Dock Rockers

An avowed, unabashed dad-rocker, of late I cannot unshackle myself from these A.M. Goldilocks: not too hot, not too cold, the tunes I want to listen to are caught somewhere in between last year’s Linen Shirts & Lemonade and 2015’s Friday Night Feels. Not for night swimming nor for backyard swinging, Dock Rockers encapsulates a summer vibe all its own. This is for those sure-footed moments with the ones you love, bopping and bumping in the backyard, or as the title might suggest, at dockside, with a breezy drink in hand and the smell of still waters shimmering beneath your Sebagos.

Shortly after I did a deep-dive of what’s come to be known as “Yacht Rock” in a thirteen-and-a-half-hour beta-mix called Better Adult Contemporary, I found a wonderful Salon article that suggests this music is experiencing a renaissance. Infused with plenty of modern riffs on the boat-based fraternity favorites, it admittedly goes all over the place, but after spending several days driving around Los Angeles with the top down, I'm happy to report that it holds up. It even works on shuffle. I'm breaking with my tradition and sharing my summer tunes on the Fourth of July this year in hopes you do so much dock rocking the next two months that you report back on how your boat shoes needed a resole come Labor Day.

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Tracks:

1) Young Gun Silver Fox - Better

2) Mapei - Don’t Wait

3) Amber Mark & Mia Mark - Monsoon

4) Dua Lipa - Thinking ‘bout You

5) HAIM - Little of Your Love

6) accord - No Good

7) Amandla Stenberg - Let My Baby Stay

8) Nilüfer Yanya - Keep on Calling (Vasco Remix)

9) ‘Om’ Alec Khaoli & Umoja - Say You Love Me

10) African Vibration - Hinde

11) Mop Mop - Kamakumba

12) Diane Tell Je suis en amour

13) Maria Gadù - Shimbalaiè

14) Cecilio & Kapono - Someday

15) Khalid - Location

16) Domo Genesis & Anderson .Paak - Dapper

17) Thundercat, Flying Lotus, & Kamasi Washington - Them Changes

18) Childish Gambino - Redbone

19) Guordan Banks - Keep You in Mind

20) SBTRKT & Little Dragon - Wildfire

21) Xavier Omär - Blind Man

22) Twelve’len - My Baby / Scarlet Red Love Tales

23) Lauv - I Like Me Better

24) Bleachers - Goodmorning

25) alt-J - Deadcrush

26) Amy Stroup - Magic

27) Fat Night - Sun Go Down

28) Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love

29) Shabazz Palaces, Quazarz, & Thaddillac

30) Prince - Starfish And Coffee

31) Black Star - Fix Up

32) Surfing - Hit the Spot

33) Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White - Look at What the Light Did Now

34) Chromeo - Lost on the Way Home (feat. Solange)

35) Jordan Rakei - Midnight Mischief (Tom Misch Remix)

36) The Black Crowes - Wiser Time

37) The Building - Have to Forgive

38) Jan Hammer Group - Don’t You Know

39) Vondelpark - California Analog Dream

40) Canyon - Country Lovin

41) Marshall Hain - Take My Number

42) Boss Selection - Flip and Rewind (feat. Rashida Jones)

43) Saint Motel - Something About Us (at Spotify Studios NYC)

44) Omar Velasco - Paloma

45) This Is The Kit - Moonshine Freeze

46) Daniel T. - Mission Hill Morning

47) KAYTRANADA & Syd - You’re the One

48) Temples - Certainty

49) Tennis - In the Morning I’ll Be Better

50) Big L & Jay-Z - Stretch and Bobbito Show ’95

51) Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Ma Cherie Amour

52) Matthew Larkin Cassell - One Night

53) Loggins & Messina - Angry Eyes

54) Dave Mason - Then It’s Alright

55) Todd Rungren - I Saw the Light

56) Willie Mitchell - Breaking Point

57) Ambrosia - Biggest Part of Me

58) Bernie Leadon - Glass Off

59) Sea Level - Living in a Dream

60) Universal Togetherness Band - My Sentiment

61) Brian Protheroe - Pinball

62) Henri Texier - Les “La-bas”

