Archives for March 2013 | A Continuous Lean. - Page 2

South by Southwest: Dead Reckoning

Mar 20th, 2013 | Categories: Austin, David Coggins, Music | by David Coggins

French Legation

Drink Today Dignity in the Saddle

Some time around 3am Sunday morning, the end of South by Southwest drew nigh. The phones needed to be recharged and the people did too. The streets were full of walking wounded and you vowed you were never going to subject yourself to this again. Then you remember you said the same thing last year, and maybe the year before too. A man stood on a balcony dressed as a Pope, but his hat was green, so eager was he to honor St Patrick’s Day, just a few hours old.

Near the closing bell we nearly stumbled over a man’s seeing eye dog in the back of a dark club. What was it doing there? That’s a worthy question that we didn’t ask. After four days strung out on music, performed everywhere from Goth clubs to sunny backyards, you’re not sure what you’re seeing. Was that really an origami swan sitting in a martini glass? When we looked again it was gone. Somebody probably tried to drink it.

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The Great American Thermos Hoard.

Mar 20th, 2013 | Categories: Americana, Cleveland | by Michael Williams


There’s a man in my hometown of Cleveland named Kyle Bitters who has been amassing a considerable collection of vintage thermoses. I recently learned about this collection of American vacuum bottles from another Clevelander (the talented photographer Eric Kvatek) who posted photos of all of these old thermoses on his blog. The significance of all of these thermoses was not lost on me, once I saw this place I quickly emailed Eric to find out more. The thermos guy, Kyle, who’s a retired air traffic controller, has apparently been collecting these since 1990 and has focused on metal bodied thermoses that don’t have characters or cartoons on them. His collection is greater than any I have ever seen. I’m sure someone in Japan would come and buy it from him for a considerable sum. Though, I’d have half a mind to make Kyle an offer myself.

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Further Assessments | Salvatore Piccolo AW13

Mar 19th, 2013 | Categories: Further Assessments, Made in Italy, Menswear, Napoli, Pitti Uomo 2013 | by Michael Williams


This is the room I most want to see in every season at Pitti Uomo. Piccolo is the master of color and texture. He mixes in English, American and Japanese with Italian style in the most simplistic and natural way. He’s also mastered of fabric if you were wondering. Not only that, he’s easy-going and affable as a person, which makes the visit even that much more enjoyable. He’s always wants to tell you about the process and the little details that make his clothing so special. It started as custom shirts all made in his bottega in Napoli. Later it evolved to ties, then on to jackets and now he makes handsome suits as well. The guy is a unstoppable.

Barneys brings it to America and Savatore comes to New York a few times a year to work with his custom clients, but when you see everything in once place like at Pitti, the presence of the collection overwhelms. It’s a feeling of mixed joy and pain. Happiness that you get to see it. Sadness that you can’t just pack it all up in trunks and ship it back directly to your closet where you will systematically deploy it to become the world’s best dressed man. [SALVATORE PICCOLO]


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The Story of Willis & Geiger.

Mar 18th, 2013 | Categories: History, Military, Outerwear | by Michael Williams


Papa Hemingway in his safari kit.

What every happened to the iconic American brand Willis & Geiger? Vice Publisher John Martin tracks down the one man who knows the really story and what transpires is a no bullshit interview and thoroughly amazing read.

Burt Avedon (cousin of the famous fashion photographer Richard Avedon) revived the company two years after it went out of business in 1977 and helmed it until it was liquidated in 1999. Now 89 years old, Burt is one of the last remaining people to have hands-on experience with the brand. His bio reads like a Most Interesting Man in the World skit: He was a pilot by age 12, raced cars, played football for UCLA, fought at Iwo Jima, was awarded a Purple Heart in the Navy, went from Harvard Business School into cosmetics and fashion, married an Italian princess, and later led attempts to excavate downed World War II planes from Greenland ice. After a short search, I tracked him down at his home in Verona, Wisconsin, to find out what had happened to what many consider to be the greatest outdoor-clothing brand of all time.

There is a lot of that with the pace of media right now, where people are always looking to see who’s putting out the newest sneakers, but there are a few brands whose authenticity is paramount.

Yeah, but unfortunately good brands of heritage are a reflection of their original management; when they become professionally managed, they lose the spark that brought them to where they are today. I found that to be classic in the industry. Whenever they go into second- and third-generation management, they lose themselves. They no longer have the passion that was originally part of their DNA.

Adventures in Ireland with John Jameson.

Mar 17th, 2013 | Categories: Cocktails, Spirits, Travel | by Michael Williams


Dublin on St. Patrick’s day is something everyone should experience exactly one time. That was my feeling anyway, and when the people of Jameson Whiskey invited me to experience things firsthand, it seemed there was very little deliberation to make. St. Patty’s St. Paddy’s day in Ireland seems to carry the significance of every major holiday rolled-up into one day (or in this case, one weekend) of madness. As it turns out, there also happens to conveniently be a bank holiday on the Monday following the festivities this year, which provides a nice and quiet day of, ummm well, reflection. Many seize the holiday as a chance to dress up in ridiculous outfits and act crazy (my preferred method of dealing with that sort is to run in the opposite direction), but the folks at Jameson took the opportunity to demonstrate a finer touch and showed off the more enlightened side of St. Patrick’s day.

The program in Dublin entailed seeing some of Dublin’s most interesting libation destinations (Vintage Cocktail Club and the Bar With No Name to call out to good ones) and spent an afternoon with the incredibly talented artist & sign painter David Smith. We also might have had a whiskey or two.


Compelling Characters | A Tellason Series.

Mar 16th, 2013 | Categories: Denim, Made in the USA, Video | by Michael Williams

The best endorsement of a product is through the people who use it everyday. That is the philosophy of Tellason and its founders Tony Patella and Pete Searson, so they set out to highlight the most interesting people who wear their jeans. The stories of these intriguing end users eventually became a series of mini-documentaries that illustrates the mindset of not only Tellason, but also the compelling characters that back the brand.

The first film in the series shines a light on photographer, artist, graphic designer and motorcycle builder Todd Blubaugh, “who loves to document two-wheeled adventures with a camera” all while wearing Tellason’s jeans. Not only is it an entertaining story, it’s also an interesting perspective on what Tellason is all about.

Rancourt & Co. Branches Out

Mar 15th, 2013 | Categories: Footwear, Made in the USA, Maine | by Michael Williams


The Rancourt & Co. shoe portfolio has been expanding beyond just loafers and blucher mocs recently. I’ve noticed a few interesting new styles have been popping up on the company Instagram and other social channels as of late. Intrigued, I reached out to Kyle Rancourt to find out more. Eventually this lead to a preview box of nine pairs of the Maine maker’s new styles —all made with a Blake welt construction—showing up at my office. They are great shoes, I didn’t get to keep any but getting a closer looked sparked this post to find out more about Rancourt’s new Blake shoes. These are their stories.

Part of this new crop of Blake styles is Hamilton boot, which is more traditional dress boot —as opposed to the handsewn styled moc toe shapes that Rancourt has become known for— made with the Blake welt process. If you like the shape but wanted something sightly different from what is seen here, Rancourt can also do custom orders of styles like these with the outsole and leather of your choosing. More on the Blake welting process and it’s similarity to Goodyear welting below.

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