retail tag. But you'll need to wait until March for delivery.
We chatted with Yesler founder Vince Chu via email for his take on the hoodie's overnight success, why you might want to wear one, and what's in store for the new local line.
What do you think contributed to your quick Kickstarter and what type of people are doing most of your backing?
Chu: "It's been really great and incredibly flattering. I think there's great appeal of having a company make something locally, designed for the Seattle weather, landscape and lifestyle in mind. I'd say about half of our backers are hardcore gear enthusiasts who've spotted the materials that we're using from Polartec, and the other half are people who appreciate the design and versatility it provides."
In what ways did you consider Seattle when designing the hoodie?
"Great question: we imagined what the perfect hoodie would be like on a typical Thursday through Sunday: Thursday you're walking to/from work or commuting to Downtown. On Friday, you may want to have something casual but sharp enough to wear to dinner or drinks in Capitol Hill. Maybe you want to drive out to the Eastside to do a day hike on Sunday (provided the Hawks aren't playing). Why can't there be a hoodie that can be there for all that? We think there should.
Honestly, I sort of feel like I’ve seen this look before. What do I need to know about how Yesler's design is different?
"You're right in the sense that apparel is trending to a more tailored look—there are some fitted-looking hoodies popping up here and there. But none are building it out of soft-to-the-touch, advanced weather-resistant materials like we are. Our Technical Hoodie bridges the gap between technical outerwear and causal everyday wear, marrying performance-driven materials and functional design to create a hoodie that fits into daily life and unafraid of a bit of PNW weather."
Do you have a background in apparel?
"I've been doing apparel now for about two years. Trust me we've had to learn a ton and make a few good mistakes along the way, but the final product is always been worth it. I appreciate good athletic wear and technical gear (hard not to, if you're going to do a lot of active/outdoorsy stuff around town), and the idea that virtually all of it was made abroad didn't feel acceptable to me; just because it's cheaper to make it someplace else doesn't mean we shouldn't make it here."
And what do we have to look forward to?
"We like the hoodie being a flagship product, and we'd like to see it branch out into other styles and variations. We're strictly online for now, but we're working on plans to get Yesler in stores in the future."