ORSLOW

Type 1 Blouson

Type 1 Blouson

I’ve been quietly enjoying the development of orSlow over the past few seasons and it has been nice to see a few UK stores offer a more rounded collection this season. The Bureau Belfast bagged some of the strongest pieces with the Type 1 Blouson, Climbing Pants, and check scarves being particularly noteworthy.  The quality of the fabrics, unusual vintage shapes, and beautiful details are really setting the brand apart from other offers at the moment.

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Indigo/Blue Check Scarf

Indigo/Blue Check Scarf

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Posted in Clothing, Denim | Tagged , | 1 Comment

A FOOTWEAR HURRICANE

Teva x Heather Grey Wall Hurricane XLT

Teva x Heather Grey Wall Hurricane XLT

A hurricane is coming and it’s not for the faint footed. The Teva Hurricane XLT sports sandal is to river hopping hiking hippies what the Nike Air Force One was to Basketball players. Teva (pronounced ‘Teh-vah’) have produced a few collaborations with Japanese stores Heather Grey Wall and Oshman’s in some tasty colour ways. Oi Polloi bring them to British shores in some choice combos. These present a breath of fresh air for the toes of progressive clothing enthusiasts ready to move on from their summer Birkies.

Remember fellers: no one wants to see your fucking toes, so please wear these with some upbeat hiking socks for that classic ‘sex tourist’ look. Many thanks to Neu_76 for the heads up on these – first thing I’ve been compelled to present on S&S for a good while.

Teva x Heather Grey Wall Hurricane XLT

Follow this man’s example

Follow this man’s example

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MANUFACTUM

Viberg Shell Cordovan Boot

Viberg Shell Cordovan Boot

It’s been a while since I’ve felt compelled to write about anything for a while. I very recently started my own business which has caused the blog to take a bit of a backseat. But when I stumbled across this website the other day, I couldn’t resist a post. Quite simply, this site – Manufactum – is one of the best curated sites I’ve ever clicked upon. With it’s mix of household utility products, toys, luggage, and tightly curated clothing ranges you could liken it to London’s Labour & Wait, but minus the wistful English charm and rugged clunkiness of some of the products. Slowdownjoe could be considered a cooler cousin, but it doesn’t have the depth and range of product that Manufactum offers. Here’s a selection of just a few things that caught my eye on my journey through. I think my Christmas list just quadrupled.

Viberg Shell Cordovan Boot details

Viberg Shell Cordovan Boot details

ATOMA Loose leaf binders

ATOMA Loose leaf binders

Folding travel bag

Folding travel bag

Dinkelacker lace-up ankle boot

Dinkelacker lace-up ankle boot

Dinkelacker lace-up ankle boot detail

Dinkelacker lace-up ankle boot detail

Clockwise from top left: Forged steel curtain set, Archive box set, Japanese plant knife, Magnetic paper clamps

Clockwise from top left: Forged steel curtain set, Archive box set, Japanese plant knife, Magnetic paper clamps

Nigel Cabourn Cameraman Jacket

Nigel Cabourn Cameraman Jacket

Nigel Cabourn Cameraman Jacket detail

Nigel Cabourn Cameraman Jacket detail

 

Posted in Accessories, Clothing, Footwear, Homewares, Nigel Cabourn | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

KENNEDY MAGAZINE

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Here at last is the inaugural issue of Kennedy Magazine – a Biannual Journal of Curiosities. Brought to the world by the brilliant minds of Mr. Chris Kontos and the late Mr. Angelo Pandelidis, it’s a voyage through the subjects of art, music, fashion, and culture delivered in a beautifully compact, travel friendly format. Features include interviews with artists Olaf Breuning, and Edwin Wurm, musicians Andrew Weatherall, and Eddie Ruscha, and film director Whit Stillman as well as style counselling from Trunk Clothiers London, and yours truly. It’s also beautifully designed with stunning photography throughout.

I feel very proud to have been involved in this wonderful project and that pride was only intensified after the recent news of joint Editor-in-Chief Angelo Pandelidis’ sudden and tragic death. Together with Chris he has created a truly special magazine that will resonate with many people. I only hope that this is just the beginning for Kennedy and that Angelo has helped lay the foundations for a long standing and continually entertaining publication.

