It’s market week here in New York, and yesterday I stopped by the small menswear trade show at the Park Lane Hotel, where Crittenden Rawlings was showing. I previously wrote about him in January; Rawlings is a menswear veteran who’s worked for Norman Hilton and Ralph Lauren, and who has brought out a new Ivy-styled sportcoat sold at a select number of independent menswear retailers. I hope to have more photos and info on those jackets when they go into production in a couple of months.

This time Rawlings (or Critt, as he’s known by friends and associates) was showing new fabrications for next spring/summer. I usually don’t like unconstructed jackets, but despite minimal lining these jackets felt solidly tailored while remaining light as a feather. This dark madras was my favorite:

They were made by Hardwick in Tennessee, which Rawlings calls the only mid-priced suit factory to survive the NAFTA trade agreement of 1994, which was especially hard on apparel manufacturing. He added that the uproar among certain politicians over Ralph Lauren’s Chinese-made Olympic uniforms struck him as disingenuous, since it was politicians who killed off domestic apparel manufacturing in the first place.

The jackets feature French-faced construction, a butterfly yoke, and horn buttons — a detail larger trad clothiers could turn their attention to — and come with a suggested retail price of $395, very modest for any jacket, let alone one made in America. In addition to the three patch pockets, they come with natural shoulders and a hook vent, though orthodox trads will have to accept the presence of darts, a concession to contemporary taste.

Rawlings said J. Press liked the jackets very much and saw them as a candidate for a collection aimed at younger customers. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

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