63) Gil Scott-Heron - Lady Day And John Coltrane

64) Talking Heads - The Big Country

65) Buzzy Linhart - The Love’s Still Growing

66) Jacob Gurevitsch - Mexican Margarita

67) Young-Holt Unlimited - Young & Holt

68) Penguin Cafe - Protection

69) Mark Ronson & Kevin Parker - Summer Breaking

70) Amber Mark - Way Back

Track Notes: Kick off with a song from Young Gun Silver Fox, a duo whose freshman effort West End Coast pays heavy tribute to the genre infusing elements of Doobies, Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac, and merges quickly into a six song “she’s suite,” modern music flush with strong feminine voices. My friend Roy threw some excellent African tunes from the 80s on when we were cruising around the Silver Lake Reservoir the other day, and I had to include them here. “Redbone,” Childish Gambino’s latest hit is everywhere. It will be the song of the summer. In effort to include the deepest cuts, a tough task given the ubiquity of seventies soft rock, while eradicating the obvious, I felt compelled to incorporate a top five hit from Ambrosia and Todd Rungren. And since his library’s recent inclusion on Spotify, Prince has been injected this mix [be sure to do the deep-dive on his Purple Rain remastering which includes 26 never-before heard tracks selected by the man himself]. His song “Starfish and Coffee” is an all-time favorite, fresh as the day it first emerged from the Yamaha NS-10s at Paisley Park. Take a deliberate turn south with the inclusion of my all-time favorite band, The Black Crowes, whose Amorica has been something of a recent rediscovery, as I’ve done a deep dive on some high school tunes. Don’t miss Radio That Changed Lives, a great documentary on NYC rap pioneers and DJ Stretch and MC Bobbito. It’s streaming on Netflix now [In middle school, I would trade Grateful Dead tapes for their tapes at Skateport Plaza in Saint Louis]. When he saw that I’d spent several days listening to nothing but Stevie Wonder, my friend Adam shared this strangely cool cover of “Ma Cherie Amour” by Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Everyone needs to see Mike MillsTwentieth Century Women, the best movie I saw last year, if only for the Talking Heads tracks. Famous: The Buzzy Linhart Story broke my heart. Is it me or does this Penguin Cafe tune borrow from this track from James Horner’s score for Sneakers? Be sure to see their Tiny Desk Concert. “Summer Breaking” accompanied me and my friend John on our first surf trip yesterday, and Ronson’s Donald Fagen-esque riffs felt like the best way to round up a seventy-track, five hour, yacht rock mix. 

“Way Back” has been my theme song this summer. 

Also worth a listen, Seafaring Strangers: Private Yacht, Numero Group’s excellent tribute to the genre which was brought to my attention by Jocelyn Romo.

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Factory Visit: The Patagonia Archive

Chouinard Equipment Co., the tin shed where it all started.

Chouinard Equipment Co., the tin shed where it all started.

In March, shortly after I learned that two of Patagonia's iconic designs, the original pile jacket and the Synchilla Snap-T, were to be incorporated into upcoming shows at the Tate Modern and MoMA, I reached out to company archivists Val Franco and Terri Laine to see about a visit.

As Outside Magazine's Brad Rassler describes his visit in November of 2016: 

A 10,000-square-foot facility not far from the former Hells Angels’ Ventura, California, headquarters—a former food canning operation, the address of which I am not to reveal—houses the Patagonia Archives, a project recently launched by the clothing company to chronicle its storied past. No signage betrays the identity of the building’s occupant or hints at the work that takes place within. The archives, you see, are not open to the public. But for one day last November, its doors opened to me.

Terri Laine has been with Patagonia since the mid-80s, and her extensive work in visual merchandising -- incorporating environmentally-friendly materials and practices into brand visuals -- inspired my passion for the brand from very early on.

An employee of the company since its earliest days in the mid-70s, Val Franco is largely responsible for the look and feel of Patagonia's packaging, from the capilene sushi rolls to much of the recycled content you'll find in the hang tags.

The Catalog Library

The Catalog Library

For a little over a year, Laine and Franco have been tasked with preserving and protecting as much of the brand's archives as they possibly can. Founders Yvon and Malinda Chouinard have moved crates and boxes from their Ventura, California home into the space and they've tasked many of their friends to do the same. 

