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.
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.
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.
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]
The folksie crew from the Swedish label Fjällräven (pictured above) opened their New York store (the company’s only American outpost) last November on Mott Street, bringing much of their outdoor-centric gear to the States for the first time. Coming up on the store’s one year anniversary Fjällräven (who is a client of my marketing company Paul + Williams) got together with Jeff Thrope of Cold Splinters fame to refresh the space with all sorts of camping essentials and cool gear to compliment Fjällräven’s Greenland Jackets, G-1000 waxed clothing, packs, tents and other Scandinavian equipment. Basically the store stocks everything you need to have an adventure — and all in one place. I think Jay Carroll put it best when he called the Fjällräven US team “outdoor nerds.” I’ll go ahead and add that they are now “retail nerds” too, since they definitely know how to create an interesting store environment. [Fjällräven | 262 Mott Street, NYC]
The people at Schott NYC have something nice and new coming for Spring ’11 — a little off-shoot collection of outerwear called Perfecto Brand by Schott NYC. The new goods were designed by none other than Mr. Greg Chapman, who seems to have given up Britain for the New World (at least for the time being). And not to worry Greg, if you keep designing clothes as nice as these we’ll let you stay. The initial line includes several shapes and materials, everything from the pictured Cone Mills selvedge pea coat and duffel, a rip-stop nylon parka and a small selection of leathers (a nod the the Perfecto heritage no doubt). Prices range from $400 to $1000 — everything made at the Schott NYC factory in Elizabeth, New Jersey. We’re getting an early look at this stuff, so you will have to wait until next January before you can add any of these to your closet.
If you aren’t totally clear on the brand structure, there’s Woolrich, then Woolrich Woolen Mills and finally Woolrich John, Rich & Bros. The first is the main U.S. brand, the later two are the product of the geniuses of Italy’s WP. If you aren’t familiar with WP, they are the Italian distributor for Barbour, the global distributor of Woolrich and the owner of various other brands including shirt maker B.D. Baggies.