Black Bear Brand’s connection with its makers is what drives the essence of this company. When creating a product, we design with purpose. Everything we do is done by the makers for the makers. This essential group of people is the “Union of Makers.” It consists of artists, workers, and makers of all walks of life. It’s focus is on creating utilitarian products that meet the high quality standards that we desire by nature.The intention is in the details, to always serve a PURPOSE with pragmatism and refined tailoring.
The original Black Manufacturing - Black Bear Brand had been part of the Pacific Northwest landscape for almost 100 years. Today, a union of persons are focused on a revived Black Bear Brand that is true to that heritage; one that strips away the diluted and mass-produced feel of other modern brands. It is a union focused on preserving the history, keeping the products simple, and keeping the story alive.
At the turn of the 20th century, Americans streamed Westward. When looking to this frontier, a few set upon the vast expanse of wilderness to the North and West. The cold water of the Pacific and Salish seas, the rugged peaks of the Cascades, and the powerful rivers of the Kootenays, Columbia, and Snake framed their experience.
George G. Black, the founder of the original Black Bear Brand, found success by providing this market with straightforward clothing that was built to endure. At its peak, more than five hundred unionized employees in Seattle earned their living making these durable products: for the timber workers felling red cedar and Douglas fir, for the women riveting the bombers their men flew to war, and for the engineers constructing the dams that would reshape the land itself and power the future. Black Bear Brand were (produced?) goods that these people depended on.
We carry on this history by providing reinterpretations of classic work wear that remain true to the quality, grit and rawness of the original. Through our collaborations with others and by swinging our own hammer, we’re etching out our name—with a style that is both timeless and progressive, with clothing that is adaptable but intensely resonant of the past.
Ultimately, our passion is simple: producing the highest quality goods that merit the label “Standard of the West.”
The name “Union of Makers” was conceived around what we are about: Collaborating, uniting and making things together. It also conveys the notion of a team making well-made and aesthetically classic goods. While some of what we produce/make does come from union shops, that’s a happy coincidence. We are interested in producing/making well-made American style and aesthetically classic goods, many of which are made in the United States, but we’re not affiliated with any unions, other than the unions, civil and otherwise, that tie us all together.