Archives for January 2014 | A Continuous Lean.

The Ongoing Power of The Tie.

Jan 31st, 2014 | Categories: David Coggins, Style | by David Coggins

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You’re forgiven if you didn’t realize the Brooklyn Nets were enjoying a bit of a renaissance—they’ve gone a cool 10-2 in January. Apparently, Jason Kidd, in his first season as coach, has become noticeably more relaxed. The New York Times noted yesterday that this goes beyond the team’s play, ‘From an aesthetic standpoint Kidd’s development includes a growing a considerable gray-flecked beard.” We always support beards in leadership roles, even among titans of finance (you can approve the beard and not approve the investment strategy).

The piece continues that in the current winning month Kidd has also forsaken wearing ties during games, and he looks pretty good without one. Still, our first thought was that this was another step down the path of informality—like the sad day when the 21 Club dropped their tie requirement at lunch.





Now What? | Talking Shop with Carson Street Clothiers.

Jan 30th, 2014 | Categories: A Conversation With, Jake Gallagher, Retail | by Jake Gallagher

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Don’t let the small store-front fool you, Carson Street Clothiers is a veritable mecca of modern menswear. Located on Crosby Street (Carson Street is a nod to the street where the shop’s owners Brian Trunzo and Matt Breen lived together in Philadelphia), CSC instantly became a true “destination store” from day it opened its doors this past year, catering to a savvy clientele of style obsessives young and old.

The store’s stock nimbly melds forward thinking sportswear, with traditional tailoring in a style that has been endearingly labeled as “neo-geezer.” For all stores though the first year is a learning process, and for a store of Carson Street’s size both physically and in the number of brands, there’s a lot to be learned. We spoke with Trunzo about what he’s learned, where the store’s heading, and what it’s like find new brands.

ACL: Since Carson Street opened this past year you all have added several new brands to your roster, some of which are entirely new and some of which are just new to your shop, so what do you look for when buying a new brand?

Brian Trunzo: “Breaking” new brands is something in which we take great pride, but it is a tricky and even dangerous activity. Since we approach buying from a “fan-first” basis, the threshold issue is whether we love the product and find it intriguing enough to make it into our own wardrobes. This is a pretty easy threshold to cross, though, seeing how much amazing stuff is being produced every season, so then we ask ourselves whether we truly believe that the brand in question would add something new to our shop. Once we’ve answered this question, more questions need to be answered: would our customer be interested in this product? would this product potentially cannibalize the sales of another brand we already carry? does this new brand seem financially viable enough to deliver to us on time and not fold and disappear in six months? Once we’ve answered all these questions, then we can decide the brand or product’s place in our shop. Yeah, it’s an exhausting activity.





A Taste of Nashville in Portland | Imogene + Willie

Jan 28th, 2014 | Categories: Denim, Jake Gallagher, Portland Oregon | by Jake Gallagher

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Like cornbread, sweet tea, and whiskey, Imogene + Willie is inseparable from their Southern roots. Since they opened the doors to their Nashville, Tennessee shop (which fittingly is located in an old gas station) back in 2009, Imogene + Willie have become really the only name in denim below the Mason Dixon line, which is why I was a bit surprised when I literally stumbled into their newest shop, located not in Austin, or Savannah, or Charlestown, but in Portland, Oregon.

Imogene + Willie’s second shop is situated comfortably between Tanner Goods and Poler Stuff on West Burnside in the Pearl District, which is fast becoming, for lack of a better term, the SoHo of Portland (or at least, as much of a SoHo as a city like Portland can have.) From the moment you walk in, the store transplants you down south, with antique ephemera like faded folk signs, horseshoes, and beat up work boots almost stealing the spotlight from the I+W wares. Additionally, the store gets a dose of the southwest thanks to a hefty helping of indigo jewelry, cacti, and Native Americana.

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The Triumphant Return of High Waisted Trousers.

