Archives for July 2009 | A Continuous Lean. - Page 3

Mister Mort Trend Report | Tasseled Loafers

Jul 15th, 2009 | Categories: Footwear, Mister Mort Trend Report | by Michael Williams

ACL’s chief trend correspondent Mr. Mordechai Rubinstein runs wild on the streets of Manhattan bringing the business.

Mort is back with photos of tasseled, kiltie and Belgian loafers. There is a interesting article from The New York Times discussing the history of the American tasseled loafer from 1993 which I excerpted below.


“Tasseled loafers so much evoke the elegant era of the 20′s that some clothing historians mistakenly believe they date from that time. They became popular, in fact, only in the post-World War II era.

The Alden Shoe Company in Middleborough, Mass., claims to have invented the shoe after World War II at the request of Paul Lukas, who was a well-known and debonair actor. Mr. Lukas, who appeared in films like “The Lady Vanishes” and “Watch on the Rhine,” asked custom shoemakers in New York and Los Angeles to devise a version of a shoe he had brought from Europe that had little fringed tassels on the ends of the laces.

Mark McNairy for Bass Weejuns

Jul 14th, 2009 | Categories: Collaborations, Footwear, Made in the USA, Maine | by Michael Williams

How can you improve on an iconic shoe? That is exactly what Mark McNairy was tasked with when creating his new co-labeled collection of Bass Weejuns. Obviously the shoes had to be made in Maine and from high quality materials like Horween Shell Cordovan and real alligator. And naturally the shoes had to have a twist. What Mr. McNairy (who is also the J. Press creative director and has his own English made shoe collection under his name) accomplished is nothing short of genius. Granted I’m biased, but there is not one pair of shoes in his collection that I don’t want to steal. When I first found out about the new collection I was so happy that Mark was going to be designing everything — I couldn’t think of a better man for the job. What is pictured below is about one fifth of the special Weejuns collection. (The full range will be at Capsule next week if you are a store and want to buy / see the line. The shoes hit retailers come SS10.)




Shoemaking in Maine

Jul 13th, 2009 | Categories: Factory Tour, Footwear, Made in the USA, Maine | by Michael Williams

Hand Sewn Shoes | Made in Maine

Jul 13th, 2009 | Categories: Factory Tour, Footwear, Made in the USA, Maine, Style | by Michael Williams

Good things come to those who wait. Back in April I went up to Maine on a top secret mission that I am finally ready to reveal (in two parts) today and tomorrow. As you would guess my mission was shoe based, to go to a factory specializing in hand sewn shoes and document everything while my friend worked out the details for a very special collection of shoes that I will reveal for the first time tomorrow.


I have gone to lengths to show as much of the play-by-play as I could without giving away what brands were being manufactured. (Out of respect for the factory owners who were gracious enough to allow me to poke around.) It was my first time in a shoe factory in Maine and the workers seemed either curious as to my presence or decidedly ambivalent. The shoe making process from start to finish seems fairly straight-forward, workers prepare the leather and operate the pneumatic press to cut the various components. Those pieces and parts are shuttled down the line on wooden racks to a series of people who assemble sections until the shoes start to take shape. Eventually the leather parts make their way to a group of hand sewers who work diligently and skillfully to guide their three-inch needle back and forth until the signature moccasin toe is complete. After the hand sewers are finished, the shoes are attached to their soles — either with adhesive or sewn on — touched up, inspected and packaged. It looks fairly simple, but the process requires a great deal of skill and leather experience. Photos of the shop and some seriously good looking shoes after the jump.



Harley-Davidson Style 1910s-1950s

Jul 11th, 2009 | Categories: Motorcycles, Style | by Michael Williams

My obsession with Japanese magazines has been documented many times in this space. I end up at Kinokuniya about once a week looking for new issues, and during one of these trips I became acquainted with the My Freedamn series by Rin Tanaka. On a recent jaunt out to Los Angeles I saw the amazing book on Harley-Davidson style from 1910-1950 at the RRL store and I know I had to get a copy for my dad (who has a few Harleys) for father’s day. Funny thing though, the copy at RRL wasn’t for sale, it was the manager’s book, but I figured I would just get a copy off the internet or when I got back to New York.


Tonight | Drinks and American Made Boots

Jul 9th, 2009 | Categories: Housekeeping | by Michael Williams

The Wolverine 1000 Mile collection officially launches tonight at the Scoop store in the Meatpacking district. Everyone is welcome to stop by for a drink and check out the new 1000 Mile Boots (the tasty numbers pictured below). I’ll be there all evening (because I’m working with Wolverine), so be sure to introduce yourself. It is always good to meet everyone, even the ones that talk smack all the time! ha

Scoop NYC Men’s Store
430 West 14th Street (at Washington)
6-9PM (Food & drink will be served.)



White Bucks in The New York Times

Jul 9th, 2009 | Categories: Style | by Michael Williams

There is a serious dose of Tom Wolfe in today’s Thursday Styles. Mr. David Colman weighs in on the ultimate summer shoe, the white buck. My good buddy Mark McNairy’s collection even got some attention.


“And Mark McNairy, the creative director at J. Press, has just introduced a shoe line of his own, made in the shoemaking capital of Northampton in England. The first models, hitting stores this week, are white bucks and their more rockabilly cousins, saddle shoes.

“It started because I had so much trouble finding a really good pair,” said Mr. McNairy, who grew up wearing white bucks in Greensboro, N.C. “They’re a little more all-American than they are preppy. You can wear them really dressy with a suit, or you can wear them with jeans or shorts. They look great pristine and new, and they look good all beat to kingdom come — and the same goes for saddle shoes.” Plus, he said, “it takes a little cockiness to wear them.”

Read the entire article here.