Shopping | A Continuous Lean.

Small is Mighty.

Nov 29th, 2014 | Categories: Retail, Shopping | by Michael Williams

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Cuffs Clothing | 18 E. Orange Street Chagrin Falls, OH 44022

Every year the Black Friday push leaves me feeling conflicted. I understand that people out there need to stretch their dollars as far as possible, and Black Friday sales help out with that a lot. I also understand that retailers want to capture as much of people’s limited holiday budgets as possible — which is why opening times have crept earlier and earlier with many stores opening on Thursday. And opening on Thanksgiving day is where things start to become troubling for me. While I understand people want deals and retailers want as much business as possible, it really bothers me to know that a significant amount of people in retail jobs have to leave their families on Thanksgiving (a truly important time of year to be with family) to go to work so people can shop.

Although all of this Black Friday madness leaves me feeling conflicted, I’m delighted by the sentiment of Small Business Saturday which has emerged just one day down on the calendar. Established by American Express back in 2009, (coincidentally the same year we founded Pop Up Flea) the goal is to “Shop Small” and support independent businesses of every stripe. The amazing part of this program is the fact that it has given a voice to the little guys who struggle to compete and who need all of the help they can get. As someone who spends a lot of time around small retailers, I understand the difficulty in being small in scale and independently operated.

It is the small independent restaurants, bars, retailers and local businesses that truly make a town or place special. It’s something I learned watching my Dad run a small business while growing up in Ohio. A few years ago I even witnessed one of the most inspiring small business stories emerge at a nearby and beloved local hardware store. Working to save a local hardware store was an amazing gesture and something everyone everywhere can appreciate. That is exactly the spirit of Small Business Saturday. It’s about supporting the little guys who make a place special. It’s about spending money in your community and helping to ensure that the world isn’t one giant homogenized place. And it’s amazing to think that SBS represents many of the same values that we try and highlight here on ACL.

With this in mind, I made a list of some of my favorite small shops all over the U.S. This is obviously the just tip of the iceberg, but it is a good representation of the unique and small shop at its finest. I hope all of you can get out and support your local independent businesses today by shopping small.

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Leather Soul Downtown | 119 Merchant Street #100 Honolulu, HI 96813

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Harrison Limited | 2801 Cahaba Rd, Mountain Brook, AL 35223





The Real McCoys New NYC Americana Outpost.

Aug 28th, 2014 | Categories: Jake Gallagher, Japan, Menswear, New York City, Shopping | by Jake Gallagher

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When Japanese designer Hitoshi Tsujimoto founded The Real McCoys back around the turn of the millennium, he did so with the clear intention of creating garments that were not merely vintage inspired, but were as close to authentic reproductions as the modern man would allow. By meticulously recreating garments from the forties and fifties to their exact specs, Tsujimoto appeals to those that share his proclivity for the past, which as it turns out is quite the considerable audience. Over the past decade or so, The Real McCoys has become the destination for men that like their jackets lined in deerskin, their tees loopwheeled, and their jeans cut like Brando’s, no matter the cost (which at The Real McCoys can be eye-poppingly steep.) This success has certainly led to an uptick in stockists for the Real McCoys here in America, which no doubt has influenced their decision to finally open a proper shop at 10 Greene Street in SoHo.

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Boerum House & Home | The Shoppable Showroom

Jul 31st, 2014 | Categories: Brooklyn, Design, Jake Gallagher, Men's Stores, New York City, Shopping | by Jake Gallagher

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Boerum‘s address reads 314 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, but this is not the Brooklyn we’ve all come to expect. In fact the space doesn’t really feel like anywhere else in this city, but what it does feel like is a quintessential Partners & Spade production. The progressive downtown design firm, which is responsible for everything from Target ads to Sleepy Jones, was tapped by Flank, a boutique Manhattan-based architecture firm to create Boerum House & Home, so named for its Boerum Hill neighborhood.

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North Menswear | Shopping Anytown USA

Jul 16th, 2014 | Categories: California, Made in the USA, Shopping | by Michael Williams

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The excitement was palpable. The feeling of exhilaration was present because of the unexpected nature of it’s arrival.

While on a weekend trip to Southern California I was pleasantly surprised to meet North Menswear in Laguna Beach and I probably got more excited about it than normal. Surprised and delighted to be exact. Part of this is due to the fact that North is a great shop, but the real reason I was aflutter is because I wasn’t expecting to see anything like this in Laguna. I was expecting to languish in the Real Houswives vibes and here I was browsing a great collection of menswear.

Over the past few years something amazing has happened: A version of North (basically a cool men’s shop with an Americana slant i.e. Unionmade) has opened in cities across America. If you expand out from Laguna Beach you’d get Orn Hansen in Long Beach, Lone Flag in San Diego, Berkeley Supply in Denver, Askov Finlayson in Minneapolis, Willy’s in Detroit, Cincinnati has Article, there’s Supply & Advise in Miami, Reserve Supply Co. in Houston, Federal in Washington D.C. and a million stores in the Northeast.

Five years ago there were only a few shops keyed in on this. Steven Alan, Context in Wisconsin and Need Supply in Richmond to name a few. What was very much the of the blog world for a period of time seemed to have given rise to a new market for menswear. And it wasn’t until I stepped into North that it really made sense. I knew there were a lot of people all over the place interested in this stuff, but when you’re a little off the beaten path (not that LB is really out of the way, but it’s not TriBeCa) and you see a shop as good as North do you really realize the scope of this thing.

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North Menswear founder Pete Surprenant.





Shopping New York | Timberland SoHo.

Oct 30th, 2013 | Categories: New York City, Shopping, Sponsored Post | by ACL Editors

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Walk into Timberland’s Soho flagship and you’ll instantly realize that the storied workwear brand isn’t just selling boots anymore, they’re about the total package. Creating a stylish yet rugged footwear collection has always been Timberland’s bread and butter, but the shop on Broadway in SoHo also houses  the brand’s complete collection, covering everything from their iconic yellow boots, to their more contemporary street-ready pieces. Well-crafted leather coats, forest green backpacks, and military style field jackets grace the tabletops, while Timberland’s line of legendary shoes and boots is prominently displayed along the expansive shoe wall. This includes the handcrafted Timberland Boot Company collection, the Timberland classic boots that have become a symbol of the company and all the other good stuff like the Abington Collection, and the Earthkeepers line. The space is a fitting flagship for a storied brand with style, ruggedness and a distinct point of view.

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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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Procrastinators Delight | Shopping Best Made Co.

May 8th, 2013 | Categories: New York City, Shopping | by Michael Williams

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I’ve been meaning to go and see the Best Made Co. offices for at least the past two years. Communication flew back and forth, I just never seemed to make it over there, and not for lack of desire to check it out. Further confusing the whole situation was the fact that I basically walked by the place on my daily walk for years. I have no excuses. Well, it now seems that my procrastination has paid off, because by the time I found myself on White Street in NYC the studio had morphed into the first full-blown Best Made Co. shop that opens its doors today.

Housed in a quintessentially skylighted TriBeCa space —which was previously used by it’s former tenant for crafting fine art— the handsome well-designed nook of outdoorsy-ness occupies most of the space with a new loft and catwalk in the back that will still serve as the Best Made Co. offices. The front of the store is open to the public during the week, with a larger offering opening up for the weekends. The store offers everything that’s available on the e-commerce shop including a strong selection of painted axes (which judging from my Instagram can be quite polarizing), the Lightweight Cruiser, mugs, prints, knives and all sorts of other interesting stuff. And the brand doesn’t wholesale, so if you want it you have to order from them directly online or stop by this new outpost.

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