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Seattle-based wool clothing company launches via Kickstarter

Model Citizen founder Joshua Weinberg, wearing a prototype shirt
Model Citizen founder Joshua Weinberg, wearing a prototype shirt

Joshua Weinberg’s car broke down a few years ago, so he decided to hop on his bike and give the half hour commute to his job in Bend, Ore., a try. He wasn’t sure what to wear, so he bought a compression-fit bike jersey from REI.

“I looked ridiculous,” he said, and his coworkers told him so when he arrived. So the next day he biked to work in a cotton t-shirt and arrived “crazy sweaty.” There’s a reason towels are made from cotton: It absorbs water well.

So he went on a search for a shirt that looks good, performs well on a bike ride and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Not finding exactly what he wanted, he decided to make it himself.

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After experimenting with a bunch of different synthetic materials, none seemed quite right. That lead him to dependable old merino wool. Breathable, water resistant, stylish and comfortable, nothing is quite like wool.

An architect by training, Weinberg moved to Seattle and has been putting together the pieces to launch a clothing line based in Seattle and sewn in Beaverton, Ore., using New Zealand wool.

He hopes to cut costs by selling directly to customers online, Weinberg said.

You can support the venture and score a t-shirt by backing Modern Citizen on Kickstarter. They’re looking to raise $15,000 by the end of April. You get a shirt at the $48 level.

Here’s the video for the project:

Do you have a young Seattle-based bikey business you would like to see featured? Email [email protected].

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18 responses to “Seattle-based wool clothing company launches via Kickstarter”

  1. Gary

    Or you could go to ibex.com or visit the store in the U district, or visit Hub-B Spoke in Freemont and buy your wool shirt now. No risk that it won’t get made. No worries it won’t fit, ( you can try it on now.)

    Some kickstarters seem like the people who start them are clueless about what currently exists.

    1. Gary

      (or visit “icebreaker” http://us.icebreaker.com/ also available on the REI website http://www.rei.com and the discounter http://www.sierratradingpost.com )

      Or there’s http://swrve.myshopify.com/collections/tops/… swrve…

      While I’d be glad to have yet another decent wool garment manufacturer here in the states, and one who made things that bicyclists would want to wear. I don’t see this kickstarter as anything special.

      1. Kirsten

        I have seen this shirt, felt it and can say with complete confidence that it is of higher quality and made better than other merino wool companies out there. It also has an extremely nice fit, is stylish and is a piece you could wear in almost any situation (climbing, biking, work or for a night out on the town). Plus it remains at a very competitive price point (actually almost half of what ibex t-shirts cost) while being made in america. I don’t even think I can claim being biased here — there are plenty of reasons this kickstarter is something unique and special.

    2. Tom Fucoloro

      Such negativity!

      Someone’s starting a business to make wool clothes in the Pacific Northwest. I think that’s pretty cool, and I wish him the best. If the business doesn’t have what it takes, it won’t make it.

      But if it does have what it takes, then there will be another Seattle-based clothing company with a heart for bicycling. That’s a great thing.

      1. Did Pendleton go away?

  2. MIKE

    outlier, rapha, swrve, ibex, Icebreakers, smartwool etc.

    1. meanie

      portland cyclewear, bicycle fixation, MEC, wabi wollens…

      This reminds me of the kick starter for a coffee shop in edmunds someone wanted to open so that the coffee shop they didn’t like would go under. ( bikini barista )

      I personally love wool cyclewear, but the shirt/jersey part of the market has been obliterated. Make some wool or other cycling pants with a decent gusseted crotch and we can talk, but shirts?

  3. gene balk

    $48 for a quality, locally-made merino wool shirt sounds pretty good to me. And I’ll pass on the Rapha $80 made-in-China one, but you guys go ahead.

    1. Gary

      That is a more than fair price. I was initially concerned that to meet the price the fabric would suck. I’ve backed a number of Kickstarter so I’ll do this one as well.

  4. It looks like for now they only make the shirt and for men. It is an interesting kickstarter if you would like a shirt. I don’t think the price is that horrible for something manufactured in the US. Is this picture on 18th Ave? In any case, the woman at MagPie has been more than willing to make my daughter a wool poncho for biking. I like to see more locally made products come out, no need for all the negativity, sheesh!

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      I meant to add: They are hoping to add women’s designs once the fully launch. Right now they just have the one men’s-cut t-shirt for the Kickstarter.

      Also, the woman at MagPie is my landlord! She’s great. And yes, that photo is from 18th (we met and chatted at Tougo).

    2. AJL

      This is my question too. Does it come in women’s sizes and cuts? I mean women’s, not girls, sizing. Would love to see this type of shirt in something I can wear that’s not a man’s cut and therefore, doesn’t quite work for everything I need it for!

      1. AJL

        It does look like there’s plans for women’s shirts, which is great. But why can’t we have them now?

      2. Kirsten

        One of the main goals of the kickstarter is to create funds for the rest of the line of apparel to be made — this includes the women’s line. Right now the first offering is a men’s v-neck but Josh plans to have x-small through x-large sizes available in this cut. I will personally be ordering the smaller size in the shirt because it is such a great shirt and I think it will still fit great and look cool (boyfriend tee anyone?). But once the kickstarter is funded he plans to quickly get the patterns cut for the women’s line of apparel as well as other designs for both men’s and women’s.

  5. David Weinberg

    Joshua’s my kid, so of course, I’m a little biased. Based on a lifetime of experience, a know he’s a stickler for quality, with a great sense of fashion. He’s got the right stuff to make MODEL CITIZEN a great success. Please sign me up for a couple of shirts.
    Good Luck, son.
    Love, Dad

  6. great idea. good luck guys. Thumb up ;)

  7. Kirsten

    Just want to give a quick update here on our progress. We have had a lot of supporters reach us through this article – thank you again to all of you and especially to you Tom for helping us spread the word and writing such an awesome article!

    We have just announced a new stretch goal of $25,000 that would allow us to create a women’s v-neck as an option for our supporters! To learn more and help us reach our goal visit http://kck.st/QC139o

  8. […] this month, we wrote about Model Citizen and its attempt to crowd-fund a Seattle-based and Oregon-made line of wool shirts for men. By far […]

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