Walking into the archive, I was reminded of my trip to meet Ruth Porter who oversees L.L. Bean's archive. The major difference between a more well-establised archive and a young archive like Patagonia's is noticeable. 

"Shovels and tweezers," Val Franco explained. "Bean's in a place where you need the white gloves and the tweezers to examine their history. We're still digging to get to our archaeological site." 

c/o Terri Lane, Patagonia.

c/o Terri Lane, Patagonia.

Three major highlights of the archive for me were holding one of the first carabiners ever made, Chouinard's own design, the "fish and tits" Pataloha shirt that he wore with a tuxedo at a meeting of the Seven Summits Club in 1985. (Photo by Rick Ridgeway) and the Fun Hogs flag, which flew atop Mount Fitz Roy on December 20, 1968 at the climax of the fateful trip that inspired Chouinard to start Patagonia. For more on that trip, I recommend watching Mountain of Storms, Lito Tejada-Flores’ 1969 adventure film featuring Yvon Chouinard, Doug Tompkins, Dick Dorworth, and Chris Jones.

Dick Dorworth, Doug Tompkins, and Yvon Chouinard after the first ascent of the California Route. December 20, 1968, 8PM. Photo c/o Chris Jones

Dick Dorworth, Doug Tompkins, and Yvon Chouinard after the first ascent of the California Route. December 20, 1968, 8PM. Photo c/o Chris Jones

Shortly after the trip, in the American Alpine Journal, Tompkins wrote, “In general, we were going to ‘hog fun’ as much as we could for six months.” As translated for the locals, the “sporting porks” headed out on a six month road trip where they surfed, skied, and climbed from Ventura to Patagonia and back again in an old Econoline van. Legend has it that Tompkins, who founded The North Face in 1966 and sold it in 1968, had the banner made just before leaving San Francisco.

Patagonia’s geography deeply impacted Chouinard, so much so that he went on to name his company for the range. Later, Tompkins migrated to the region and began acquiring vast tracts of land, and he and his wife Kristy, a former Patagonia executive, turned them into national parks.

The Devil is a Hangdog.

The Devil is a Hangdog.

First generation Chouinard Equipment Co. pitons, painted yellow.

First generation Chouinard Equipment Co. pitons, painted yellow.

Yvon Chouinard and Rick Ridgeway on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.

Yvon Chouinard and Rick Ridgeway on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.

Hand-drawn specs.

Hand-drawn specs.

This early pile jacket will soon be on display at the Tate Modern. Part of a California design retrospective.

This early pile jacket will soon be on display at the Tate Modern. Part of a California design retrospective.

This early Synchilla Snap-T has been added to the permanent collection at MoMA. Of special note, the off-set snap on the chest pocket was designed by a member of Patagonia's sailing department. "It kept his sunglasses from sliding into his armpit," Laine explained. That shape continues to reappear in designs new and old today. 

This early Synchilla Snap-T has been added to the permanent collection at MoMA. Of special note, the off-set snap on the chest pocket was designed by a member of Patagonia's sailing department. "It kept his sunglasses from sliding into his armpit," Laine explained. That shape continues to reappear in designs new and old today. 

Hand-painted specs sheet for the earliest rugby shirts.

Hand-painted specs sheet for the earliest rugby shirts.

These rugged Umbro rugby shirts were roomy and perfect for climbing. Included in the Chouinard Equipment Co. catalog alongside some heavyweight corduroy shorts, Chouinard saw an opportunity when his hardware sales began to be outpaced by what he then referred to as his "software," and Patagonia was born.

These rugged Umbro rugby shirts were roomy and perfect for climbing. Included in the Chouinard Equipment Co. catalog alongside some heavyweight corduroy shorts, Chouinard saw an opportunity when his hardware sales began to be outpaced by what he then referred to as his "software," and Patagonia was born.

For more on the archive, be sure to read Brad Rassler's piece in Outside Magazine.

For more on Patagonia, I recommend reading the tenth anniversary revision of Let My People Go SurfingYvon Chouinard's masterwork, a book that changed my life and countless others. 

Special thanks to Patagonia and to Val Franco and Terri Laine for their hours-upon-hours of time and care -- not just for me but for anyone who is passionate about the outdoors and this company that does so much to preserve and protect those wild experiences for the generations to come. 

