Camber USA has a moment
When Londoners Lachlan Burns and Liam Emmett got started Dinner with friends, the Instagram account where they sell quality men’s clothing, some of their first items to sell were three fluffy hoodies that took up a whole carry-on suitcase brought by a friend from the United States.
The heavy jersey items were sourced from Camber USA, an independent clothing manufacturer in Norristown, whose modest designs are coveted by a small, passionate group of menswear enthusiasts around the world for their quality, construction and fit.
This only adds to the appeal that the products are notoriously hard to come by.
Looking for Camber USA in Philadelphia? Good luck with that. The company’s burgeoning virality was highlighted in late May by the Wall Street Journal, which reflexive if “this Pennsylvania company makes the best hoodies in the world?”
Even if this question turns out to be true, the indescribable products of the brand are just as difficult to approach their place of production. (A few stores, like Totem Brand Co. on South Street, offer Camber in the form of printed products, placing their logo on the blank equipment.)
In addition to its rarity, Camber’s authorized online dealer in the United States, All clothing from the United States, has about as much visual finesse to attract buyers as Camber’s dated wholesale website.
So how is it that these products so uncool that they are cool attracted such a dedicated audience?
For starters: The brand’s commitment to using US-grown mill fibers and fabrics, and building their designs on-site rather than outsourcing them, has won praise from Camber. Founder Barry Schwartz says the majority of the company’s products are now sold overseas, with 40-50% of the brand’s annual sales coming from retailers in Japan.
âIn the United States, we’re so committed to this instant gratification process,â Schwartz said. “That means if I could just run to Walmart and pick up a sweatshirt, even if it doesn’t hold, that will keep me going until tomorrow.”
While fast-paced, low-cost fashion remains the norm in the United States, Japanese urban style plays a major influence on trends here, said Christanna Ciabatonni, media and branding expert at public relations agency Skai. Blue Media. Camber’s products that are popular overseas reflect a trend towards basic, comfortable and rugged fashion.
âIt’s certainly not everyday that you hear someone from Japan say, ‘I have to take this sweatshirt. It’s produced in Norristown, Pa.,’ Ciabatonni, a Norristown native, joked.
Despite its bragging construction, the company’s products are no small investment. At All season uniforms, Camber’s cross-knit hoodie costs $ 75.95 (with the caveat that due to increased demand, there is no discernible way to know when the garment will ship. .)
The company that would become Camber USA was founded in 1982 by Schwartz, who remains the sole owner, and officially took the nickname in 1993. Two years later, Camber moved into its current factory, a former woolen mill at 2 DeKalb Street where, Schwartz says the uniforms were made during the Civil War. Camber’s production is now limited by what can be produced at the 80,000 square foot plant with 48 full-time employees, but Schwartz is happy with the company’s situation.
Camber has achieved approximately $ 4 million in annual sales over the past four years, with product production increasing by approximately 10% each year during that time. It’s a testament to the power of the internet to see and have: Camber doesn’t advertise, and Schwartz says there’s no product more popular than the following. They all fill a need, from work safety shirts with reflective stripes to hoodies that have grabbed the fashion today.
Anthony Lee, a Liverpool-based content creator, first heard of Camber after a friend raved about their products. Lie Instagram pages is sprinkled with clichÃ©s of minimalist, useful, but undeniably fashionable outfits. His Camber products have become the garments he measures other heavy jerseys against. âI like that they are made in the United States. I think that gives you kind of a guarantee of quality, âsaid Lee. “I also like that they are completely unbranded other than the tag on the inside, nothing fancy, just a good basic sweatshirt.”
Camber’s products are certainly not cut out for the trends. For years, they have offered the same thirty styles in 11 colors. After a tedious circuit of trade shows, Schwartz assumed that workwear and basics would serve their customers the best. Since then, the company has followed this hypothesis. âI felt that if we stayed true to what we stand for as a very high quality, long lasting American product, our customers would appreciate it regardless of the year,â said Schwartz.
The longevity of Camber products – that they âcan take a real beating before they need to be replaced,â in Lee’s words – is integral to its appeal. Tom Chudley, Director and Founder of London’s Blacksmith shop, said he believes the demand for camber contains an element of reaction to the current state of consumerism. âPeople don’t buy it because it’s cheap and readily available, nor because it’s fashionable,â Chudley said. âCamber is the antithesis of fast fashion. The kind of genuine you can’t fake or buy with a marketing budget.
Ciabatonni, the brand creation expert, agrees. âThe products are cult like this because they’re merit-based and don’t look for the weight,â she said. “If your product speaks for itself, then it will reach the top.”