Jan 27th, 2014 | Categories: Film, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher

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The most interesting part of Spike Jonze’s latest film Her, is not the introspective main character, Theodore Twombly (played deftly by Joaquin Phoenix), nor is it Scarlett Johansson’s sultry-voiced computerized companion, in fact the thing that sticks out to me most is not a character at all. It’s a pair of pants. From the moment the trailer for Her hit the internet a handful of months ago, there was already talk of Phoenix’s startling high-waisted trousers, but I don’t think that anyone was ready for the sheer volume of near-nipple high pants in the film. Just about every publication from Esquire, to Entertainment Weekly, to The Guardian, to the damn Today Show, has covered costume designer Casey Storm’s decision to clothe the film’s male ensemble in pants that hit well above the navel.





Mill Town.

Jan 26th, 2014 | Categories: Made in the USA, Photography | by Michael Williams

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Many of these scenes are familiar and many of these places are known, but that doesn’t make and of this less striking. Photographer Christopher Payne set out to capture the landscapes and workrooms of America’s textile mills and factories. The scenes are intense and colorful, and may very well serve as a time-capsule portrait of an industrial complex which is nearing its last run. These photos and the photographer came to my attention recently through ‘Fruit of the Loom‘, a recent New York Times Magazine photo essay. This textile photo series began when Christopher “stumbled on an old yarn mill in Maine” and was inspired by the old machinery and the small-scale manufacturing that is largely forgotten in America. Payne visits Woolrich in Pennsylvania, New England Shirt in Fall River and various other mills in-between, seeking the beautiful colors and symmetrical scenes that these seeming lost industrial holdovers present.





The Ralph Lauren Olympic Collection | A Conversation with Jeanne Carver

Jan 23rd, 2014 | Categories: A Conversation With, Americana | by Jake Gallagher

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Over the years on ACL, we’ve interviewed designers, shopkeepers, authors, and even a filmmaker, yet we’ve never spoken to anyone quite like Jeanne Carver. Carver is not some fresh-faced designer, nor is she an eccentric New York creative, in fact in our interview she never uttered the word “fashion,” and only mentioned “clothing” twice, under the most practical of terms. This is because Carver’s life exists roughly 2,850 miles removed from the frenzy that is New York City’s fashion industry, on The Imperial Stock Ranch, which has been raising sheep and cattle for over one hundred forty years.

Carver’s story is not a common one, after all, it was centurion ranches such as hers that helped to establish the western frontier back in the late 1800’s. What makes Carver (along with her husband Dan who also runs the ranch) so extraordinary, is that she was given a chance to have her story told. The wool trade is the largely ignored backbone of our entire clothing industry. We often highlight designers, factories, and shops, but these institutions represent the final steps of clothing production. Rarely, does anyone go to the source, and rarely is this source ever even considered.

Which is reason to applaud Ralph Lauren, who after recognizing their error in having past Olympic uniforms produced overseas, decided to take a concerted effort to produce this years U.S. Winter Olympic uniforms entirely in America. In doing so Ralph not only gave a fair amount of work to stateside textile factories and farms, which often go overlooked by large apparel corporations that are more interested in margin, but it also found people like Jeanne, people who embody the spirit of handwork and determination that our nation’s clothing industry was founded upon way back when. Ralph Lauren contacted Jeanne because the wool that she and her husband produce on their Shaniko, Oregon ranch is of an incredibly high quality, and was perfect for Ralph Lauren’s opening ceremony sweater, which is being unveiled today. I was fortunate enough to have a chance to speak with Jeanne to get her story, as well as her perspective on this U.S. made collection, and the state of America’s garment industry today.





Adidas Stan Smiths | The Return of a Legend

Jan 22nd, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Jake Gallagher, Shoes | by Jake Gallagher

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Twenty-eight years after he bid the professional tennis world adieu, Stan Smith has returned, not on clay, but on asphalt. While Smith’s days on the pro circuit might be long gone, he still remains one of the most well-known players of all time, thanks largely to the simple white sneaks that carry his name.

Truth be told though, those iconic adidas originally bore the name of another clay court legend – Robert Haillet. Haillet and adidas founder, Adolf “Adi” Dassler first partnered up back in the mid-sixties to create the stark shoes, but it wasn’t until Stan Smith wore them on the court in 1971 that they really took off. They were the first pair of all leather tennis shoes ever created, laying the groundwork for today’s ultra high-end sneaker market, but at the time, they were designed purely for performance.