Archives for August 2013 | A Continuous Lean.

The Discovery Channel

Aug 30th, 2013 | Categories: Men's Stores, Menswear | by Michael Williams

J.Crew Liquor Store

What began at J.Crew’s first men’s only shop in TriBeCa takes a new shape this fall with the launch of the label’s new Discovered online shop. “Discovered” is a tightly knit selection of interesting goods from both the J.Crew collection which also includes special product collaborations from outside brands like New Balance, Nanamica and other covet-able clothing of all stripes. Before we get talk more about that, let’s go back to the origins of the J.Crew brand collaborations: Mickey Drexler and The Liquor Store.

Watching all of this develop over the past several years, it’s smart the way J.Crew brings in product from outside brands to mix with all of the apparel that it designs, manufactures and sells under its own label. It’s a realistic approach to how guys dress. Alden, New Balance and Red Wing are the natural footwear compliments to a pair of J.Crew’s khakis, wovens and other clothing categories. So why not leverage the company’s brand to get all of these other interesting labels to make compelling product exclusively for J.Crew. Ships, Beams and United Arrows have mastered this as an art form long ago. So have a bunch of directional specialty stores.

The model is the same: use the cool factor of the brand/store to get cool exclusives to further build on the brand/store’s cool factor. In terms of vertical American retailers, no one does the third-party product assortment better than J.Crew. It’s the culmination of good leadership, effective merchandising, smart retail execution and sharp marketing all-together in one place. Throw in the catalog (which they now call the “Style Guide”) and collaborating with J.Crew is a no-brainer for both small and large brands alike.

Get to Know the Goodness That is Levi’s Made & Crafted

Aug 28th, 2013 | Categories: Denim, Menswear, Sponsored Post | by Michael Williams


Miles Johnson Levis

It’s nice to see something come together from the start. A few years ago I got to look at the brand new Levi’s Made & Crafted collection and I’ve been a fan ever since. It was then that I met its design lead Miles Johnson, one of the most talented and  knowledge people I have had the pleasure of knowing the in business of clothing. Over the past several seasons Levi’s Made & Crafted has come to represent the perfect marriage of the history of Levi’s and modern style. The collection is rich with interesting details, special fabrics and historical Levi’s influences that play out in often unexpected ways. As menswear has evolved over recent years, Levi’s Made & Crafted has come to embody everything good about what a modern clothing label should be: it’s authentic, has a strong point of view and it nicely considers both the old and the new.

While in Amsterdam this summer, I spent some time with Miles to talk about where Levi’s Made & Crafted comes from, and where it is going.

ACL: How long have you worked for Levi’s in general?

Miles Johnson: 13 years.

ACL: And where did you grow up?

MJ: In England, in the Midlands.

ACL: Were you always interested in denim? Was it always a thing for you, or no?

MJ: I grew up in denim…we wore all denim.  I think I had my first pair of Levi’s when I was about seven years old and they were possibly Orange Tab. I didn’t really come across denim until I went back to school to study fashion when I was about 28 and I had worked in costume so I had to know the periods in costume and learn to break down clothes, and that’s where my interest in the manipulation of clothing (and I liked clothing) came from. I learned about how to distress and age pieces that we made specially for principle actors.  So that is when I really got into denim.

ACL: With the name “Made & Crafted,” that obviously puts the emphasis on how the clothes are made.  Does that inform everything that happens with the collection…about the details in collection?

MJ: We started off by wanting to call the collection “Levi’s Make,” because it was one of the labels that we used in the twenties.  And then we moved on to “Levi’s Made.”  And the reason why we wanted to just stick with that was “Make” was a name that symbolized quality.  Because quality never goes out of style. And so anything that had to do with Levi’s, the quality was always associated. And then, the word “crafted” was being used quite a lot at that time around our design offices — so we just put the words together.

A Higher Standard: Don’t Test The Dress Code.

Aug 26th, 2013 | Categories: David Coggins, Menswear, New York City | by David Coggins


An unsettling article tucked away in the Times last week announced that the few remaining Manhattan restaurants still requiring dress codes—bless you 21—are now providing a better class of jacket to their delinquent underdressed visitors. Relax, the article said, there’s a perfectly good coat waiting for you at Per Se, so you can hide your complete lack of protocol under a 40 regular from Ralph Lauren.

While the restaurants are being perfectly hospitable—Daniel, in fact, has their coats custom-made—that does not mean you want to join the sartorial class of clothes swapping masses who wander into serious establishments in their shirtsleeves. Perhaps you prefer to rent a tuxedo for your own wedding, as well.

The Menswear Scene in Copenhagen.

Aug 22nd, 2013 | Categories: Copenhagen, Menswear, Tradeshows | by Michael Williams


The trade shows in Las Vegas were all that much more painful coming off of my recent trip to CIFF in Copenhagen where fashion trade shows are done right. Even comparing the experience in Copenhagen to that of Vegas is basically a crime in and of itself. It hasn’t taken me many visits to Scandinavia to truly recognize it as one of my favorite parts of the world. Copenhagen itself is wonderful in so many ways: the food, the people (nice and all good looking), the laid back vibe of the country, the unmatched ability to speak English (sorry world, us Muricans value that because we are inherently selfish and terrible), the active lifestyle and lastly the efficiency that can be found everywhere. Add in a bunch of international brands with good clothes and the recipe is perfect.


