Q: What is the best size for me?
A: Our first thought, if you’re a Medium in one Relwen product, you should consider yourself a Medium in all Relwen products. Not all products are shaped or cut in the same way. Some styles are intended for a leaner look or alternatively cut looser to allow room for layering, particularly in the case of a parka or more extreme outer layer. A knit top is typically going to be a few inches around (or across at chest) smaller than a woven shirt simply due to a knit fabric’s ability to stretch and move with the wearer. Likewise, some fabrics (particularly knits) will “grow” on the wearer as they are lived-in and could begin life a bit shorter and narrower for the same reason. Additionally, natural fiber garments can be manipulated via wash or by how they’re dried, depending upon what the wearer wants to achieve. Bottom line, each garment has its own unique properties and soul, and as much as we wish this were a one-size-fits-all world, we all have our prejudices about how a garment should look and feel on our custom-made bodies.
Our size charts provide a few key measurements for each style that we produce—chest width, sleeve length (as taken from the center back), and body length (as measured from the high point of the shoulder to the bottom hem as it relates to the center of the garment). These specifications are a good basis to make comparative measurements with products already in your closet.
Q: What is the temperature rating of your outerwear styles?
A: As much as we want to provide useful information to cover this topic, we find that every individual is different with regard to their tolerance to temperature. Not to mention how they layer within our garments, or what type of activity is being performed. We’re serious enthusiasts about layering and believe that in colder weather (20°F and lower) it’s normal to get a few layers deep. As the saying goes, “you can dress for the cold, but you can’t get naked enough for the heat.” OK, not a saying, but the sentiment is there.
Q: Is “water-resistant” the same as “waterproof”?
A: We often produce our garments with fabrics that are “waterproof,” meaning that a certain pressure of water (or column of water) against the skin of the fabric will not result in water passing. However, we also rigorously sew and construct our garments in ways that would never be practical to “seam-seal” or bond a type of heat-adhering tape to the backside of the seams to prevent water from gaining some access. We think it’s a fair trade-off to have garments that are simply a bit more rugged vs. fully waterproof. Hence, our final jackets are often “water-resistant” but utilize “waterproof” fabrics.
Q: I see numbers relating to “gsm" in your fabric descriptions, what does this mean?
A: GSM is the acronym for “grams per square meter” and is the universal means for communicating fabric weights. It’s one criterion we use for ensuring standards for a specific material are being maintained from one order to the next. We also use this metric as a fundamental baseline for shaping handfeel and drape in a material. A nylon coated material of 120 gsm will feel completely different at 165 gsm and can render a garment very wearable or not so wearable, depending upon the season or design of the product. Likewise, the weight of a fabric or insulation will also influence a material’s warmth and/or durability.
Q: This 2-way zipper keeps jamming – help!
A: Sometimes we see uninitiated customers struggle with using a 2-way zipper. This can quickly lead to zipper degradation and loss of function, if not broken teeth. A 2-way zipper is actually super functional, allowing the wearer extra freedoms that a single slider zipper can never match. Slip the bottom slider upward and the tension at the base is released for more comfortable seating, along with quick venting without removal of the garment. However, it’s essential to begin the operation of connecting the zipper in the correct manner—this is where the fail happens. Both sliders (top + bottom) must be at the very base of the teeth at righthand side before starting the “insert” of the opposite side through the two sliders. Only when this opposite insert is pulled completely through to equal depth of the righthand sliders (at very bottom) can the sliders begin to properly function. If for any reason a jam is sensed, restart the entire process. Every zipper (and every garment) has its own soul and whimsy and it’s essential for the wearer to gain familiarity with their garment before rushing it into everyday practice. We assure you… a 2-way zipper is well worth the initial hassle and simply provides more utility to every garment that has one.
Q: Your snaps make a rattling sound – why?
A: We’re very passionate about authenticity and products that have a heritage. Most of the snaps we utilize are of the “ring” variety. Both the build quality and black oxidized finish date back to WW2. The ring is the part that moves inside the “socket,” the part of the snap allowing it to expand and contract over the opposing fastener. It’s composed of solid brass and when not attached to the opposite “stud” part, can rattle a bit when jostled. Which to some can be annoying, while to others it’s just like subtle street noise. We prefer this style of snap because it has a history, is still one of the strongest snaps on the market, and because the ringed stud part on the opposing placket just looks tough. For lighter weight function, we also utilize the completely quiet “spring” style snaps with the same black oxidized finish, but strictly on shirt jacket styles where speed and ease of operation are the priority.
Q: Why are your products not made in the USA?
A: We’ve had more than 25 years of experience making garments everywhere on the planet. Some of these experiences we’ve remembered more fondly than others. Our biggest take-away is not about nationality, but that making great garments of consistently high quality, of reliable materials, exacting pattern measurements and craftsmanship, is no easy task—particularly Relwen products. There are so many ridiculously small + potentially mismanaged attributes that can ruin a garment. It’s much more complicated than most could ever imagine. A singular Relwen style sometimes consists of more than 30 different fabric and trim pieces and that’s just the material order for 1 particular color and size. And because so many of our products are driven by complicated material orders, it’s essential that we’re also able to develop these materials with mills who have an alacrity and know-how, along with often being within a few hours drive of our sewing facilities. We’re big on reducing our carbon footprint, so anything we can do to be more vertical and less disruptive to the logistics of our supply chain is essential.
