Outerwear | A Continuous Lean. - Page 2

Yesterday’s Greatest Golden Bear Collaborations

Jan 17th, 2014 | Categories: Jake Gallagher, Outerwear | by Jake Gallagher


Born on the bay in 1922, Golden Bear’s original intention was to clothe the dockworkers that labored day and night at the port of San Francisco. Temperatures out near the water used to plummet on those foggy California nights, but those longshoremen still had to get the job done, so Golden Bear’s jackets became their armor, shielding them from the crisp air coming off the sea.

Today, much of Golden Bear’s clientele is less concerned with the jackets utilitarian merits, and more focused on their aesthetic properties, as the varsity jackets and bombers that comprise the brand’s collections have become highly sought after once again. Where Golden Bear truly thrives is in their countless collaborations that they rack up each year. Brands and stores from all over the map make the pilgrimage to California to work in partnership with Golden Bear to create truly unique renditions of the brand’s time-tested outerwear. Last year Golden Bear was particularly busy, and so we decided to round-up its best collaboration collections of recent memory.

The American International Vest.

Nov 6th, 2013 | Categories: Jake Gallagher, Made in the USA, Outerwear | by Jake Gallagher


Brass snaps imported from Japan. Horween leather details from Chicago. Italian Styling.

Reading off this laundry list of clothing components, you might be thinking to yourself that I’m describing some designer parka that’s all glory, without the guts. I’m happy to report that this is furthest thing from the truth, in fact, looking at the pair of vests from this Archival Clothing x Crescent Down Works tie-up, you’d be more likely to say something along the lines of “that’s it?” But, I’d go as far as to say that that’s the point, as AC and CDW have created two vests that prove that function will always override fashion.

The (Natural) Evolution of Baracuta.

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


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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Hancock: Expertly Colored and Crafted.

Aug 14th, 2013 | Categories: Made in Scotland, Outerwear | by Michael Williams


Simple, modern and classic all together in one place. Hancock is the rare expression color and style communicated through vulcanization, an old world construction technique that provides protection from the rain. All of these coats are made by hand in Scotland, using traditional methods. This concept sort of makes me think the Japanese got a hold of Mackintosh, when in actuality the Japanese do actually own Mackintosh (which is a good thing actually, they will protect it and continue to see that production is done in the U.K. where it belongs) but I think they are a bit too nervous to do anything as drastic and contemporary as this.

Last year at Pitti, Hancock was brand new and it was by far the most interesting new arrival at the show. This year, it had shaken off the newness, but it still shined. In addition to the several different outerwear styles (there’s a pea coat, a city coat, a DB, a trench and a sportcoat) the offering works through a beautiful exercise in color theory. No where (save maybe Japan) will you encounter color deployed with such deftness and ease.

In addition to the outerwear, last season Hancock collaborated with Globe Trotter to make a very handsome limited edition case. Coming for spring summer 2014, (hitting stores January-ish) are these equally appealing collaboration Jack Purcell sneakers. Each is made from the same fabrics that comprise the Hancock jackets and in the same terrific color scale. These sneakers evoke much of the same feeling I get when I look at Hancock: classic shapes in great colors made of interesting materials. Sign me up. Now we all just need to figure out how to get our hands on this stuff.


The Story of Willis & Geiger.

Mar 18th, 2013 | Categories: History, Military, Outerwear | by Michael Williams


Papa Hemingway in his safari kit.

What every happened to the iconic American brand Willis & Geiger? Vice Publisher John Martin tracks down the one man who knows the really story and what transpires is a no bullshit interview and thoroughly amazing read.

Burt Avedon (cousin of the famous fashion photographer Richard Avedon) revived the company two years after it went out of business in 1977 and helmed it until it was liquidated in 1999. Now 89 years old, Burt is one of the last remaining people to have hands-on experience with the brand. His bio reads like a Most Interesting Man in the World skit: He was a pilot by age 12, raced cars, played football for UCLA, fought at Iwo Jima, was awarded a Purple Heart in the Navy, went from Harvard Business School into cosmetics and fashion, married an Italian princess, and later led attempts to excavate downed World War II planes from Greenland ice. After a short search, I tracked him down at his home in Verona, Wisconsin, to find out what had happened to what many consider to be the greatest outdoor-clothing brand of all time.

There is a lot of that with the pace of media right now, where people are always looking to see who’s putting out the newest sneakers, but there are a few brands whose authenticity is paramount.

Yeah, but unfortunately good brands of heritage are a reflection of their original management; when they become professionally managed, they lose the spark that brought them to where they are today. I found that to be classic in the industry. Whenever they go into second- and third-generation management, they lose themselves. They no longer have the passion that was originally part of their DNA.

The Great Outdoors | Battenwear AW13

Mar 7th, 2013 | Categories: Made in the USA, Menswear, Outerwear | by Michael Williams


It’s always fun to see new releases from New York City based Battenwear. The spring / summer collections center around Batten founder Shinya Hasegawa’s love of surfing, the fall/winter collections generally tend to take on a much more vintage outdoors feel. I like Batten’s take on vintage inspired sportswear regardless of pursuit — they do a great job with this collection. Part of me thinks that Battenwear doesn’t get enough credit. All of the clothing is made in the United States under Shinya’s close watch.

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Woolrich John Rich & Bros AW12 at Pitti Uomo

Jan 12th, 2012 | Categories: Outerwear, Pitti Uomo January 2012 | by Michael Williams

The Woolrich John Rich & Bros collection gets better every season. The brand is a product of the Italian apparel group WP (who also created Woolrich Woolen Mills, the Barbour Beacon collection and others). Since I spent most of my time at Pitti with my good friend Aaron Levine, I forced him to model our collective favorite piece from the new collection — a tweed arctic parka.