Ramblers Way

24 May

2013-04-08 03.56.53

I don’t typically go into great lengths over consumer ethics with this site, though I have my opinions. If you’ve been reading along through the years, you’ll notice I focus on what is normally referred to as “heritage brands”. This broad term, to me at least, can describe a brand with a rich history, but more accurately describes a brand that focuses on craftsmanship and quality over mass production, price scaling, and distribution. In this vein, a company like Brooks Brothers is not a heritage brand, though often the products made for them are made by heritage brands (and in more cases, in Chinese factories).

It has been interesting living in Vermont these last few years. There are cultural and socioeconomic facets to this place that are more deeply rooted than I care to discuss, but a really interesting one is the crap economy. Vermont is a tiny state that produces VERY little for export. This little state however, in the mid 1800s, produced more wool and woolen goods than any other location in the US. Vermont had a massive wool industry, and in the space of 60 years, it fell flat due to a variety of circumstances that more or less equated to the industrial revolution, outsourcing production, and agricultural life being ended abruptly in favor of factory work. In short, people left Vermont, and its sheep pastures, to make quick money and live in cities. This ultimately destabilized the American wool industry for the next century, and left Vermont in a 100+ year economic recession.

Where am I going with all of this? Some woolens brands remain in New England, and new ones are popping up.

One such  is Ramblers Way (named as an homage to the English walking tradition, not as play on words on the Sheep breed Rambouillet, or the English folk song ), a woolen goods brand based in Kennebunk Maine ( founded by Tom’s of Maine Tom and Kate Chappell).

Check out their beliefs statement page. Any brand that commits to quality, sustainability, and local industry is a great one in my book. All of this is well and good, but they also make a really attractive line of woolens, and (dare I say it) sweaters. One in particular is their Shawl Neck Fisherman.