STYLE TO WATCH
Fashion trends are a necessary evil. They employ a lot of people, sell a lot of magazines, and ultimately sell a lot of clothing. But as their own entity they are pure evil. That's pure evil with an eye wink. The most recent "blue-collar workwear" or "classic" trend seems so silly to me. Like Zoolander "crazy pills" silly. Let's review... L.L. Bean, Filson, Barbour, Red Wing, Woolrich, Carhartt, and Pendleton are all classic lines recently discussed in the New York Times article The Fashion Report of 1920, which is a nice article and should be read.But what challenges me is the whole concept of classics being trendy. I suppose when clustered together like the above photograph that's what you get... A
costumelook that doesn't make any functional sense. A heavyweight wool flannel coat by Woolrich worn with rubber Hunter Wellington boots is like wearing a t-shirt in a snow storm. But maybe the ridiculousness is the point, like most fashion shows are eye candy-styled spectacles. Needless to say, a more appropriate coat would be something truly waterproof like a waxed-cotton Barbour or a water-repelling Mackintosh. Here's my point, classic clothing lives forever because it not only looks great but serves a basic function in human survival. Hunting, gathering, protection, comfort, and let's not forget about the biggest function of them all, procreation... Although most men (even in Manhattan) dress like slobs so that might not matter as much as it use to. Anyhow, when the sole purpose of a piece is to serve a trend, that's exactly what you get... Here today, gone tomorrow. And someone who is truly sartorial will never get caught up in that nonsense. Old photographs of Steve McQueen and Paul Newman look like they could've been shot tomorrow. They are timeless for a reason.I grew up wearing most of these classic staples because they make sense in upstate New York and look beautiful. I wear them today in NYC because it's an extension of who I am. Not because it's trendy this month. The most honest thing I've ever heard someone in the fashion industry say came from my good friend Brendon Babenzien (Supreme, Noah, Aprix) who was talking about his nautical-themed line Noah to fashion buyers. In a nutshell he was literally persuading them to only buy one piece instead of every style and fabrication he was offering. "This is going to last you your entire life and then I want you to give it to your son and then his son. You may eventually have to sew a button or mend a hole but this garment is forever." And that's what makes classic clothing timeless. I hope timeless becomes a permanent trend for an overconsuming America but in the meantime let's just make sure it doesn't become trendy...
Band of Outsiders - Heavy Plaid Shirt
Another new brand for us in the coming season is british Universal Work
Check back very soon for a look at the garments we're stocking from Universal Works this coming season
Spring/Summer 2010 Look
“I’ve been looking for the perfect hunting vest for ages, it seems that the 40+ plus generation have this item on lock. Some i’ve found…”
One of the big upsides of the recent heritage fads is that its made people think more about where and how their products are made, and as a result we have seen a rise and resurgence in brands that value high quality and authentic production methods. Yuki Matsuda’s Yuketen label is undoubtedly one brand that has benefited from this, as despite being founded in the mid-90s it’s only in the last few years that its made any significant impact. The brand mixes the Japanese eye for design, and almost fanatical attention to detail, with traditional US styles and production techniques, such as native hand stitched true moccasin toes, and the best quality natural materials (the finest leathers, 100% natural crepe rubber) to create truly unique products.
Their boots and shoes have been well documented, but they also create a range of impressive luggage that lives up to the high standards set by their footwear. The latest baggage collection has just hit stores and includes a masculine take on the currently popular Tote Bag produced in heavy duty, heritage Kurume Kasuri cotton canvas. Also included are the Mailman Bag from previous seasons, plus an English satchel/briefcase bag, both in an aged peanut leather that is deliberately designed to pick up knicks and scratches for that beautiful and hard to obtain vintage look. These bags sum up everything a heritage brand should be…. Stylish, timeless, genuine and hardwearing they are true heirloom pieces, with, of course, a price-tag to match.
Seth Weisser & Gerard Maione — the gentlemen behind the New York based clothing company What Comes Around Goes Around — know a cool piece of clothing when they see it. When I stopped by the company’s sprawling TriBeCa office a few weeks ago, Seth and Gerard were giddy over a score of vintage Levis XX jeans acquired from real-life ranchers in Colorado. The decades old denim was strewn across the worn wooden floor of the two founders shared private office. “What makes these jeans special is the fact that the leather patches are still intact” said Seth Weisser. “You rarely see them with the patches still on the waistbands. Usually [the patch] will have deteriorated and fallen off from the years of wear,” he added while inspecting the cache of vintage jeans.
A hunting themed selection of vintage clothing from What Comes Around Goes Around.
WCAGA is a sort of Disney Land for vintage lovers. The highly curated and appointment-only “Archive” space is beautifully merchandised with different themed areas of vintage clothing, all of which are based on seasonal trends. A lot of outside designers frequent the aptly named What Comes Around Goes Around, to buy inspirational pieces that serve as the basis for their new collections. The one of a kind vintage clothing that is displayed at WCAGA, is acquired from flea markets and shops all over the world.
A sea of vintage denim.
Plaid wool jackets.
The process is excruciatingly involved, especially when you think about and the knowledge of antique clothing that is required. To successfully run a company like WCAGA there are many factors to consider: 1. being able to discern good vintage from bad vintage 2. knowing how to find the good vintage 3. what vintage pieces will sell to your trend-minded designer customers. All of this is what sets WCAGA apart from your local Thrift store — which is the understatement of the year. The hours of work that it spends mining and sourcing the one percent of good clothing from the other ninety nine percent. I like to think of it as triple distilled vintage.
The AW08 WCAGA men’s collection.
In addition to selling an amazing selection of vintage clothing and fabrics, WCAGA also designs, manufactures and markets a line of contemporary men’s and women’s clothing under the same name. I managed to get a peek at the very cool new AW08 line. The men’s collection features trousers, woven shirts, knits and outerwear. The collection, which ranges in price from $50 for graphic tees to about $1000 for outerwear (note the amazing leather jacket in the picture for fall), strikes a great balance between vintage inspiration and contemporary design. The woven shirts in particular, which are made from some really cool fabrics, are worth a look. Where to buy info is below.