I’d love to reveal more, but I’d like you to go out and purchase a copy to pore over and enjoy.  Please visit kennedymagazine.com to find your stockist or purchase online, or alternatively (for UK folks only) purchase a copy over at noncollective.com.

Buy a copy of Kennedy Magazine to find out how I smash two of my favourite topics (Seinfeld and Engineered Garments) into one article.

Buy a copy of Kennedy Magazine to find out how I smash two of my favourite topics (Seinfeld and Engineered Garments) into one article.

Posted in Books, Detail Matters, Engineered Garments | Tagged | 1 Comment

WINTER FRUITS

Engineered Garments 19th Century BD Shirt, Pineapple Chambray

Engineered Garments 19th Century BD Shirt, Pineapple Chambray

It’s so long since my last post, I’d almost forgotten how to use WordPress. It’s been a tumultuous few months for me which will culminate in something exciting very soon, but has meant clothing has been on the back burner for a while. Well, on the back burner until I saw this bobby dazzler of a shirt appear on Oi Polloi which has forced me out of my summer hibernation.

Daiki Suzuki continues his playful twists on preconceived seasonal patterns by adding some tropical fruit to this Fall/Winter’s proceedings. This is a truly special embroidered pattern and it finds it’s home on (in my opinion) Daiki’s finest hour: the 19th Century BD Shirt. He often uses this style as a playground to experiment with fabric and it’s good to see this coming FW13 season is no exception. And for those interested in the 19th Century shirt, I’ve written a piece about it in the newly launched Kennedy Magazine. Hit the link for stockist information.

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S.E.H KELLY – MADE IN THE BRITISH ISLES

SEH Kelly HQ

S.E.H Kelly HQ

On a crisp Thursday evening a (good) few weeks ago, I paid a long overdue visit to S.E.H Kelly’s Boundary St HQ. I was welcomed into a warm and cosy studio-cum-showroom complete with cosy lighting and some soothing jazz that perfectly matched the mood of the evening. Paul (one of the two partners) took the time to take me through the Autumn Winter 13 collection they were about to send off to Japan, while Sara (the other partner and the brand’s namesake) worked away upstairs on the mezzanine floor above.

Their studio is situated in Cleve Workshops; East London’s sort-of answer to a Mews terrace, albeit a lot more (charmingly) ramshackle.

Details

If you asked me why it’s taken so long to write something proper about S.E.H Kelly here, I couldn’t tell you. I’ve been a big fan of their brand for some time, but for one reason or another I’ve never gotten around to checking out their clothing in person. Laziness plays a big part in that, but mainly because I’ve got stuck in my ways over the past few years and edited my clothing choices down to the offers of a handful of brands. It’s hard for a new brand to enter the stable as I get older as there are so many boxes I need to see ticked to kindle my interest. With age comes particularity!

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Attention is first caught by an excellent product; a garment designed with a solid point of view and vision. A fetishistic love of detail is also a must. The cut needs to be spot on; classic and unaffected by trend; fitted, but comfortable. Materials need to be chosen with an inventive, but careful eye. A point of difference is great, but it needs to suit the garment seamlessly. Manufacturing should be of an exceptional standard; crafted with skill, experience and integrity. Where patterns are painstakingly cut, but corners not at all. Once that’s all in place the rest should follow: a great story, a solid and consistent voice, and a great visual stance; none of which are simple to achieve in their own right.

Autumn Winter '13 garments

Autumn Winter ’13 garments

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Production
To satisfy all the above criteria would be to describe the output of S.E.H Kelly. Their garments have been quietly building up a fan base over the last few years with dedicated customers looking for a superior product from an outsider brand. Keeping a low profile in the UK and selling purely through their own showroom and online store has allowed them to a keep a Kung-Fu grip on production, keeping it small, but to an exceptional high quality. Sara and Paul hold these relationships with factories and producers close as its the key ingredient to creating the garments to the standard they demand. Factories also provide a collaborative role, providing crucial advice about production (“don’t use stitched eyelets, they’re rubbish; use metal ones!”) and years of experience from the makers gives great insight into the accurate use and function of many pockets and details (“that hand warmer pocket isn’t too shallow, it’s not for hands; it’s where you keep your cigs!”).

