Saturday, December 31, 2011

Give-away - Hell is in Hello "20.000 Leaks Under The Sea"

Here is the first After the Denim give-away ever. Hopefully the first of many. And you don't even have to like the Facebook page or follow the Twitter (because there isn't one just yet) - this gift comes with no strings attached.

I originally intended to upload it this as a Christmas present, but I figured, that you were all sick and tired of presents at that point. Then it struck me, when did you last receive a New Year's Eve present? Not very often, eh? 
So without further ado I would like to present the record "20.000 Leaks Under The Sea" by Hell is in Hello, which is a very interesting Danish project by Rasmus Hedeman. This record was self-released some time ago and I remember listening to the songs intensely. I was really surprised by the stunning quality of the music. When I contacted Rasmus recently concerning allowing you guys to download the Album via ATD, he gave me permission straight away, so this is actually not a present from me, but more of a present from Rasmus.

I won't go into details about this project other than it is definitely one to watch for the future. If everything goes according to my premonition, that I'm making just now, it will at some point become something big. Until then enjoy the fact, that Rasmus Hedeman is probably the friendliest musician around. If you are lucky, he'll even send you one of his records, if he still has any in stock.

What should I say about this record? Again, I won't say much, other than I like it quite a lot and you should form an opinion of your own. I think it has some absolute lo-fi gems (some of them might be called hits, if you like music and not Lady Gaga) in songs like "So Miserable", "Deep, Deep Sleep" and "I'm Surprised by Your Eyes".

So please do go ahead. Download it. It's free. Not only is it free, it's also an amazing listen.

From Hell is in Hello and After the Denim with love.

Oh, while I'm still able to write somewhat properly, I would really like to wish you all a happy ending and a new beginning. 20-12 will be a great year, I'm sure. And I promise you, that I'll do my absolute best to push the boundaries of After the Denim.
It's been great and I never anticipated the response, that I've had so far. I would like to thank you all for coming back and commenting. You make me want to do more and so I will.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

I can't begin to express how glad I am every time I check the number of visitors and realize, that people are actually visiting this blog. I'm amazed.

I'm sincerely humbled by the interest people have shown and the friends I've made through this blog. I really hope to make more. I also hope to find more time to daily update the blog and finally start investing more in realizing some dreams, that I have about my own future and the future of After the Denim. I get the feeling that the two are interlinked.

I hope you guys - and girls - will keep returning, keep commenting and of course also keep paying all the good blogs on the blog roll a visit. They are all doing such a great job and they all deserve to be read.

Feliz navidad, merry Christmas, glædelig jul, boze narodzenie, Fröhliche Weihnachten and god jul.

I hope 20-12 will be our year!

Kind regards Simon Tuntelder

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Must Have: Försvarets Hudsalva

Neighbouring countries always seem to have some sort of friendly competition and sometimes even jokes about the stereotypes from the neighbouring country. This is of course also the case with Denmark and Sweden. I won't be going into details with any of the jokes. I will only say, that I'm generally very fond of all of our neighbours. And especially Sweden. 

The Swedish military has even fostered a lot of cool things. Like the camo pattern, M90 and if you ever come across any vintage gear from the Swedish military like their storage boxes and jackets, you'll realize, that they were doing something right.

However I would probably say, that the one thing I like the most, is their lip balm, called Försvarets Hudsalva. This product was ordered by the Swedish military some time in the 1950's and since it has been a massive hit. The original purpose was to avoid chafing wounds, and probably also to put on the skin to avoid frostbite. But today it is mostly considered a lip balm because because of its slight vanilla scent and flavour. But you can use it everywhere needed (apparently also for frying food), which makes it sort of the male equivalent of the "Eight Hour Cream" by Elizabeth Arden. And the packaging isn't too bad either - very masculine and it reminds me of the small container, that films for analog cameras would come in. By the way it's still made in Sweden, in case you care about that.

If I had a shop, I would definitely be selling this. I think it might be sort of a hidden gem, unless you live in Sweden, but I still hope, that this will get a larger, easier distribution.

These photographs were taken by my friend and photographer, Niels Hjorth. Hopefully Niels will help raise the standard of the pictures used on ATD over the coming months, as we are discussing a lot of different projects. Hopefully they will all materialize in the new year.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Otter Messer for Blixt&Dunder - Kniven

I get a surprising large amount of e-mails through this blog, and mostly they are just great and I appreciate every single one of them and try my best to respond to them straight away. Sometimes I get some annoying commercial e-mail from people wanting to push their non-ATD-approved products. This wasn't the case, when I received an e-mail from Blixt & Dunder some time ago.

