Crescent Down Works doesn’t have seasons like most brands at Capsule – instead, each season they offer various set styles (vests, bomber jackets, down jackets) with a changing lineup of possible fabric and lining options. In a sense, their presence at the tradeshow was just a convenient way for stores to place orders: you get to see some samples in person, and some great visual options of possible fabric and style options, although there are literally hundreds of possible, made-to-order options. Bearing this in mind, I approached the booth differently than other brands.
I’ve always been a fan of Crescent Down Works, ever since I first heard about the brand in 2008 when South Willard first started carrying their vests. Until then most of their pieces, despite being entirely manufactured in the United States by a small team of sewers and stuffers, were exported to Japan and sold to the voracious Japanese workwear market. From the start, I was impressed by the obvious quality: from high stitching counts to excellent fabric options, and, perhaps best of all, traditional leather backed buttons that look absolutely bulletproof.
Seeing the products in person, though, is an entirely different story. CDW outwear is weighty. Manufactured in the tradition off classic Northwest mountaineering brands, the vests are designed to stand up to bitter rain and subzero temperatures, and it shows in their construction. It reminds me of high-end restaurant reviews I’ve read. Reviewers often describe mouth-feel when grading, say, a ten-course tasting menu, and here I almost feel ‘fabric-feel’ is the appropriate way to really appreciate the exceptional clothing CDW produces.
I was especially drawn to their shirt jackets and down sweaters, here sampled in several heavyweight tweeds and indigo dyed nylons. Don’t let the names fool you: these “sweaters” and “shirt jackets” are warmer than most parkas I’ve seen, and look straight out of an expedition setting out to climb Mt. Rainier. For those in more temperate climates, CDW offers a traditional 60/40 parka, with both wool-lined and nylon-lined options. I also enjoyed their child-sized jackets, although I don’t know if I’d be able to spend that much on a piece of clothing that would be outgrown in a matter of months.
At the end of the day, though, CDW’s clothes aren’t especially exciting or, to be entirely fair, terribly original. Where the brand does excel, though, is elevating these classic styles to an art. You can buy vests that look similar to what CDW offers at dozens or different stores, but those vests lack something essential that CDW captures so effortlessly.
Edited by Teger - 5/7/14 at 6:00am