God is in the details…

Details from various garments including the subtly quilted blazer from AW13 and the beautifully sized A4 pocket on this season’s reversible linen over-shirt

To find the right partner and being able to lean on their expertise is key to many successful creative partnerships. It’s telling that Sara used the word ‘family’ a number of times when talking about the factories as she spends as much of her time there as she does at the studio.

The production of garments is kept loosely seasonal, but many items arrive as and when. It’s clear the guys believe in garments that can be worn year round as new outerwear items are starting to feature Melton wool detachable liners that can be removed in warmer months or swapped with cotton liners.

Contentment in pricing
Playing by their own rules and sticking to the aforementioned points means that the pricing of the garments is also honest and fair. Their mac which is made from the magical, but notoriously expensive material Ventile is a good example of this. Ventile is a natural cotton cloth made from extra long fibres that’s difficult and time consuming to manufacture, but has incredible water repellency. It’s a natural cloth so it’s breathable, but it’s also warm, and incredibly comfortable with a soft hand. Their Ventile mac retails at a very reasonable £350. Expect that price to be £500+ were it any other brand operating with typical overheads and fighting against wholesale prices.

S.E.H Kelly also stand by their pricing year round; a rare and unexpected quality in today’s market place. If garments are offered at a fair price all year round then they don’t need to enter sales. If customers understand this, they feel comfortable paying a good price for a good garment and won’t hesitate to purchase worrying that the item may appear on sale next week; a mentality that is spreading through consumers these days as a side effect of menswear stores offering countless flash sales, mid season sales, free shipping etc.

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Japan
Aside from the UK market S.E.H Kelly has been picked up by a clutch of key stores in Japan including Beams, Nanamica, etc. The Japanese menswear market has a feverishly nerdy interest in Britain and the hunger for quality is most certainly satisfied by S.E.H Kelly’s clothing. The level of careful curation those stores have and the close scrutiny that garments under go in that menswear sphere is intense, so it’s testament to S.E.H Kelly that their clothes have been selected and are out there flying the flag for British style, design, and manufacturing.

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Warmer pockets in the upcoming Tour Jacket

Details
A key characteristic of S.E.H Kelly’s approach is details. Many of the garments are misleadingly simple on first appearance, but most are loaded with details – from construction to functional intricacies. Take their new Tour Jacket for example; a garment I feel epitomises their approach. It’s a seemingly simple and stylish jacket designed for cycling. The jacket is made from Ventile, so it’s waterproof, breathable and comfortable. Use of corduroy adds texture to the collar. Vents at the shoulders add movement and flexibility in the arms – a detail borrowed from hunting jackets.

The adhoc backpack strap featured on the inside of the cycling jacket

The adhoc backpack strap featured on the inside of the cycling jacket

It features warmer pockets, inside pockets, and cable loops to keep headphone wires in check. But the defining detail is a special strap that buttons internally just under the inside of the arms and over the coat loop, creating two carry straps to place your arms through. This allows the jacket to be shrugged off whilst riding and worn as an impromptu ‘backpack’. This level of innovation and practicality, but balanced through a traditional approach and execution, defines their approach throughout the collections. I’ve always been sceptical about ‘phone pockets’ and ‘cable loops’, but seeing the S.E.H Kelly approach has really changed my feelings about such things. Clothes have always been designed to deal with the practicalities of life at the time; from cigarette pockets to ticket pockets, so adding features to deal with modern items isn’t betraying tradition, but rather carrying on the same approach. Working it all up in fine and natural cloths helps keep it all rooted in class.

Deadstock Corduroy shirt

Deadstock Corduroy shirt

Donegal Tweed Peacoat

Donegal Tweed Peacoat

Cloth
Which brings me finally on to S.E.H Kelly’s special relationship with cloth. One of their specialities is finding ‘outsider’ fabrics. Pea coats appear in a chunky and memorable Donegal Tweed wool, reminiscent of tweeds of old. Jumpers are made from some of the thickest wool I’ve ever seen – you won’t find a warmer material. Their ‘Tetris’ tweed (named by the guys after the blocks of the video game) gives standout to a classic sports coat. Things take a further obscure twist when you throw things like their deadstock cord into the mix salvaged from an abandoned Mill in Cottonopolis and used to great effect on their new shirting. Then come the bespoke materials they’re working on with weaver extraordinaire Daniel Harris. It’s this intrinsic connection to the fabric that sets S.E.H Kelly apart from many other brands and almost places them in a world that’s closer to Savile Row than it is to the casual menswear market. And one of the many reasons I’m going to have to start making some more space in my wardrobe.

