Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Archival Clothing Can Do No Wrong

As far as I remember I don't think that Archival Clothing has put out anything that I didn't immediately felt  the need to purchase. Despite that fact I've ever only ordered some Columbiaknit t-shirts from them. But hopefully it won't be too long before I start supporting them more. It's like they can't make a do anything wrong. I mean, the collaboration with Hollows was great, so are their sweatshirts, duffels, zipped totes, rucksacks and the list just goes on and on.

Not too long ago they released these cardigans that are made by Centralia Mills. Therefore you should instantly know that they're well-made, sturdy, heavy duty and of a superior quality. This particular design could easily double as a jacket in between seasons and I'm sure it would become the go-to sweater in many wardrobes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ultima 15 Ashtray

Some days ago I was reading an article about the venerable English company Alfred Dunhill, and someone noted in the commentary that he couldn't understand, why a company like that would ever sell pipes and other smoking accessories in our modern times. Apparently the guy was totally unaware of the fact that pipes and the likes are an integral part of Alfred Dunhills history
It made me think about times when smoking was the norm and really cool smoking paraphernalia like lighters from Dupont, Dunhill, Ronson or Zippo were still something every dapper man would carry around.

The Ultima 15 ashtray is a beautiful design classic of the 70s, and was designed by the Swedish design duo Holger Bäckström and Bo Ljungberg. Obviously these were made in a time when there was a demand for ashtrays, but today with a declining demand for ashtrays I think the Ultima 15 ashtray can be appreciated by smokers and non-smokers alike. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Levi's Vintage Clothing - 519 Bedford Pants

I'm willing to look past the fact that these pants are made in Turkey, as the fit is just so good on these pants and furthermore I'm really into the bedford fabric. Bedford is quite similar to corduroy because of the lengthwise ridges in the fabric, however it doesn't feature the filling yarns that create the wales in corduroy. Bedford is also a very hard wearing fabric that was utilised by the US army for a number of years. 

What makes the fit so good is the narrow hem, relatively high waist and the fact that the thighs are still slightly roomy. Actually it's a very period correct fit of the 60s - a fit that I'm always looking for and unfortunately a fit that is so hard to find. 

I think, they would be some of the best pants for the forthcoming summer.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Frederico Polidori - Leather Craftsman

The Italian leather craftsman, Frederico Polidori, was someone, whom I had heard mentions of on some leatherworking forums. Apparently he's incredible talented when it comes to constructing handmade bags. That's why I was very pleased to see more of his work featured on ACL, when he visited Polidori's workshop in Rome some time ago. His style is very nice, albeit I'll never be a fan of tooling or the obvious Wild West influences.

Very recently I was looking to pick up some ideas from his beautiful bags when I stumbled upon this short video of him and I just had to share. Mostly because I just love his gestures and mostly his facial expression. It reminds me of the Italians, I know. Some of them have the most amazing ways of saying everything with a simple nod.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Rifle Sling Belt

I remember, when I first read the post about the Riffle Sling belt on one of my favourite blogs, The Trad. I remember immediately thinking that I should start looking for the hardware needed for that belt and so a search started and after some time I finally managed to track down the hook that makes up for the buckle on the belt.

The claw or the hook was originally used on the Springfield rifle sling and at some point someone turned it into a very nice belt. As it's mentioned on the Trad LL Bean offered the belt, and I do believe that it was made by Bianchi Leathers for LL Bean, as I remember seeing a belt that carried both names. No matter what it makes for a classic and casual, albeit a bit unusual, belt.

Currently there are some companies offering this belt. 

If I weren't making my own, I would be ordering from Narragansett Leathers

Furthermore a more modern brand such as BillyKirk is also offering their version, but I'm not sure what I think about the look of the claw.

When I start making my own version, I'll of course try to keep you updated.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

National Athlectic Goods- Indigo Sweatshirt

Once upon a time there was a great Danish company called Blue Willis that specialized in clothing made of natural materials using naturals dyes. They were especially fond of indigo and made a lot of beautiful clothes in yarn dyed fabrics. Actually Blue Willis still exist, but production has moved out of Denmark, and the quality is nowhere near what it used to be, and the aesthetics is just different or may I say terrible. Now this post isn't about Blue Willis, I just felt that they were worth mentioning, as they made great indigo dyed clothing and I wish that more companies would do so, even though more brands are actually incorporating it at the moment. I like products made of a fabric that ages well.