They had a 60 of these knives made by Otter Messer in Solingen, Germany. This is of course "but" a an updated version of the Ankermesser, but it is a rather fun and subtle version of a classic. It's 400 SEK with free worlwide shipping, so it shouldn't break any budgets.

I hope, that I'm lucky enough to have some pocket knives made myself at some point. That would the the pinnacle of my life. Next to having children and some other stuff, probably.

Dreaming of: Limmer Boots

Sometimes you don't need a lot of words. 

These hiking boots from Limmer are probably the best. Just ask Daiki Suzuki.

I suggest you head over to these pictures from the Limmer factory (the US factory) unfortunately. The off-the-shelf Limmer boots are also made in Germany in the Meindl factory in Bavaria, which is why, it says "made in Germany" in the picture.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lavenham For William Fox And Sons Blazer

If I truly believed, that this would be waiting for me under the Christmas tree, I think I would look forward to Christmas a whole lot more, than I do now. Lavenham jackets - the regular ones - are my go-to jackets and I have had more than a couple throughout the years. I don't know, what it is about them, but they fit great and keep you just warm enough to not get toasty, but never get really cold either. I just bought a waxed version and I'm sure, that it will be my new favourite jacket.

This blazer however would fill a hole in my wardrobe. Looking slightly more dressed, while remaining warm and comfortable. Furthermore it has three-buttons, which suits me the best, I think. Again personal preference. 
Only thing I dislike is probably the inside colour, but it might surprise you in person, which you can at Present London.

Lavenham for William Fox and Sons Blazer Navy Wool

Lavenham for William Fox and Sons Blazer Navy Wool

Lavenham for William Fox and Sons Blazer Navy Wool

Lavenham for William Fox and Sons Blazer Navy Wool

Lavenham for William Fox and Sons Blazer Navy Wool

When I started buying jackets from Lavenham some years ago, they still went by the name Lavenham Horse Rugs. I quite miss that.

Alden for Unionmade

There is no leather like shell cordovan. I love it. Simply. This is also why, I feel almost ashamed, that I do not currently own a pair of shoes made of cordovan. I plan on changing this, once I come across a pair of shoes or boots, that fits my wants. Thing is, most footwear made of cordovan is equipped with leather soles. Personally I feel leather soles very impractical and rubber soles much more comfortable and long wearing. At the moment I don't think there is a cobbler in this country, that I would trust with resoling a pair of shoes, so I avoid any kind of footwear with leather soles.

This is why I was very pleased to see that Unionmade decided to go for the plantation crepe sole on this blucher. They are beautiful and will never look off or dated.

Alden really know how to put together a pair of shoes and they still do it in the US. Unfortunately they are quite expensive outside of the US, and I think that most English shoemakers are just as good, if not better at some point. However I must say, that the Alden's use of shell cordovan and other leathers from Horween gives them big star in my book.

Now I couldn't mention Alden without mentioning the now defunct blog, The Agatine Eyelet. It will fill you in on what you need to now about Alden.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shopping From Epaulet NY

Mike Kuhle from Epaulet is a very visionary man. Calling his shop just a shop might actually be an insult, as it is turning into more of brand with all the private label or collaborative stuff, that Epaulet is putting out. But now that I think of it, Mike is actually doing things the old school way. He listens to his customers and provides the best possible products within a price range, that doesn't exclude that many. He uses his platform to get exclusive make-ups and special editions. Something that other shops could really learn from. I often return to this shop for inspiration, and if it was more accessible in the EU, I'm sure, I would be buying from Epaulet a lot.

The key words are quality, modern fit, updated classics and exclusive make-ups. 

Today I was just browsing - and thinking about placing a huge order - but instead I decided to put together  an outfit and just stick to dreaming about buying new stuff.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Vintage Selvage Chambray Umbrella

You may sometimes get the feeling, that you have seen anything, that could possibly have been made of denim or chambray. Today I saw something, that changed that idea completely. Today, I saw, what is advertised as a vintage selvage denim umbrella, but if you look closer, it is actually a chambray weave.

