Like a Wes Anderson movie, the Diemme story does not have one true main character, rather it’s an ensemble cast, that comes together from across the world to create Diemme’s unique line of casual footwear. The shoes are manufactured in Montebulluna, Italy by Calzaturificio Diemme, with the help of two design and sales companies, Blender Agency from Norway, and GMT Tokyo in Japan, as well as MnO International, a Swedish distributor. At the heart of the Diemme project lies two brothers, Dennis and Maico Signor, who have been manufacturing boots under the Calzaturificio Diemme name since 1992.
The current New Balance mania that’s cutting through the sneaker world like a Vibram soled tornado has all the makings of a lost Malcolm Gladwell case study. What exactly was the tipping point that launched NB’s from average schmo staple to fodder for the insatiable menswear masses? I’ll leave that one for Gladwell’s next book, but I will say that New Balance has done an exemplary job at embracing their new-found market. Sure, those old school, all grey sneaks that the Costanza’s of the world used to wear still remain their most popular models, but over the past couple years NB has revamped their classic running shoes to create some damn fine, and for that matter, flashy, designs. It seems that every week New Balance seems to drop another “banger” (that’s what sneakerheads are saying these days right?) so we decided to round up the eight best releases of the past year.
Twenty-eight years after he bid the professional tennis world adieu, Stan Smith has returned, not on clay, but on asphalt. While Smith’s days on the pro circuit might be long gone, he still remains one of the most well-known players of all time, thanks largely to the simple white sneaks that carry his name.
Truth be told though, those iconic adidas originally bore the name of another clay court legend – Robert Haillet. Haillet and adidas founder, Adolf “Adi” Dassler first partnered up back in the mid-sixties to create the stark shoes, but it wasn’t until Stan Smith wore them on the court in 1971 that they really took off. They were the first pair of all leather tennis shoes ever created, laying the groundwork for today’s ultra high-end sneaker market, but at the time, they were designed purely for performance.
This fall Converse tapped San Francisco’s Unionmade, a store that has emerged as one of America’s best sources of well-made and good-looking menswear, to showcase the life and style of the Jack Purcell sneakers. In addition to being one of the best merchandised and art directed independent shops out there, Unionmade has mastered the art of mixing brands and showcasing an evolved sense of style and taste that serves as a source of inspiration for many. Much of this comes from the store’s founders Todd Barkett and Carl Chiara, both vets of big brands (Gap and Levi’s respectively), but Unionmade’s Brand Director Spencer Lemon also brings an interesting dimension to the team. I took the chance to catch up with him and talk about classic kicks, finding a hassle free beer and his favorite book shop in San Francisco.
What’s your favorite way to wear Jack Purcells?
Any way is typically a good way. Part of the beauty of a classic style and silhouette like the Jack Purcell is that it’s incredibly versatile. They look great brand new or worn in and pair well with most outfits.
Talk to me about where Jack Purcell takes you on the weekend. What’s your favorite brunch stop?
Bar Tartine. Friend and owner, Chad Robertson (who also owns Tartine Bakery) has been re-imagining his restaurant over the last couple years and it’s been really exciting to try and visit regularly as the menu evolves. Drawing heavy inspiration from Eastern Europe and working primarily with local produce, there’s often a new seasonal offering to try and a number of staples to indulge in.
What neighborhood in San Francisco is your favorite?
Alamo Square. I’m biased because I also live in this neighborhood, but it’s relatively low key and central to most of the other areas I get to regularly. There’s a lot of change happening right now, some interesting and some not so interesting, but it’s always a game of pros and cons.
Since its launch in 2009, Unionmade has, for so many brands, become the go-to menswear shop in the U.S. Founded by Carl Chiara and Todd Barket in 2009, the shop has emerged as one of menswear’s best in terms of both style and selection. Any chance I am in San Francisco and I get to shop there, I always relish the opportunity to discover something new, or to marvel at the vast amounts of things that I want to buy.
Unionmade’s classic point of view was what must have been what led Converse to focus its attention on the California shop as one of the best destinations to find the classic canvas Jack Purcell sneakers. There are so many elements of Unionmade that fit perfectly with Jack Purcell. They both represent the natural style-evolution of the American man. Both are interested in classic and enduring things as a basis for a versatile modern wardrobe. And both Jack Purcell and Unionmade are focused on style that lasts long into the future.
First things first, lets be happy that it is still cold outside and we can take full advantage of wearing all of our favorite winter goods. This catalog from 1969 is the convergence of two of my favorite things: nostalgic ephemera and L.L. Bean. This booklet features some choice goods, along with a cover shot of a hunter about strike down Bambi. Safe to say that 2010 Bean is not going to be using cover art like this — but some of these goods are a bit less controversial and have been much more long lasting. That Flotation Jacket sure does look familiar.
With the arrival of arctic weather on the East Coast my Bean Boots (the Gumshoes) have been in heavy rotation. Actually, I have the habit (bad?) of wearing those Bean Boots nearly round the clock. In my twisted mind they are shoes (not boots) and there doesn’t need to be snow or slush anywhere in sight for these bad boys to see action. The thing about wearing those boots when temperatures are in the teens (and below), socks are the key to comfort. Enter Fox River Mills — my wintertime sock manufacturer of choice. Fox River Mills is the perfect convergence of necessity, function and style. Plus, their prices are reasonable and I will give you one guess where they are made.