Menswear | A Continuous Lean. - Page 3

The (Natural) Evolution of Baracuta.

Sep 25th, 2013 | Categories: Menswear, Outerwear | by Michael Williams

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There’s an inherent risk in trying to infuse life into an old brand with a lot of history. This is exactly the challenge for the team at Italy’s WP Lavori as they attempt to pump some life into the crusty English outwear brand Baracuta. The classic coat maker and it’s famous “Harrington” jacket have played a role in the style of almost every British generation and cultural movement since they were introduced in an industrialized pre-war Manchester. Eventually, the skilled Bologna-based WP group took control of the brand and have set out to update and modernize the collection. With so many good projects under its belt –Woolrich Woolen Mills, the original Barbour Beacon range and everything ever done with ToKiTo— I’d say WP is up to the task.

While the brand was acquired a few seasons ago, it wasn’t until this SS14 season that we started to see some action in the collection. The G9 got color blocked, garment dyed and militarized bringing some change to an iconic jacket that was previously frozen in time. All of these new versions are being introduced, but the originals have remained intact. So if you are one of those people who hates change, then you don’t have to worry.

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Wants & Desires | Eidos Spring Summer 2014

Sep 20th, 2013 | Categories: Made in Italy, Menswear | by Michael Williams

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Launched this fall, Eidos is a recent addition to the Isaia family. The collection represents much of the Italian style that has ascended Isaia to cult status among those with an appreciation for fine tailoring. Though similar to its older sibling, the collection is focused more on a younger guy. Not to say that the target is young per se, Eidos is for those that love what Isaia offers in terms of style, but hasn’t necessarily graduated to that level quite yet.

The good news is, Eidos is priced below main-line Isaia and there’s not huge a sacrifice of quality. The collection is made entirely in Italy at another of company’s factories that is located between Naples and Rome. The higher-priced Isaia collection is made entirely at company’s original manufacture (which played host to me a while back) just outside of Naples. Regardless of where they are made, both offer great tailoring that is made with a high level of attention to detail.

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Shopping Stockholm | Rose & Born

Sep 3rd, 2013 | Categories: Menswear, Shopping, Stockholm | by Michael Williams

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The first place I visited after arriving in Stockholm (with the exception of my hotel) was the men’s shop Rose & Born. The weather in Stockholm that day was sunny, clear and warm —an altogether perfect day in Scandinavia. The enjoyable conditions outside didn’t seem to hold back the steady stream of men stopping into Rose & Born to browse the new fall arrivals, check in for their second fittings and generally shop the nice assortment of men’s clothing and accessories.

After a few minutes browsing, I approached one of the guys on duty and asked if it would be okay if I took a few photos for my website. This is always a tricky moment for me — to have to be the guy who says publicly that “I have a blog” and wait for the reaction. Honestly, at this point, it is sort of painful for me to even ask, because there are so many embarrassing-blog-hucksters in the world. Thankfully the guys working at Rose & Born knew ACL and they were gracious in allowing me any photos I wanted. Those kinds of situations can go either way, I’ve been denied more than a few times and it is never that much fun.

Interestingly enough, the Rose & Born blog and magazine has gained this otherwise small shop a bit of a cult following with guys not just in Stockholm, but all over the world. It’s amazing when that happens, how the internet can help revel the great things that are out there. Take a look at the editorial that the shop produces and you’ll get why everyone likes Rose & Born so much. Not only do they have great taste in clothing, they can communicate that finely tuned sense of style through editorial — as a small independent shop no less. It’s nothing short of remarkable.

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The Discovery Channel

Aug 30th, 2013 | Categories: Men's Stores, Menswear | by Michael Williams

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What began at J.Crew’s first men’s only shop in TriBeCa takes a new shape this fall with the launch of the label’s new Discovered online shop. “Discovered” is a tightly knit selection of interesting goods from both the J.Crew collection which also includes special product collaborations from outside brands like New Balance, Nanamica and other covet-able clothing of all stripes. Before we get talk more about that, let’s go back to the origins of the J.Crew brand collaborations: Mickey Drexler and The Liquor Store.

Watching all of this develop over the past several years, it’s smart the way J.Crew brings in product from outside brands to mix with all of the apparel that it designs, manufactures and sells under its own label. It’s a realistic approach to how guys dress. Alden, New Balance and Red Wing are the natural footwear compliments to a pair of J.Crew’s khakis, wovens and other clothing categories. So why not leverage the company’s brand to get all of these other interesting labels to make compelling product exclusively for J.Crew. Ships, Beams and United Arrows have mastered this as an art form long ago. So have a bunch of directional specialty stores.