One of these brands is National Athlectic Goods, which is being made by Standard Design in Canada, which also produces Homespun Knitwear.

This sweatshirt is obviously inspired by vintage sweatshirts from the golden era of American sportswear and casual clothing, as it features the v-insert on the front and on the back. Other than that it looks very well-made and easy to wear, and most importantly it will continue to develop a richer colour due to the elusive indigo dye.

A Small Update from After the Denim

Mark Sommerlund from Shoe Chapter on the left, and me, Simon Tuntelder
The updates are a bit irregular, I know. And I'll hopefully be writing more in 2013 and hopefully I'll be writing more interesting stuff. The reason is not only my own laziness,  I've almost completely stopped buying clothing - except for some thrift finds, as I'm investing more in tools and leather. Lately I've been spending more and more time in my workshop working on a small leathergoods collection that I'll make available for purchase in the months to come. It's almost finished and I'm working on building some stock as of now basically. However orders are always welcome, if you have something that you want me to make for you or if you see something that you like, just send me an e-mail.

If you're wondering, what gets created in the workshop and see some other more random stuff, you can follow the Instagram feed HERE

Other than that I've just participated in the very first official After the Denim collaboration. I worked together with a friend of mine, who runs the shoe store, Shoe Chapter, who has supplied me with numerous good shoes in the past.
We've created some very good caps, which Ebbets Field Flannels made for us. I've just finished a photo shoot recently, which will be released, as soon as the pics have been edited. We were so eager to release them that we arranged an impromptu release party, which you can see some pictures from HERE

Lastly there are some other good projects and things in the working, which will be released, as soon as I get around to doing it. But time is limited and there's so much to do. I hope you guys will remain patient and keep sending me the great feedback and keep commenting on the posts that do get written.

A belated happy new year and have a great day

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Balance - Pre Orders at Hanon

I would be lying if I said that I wasn't spending too much time eyeing all of the great offerings from New Balance. Hanon has made pre orders for the forthcoming season available and I'm tempted to pick up all of them. At least the made in UK or made in US editions.

These would be my picks


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Want - Alfred Sargent Derby

Normally I'm not too fond of black shoes, but I desperately want these heavy derby shoes by Alfred Sargent. They're perfect for the season with the heavy Commando soles by Itshide and the waxy leather is quite easy to maintain. They're made in England, in Northampton to be precise and they're, of course, goodyear welted.

Good thing my birthday is coming up and I've behaved very well this year.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Crafts - iPad mini Sleeve

Just before Christmas a good friend of mine came by the workshop wanting to make a Christmas present for his dad. He wanted to make a protective sleeve for his dad's newly acquired iPad mini. Since I hadn't been doing any sleeves for the mini, I decided to help him out, so I could get a pattern made. This means I didn't do much on this piece besides a little bit of cutting, but I just helped out as much as I could.

Basically we just used a design that I've been doing quite a lot lately. Calling it a design is a bold overstatment. It's not even a design, as it's so ultra simple, but the closing mechanism is great for covers/sleeves, as it doesn't incorporate any hardware, which can scratch the device.

It was made using a leather that is a bit similar to the very famous Chromexcel leather from Horween, as it is a oil pull-up, but not of the very greasy ones. It's very easy to work with and it's very easy to maintain. The leather comes from an Italian tannery.

It's hand sewn using a super thick (8ply) waxed linen thread from Germany that I bought as an early Christmas present for myself.

You can really sense the grain structure in the leather, where it bends. Nice and subtle.

I can't take credit for any of the stitches other than scrutinizing every stitch like a hawk. He did a really good job.

Unfortunately it's virtually impossible to burnish oil tanned leathers. So it's hard doing anything about the edges. You can either leave them raw or you paint the edges using a good edge dye.

