Friday, March 22, 2013

Artifact Bags

Chris Hughes of Artifact Bag Co. makes great bags in his Omaha-based workshop, which is one awe-inspiring workshop filled with great machines. His bags are incredible too. Hard-wearing, well-made and tough as nails. Initially his version of a lunch bag got a lot of press and attention, but I think his briefcase and carry tote are much more impressive, but I guess a lunch bag is a stand out piece and of course a lot of good makers are making totes.

The reason why I follow Artifact bags isn't exactly because of the products- They're great no doubt about it and definitely worth looking if you're in the market for one, however I'm pretty set in terms of bags. But I really enjoy his blog. Now it hasn't been properly updated for some time, but previously you could follow his hunt for the right machinery for his workshop. It's just so crazy what you can find in a country that has had a lot of industry, like the US. I mean, I couldn't find much like it here in Denmark, even if I tried. And believe me, I try.

There's a video too. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Astorflex - Desert Boots

I love Clarks Desert Boots like everyone else. I've worn through some pairs and have been pleased with them. However it bothers me that such an iconic boot is made in Vietnam and often of a rather poor leather quality. But the iconic status will often make you look the other way and just wear it anyways - yes, it happens.
However I think, I've purchased my very last pair of Clarks, since an Italian friend of mine mentioned a company called Astorflex. Astorflex makes a desert boot, which is very popular among Italian students apparently. For good reason it appears. Astorflex makes their shoes in Italy, of vegetable tanned hides (from Italy) and they use a natural crepe sole. Many of you will probably also appreciate that the price is lower than Clarks at around 75 euros. 

These will wear amazingly, I'm sure. The tan leather is perfect for nice patina

Astorflex doesn't have many retail clients in Europe - I couldn't find any to be honest. Maybe it's because they're quite unknown outside Italy, or it could be conscious decision by the company in order to keep their prices as low as possible. They seem like a well-thought out company with a very open and transparent company, as you can see where they purchase their materials and they have a quite strict code of conduct. Have no worries about the retail situation - you can purchase directly from their web shop using Paypal/credit card.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Steve Sunk - The Axe Man

I love short videos that showcase how stuff is made. I never get tired of them. However I do get very tired of the extremely pretentious ones and the ones that are supposed to be about a certain craft, but they more or less end up being about something entirely else. There are so many bad examples that you could probably compile enough material for a spoof video. Now I don't want to showcase the bad ones, I would much rather showcase the good ones and in this case; one of the best, I've ever seen.

Steve Sunk, who makes knifes and axes, seems so straightforward and so unpretentious. It's a relief watching his down to earth nature, while being so graceful in terms of his work.

Monday, March 18, 2013

John Simmons Cord Shirts

One of London's prime purveyors of Ivy style clothing, John Simmons, has these corduroy button down shirts. And they look great, especially with that flap pocket, which is a great detail reminiscent of old J. Press shirts. I'm a huge fan of corduroy and as a shirt material it's great for winter, as an overshirt or for very casual occasions. And the fact that John Simmons has had the shirts made in England and in some very good colours doesn't hurt either.

Now my love for corduroy is no secret, however I find myself not wearing it nearly enough. The problem for me is that you can never find pants with the right fit and the right corduroy. The pants are either made of a substantial corduroy and a very wide fit, or they're made of a flimsy corduroy with the correct slim fit. So if someone would please make some corduroy pants of a substantial all-cotton corduroy with a roomy thighs, narrow hem and a high rise, I would be a customer for life.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Crafts - My Mom's Leather Tote

I'm not really fond of sharing my work here on After the Denim. I try to keep a distinction between, what I make and what I write about here. Of course it's interlinked, but I prefer the distinction most of the time and if you want to see examples of what I make, you can just check ATD's Facebook, Tumblr or Instagram. However every now and then I make something that I'm really proud of or really satisfied with, and  this is the case with this tote that I made for my mom as a Christmas present.