I'm amazed, let's put it like that. So I'll just let the pictures do the talking, as it is probably the only one in existence. That is until I start working on a replica. Before RRL, JCrew or some other brand puts one out of course.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Parker Jotter

If you want a solid, reliable and cheap pen, then look no further than the Parker Jotter. It has been around for a very long time, and it has been loved for a very long time. You just need to find the right colour for yourself.

And once you start using it, you'll be identified on the click. And you'll identify others on the click. If you don't know, what I'm talking about, then you don't know the Jotter.

Ah, that click...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Messograf by Cleo Skribent

I used to own this pen. But I lost it and never found it again. Somehow I never missed, but when I look at it, I really want to get one again. It was such a fun -and well-made- conversation piece because of the confusion: What is it? Is it a calliper? A ballpoint pen? A ruler? I guess, it's all, but I have to admit, it isn't that functional, but it is beautiful. 

And made in Germany.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Something Big Is In the Making

Picture is courtesy of Paul Trynka

All I'm saying is, that something great is happening and I'll let you all know a bit more, once I feel that it is appropriate to share more insight. But boots are being made in England of some very special leather.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Friendly Fire - Dad Rocks!

I know quite a lot of musicians. Some more talented than others. And at first I was quite set on not promoting any music made by friends or people I know, as it would be nepotism in a way. However some of the musicians, I know, are actually very talented and make great music, so I feel, that I'm obliged to use this platform to spread the word.

This is the case with the Icelandic/Danish band called Dad Rocks! It was formed as a solo project by Snævar Njáll Albertsson, but on stage it turns into a group, when friends chip in with all kinds of instruments. So it doesn't get boring, and you should definitely experience them live, if you get the chance. 

I'm not going to say much more about the music, I'll just let you know, that the first full-length album, Mount Modern has just been released.

Now to clear up any confusion I don't know Snævar personally, but I do know one extremely talented musician called Nikolaj, that plays in the band. Nikolaj actually made this video all by himself basically at the cost of a Happy Meal, a R2-D2 figurine and some fake blood.
I'm not going to interpret on the meaning of the video, as I have absolutely no idea, what it means, however it is nice seeing a very old and dear friend and the song is very good as well. 

Plus you should notice that parka he is wearing, as it is quite an icon in Denmark - and probably also in the rest of Scandinavia. Unfortunately it isn't being made anymore, but you can find them in thrift stores, if you have some luck.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tricker's x The Bureau - Orange Cordovan Toe Cap Super Boot

I think the title says it all: Super Boots.

If you have £555 to spare and you are in dire need of a pair of boots, you shouldn't hesitate.

Buy them here

But I'm I the only one, that is just slightly hesitant about all of the collaborations and special make-ups, that Tricker's are doing right now? I like Tricker's a lot and I have a massive amount of respect for the brand itself. And I of course understand, that they are using the momentum, but I'm just concerned, that they are abusing it on behalf of their brand and the quality. 
I have seen some Tricker's recently, where the welt was scratched - going wrecked - and not as well-polished and sewn, as it should have been, which probably should have deemed them as seconds, but they weren't.
On top of these issues I feel, that there are still some very good English maker's, that are getting very little attention compared to Tricker's. I'll try to do more on English shoe manufacturing at some point, but I can of course reveal, that I'm thinking of brands like Cheaney, Crockett&Jones and for instance William Lennon. Loake could also be included, but I can't believe, that they are moving production away from England. This is also why, I don't much attention to Grenson anymore. Grenson is marketed as being very British, but everything is assembled in Pakistan or Portugal, if I remember correctly and the quality has taken a hit.

This is of course just my ranting, but if you have any ideas, views or insight to the subject, feel free to share them.

Concerning the Care of Natural Vegetable Tanned Leather Goods

If there is one person on the Internet, that has proven to have quite a lot of knowledge on leathers, it has to be Mike of Indigoshrimp. I know Mike from a long, long correspondence on leather, leather crafts and shoes and I have to say, that I'm constantly impressed by the wealth of his knowledge. This is why, I immediately asked him, if I could re-post his in-depth guide on caring for natural veg tan leather and I got permission to do so and here is the result. If you have any questions on caring for your leathers, please do ask, and I'm sure, that Mike will gladly help answering questions, and I'll do my best to keep up.

Hopefully Mike and I can present some future projects, but there are no deadline and we are both of the idea, that good things can take a very long time.

