Hucklebury is a clothing brand who recently reached its Kickstater (a crowd-source funding) goal and has started delivering its product, premium dress shirts. Does its product satisfy its stated promise of a great dress shirt made in the USA for $74?
First off, does Hucklebury qualify as a premium shirt? Let us check the characteristics of the shirts. Great material – Egyptian cotton, check; Great processing of material – milling in exclusive Italian Mill, check. Quality sewing – Made in USA, Washington DC plant with extensive experience in sewing, check. Other details: Mother of pearl buttons, double stitching along the sides (instead of stays), bottom horizontal reinforced button hole, stiffer, hand-sewn, collars, and an excellent fit for an off the rack measurement (thanks to Styku technology). So, yes, the shirt definitely qualifies as a premium made in USA shirt. For what makes a great dress shirt, see my blog entry: Best Dress Shirts: USA vs the World.
Second, is a Hucklebury shirt worth $74? For some men who have never paid more than $20 or $30 for a shirt in their life, it probably isn’t worth it to them (but they might be surprised with their first ever quality shirt). But, for those who value their appearance and appreciate a good shirt, then, Hucklebury is definitely worth it. I have compared my two Hucklebury shirts with my own closet of shirts which comprises brands such as Kiton, Versace, Armani, Black Fleece, Eton, Brioni, Hickey Freeman, Burberry, Oxxford, Robert Talbott, Etro, Hamilton, Yves St. Laurent, Tom Ford, Breuer, Haupt, Brooks Brothers, and Rag and Bone (all made in Italy or the U.S. except for Eton & Burberry ). From this, I can safely conclude that the Hucklebury shirts are the equivalent of a $250 shirt (retail).
The Story of Hucklebury
Hucklebury is the brain child of two San Francisco based. entrepreneurs, Parag Jhaveri and Dhawal Shah. Parag is an engineer, whose family was greatly involved in the fashion industry – exporting scarves and white shirts to some of the main clothing supply chains. His interest is, however, more into product development as well as manufacturing and marketing strategies. Their are obvious inefficiencies in making off the rack clothing and selling them through various department stores. WIth Hucklebury many inefficiencies have been eliminated: No unnecessary clothing is made, and no needless shipping to various department stores with all of their devastating mark-ups.
Co-founder of Hucklebury, Dhawal Shah, is a former computer prodigy and internet genius. This talent is of paramount importance in this modern day where on-line shopping is rapidly expanding versus the brick and mortar stores, which are decreasing. Both, Parag and Dhawal, are master marketers. This is essential in any direct to consumer product (which Hucklebury is). Their marketing strategy is interesting. They are getting the word out by targeting bloggers who are interested in fashion or made in the USA, social media, twitter, Reddit, Facebook ads, newer technologies and eventually, regular media.
The Origin of the Name Hucklebury
The name Hucklebury comes from the famous Mark Twain character, Hucklebury Finn. The founders view Hucklebury Finn as a hero that goes against the norms, persevering against the odds. I mean, look at the new path Hucklebury is creating: 1) off the rack; 2) direct to consumers; 3) a 365 day guarantee; 4) no department stores; 5) marketing through bloggers and social media; and 6) bringing back clothing manufacturing to America when other corporations within the United States, Inc., continue to outsource well paying, valuable American jobs overseas. Definitely, this is a new path.
One of the biggest problems with on-line shopping for clothing is fit. A certain manufacturer’s size “Small” may be another makers “Medium”, etc. The return rate of on-line clothing purchases due to poor fit is fairly high. However, with Styku, a new technology being used by Hucklebury, has helped with getting the consumer the correct fit and, therefore, has decreased Hucklebury’s return rate by 30% compared to standard practices. The Styku technology uses measurements uses chest, waist, sleeve length and body length to help with fit. With Hucklebury, one can specify whether one would like a slim-fit appearance or a “regular” appearance.
Why Made in the USA?
