Archives for August 2010 | A Continuous Lean.

Carryalls from Canoe Country

Aug 31st, 2010 | Categories: Bags, Minnesota | by Michael Williams

Recently I purchased a bag from Frost River in Duluth, Minnesota. When the bag arrived I was pleasantly surprised how nice it was, though it was a bit larger than I had anticipated. I emailed the company and very painlessly exchanged the original bag for a slightly smaller option. As expected, the folks at Frost River couldn’t have been more nice, which seems to be a common thread amongst Minnesotans.

It does seem that some Frost River offerings are similar in shape and material to other Minnesota bag makers, though Frost River does a great job of differentiating itself with many of its products.  Speaking of, Frost River has a ton of different items in its line. Everything from bicycle panniers to goods for the “cabin” and beyond. I especially like the Waxed Canvas Pistol Rugs and the Ash Baskets.  The company does all of its own sourcing and manufacturing, and offers a great value for money. [Frost River official site + product photos]

American Luxury from Louis Vuitton

Aug 30th, 2010 | Categories: Luxury, Made in the USA | by Michael Williams

Yes, you did read that right…American luxury. It seems the esteemed French luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton manufacturers some of the their fine leather goods right here in the USA. My business partner was showing me her beautiful new leather Vuitton bag and right away I said “I think that is made in the U.S.” With a quick check of the label we discovered it is indeed an American made bag. Pretty amazing when you think about it.

Made in Chicago | Oxxford Clothes

Aug 29th, 2010 | Categories: Chicago, Clothing, Factory Tour, Video | by Michael Williams

The good people at Oxxford Clothes have put together a short film documenting the process of making what many think to be America’s finest tailored clothing. If there were any question as to Oxxford’s quality and make, the company dispels all doubt with the “Anatomy of the Suit” section of its website. It seems clear that Oxxford has set the standard for making heirloom-quality-goods. I own quite a few suits, but sadly none of them are made by Oxxford. This needs to change.

Thanks to Michael for the tip.

Sprinkle Coal Dust on my Grave

Aug 28th, 2010 | Categories: Americana, Video | by Michael Williams

[Thanks Brian]

Make a note of it…

Aug 27th, 2010 | Categories: Notebooks | by Michael Williams

Over the past few weeks a few different notebooks have come into my life. A few were sent to me, a few were acquired through eBay and one I have had for sometime. I’m a big fan of notebooks, owning them and using them. I’m also the type of person that needs to keep life organized with a list, so the relationship is a mutually beneficial. Notebooks need people and people need notebooks.

On the New Haven Line

Aug 26th, 2010 | Categories: Americana, Men's Stores, New Haven, TNSIL | by Michael Williams

Take the train from Grand Central to New Haven and go straight to J. Press at 262 York Street. A few years ago I had the great pleasure of working for the company (sort of a dream come true at the time) and I would occasionally make the trip up to New Haven or Cambridge for business. When we went to Yale we would go by the Yankee Doodle and have hamburgers. The great part of the J. Press store in New Haven was the fact that it still exists. The New York store sort of moved around and never felt perfect (even when it was around the corner from 346 on 44th Street), but New Haven always felt right. In the store there would be nary a student in sight — save maybe someone on an errand for a school boy scarf during the colder months or a guy in need of a repp tie.

The clientele has aged with the company, but the bones of the brand are still there. And never call it preppy. J. Press is “Ivy League style,” because this isn’t prep school. The sack suit is like acid in the eyes of “the kids,” a name my friends and I have for the younger style-set that don’t necessarily get J. Press.  I’m not yet an old man, but I have a certain fondness for the sack — even if it is unflattering. I like the natural shoulder too, because that’s about as American as it gets. Like most things, many feel that J. Press isn’t the same chap he was 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago — though some still swear by it. Likely, more the former than the latter. The Japanese have owned it for years and years, but still Press carries on. You can’t say that about a lot of companies or clothing lines. When you think about it, many a mighty brand have fallen and disappeared during Press’s watch. Even the Doodle is gone, as is Mory’s…yet Press persists.

J. Press founder Jacobi Press in New Haven, Conn.

NOWNESS | On the Green

Aug 25th, 2010 | Categories: Automobiles | by Michael Williams

There aren’t many events that are more appealing to me than the Concours d’Elegance, which is why I was so happy when I found out NOWNESS wanted to dispatch me to cover the weekend long event. The Concours — which takes place every year on the third Sunday in August at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in California — is without question America’s most prestigious vintage auto gathering. In addition to its esteemed reputation amongst collectors,  the show should be ranked at the highest levels of awe and (vintage car) jealously for mere mortals like myself. Concours also ranks up there in terms of people watching and supercar spotting, by the end of the weekend seeing a Bugatti or Enzo was akin to spotting a new Taurus — no biggie. You can read my account and see some wonderful images from the 2010 Concours d’Elegance at NOWNESS.

Photos by Douglas Friedman for NOWNESS.