We've celebrated, we've analyzed, we've enthusiastically gushed about our hometown heritage brands as they enjoy the ride from function to fashion. You know the story: tried and true Minnesota-based brands that come from humble roots and practical beginnings, quietly churning out quality product for decades until finally, the fashion industry starts talking about the value of American made products, and Barneys New York decides rugged is chic.
The trend--which, really, has transcended trend to become a movement, a timeless style, a way of life--has benefitted many Minnesota brands, and you can probably name a half dozen off the top of your head. Let's do it together: Duluth Pack, J.W. Hulme Co., Faribault Woolen Mill Co., Red Wing Shoes, Minnetonka Moccasin, and for the bonus round: Itasca Leathergoods.
But there's another local manufacturer busy filling orders for New York fashion brands, while remaining totally under the radar at home. Sven has been hand crafting traditional Swedish clogs in Chisago City (about 40 miles northeast of Minneapolis) since 1974. Much of its product is private label, which is why few know that the family owned company makes clogs for fashion brand Loeffler Randall, Manhattan boutique and online store No. 6 and J. Crew.
A new local partnership could raise Sven's Minnesota profile: Pumpz & Company, the Galleria shoe boutique, commissioned Sven to produce an exclusive collection of clogs made with fabric from Pendleton blankets. Pumpz will launch the Western-inspired line, which includes clogs and boots, at a Back to School fall kickoff event this Thursday, July 26. Prices range from $170 to $375. A representative from Sven will be at the store from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. to showcase the line and finally start to spread the word about the brand at home.