The California Shirt on Esquire.com

I woke up this morning to a text message from Michael B. Dougherty, author of the latest post at Esquire.com. The text simply read, "BOOM." It was followed by a link to his story. It's about my journey to making the first product to carry my name, The California Shirt. 

BOOM is right. It's fitting that the first story about a product made from my life's history (this shirt's pattern is based on my father's first custom shirt which became a hand-me-down for me and my brother) would come from Esquire. 

It's likely that I wore my dad's shirt on or around the time that I discovered in the back of Mr. Jerry Boyle's AP English classroom a pile of vintage Esquires. Mr. Boyle liked to heap praise on his students comparing us to his favorite of Esquire writers from the sixties. Where others were compared to Baldwin, Mailer, or Talese, after a fluffy story of my family's fall traditions, he dropped my (A-) paper on the desk in front of me with a delightful, delayed delivery, chewing his words: "Mis-ter Wast-ler.... a nice attempt at Nora Ephron...." 

I would've been fine dying then and there. Esquire was also once home to one of my college mentors, Mr. Tom Chiarella, whose ability to tie the personal narrative to many of our national conversations is unrivaled among his peers today. In my time under his care, I leaned on him more often than I probably should have for fluffier stories with a particularly collegiate bent to them: profiles of the women's rugby team or a takedown of the Administration following the suspension of one professor or another, or somehow tying a campus cycling race to the Tour de France. 

But today, I am featured not as a writer but as a merchant, and Dougherty did a wonderful job encapsulating what I am attempting with this first offering. It should be noted that as acquaintances, he reached out to me at a time when I felt uncomfortable seeking press. I actually deliberately did not seek publicity hoping instead to allow for the proof of my concept to speak for itself on this early beta run of what is to come. Granted, I am entirely grateful to him for the platform, for the kind words, and for the opportunity to share more of the behind-the-scenes. 

If you have time to read his profile, I would be grateful. I suppose it goes without saying, nonetheless I sit here humbled to see words I've spoken gracing a space authorized by a publication I have admired for so long. Thank you again to Michael B. Dougherty and to Esquire.

The California Shirt

Photos courtesy of Carolina Mariana

Photos courtesy of Carolina Mariana

Consideration is defined as “careful thought, typically over a period of time.”

For the past decade, my central focus has been men’s clothing. For a time in 2009 and 2010, I traveled a twelve-state territory in the center of the country selling shirts and ties to high-end men’s boutiques. Prior to this experience, it had been my dream to build button-downs with flourishes that I liked in a well-made men’s shirt. Through my experience as a traveling salesman, I learned that many of those flourishes were just that, ostentatious and superfluous to the function and quality of the shirt itself. What has remained exists in this first offering from the newly formed company which bears my name, Max Wastler.

Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly. - Epictetus

I spent my entire childhood shopping. I would pore over catalogs, magazines, and racks of clothing, obsessing over every detail. I inherited my father’s extensive mental checklist for quality and value and my mother’s inherent ability to foresee a trend. As I grew older, I began modifying my tastes to suit the fashions of the day, learning the implied messages that clothing sends.

From early on, the shirt was the center of this obsession. It’s the billboard. When we meet, it’s the first thing we see. It expresses so much, so quickly. It covers the core of our being: the heart, the lungs, the stomach, and the arms. I have owned every kind of shirt you can imagine, and in the process, I have learned some valuable lessons. These lessons largely informed my first offering, The California Shirt.

Blue Years ago, a mentor of mine told me, “A man needs two things in this life: a blue shirt and a blue shirt.” He was right.

Gingham Long associated with scooter-cruising Mods and before them, fellow Kansan, Dorothy Gale, gingham has reemerged in recent years as a staple of men’s shirting. Prior to this, in 2008, I wore a navy gingham shirt to a wedding. A groomsman told me I looked like a picnic table. By the time we were dancing, he had the crowd chanting, “Go, Picnic Table, Go, Picnic Table, Go!”

