People of Woolrich: Rob Stuart, Fabric Designer

It’s no secret that the Woolrich Mill boasts an extraordinary history as the longest continually running mill in the United States. Since 1830, our mill has served as the cornerstone of a deep and long-lasting commitment to producing premium American fabrics. Bales or raw wool still come in one end of the mill, and after a good deal of work, exit as superior fabric.

However, lesser known than the mill itself are the generations of talented and wonderful individuals who have worked with us over the years to produce the quality goods that you have come to know and enjoy. In our newest blog series, The People of Woolrich, we aim to provide a window into the lives of these amazing people.

Woolen fabric design is much more an art than a science. Working with a natural fiber to create a beautiful pattern is a complicated process that takes years of experience to learn and perfect. At the Woolrich Mill, Rob Stuart is the person responsible for designing and making sure that the wool coming off our looms is world class quality. Rob recently took a few minutes out of his busy day to talk to us about his role at Woolrich. Read the interview below.

How long have you been working with Woolrich, and how did you get your start with the company?

I was approached for the position, and have enjoyed it for more than 18 years.

What are your main responsibilities at the mill?

Arranging and coordinating all aspects of fabric design for both samples and production. Also, to access and maintain quality of fabric production from start to finish.

Would you talk us through a typical day at the mill?

A typical day would start by checking emails, reviewing priorities for the day, and coordinating and prioritizing ongoing projects, as well as new ones as the day progresses.

Some days, a lot of the time is spent visiting departments in the mill, and answering questions pertaining to production: yarn manufacturing (blends color, strengths, weights); weaving and loom set ups (includes checking the looms twice a day as fabric is woven); finishing (fulling, napping, shearing, decating); final inspection and requirements; and testing and requirements for both the Woolrich lab and outside testing.

Other days we are following up on inquiries, calling customers, or working with them in the mill to establish their requirements and meet their needs. This, in turn, provides opportunities to create new fabric designs.

What’s your favorite part about working at Woolrich?

Meeting customers, and taking on new projects. Hosting clients at the Woolrich Lodge and having them in the mill is an opportunity to get to know more about what they do and how they do it. This helps with working through their vision, and designing fabrics to their satisfaction. We help make up the recipe in the beginning, and, once designed, it’s monitored through all aspects of manufacturing. We have a diverse customer base, and it is gratifying to know that Woolrich fabric is being used in many products all over the world.

Woolrich is the longest continuously operating mill in the country. Do you feel a sense of pride in knowing that you’re a part of that?

Yes, of course. To be part of the heritage and history of Woolrich, and to have the knowledge and experience of the entire team working together to produce a quality product is a great thing.

The Woolrich mill is a vertical mill, which is special in that production starts with the wool fiber and ends with the finished fabric. My textile design education was a good preparation for all the aspects of fabric production. Designing is initiated either with a team within Woolrich, or with the customer, and then passed onto the production team. This team of sixty-five, most of whom have spent their lives making fabric, are the ones that get the job done.

Are there any exciting projects you’re working on that you’d like to share with us?

All projects have their excitement in that they are varied and end up in many different products. This includes apparel lines, or having fabrics as part of a designer’s collection, as well as fabric for blankets, shoes, upholstery, and reenactments to name a few.

Outside of designing wool for Woolrich, what are your other hobbies and interests? 

My other hobbies include photography, art, and painting…at one time on canvas, and now on furniture.

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John Rich and Bros. Women’s FW15 Preview


Inspired by the authenticity of the brand’s classic American woolen garments, the Woolrich John Rich & Bros. Women’s Fall Winter collection for 2015 shifts the accent toward a range of cutting-edge feminine coats, transformed by the skilled hands of contemporary design. Down filled Arctic Parkas, Italian wools and fashion-forward cuts characterize the key items making up the new collection.

In nearly half a century, the Arctic Parka has undergone a number of changes to keep pace with shifting fashions.  Alongside its unrivaled quality, its appeal lies in its subtle, yet accurate interpretation of contemporary taste. A garment whose primary purpose is functional – and in this aspect it has undeniably accomplished its goal – the Arctic Parka has also set out create a new context by offering different fits, lengths, water resistant fabrics and fur options.

The Eskimo range for women features different styles and cuts: the Literary Walk, Rex and Fox Eskimos come in warm winter cotton and are trimmed in rich fur. Adding to the likes of this cool girl silhouette, we are excited to introduce the Military Eskimo in the iconic Shape Memory fabric with warm 90/10 down filling, a fishtail back and raccoon fur trims for cold winters.

In celebration of the 185th anniversary of Woolrich, a series of wool archival coats have been reinterpreted for the modern day woman. The Allgood Coat in the iconic buffalo check sports a new cocoon shape with a removable down lining, making it ideal for both fall and winter. Welt pockets, a detachable fur trimmed hood and superb Italian wool make up the Bonded Wool Parka, which draws inspiration from the traditional Woolrich blanket coats popular in the 1970s and ’80s.

Click through the slideshow below to preview some of this season’s looks.

To shop the collection, click here.

