WRATH ARCANE: Home-Grown Fair Apparel

The name WRATH ARCANE implies something kind of hardcore–and it is, but not in the way you might think. It’s actually a small Cleveland, OH-based menswear label with a big mission.

I was contacted by Sean B, one of their primary designers, who was happy to explain the name: “our name taken literally means ‘secret anger’ or ‘forgotten rage’. Your book talks about how people (consumers) are disconnected from the entire process that has ‘magically’ made the goods they buy appear in stores. If you could take any product in any room, and you somehow understand every detail that went into making it and getting it here, you would feel differently about that product, most likely you’d feel frustrated and angry. This is WRATH ARCANE, this anger that consumers would feel, but don’t know enough (or care enough) to feel is WRATH ARCANE.”

The two-year old label wants to make people aware of the importance of fairness and ethics in the production process.

“All of our production happens in the US,” Sean explains. “Except for one style of leather jacket that is cut and sewn in Montreal.”

Their main factory is in Palmerton, PA and its workers are home-grown. Sometimes when demand is heavy, their main factory uses a partially-owned factory in New York City, where the workers are primarily Chinese, but Sean assures these workers are paid the same as those working in PA.

“Our Cleveland studio is in a building that used to be a garment factory when Cleveland was really thriving,” Sean says. “Cleveland had the first ever vertically integrated factory (Richmond Bros.) and also invented a lot of production techniques that are still used today. Now there is nothing. It’s impossible for us to not be affected by the graveyard of garment factories that surround us. Cleveland used to be the second largest garment producing city in the US behind only NY. You wrote that observers believe that there will be no garment factories left in the US after 2010. We and other labels and factories are refusing to let this happen, and at a small scale (hopefully a growing scale) we are helping to change this. Domestic production is huge (if not everything) for us. Our tags even read ‘DOMESTICALLY PRODUCED ACTIVISM’.”

When you check them out, don’t be turned off by the massive blindfolds over the models’ faces. The label’s own page explains: “We never want a model to sell our line. That’s why we use the masks. Too many brands are 90% model, 10% clothing… and 0% about making our industry better.” And making the industry better is what WRATH ARCANE is all about.

Give them a go.

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