Hey there, my name is Evan Morrison, and I am a co-owner here at Hudson's Hill. For the last 11+ years, I have fallen into the proverbial rabbit hole of the apparel and textile industry, and haven't yet hit the bottom!
I partnered with William and Tinker in 2013 to merge our two concepts, Civic Threads and Gate City Dry Goods, culminating in the creation of Hudson's Hill. Over those 10 years of running the collective businesses, I've learned a lot. Not just a lot about how to run a business, how to work within a team dynamic, and not just about the foot traffic that walks through the front door, but even more about how things are made, sourced, and how to make them myself.
Since the Hudson's Hill rebranding, we have produced, under our own label, everything from sneakers to hats, shirts to jackets, shoelaces to soaps, belts, coasters, wallets, socks, bags, tags, postcards, jewelry, tees, and so, so much more.
We've never bought into the concept of seasons, color trends, or gimmicks, unless they're really cool gimmicks. Instead, we have focused on producing and curating items that are durably built, thoughtfully sourced, well-made, and from trusted USA brands.
Through the last decade, I've been mainly responsible for behind-the-scenes work, from product development to repairs, private label orders and brand collaborations. I've amassed a fleet of antique industrial machines and other equipment that have since permitted me, with practice, to be able to make a lot of things other people can't, and to do as much of it as possible myself, and at times in production pods with others from our team.
I'm a self-taught sewing machine operator/repairman, a loom fixer, weaver, dreamer, patternmaker, draftsman, fabricator, auto mechanic, tinkerer, gardener, and creator.
But oustide of work, I'm a family man. I am a son, and recently a husband and stepfather. My wife is my best friend, and I am blessed forever because of that alone, everything else is just icing on the cake. My mom's parents raised me about half my childhood, and my grandmother asked me to stay around Greensboro and to try to make it a better place. I'd like to think that for the last decade, that's exactly what I've done, made her proud. But it's not what I've done, it's what we've done. Together.
Being a good neighbor is important to me, especially in a moment of need. When the pandemic hit in 2020, it felt right to answer the call with the wheelhouse I had assembled. We coordinated with Cone Health and Elevate Textiles to produce face masks to help the people of our city, during the time they needed help most. Our four person team spent 20+ hours a day, every day of the week for months and months, making hospital-approved face masks with medical-grade breathable barrier fabrics in partnership with these two local businesses, and supplied hundreds of thousands of masks to our neighbors across the state, and millions across the United States. NC State University sponsored my efforts through CARES Act funding for official ASTM testing on our two-layer masks, which helped qualified the designs for patentability through performance evaluation.
At the end of the year in 2020, I helped to formalize the establishment of White Oak Legacy Foundation, and by early 2021, I built a production arm of the non-profit organization that we since have spun off, and we began weaving narrow shuttle denim on old Draper X-3 looms at the old White Oak plant under the name Proximity Manufacturing Company. This name is important, because it was the first denim producer in Greensboro, back in 1896. I like to think we are doing our part to preserve history and to tell its story in a new chapter, by electing to use this name. This was the main reason I was able to talk my wingman Greg into moving here in 2018, with the promise that we would get some of these old looms running, and so we did just that and more. Since March 2021, we have produced thousands of yards (several miles, in fact) of denim, in dozens of construction styles, and been fortunate to receive support from numerous brands, large and small. I serve as the head of operations for this enterprise. I source the yarn, drive my uncle's truck to Georgia to get warped beams of indigo dyed yarn, go hunting for old parts around the southeast, fix and repair the looms when they break down, work with customers, measure, inspect, and pack the cloth, work with brands to develop products and understand the nature of unsanforized fabric, and even make some sample clothing out of the cloth we weave. Recently, I began a project with several other NC-based companies to develop and produce a variety of proprietary yarns using novel blending ratios and input materials.
I have served on staff at Revolution Mill since 2015, where I am responsible for the artifacts on display about the hallways, special events, history exhibitions, and other specialty maintenance work. In fact, WOLF has two exhibits open to the public there now. I have an office there, where Greg and I archive vintage clothing and ephemeral objects, along with a cut and sew facility that I've set up there to use for production for the store, and for a few, hand-picked private label customers.
