America’s rugged West and craftsmanship come together in Freenote. Founded in 2013 by brothers Andrew and Matt Brodrick, the California-based menswear label is known for premium denim garments that resonate with the state’s past rancho era.
“We all try to reinvent the wheel in some sense, but we thought there was a hole in the market,” Freenote Co-founder Andrew Brodrick said. “There were a ton of brands that were close to what we were looking to achieve, but nothing that spoke to us.”
After cutting their teeth in the surf, snow and skate industries, the Brodrick brothers set out to create an authentic menswear brand that focused on classic American styling, fit and quality—without taking production outside of the U.S. Over the past four years, the label’s denim jackets and jeans have been snapped up by consumers. And, unlike competitors’ offerings, Freenote’s attention to detail, focus on fit and a domestic manufacturing process has placed it ahead of the pack.
The label’s Royal Cast denim jacket, which is a best seller and retails at $280, features 14-ounce light indigo denim from Hishitomo Mills in Japan, classic zigzag stitching, custom metal trims from Kentucky, selvedge detail on the interior front pocket, a hand selected leather interior pouch and is sewn in the U.S. The jacket’s 100 percent cotton fabication allows consumers to break in the garment for a personalized fit.
“We source almost an equal amount of fabric from the U.S. and Japan. Cone Mills in Greensboro, North Carolina has been a great partner to us since day one,” Brodrick added. “As for Japan, there are several mills we use including Kuroki and Yoshiwa.”
Even small denim details, including brushed copper rivets and buttons, are sourced from the U.S. Freenote purposely matches rivets to vintage trims to ensure authenticity and features buttons made from genuine horn and corozo nut, not synthetic materials. The label’s denim zippers also have a rich U.S. history, since they hail from Talon, the American company that developed the world’s first zipper in 1893.
For Spring ’18, Freenote culls inspiration from Western culture, including vintage and Americana-style denim jackets and jeans. “We live in a small Western town in California so we always feel close to Western styling,” Brodrick said. “Where the dusty West meets the ocean is always on our minds.”
This year, the label has also developed a broader range of fits for denim bottoms, as well as heavier denim for the winter season. Freenote currently offers three primary fits on its website—The Updated Slim, The Updated Classic and The Taper Fit. Each fit coordinates with a different denim style—the Rios Slim Straight Jean features a skinnier fit, while the Trabuco Classic Straight Jean and the Portola Taper Jean provide a roomier fit. Each style caters to the unique preferences of Freenote’s consumers, while staying committed to the label’s vintage-meets-West vibe.
“We simply try our best to make menswear that represents who we are as a brand and family. You can see right through when other brands bite something that is not authentic to them,” Brodrick said. “We live in America and are very proud to represent our country by being 100 percent Made in the USA, but it makes us equally proud to represent who we are as Americans in our clothing and style.”
This story originally appeared in Rivet’s October 2017 issue. Read more here.