The 'Tetris' tweed three button blazer

The ‘Tetris’ tweed three button blazer

My favourite garment from this season, the reversible herringbone linen over-shirt

My favourite garment from this season, the reversible herringbone linen over-shirt

A final note
This isn’t fashion. These aren’t clothes to titillate the fickle and trendy. These are clothes for the wearer’s joy and fulfilment. Designed, woven and stitched together with the man in mind for whom the garment is intended; the man who appreciates quality, design, style, comfort, and the very quietly extraordinary.

Posted in Clothing, Detail Matters, Outerwear, Textiles | Tagged | 4 Comments

THE QUINTESSENTIAL TRICKER

Tricker's Keswick in C-Shade with a Commando Sole

Tricker’s Keswick in C-Shade with a Commando Sole

Somewhere between a Tricker’s Keswick, Bourton, and Ilkley, you’ll find the quintessential English country shoe. Tricker’s may not be the very finest shoemakers in Northampton (although they’re certainly up there), but they can certainly lay claim to producing the most iconic English brogued Derby shoe and boot. The super round toe of the 4444 last, the overly heavy graphic broguing of the wingtips, the chunkiness of storm welted soles, and the iconic colours of C-Shade, Acorn, and Marron Antique: these all add up to a shape, colour, and style that many produce, but none quite match for the overall feel of sturdiness and robustness that the Tricker’s option offers.

The pair photographed here belong to the man who first introduced me to Tricker’s – my Dad – and were a 70th birthday gift to him from my Mum, Wife and myself. He chose the style himself on a trip to sunny Doncaster’s Shoe Healer. There he was sorted for a “6″ width fitting which The Shoe Healer carries in stock in both this style and an attractive Matlock. It’s worth noting that the 4444 last is pretty generously sized and my Dad had to size down from an 8 to a 7 to get the right fit.

The differences between the three styles are small as they all feature identical uppers and a storm welt, but are offered with differing options on the sole, leathers, and colours. The Shoe Healer explains the differences here. This Keswick features a Commando Sole which is the chunkiest sole on offer, but is very robust especially for the Winter months.

As always Richard, Michelle, and the team at The Shoe Healer offered sound advice and help along the way. You really couldn’t ask for a better customer experience and I’d encourage anyone fancying a pair of bench made shoes to make the trip to Doncaster in person to check out what The Shoe Healer has to offer. My Dad was so impressed he was back buying a second pair of shoes two days later. You can’t get a stronger recommendation than that.

Detail of the chunky, but robust Commando Sole

Detail of the chunky, but robust Commando Sole

 

Posted in Footwear, Trickers | Tagged , | 3 Comments

GOLDEN GARB Nº5: MR. NOISY

Mr. Noisy wears a Tricker's Keswick with Goodyear Welt in C-Shade

Mr. Noisy wears a Tricker’s Keswick with Storm Welt in C-Shade.

Some people call him the loudest person in Wobbletown, but I would call the man a purist. They say any great structure starts with a solid foundation and an outfit is no different. A strong footwear choice should set the tone for any outfit.

When it comes to Mr. Noisy, his unwavering belief in his choice of footwear* is so strong that he sees no need to dress the look any further. Why complicate matters with clothes when shoes alone can do the job? This obviously requires supreme self confidence in one’s body, but for those of us who don’t share this quality, we can take inspiration from an approach of simplicity. Let stand out items do the work and dress simply around them, because if everything is talking at once, things can get a little… noisy.

Mr. Silly deserves an honourable mention sporting a Tricker's Bourton with Goodyear Welt in Acorn Antique, but somewhat over cooks his look with an over the top orange top hat

Mr. Silly deserves an honourable mention sporting an Acorn Antique Tricker’s Bourton. For me though, he somewhat over cooks his outfit with the addition of an orange top hat. As William Blake once said: “You never know what is enough, unless you know what is more than enough”.

* I would identify Mr. Noisy’s shoes as a C-Shade Tricker’s Keswick with a Storm Welt; ideal for tramping around the Fells and Munros of Happyland.

