Made in VT: Slow Process

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 5:37 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - In the ever-changing fashion world, old is in and new is out. Now, thrifted, thoughtful, and hand-made products are in the spotlight, as people turn away from fast fashion. That’s where a Burlington-based business shines.

“So, it’s a lot of vintage and antique textiles that get transformed into kind of fun -- more beautiful takes on classic menswear silhouettes,” said Sam Zollman, who started taking community clothes-making classes about six years ago and launched Slow Process in Boston about five years ago. He says his mission is to “fix the male uniform.”

“Menswear is, in my opinion, generally pretty boring. People that wear menswear want something that’s beautiful, but don’t really know what that looks like,” Zollman said.

He takes familiar, comfortable styles, and recreates them to be a bit bolder. He describes the style as heritage and athletic-inspired, but playful. And, he often does it using antique fabrics. “There’s so much fabric already out there,” he said.

Zollman has turned grain bags into shirts, and blankets into jackets. “So, it’s fabric from the 1800s, hand-woven throughout Appalachia,” he said, describing a very funky varsity-style jacket called The Linsey-Woolsey. “When you find these old blankets, they’ve already had a purpose and a life and they’ve already lived in someone’s home or been in someone’s chest or whatever, and I feel like that spirit really carries into the clothes that I make.”

Zollman says he thinks the unique history of the fabric encourages customers to treasure the clothes more. Plus, there are other benefits to using old textiles that are evident upon touching these clothes. “More durable, softer, denser weave. There’s just a tactile quality to it you can’t find easily these days,” he said. He also recognizes that these pieces may not be for everyone -- not right away, at least. “I see a lot of people that say this would look amazing on someone else, but I think what they really mean is that they like it themselves but aren’t quite ready yet to make that leap to try it on or whatever.”

These clothes come with a high price tag, though Zollman says the hand-sewn, one-of-a-kind pieces come with soul, too. Soul that you can’t find anywhere else.