Our guiding principle is to simply make the best product. We’ve also learned that this only happens when you treat your factories and the people who make your garments with the utmost care and gratitude, because people are where it begins and ends. Our ability to communicate, to want to do things for each other and to get it right, this is the gist of great partnership. This is particularly true in small-batch production where many of our styles will be made under the same roof, and where we must maintain a seamless continuity of standards and detailed execution. As a result, we’ve been making Relwen with the same partners, who are also very dear friends, for more than 13 years and counting.
We understand there are detractors who think much of “origin” is based upon cost. For Relwen, cost is actually the last criteria of any development we consider. We’ve found that anyone who solicits you based upon cost, likely only has cost to sell, along with a whole host of compromises (and headaches) that invariably get built into the resulting garment.
Q: When will my order arrive?
A: We ship Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) from Columbus, Ohio. We use UPS Ground for standard shipping, therefore orders with PO Box addresses may experience a processing delay. Transit times vary, typically ranging from 1-2 days to many midwestern cities, 2-3 days to the east coast, and 5-7 days to the west coast. Standard Ship (free) orders received by 12 noon ET typically ship within 2 business days. Priority Ship orders received by 12 noon ET will ship the same day. Please click on our shipping policy for more details.
Q: Do you ship internationally?
A: Due to the uncertain and fluctuating expenses of transportation, insurance, tariffs, and duties when shipping internationally, we only ship within the US.
Q: What is your return policy? Do you extend it during the holiday season?
A: We are happy to accept returns within 30 days of order placement. Returned merchandise must be free from wear, stains, odor, fragrance, detergent, alterations, or any condition that would prevent it from being sold as new. Returned items must have the original tags attached. Items received in un-salable condition are subject to cleaning fees or rejection. Final Sale items are not eligible for return. During the holiday season, we accept returns until mid-January. Please click on our return policy for more details and a link to start your return.
Q: How do I exchange an item?
A: We no longer process exchanges – it became too complicated for our inventory, and customers were disappointed if an item sold out before their return/exchange was received in our facility. We recommend returning the item that didn't work for you, and placing a new order for the style you'd prefer.
Q: How long does it take to see a refund on my credit card?
A: When your bank credits your transaction is (unfortunately) out of our control, and varies by credit card institution. In our experience, it’s typically 3-5 business days, depending on how your individual credit card handles refunds.
Q: Why don’t you photograph your clothes on models?
A: It’s almost a “vintage” thing for us. Look through old stock books, catalogs, sports car brochures, or even architectural photos-- the best stuff was typically void of human form. Keeping it “only about the product,” always heavy on nitty-gritty form, function, specifications, and pure uninterrupted aesthetic. Moreover, we want you to easily imagine yourself in the product without needing to overcome the visual of some other dude or someone with their own quirks. Frankly, anyone can pin, tape, and style a garment on a human form for what might be a more favorable photograph, but there’s never a substitute for the true physical interface of our products on you.
Q: The item I want is sold out in my size, when will it be available again?
A: If you wish to get an immediate notification when a style/color/size comes back in stock, please go to the item on our site, and click the “email when available” button. The most common form of re-stock is when we receive a return from a customer. Sometimes we’re able to chase production and get a full re-stock within a season for fast-selling styles. If so, we add that inventory to our website as soon as we have it in our shipping facility. We’re sorry, but we cannot accept pre-orders for out of stock items.
Q: I just received an email that the item I want to purchase is back in stock, but now it is sold out again!
A: We’re sorry for the confusion and frustration. When we receive a return in our facility, we make it available on our website. Everyone who signed up for that particular “back in stock” notification receives the alert at the same time. Some items move pretty fast. Please keep your notification active and we will send an email if it becomes available again.
Q: Do you have brick & mortar stores?
A: We do not have our own physical Relwen stores, but we work with many outstanding retailers who carry our products in their stores. Please use our stockist locator to find our retail partners within 100 miles your city or zip code.
Q: I’m having trouble with an item that I bought from a different retailer, what should I do?
A: We’re sorry to hear about the problem with your Relwen gear. Unfortunately, we can’t do a direct exchange or refund since your original transaction was with another party. We encourage you to reach out to the retailer and request a replacement/refund – they’ll in-turn provide us with the details of the claim. Our retail partners have excellent customer service and we’re sure they will address your situation very quickly.
Q: I saw one of your jackets on sale on another website – do you price match?
A: We appreciate that it would seem appropriate from a customer perspective for brands to match respective store prices for the same goods sold at discount. However, we don't collaborate with any of our various accounts on setting prices and are never part of their markdown strategies, which are solely their own. Our position is to always work to protect the independent store accounts who never break price.
Q: Do you offer a coupon code for new customers?
A: We frequently get questions related to introductory discounts, special incentives, and promotions in general. In an era when so many stores and brands seem to focus primarily upon price, we think we’re best served by never confusing our customer with what the price is, today or any other day. Anyone consistently promoting through introductory offers or who is 25% off every other week has already built these costs into their margin structure, with the reality that the perceived “deal” is really not a deal at all, but where they expected to sell the product all along. We just think it’s easier and fairer to provide one price every day and to otherwise allow our focus to be solely upon making the best garments that we can.
Q: I sent a message to you through your contact link on your website, but I never heard back?
A: It sounds like our email response may have landed in your spam folder. We occasionally have trouble reaching gmail accounts, but adding email@example.com to your address book may help with future correspondence.