With his eponymous clothing label, Rhode Islander Kiel James Patrick is on a mission to make his native Ocean State a national fashion hotspot. It started in 2009, when Patrick and longtime girlfriend and design partner, Sarah Vickers, decided to sell their handwoven sailor's bracelets at a local craft show (the duo sold hundreds in one day). With much of his childhood spent in the water and his beloved Boy Scouts, Patrick went on to build a brand that reflected his New England youth – Marine-grade rope belts and canvas bags adorned with nautical insignia. "I wanted to create the look of American lifestyle as I knew it: classic, effortless, elegance," says Patrick.
Many of Patrick's now 25 employees weave Croffix Sailing Belts by hand, dedicating over an hour and a half to sewing and stitching the cotton rope before reinforcing it with a beautiful vegetable-tanned leather strap sourced from fellow New Englander Frank Clegg. "The rope is custom-made for us, then custom-dyed to achieve a weathered look," says Patrick. "Everything else we do right out of our Pawtucket headquarters." Our favorites include the "JFK," a red, white, and blue number best worn with khakis and boat shoes, and the green and blue "Clayton's Canopy Hammocks," which we pair with jeans and a plain white tee. Rhode Island may not become the nation's next fashion's capital, but we'd put our money on Kiel James Patrick becoming the next great American brand. [$88; kieljamespatrick.com]