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Cleverhood Makes Rain Gear for the Urban

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Fresh style for rainy days: the rain capes from Providence's Cleverhood.

Rain gear is an unfortunate necessity of life in Rhode Island. In order to brave the frequent storms and showers, a good, sturdy jacket is pretty much required. But often those coats are bulky, heavy, and unflattering. A new Providence company called Cleverhood is trying to change all that with their line of rain capes, or Cleverhoods.

The creative genius behind the Cleverhood and head of the company is Susan Mocarski. The idea for the Cleverhood came to her because, as she says, she was "sick of dealing with the rain and looking like crap all the time." Mocarski says the Cleverhood was born out of necessity, "as I just couldn’t take putting on my husband’s giant jacket any more.” From there, she started searching local shops for an innovative solution to her problem, stumbled across a rain poncho at an Army Navy store, and from there worked on finding appropriate fabrics and features for the product, while keeping sustainability issues in mind.

Made for the walkers and bikers of the world

Made for the walkers and bikers of the world, the Cleverhood is made from high-quality, durable materials, most of which were made and assembled in the United States. In line with ecological concerns and the increasing number of public transportation commuters and bikers, the Cleverhood is made with sustainability and local involvement as priorities. Mocarski’s motto is “think globally, act locally,” and as such she tries to support the community of talented artists, manufacturers, and visionaries right here, only sourcing out materials and labor when necessary.

Super local

Almost every member of the team at Cleverhood lives in, works in, or originates from New England, and there are even some Brown University students among the ranks. In addition, the two Cleverhood models currently on sale are called the “John Brown” and the “TF Green,” and the Cleverhood video “A Day in the Life of Cleverhood” was filmed right here in Providence with Deer Tick providing the music.

Mocarski is a firm believer in understanding and improving the local economy and industry, although she admits to some foreseeable problems with selling to the New England market. “New England is known to be a late adapter, and [the Cleverhood is] a quirky product. We aren’t selling aggressively in Rhode Island right now, but the people I’ve come across here, like people in the bike world, have been very helpful.” She added, “I like being in Providence because it’s such a design-oriented and interesting city, but I’m not sure if it will be my big market.”

The Cleverhood appeal

Besides being waterproof, lightweight, and environmentally friendly, the Cleverhood has a distinctive, fashionable look. It has been seen at fashion shows in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and last month at the Portland bike show (‘the best looking rain cape I’ve ever seen” said BikePortland.org). It was designed for what Mocarski sees as a whole new population of consumers opening up, “The downtown commuter, someone that walks or bikes, not necessarily long distances but is living and breathing in the city.”

Cleverhood is sold online at www.Cleverhood.com and at a growing number of fashion stores and bike shops. There is an April Showers promotional sale going on right now, with each Cleverhood priced at $199.

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