Revisiting an old topic this time, but less opinion and more practical pointers for newcomers to natural vegetable tanned leathers.
A common question I am often asked is “How do I care for my new leatherxxxxx?”
It is a huge topic due to the many types of leather available which differ in origin, tannage, finishing processes, etc…most of the common stuff, such as chrome-tanned leathers on hand-bags or the re-tanned leathers on men’s shoes aren’t too difficult to care for, and as long as you pay reasonable attention to the maintenance of the leather, it would look more or less the same regardless of the finer points of care – such is modernised leather, an uniform appearance on different hides and at different times
Our focus will be natural vegetable tanned cattlehide here, with most points applicable to natural horsehide too, as this is perhaps the defining leather of our hobby…and the leather on which your method of care produces very visible results.
^ Vegetable tanned cattlehide, hand-stuffed, in natural
^ Pure oak-bark tanned cattlehide, in natural
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^ Vegetable tanned horsehide, soft-rolled, in natural

I will say that there is no “correct” way of maintenance, and as such I won’t comment on the frequency of care (which is usually the subject of debate.)
There are, however, basic principles which I think folks starting out in this hobby would benefit from.
Firstly, when is the right time to care for your natural veg. tanned leather?
Too often, beginners would care for their veg. tanned leather goods like they’d care for their footwear…this is usually no good.
It is important to keep in mind that vegetable tanned leather that is “unfinished” is not as water resistant as other tannages, loose it’s oil content faster and show the signs of wear and tear more dramatically.
Unlike heavily dyed and coated footwear leathers, you can’t cover-up or polish-over natural veg. tanned leathers – and therefore maintenance at the right time is key for the development and health of the leather.
I would strongly recommend the development of a maintenance schedule; for example, a natural vegetable tanned belt might receive some care for every month of effective wear.
Otherwise, there are a few signs which warns you to imminent and irreversible damage to the leather (usually to the grain and the junction layers), and these should spur you into action!
1. The grain feels dry to the finger tips
2. Superficial cracking or flaking
3. Development of ridging which are not the result of usage creasing
4. The leather has been submerged in, or come into prolonged contact with, water
5. Recent application of cleaning agents such as ethanol, etc
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^ Magnifier, pig-hair brush, horse oil & neatsfoot/wax mix
^ Fuller horsehair brush from the (?) 1970s
So what do we need for basic maintenance?
There are just a few essential tools, none too expensive:
1. Applicator
2. Brush
3. Cloth
4. Conditioner
The applicator is used for introducing the oil or cream conditioner onto the leather.
When covering larger areas, such as a long strip of belt or a bag, I’d recommend using your thumb, in a circular motion, to work the conditioner into the grain.
Although, believe it or not, the use of your thumbs and fingers actually takes a great deal of practice when it comes to applying pure oils – it is easy for the untrained hand to saturate an area of the leather, causing unnatural looking dark stains to appear.
Thus, use a broad brush (around 3 cm in width) for the application of oils until you get the feel of how veg. tanned leathers react to oils, as they help to distribute the oil more evenly over the grain.
To get to hard to reach places or stitched areas, I would strongly recommend using a smaller brush (around 1 cm in width), preferably one made out of animal hair (which remain soft and pliable.)
The choice of brush also needs consideration – do not use synthetics nor boar bristle brushes for shoe polishing, as vegetable tanned leathers which have just soaked up oils are very susceptible to abrasion.
What you need is a horsehair brush!
A good quality horsehair brush is perhaps the single most worthwhile investment if you plan on using or collecting good quality leather-crafts.
Having a cloth is optional, unless you plan on using a conditioner with a heavy wax base, which I would not recommend for natural veg. tanned leathers.
Look for a fine-fibred cloth which won’t shed all over the leather – keep in mind that wax-based conditioners easily trap dust and fibres until they are polished off or smoothed over.
Purists may disagree, but I find cleaning cloths used for TV screens or computer monitors quite suitable for the job!
To complete your tool kit, you’ll of course need a leather conditioner.
Leather food is usually either oil-based or wax-based, but most (hopefully) will contain both.
For vegetable tanned leathers, I would recommend a conditioner which contains at least 50% distilled animal oil.
^ Pure emu fat
^ My home-made conditioner
Avoid anything with wax as the main ingredient (these aren’t food so much as a protective coating) or anything which calls itself a shoe/boot oil.
Remember that the “food” is the oil, wax serves as a surface dressing which do not usually penetrate very deeply unless heat is applied.
Together with water and some stabilising compounds, the oils and waxes are the essential components.
Read the labels, avoid anything with too much commercial “fillers”.
Further, when it comes to wax, always choose beeswax. Keep in mind that a high wax content or raw beeswax will darken your leather more dramatically, as will the application of heat during the conditioning process.
^ Raw beeswax from a bee farm
There is a difference between the darkening with beeswax and the darkening with over-oiling…the former gives you a nice golden or amber hue, the later results in a mottled, dark brown.
I can’t emphasise enough the importance of a good conditioner – don’t cheap out, source it from overseas if you must, or even make your own – the long term health and appearance of your leather depends on it!
Other optional equipment include a magnifier, a burnishing tool made of wood/bone/stone, and a small metal pick (to remove debris from stitch holes and around hardware.)
Altogether, a basic kit might cost you around $50…a very small price to pay if you plan on owning a good collection of leathers.
Once your tools are assembled, you can start the feeding process…

