When I was introduced to Ryan Huston I didn't realize that I had already read about him. I had heard of a local fabric manufacturer that peaked my interest, a husband and wife team who refurbished vintage machines and started making their own fabric in Sacramento, CA. I wasn't ready to buy fabric at the time, I had just made a huge purchase for Spring and was dead set on my budget. But of course, by the time Ryan walked away, I had purchased the last of his cotton canvas and made plans to drive up and see where it was made.
Ryan and his wife started Huston Textile Company in 2014 after Ryan served in the United States Army and relocated to Northern California. Feeling frustrated after not being able to find a locally made baby wrap for his newborn daughter, Huston took matters into his own hands and started making his own. What happened next was sparked by his interest in old machinery, hands on technique, and a desire for local manufacturing.
Walking into Ryan's workspace is like stepping back in time: vintage looms, sewing machines, and even an old military vehicle from the Oakland Navy Supply Depot fill the space. As we walked around, Ryan enthusiastically explained every piece of machinery and its crucial role in making the fabric. I have never seen someone so clearly inspired and invested in their craft, Ryan's curiosity for his tools, machines, and fabrics is truly contagious.
All of Ryan's looms are 1960's Draper looms, the last made before the industry took a turn into what we know now as the modern industrial loom. These machines are designed to make mid-weight, selvedge fabric: meaning the edges are already finished and can be incorporated into a garment.
I spotted my fabric waiting to be rolled up and ready to go. Ryan explained every step in the supply chain that occurred to make my new cotton canvas. It is 100% American Upland Cotton that was grown and processed in various areas of the South, spun and twisted in Georgia with no additional chemical treatments, and finally brought over to California, where Ryan and his vintage looms wove it into its finished state.
When I think about all of the steps that had to happen in order for me to have this fabric I get overwhelmed in the best way. It seems like a new way of manufacturing clothes but ironically draws on the past, back when fast fashion didn't exist and supply chains could easily be traced. Even though I love working with deadstock fabric, there is something so magical at not only knowing where my materials are coming from but also meeting the person who made it. I'm so proud that this fabric was grown and manufactured entirely in the United States and that I know my purchase directly supports Ryan, his family, and his dream that seems to align so closely with mine.