Some years ago I came across one of the loves of my life: a homebuilt, 30'-long sailboat which I bought and renamed Karmananda. To most people, I guess she didn't look like much, but she was beautiful to me. She needed work but her lines were elegant. I fixed her up over several years and in time she became more beautiful. But there was still something missing. I couldn't find a cotton sailing hat in keeping with the quality of my lovely sloop. Sailors need hats and there wasn't a good-enough one anywhere. Realizing that others besides myself needed one too, I decided, in January 1980, to oversee the making of a proper one.
With a simple phone call I received material help from the Pentagon's clothing consultants (I figured, correctly, that they would know what would last, be comfortable, and be easy to wash and fast to dry, and seldom need ironing). Common Sense said that for strength use the strongest of thread (polyester, but wrapped in cotton so it wouldn't cut through the material), and to sew in lots of stitches (lockstitches, not easily unraveled chain stitches).
Before you know it, "By George, Waldo! I've got the makings of a small business. I'll make travel clothing and sailing hats! I'll make it the best in the world! And then I'll make it even better!"
In January, 1984, I set up a small mail-order company. Alex Tilley and Family's Nautical Gear became Tilley Endurables, Inc. and we prospered nearly immediately. (And no, it has not always been easy). Everything with our name on it is made in Canada. Yes, that’s hundreds of thousands of Hats, and shirts, and underwear…
Travellers have a right to insist upon dependable clothing that can withstand whatever the world has to offer. Function is important also, but not at the expense of comfort, and we've made sure all our Tilleys age ever so gracefully. Simple to clean, too. We aim for clothing you can launder in a hotel sink in the evening, hang to dry, and wear neat and ready to go to breakfast. Not all Tilleys wash 'n' wear this well - but most do. Every hat with our name on it is made in Canada where we can keep a watchful eye.
Proudly Made In Canada