Koss Porta Pro

There are a lot of terrible headphones, which are often, but not always, dirt cheap, there are some seriously good headphones which are always madly expensive. But then we have the Koss Porta Pro headphones, which are awesome and very inexpensive. Value for money at its finest. The design is functional with a lot of smart features and the sound is great. What's not to like?

I've had mine for years and they've served me tremendously well and I figured that most people knew about them. But lately I've realized that not all people know about them, although they probably should. Maybe that is why I've experience other Koss Porta Pro owners giving me the insider's smirky smile, when I've worn mine while walking around town.

The Koss Porta Pro has been around since the early 80s and they've remained relatively unchanged since then, but I guess it comes down to the old proverb "If it ain't broken..." This means that they could easily described as a design icon of some sorts.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Guernsey Knitwear - Le Tricoteur

The whole heritage movement has shed light on a lot of knitwear, which has a great history and a legacy that you just don't find in modern knitwear. I'm thinking of the Aran, the Breton and the fairisle sweater However the Guernsey jumper seems to have flown under the radar and it hasn't been gaining the attention that it deserves. Especially when you take into consideration that the classic Guernsey jumper has been made on Guernsey in the English Channel for centuries.

Nowadays the most classic Guernsey sweater is made by a company called Le Tricoteur, but there are other good makers that still make the sweater. 
The original Guernsey sweater is made of a sturdy worsted wool and it's constructed in such a way that the front and back side are identical making it very easy to put on - even in the dark. Other than that it features the recognisable pattern, where the sleeves are attached and on the hem, which is slit at the bottom. Just like the Aran and the Breton the Guernsey sweater was also used by sailors and fishermen, so it's extremely hard-wearing, as you probably already guessed. It's so hard-wearing that it's affecting sales, as people buy one and never return for another, as the sweater outlives the owner.

The Japanese have of course embraced the classic Guernsey.

New Year's Resolutions via Archival Clothing

I never make New Year's resolutions. Never. It seems foolish to me. What doesn't seem foolish to me is the "Archival Resolutions" that Archival Clothing publish every year. But then again why would anything AC put out be foolish? They always seem to get everything just right.

1.  Decide that quality matters and pay for it.  In the end, it will save you time and money.

2.  Before you buy, be selective.  Scrutinize items for build quality, fit,  finish, functionality and lasting style.   If an item is not perfect,  catch and release it. 

3. Do more with less.  Add a few key pieces to your wardrobe and wear them until they dissolve. 
4. Shop from yourself and from thrift shops. Repurpose strategic items from the past. 

5. Support apparel companies that manufacture their products in the US*.  Buy products still proudly made in their traditional country of origin. 

6.  Contact manufacturers and let them know what they should offer.  If  you're a woman and you love classic heritage styles, ask them to offer their products in your size. 

7. Find out what products are manufactured in your region.  Visit factories and publish reports. **

8.  Wear wool and linen year round.  Experiment with summer weight woolens, and heavier linens. 

9. Come up with a signature uniform.  Wear it once a week. ***

10. Read historical newspapers and magazines.  Learn about lost brands, fashions, and manufacturing traditions.

*Or the EU. But the country of origin is so important nowadays.

** I promise to do this a lot more in 2013.

*** AMEN!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Oak Street Bootmakers - Trench Boot

I remember when Oak Street Bootmakers hit the menswear scene. People went crazy for the vibram soled oxfords. It was crazy. But from what I've seen, it's totally understandable, as the quality is definitely up there, so is the vision of the brand.

It has become obvious that George Vlagos is going for something a bit different than moccasins and loafers with the release of the field boot for instance. However their most recent release, the Trench boot, really hones the brand name.

 Made in the USA (of course) of quality materials in a timeless design in one of the nicest leathers around (Horween's Chromexcel leather in the colour "Natural"). What's not to like? Nothing, I guess, but personally I would never consider wearing a pair of boots that didn't have a rubber sole. In my mind I'm thinking about how nice they would look, if they were equipped with a rugged, English Ridgeway sole. But that's probably just me and my OCD, but make no mistake this boot looks like one of the best boot options around.