For Hucklebury and co-founder, Parag, making the product in the United States was not a gimmick in order to sell shirts. Making shirts in the United States is a way to give back to the community and a way to empower poorer people especially women. Being a socially conscious company is very important to Parag – this comes from the values taught to him by his mother, who also worked in the fashion industry. In an era where corporations are responsible for terrible working conditions all over the world – causing needless tragedies like the Bangladesh factory fires and building collapse or the massive suicides over at the Apple Foxxconn plant in China, it is refreshing to see entrepreneurs that aren’t just all about the money. As the Supreme Court in the USA continues to give corporations rights as “people” and, even, giving corporations religious rights, it seems only fair that corporations (their board of directors and their activist stockholders) should go to jail for the crimes they commit against humanity (corporations are now people, aren’t they?). Just a quick reflection about Foxxconn, in all the centuries that there have been slaves – just how bad are the conditions that the slaves actually commit suicide?
The United States has continually added jobs since the Great Recession ended, the economy is much stronger, however, people complain that wages have not come back up. This is because most of the higher paying jobs, like manufacturing have been outsourced, and many other good paying jobs have been simply eliminated in order to squeeze out more short-term profits in order to look better for The Stock Market. All the profits are going directly to the top (since 1980) and this is why there is the greatest wealth disparity in the USA since the 1920s. The only plan now to decrease wealth disparity is to increase the minimum wage because so many people are stuck in the lowest paying service jobs. And there have been no plans or laws to increase manufacturing in the U.S. that can pass Congress (the GOP is the party of big corporations and there are enough Democrats who are beholden to big corporations that future legislation looks bleak). This means the only way that the U.S. can increase manufacturing is through a grass roots effort. Buy American, put Americans to work at better paying jobs and get yourself a better quality and safe product. And vote out those outsourcing proponents.
The number of American made dress shirt makers is quite small. And the number that makes premium dress shirts is just a handful. Hucklebury, with its low price point, neatly fills the niche of premium USA made dress shirts. Hucklebury makes great dress shirts that should retail for $250 but sell less than $74. Hucklebury will be my “Go-to” site for dress shirts. (My other “Go-to” sites are Flint and Tinder (for underwear), Bills Khakis, Allen Edmonds (dress shoes) and New Balance (athletic shoes)). For more about Hucklebury, check out their Facebook page. For those who would like to order shirts from Hucklebury, go to Hucklebury.com.
Below is a list of American made dress shirts from Listing of American clothing brands – retail.
Dress Shirts (Oxford Shirts)
- Alexander Olch
- Allen Edmonds
- American Apparel
- Band Of Outsiders
- Bills Khakis
- Billy Reid (few)
- Black Fleece
- Blues Jean Bar
- Brooks Brothers Few)
- Club Monaco (few)
- Ernest Alexander
- Frank & Eileen
- Freemans Sporting Club
- Gitman Brothers
- Gitman Brothers Vintage
- Hlaska (No longer making shirts)
- Hickey Freeman
- Ike Behar (No longer made in USA)
- J. Press
- James Perse
- John Varvatos Star (rare)
- New England Shirt Co.
- Ovadia & Sons
- Patrick Ervell
- Rag & Bone
- Richard Chai
- Robert Talbott (few)
- Simon Spurr (no longer available)
- Taylor Stitch
- Todd Snyder (few)
- Thom Browne
Other articles about Hucklebury (From most relevant to less relevant)
Review: Hucklebury Shirts (and Giveaway) by The Silentist
Interview: Parag and Dhawal Shah of Hucklebury by Vouchmag
Introducing Hucklebury, The Newest Luxury Dress Shirt At Great Price by Crowddistrict
MSP Endorses: Hucklebury Button Down Shirts by Mens Style Pro
Product Review: Hucklebury Slim-Fit Green Stripe Shirts by The Pantalones
Product Review: Hucklebury Shirts by Simpler Man
Customer Spotlight – Hucklebury by Spree Commerce
OnLine Sizing Technology Helps Two Apparel Sellers Get off the Ground by Internet Retailer (About Styku Technology)
Wide Eyes, Tight Wallet by blogspot.com
Hucklebury Shirts Kickstarter by Wefty and Mash
Hucklebury Shirts: A Great Dress Shirt Made in the USA for $78 by clothingmadeinusablog
Hucklebury Product Spotlight by 50built (a website regarding products made in the USA)
Courtesy of Hucklebury Sky Blue Orchard Gingham by This Fits
Hucklebury: A New Way To Shop For Shirts by The Manuel
Hucklebury Shirts: Crowdsourced & Made In The USA by Network.details
Kickstarter – Dress Shirts by Hucklebury by Found in the Fifties
Hucklebury Dress Shirts by Gear Hungry
Hucklebury Shirts by Man of Many