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“ONE WEEK COORDINATES OF DAIKI SUZUKI”

– Monday – Coat: Engineered Garments / Down Jacket: Moonstone / Pants: Used / Shoes: Alden

– Monday –
Coat: Engineered Garments / Down Jacket: Moonstone / Pants: Used / Shoes: Alden

The March issue of Popeye Magazine landed on these shores recently and it focuses on street style snaps of ‘City Boys’ in their day-to-day gear. One such ‘City Boy’ is Engineered Garment’s Daiki Suzuki with a feature on his week in outfits. I’m always interested to see how a master of styling such as Daiki takes to actually dressing himself. There’s a couple of surprises in there; stone washed Levi’s (good), Ugg Boots (bad – not even Daiki can sway my mind on these!). I’d go Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday for my favourite looks here. Tuesday’s Truman Jacket teamed up with some sad old Dad jeans is an especially corking look. And Wednesday’s Over Parka with the adjustable skirt is a big favourite of mine. Great wardrobe inspiration…

– Tuesday – Jacket: Engineered Garments / Vest: Engineered Garments / Shirts: Used / Pants: Levi's

– Tuesday –
Jacket: Engineered Garments / Vest: Engineered Garments / Shirts: Used / Pants: Levi’s

– Wednesday – Jacket: Engineered Garments / Down Parka: Mont•Bell / Pants: Used / Shoes: Birkenstock

– Wednesday –
Jacket: Engineered Garments / Down Parka: Mont•Bell / Pants: Used / Shoes: Birkenstock

– Thursday – Jacket: Engineered Garments / Down Parka: Mont•Bell / Pants: Ralph Lauren /  Shoes: Brooks Brothers

– Thursday –
Jacket: Engineered Garments / Down Parka: Mont•Bell / Pants: Ralph Lauren /
Shoes: Brooks Brothers

– Friday – Jacket: Engineered Garments / Shirt: Engineered Garments / Down Parka:  Western Mountaineering / Pocket Square: The Journey Begins With A Single Stitch

– Friday –
Jacket: Engineered Garments / Shirt: Engineered Garments / Down Parka:
Western Mountaineering / Pocket Square: The Journey Begins With A Single Stitch

– Saturday – Jacket: Engineered Garments / Vest: Engineered Garments / Pants: Used / Shoes: Alden

– Saturday –
Jacket: Engineered Garments / Vest: Engineered Garments / Pants: Used / Shoes: Alden

– Sunday – Jacket: Used / Shirt: Used / Pants: Engineered Garments / Shoes: UGG

– Sunday –
Jacket: Used / Shirt: Used / Pants: Engineered Garments / Shoes: UGG

Posted in Clothing, Engineered Garments, Footwear, Outerwear | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

THE THINKING MAN’S INDY BOOT?

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Alden Tanker Boots: The thinking man’s Indy boot? They’re not nearly as iconic as cinema’s most famous work boot, but I’d like to think they’re what Junior might favour for a Marshall College Ball if he were to put a little more thought into it. I certainly thought long and hard enough about them. I saw a few restocks come and go at Context and Leffot, always feeling annoyed that I’d missed out. So when I paid a visit to NYC’s classiest shoe store last May – the aforementioned Leffot – I decided to put my name down for a pair already in production. Almost ten agonising months to the day I ordered them (a year since Leffot placed the production order) and after an egregious shafting from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, they arrived at my desk. I opened the box to a gloriously muscular Cordovan boot in that deepest and richest of colours; Horween’s Color 8.

Here’s some info about them lifted from Context’s website…

“The Tanker Boot is made on the Barrie last which was supplied to the US military from WWI through WWII. The Mock and Norwegian skin stitch toe detail is done completely by hand (Alden is the only American shoemaker skin stitching by hand) using two needles and two threads- no more than 6 boots are completed per day.”

Quite how they managed to keep up with War demands at a completion rate of six per day I don’t know, but what it does mean is a lengthy wait for those keen enough to purchase a pair these days. They’re by far and away the nicest shoe/boot I own so I can certainly say they were worth the wait. I can also say they were worth the cost… *just* (minus Her Majesty’s sneaky cut). Would I do it all again? Maybe not. But then that’s what makes them so special…

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Ski/Speed hooks

Ski/Speed hooks

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The Norwegian Split Toe: A detail that sets the Tanker Boot apart from the classic Indy.

The Norwegian Split Toe: A detail that sets the Tanker Boot apart from the classic Indy.

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