With its chunky oak shop fittings and rugged, pared-down utility wear, there’s something unashamedly butch about this Newburgh Street newcomer. Established in Seattle in 1897, Filson is a bit like a hunky American cousin of Barbour, aimed at hardcore huntin’, shootin’, fishin’ types. Elmer Fudds in the making can stock up on serious utility waxed jackets, shooting vests and canvas gun bags – although there’s nothing stopping the pacifist from toting spare change and a good book in the latter. They’re certainly handsome enough to masquerade as daywear.
While the product design is appealingly simple and fuss-free, the workmanship is intricate – everything is beautifully made at the Seattle-based factory. The new Soho store is Filson’s first outside the US, and is designed to look a bit like an outdoorsy retreat – and a strictly boys’ own zone. Stacks of (utterly redundant) logs line shelves, as if recently thwacked down by a mighty Filson wearer, and furniture is hewn from tremendous slabs of timber. In short - don’t come here if you like your clothes shopping to come scented with a Diptique candle. But the masculine set-up is accompanied by exceptional one-to-one service, and a sense of all-American good quality.
While there is plenty in the way of waterproof outerwear and enough fishing gear to satisfy an army of JR Hartleys, what really stands out are the covetable canvas bags – especially the roomy weekenders – with beautiful bridle leather piping with prices ranging from about £70 to £300. These are the sort of purchases that will last you a lifetime – in fact if you do manage to break one of the indestructible bags, Filsom will replace it, as evidenced by the presence here of old satchels from the ’60s recently returned by a customer, and patched up for re-sale. Another standout line is directed at man’s best friend – a sturdy collection of leather dog collars and leads, from £35.