Archives for September 2012 | A Continuous Lean.

An Ace Radar Sconce from Schoolhouse Electric Co.

Sep 28th, 2012 | Categories: Made in the USA, Oregon, Shelter | by Michael Williams

The things that Schoolhouse Electric Co. turn out always interest me one way or another, and this wall light the Portland-based manufacturer is no exception. Created in collaboration with their crosstown friends at the ACE Hotel, the new Schoolhouse Electric Co. Radar Sconce comes in six color options and was developed from a light from an old 1970s parts washer.

More from Schoolhouse Electric:

Our new Radar Sconce was inspired by a light originally used on an industrial parts washer. Utilitarian simplicity. We loved it. So did Ace Hotel Portland. Teaming up again after a 2007 collaboration, Schoolhouse and Ace developed a versatile and elegant industrial lamp to be used bedside in the hotel’s rooms and bar side in the new Ace basement bar.

When sourcing parts, we stumbled upon a 1970s stamped electrical box from one of our East Coast vendors that had the vintage tooling but hadn’t used in decades. We crushed hard on all the stamped details, including a cross, risk-of-fire warning, and wattage rating on the canopy box face. Functional communication incorporated into the design is what makes many vintage designs so rad. The message wasn’t hidden; it was part of the design, adding texture and character.

Field Testing the new Goruck Duffel.

Sep 26th, 2012 | Categories: Bags, Made in the USA, Military | by Michael Williams

Way back in 2010 when I wrote about Goruck on this blog for the first time, this is what I had to say: “These Goruck bags are some of the best things I have seen in a long time — I’m expecting big things from the brand.” It really was the truth that I was expecting big things, and it seems very clear now that Goruck was up to the challenge. The tiny bag brand has gone from maker of just a few small packs, with one ACL comment smack-down under its belt, to an esteemed outfitter and widely respected cult-brand. When I spoke to Jason McCarthy for the first time in the fall of 201o, I remember specifically asking when the Goruck duffel bag is coming out. “Be patient,” Jason said.  Well, never would I have guessed that it would have taken the this very deliberate brand two solid years to bring a duffel bag to market. But don’t fret friends, the wait is officially over. Today Goruck officially released its Mil Kit and Civvy duffel bags.

Jason and co-founder Jack Barley happened to remember my long ago interest in the duffel and were kind enough to give me one of the first bags to test out. There was no promise of a quid pro quo, but you would have to be crazy to think I wouldn’t want to get this long-awaited Goruck duffel on ACL.

Updated: ACL Shopping Guide to NYC.

Sep 25th, 2012 | Categories: Housekeeping | by Michael Williams

The second most popular question people ask me via email is about shopping in NYC. (The most popular email is about needed to buy a suit and not knowing where to get started). The idea for a NYC shopping map came after getting many of these frequent queries, and so in the heady days of 2008, the ACL shopping guide to NYC took a bow.

Wants & Desires | Corona Field Jacket

Sep 24th, 2012 | Categories: Japan, Wants & Desires | by Michael Williams

The intention is to visit the great NYC shop Extra more than once or twice a year. This shouldn’t be too difficult, considering the small store sits about 500 yards as the crow flies from my office, but I’m lucky if I can ever make it by. This Sunday I managed to do a bit better and stopped by Extra to chat with the shop’s owner / one man band Koji and see what was new.

In addition to all sorts of amazing vintage clothing, objects and art (much of which is priced NOT to sell because Koji doesn’t want to let it go), Extra carries a comprehensive selection of NYC-based Post Overalls. I ended up leaving with a black wool Chore coat from Post, a perfect jacket from fall. I also came away with some intrigue after browsing a few samples that Koji was selling off from Japanese brand Corona. I’ve seen a few things on blogs about Corona here and there, but I never realized that the line was designed by one of the Post Overalls guy who split off and moved back to Japan.

Striking the Right Balance | Batten Sportswear SS13

Sep 22nd, 2012 | Categories: Japan, Made in the USA, Menswear | by Michael Williams

Since the beginning, Batten Sportswear has been a collection I have really bought into. Shinya Hasegawa, the man behind the clothes, has always inspired me with his dedication and commitment to go off on his own and put a stake in the ground. I’ve seen Batten grow from a one man operation with zero stores and the tiniest of offices on 37th Street to a slightly less tiny office with a production person, a showroom and dozens of stores in the matter of a few seasons. It’s been cool to see Batten develop and grow, it is especially great because every season I am impressed with the product. I like the fact that Batten refines and tweaks stuff I already love like 60/40 jackets, bags and anoraks. It isn’t trying to reinvent anything per se, Batten makes good things better by tweaking the fits and adding in little details that make the clothes special.

Speaking the Same Language | Salvatore Piccolo SS13

Sep 20th, 2012 | Categories: Made in Italy, Pitti Uomo June 2012 | by Michael Williams

The best part of seeing a new season’s worth of collections is the chance to obsess over the Salvatore Piccolo line. Being a good American and not speaking any Italian (the good American thing = sarcasm) and Salvatore speaking only a tiny bit of English, we focus our communication on shirts and the process of making them.

I’ve covered the last three collections from Piccolo without fail. For whatever reason woven shirts keep my attention and the stuff he turns out always impresses me. This season in addition to the all hand-made casual and dress shirt offerings, Salvatore Piccolo is introducing a small collection of sport jackets for spring. The silhouettes for the jackets are slim but not crazy —made to be wearable and in beautiful patterns and fabrics.

The Art of Bicycles at Copenhagen’s Cykelmageren.

Sep 18th, 2012 | Categories: Copenhagen, Craft, Cycling | by Michael Williams

To say that bicycles are ubiquitous in Copenhagen would be an understatement —bicycles there are a way of life. Over the past few years I have followed a few Copenhagen -based cycling centric blogs and their images helped to further provoke my own relationship with cycling. One thing everyone says in Copenhagen (and Amsterdam for that matter) is that people get their bikes stolen very frequently —most say it happens with regularity once a year. Living in NYC, this is something I can certainly appreciate, and fear.

All of this bicycle thievery makes the idea of spending a lot of money on a bicycle a frightening proposition, but it hasn’t slowed down Copenhagen’s Cykelmageren even the slightest bit.