If you’ve never heard of Ring Jacket before we can’t blame you (although if you were paying attention to our post on The Armoury, you would’ve spotted their name.) While Ring Jacket was founded in 1954, the Japanese brand only officially arrived in the U.S. recently, as the aforementioned New York location of The Armoury began to offer a refined assortment of sport coats, knits, and overcoats from RJ’s astonishingly deep collections. Ring Jacket is best described as a proficient amalgam of Italian tailoring, American sportswear, and Japanese panache. Their wares range from bold soft shouldered sport coats, to inventive knit blousons, to slim pinstriped suits, pulling dribs and drabs of influence from the world over to create a cohesive range of formal and casual pieces.
Make one thing, and make it great.
As a brand that has truly mastered the art of producing exceptional cashmere knits, this is what we take to be the Begg & Co philosophy. Begg & Co’s collections do not run rampant with superfluous designs, inadequate ideas, or overcomplicated pieces, instead they favor a streamlined, hyper focused approach to their products. Since 1866 Begg & Co has called the town of Paisley, Scotland home, producing nothing but cashmere scarves and throws for nearly one-hundred-fifty years.
In sticking to what they know best, Begg & Co have been able to create one of the widest, and most aesthetically appealing array of scarves we’ve ever come across. While the larger scope of their scarf and blanket collections is impressive, its product is best understood when it’s in your hands, and if you want to experience that, you’ll just have to pick one up for yourself. —JG
In 1973 a group of students in Kennebunk, Maine complied a series of home-spun articles about life in New England into The Salt Book. Led by the group’s adviser Pamela Wood, they documented lobster men making traps, a barn raising, the gathering of sea moss, wrote articles about how to make your own wooden snow shoes and generally waxed on about the characters and daily life by the sea in Maine.
Recently while I was booking a cottage in Maine for the summer, I was reminded of this book and my jaunt up there last year. I have a hard time disguising my affection for the state and nothing fills me with anticipation like an escape up to Maine. It doesn’t have to just be summer — I’m equally impressed by fall, winter and spring in the Pine Tree State. Even though I grew up in Ohio, much of my family was from New England originally and we often when on summer trips to The Cape, New Hampshire and those parts. Long after those trips I am still fascinated by Yankee culture and the salty folks of New England. So even though I am stuck in this new york winter (stuck largely inside for the better part of the past six weeks due to the most ironic of injuries) the stories in The Salt Book can easily transport me to one of my favorite places.
When Sandro Zara founded Barena in 1961, he did so as a reflection of his surroundings. The attire of the local Venetian people had inspired Zara to create clothes that captured this rich, worn in look that was characteristic throughout his homeland. When Massimo Pigozzo joined the project twenty years, Barena entered into their current, more thorough period, with more innovative designs and a wider array of textiles running throughout their collections. Sandro’s daughter Francesa began working with Massimo a decade ago, at a time when Barena was beginning to garner more attention on the international stage.
Since then, Barena has become increasingly more popular and fun to watch, as they continue to riff off their signature “soft” sportswear style, continuously challenging our assumptions on what Italian tailoring truly is. We had a chance to speak with Francesca and Massimo about the Barena spirit, their designs, and why it’s a good thing that they’ll never change.
ACL: Barena is a brand steeped in tradition, what was it that drew your family to the garment industry back in the early sixties, and could you talk a little bit about how Barena was founded?
Francesca Zara: My father started selling fabrics and since then fabrics have always played an important role in our lives. After starting his company, my father worked together with my mother to start their first company on their own. Together they started to produce handcrafted pieces driven by a strong passion and wish to make it happen. Barena was born twenty years ago as a project whose inspiration came from the hunting and fishing world and more precisely from the Laguna of Venice.
Since first opening their doors back in 2005, Freemans Sporting Club has lined their shelves with a truly impressive amount of American made goods, but until this past fall they were missing one crucial item – a suit worthy of their own name.
As a brand whose wares have always exuded a confident yet easy air not unlike that of a college professor, the classically tuned Freeman suit sits comfortably alongside the rest of the FSC collection, but it also represents a new frontier for the brand. The label’s original suit packed a lofty price tag, and was admittedly bit too persnickety for many suit shoppers, so this past year the brand’s design team set out to create a more approachable, entry level suit that better represented Freemans as a whole.
- Sony dominates the American prison radio market. [The New Yorker]
- This man has been eating pizza exclusively every day for the past 25 years. [Vice]
- Critical shopping Berluti. [The New York Times]
- Uber cab confessions by our pal Mickey Rapkin. [GQ]
- Filson doubles down on American made. [Filson Life] [Pictured]
On the corner of 72nd and Madison on New York’s Upper East Side, sits the Rhinelander Mansion, a palatial building that houses the flagship location of Ralph Lauren’s global empire. And yet, “The Mansion” (as it is affectionately known) is far more than a store, it is the epicenter of the RL universe. It’s a physical manifestation of Ralph’s vision, complete with imposing antiquities, more Americana than a field at Brimfield, and of course the full breadth of the brand’s collections.
And so, when the brand chooses to shift course, or launch a new idea, The Mansion is the place for Ralph where everything begins. The latest concept to be debuted at the flagship is an updated “shoe salon,” which showcases the complete Ralph Lauren footwear range, from Purple Label to Polo, as well as a freshly updated Made-to-Order Program. The room itself is grand in a manner that one would expect from an Upper East Side manor, with the deep colors that allude to RL’s higher end lines. Displayed on the multitude of mahogany shelves are an array of models that range from resort ready espadrilles to stomping leather hikers that conjure of images of Gianni Agnelli.