The model is the same: use the cool factor of the brand/store to get cool exclusives to further build on the brand/store’s cool factor. In terms of vertical American retailers, no one does the third-party product assortment better than J.Crew. It’s the culmination of good leadership, effective merchandising, smart retail execution and sharp marketing all-together in one place. Throw in the catalog (which they now call the “Style Guide”) and collaborating with J.Crew is a no-brainer for both small and large brands alike.





Get to Know the Goodness That is Levi’s Made & Crafted

Aug 28th, 2013 | Categories: Denim, Menswear, Sponsored Post | by Michael Williams

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It’s nice to see something come together from the start. A few years ago I got to look at the brand new Levi’s Made & Crafted collection and I’ve been a fan ever since. It was then that I met its design lead Miles Johnson, one of the most talented and  knowledge people I have had the pleasure of knowing the in business of clothing. Over the past several seasons Levi’s Made & Crafted has come to represent the perfect marriage of the history of Levi’s and modern style. The collection is rich with interesting details, special fabrics and historical Levi’s influences that play out in often unexpected ways. As menswear has evolved over recent years, Levi’s Made & Crafted has come to embody everything good about what a modern clothing label should be: it’s authentic, has a strong point of view and it nicely considers both the old and the new.

While in Amsterdam this summer, I spent some time with Miles to talk about where Levi’s Made & Crafted comes from, and where it is going.

ACL: How long have you worked for Levi’s in general?

Miles Johnson: 13 years.

ACL: And where did you grow up?

MJ: In England, in the Midlands.

ACL: Were you always interested in denim? Was it always a thing for you, or no?

MJ: I grew up in denim…we wore all denim.  I think I had my first pair of Levi’s when I was about seven years old and they were possibly Orange Tab. I didn’t really come across denim until I went back to school to study fashion when I was about 28 and I had worked in costume so I had to know the periods in costume and learn to break down clothes, and that’s where my interest in the manipulation of clothing (and I liked clothing) came from. I learned about how to distress and age pieces that we made specially for principle actors.  So that is when I really got into denim.

ACL: With the name “Made & Crafted,” that obviously puts the emphasis on how the clothes are made.  Does that inform everything that happens with the collection…about the details in collection?

MJ: We started off by wanting to call the collection “Levi’s Make,” because it was one of the labels that we used in the twenties.  And then we moved on to “Levi’s Made.”  And the reason why we wanted to just stick with that was “Make” was a name that symbolized quality.  Because quality never goes out of style. And so anything that had to do with Levi’s, the quality was always associated. And then, the word “crafted” was being used quite a lot at that time around our design offices — so we just put the words together.





A Higher Standard: Don’t Test The Dress Code.

Aug 26th, 2013 | Categories: David Coggins, Menswear, New York City | by David Coggins

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An unsettling article tucked away in the Times last week announced that the few remaining Manhattan restaurants still requiring dress codes—bless you 21—are now providing a better class of jacket to their delinquent underdressed visitors. Relax, the article said, there’s a perfectly good coat waiting for you at Per Se, so you can hide your complete lack of protocol under a 40 regular from Ralph Lauren.

While the restaurants are being perfectly hospitable—Daniel, in fact, has their coats custom-made—that does not mean you want to join the sartorial class of clothes swapping masses who wander into serious establishments in their shirtsleeves. Perhaps you prefer to rent a tuxedo for your own wedding, as well.





The Menswear Scene in Copenhagen.

Aug 22nd, 2013 | Categories: Copenhagen, Menswear, Tradeshows | by Michael Williams

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The trade shows in Las Vegas were all that much more painful coming off of my recent trip to CIFF in Copenhagen where fashion trade shows are done right. Even comparing the experience in Copenhagen to that of Vegas is basically a crime in and of itself. It hasn’t taken me many visits to Scandinavia to truly recognize it as one of my favorite parts of the world. Copenhagen itself is wonderful in so many ways: the food, the people (nice and all good looking), the laid back vibe of the country, the unmatched ability to speak English (sorry world, us Muricans value that because we are inherently selfish and terrible), the active lifestyle and lastly the efficiency that can be found everywhere. Add in a bunch of international brands with good clothes and the recipe is perfect.

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Not sure why this was happening, but I liked it.

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The ART COMES FIRST installation by Shaka Maidoh, Sam Lambert, Liam Maher and Matteo Gioli.