A Continuous Lean.

Go the Victor.

Mar 30th, 2015 | Categories: Made in the USA | by Michael Williams

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The hometown factory is the Victor. This is a big one.

Rarely does a brand come along that hits every single note perfectly. The guys behind Noble Denim recently launched an exciting new venture called Victor, which goes way beyond just making clothes. What Victor is doing is looking to help save a factory, revitalize a town, and if successful, bring back American garment manufacturing in the Southeast. It’s more than just a noble (punny, I know) undertaking, it’s also simply great product.

Knowing the people from Noble denim as I do, I can say that they consistently impress me with their creativity, kindness and the level in which they execute. They are an altruistic bunch operating in a world where seemingly anyone can found a brand with their “perfectly curated” Instagram account and feel as if they are changing the world. But Chris, Abby, Christman and Sam have pushed forward designing and producing some truly excellent product at a fair price which can also help save jobs and a factory town. And it’s more than just good marketing, they have the manufacturing and design chops to back it all up.





SIGNALS

Mar 30th, 2015 | Categories: SIGNALS | by Michael Williams

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  • Literally talking shop with Taavo Somer of Freemans fame. [The Hand & Eye] [Pictured]
  • Meet Denver’s own all-American-made Berkeley Supply. [Vimeo via Berkeley Supply]
  • Your walls will thank you for these highly tasteful posters. [WAX]
  • Baxter of California made a nice little video about Riley, a LA based stuntman. [YouTube]
  • My take on the Makers Movement and the new USA made Target Collective. [A Bullseye View]

Bonus: The ACL morning routine. [Harry's Five O'Clock]

—Good things happening elsewhere. Follow along with ACL on Facebook and Instagram





Sailing Collective | Sights to Sea.

Mar 25th, 2015 | Categories: Travel | by ACL Editors

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As has been discussed on this site before, people don’t take vacations like they used to, but this shift is not always lamentable. The ubiquitous cross country car journey may have made it’s final exit, but this has opened up a new field for companies such as Sailing Collective, which offer trips that can only be described as “adventure tourism.” Sailing Collective, which was only founded back in 2011, specializes in trips that are really about the experience, not just the destination.

Taking a trip to Croatia, or the British Virgin Islands, or even Maine, is one thing, but what Sailing Collective provides is the opportunity to take in these beautiful locales in a completely unique way. With Sailing Collective the trip actually really starts once you land at your destination. From there you meet the rest of your boat (typically six passengers and two crew) at the dock for a week long trip at sea. For co-founder Dayyan Armstrong exposing passengers to the unknown side of these well known destinations is what Sailing Collective is all about. By boat you’re more likely to stumble upon a quiet village, or a picturesque enclave, or a hole in the wall restaurant, and these discoveries are the true advantage of a Sailing Collective trip.





Kicks for a King.

Mar 23rd, 2015 | Categories: Accessories, Menswear, Shoes | by ACL Editors

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It’s said that you can judge a man by his shoes but this goes doubly true for his slippers. In public you’re dignified, distinguished, or at the very least not disheveled. A man’s home is his castle though, and you should look the part. This means dressing like a king. A very comfortable king. Many men these days unfortunately forgo them altogether, but we still believe that slippers are a crucial component of any at home outfit. The power of the slipper lies not in its comfort (it goes without saying that a good pair of slippers should feel like you’re stepping into a cloud) but in the message they send to visitors – You’re in shoes, I’m in slippers, I’m in charge here. So here now are our favorite slippers fit for a king, even if your kingdom is little more than a shoebox studio apartment.





Well Appointed.

Mar 20th, 2015 | Categories: Obsessions, Office Supplies | by Michael Williams

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Occasionally, I can make some absurd generalizations. One of my recent favorites is about Kickstarter and how I will never write about anything I find on there. The reason for this stems from the fact that 99.9% of everything that I have been pitched from the crowdfunding site is utter garbage. Then out of the blue a few weeks ago I received a perfectly executed (and wonderfully refreshing) email from Suann Song about her amazing new paper goods and desktop brand Appointed which launched recently on Kickstarter. Today, thanks to Suann’s creativity and hard work, my sweeping generalization surrounding Kickstarter falls.

The Appointed collection is a handsome offering of notebooks and a memo pad. Eventually it will extend further to also include a beautiful brass ruler, and much more this summer. Everything is going to be designed and manufactured right here in the USA, setting Appointed apart from the many fine makers from Europe and Japan. In a lot of ways, the look and feel remind me a bit of the awesome Japanese based brand Postalco. Incredibly, just a few weeks into the launch and the brand has already raised close to $33,000. It seems there’s definitely an appetite for fine American paper goods.

Impressed with not only the aesthetics of Appointed, but also of Suann’s approach and attention to detail I reached out to find out more about what went in to the creation of Appointed.

Tell me more about how Appointed came to be. What was that process like? How long did it take? And what was the moment that really pushed you over the edge to move ahead with this endeavor?

I’ve been a designer for about 8 years and founded a creative studio based in the D.C. area. I’ve always had a passion for product — paper products, specifically — and we had a small stationery line for a while that did fairly well. I pulled that to focus on our branding and custom clients. But I’ve always wanted to get back into paper products and have had the idea for Appointed for quite some time. Even though I’m a business owner, which takes some risk, I’m very risk-averse. If I don’t have the funds, I don’t do it. And producing product takes a lot of risk — especially at the scale that I wanted Appointed to be at. So, about a year ago I decided that I was going to see what it would take to get Appointed going, research the market, and just start designing and prototyping product — and I would worry about funding later. Once I had product I believed in; that’s what got me to move forward and figure out funding. And that’s where Kickstarter came in. We’re raising initial funding to put our signature product into production but I also have a funding plan beyond the Kickstarter because the notebooks are just the start. We have a full line that we want to launch in the summer. Ideally, I’d like to get Appointed to a place where if you want simple, beautifully-made and functional products for your desktop, we make them.





Not Just for Slobs Anymore.

Mar 18th, 2015 | Categories: Menswear | by ACL Editors

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What a long, strange trip it has been for the world’s most polarizing piece of clothing – the sweatpant. Over the past few years, sweatpants have evolved from uniform of the underutilized (looking at you George Costanza) to high fashion fodder. For as strange as it may seem though, the recent rise of the sweatpant makes perfect sense. No other item embodies the dualistic (and often conflicting) nature of menswear in 2015. We want our clothes relaxed, yet refined. We want things to be comfortable, without appearing sloppy. We want both crisp and casual in equal measure. And that brings us to the sweatpant. Or as described by countless buzz-wordy product descriptions, the “tailored,” “tapered,” “slim,” and/or “dress” sweatpant.





Pleat It Forward

Mar 17th, 2015 | Categories: Menswear, Style | by ACL Editors

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George Carlin had his famous “seven dirty words,” but in menswear we really have just one: pleats. At a time when even sweatpants have become stylish, nothing says, “I’ve given up” quite like a pair of pleated pants. They’re the uniform for the uninformed, pants for men who dress literally and figuratively in the dark.

During the “great menswear enlightenment” of the mid-aughts, pleats came to represent all that was wrong with the average male wardrobe. Flat fronted pants weren’t just a more streamlined option, they were the only option for those that were in the know. Men that wore pleats didn’t realize, or worse didn’t care, that that their bloated trousers looked terrible. The general assumption became that if you wore pleated pants, you just didn’t get it. And no man ever wants to be accused of that.

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