Just as the final week of 2011 was winding down, friends Jacob Hurwitz and David Neill got the best holiday present ever from Kickstarter—the email announcing that their campaign to start their own menswear line, American Trench, had been funded. "The site has a button you push that turns green, and clicking it felt like launching a rocket," explains Jacob. "It felt so right to end that year with a new beginning."
But to back up a bit: The childhood buddies, who both studied art, first started brainstorming their own company after seeing many people around them reeling from the 2008 recession. "We both wanted to make something in America since people were losing their jobs left and right," Jacob remembers. Their shared struggle to find a trench coat that was up-to-snuff—or made on this side of the pond—set the designing wheels in motion. So, the duo boned up on the nuts and bolts of manufacturing, nailed their crowdfunding goals to the wall, and quickly expanded their line of sturdy outerwear to include apparel and cozy socks in primary colors and classic patterns that would make both Mr. Rogers and the hippest dude you know happy (shout-out to the herringbone and houndstooth). But as the offerings expand, the ethos stays the same: “It’s very simple,” Jacob says. “We are trying to do the best for the people around us.” —neha kulsh