Archives for March 2014 | A Continuous Lean.

Filson Ages Gracefully.

Mar 31st, 2014 | Categories: A Conversation With, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher

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The oldest person in the world is 115 years old. Filson is 116.

For a brand to outlive anyone that has ever, or will ever wear their clothes is an impressive feat in and of itself, but what’s more remarkable with Filson is that they seem to be aging in reverse. Sometime in the mid-aughts, as the heritage movement re-discovered Filson’s unflappable wares, the Seattle-based company was (almost unwittingly) thrust into the spotlight once again. And yet, Filson has never strayed from their original ideals, remaining steadfast in their dedication to quality goods that will last for years to come.

With these values in mind, Filson (who is a Paul + Williams client) has evolved their collections and fits ever so slightly as a way to reach a younger market, without ever sacrificing their spirit. Today Filson’s goods are carried in venerable outdoor stores and fashion-forward boutiques alike, as a testament to the brand’s far-reaching audience. We had a chance to speak with Filson’s CEO Alan Kirk about the brand’s storied reputation, its recent resurgence, and why Filson isn’t a “fashion” brand.


Mar 31st, 2014 | Categories: SIGNALS | by Michael Williams

Cabin Porn

  • Fly fishing the Patagonia way. [Wall Street Journal]
  • Something about making a Big Mac at home is intriguing. [YouTube]
  • Honoring a father at John Lobb in Paris. [Amass Blog]
  • Bookstores in NYC will soon exist only in our memories. [The New York Times]
  • This is what it takes to build a custom Ford F-150. [Bloomberg]

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Photo from Cabin Porn.

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Mazama Wares

Mar 28th, 2014 | Categories: Made in the USA, Portland Oregon | by Michael Williams


At the end of a walk through of the Tanner Goods workshop in Portland, co-founder Sam Huff gave me a beautifully-made ceramic coffee mug. It was cold outside and a cup of hot coffee in a nice mug was not something that was overlooked. Sam sort of casually mentioned that he and his wife and a group of others had been working on this new ceramic company and I should check it out. This on top of building the Tanner Goods empire, I was definitely intrigued. What I learned is that the hand-made line of Mazama ceramics is the result of an amalgamation of six designers, artists and craftspeople including Huff, Meghan Wright, Meagan Geer, Tory Cross, Casey Keasler and Connie Wohn. Everything is shaped, fired and glazed in a studio Portland, Oregon.

It’s hard to explain, but fine ceramics have always been intriguing to me. Those in Korea and Japan take this art to the highest heights and it’s hard to go there and not appreciate the beauty, simplicity and craft that goes into their ceramics. Not to say America doesn’t have a strong tradition in ceramics. One of the best known brands is Heath and nearly every time I am in LA I make a point to spend an hour at the company’s shop on Beverly. Most of the time I just go to look, seeing as I thoroughly intrigued by the company’s California-made creations. A few years ago I met Adam Silverman in the studio at Heath and have been a fan of his ever since. I’ve come to appreciate the fact that ceramics occupy an interesting place between art and everyday object.

Impeccable Footwear From Diemme.

Mar 27th, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Jake Gallagher, Made in Italy, Shoes | by Jake Gallagher

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Like a Wes Anderson movie, the Diemme story does not have one true main character, rather it’s an ensemble cast, that comes together from across the world to create Diemme’s unique line of casual footwear. The shoes are manufactured in Montebulluna, Italy by Calzaturificio Diemme, with the help of two design and sales companies, Blender Agency from Norway, and GMT Tokyo in Japan, as well as MnO International, a Swedish distributor. At the heart of the Diemme project lies two brothers, Dennis and Maico Signor, who have been manufacturing boots under the Calzaturificio Diemme name since 1992.

The Unexpected Revival of Birkenstocks.

Mar 26th, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher

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A decade ago if you asked anyone what they thought of Birkenstocks their answer would’ve probably included some contrarian remark about either dead heads, frat bros, or both. For at least some of us though, these connotations are now a thing of the past, as we have entered into a new era in which Birkenstocks are not only acceptable, but dare we say stylish.

First produced in Germany in 1774 by Johann Adam Birkenstock, the brand’s signature slip ons have been celebrated for centuries as some of the world’s most ergonomically advanced footwear. When they were introduced to the U.S. in the sixties, they were immediately polarizing, as those that adopted Birks praised their comfort, while those that disparaged the shoes wrote them off as being plain old ugly. The shoes outdoorsy fans could care less about their critics, and Birks became an integral part of this culture, which in turn actually helped to make the shoes fashionable as mountaineering style has become popular during the past few years.

We Now Pause for Station Identification.

Mar 25th, 2014 | Categories: Housekeeping | by Michael Williams


Please pardon the interruption to your Japanese magazine reading as we pause for small note of housekeeping.

We’ve been making some small changes around here in anticipation of some larger changes. First of all, we have updated the email newsletter functionality for the site and our new system is a huge improvement. If you are on the legacy system (which would be anyone that had signed up to receive ACL via email before this past Monday; the old emails say “Powered by Google” at the bottom) then you can sign up for the new newsletter here and then unsubscribe to the old newsletter. If you like things how you have it, no need to do anything. If you want that ‘new new’, then make the jump.

Unfortunately, when Google mothballed Feedburner everything we had was trapped in a world of no-tech-support limbo and there’s nothing we can do to change it. We went so far as to consult with Neil deGrasse Tyson* this past fall to try and work the science to get back into our Feedburner, but to no avail. Then he got busy with Cosmos and we had to scrap the program. But the new email is great (powered by Sendicate, if you don’t know, now you know) and we are excited to share it with you. And so you know, the new email setup is just an RSS feed of content from the site, not promotions. Knowing us, even if we wanted to sell our list it we’d probably end up locking ourselves out of the system making it impossible, so don’t worry about that.

Again, new ACL RSS newsletter signup is here.

In addition to the new email, we have recently switched servers and are running on a super fast new host. The site was previously so slow that our old host must have had ACL running on some Windows 95 equipment in a musty old warehouse in Miami. Sorry if the slowness was annoying to you (though we’re sure if you did find it annoying you would have sent in the hate mail or left nasty comments as seems to be the case with all other grievances large or small), but don’t worry, things are running much quicker now.

Finally, we might redesign the site this year. We’ve been chewing on that for a while and know now that there improvements we want to make. But even if we do make changes, they won’t upset the heritage feng shui we’ve cultivated over the years. Finally, interesting things are happening on our Facebook and Instagram if you haven’t made those connections yet.

That’s it. Thanks for reading and keeping us all honest.

*This is not true. Though we do watch Cosmos every Sunday.
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Navigating the World of Japanese Magazines.

Mar 25th, 2014 | Categories: Jake Gallagher, Japan, Magazines | by Jake Gallagher

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American companies publish men’s style magazines. Japanese companies publish sacred texts of the religion that is men’s clothing.

What separates Japanese publications from their American counterparts is obsession. While American writers cover clothing and the lifestyle that surrounds it, Japanese writers identify every possible minute detail, study them to death, and then publish these beautifully designed tomes of men’s style. Japanese magazines, are bound by one thing (well, aside from the language that is), density.

There’s now more publications then ever before, and each one seems to set a new pedantic high point. Flip through any of these imported publications and you’ll see page after page of these masterfully arranged stories that scrutinize and celebrate men’s clothing in a manner that hasn’t been seen since Gentry Magazine back in the fifties. While all of these titles do fall into the general category of “clothing,” each has their own quirks and characteristics that set them apart, so to help you navigate this sea of Kanji and street style photos, we give you a timely breakdown of eight of ACL’s favorite Japanese magazines.