Archives for March 2011 | A Continuous Lean.

Rimowa | German Luggage for the Ages

Mar 31st, 2011 | Categories: Design, Germany, History, Travel | by Michael Williams

When most Americans think luggage, they picture soft sided wheelie bags made from ballistic nylon. Nothing challenges an American’s preference for soft nylon bags more than a trip through customs at NRT. It happens quickly, only takes one trip to Japan to make a yank jealous of the ubiquitous Rimowa hard-sided cases that are the travel norm in Japan and the symbol of enduring German design.

Founded in 1898, Rimowa transformed itself from classic trunk maker into a modern metal case company that has stood the test of time. In our normal fashion, we reached out to the people at Rimowa and asked to see exactly what hasn’t changed and we were delighted with all of the historical reference material the company sent back. Light and strong have been the order of the day at Rimowa since the beginning, a philosophy that has continued to this day. It started with wood, eventually became aluminum and when technologies were pushed the company introduced a polycarbonate case to the world.

Everyday Carry

Mar 30th, 2011 | Categories: Gear | by Michael Williams

There’s a website called Everyday Carry where people document the stuff they carry, well, everyday. Sort of seems silly when you think about it, but for me it is a pretty cool concept into “gear” (aka material things) and also into the psyche of the minds of men. Some people would brand the photos and contributions on EDC as leaning more toward “mall ninja” than modern gentlemen, but at the end of the day who knows what these people do. The site could be read by half of the staff of Blackwater (or whatever name those scary dudes are operating under now) which would make all of the guns and knives completely plausible. Or not. Either way, I don’t care much. If you have a gun permit and carry concealed I suppose that is your right (if it is legal of course).

Carrying a pocket knife is something I have done nearly all of my life. My dad always carries a pocket knife and it is something that I embraced as soon as he let me. This concept (carrying a knife) is something that was slightly lost on the readers of Boing Boing, which sort of surprised me. I don’t see the big deal with carrying a pocket knife, even in NYC or whatever big city.

The Boat Race & Oxford, 1958

Mar 26th, 2011 | Categories: England, History, Jared Paul Stern | by Jared Paul Stern

This weekend the 157th Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race will take place on the Thames, continuing the universities’ storied sporting tradition. Although nowadays the sculls are made of fiberglass and the clothes of Coolmax, in essence the event is largely unchanged since the days of wooden hulls and white flannels. In honor of the occasion, we bring you a look back at a Life magazine photo essay by Mark Kauffman from 1958 on the pleasures of life at Oxford, where “young Britons follow ancient ways of study and enjoyment” in ivy-covered buildings, on bucolic lawns and rambling rivers.

Hickey Freeman’s Secret Weapon

Mar 24th, 2011 | Categories: Clothing, Made in the USA | by Michael Williams

Hickey Freeman's Paul Farrington. Note the perfect shoulder.

It wasn’t long after arriving at Hickey Freeman’s Rochester plant that I was introduced to the storied American suit-maker’s secret weapon,  Mr. Paul Farrington. Prior to meeting Mr. Farrington I had heard quite a bit about him, heard rumors of his ability to make a suit with the perfect shoulder. Before being recruited to Hickey Freeman as the chief technical designer, Farrington worked for several well respected tailoring companies including, most recently, the clothier Samuelsohn (who, from what I understand, make a good deal of Paul Stuart’s suits). When it comes to clothing, nothing is more distinctively “American” than the natural shoulder, save maybe the sack suit with a natural shoulder. It’s amazing to think that it took a Mancunian that was recruited from a Canadian company to get Hickey Freeman to make a coat with a proper natural shoulder.

Field Notes Dry Transfer

Mar 22nd, 2011 | Categories: ACL SHOP, Notebooks | by Michael Williams

We’re a little slow on the uptake here, but better late than never. If you haven’t heard, the kraft-coated folks at Field Notes released a special dry transfer notebook kit. To explain the process the company commissioned an interesting and instructional video featuring Bryan and his mustache. If you feel so inclined you can buy yourself a kit here. We also will be offering these through the ACL shop soon — short sleeve yellow oxford shirt not included.

SXSW: The Reckoning.

Mar 21st, 2011 | Categories: Austin, David Coggins, Music | by David Coggins

Veronica Falls

Sunday after SXSW is time to repent.  It’s a day to confront questionable decisions—and you made some—and consider the bands missed, the drinks accepted, the morning bb-q indulged.  You ask yourself what it all meant and there’s no good answer, there never is.  Then you remember your favorite acts: Sharon Van Etten, Austra, Veronica Falls, An Horse, and you appreciate the magnetism of terrific, talented musicians.  It’s a basic need.

You still have to overcome some guilt when you look at decent Austin residents who’ve been rampaged by people asking where they can buy The New York Times or charge their phones.  You hear stories from the comely staff at the San Jose about serving drinks for 7 straight hours, confided without a trace of self pity.  Others took a more direct approach—one large sign on the side of a bar (which is nominally in the hospitality industry) read: ‘Thank you/Go home.’

SXSW: Into the Breach.

Mar 19th, 2011 | Categories: Austin, David Coggins, Drinking, Music | by David Coggins

Resist the temptation to try to come to terms with SXSW logically. These aren’t tax forms you’re dealing with, but 2000 bands, playing in clubs, in tents, on streets, in parks. By design, it reinvents itself every year, and there are countless pathways through the mayhem, all of them leaving you exhilarated and exhausted. You face the assault on your senses and then pick your spots for visceral gratification. The fact that the festival overlaps with St Patrick’s Day is a blessing or a curse depending on your feeling toward public intoxication and fake Irish accents.