Not sure why this was happening, but I liked it.


The ART COMES FIRST installation by Shaka Maidoh, Sam Lambert, Liam Maher and Matteo Gioli.

NYC Institutions | Acme Smoked Fish

Aug 18th, 2013 | Categories: Food, Kate Dulin, New York City | by Kate Dulin


There’s something magical about a bagel and lox. A bite of crisp, chewy bagel and cream cheese draped with silky sheets of smoked salmon (and maybe some sliced tomato) provides one of the most satisfying flavor and texture combinations of all time. No wonder the sandwich has secured its place among legendary New York City foods like the pizza slice and pastrami on rye. Don’t get me wrong, I love a plain old  bagel and cream cheese, but it’s only ever improved by lox.

So naturally, in a city where lox can be found every few blocks, New Yorkers have a lot of opinions about where to get the best. The largest smoked fish factory in the country, Acme Smoked Fish was founded in Brooklyn in 1954 and has been family-owned for four generations. Acme supplies smoked and cured fish to some of the city’s favorite fish counters including Zabar’s, Barney Greengrass, and my go-to spot, which prefers to maintain some mystery about its purveyors. They also ship hundreds of thousands of of vacuum-sealed packages of fish around the country every year. Chances are high that if you’ve ever eaten smoked salmon, it came from Acme.

Smoked salmon rack

GQ on What to Wear Now.

Aug 16th, 2013 | Categories: Magazines, Media, Menswear | by Michael Williams


Why are things the way they are?  What goes into the things I use in my everyday life. Those the questions that drive both my life and this website. The menswear landscape itself is littered with iconic items that each have their own story and purpose for why the way things are the way they are. Think work wear or anything derivative of military clothing. That’s the great part of men’s clothing, everything is really born out of use and function. It’s all very linear. To me, I’m just as interested in the people and the process of how the magazines I read come together as I am for the shoes I wear, the suits I buy or anything else. This week GQ unveiled a new fall style book called What to Wear Now (which hits newsstands on August 27th) and I saw it as a great opportunity to sit down with GQ Senior Editor Will Welch (a man who I hold in high regard and respect greatly) to talk personal uniforms, fall fashion and the making of one of GQ’s most stylish special editions ever.

ACL: How does What to Wear Now fit into the world of GQ style coverage?

Will Welch: It feels like that the more style stuff we do, like we have now done the Style Bible for two years…but that’s April. And then October, we’re working now on the second Style Playbook, so that’s kind of a spring and fall issue where the look of the cover is different and the style quotient is kind of amped up. And there have been three covers for all of those – three cover stars. And it feels like there’s no end to the hunger for more style stuff.

ACL: Yeah, it seems like this is something pushed mostly from the interest from the reader. Do you think guys are getting more interested in fashion now than they were?

WW: Yeah, I think so. I think there’s a lot of things happening. There’s more interesting stuff going on in men’s style. Guys are more interested in it, and are also okay with being…it increasingly. I think we’re almost past the point where there’s anything weird about being interested in style, you know? It’s like…it doesn’t seem less manly to want to know how your car runs, or how your suit is made. All of that, I think there’s a certain very organic “how shit works” aspect to the way men think in the stuff that we “nerd out” about. And now, style has just been added to the list. I think for a lot of guys, it was always there.

GQ_What_to_Wear_Now_4 GQ_What_to_Wear_Now_5


Hancock: Expertly Colored and Crafted.

Aug 14th, 2013 | Categories: Made in Scotland, Outerwear | by Michael Williams


Simple, modern and classic all together in one place. Hancock is the rare expression color and style communicated through vulcanization, an old world construction technique that provides protection from the rain. All of these coats are made by hand in Scotland, using traditional methods. This concept sort of makes me think the Japanese got a hold of Mackintosh, when in actuality the Japanese do actually own Mackintosh (which is a good thing actually, they will protect it and continue to see that production is done in the U.K. where it belongs) but I think they are a bit too nervous to do anything as drastic and contemporary as this.

Last year at Pitti, Hancock was brand new and it was by far the most interesting new arrival at the show. This year, it had shaken off the newness, but it still shined. In addition to the several different outerwear styles (there’s a pea coat, a city coat, a DB, a trench and a sportcoat) the offering works through a beautiful exercise in color theory. No where (save maybe Japan) will you encounter color deployed with such deftness and ease.

In addition to the outerwear, last season Hancock collaborated with Globe Trotter to make a very handsome limited edition case. Coming for spring summer 2014, (hitting stores January-ish) are these equally appealing collaboration Jack Purcell sneakers. Each is made from the same fabrics that comprise the Hancock jackets and in the same terrific color scale. These sneakers evoke much of the same feeling I get when I look at Hancock: classic shapes in great colors made of interesting materials. Sign me up. Now we all just need to figure out how to get our hands on this stuff.