Nigel Cabourn once stated that he’s “been trying to be a designer for the last forty years.” Well, Mr. Cabourn you certainly could’ve fooled us. Having founded his first label in his early twenties, Cabourn is one of menswear’s most astute and imaginative minds, crafting spirited contemporary renditions of classic English military and sportswear designs. To complement his mainline pieces Cabourn often works in partnership with brands, both ubiquitous and unknown, to create collaborative collections that share his eponymous brand’s thoughtful approach to clothing design. We’ve rounded up Cabourn’s most impressive recent collaborations, but with a C.C. Filson collection on deck for next season, it’s safe to say that Cabourn’s best is still yet to come.
Mark McNairy doesn’t say much.
The man who revived the red brick sole is now almost as renowned for his blunt single sentence interview answers in caps lock as for his pattern-heavy collections. Reading a McNairy profile one would assume that he operates as a lone wolf, the sort of designer who prefers to remain in his own head free from any outside influences, but this is hardly the case. For McNairy, his main New Amsterdam label encompasses just one (albeit large) slice of his portfolio, the rest of which is comprised of collaborations, large and small, predictable and obscure, that have became paramount to his standing as one of America’s best known designers. Over the past few years McNairy has worked with everyone from rappers to a brewery to a Japanese street wear store to a legendary American label. While it would be tough to catalog every single collaboration McNairy has been a part of since stepping out on his own, we’ve done our best to compile a year’s worth of McNasty partnerships, although we can’t guarantee he won’t drop anymore by the time you read this.
As far as special products go, it was a natural for me to collaborate with Tellason on a special pair of jeans for the ACL Shop. We share similar perspectives when it comes to denim and more importantly we both possess a commitment to American manufacturing, especially when it comes to jeans.
I first met Tony Patella and Pete Searson, the founders of the brand, two years ago through a mutual friend. Tony and Pete have worked in the business for some time, but were just getting started with Tellason when our paths crossed. I was impressed with what they were doing with Tellason. It was around that same time that I interviewed Tony to help introduce Tellason to the ACL faithful.
When I was in London this past spring I met with Jamie Milestone, the founder of London Undercover, maker of umbrellas and other well designed accessories about a potential partnership on some limited run goods. At the meeting we hashed out some ideas and set out to produce a series of co-branded products, the first of which being this Black Watch tartan plaid and orange scarf. Woven of 100% cashmere, the scarves are made in England using time honored methods and pair, in our humble opinion, the world’s greatest color combination.
The folks at Levi Strauss & Co. teamed up with Filson to release a small capsule collection of collaboration workwear. It’s an intriguing project on a few levels; one being that both companies are storied and rugged American brands. The other lies in the fact that Filson doesn’t just collaborate with anyone. To go along with the co-branded goods (which I think have been very well thought out), Levi’s tapped Vice to make a short film about the people from the Grayback Forestry Company in Medford, Oregon, who battle Forest fires for a living. It is my feeling that the documentary adds an interesting dimension to an already appealing project. Expect a few more interesting collaborations from the LS&CO in the coming months.
My pal Sullivan and I grabbed our bikes yesterday and took a recon mission to see my newest collaboration in store — at one of my favorite stores. Just landed at J.Crew (Liquor store, 484 Broadway, East Hampton and online) are two special canvas coal bags made under my own ACL & Co. label by old-school American maker Dandux. They make a great summer bag and will last you a lifetime. The small tote with carry strap is designed for using while biking around the city and the large coal bag is the ultimate beach bag and was a lifesaver at Brimfield. Originally designed to carry coal (hence the name), these bags are even used by the US Forest Service out West to clear trails and remove debris. [J.Crew] [ACL & Co.]
A fine collection of gentlemen and an equally delightful selection of leather shoes. The Juggernaut that is Engineered Garments teamed up with one Mark McNairy on a second capsule collection of English made shoes centered around the classic longwing shape. The collaboration consists of four co-labeled styles (even the way the shoes were labeled is fun; the Engineered Garments logo stamped directly on top of the Mark McNairy New Amsterdam mark right in the footbed) in two colors (black and brown), which will hit stores this coming fall (I shall start saving up now). Check out the chukka longwing and the upland boot longwing in pebble grain — both competing for the title as my favorite.