Seattle Sunday: Freeman Brings the Mountains to the City — in all the Right Ways

Editor's Note: If you have not heard, Freeman recently released the very first in what I hope is a long line of clothing for women. I will be sharing my thoughts on the new Freeman Woman next week. Until then, it seemed only fitting that you heard the full story on Freeman from the person in my life who wears at least one Freeman piece every week and even photographed a number of recent additions to the line for the brand. That would be my husband, Justin Marx. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I do.

Seattle, of course, loves the outdoors. It's not hard to see why — drive a couple hours in any direction and you'll find one incredible natural landscape after another. We take our outdoor recreation seriously, and it's one of the great defining characteristics of our city.

We dress for it, too. It's no coincidence that our very own REI has become one of the biggest names in expedition outfitting. Ask a typical Seattlite the relative merits of wool, synthetic, or silk baselayers and chances are you'll find yourself in a longer conversation than you intended. And this is important stuff — if you're heading out to the backcountry, having the right technical gear can literally save your life. 

Yours truly going full Freeman on my way out the door. As I recall, it was raining buckets that morning and yet I somehow managed to leave the expedition gear at home.

Yours truly going full Freeman on my way out the door. As I recall, it was raining buckets that morning and yet I somehow managed to leave the expedition gear at home.

But sometimes it's hard for us to leave the mountains, well, in the mountains. We come back to the city after a weekend exploring the wild places, and we just don't want to put away our fleece vests and softshell jackets and hiking boots. It's almost as if by wearing our technical gear into the city, we're bringing a bit of that elusive outdoor magic into our daily grind.

I've been guilty of it myself. Sometimes you just don't want to let go. But let's be honest here — would you ever consider doing the opposite? Would you wear your wingtips on Rainier? Your camel overcoat deep in the Quinalt? Or that cashmere shawl-collar cardigan while climbing The Brothers? Of course not.

Yes, I hear you. It's wet on the walk to the bus stop. And your Patagonia shell with fourteen logos on it keeps you bone dry. Plus, it advertises that you just spent a week backpacking in the Enchantments and you know what you're talking about. But there is another way — one that keeps you dry, leaves the excessive technology at home, and recognizes that you're on Pike Street and not Pike's Peak.

Enter Freeman Seattle

Brittany and Scott Freeman in their Seattle workshop.

Brittany and Scott Freeman in their Seattle workshop.

Brittany and Scott Freeman started their humble brand right here in Seattle, when Scott was having a hard time finding a well-fitting rain jacket amongst the typical REI fare. When their search came up empty, they decided to make one themselves. And while they started with that one simple, highly functional rain jacket, they didn't stop there. They now have a whole line of heritage-inspired clothing that's ready for the elements, while staying true to the brand's urban roots.

With a focus on classic styling, fit, and nailing the details, Freeman embodies everything that's great about the recent revival of American-made, small-scale industrial craftsmanship. But American-made isn't even local enough — Freeman gear is designed and manufactured right here in Seattle, with Brittany and Scott personally applying the finishing touches in the spare bedroom they've converted into a little workshop.

Let's talk about those details

Where it all started: The Freeman in Navy.

Where it all started: The Freeman in Navy.

The Commodore vest in Cadet Blue and the Staple Shirt in White/Black.

The Commodore vest in Cadet Blue and the Staple Shirt in White/Black.

Look closely at their flagship jacket, The Freeman, and you'll find them in spades. The two-ply waterproof, breathable nylon is lined with complementary flannel that recalls an earlier age of outdoor wear. The flannel's even up at there against your chin when you zip it up — a touch that makes the jacket that much cozier when the rain's really coming down. The hood is oversized, recognizing that sometimes the rain comes down sideways. And there isn't a logo in sight — just understated, classic styling that speaks for itself.

Their Commodore vest is a natural companion to The Freeman. Warm, hard-wearing wool makes up the body of the vest, but for the times you're caught in a drizzle without a shell, the shoulders are protected by the same waterproof nylon used on The Freeman. And there's a covert little pocket under the nylon yoke that fits an iPhone perfectly.

The Staple Shirt might be my favorite. Incredibly soft Japanese flannel is cut into a classic button-down work shirt, with a thoughtful pencil slot sewn into the chest pocket. And it's the perfect layering piece due to its raglan sleeve construction — a technique that maximizes range of motion, and that just happened to be pioneered the last time the Russians fought over the Crimea.

Best of all? The entire line provides protection against our finicky Northwest weather, while remaining firmly rooted in the city. So the next time you're gearing up for your drizzly commute, consider leaving the Columbia PFG HydroTech™ with OmniShield® in the gear closet and go with something a little more suited to the streets.

Quality materials, expertly assembled.

Quality materials, expertly assembled.

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