Outerwear | A Continuous Lean. - Page 2

Hancock: Expertly Colored and Crafted.

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

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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.

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The Story of Willis & Geiger.

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

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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

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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.





Untimely Coverage of Autumn Outerwear

May 20th, 2011 | Categories: Fall, Outerwear | by Michael Williams

The nice weather got us thinking, when is it going to be cold again so we can start buying new fall jackets? Actually we didn’t really think that,  but we did come across these photos from the last round of trade shows of the the Woolrich John Rich & Bros AW11 collection and figured now is as good as time as any to start thinking about fall outerwear. These two jackets were the standout pieces from the new fall collection and were designed by, (you guessed it!) none other than our hero, Tokihito-san.





All About the Details | TO KI TO SS11

Jan 7th, 2011 | Categories: Menswear, Outerwear, Tokyo | by Michael Williams

As is the custom in Japan, my best friend Rob and I took our shoes off when we entered Tokihito Yoshida’s studio in the beautiful Daikanyama section of Tokyo. It was a little disarming for me to be meeting with someone in my socks, a feeling that certainly wasn’t the intention of Tokihito. He is soft spoken, courteous and welcoming. There was a language barrier at play as well. He doesn’t speak much English and I don’t speak much Japanese, luckily we had a translator. Oh, and we can talk through the clothing he designs.

Tokihito is probably best known (though I think he still flies largely under the radar) for his wildly successful (and completely badass) Barbour Beacon collection. Outside of that, Tokihito and his own line TO KI TO don’t have much of a presence outside of Japan, something that needs to change. Tokihito has some serious design skills and is deserving of all of the good words that can be sent his way. When it comes down to it, I wouldn’t be afraid to say he is one of the best designers in the world. I’ve never seen a better straight-up outwear designer. Bold statements be damned, the man is good. The details and shapes are equal parts logical and totally unexpected.





Shopping Portland, Maine | Barbour by David Wood

Oct 13th, 2010 | Categories: Maine, Outerwear, Shopping | by Michael Williams

Portland, Maine is the perfect New England town. I sort of see it as a less crowded (and less crazy) version of Boston. All of that Yankee charm and none of the hassle. The town is especially attractive when you live in a place like New York (like me) and have to deal with the daily assault on your senses. What also makes Portland a viable home (in my mind) is its access to Barbour coats via the shop Barbour by David Wood. Because I don’t want to live in a town that doesn’t sell Barbour coats. I just don’t. Mail order be damned.

I’m only kidding about the availability of Barbour coats being a factor in where I live, but I’m not kidding about Barbour by David Wood being a great shop. The oilcloth-outpost is essentially a company store that stocks the full collection (something I have only seen on a few occasions), including the Barbour Beacon range designed by To Ki To. So if you are looking for a specific jacket you couldn’t find at other Barbour retailers, chances are Barbour by David Wood will have it. Now you know. Plus the staff is friendly and the shop’s location is about as perfect setting as any to buy outerwear for inclement weather. And Portland better watch out, I might get my Barbours together and migrate north. You’ve been warned. [Barbour by David Wood]