Alright Gents, this goes w/out saying – we are proud of our New England roots, our work ethic, and our drive. We are pumped to introduce you to a new brand that shares those exact same ideals. High Gray, a local MA based brand, honors our hard-working heritage with high quality goods made right here in America. Their line of T’s and Ebbets Field Flannels caps capture that well. In fact, we have been sporting the gray logo cap for a few weeks now and have been impressed w/ the vintage style, the Made in America quality, and High Gray’s distinct logo which makes a statement on the cap.
For Mark, High Gray’s owner and designer, it’s all about the attitude and work ethic. The Hands High Boxing T, Earn, Your Way T, and the rest of the product lineup express his intentions well. We especially love the words of encouragement when describing his message behind the Earn, Your Way T: “Don’t just climb the corporate latter. Earn, your way.” I think we can all agree that this sentiment is what makes New England and America great!
High Gray celebrates you, the one rolling up your sleeves and getting it done, not just punching a clock. “High Gray is a scrappy, hustle-related brand meticulously designed to pay homage to the hard working, no-nonsense New Englander spirit.” It’s this spirit that pushes High Gray to the top of our list of new brands we are most pumped about for 2016!
We wanted to know more and connected w/ Mark. We listened intently as he walked us through his brand, the why’s, the when’s, the how’s, and whats happening down the road. So take a bit of time and check it out below – and make sure to snap up a Made In America Ebbets Field vintage wool cap, or one (or 2 or 3) of these gritty New England T’s.
(Life As A Gent) How did it start?
(High Gray) Before it had a name, High Gray was an item in the notes section on my iPhone. With a design background working in an ad agency, I’ve grown accustomed to creating work for a variety of clients to meet business goals in different markets. It’s an amazing job and I’ve learned quite a bit from each client I’ve done work for. However, I wanted to make sure I was still creating personal work that got me excited, that I had autonomy over, and enabled me to refine my craft over time. Creating a new brand from the ground up was something I’ve wanted to pursue for some time. I’ve kept track of ideas for creative side projects over the past five or six years, and one day I finally decided to pursue this one. Reaching the age of 30 I thought, “Someday I’ll hopefully have a family of my own and more responsibility, so I’d better give it a shot now. Whether it be on my morning commute, time in the shower, or minutes before bed, if I had an idea that could expand upon the brand concept I would jot it down. Eventually there was a pretty good direction for the project to head in. High Gray is brand new and still very much a side project, but I’ve got a stockpile of ideas and have since solicited a small team to help keep the wheels churning. With a good foundation set up, we’re really excited about the direction we’re headed.
Why start a New England Based clothing company?
– What was your inspiration?
New England is what I know. I grew up outside of Boston and I’ve spent the majority of my professional career here in the city. Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, as well. New England people are a breed of their own. Their hard-working, no-nonsense kind of spirit is what I’ve been inspired by for as long as I can recall. I saw that spirit first hand growing up with my own family. I think I’d have to give a nod to my old man for passing on the entrepreneurial gene; Thanks, Dad.
Creatively we’ve taken cues from things that represent that kind of work ethic, quality craftsmanship, and hustle. You’ll see things like sports, skilled trades, and entrepreneurship come to life in our first batch of t-shirts and we’ll continue to expand upon those directions as time goes by.
Plans for growth?
Of course. We’re in the process of creating a new batch of T-shirts and caps for Spring and Summer 2016 now. With some luck, we’ll expand in to cut & sew goods and accessories down the road.
What have been some struggles?
Launching a brand is tough, especially when you’re trying to design everything from the logo on up. In the beginning I sat with it for a while, changed things, made tweaks, and threw some ideas out. The general concept needed to feel like a strong foundation to build off of. When I started jotting down more ideas than I could actually produce, I realized it was time to start looking in to production. There was no rush, which was very different from doing client work. Being new to the fashion industry, production was another challenge. It took some time to find people that could help me accomplish what I wanted for our launch, but it came together. As we expand our product line, production will be an ongoing challenge. However, we’ll continue to seek out the best quality materials and manufacturing that the US has to offer.
How is the New England Men’s fashion market?
We were hoping you could tell us! (Just kidding). We’re so new to the industry that we’re still learning the lay of the land and getting our name out there. Building relationships with New England based retailers and making connections in US manufacturing are some of the top priorities right now.
Any collaborations on the horizon?
Definitely, we always have our eyes open for opportunities to collaborate. We love the quality that Ebbets Field Flannels has brought to our lineup so we’re planning on working with them again. There are a lot of other folks out there doing really great work too, and we’d love to make those connections. The closer to home, the better.
Where are your products manufactured?
We’ve launched with a pair of caps for Ebbets Field Flannels, based out of Seattle, WA and a lineup of T-shirts manufactured in California and screen printed in Somerville, MA. Everything we make is manufactured here in the USA, and we aim to keep it that way.
Where can we find your products?
We’re looking to work with local retailers in the near future but currently, High Gray products are only available from our online store: highgray.com.
Ladies and gents, a big thanks to Mark! High Gray is a brand to keep an eye on in 2016 and beyond. Anything that highlights the work ethic and determination of a New Englander is A+ in our books!
Life As A Gent