let me share with you some basic maintenance methods.
For simplicity, I like to differentiate between leather cleaning and leather conditioning.
Let’s start with cleaning…
Regular cleaning is essential to the health and appearance of your leather, and at it’s most basic is really a quick & easy process!
Basic cleaning is done fairly regularly – with every wear for items such as shoes, or with every couple of  weeks of wear for items such as belts and wallets.
It really is an easy process: simply brush over the item with your horsehair brush, and wipe it down with a damp (not wet) cloth.

^ The leather on footwear is happiest if brushed before and after every wear!
The stroke of the brush is firm and smooth – the point is not to polish, but to remove dust & debris. The wiping with the damp cloth, on the other hand, is done very gently to avoid excess moisture soaking into the grain.
Leather soap and similar cleaning agents are used sparingly and only when necessary, keeping in mind that part of wearing natural vegetable tanned leathers involves the leather reacting to stains, dyes, etc. A bit of indigo staining on your wallet or belt doesn’t warrant scrubbing with cleaning agents…being too obsessive-compulsive or having too much of a perfectionist trait will make your life very difficult if you pursue this hobby 
With practice, the weekly cleaning of your leathers will take no more than a few minutes!
The feeding of leather, though, is much more time consuming if done properly.
Before any conditioning is to occur, you must first make sure the leather is clean!
This ensures better penetration of nourishing oils, as well as helping to prevent clogging of the pores.
It is preferable if the room temperature (or the leather at least) is relatively warm…this is no problem on a Summer day here in Australia, but use a blow-dryer if the temperature is too low.
If required, gently heat up the leather and/or conditioner with the blow-dryer – be very gentle, and remember the leather just needs to be mildly warm.
Then, using the applicator/brush, gently cover the grain with a small amount of conditioner (no more than a pea sized amount) and quickly smooth it over to cover a larger area; be extra careful when using oils, it is probably a better idea to use a wide brush to begin with, painting very thin layers of oil.
When using a pure oil, caution is needed to prevent saturating a particular area of the leather.
When using a cream or wax-based conditioner, you’ll need to work the conditioner into the leather with your thumb using a firm, circular motion.
For hard to reach areas, or where there is stitching/hardware, you’ll need to use a small brush to apply the conditioner and a small metal pick to remove clogged or excess conditioner if necessary.
^ Temporary darkening with the application of oil
Don’t be alarmed if you notice the conditioned areas of the leather becoming darker…this is only a temporary effect which disappears as the oils sink deeper down into the leather.
If the leather is very thick (e.g. on a 15 oz belt) you may need to apply the feeding process to the back-side of the leather as well – though I find this is generally not required after the first feeding unless you’ve neglected the leather for a long period of time.
Of course, the coating of veg. tanned leathers for use in inclement weather or rough-handling is a whole other topic unto itself, but this is more esoteric than practical nowadays.
This is more or less covers the basics of care. There’s no big secret to great looking natural vegetable tanned leather goods - enjoy using & wearing your leathers, take care of them properly, and they will serve you well for years to come, not to mention the develop beautiful patinas along the way.
Keeping vegetable tanned leathers really is a fantastic little hobby, and makes for a very nice side-project as you break in your denims and ducks. I’d strongly recommend every denim-nerd to give it a go.