London | A Continuous Lean.

A Conversation with Michael Hill of Drake’s London.

Apr 8th, 2014 | Categories: A Conversation With, Accessories, Jake Gallagher, London, Menswear | by Jake Gallagher

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At thirty-five years old Drake’s London Creative Director Michael Hill is roughly the same age as the brand itself. This fact is interesting because when Hill took over as lead designer for Drake’s in 2010, he did so with the vigor and sensibilities of a man well immersed in the diversified mentality of the fervent post-millennial menswear set. Prior to assuming this principal role, Hill had apprenticed under Michael Drake himself, earning an invaluable education which primed him to assume creative control once Drake sold the company was purchased by Mark Cho of The Armoury. It has been Hill’s ability to align Drake’s tradition of incomparable accessories with his own taste for more progressive pieces that has kept Drake’s as one of the preeminent brands in the world. I had a chance to speak with Hill about the brand’s growth, both in scope and in style, as well as his personal style, the role of the internet in menswear, and the future of Drake’s.

ACL: When you took over as lead designer for Drake’s in 2010, you really took the brand to new heights, what was your mission when you assumed that position?

Michael Hill: I wanted to ensure the continuity from the previous ownership, both in terms of the quality and style of the product and our longstanding, loyal customers.Continuity was as important as anything new I wanted to do with the business and our mission was to give us some longer term stability by putting down roots in terms of our first brick and mortar store, our website and a factory fit for purpose and the coming decades. I also wanted to reassure our own staff as well, as I was relatively young when I took over the company.





Shopping London | Trunk Labs

Oct 31st, 2013 | Categories: London, Men's Stores, Retail | by Michael Williams

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The City of Westminster is considering renaming Chiltern Street to Monocle Row. The magazine’s spin offs occupy several storefronts on this quaint corner of Marylebone with a Monocle café and the Trunk marque, which now includes both a men’s clothing store and a (fairly) recently opened accessories store called Trunk Labs.

The shop has thoughtful selection from brands like Alden, Rimowa luggage, Sanders & Sanders, London Undercover, Aspesi and many more. It feels English, European and Japanese all at the same time. It’s the kind of place that makes you want to buy a ceramic dish, a pen from Japan and a cashmere throw. It’s a store for discovering something new and for buying gifts for yourself.





In The Books | Pop Up Flea London

Oct 15th, 2013 | Categories: London, Pop Up Flea | by Michael Williams

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Thanks for all of the good times London. This past weekend on Piccadilly we held our first ever Pop Up Flea outside of the U.S. of A. Everyone involved took a big leap of faith in our concept and we appreciate everyone that traveled far and wide to make the event a success. The best part was the fact that Pop Up Flea felt so at home in London…that and all of those pints at the Red Lion. We came together, saw old friends and made new ones. Now spirits are high for December’s Pop up Flea New York (which is going to be our strongest line up yet) and next year’s Pop up Flea London. Things might even get weird enough for a Pop Up Flea Tokyo and a PUF venture in Moscow.

Everything in London came together with the help of a really great group of people including: J.P. Williams, Michiel van Wyngaarden, Craig White, Mary Wallace and the rest of the folks running point for St. James’s, our problem solver and chief river rower Mr. James Bowthorpe and finally all of the good people at The Bread Collective.

Many thanks to our brand friends for participating: Filson, Shinola, Marwood, The Vintage Showroom, Anthem, Red Wing Heritage, Levi’s Made & Crafted, Levi’s Vintage Clothing, Man of the World, Aether, Todd Snyder, North Sea Clothing, General Knot, Field Notes, London Undercover, The Good Flock, Tanner Goods and Tellason. Here’s a look back at all the of fun.

See you next at PUFNYC December 6th, 7th and 8th.

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The Bread Collective hand paints the PUF Piccadilly signage. Nice.





The Pop Up Flea (London) Rises.

