The brainchild of LA-based Frenchman Christophe Loiron, Mister Freedom is a denim clothing line produced by Toyo Enterprises (of Sugar Cane and Buzz Rickson fame) that sticks to an overarching Naval theme. Like the first line, the new winter collection imagines the tailored clothing of a merchant Navy sailor as he travels the seven seas. This time around, we find our sailor in the Southern Indian Ocean on his last cruise after 10 years in the service. Now an "old salt" in mariner's parlance, the clothes are weathered and faded by the extremes of sun, ocean water and use.
Titled "The Last Cruise, Salty Years," the collection focuses on extreme weather gear. With cuts and designs from early 20th century military wardrobes, the pieces use durable denim and authentic vintage flourishes. The Denim Pea Coat follows the 1910 Navy pattern and uses 14oz dark indigo selvedge denim made from a 50/50 blend of sugar cane fiber and cotton. The Foul Weather Coat is made of a blue "jungle cloth" used by the Navy from the 1920s to 1950s. A material known for being sturdy and weatherproof, while remaining comfortable to wear. It uses an exact replica of the 1930s "hookless" zipper and is fully lined with a naval wool blanket. Other items include a pair of Modified Type 7161 denim jeans, a wool/cotton sweater, a Denim CPO Overshirt, a Wool Watch Cap, a Jungle Cloth and Chambray Rain Hat and three different t-shirts.
One particularly interesting stylistic touch is the "Liberty Cuff." In the 1920s, it was common for enlisted men to have local tailors add multicolored stitching to the inside of sleeves. That way, it wouldn't be visible to their superiors while on the job, but they could fold up the sleeves to impress the locals while on shore leave. The mermaid design (pictured above) can be found in the Pea Coat and serves as both an attractive design element and interesting historical note.
Mister Freedom can be purchased through CH favorites Self Edge. Kiya Babzani, the San Francisco shop's proprietor, went so far as to call Mister Freedom "maybe the most important line being produced in the world right now." And that's high praise, considering the source.