For the last two years, I have kindled a strong, tight-knit relationship with Justin James, owner of Opie Way, and worked alongside him to design, source, develop, and produce some amazing sneakers, all right here in NC. We have a lot in store for the next calendar year, and we can't wait to share these projects with you. He's more than a colleague, he's now my good friend, and I'm proud to call him my brother, even though he comes from another mother.
Now that you know a bit more about me, here's some answers to the questions posed to our team:
My nickname in high school was EMO, but that doesn't seem so cool now that its become a music genre, one which I don't particularly care for, and some family calls me Ev, while a few friends call me big E (like old Levi's).
My full-time job is performing janitorial maintenance on of a lot of things, wearing a lot of different hats, and trying to keep the juggling act going!
My favorite item at the store is the Waterproof Coal Bag. They're a beast to make entirely on a single needle Singer lockstitch machine, and some of those thick ones will make you sweat to make all of the side folds and corner turn up properly. They are indestructible, unless your goal is to destroy one, in which case I'm sure you could.
My favorite local breakfast spot is Chez Genese. Everytime I've been there it's been delicious. The only downside is that half of Greensboro agrees, so the line is always a tad long, so I don't go often. But when I do, I order the Croque Monsieur. For lunch, Brown Gardiner is where you'll find me several days a week. I usually order the club sandwich or a BLT with a fried chicken filet added. However, recently their cook, Isaiyah, began making braised beef tacos with homemade salsa cruda and pico, which they serve only on Wednesdays. I think that is truly the sleeper lunch meal in the entire city (cat's out of the bag now!), because everyone knows about Banh Mi Saigon Bakery nowadays. For supper, I like San Luis' Monster Burrito Chile Verde. That is the bomb.com, no need for further explanation. If you eat meat and like spicy, give it a try, and ask for two extra ramkins of salsa verde.
My drink of choice is Corona Familiar (not Light!) for a beer, Counter Culture's Forty Six Bean coffee in the morning or during the workday, and Casamigos Mezcal with Topo Chico and two lime wedges for a cocktail. My good friend Scott Corey of Santa Fe Vintage, who passed in 2019, got me hooked on that cocktail, commonly called a Ranch Water in the Southwestern US.
Something not many people know about me is that I was voted "Most Likely to Become a Politician" in 4th grade at Erwin Elementary School, again at Grimsley High School, a third time at the University of Tennessee during undergrad, and once again during graduate school at Ole Miss. For the record, I’m registered as nonpartisan.
For a favorite news source, I go back and forth between Al Jazeera, Le Figaro, and Wall Street Journal. It's hard to tell what lacks bias these days, and I'm not big on ads, so I still prefer to just pick up and read the print version of the WSJ every day.
If I could go anywhere on vacation, it would be with my wife and stepdaughter to her home state of New Mexico, where she has a large family, including a family-owned restaurant that is celebrating its 50th anniversary, Benny's, and was recently featured in New Mexico Magazine. Her grandfather, Benny, coined the phrase Taco Tuesday back in the 1980's, and they've been slinging thousands of tacos every Tuesday since. There's something tranquil about being out there, the dry heat, the cool nights, and I especially enjoy driving up north to visit Josh and Teo, the owners of Santa Fe Vintage.
My favorite sports team is Juventus, a soccer team from Torino, Italy in the Serie A. My favorite athlete is Tim Duncan. For starters, he played at Wake Forest and coached at the Dave Odom basketball camp I attended as a kid, but I have never seen another NBA player own the rights to the bank shot seven days a week.
One thing I never leave home without? Brushing my teeth.
If I were a flavor of ice cream at Yum Yum's, I would be chocolate almond. At surface, I look just like ordinary chocolate, but inside it's a bit nutty, textured, and a lot more flavorful. I guess I like to say that flavor because I do actually like it, but also because I tend to be seen wearing work clothes, often dirty, and sometimes the looks people give you shows how easy it is to assume. But, not all is as it appears.