Archives for June 2013 | A Continuous Lean.

Summering at RRL.

Jun 29th, 2013 | Categories: Americana | by Michael Williams

RRL Ranch2

An oldie, but a goodie. Every summer, Ralph Lauren sets up a fully kitted-out tepee on his RRL ranch in Ridgeway, Colorado. It’s not something you see everyday, and I don’t think many folks out west would ever attempt anything like this.

The tepee is done up top to bottom in RL style, complete with leather club chairs, rugs and even an antique chandelier. That Selvedge Yard fella has blogged it way back in 2009 (at the dawn of the internet) and Oprah even paid the tepee a visit when she went interview Ralph at his 17,000 acre RRL ranch, but it’s still worth looking at yet again. Colorado in the summer is a pretty magical place in its own right, but I couldn’t imagine a more interesting place to spend a weekend. Wonder if Ralph is receiving guests? My guess is no…


RRL Ranch4

New Balance: Made in the U.S.A.

Jun 27th, 2013 | Categories: Footwear, Made in the USA, Sponsored Post | by Michael Williams



Look at the list of major athletic shoe brands that are Made in the USA and you will find a total of one entry: New Balance.

It all started for me with the 993. Then came the 574, the 1300 and the 996. I love them all equally. That perfectly tilted “N”, the toe shape that is just right and that “Made in the USA” (Where the domestic value is at least 70%, New Balance labels its shoes “Made in the USA”) stitching on the tongue. To me, New Balance are as classic as it gets.

The fact that the company is the only one that has maintained production in the United States is remarkable. It speaks to the commitment to the people of Maine & Massachusetts where the factories are located. It shows the commitment to the men and women of the U.S. Military who wake up early and lace-up New Balance Made in USA running shoes. It speaks volumes and there’s only one real voice out there.

At Work With Aaron Draplin.

Jun 26th, 2013 | Categories: American Badass, Americana, At Work, OR | by Michael Williams



This meeting was a long time coming. I was in Portland, Oregon a few months back, but I didn’t have a chance to go and meet Aaron Draplin. I’m back this week and I couldn’t make the same mistake twice.

I had a lot of work to do (as I’m sure he did too), but I manage to sneak over to see Draplin today and finally get to meet the man I have admired for so long. Interestingly enough the designer and Field Notes creator is exactly the same in person as I imagined him to be. Friendly, animated, generous, smart, funny and full of life. Draplin is EXACTLY the type of person that ACL was designed to highlight. If you aren’t up to speed on him,. here’s a bit more about him from the ACL archives. I could basically shut this place down after this post, but I won’t.

Short Sleeved | Gitman Bros. Vintage SS14

Jun 20th, 2013 | Categories: Made in the USA, Menswear, Pitti Uomo 84 | by Michael Williams


Every season at Pitti the guys from Gitman Bros Vintage do a little something playful, this year that meant making every sample in a short sleeve button-down, nearly all of them in crazy colored prints. I attribute all of this quirkiness to Gitman’s Minnesota bred leader Chris Olberding.

When I say “leader”, I mean to say that Chris is part designer and sales guy, part PR man and production manager. Along with his lone deputy, he’s basically a one man show. Some of you might remember him from one of the Pop Up Flea, where he would be hawking his Pennsylvania made wovens with much enthusiasm. That type of energy is his modus operandi. Anyone at one of the many European or North American tradeshows would agree, as would the staff of Gilli I’m guessing.

Shopping Los Angeles | Wittmore Pop-Up Shop

Jun 18th, 2013 | Categories: Los Angeles, Menswear, Retail | by Michael Williams

Wittmore_popup_01 (1)

Recently, while in Los Angeles, I paid a visit to the new Wittmore pop-up shop on Third Street. The colorful space is brings to life Wittmore’s nicely curated and eclectic brand mix, which up until a few weeks ago has been an entirely digital shopping affair.

The physical and online stores are the product of my longtime friend and mentor Paul Witt. Wittmore is a culmination of Paul’s many years in the clothing business and his varied work across various creative disciplines, a few of which involved me as his underling. The shop presents Witt’s personality well, and represents a playful perspective that very much aligns with his personal taste and style. It’s an inclusive and needed respite from the world of pretentiousness that can often surround so many menswear brands and stores. Wittmore brings a keen eye and an injection of playfulness that makes clothing fun again.



The Big Secret at the Clinton Engineering Works.

Jun 14th, 2013 | Categories: History | by Michael Williams



In April of 2012 I posted about Oak Ridge, Tenneesee, one the U.S. government’s secret Manhattan Project sites that was established to produce the fuel for the first Atom bomb. The post was spurred by the Department of Energy and the digitization of their photo archives, which included a lot of long classified photos of the secret town. You can read all about it here.

That post got a lot of attention and people all over the world were curious to see the photos and learn about how a town of over 80,000, which was home to the largest building in the world at the time (the K-25 enrichment building at CEW, which is pictured above and below), had the 10th largest bus network in America and used more power than the whole of New York City managed to remain a closely held secret.

Oak_Ridge_CEW_1940s_6 Oak_Ridge_CEW_1940s_3

North Maine Woods Dispatch: Libby Camps

Jun 12th, 2013 | Categories: David Coggins, Dispatch, Hunting & Fishing, Maine, Travel | by David Coggins

The Ride

You haven’t visited most of Maine—few people have. It’s an immense state that’s largely unpopulated. Well, try this: fly to Bangor, then drive three hours north. You’re getting up there. At the end of an 18-mile dirt road is Libby Camps. Established in 1890, it’s been in the same family for five generations. That all sounds promising, and it should. We’re partial to lodges and cabins that don’t dress themselves up (wall-to-wall carpeting is a telltale warning sign). When you arrive at Libby you know you’re in a place that has earned the right to take the long view.

Come in May and June to fish for native brook trout in many of the remote ponds that can only be accessed by foot or, even better, by float plane. Or come back in September when the water falls and they turn red before they spawn. Either way, you fly fish from a 20’ Old Town canoe and cast out one of the idiosyncratic flies made by the guides. Or, if you’re more classically minded: a caddis or March Brown. You can hope for a trophy 3 pounder, but that’s a setting the bar high. Aim a little more realistically, while expecting regular action from strong, healthy fish.

Essential Transport

Cabin Main Lodge