Recently, while in Los Angeles, I paid a visit to the new Wittmore pop-up shop on Third Street. The colorful space is brings to life Wittmore’s nicely curated and eclectic brand mix, which up until a few weeks ago has been an entirely digital shopping affair.
The physical and online stores are the product of my longtime friend and mentor Paul Witt. Wittmore is a culmination of Paul’s many years in the clothing business and his varied work across various creative disciplines, a few of which involved me as his underling. The shop presents Witt’s personality well, and represents a playful perspective that very much aligns with his personal taste and style. It’s an inclusive and needed respite from the world of pretentiousness that can often surround so many menswear brands and stores. Wittmore brings a keen eye and an injection of playfulness that makes clothing fun again.
The good people of Garrett Leight recently produced a campaign video that focuses on The Harding, one of the California opticians most popular styles. The frame design and the accompanying video was inspired by the stylish playwright Arthur Miller, a man who possessed stellar taste in both eye-wear and women. As a company, Garrett Leight has been doing good things of late. It seems to be a bit of an anomaly in the eye-wear world as one of the few little guys around. The frames themselves have always been intriguing to me, especially the U.S. made collaboration glasses it did with my good friend Mark McNairy.
A while back I happened to be in LA the same week the company’s shop on La Brea opened and I really like how the brand is expressed at retail. It all feels very unique and I have to say that to me it feels like almost everything Garrett Leight touches is impressively done. I had a chance to catch up with Garrett himself and talk to him about Arthur Miller, their shared appreciation of handsome glasses and this new series of short campaign videos. The full conversation is after the jump.
ACL: What was the inspiration behind these spots?
Garrett Leight: Funny enough, I am actually answering this last because it took me a while to think about it. But the true answer is Steve Jobs. That book and further research after reading that book changed me. Yes I’m a designer, but more than that I want to change the world. And even if its just through creating an eyewear brand for now, its important that people know how passionate I am about our designs, our quality, and our business in general. Our whole team is very inspired, so this is just the beginning in terms of showing what kind of people inspire us, specifically in regards to frame design in this case. Furthermore, I was a journalism major, so I love using my words, and I just feel like a video in some ways is more powerful than the photography in our look books, especially with today’s average attention span.
The Barbour repair shop is tucked away in a comparatively small room at the back of the main factory in South Shields, England. It’s a relatively calm space when you consider the frenetic energy that fills the factory floor not too far away. Upon entry, you immediately notice the racks and racks of well-worn old Barbour jackets that have been sent in for repair. In some cases it’s just a minor fix or re-waxing, in other cases are life or death and major surgery is required. The casual observer would say: “Why go to all the trouble just to save some old ratty coat?’ While those of us who know better would instruct the men and women of the Barbour repair shop to “please do all you can to save her”.
While a guest of Barbour at the factory, the ladies in the repair shop noticed the two torn pockets on my 10-year-old Bedale (don’t walk your dog on a leash with your hands in your pockets) and offered to fix my jacket on the spot. Before you know it, my jacket was on a table getting the snaps cut off with pliers and open heart surgery was underway. They promised me everything would be back in action in a few hours.
Apr 10th, 2013 |
Categories: Menswear, Video | by Michael Williams
I feel the need, the need for Tweed.
Films of people in the Outer Hebrides making Harris Tweed never get old. I’ve actually considered going to Harris or to the Isle of Lewis to see tweed being made first hand, but have not ever actually made the journey because it’s just so far damn away. Luckily filmmaker Sal Taylor made the trip and documented the place and the people who make this great fabric.
The Harris Tweed Authority (protector of the Orb!) has interestingly taken to the digital channels to actively market and promote Harris Tweed. They’ve launched the Need for Tweed Tumblr and an amusing Instagram account which only posts different patterns of the famed Scottish fabric. The kids must really like this stuff. And since Tweed has been so fully socially networked, all it really needs at this point is its own official day. Opps too late, Tweed Day was last week. You can’t make this stuff up.
When warm weather finally arrives there’s a natural desire to get into the optimism of the season. You drink Negronis with a vengeance, dust off the fly rod even though the fishing hasn’t picked up yet, you even watch the Mets before they take their annual swan dive in the standings. Spring is a time to express yourself, and that’s a very fine case for white shoes. Real shoes mind you, not Vans or something straight from the court: bucks, cap-toe oxfords, cricket shoes, even wingtips. A few years ago, Crockett & Jones released an elegant pair made of deerskin—they were practically criminal.
This is the room I most want to see in every season at Pitti Uomo. Piccolo is the master of color and texture. He mixes in English, American and Japanese with Italian style in the most simplistic and natural way. He’s also mastered of fabric if you were wondering. Not only that, he’s easy-going and affable as a person, which makes the visit even that much more enjoyable. He’s always wants to tell you about the process and the little details that make his clothing so special. It started as custom shirts all made in his bottega in Napoli. Later it evolved to ties, then on to jackets and now he makes handsome suits as well. The guy is a unstoppable.
Barneys brings it to America and Savatore comes to New York a few times a year to work with his custom clients, but when you see everything in once place like at Pitti, the presence of the collection overwhelms. It’s a feeling of mixed joy and pain. Happiness that you get to see it. Sadness that you can’t just pack it all up in trunks and ship it back directly to your closet where you will systematically deploy it to become the world’s best dressed man. [SALVATORE PICCOLO]
Cucinelli, check. Charvet, check. Kiton, check. More denim than you’ve ever seen in on room, check. Wilshire just got better looking thanks to Saks Fifth Avenue.
The revered retailer has recently carried out a massive renovation to its men’s store on Beverly Hills, and the vast marble building has been reborn as a temple of good things. Yesterday we spent the better part of an afternoon with Saks Fashion Director Eric Jennings surveying the mighty offerings to the menswear Gods.
The main artery on the ground floor is a well-lit space dominated by every conceivable category of footwear — espadrilles to Edward Green, it’s all there. Once you’ve considered the shoes, hang a left to the travel shop for leather goods and luggage, then turn right into the Brunello Cucinelli shop-in-shop, which happens to be L.A.’s newest and best dressed neighborhood, “Little Solomeo.”
Saks Fashion Director Eric Jennings in front of the Hollywood style sign for the opening event.