Q&A with Mac Bishop Part II: Founder of NATIVE(X)
The wool from Pendleton has maintained much of its original qualities since the company decided to relocate its mill to northeastern Oregon in 1909. For more than a century, Pendleton has produced its iconic patterns and colors, lending its wool to some of this country’s greatest American-made designs. With its launch last year, NATIVE(X) has utilized Pendleton’s fabrics and provided its own unique spin on the time-honored patterns, recently expanding its line to include iPad sleeves and wallets. Mac Bishop and Nathaniel Wilkerson’s take on their Wheat iPad case may be my favorite tech accessory to date.
Haute Americana: What was the inspiration behind your line of wallets and iPad covers?
Mac Bishop: Nathaniel and I got together to plan for 2012 using our 2011 collaboration as a benchmark. We wanted to introduce more people to Northwest Coast designs and the story of Nathaniel’s people. As a member of the Wolf Clan (Lax Gibuu), house of “Amagyet”, Nathaniel decided to use his Medeek (Grizzly Bear) design because it holds a special meaning to Nathaniel and his family. The Medeek design is embossed on each leather label under the NATIVE(X) logo.
With the iPad sleeve, we found a gap in the marketplace. I’m gonna bet than 99% of all iPad sleeves are made overseas due to technical manufacturing needs. We rethought the iPad sleeve to make it more fashionable and functional. The simple construction lets the design and materials standout. You can also be proud of where and how it’s made.
HA: Over the past couple of months given all of the media attention the made in America movement has received, have you noticed a change in customer awareness regarding where their items are produced?
MB: Since Ralph Lauren’s Olympic uniform controversy, I’ve seen an uptick in interest. This single event made such an impact because most of us are unaware how little of what we buy is actually made in the USA. This initial shock value had huge ripple effects in social media. I don’t see the ‘Made in America’ obsession dying out.
HA: Why do you think now is such a prime time for the resurgence of ‘Made in the U.S.A’ sentiment?
MB: A few factors make 2012 a special year for Made in America.
As a country, we’re feeling patriotic after the Olympics. Hearing athletes describe the significance of wearing the USA letters and how they want to give back and make their country proud reminds us how lucky we are to live in America.
It’s also election year and our country’s future and its leader is the number one topic. This in-itself spurs discussion and an interest in the well being of our country. Although it may not seem like it, each citizen is empowered and can make an impact with one vote.
The economy, as in most other elections, is a primary focus of each party. Regardless of who wins the election and their economic plan, consumers will always have the power to ‘vote’ with their dollars. Do you look at price or value? Value could include a higher quality, longer lasting product or knowing that your purchase supports American jobs. I’m not saying that one is better, but it seems that value and quality are becoming more important to the American consumer. It all starts with being more cognizant of where our dollars go and the impact they make or could make.
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