A Continuous Lean. - Page 2

Arc’Teryx’s Forever Backpack.

Apr 2nd, 2015 | Categories: Bags, Canada | by Michael Williams

Nomin-Pack-Black (1)

As in, it took forever to make this awesome backpack. It will probably last forever too if you were wondering.

There’s really no explanation for this, but I’m pretty crazy about all types of different bags. To the point where I have to strictly ban myself from buying any new type of bag. I have a pretty expansive collection of carryalls at home and I recognize the fact that I really need to focus on using on what I already own. That said, there tends to be some new faces around and there always seem to be exceptions. One such deviation for me was this incredible Veilance pack that I acquired from Barneys last fall in a brazen act of defiance of my no-new-bags policy. Although, the policy is really nothing more of a governor rather than an all out ban. I digress. Recently when speaking to the Veilance design team I discovered an interesting fact about the Nomin pack, I learned that Arc’Teryx has amazingly been working on developing this particular bag since about 2010. 5 years for one backpack?!?

All Together Now | Brands Unite at Bloomingdale’s

Mar 31st, 2015 | Categories: Menswear, Sponsored Post | by Michael Williams


There’s a whole lot going on at Bloomingdale’s this spring, and it’s centered around some of our favorite designers. The iconic retailer has gathered the collective strength of Wings & Horns, Champion by Todd Snyder, Saturdays Surf, Gant Rugger and Steven Alan all together in one place. It’s the hard work of a great group of very well respected people including Fashion Director Kevin Harter and his deputy Josh Peskowitz — two men who I know and respect tremendously.


Go the Victor.

Mar 30th, 2015 | Categories: Made in the USA | by Michael Williams


The hometown factory is the Victor. This is a big one.

Rarely does a brand come along that hits every single note perfectly. The guys behind Noble Denim recently launched an exciting new venture called Victor, which goes way beyond just making clothes. What Victor is doing is looking to help save a factory, revitalize a town, and if successful, bring back American garment manufacturing in the Southeast. It’s more than just a noble (punny, I know) undertaking, it’s also simply great product.

Knowing the people from Noble denim as I do, I can say that they consistently impress me with their creativity, kindness and the level in which they execute. They are an altruistic bunch operating in a world where seemingly anyone can found a brand with their “perfectly curated” Instagram account and feel as if they are changing the world. But Chris, Abby, Christman and Sam have pushed forward designing and producing some truly excellent product at a fair price. They are at the same time also helping to save jobs and an entire factory town. And it’s more than just good marketing, they have the manufacturing and design chops to back it all up.


Mar 30th, 2015 | Categories: SIGNALS | by Michael Williams


  • Literally talking shop with Taavo Somer of Freemans fame. [The Hand & Eye] [Pictured]
  • Meet Denver’s own all-American-made Berkeley Supply. [Vimeo via Berkeley Supply]
  • Your walls will thank you for these highly tasteful posters. [WAX]
  • Baxter of California made a nice little video about Riley, a LA based stuntman. [YouTube]
  • My take on the Makers Movement and the new USA made Target Collective. [A Bullseye View]

Bonus: The ACL morning routine. [Harry's Five O'Clock]

—Good things happening elsewhere. Follow along with ACL on Facebook and Instagram

Sailing Collective | Sights to Sea.

Mar 25th, 2015 | Categories: Travel | by ACL Editors



As has been discussed on this site before, people don’t take vacations like they used to, but this shift is not always lamentable. The ubiquitous cross country car journey may have made it’s final exit, but this has opened up a new field for companies such as Sailing Collective, which offer trips that can only be described as “adventure tourism.” Sailing Collective, which was only founded back in 2011, specializes in trips that are really about the experience, not just the destination.

Taking a trip to Croatia, or the British Virgin Islands, or even Maine, is one thing, but what Sailing Collective provides is the opportunity to take in these beautiful locales in a completely unique way. With Sailing Collective the trip actually really starts once you land at your destination. From there you meet the rest of your boat (typically six passengers and two crew) at the dock for a week long trip at sea. For co-founder Dayyan Armstrong exposing passengers to the unknown side of these well known destinations is what Sailing Collective is all about. By boat you’re more likely to stumble upon a quiet village, or a picturesque enclave, or a hole in the wall restaurant, and these discoveries are the true advantage of a Sailing Collective trip.

Kicks for a King.

Mar 23rd, 2015 | Categories: Accessories, Menswear, Shoes | by ACL Editors


It’s said that you can judge a man by his shoes but this goes doubly true for his slippers. In public you’re dignified, distinguished, or at the very least not disheveled. A man’s home is his castle though, and you should look the part. This means dressing like a king. A very comfortable king. Many men these days unfortunately forgo them altogether, but we still believe that slippers are a crucial component of any at home outfit. The power of the slipper lies not in its comfort (it goes without saying that a good pair of slippers should feel like you’re stepping into a cloud) but in the message they send to visitors – You’re in shoes, I’m in slippers, I’m in charge here. So here now are our favorite slippers fit for a king, even if your kingdom is little more than a shoebox studio apartment.

Well Appointed.

Mar 20th, 2015 | Categories: Obsessions, Office Supplies | by Michael Williams


Occasionally, I can make some absurd generalizations. One of my recent favorites is about Kickstarter and how I will never write about anything I find on there. The reason for this stems from the fact that 99.9% of everything that I have been pitched from the crowdfunding site is utter garbage. Then out of the blue a few weeks ago I received a perfectly executed (and wonderfully refreshing) email from Suann Song about her amazing new paper goods and desktop brand Appointed which launched recently on Kickstarter. Today, thanks to Suann’s creativity and hard work, my sweeping generalization surrounding Kickstarter falls.

The Appointed collection is a handsome offering of notebooks and a memo pad. Eventually it will extend further to also include a beautiful brass ruler, and much more this summer. Everything is going to be designed and manufactured right here in the USA, setting Appointed apart from the many fine makers from Europe and Japan. In a lot of ways, the look and feel remind me a bit of the awesome Japanese based brand Postalco. Incredibly, just a few weeks into the launch and the brand has already raised close to $33,000. It seems there’s definitely an appetite for fine American paper goods.

Impressed with not only the aesthetics of Appointed, but also of Suann’s approach and attention to detail I reached out to find out more about what went in to the creation of Appointed.

Tell me more about how Appointed came to be. What was that process like? How long did it take? And what was the moment that really pushed you over the edge to move ahead with this endeavor?

I’ve been a designer for about 8 years and founded a creative studio based in the D.C. area. I’ve always had a passion for product — paper products, specifically — and we had a small stationery line for a while that did fairly well. I pulled that to focus on our branding and custom clients. But I’ve always wanted to get back into paper products and have had the idea for Appointed for quite some time. Even though I’m a business owner, which takes some risk, I’m very risk-averse. If I don’t have the funds, I don’t do it. And producing product takes a lot of risk — especially at the scale that I wanted Appointed to be at. So, about a year ago I decided that I was going to see what it would take to get Appointed going, research the market, and just start designing and prototyping product — and I would worry about funding later. Once I had product I believed in; that’s what got me to move forward and figure out funding. And that’s where Kickstarter came in. We’re raising initial funding to put our signature product into production but I also have a funding plan beyond the Kickstarter because the notebooks are just the start. We have a full line that we want to launch in the summer. Ideally, I’d like to get Appointed to a place where if you want simple, beautifully-made and functional products for your desktop, we make them.