I’ve been buying cycling clothes custom made by Lou Binik for a couple of years now and I like his gear so much that I approached him for an interview to get a bit of insight into the man behind every piece of Foxwear clothing; all hand-made in Idaho, right here in the US of A! Great clothing for fat-bikers or any active outdoor use.
To begin with just give us a brief intro to who Lou is and what he does!
Highly aware of how companies, politics and lawyers use language to sell their products, I aim to cut through the BS and help those needing comfortable athletic clothing. Having taken ‘critical thinking’ in college and having perused the fancy outdoor clothing catalogs I hope to share what the fabrics really do.
What’s in a name? Tell me how you came up with your company’s name, “Foxwear”.
My first cycling shorts had the Specialized logo splashed across them. My clothes don’t need such advertising. If I had to choose a name then I chose the image of the swift and elegant fox. I got to know foxes quite intimately.
How long have you been sewing activewear clothing?
25 years ago I began making tights and cycling shorts out of colorful nylon lycra for students and professors at my college using a sewing machine I received as payment for a car I fixed. From sleeping bag and jacket kits that came with instructions and included free tutorials at their stores to years of living next door to a skilled seamstress, lessons came from many sources.
With all the big-name technical clothing companies out there what sets Foxwear apart from offerings at REI, eherwon and the like?
I like buying directly from the manufacturer. I’m sure others do too. Many people who have contacted me have questions that aren’t adequately answered by store salesmen. I can suggest options and sizes without being manipulative.
With all the technical fabrics available these days, which do you like to work with and why?
Polartec — formerly known as Malden Mills — is an ethical company that loves to explore and innovate. They sure keep me comfortable as a slender outdoors person. The idea is to keep your body at an optimal temperature and their fabrics make for great clothes.
What is the best way to get started working with Foxwear?
By knowing the approx. height, weight, waist and inseam I can do a lot. Usually. the first contact is by email and at times by phone. email: email@example.com Phone: toll free 877 756-3699
If a person were going to order one piece of clothing from you to get a feel for what you do, what would you suggest?
Power Stretch tights in one of the 5 weights or thicknesses are the items that I can send out the quickest.
You’ve go several weights of the same fabric and the colors shown on the website can vary depending on the monitor, do you send out sample swatches?
Yes, and by having them to test out by dripping water on them, blowing into them, stretching them, a lot can be learned. Sample swatches of any of our styles of Polartec fabric can be sent.
I know you like to take a break from the sewing room periodically, any vacation plans this year?
Traveling on a budget is a skill I have. And with bicycles found all over the planet there’s an independence that comes along with it. I’ll make a return trip to West Africa, Holland and Ireland again before long (the last two are incredible places for those who are in awe of honest people. Africa is too of course. You really get to practice your intuition of who to trust.)
When you are not sewing great clothing for active folks, what do you like to do?
Wintertimes a small group likes to carpool up above the 4000 foot high town of Salmon where the forests are inviting in the 7 to 8,000 foot range. Back country skiing is some kind of lovely.
What fat-bike related activity have you seen in Idaho?
A customer of mine is a teacher in Sandpoint and really enjoys his Pugsley. Others locally know about fat tired bikes.
Are there any good brew pubs in your neck of the woods?
A home-grown brewery on Main Street in Salmon, Bertrum’s, also serves hearty lunches. A bakery and small restaurant across the street called Odd Fellows Bakery shouldn’t be missed.
Anything else you’d like to let our reader’s know about?
Foxwear is function over fashion. I wonder if it’ll ever be faddish to not follow a fad.
Thanks, Lou and keep making that sweet clothing!
I own two pairs of pants from Lou. They can’t be beat for warmth and comfort. I can even wear them over work gear and ride without fear of messing up my “nice” clothes.
Actually that’s not correct. They are the nice clothes that I cover my work clothes with.
Just a splendid guy to work with too. Thanks Lou! Great to finally put a face to the name.
Lou, you Da Man!!!
My NeoShell jacket is a work of art, that performs flawlessly!!
Here’s one for the little guy!!
Best Balaclava for the money!
Lou, Great to see you in here. As you know, I own quite a lot of your gear 🙂
Have done for quite a few years. It served my daughter and I well all the way to Everest Base Camp in 2011. Keep at it Mate. Al from Oz.
Kudos to Fat Bike for the interview. 🙂
Lou makes the best outdoor clothing!
Here’s a little video of his hometown, Salmon, ID
Lou’s Foxwear clothing is great. I wear several of his custom made clothing layers almost every day…
Baselayers of differing warmths are a staple and the Neoshell Jacket just keeps kicking ass. The water beads up on it as if it were new…it is now 3 years old…can you say that about GoreTex?