Sunday, July 29, 2012

Vans From The Archives

When the sun starts shining, you see a pair of Vans popping up everywhere. No matter where you look, there's always someone wearing a pair. And I totally get that. They're very wearable and they look effortlessly good. However I try not to support off-shore production, so I would probably never wear them myself, although some of the ones, I've seen from the Van Doren collection, look really tempting.

I would however wear some vintage Vans, as they look so much better than most of the new ones and as far as I'm told by sneaker collectors, they're also a lot better.

Are they "Made by Hand in Bangladesh" now?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Tender Co. Trestle Shop

I have to say, that no other brand inspires me as much as Tender. I could read about his projects for hours and hours. Every time I do so, I quietly think to myself, this man is doing it right - this is how things should be done. I mean, it seems like the founder, William Kroll, isn't that worried about the extra costs of adding a genuine horn button (that is specifically made for Tender in England) or spending extra time finishing a product by dyeing it using natural dyes. He gets the fact, that when it comes to making a good (good is an obvious understatement) no short cuts can be made.

Knowing all of this about Tender, I was really intrigued, when I heard, that Tender would be opening its own webshop called the Trestle Shop some time ago. Well, the wait is over, and has been for some time now - I just totally forgot to mention it.

As you probably guessed, this webshop is astonishing. The offering is quite eclectic, which some people are totally afraid of, but it seems very logical. The offerings adds to the whole idea of this being a lifestyle and they all bear the Tender hallmark. To me the Tender hallmark means handmade, functional, engineered, made to last, well-thought-out, longevity, purposefulness, provenance and I could go on. It's just great.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Making a Sporran in Leather

I can't tell you how many times, I've watched this video. Not in order to make a sporran, but to pick up on some of the techniques, that he uses. Every time I watch it I pick up something new. First of all I know, that I've got to buy a head knife at some point and learn firstly how to sharpen it and then how to use it correctly without cutting off any limbs.

I hope, that you can get something out of this video, even if you don't work with leather.

Luckily someone uploaded the video to Vimeo, which makes sharing a lot easier. The original can be found here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Worth a Listen - Donnie & Joe Emerson

This post could might as well be called "On the Subject of Parental Love", as I've been thinking quite a lot about it lately. Possibly due to the fact that my parents have always shown me so much support and especially in recent times. When I was younger, I would have all these obsessions, for instance like finding and collecting fossils. At some point my parents took me to this big limestone quarry, which was situated in the other end of Denmark and they would spend a day with me, just digging away for fossils. I could go on and on with stories like this.

This summer I've been listening to this song "Baby" by Donnie & Joe Emerson A LOT. It's not a new song, as it was released back in 1979, however it still sounds fresh and relevant. Back in the day no one took notice of this record despite it's obvious qualities, but I guess the music business is like that. Some things just aren't recognised in its time, but is left for future generations to appreciate.

If you're still reading here's the connection to the introduction. Donnie & Joe were supported massively by their parents, who funded, what at the time was a really good studio in the middle of nowhere for their sons to practice and record. They spent a fortune on it. It never really paid off in the sense of making any money on it, however the amazing record "Dreamin' Wild" was released.

So instead of me using up more words, I suggest you spend a good 7 minutes watching this little documentary on the whole project. It's heartwarming.

Oh, and mom, happy birthday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ideas for Styling - Workers

Workers out of Japan is such a cool company. I'm addicted to their monthly news mails. One thing I particularly enjoy is their way of styling the models. So simple, so easy, so Japanese, so masculine and just inspiring.

Take this example from this month

* The moccasins are almost certainly made by Russell Moccasin.

Here are some older ones, that I were storing in a folder on my computer.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Rancourt - Green Shell Cordovan Moccasin Bluchers

I have a terrible feeling, that these might be the coolest moccasin bluchers, I've ever seen. Some might find them a bit too extravagant for a regular pair of moccasins, but I'm all for this kind of craziness. This is taking a somewhat standard product, which admittedly is an understatement and bringing it to a whole new level.

