Made In The USA | A Continuous Lean.

One of One | Custom New Balance 990s

Oct 16th, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Made in the USA, Sponsored Post | by Michael Williams

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New Balance understands you. The American sneaker brand knows you appreciate the classic style of the 990, and they know that you couldn’t possibly wear the same shoes as everyone else. In a world of ubiquitous style this is an important development for us all. Utilizing the New Balance factory in Maine, you can now turn-around a custom pair of 990s in a little over a week from sewing machine to the street. That’s a good development because we don’t off the shelf shoes and no one wants to wait too long for their one of ones.

To some people designing their own shoes presents a major challenge. It’s often easy to know what you like and to know what you don’t, but the sheer number of options can cause a paralysis of sorts. New Balance coaxes things along with a gallery of base-designs that make it easier to understand the possibilities. Once you get into the process it becomes difficult to see how just one pair is going to be enough. Onward to the 990 customization montage.

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A Conversation with Club Monaco’s Aaron Levine.

Sep 30th, 2014 | Categories: A Conversation With, Made in the USA, Menswear | by ACL Editors

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“Nothing can be precious.” That’s how Aaron Levine, the Vice President of Men’s Design at Club Monaco, sums up his personal style, but during our discussion I came to realize that this was actually how Aaron views his work as a whole. Club Monaco is no longer the small brand it once was, yet Levine continues to steer the ship as if it were a schooner, and not a barge. He forges ahead, taking the brand into uncharted territory, while all the while maintaining the balance of the brand so as to not tip the whole thing over.

Sure, Levine’s time at (comparatively) smaller labels like Rogue’s Gallery, Hickey, and Jack Spade has certainly influenced this agile approach, but Levine seems to revel in the actual work that goes into creating each collection. Club Monaco (who we should say, is a client of Paul + Williams) has evolved significantly in the three-plus years that Levine has been at the company, but he still finds himself squarely in the trenches, and there’s no other place he’d rather be. We spoke with Levine about this design approach, the way in which menswear has changed, Club’s Made in America initiatives, and even Belgian Shoes.

ACL: You’ve been designing for Club Monaco for three years now, in that time how do you think men’s design has changed at the brand overall?

Aaron Levine: Overall, men’s design has changed in the last, it’s almost three and a half years now, it has changed in that time in terms of, we have upgraded fabrics, we’ve upgraded materials, we’ve upgraded trim, we’ve upgraded and recalibrated fits, and then on top of everything we have cleaned up and edited and honed the aesthetic. So, it really has grown up over the last three and a half years.

ACL: With you saying that about better materials, better quality, and considering your background was at smaller brands at a time when quality became really important, is that something that guides your design at the start?

AL: No. You accrue information and you hone your eye and hone your abilities as you get older and the longer you do it. I think sometimes maybe that’s the starting point, it’s definitely thought of, but I think in terms of when I first sit down and I start to develop a collection, I start at the top with what I want it to say overall. And then as you get into it there are places where you’re pushing more experimental pieces and then maybe there’s places where you’re pushing superb quality, like in tailored clothing.





Spanning the Map with Battenwear SS ’15

Sep 25th, 2014 | Categories: Jake Gallagher, Made in the USA, Menswear, New York City | by Jake Gallagher

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On the left side of the Battenwear showroom hangs a vintage elementary school map of the United States, with each adjoining state painted in a different shade. You might recall a hanging such as this from your childhood days behind the desk, but in Battenwear’s showroom the map appears less like an educational artifact and more like a representative collage of America’s distinct yet interconnected territories. I tend to think of Battenwear in similar terms, as a brand that revels in the open flow of American style while celebrating regional quirks.

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The Grey Crewneck | Essentially Essential

Sep 23rd, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Fall, Jake Gallagher, Made in the USA, Menswear | by Jake Gallagher

On the set of Sometimes a Great Notion

Here at ACL, we prefer recommendations to requisites. The term essentials, as we’ve waxed on before, is criminally overused these days, and so we try to adhere to the rule that nothing we cover is so vital that everyone positively must own it.

Except in this case.

Everyone, regardless of gender, regardless of age, regardless of style, could use a grey crewneck sweatshirt. Over, under, up, down, across, through, no matter how you may wear it a grey crewneck is, dare we say it, yes, an essential.





Tanner Goods | Onward Into The Outdoors

Sep 18th, 2014 | Categories: Accessories, Bags, Jake Gallagher, Made in the USA, Menswear, Oregon, Portland | by Jake Gallagher

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Like a menswear Mystery Machine, the Tanner Goods’ Dodge A-100 has become a staple of Portland, Oregon. Cruise through Downtown and you’re bound to come across the forty-eight year old matte white box van in between a Tanner Good’s road trip. As a brand, Tanner Goods has come to embody the dichotomy of modern day Portland – with the lush Pacific Northwest wilderness on one side and the crisp air of modernist design on the other.

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The Surfers Wore Short Sleeves | The Beach Boys

Aug 26th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Jake Gallagher, Made in the USA, Menswear, Style | by Jake Gallagher

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The Beach Boys first three albums all contained the word “surf,” in them, and yet oddly enough of the original five members, Dennis Wilson was the only one that actually surfed. The fact that The Beach Boys were more likely to ride the airwaves than actual waves did little to hurt their image though, and from the moment “Surfin’ Safari” hit stores in 1962 they became America’s shaggy haired surf riding celebrities. Aside from their album titles, and the countless surf-centric photo shoots during their early years, The Beach Boys also wisely favored a wardrobe that was unmistakably coastal. To really dial in their sea seasoned image they dressed in terry cloth polos, cropped khakis, plaid overshirts, floral trunks, and most importantly short sleeve shirts.

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A True American Craft: Handsewn Shoes.

Aug 20th, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Jake Gallagher, Made in the USA | by Jake Gallagher

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It’s hardly a recent revelation that the pieces that define “American style,” are so rarely produced in this country anymore. If you’re reading this site, it’s safe to assume that you’re aware of the steady deterioration of America’s garment industry, but (thanks in part to our shared awareness) there has also been the reactionary effect of bringing production back to the states. This can be seen in the multitude of shirt factories, denim labels, brands, and sites such as this across all categories that have opened over past decades.

These contemporary companies were not formed to compete with the mammoth conglomerates that produce overseas, rather they provide a higher quality product for a conscientious consumer. Again, this is not at all new revelation, but it does place the sheer resilience of America’s hand-sewn footwear brands in context. While many industries exported their production and have only recently begun to see a continental renaissance, our country’s small-scale hand-sewn shoe businesses have endured all along. These footwear brands, some of which have been around for over one hundred years, were able to convert the Native American moccasin tradition and weather the mercurial attitude of the American consumer year after year.

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