Archives for September 2012 | A Continuous Lean. - Page 2

The Time is Right for Independence.

Sep 15th, 2012 | Categories: Chicago, Made in the USA, Retail | by Michael Williams

It seems like every time work takes me to Chicago, I only get one day to explore. And the more I visit, the more apparent it becomes that I need much more time in The Second City. The food/drink scene alone can dominate the better part of a week’s furlough. While time was limited on my most recent trip, I did have a chance to visit a few stores I have been hearing about as part of my ongoing, unofficial quest to document every good store in America. Certainly deserving this call out and your own visit is Independence — which is the retail outpost of Oak Street Bootmakers. The store, by concept, sells only US made goods—one of the only stores I have seen that sticks to such a defined subject.

There’s a lot to buy at the shop, but what really stands out to me is the opportunity to try on and take home a very nice selection of footwear from Oak Street Bootmakers. That said, there is all sorts of other good stuff from Batten Sportswear, LVC, Gitman Vintage, Post Overalls and Imogene + Willie. Also present are a bunch of very nice (and well priced) wool blankets from the fairly recently relaunched Faribault Woolen Mills — which are highly likeable things.

The Thread That Holds it Together.

Sep 13th, 2012 | Categories: Sponsored Post | by Michael Williams

This is a pair of Levi’s®; buttons and rivets and pockets and cuffs, and the thread that holds it together.

It’s not only that Levi’s® celebrates the ingenuity, ambitions and creative spirit that drives us to change the world — the iconic brand helps to outfit the realization of that success and make the journey as much about style as it is about substance. It’s the thread that binds this ambitious world together.

To illustrate this, Levi’s® created a short that encapsulates the spirit of unbridled ambition and the yearning for the brightest peaks of optimism.

And as a special offer to the ACL fan base, Levi’s® is extending a 20% discount off one item purchased at through the end of October. Be sure to use the code below to take advantage of the offer.

Effective Dates: 9/4 – 10/31
Code to use: GOFORTH2012
Offer: 20% off one item
Valid at only


The Greatest Brand Book Ever Made.

Sep 13th, 2012 | Categories: Books, Craft, Paris | by Michael Williams

Normally the watch companies are the ones who release the finest books documenting the history and heritage of their brands. Though it wasn’t until recently when confronted with the history of iconic french trunk maker Goyard that I realized just how exceptional a company archive book can be.

In releasing the book, Goyard partnered with the storied Parisian publisher Devambez to release 233 editions, which will each set you back a healthy sum of 6000€ (not including shipping or VAT tax or any customization that you do to the case). The 233 number is symbolic because it is the address of the original Goyard store on rue Saint-Honoré in Paris. Each book is painstakingly made by hand by the finest artisans in France and comes in its own individually numbered, fully custom Goyard case.

Discovering Those Who Make.

Sep 12th, 2012 | Categories: Food, Video | by Michael Williams

Short videos of people making things is nothing new around these internets. How many factory videos have I posted on this site? Answer: a lot. Does it mean that all of the attention to craftsmanship is slowing —not so much. And it is not dissipating because it is still interesting. People are also becoming more and more interested in actually making things —be it leather goods or food items. Small batch goods from small batch makers in towns all over the world.

The discovery of the tumblr Those Who Make came as a very welcome surprise. The site is sort of a catch all for interesting maker films — sort of like a regionally unspecific version of my Fuck Yeah Made in USA, but with a more open concept for food, consumer goods and all sorts of other interesting stuff. After looking through, I found some of the food / spirits films most intriguing and original. Maybe I haven’t been paying attention, but the culinary film aspect hasn’t been as front and center. With the exception of the Mast Brothers who must have had thirty shorts focus on them. I pulled out a few of my favorites, and added in a few other recent film discoveries that seemed to fit the same bill.

I should add that far and away my favorite film of this sort was made by The Smith (discovered via Devour) who profiled hunter / gatherer /cook Rohan Anderson —who could be the most badass man on the internets since Aaron Draplin crushed the world one slice of illustrator at a time. Watch as Rohan builds himself a smokehouse by hand, all with bacon in mind. It is a gloriously representative film for a mesmerizing movement that I hope continues to flourish.

Shopping Copenhagen | Norse Projects

Sep 10th, 2012 | Categories: Copenhagen, Retail | by Michael Williams

Norse Projects has a great multi-label shop in the company’s hometown of Copenhagen. I paid it a visit a few weeks back when I was in town for the CIFF trade-show and was thoroughly impressed with what I saw. While the brand’s clothes are clearly very similar to New York’s Supreme, the skate aspect of Norse seems slightly more subdued. To me that makes it more understandable, more digestible and in turn more likely to be in my closet. It’s not that skate is bad, and honestly what Supreme does overall is very obviously next level and untouchable, but Norse is on a good wave-length with what it is doing and its shop reflects that well.

Of all the things I saw in Denmark, Norse was by far the most likeable thing in a sea of likeable things. The city of Copenhagen, the people and the culture were very enjoyable to me. It is the type of place you want to visit and then tweet about annoyingly, like when people visit Austin, Texas and then talk with the locals (while drinking wine at Tivoli Gardens) about how you could move there. If you are wondering, they would probably prefer you stay home. The lack of massive amounts of people is sort of integral to the enjoyable nature of the place.

Henson Handmade Brooms & the American Craftsman.

Sep 5th, 2012 | Categories: Made in the USA | by Michael Williams

Not too long ago I wrote a bit about the new Barena collection and several people made reference to the props in the look book shoot. While it sort of surprises me, it really doesn’t surprise me at all that people are interested in hand made brooms. It reminded me of the profile on Henson Handmade Brooms in Symsonia, Kentucky that I saw on Tadd Myers’ American Craftsman Project. A photographer by trade, Tadd has also made several films that I have featured on ACL; he visited folks like Optimo hats and Oxxford Clothes in Chicago, and he also helped get Danner looking good.