Known for its expertly crafted outerwear manufactured in the U.S., Filson has reportedly laid off a number of workers across its manufacturing, customer service, repairs and returns teams within its Seattle and Kent, Wa. facilities.
According to The Seattle Times, 56 workers—38 of which were union manufacturing employees—were laid off last month. A spokesperson for the brand’s parent company, Bedrock Manufacturing, denied rumors that the company plans to close its Washington-based production facilities next summer.
At the start of the year, the 124-year-old company welcomed Paolo Corinaldesi as its sixth CEO. His appointment was intended to further the company’s aggressive goals for this year, which included international expansion and new product offerings like its first-ever denim line, which launched at the end of 2020. The three-piece men’s collection consisted of jeans made with Italian and Japanese selvedge denim. The collection underscored the brand’s Made in the U.S. ethos, which incorporates “the finest available materials” to ensure premium quality and minimal waste.
The debut was considered strategic at the time, as the Covid-19 pandemic triggered a demand for locally produced goods, confirmed by data from the Reshoring Institute that showed nearly 60 percent of Americans said they would pay more for American-made products. Rugged and durable denim was a natural next step for the brand, which got its start producing outerwear for miners, hunters, anglers, engineers and explorers.
Boosting Made in America manufacturing is a top priority in the pandemic’s aftermath, and the U.S. government is doing its part to increase self-reliance. In January, President Biden issued an executive order to support domestic manufacturers, businesses and workers. The move was intended to make Buy American real and close loopholes that allow companies to offshore production and jobs while still qualifying for domestic preferences.
Corinaldesi confirmed that Filson’s Seattle facilities would remain intact and told The Seattle Times that the brand has “spent years finding the best partners to scale production based on the popularity and growth of its core heritage styles” and will continue to do so.