Now this tote is similar to another bag that I featured on the blog previously, however I've become more comfortable with bag construction and this worked out a bit better. The concept is pretty much the same; a simple, rugged and completely handsewn (as in using two needles and absolutely no machines) tote with one big compartment and an inside pocket. This tote was sewn with a braided polyester thread, as I wanted a optic white thread as a contrast to the turquoise leather, that I hand picked for my mom, when I visited the Tärnsjö tannery in Sweden in the summer. My mom has never been afraid of colours and her favourite colour is turquoise, so it was an easy choice. Luckily she liked it, and has been using it daily for some months now.

It was quite a lot of work folding the edges and sewing them, but I think it adds a nice touch. My fingers looked terrible afterwards, this braided thread is hard on the skin and some thousand stitches took its toll on my fingers.

Leather backed double capped rivets

The burnished edges aren't holding up as well, as I would have liked because the handles get bend quite a bit.

This leather has quite a bit of grain character. It's normally used for shoes, but proved to be an excellent material for bags.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Worth a Listen - Heavenly Beat

Former bassist of Beach Fossils, John Peña, makes wonderfully under appreciated music. At least it didn't really make any "best of"-lists. So this record is truly a gem of a record. All the songs are very coherent and filled with great bossa beats, I'm sure, you'll love it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Elusive Knitted Blazer

I have so many ideas for stuff that could help me complete my wardrobe. Actually I think it's a never ending quest, but I keep getting ideas for things that would do really well in my wardrobe. Often it's based on things that are actually on offer, and that's when you start saving and planning, but sometimes it's a certain thing that you just can't find. In this case it's the knitted blazer. 

I have this idea of a knitted blazer that you can both dress up or wear really casually. In my mind it's made of virgin wool or a similar hard wearing wool that has been tightly knitted, but still loose enough to conform to the body. Furthermore it's a three button blazer with a slightly narrow lapel, patch pockets and it's vented. Lastly it's not made in the Far East.

It could look a bit like this blazer from Brooks Brothers. It ticks a lot of boxes, but I'm not going to put a lot of money into something that's made in China probably. It goes against my principles that I stick to.

Another very nice alternative that I came across is the infamous, Spanish Teba, which is a sort of knitted blazer/shirt which is quite used in Spain. The original is made by Bel y Cia, who probably weren't the inventors of the Teba, but they're probably the original maker, as they made the Teba, which was used for hunting, for the Count of Teba. Now this is made in Spain, which is great and the quality is definitely up there, however I'm not sure about the looks of the Teba and it's quite expensive, but again the quality is present without a doubt.

One could even consider buying a replica (most likely from Japan) of the Brown's Beach Jacket, but it's very, very casual, but very good looking. However Japanese replicas don't always go well, if you're tall and have long arms.

Lastly there's the jersey (rather heavy jersey) version of a sports coat, which is made in Canada by Wings + Horns. I've tried it on numerous times and even thought about buying it quite a bit, but there's something a bit off in terms of the length - I find it too short. But other than that the quality is very good and the fit is quite modern with slim sleeves and body, but you can compensate for that by sizing up for a more comfortable fit. If this version was made in a heavy wool I would definitely have pulled the trigger. But alas I'm still searching for the elusive knit blazer and if someone has seen a good one, do let me know where to look.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rancourt & Co for Need Supply Co

Rancourt continues to be my favourite american maker of moccasins (my Eastlands are made by Rancourt). They're hot as hell now and making mocs and loafers for so many brands and shops. I think, they're even still offering the option of having made-to-order handsewns made. Something I've been thinking quite a bit about having made. I would probably go for a classic ranger moccasin in natural Chromexcel leather with brass eyelets and their French-made Lactae Hevea sole from Reltex. This would be a classic looking and very wearable ranger moc, indeed.

BUT then I saw these monsters that Rancourt made for Need Supply some time ago, and was immediately enthralled. Then I figured that I should probably wait a bit and see if it would go away. But I just looked at them again, and I feel like a fat kid at a Cold Stone Creamery screaming "GOTTA HAVE IT!!" 

 Classic nylon boot laces add a rugged touch
 That stacked leather heel/counter and ripple sole from Vibram look great together.