They're made by Rancourt in the US. Rancourt has long been a maker for a number of other brands (including the Eastlands, that I have - see 1 and 2), so I promise you, that the construction and craftsmanship is second to none. Furthermore the materials couldn't possibly be any nicer. Shell cordovan to me is probably one - if not the - of the nicest leathers around and the sole by Reltex which I honestly didn't know about before seems very, very nice.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What Once Was; The Story of a Danish Bicycle Manufacturer

Denmark has always been a cycling country – thousands upon thousands of people commute to work on their bikes everyday and Denmark is always mentioned as a pioneer country in the field of bicycling. Nonetheless, most people are these days riding around on bicycles manufactured in various countries in the Far East, which I think is a bit sad considering the rich (and important!) bicycle heritage of our small country. I hope this doesn't come off, as being the usual pathetic nonsense cliché of “things aren't as good, as they were in the good old days”, as there is still a lot of quality bikes being manufactured in other parts of the world. Instead I would rather use this post to tell a little story about a Danish bicycle manufacturer. I can't deny that there will be a pinch of romanticizing and nostalgia, though.

Nordisk Cyclefabrik A/S (notice the different spelling and even pronunciation) was probably established in 1895 by one H.P. Hansen. I'm not quite sure about the last part, as the former Danish time trial world champion Henry-Peter Hansen, who later became affiliated with the company, wasn't born before 1902. So either they shared the name or there has been some misunderstandings over the years. I invite you to decide for yourself. After moving the factory around Sjælland the first few years, the manufacturing was moved to the free port of Copenhagen. The free port was a place filled with different factories and a few other bicycle companies also had factories there.

What was different about Nordisk Cyclefabrik was the bicycle they made, that didn't have any chain like most other bicycles did. Rather they made a bike that was shaft-driven (“kardantræk” in Danish) with the name “La Danoise”. The type of bike became quite popular at the time and was even exported to other countries; even the Netherlands. Of course they also made normal chain-driven bikes and around the 1930's they introduced the Danish people to the Swedish Crescent, that still exists today. In these years the factory also made a bike, that is still known today as the “sofacykel”. It was a bike with a complete seat rather than just a saddle and the positioning of the rider was much more laid back; not far from the cruisers seen today. I'm not sure, whether or not it was that big a success though. It was meant to be more comfortable, but it turned out to be a quite awkward position to ride in.

In 1933, the company moved to Vanløse west of Copenhagen, where Henry-Peter Hansen had built a factory in a functionalist style typical of the period. From this period it is quite hard to find information about the factory and what happened. What I do know is that in the 1950's the factory was eventually sold to a Swedish company called Nymanbolagen, that already produced brands like the aforementioned Crescent. The old factory building in Vanløse was sold to the government in 1969 and it now houses a school of education, but what happened between these years I haven't been able to stumble upon anywhere.

I hope this little story will be of interest to some people and that we some day can see bicycles being manufactured for the people in Denmark again. Of course there are still Danish bicycle manufacturers, but to my knowledge it is mostly expensive, custom-built luxury bikes like Sögreni and Cykelmageren and cargo bikes like the Christiania bike and Nihola. I would love to see everyday bikes being manufactured in Denmark again and not just assembled.

All words by Lars Engelbrecht 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Arrow Moccasin

If you're into moccasins or handsewns, as they're also referred to sometimes, you've probably come across moccasins from Arrow. Arrow is one of these small, family owned companies, that live a quiet existence, making extremely good products one at the time - at a good price even - and catering to a small, niche audience - mostly in Japan, it seems.

There hasn't been spent a dime on their website and ordering from them isn't really easy, however you can have your mocs made to your specifications. I like some of the make-ups, that I've seen over the years in Japan. My favourite is probably the ring boot with the crepe sole, however I for wearability I would most likely go for the regular moccasin.
I've pairs from Eastland (Rancourt), Quoddy, Yuketen, Russell Moccasin, and probably others, but I've still to invest in a pair from Arrow. I can't help but wonder, why I haven't done so yet.

Take a look at these stitches. Sewn by hand one stitch at the time.

The leather is very thick, but still very pliable, so it will mould to your feet.

This is a beast.