As we transition from spring to summer it’s time for me to rest my denims and go on the search for some new chinos. I knew Freenote Cloth in California was releasing a summer line so I contacted co-owners and brothers Andrew and Matthew Broderick about what was brewing at Freenote.
I snagged a sick pair of Drab Olive Chinos ($210) made from super limited military deadstock material from the 1970’s (more about deadstock later). The chinos feature binding and pockets made of indigo dyed Japanese herringbone. Each waist size has a graded inseam as well. I love the custom leather patch and custom corozo buttons. It’s all about clean details with Freenote. And they’re 100% made in the USA. Look for their US Air Force Nylon board shorts to drop soon as well.
I was able to catch Andrew on the phone, so I took the opportunity to ask him some questions about Freenote.
JL: What were you and Matt doing before Freenote and what inspired you to start it up?
AB: 10 years in the surf industry. We worked for Electric 10 years together. Electric was definitely one of the radical surf/snow/skate brands out there and it was an amazing stint. As we matured so did our tastes and our admiration for made in the USA really started to take hold. The ability to be hands on with design and production was something that inspired us to start Freenote. It all starts with a want and then the brand slowly forms after that.
JL: What inspires your designs?
AB: One of the most frequently asked questions for sure. There is a ton of American vintage inspiration which era wise was obviously before our time and there is also a lot of our personal history in the line. My brother Matt and I also love rock and roll and the simplicity of a great pair of jeans and a white t shirt is awesome.
JL: What sets you apart from similar brands?
AB: Truly depends on how you look at it. A lot of people say the market is saturated and all these made in the USA or Japan brands are the same but I think each brand has its own identity. The mindset to me is quality goods made ethically. Style, fabrication, fit, branding, and all the details are specific to each brand. Freenote aims to be a little more rock and roll and a little less playing dress up.
JL: What products are you focused on at the moment and what are some projects on the horizon for you?
AB: This summer collection releasing now is something we have not done in the previous two years. It includes lighter weight garments and has West Coast inspiration throughout. This is our first year making a board short and it basically took a whole year to get dialed. You can go to a Vegas pool party or catch a couple waves this summer in it. The fabric is dead stock US Air Force nylon which works great in the water. We enjoy surfing and the beach so it was a natural extension to the line.
JL: What is deadstock material and what made you go on the search for it?
AB: We used dead stock fabric for the production of our chinos, fatigues, and the board short all releasing this summer. Deadstock in this case is fabric that has never been used and in limited simply because it is old and no longer being produced. For Freenote as long as we know the source, can verify the fabric is over 25 years old, and lastly know what it was intended for then it falls into our deadstock category. Bigger companies usually don’t touch deadstock material because of either the price or the limitedness of the material. For instance you may find a 100% cotton twill intended for M-65 Field jackets and only be able to get 100 yards of it. You know the material is incredible so it is up to you to reproduce the jacket or use it for an entirely different piece.
JL: How are the deadstock military chinos different than your other chino offerings?
AB: The fit being featured is slightly slimmer than our previous slim fit. The leg opening on a waist size 32 is 15”. The slimness gives these chinos a militant feel. The material will break in and wear like a vintage pair of fatigues. This is our favorite piece for this summer.
JL: Are these in limited supply?
AB: Most of the time dead stock fabrics dictate how limited a piece will be. In this case this piece is very limited with only a 100 pair being produced.
JL: What do you hope people will take away from Freenote products?
AB: Love this question. The quality of our products are something I take great pride in for that is one of my duties at Freenote. Our product is expensive and we want our customers to feel like what they purchased was worth it. The second part is a little more idealistic but yeah I would be stoked if people feel a little bit better wearing Freenote. This part has many dimensions to it in that you can feel good about wearing an American made garment, you can feel good about supporting small business, you can feel good about buying quality of quantity, or maybe you just like the vibe of Freenote and that makes you feel good.
JL: What are you most proud of that Freenote has accomplished up to this point?
AB: Our customer service and relationships. If someone has a problem with one of our garments you know we will fix it. You can get a hold of us, we can have a chat, and we can get your inquiry dialed.
JL: You’ve got a pretty sweet beard, how long have you had it?
AB: Three years running with one little break. I trimmed it back in the spring of 2014 and was so bummed.
JL: What do you love most about having a beard?
AB: I never have to shave again. I never really thought about it but it is a brotherhood and that is really cool. A tip of the cap so to speak. Respect.
Do you know of an awesome product out there that we should feature? Let us know via twitter to @bandholz