Archives for May 2012 | A Continuous Lean.

Woodwarding the Internets

May 31st, 2012 | Categories: Automobiles, Design | by Michael Williams

The site Chromeography is the best use of Tumblr that I have seen in a very long time. (Thanks are due to Zach T. in Chicagoland for the heads up.) The collection of imagery (with an emphasis on the beautiful auto badges) rolls ever so perfectly across a screen it proves that the true magic of the internets is rooted in the simplest things. The page isn’t all car parts — espresso makers, padlocks, Leicas and even a Walther PPK all make appearances — but it definitely scratches the automobile itch with the perfect mixture of chrome dipped font nerdery. Not to mention an extra helping of Americana. [Chromeography]

Shopping Montreal | Rooney

May 30th, 2012 | Categories: Shopping | by Michael Williams

Check another solid menswear store off my list.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending 24 hours in Montreal and I took the opportunity to stop by Rooney in Old Montreal for a look around. The brand mix at Rooney reminds me a lot of Steven Alan Annex, and I mean that in the best possible way, Steven Alan is probably my most shopped store in New York. Browsing Rooney, I recognized almost every brand that was present but still was compelled by a lot of what I saw. The shop does a good job of mixing workwear from labels like Post Overalls, LVC and Universal Works with more European pieces from Our Legacy, MHL and Barena. Not to mention a solid selection of clothes and shoes from the quirky Mr. McNairy. It all results in an interesting selection of menswear staples and quality brands that are worth owning.

Rooney is something that every city needs, but is strangely something that most places don’t have. Every market no matter how big or small should have a store that can pull in the top 25-50 brands and present things in an interesting way. It is good to be in Montreal and see something that is at the same time both familiar and new. Worth a visit for sure.

From the Desk of… Bergdorf Goodman’s Mimi Fukuyoshi

May 28th, 2012 | Categories: From the Desk of... | by Michael Williams

From the Desk of… is a window into the world and workspace of some of ACL’s most stylish friends.

As the Vice President/DMM of men’s sportswear and shoes for Bergdorf Goodman, Mimi Fukuyoshi has one of the most coveted roles in the business, let alone at of the best stores in the world. It’s not an accident that Mimi is in this role, she’s one of the smartest and most well liked people in the business. Mimi is proof that good things happen to good people, not to say she hasn’t earned it because she absolutely has.

One of the reasons that Mimi and I first connected was over a shared love of collecting. A few years ago we spoke about her then incomplete collection of Gentry magazine. She was actively seeking the final few missing copies, and we decided then that when her collection was complete it would be great to share with the ACL faithful. Today that conversation becomes a reality with a look into Mimi’s workspace and at all of those Gentry issues.

In her own words, Mimi describes what’s on her desk:

* Gentry Magazine – Men’s magazine published between 1951 and 1957. It was a quarterly and only 22 issues were published. It took me about 10 years of eBay, flea markets, used book stores, but I have all of them. I was introduced to them when I was a buyer for Bloomingdale’s and bought Engineered Garments for the store in 1999 or 2000. I asked Daiki what inspired his collection and he cited Gentry Magazine. He had a few issues which he brought out to show me and I was hooked. It became something of a mission of mine to collect them all. This magazine could never exist today: there are articles about Harris tweed, for example, and they included a swatch! Or Japanese woodblock prints with a print included!

Opening Day | American Lawn Chair Season

May 28th, 2012 | Categories: Made in the USA | by Michael Williams

In addition to being an important day to honor the men and women of the U.S. armed forces who have given the ultimate sacrifice, today holds another important distinction as the official beginning of the American lawn chair season.

I like to think of it as opening day for Major League Lawn Chairing, a sport in which the longer you stay stationary in a webbed chair, the more points you score. To play at a high level you are going to need some help, and by help I mean a cooler and a strong supply of beers. It should be noted, that the USA made Coleman steel belted 54 quart cooler is the only official MLLC sanctioned temperature control device.

A Huge Tribute to Made in U.S.A.

May 25th, 2012 | Categories: Americana, Japan, Made in the USA, Magazines | by Michael Williams

Just getting around to this, but it sort of is the perfect weekend for this type of thing. This past month the Japanese magazine Huge published an issue centered around all things American. The topic was approached in a uniquely Japanese way, which is to say it was comprehensive and something that seemed much closer in structure to a catalog than a magazine. Huge made in USA was very obviously based on the 1970s magazine Made in U.S.A. (pictured below), which was a watershed moment for many American brands in Japan. The copy below (Made in U.S.A-2) was a gift from a colleague in Tokyo who I work with on Red Wing. According to him, this magazine (which currently fetch about $250 per issue) is what really put the Red Wing Shoe Company on the map in Japan. Made in U.S.A.-2 is for me a prized possession and a constant source of inspiration.

Huge covers a lot of familiar ground by including folks like Wood&Faulk, Dehen, Stanley & Sons, Archival Clothing and a host of other American manufacturers. There are also some surprises and new finds along the way. If you live anywhere near a Kinokuniya you can still get your very own copy of Huge (June). If you are looking for a copy of Made in U.S.A.-2 best to search on Yahoo Japan auctions and hope the seller ships to the good old USA.

Mickey Drexler Documentary on CNBC

May 24th, 2012 | Categories: Video | by Michael Williams

In the spring of 2008 I posted the video of J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler’s captivating appearance on Charlie Rose. It was after watching that program back then that I first started to get an idea about what makes Mickey tick. Over the past several years I have seen first hand that Mickey is a truly fascinating person. Tonight, CNBC takes things a step further with a one hour documentary about Mr. Drexler and J.Crew. Judging from the clip below — which CNBC surprisingly sent over as an ACL exclusive— we’re all in for an interesting evening tonight.

While filming in the Albini Group mill in Bergamo Italy, where Thomas Mason fabrics are made, Silvio Albini, fifth generation to run the mill was showing Mickey Drexler (and CNBC’s David Faber) how it all works.  During the tour, Drexler noticed a sign on the factory wall that reminds him of a customer email and he springs into action.

One last personal tidbit about Mr. Drexler. When The New York Times profiled me as part of the “New Breed of Bloggers,” one of the first emails I got was from Mickey —a person whom I’ve had a few meetings with over the years but is really someone I don’t know— wishing me congratulations. It was surprising to say the least. But just like in the clip above, the man is connected to the business in a remarkable way.

CNBC: J.Crew and the Man Who Dressed America airs tonight (5/24) at 10p.m. EDT.

Search and State | Made in New York City

May 23rd, 2012 | Categories: Cycling, Made in New York | by Michael Williams

 Walking up to the second floor of New York’s famed sporting goods store Paragon, I was on a mission to find a good new cycling jersey. I made a left at the top of the stairs and skipped past the cases of pocket knives, sunglasses and flash lights heading straight to the cycling section. Just as I got there I came upon a sign that read: Search and State Made in New York City. Needless to say, I was intrigued. When I set out to Paragon I expected to find something that would work for what I wanted, but I couldn’t have expected to find something as great as what I did with Search and State.

The New York based company is the product of Devin O’Brien and Daniel Golden, two guys who previously worked in design and marketing and decided to set off on their own and create a brand that had a different approach to cycling. What started back in 2010, has emerged this spring as tight collection comprised of just the essentials: one jacket and one jersey in all black. It’s a simple start with more products coming throughout the year.