Archives for July 2013 | A Continuous Lean.

Better Getting Better | Salvatore Piccolo

Jul 30th, 2013 | Categories: Made in Italy, Pitti Uomo 2013 | by Michael Williams

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This is the brand you probably only hear about in the wake of Pitti Uomo. The reason it doesn’t come up much is because, outside of his custom shirting clients, Salvatore Piccolo has very little distribution of the brand in the U.S. In a way, this limited availability sort of enhances the brand to me. It’s not in every shop and it’s not on every e-commerce outpost. Barneys has it and that’s apparently enough for the brand and for people like me who love its collection.

The reasons for this limited engagement, I hear, has to do with the fact that Salvatore himself is very involved in the entire process of making his clothing, from designing the fabrics (many of which are exclusive from mills in both Italy and Japan) to running the bottega in Napoli where everything is made. Increasing production and expanding is tough when one man needs to be involved in every detail. Coincidentally, that’s probably what makes these clothes so great and it is also probably the reason why I like them so much.

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Classic Workwear Since 1924.

Jul 22nd, 2013 | Categories: New York City, Work Wear | by Michael Williams

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The New York Times recently did a story in the real estate section about an old family run uniform company  from Brooklyn called W.H. Christian & Sons. I’ve seen the company’s delivery trucks around New York (especially in the Financial District) for as long as I have lived in the city and I am always taken with their appearance. It’s a weird thing to say, but I really love the way those trucks are painted. In 2008 I posted about how they are the best looking delivery truck in NYC.

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Meet Rivington Street’s Newest Barbershop.

Jul 20th, 2013 | Categories: Grooming, New York City | by Michael Williams

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If ever you got a shave or a haircut at the original barbershop at Freemans Sporting Club you will understand that more space was needed since about week two. This morning I was one of the first to get my hair cut at the newly expanded shop next door at 10 Rivington Street. While the new set-up is much more spacious than the previous location, it still gets crowded with customers basically the minute it opens. I actually went by to see this new barbershop yesterday afternoon and as soon as I got there the door was still being painted and customers were climbing in through the window to get haircuts. That’s loyalty.

Designed by Taavo Somer, the space pays homage to his Scandinavian roots with light pine wood covering the entire ceiling. The pine —which was sourced from an old barn in Upstate New York— was also used to make the custom barber stations. The new shop is very much a work in progress, with some of the finishing touches still to come. Miles Elliot, one of the partners in the operation, told me that so many people came by during the two days they were transitioning to the new space so many regulars came by to try to get appointments, they figured they might as well just open as it.

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Leinenkugel’s and the Case for Summer Beer.

Jul 19th, 2013 | Categories: Beer, David Coggins, Drinking, Wisconsin | by David Coggins

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Nobody sets out to be what Kingsley Amis refers to as a “beer bore.” When you’re a teenager you don’t drone on about Belgian Lambics, how you only drink Kölsch in Cologne and mercifully you never utter the word “handcrafted.” No, when you’re eighteen you drink what’s available, familiar, cheap and geographically appropriate. And that’s as it should be.

For us, summers in Wisconsin meant Leinenkugel’s, which came, like Annie Hall, from nearby Chippewa Falls. The bottle declared that it’s “brewed by 73 people who care” which is reassuring. It’s been around since 1867 and has been run by many generations of Jacob Leinenkugel’s descendants, which is good. Then it was bought by an international conglomerate in 1988, which is not as good, but perhaps not surprising.

Even for those of use who are devoted wine drinkers, it remains a very fine beer. Well, perhaps not very fine, but certainly good enough. That’s one of the funny things about the beer you grow up with: Your associations are so strong that they can overwhelm your judgment about the taste. This comes into sharp relief when you try your friend’s favorite beer from Washington or Maine and hint that it’s subpar (perhaps over the years you have acquired a few habits of the beer bore). Your friend looks at you icily, as if you’ve insulted his mother’s cooking.





Slowear | All You Ever Need

Jul 18th, 2013 | Categories: Italy, Menswear | by Michael Williams

On the surface Slowear doesn’t appear to be much different from a variety of other Italian brands. Nice fabrics, good construction and some interesting design, but not over designed. The difference becomes more clear the minute you actually wear the product. It’s at that point that you will very quickly place the brand on an altogether higher level. At dinner last night, my friend randomly asked me what my favorite brand was. I had no real answer, I was stumped. Today I woke up and saw this great video from Mr Porter profiling Slowear and my choice was right there. Now I am thinking that if I were deserted on an island and could only wear one brand for the rest of my life, I would easily choose Slowear.





From the Desk of… | Ovadia & Sons

Jul 12th, 2013 | Categories: From the Desk of... | by Michael Williams

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Brothers Ariel and Shimon Ovadia are easily be described with the word particular. Part of me thinks the term to describe them could actually be obsessive. They agonize over everything — in a good way. When it comes to their line Ovadia & Sons (which was just nominated for the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund), the details are very important to them. For me, as a consumer, that translates into a lot of trust in their product. I know everything Ovadia puts out into the world is held to high standards. If their name is on it, so they want it to be the best. I know if I buy a shirt for them they have gone to great lengths to ensure that the fit is just right. The twins care deeply about the construction, the fabric, the fit and they won’t stop tinkering until everything is perfect. This obsession with aesthetics extends all the way to the décor of their Wooster Street office and showroom.

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Introducing the Patagonia Legacy Collection.

Jul 11th, 2013 | Categories: California, History, Menswear | by Michael Williams

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A few months ago I made the trip to Ventura, California and stood in the parking lot where Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard embarked on one of his first climbing trips to Argentina. The point of my journey to Patagonia the company wasn’t to tour historic parking lots, it was the see a new collection of clothing that was inspired by the early and important Patagonia clothing that Yvon Chouinard created in that very same spot. Launching this September, the Patagonia Legacy collection is a small ten-piece capsule of product that traces back to the original items from the forty years of Patagonia. The scale of the company has grown over the past four decades, but the mission and the core values remain intact, much like the building in which it all started.

Before I made the trip to California, I saw the Legacy collection at a small preview in New York. I was, admittedly, pretty nervous going in to see it. Often times, these types of historically slanted collections can be tricky and scary to the purists. The last thing we want is some heavy-handed re-interpretation for no good reason. I learned at that preview, and also later in Ventura, that heavy-handed is not Patagonia’s M.O. The Legacy collection is a subtle and steady take on the already great items from the Patagonia’s past.

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The foundry where Yvon Chouinard first started blacksmithing metal climbing instruments under the Great Pacific Iron Works name that is still on the front of the building. The shop remains completely intact and is still fully functional. I’m told occasionally Yvon will still work in this shop as a blacksmith.

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