For Jonathan Garvey, it was a no-brainer to merge fashion and charity. The son of missionaries in Mexico, he always had a giving spirit. After the pandemic hit and impacted so many peoples’ livelihoods, the Garvey family started a nonprofit community kitchen, Feed a Family, which helps provide food to underprivileged communities in Mexico.
Jonathan realized that he had access to unique wool jackets, coats and blankets made on more than one-hundred-year-old foot pedal looms in Tlaxcala, Mexico, with five-hundred-year- old weaving methods. Jonathan was confident these pieces would be a hit with a new market.
Soon after, the Garvey family’s charity began giving away sweaters, too, and the idea for Pancho’s Blanket was born. Jonathan, who earned a degree in entrepreneurship from UMKC, partnered with his brother, Joseph, who still lives in Mexico, to sell the unique jackets and blankets, with a cut of the profit going directly to Feed a Family.
Just a few months after Jonathan opened his first physical store in the Crossroads last fall, we talked to him about the inception of Pancho’s Blanket, the traditional processes that make the clothes so unique and continuing his family’s legacy of charity.
Can you tell us more about how Pancho’s Blanket began? I have this wool coat that a lot of people really like, and they would always comment on it. I decided, ‘I’m going to make these coats one day.’
The artisanry in Mexico is cool and super niche, and most people don’t know about it, so I created a website and started selling [the products]. We were going to trade shows and First Fridays in the Crossroads before opening the store last fall. We still make unique designs and stencils with the artisans and fashion designers in Mexico, and it is a mesh of trendy and artisan. We really wanted to keep it fashionable, but we also wanted to make it in the same way that they’ve made it for hundreds of years.
How would you describe the design process of the products at Pancho’s Blanket? Me and my brother Joseph have designed most of our garments alongside the designers in Mexico. All of the designs are inspired by very common artisan designs—something that you would see a cowboy have on three hundred years ago, that’s how old this style is. We got into just doing slight modifications, experimenting with colors, dying the wool in the artisan way and making the wool on looms that have been used for three generations. We partner with artisans to make things traditional, but then we partner with fashion designers to create really unique stencils that make the designs really pop.
What makes the products at Pancho’s Blanket unique? They are made on looms that are over a hundred years old with five-hundred-year-old methods that the Spanish brought to Mexico. Nowadays, it’s tough to find a jacket that has a modern feel with an antique quality. It is the most unique thing that anyone’s going to have on at any given party. It stands out. The pockets on our T-shirts are hand-loomed in Nicaragua, and then we assemble the fit to be really modern and cool looking with a spark of heritage—every pocket is unique. It’s not just your average T-shirt. Every single product is special and goes to a good cause. Our mission is to keep others warm through fashion, heritage and culture.