Oct 3rd, 2013 | Categories: London, Pop Up Flea | by Michael Williams

BIRDS

The Americans are coming, the Americans are coming. On October 11-13 (next weekend) the Pop Up Flea packs its bags and heads to London for the first ever event outside of New York. It’s an adventure we’ve spent the last few years thinking about and we’re expecting to meet a lot of new people and have some good fun doing it. The address, info and brand list is below.

PUFLDN

211/214 Piccadilly
St James’s, London, W1

Friday, Oct 11th: 3pm to 8pm
Saturday, Oct 12th: 11am to 7pm
Sunday Oct 13th: 12pm to 6pm

Open to the public.

Vendors include:

Aether | Field Notes | Filson | General Knot & Co. | Levi’s Made & Crafted
Levi’s Vintage Clothing | London Undercover | Man Of The World | Marwood | Tellason
The Good Flock  | Todd Snyder | Tanner Goods |The Bread Collective | Red Wing Heritage | Shinola + MORE…

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Shopping London | Alfred Dunhill’s Bourdon House

Jan 22nd, 2013 | Categories: London, Menswear | by Michael Williams

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There aren’t many brands that seem to understand how men want to shop. It doesn’t seem to me to be the most difficult thing to figure out, but it is rare that I find a place that captures the desired environment that, as a guy, just feels right. If I were to do a case study on how to do retail for men I would undoubtedly turn to Dunhill and their tremendous retail “homes” as the shining example of how to get things right.

Last year I stopped in on the Dunhill home in Shanghai, which is about as enchanting as a store can be. Then recently I paid a visit to the brand’s flagship London property, Bourdon House. It’s worth making a detour for even just for a look around and a cup of tea in the courtyard cafe. It’s good to know that someone out there is willing to be logical and do menwear retail right.

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Shopping London | Anthem

Oct 19th, 2012 | Categories: London, Made in the USA, Shopping | by Michael Williams

When I think about the things that influence my style it only really comes down to a few things: my friends, people on the street, media and stores. Of those things, the two most important are my friends and retail shops. I spent the better part of this past week in London for an event with the menswear shop Anthem in Shoreditch. The event was for the launch of the Club Monaco Made in USA collection —something I have worked on with my friend Aaron Levine for the past few seasons (Club Monaco is a client of mine, FYI)— which makes Anthem one of the few places outside of North America in which you can buy that collection.

What led these Ashland, PA and Haverhill, Mass. and Los Angeles born clothes to land in East London comes down to a simple meeting between Aaron Levine and Anthem’s owners Simon Spiteri and Jeremy Baron. There was an inherent like-mindedness between the three and the partnership seemed obvious given the shared outlook and aesthetic.





ACL Field Trip | Mr Porter’s Office

Jan 31st, 2012 | Categories: ACL Field Trip, London | by Michael Williams

Let me just be completely clear right from the outset here; the Mr Porter HQ in London is the coolest office I have ever visited. I don’t want you guys to be at all confused about how I stand on this issue. The space so perfectly embodies the online shop stroke magazine (see how well I understand their language now) that part of me thought I was on a movie set. Name of the movie you are wondering? Gattaca.

Though seemingly perfect, the room was the furthest thing from pretentious — which is a sad ailment that many “fashion” companies suffer from. Not Mr Porter though, it couldn’t be further from that. There was a genuine sense of collaboration floating around the cavernous rooms as the legions of stylish folks worked away at newsroom style communal tables. Also notably unpretentious was Net-a-Porter / Mr Porter founder Natalie Massenet. As my little tour snaked its way through the space we eventually came to Natalie’s workspace and she took a few minutes to chat with me about how she got her start and how she built Net-a-Porter up from nothing into the admired company it is today. To talk with Natalie was both inspiring and refreshing at the same time. There are so many people in this world that have done seemingly nothing and are so full of themselves, yet then you meet someone like Natalie who couldn’t be more humble.