Durable In 2010, a shirt sat atop my mother’s clothing donation pile. Examining it, I recognized it as one I had spent the last year selling. With signatures like double-track stitching on the collar, a chalk button, a box pleat, a trim fit, and a “Made in U.S.A” label. In 1989, after moving our family to a new city to start a new job, my father had this shirt made, a rare move for a man who never buys anything for himself. While flipping through my high school yearbooks not too long ago, I discovered I had worn this shirt, his hand-me-down on my first day of high school. My brother wore it after me, and after rescuing it from the donation pile, I have continued wearing it to this day. I hope my shirts last you and your family a quarter-century or more.

Seasons of Love How do you measure a year? In 2016, I moved from Chicago to Los Angeles. Upon arriving, I mentioned to a friend that my wardrobe was too heavy, and he replied, pointing to the linen shirt I was wearing, “you’re going to need more of these.” I designed this with two flap pockets to keep my phone from falling out of my breast pocket, and to stash my favorite pair of wayfarers or an ice-cold stubbie of Coors Banquet Beer.

The California Shirt Now you know why I call this lightweight yet durable shirt “The California Shirt.”

For more details on the shirt itself, visit The Shop.

Max Wastler’s Guarantee For me, the sale isn’t complete until the goods are worn out and you are still satisfied. I am committed to delivering well-made, well-considered, dependable products. If you are not satisfied with one of my products at the time you receive it, or if it does not perform to your satisfaction, please return it for a repair, replacement, or refund. If you are uncomfortable doing so, I will gladly repair anything worn or torn at a reasonable charge. Above everything, I want to avoid having a dissatisfied customer.

From the Archive: Made Right Here: Schutt Sports

Now that we're within a couple hours of professional football's regular season kick-off, take a look back at the surprising process that goes into making a helmet by hand. At Schutt Sports in Litchfield, Illinois, it really is a family affair. 

While you're at it, take a minute to read 61 Reasons to Love the NFL in 2016Tom Chiarella's latest for Bleacher Report

From the Archive: "Enjoy every sandwich." - Warren Zevon

As I reflect back thirteen years ago today on the passing of Warren Zevon, a musician and songwriter who had a massive influence on my life, I am reminded of this post which originally appeared on All Plaidout in May of last year as I was preparing to say goodbye to another impactful man, David Letterman

Take a moment to enjoy all of the known appearances of Zevon on Letterman's programs throughout the years, read about their special relationship, and as his parting words to Dave would suggest, enjoy every sandwich

The full post can be found here.

Linen Shirts & Lemonade

I’d like to resurrect the slow dance.

Yes, I know. It’s not really dead, but its prominence at casual social gatherings among my friends and loved ones has diminished continually throughout my life. I recall a time as a young boy seeing couples at backyard barbecues swaying their hips between sips from a bottle of Bartles & Jaymes or a tall, gold can of Coors, the light butt taps in time on pastel-colored madras shorts and flirty sundresses, the meeting of the eyes, the widening of the smile, the soft nuzzle, and then the emphatic twirl.

Affectionately called “Linen Shirts & Lemonade,” this is a mix of tunes that comprised much of my summer, a summer spent soaking up my last days as a Chicagoan, strutting my way through Mississippi, boot-scooting across the southern United States, bobbing along the rushing Colorado River waters, spinning my legs and my dizzy head up a Vail trail, and driving -- oh my, the driving -- all over California. As I was compiling them for you to enjoy at your Labor Day weekend festivities, I came to realize many of these songs rekindled that swaying late-summer yard party that I miss so much. Listen. You can hear it: arriving to the buzz of a cocktail hour that’s louder than the croak of a cicada field, hitting the dance floor hard with a skip in your step and your hands in the air, and then searching into the dark of night for your sweetheart to tell her that you love her and then give her a nice firm turn and careful dip. And after you have wound your way down a moonlit road, you stand with her in the doorway, unsure if those are the stars in her eyes or the shine of affection. You end the night with a kiss, salty and sweet and better than any dessert created by man or God. Sunday Candy.

Thank you for continuing to follow my playlists. And thank you to all the laborers who keep this country working as well as it does. I hope this mix, Linen Shirts & Lemonade, truly does aid in your enjoyment of a much-deserved day off.

