Four years ago I started thinking about this project, Native Outpost. My aim was to make backpacks in the spirit of old outdoor gear manufacturers like Duluth, Trapper Nelson, Stusco, Kumfort, and others. The designs of these old canvas packs are timeless in my eyes. I aspire to their absolute plainness and to the sense of adventure they inspire.
Soon I set off researching and learning to sew. I read Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard’s Let My People Go Surfing and then Small Is Beautiful by E. F. Schumacher. I learned about the impact of production and the harm caused by the textile industry. I quickly traded the standard bleached and synthetically dyed fabrics for untreated organic cotton canvas. For the past two years I have practiced and experimented with the use of natural dyes (this means using raw plant materials instead of petroleum-based synthetics). And now I am trying my hand at creating the metal rings needed for making adjustable straps.
I don’t have a backpack quite yet, but this project is about more than just bags. It is about building a conscientious brand. My hope is that one day, along with others, Native Outpost can help promote responsible business practices. I’ve started small and slow, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.