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John Rich and Bros. Men’s FW15 Preview


Woolrich is excited to present the John Rich and Bros. Men’s Fall Winter collection for 2015. This latest offering includes three complete ranges, each with a unique theme, to keep you warm and stylish in the colder months ahead.

Pulling inspiration from our storied past, the Authentic range commemorates the 185th anniversary of the Woolrich brand. Classic wool fabrics, developed in our Pennsylvania factory, are highlighted in fresh new looks for a truly iconic feel. The lining of our signature Arctic Parka, for instance, is now available in six different wool patterns, including those from our traditional Civil War blanket series.

Fast forwarding to the present, the Contemporary range blends technological advances in performance, lightness and design to create the perfect balance in outerwear that’s great for everyday city use. For the first time in our history, we’ve partnered with GORE-TEX® to create a high-performance fabric with a sophisticated urban look that’s available as a parka, a trench-coat and a storm-jacket.

Rounding out the collection, the Teton range features pieces defined by durability, performance and protection. Every garment is made from lightweight laminated-nylon fabric, Polartec 620-fill power duck-down, and high-quality coyote-fur trim.

Click through the slideshow below to preview some of this season’s looks.

To shop the collection, click here.

 

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Trail Blanket Series

Trail Blanket Series by WOOLRICH® The Original Outdoor Clothing Company

Photo by Yumiko Sakuma

Woolrich is proud to release a series of collectible blankets whose proceeds will benefit the nonprofit organizations charged with protecting three of America’s best known National Scenic Trails: The Appalachian Trail, The Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. In addition to these pieces, we’re also introducing a blanket commemorating a Woolrich hometown favorite, Pennsylvania’s Mid State Trail.

This launch is part of a larger effort to highlight the importance of the organizations protecting and stewarding the “Triple Crown of Hiking Trails” so that future generations will continue to enjoy all of the beauty and wilderness this country has to offer. Click the links below to learn more about these wonderful organizations:

Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Continental Divide Trail Coalition
Pacific Crest Trail Association
Mid State Trail Association

All blankets made in the USA.

The Appalachian Trail
As one of the longest, continuously-marked footpaths in the world at 2,180 miles long, the Appalachian Trail runs from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Katahdin, Maine. Approximately 2-3 million hikers visit this popular trail each year, with about 2,000 attempting to “thru-hike” the entire trail. Our Appalachian Trail blanket pays homage to the rugged souls who complete this 6-month journey with a soft wool jacquard weave blanket displaying the “A.T.” trail marker.

Appalachian Trail Jacquard Blanket by WOOLRICH® The Original Outdoor Clothing Company

 

The Continental Divide Trail
Considered to be the crown jewel in the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking trails, the Continental Divide Trail stretches 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada at altitudes ranging from 4,000 – 14,000 feet. To honor this challenging trail, we created the Continental Divide Trail blanket. Woven in a jacquard pattern in lightweight soft wool, with a graphic representation of the CDT emblem.

Continental Divide Trail Jacquard Blanket by WOOLRICH® The Original Outdoor Clothing Company

 

The Pacific Crest Trail
Quite possibly one of the most challenging long hikes in the United States, the Pacific Crest Trail runs from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, winding its way through bone-dry deserts, deep forests and heavily glaciated terrain. Our Pacific Crest Trail Blanket pays tribute to this majestic 2,650 mile trail. Lightweight soft wool woven in a jacquard pattern with the PCT emblem.

Pacific Crest Trail Blanket by WOOLRICH® The Original Outdoor Clothing Company

 

The Mid State Trail
Our Mid-State Trail Blanket commemorates Pennsylvania’s longest and wildest footpath: the Mid-State Trail. A section of this trail crosses through our village and the surrounding area and we’re proud to help maintain the MST in our region. This jacquard-weave soft wool blanket captures the spirit of this rugged, 310-mile trail.

Mid State Trail Blanket by WOOLRICH® The Original Outdoor Clothing Company

 

Shop the Trail Blanket Series here.

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Pack Up and Go: Vancouver Island, B.C.

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There are few things better than taking a road trip with your closest friends. Adventure, surprises, and unforgettable stories are all but promised to those who are willing to get in the car and simply drive. Throw in a destination like the outdoor mecca of Vancouver Island, and you’re sure to be treated to all three. Such was the case earlier this summer, when Shaun Daley and company made just the trip, traveling 10 hours north from Portland for some weekend fun. Besides the intensely rich landscape, the crew was heavily rewarded for their explorational efforts with camp fires, sun rises, fresh fish, ferry rides, and more. Click through the slideshow below to relive their journey.

Getting there…


Into the woods…


At the beach…

All photos by Shaun Daley.

Shaun Daley enjoys leftovers more than the actual meal, but can’t manage to eat just half a burrito.  Scare yourself. His portfolio can be found here along with his Instagram here.

All surfcrafts by FRESTcoast. Check out their boards here.

Shop the products featured in this post:

Men's The Drifter Jacket         Men's Classic Waterproof Rain Slicker         Men's Rich Flannel Shirt

Men's Day Hiker Sweatshirt         Men's Chamois Long Sleeve Shirt        Men's Baja Hoodie

Woolrich 40x70 Cotton Beach Towel         Allegheny Blanket

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