Linen Shirts & Lemonade

  1. Shel Silverstein - Hug o’ War

  2. Patrinell Staten - I Let A Good Man Go

  3. Soul Survivors - Expressway to Your Heart

  4. J.J. Jackson - But It’s Alright

  5. Skyy - Call Me

  6. 3rd Bass - The Gas Face

  7. Poor Righteous Teachers - Rock Dis Funky Joint

  8. Gang Starr - Step in the Arena

  9. John Holt - Sister Big Stuff

  10. The Kinks - Picture Book

  11. Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers - Mr. Saturday Night

  12. Eric Clapton - Can’t Let You Do It

  13. Wilco - Someone to Lose

  14. Angel Olsen - Shut Up Kiss Me

  15. Margaret Glaspy - Emotions And Math

  16. Manu Chao - Bongo Bong

  17. Three Dog Night - Shambala

  18. Shake Russell - Troubles

  19. Grateful Dead - Fire On The Mountain

  20. Old & In The Way - Wild Horses

  21. Van Morrison & Brooks Arthur - Sante Fe / Beautiful Obsession

  22. Bill Withers - Sweet Wanomi

  23. JJ Grey & Mofro - Tupelo Honey

  24. Faces - Love Lives Here

  25. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - No Reason to Cry

  26. Doc Watson - Deep River Blues

  27. Dave Rawlings Machine - Sweet Tooth

  28. Willie Watson - Bring It With You When You Come

  29. Paul Simon - Peace Like a River

  30. Whiskeytown - Everything I Do

  31. Joe South - Games People Play

  32. Tony Joe White - I Want You

  33. Paul Revere & The Raiders - Powder Blue Mercedes Queen

  34. Junction - Sorcerer

  35. The Guess Who - Ramblin Gamblin Man

  36. Marcia Griffiths - Here I Am Baby

  37. Vulfpeck - Back Pocket

  38. James Taylor - Day Tripper

  39. Donny Hathaway - Magnificent Sanctuary Band

  40. The Cannonball Adderley Quintet - Mercy, Mercy, Mercy

  41. Isaac Delusion - Midnight Sun

  42. Loudon Wainwright III - Hollywood Hopeful

  43. Vince Bell - Sun & Moon & Stars

  44. Gene & Debbe - Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye

  45. George Harrison - Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

  46. Bob Wills - Stay All Night (Stay A Little Longer)

  47. Josh Garrels - Farther Along

  48. Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment - Sunday Candy

You can find the whole thing, Linen Shirts & Lemonade on Spotify.

President Barack Obama on Feminism

Though I prefer to allow my actions rather than my words reflect my politics and my beliefs, I was inspired to share this photo of my mother after reading the president's remarks on feminism. I related to one passage in particular. "I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was, how the world perceived me, and what kind of man I wanted to be. It’s easy to absorb all kinds of messages from society about masculinity and come to believe that there’s a right way and a wrong way to be a man. But as I got older, I realized that my ideas about being a tough guy or cool guy just weren’t me. They were a manifestation of my youth and insecurity. Life became a lot easier when I simply started being myself."

I debated for some time whether or not to share this, and I wrote thousands of words before finally realizing he says it better. Take time to read and share his thoughts with the would-be feminists in your life. 

Max Wastler's City Guide for Barneys New York: The Window

Faribault Woolen Mill x All Plaidout

Faribault Woolen Mill x All Plaidout

When the time came to name this All Plaidout, a blog with posts about things that are not trendy, about the stories of style over fashion, about the stories behind the clothes we wear, I turned to the rich history of a cloth pattern known as a tartan. I chose the tartan most emblematic of my style, my appreciation of history, and the one that most often showed up in my closet from as early on as I can remember, the Black Watch.

A dark, neutral tartan, it was first worn by the watchmen, highly trained members of the Scottish military who’d combined their clan’s patterns to stand as one. Owed primarily to its widely appealing aesthetic quality, it has become one of the most popular and sought after plaids.

When collaborating with John Mooty at Faribault Woolen Mill on a Black Watch plaid blanket, he offered a unique suggestion.

“Let’s ground it in the threads of the U.S. Military blankets for which we’re most well-known,” Mooty said.

By combining the green from the U.S. Army, the blue from the U.S. Navy, and the black from the West Point Academy blankets, Faribault has created a subtly new, beautiful, and altogether American take on a pattern with a rich and wonderful history.