A Continuous Lean. - Page 3

Impeccable Footwear From Diemme.

Mar 27th, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Jake Gallagher, Made in Italy, Shoes | by Jake Gallagher

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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 Unexpected Revival of Birkenstocks.

Mar 26th, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher

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A decade ago if you asked anyone what they thought of Birkenstocks their answer would’ve probably included some contrarian remark about either dead heads, frat bros, or both. For at least some of us though, these connotations are now a thing of the past, as we have entered into a new era in which Birkenstocks are not only acceptable, but dare we say stylish.

First produced in Germany in 1774 by Johann Adam Birkenstock, the brand’s signature slip ons have been celebrated for centuries as some of the world’s most ergonomically advanced footwear. When they were introduced to the U.S. in the sixties, they were immediately polarizing, as those that adopted Birks praised their comfort, while those that disparaged the shoes wrote them off as being plain old ugly. The shoes outdoorsy fans could care less about their critics, and Birks became an integral part of this culture, which in turn actually helped to make the shoes fashionable as mountaineering style has become popular during the past few years.

We Now Pause for Station Identification.

Mar 25th, 2014 | Categories: Housekeeping | by Michael Williams


Please pardon the interruption to your Japanese magazine reading as we pause for small note of housekeeping.

We’ve been making some small changes around here in anticipation of some larger changes. First of all, we have updated the email newsletter functionality for the site and our new system is a huge improvement. If you are on the legacy system (which would be anyone that had signed up to receive ACL via email before this past Monday; the old emails say “Powered by Google” at the bottom) then you can sign up for the new newsletter here and then unsubscribe to the old newsletter. If you like things how you have it, no need to do anything. If you want that ‘new new’, then make the jump.

Unfortunately, when Google mothballed Feedburner everything we had was trapped in a world of no-tech-support limbo and there’s nothing we can do to change it. We went so far as to consult with Neil deGrasse Tyson* this past fall to try and work the science to get back into our Feedburner, but to no avail. Then he got busy with Cosmos and we had to scrap the program. But the new email is great (powered by Sendicate, if you don’t know, now you know) and we are excited to share it with you. And so you know, the new email setup is just an RSS feed of content from the site, not promotions. Knowing us, even if we wanted to sell our list it we’d probably end up locking ourselves out of the system making it impossible, so don’t worry about that.

Again, new ACL RSS newsletter signup is here.

In addition to the new email, we have recently switched servers and are running on a super fast new host. The site was previously so slow that our old host must have had ACL running on some Windows 95 equipment in a musty old warehouse in Miami. Sorry if the slowness was annoying to you (though we’re sure if you did find it annoying you would have sent in the hate mail or left nasty comments as seems to be the case with all other grievances large or small), but don’t worry, things are running much quicker now.

Finally, we might redesign the site this year. We’ve been chewing on that for a while and know now that there improvements we want to make. But even if we do make changes, they won’t upset the heritage feng shui we’ve cultivated over the years. Finally, interesting things are happening on our Facebook and Instagram if you haven’t made those connections yet.

That’s it. Thanks for reading and keeping us all honest.

*This is not true. Though we do watch Cosmos every Sunday.

Navigating the World of Japanese Magazines.

Mar 25th, 2014 | Categories: Jake Gallagher, Japan, Magazines | by Jake Gallagher

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American companies publish men’s style magazines. Japanese companies publish sacred texts of the religion that is men’s clothing.

What separates Japanese publications from their American counterparts is obsession. While American writers cover clothing and the lifestyle that surrounds it, Japanese writers identify every possible minute detail, study them to death, and then publish these beautifully designed tomes of men’s style. Japanese magazines, are bound by one thing (well, aside from the language that is), density.

There’s now more publications then ever before, and each one seems to set a new pedantic high point. Flip through any of these imported publications and you’ll see page after page of these masterfully arranged stories that scrutinize and celebrate men’s clothing in a manner that hasn’t been seen since Gentry Magazine back in the fifties. While all of these titles do fall into the general category of “clothing,” each has their own quirks and characteristics that set them apart, so to help you navigate this sea of Kanji and street style photos, we give you a timely breakdown of eight of ACL’s favorite Japanese magazines.

Dublin, Jameson and St. Patrick: The Classic Combination.

Mar 24th, 2014 | Categories: David Coggins, Drinking | by David Coggins

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Heading to Dublin with the good people of Jameson for the definitive Irish holiday rightfully makes you a bit nervous. It threatens to be too much of a good thing. Dublin, like New Orleans, has a powerful effect on the imbiber’s imagination. You suddenly hear yourself saying, Yes I’ll have a Guinness at 11am, and it feels perfectly natural. It recalls a line from a novel by the great Irish writer John Banville. Two men walk into a pub before it’s opened and one says innocently: “We were passing by and to our surprise discovered we had a thirst.”

By now, Jameson is so familiar that it’s easy to forget it was founded in 1780. When you wonder why these companies endure, look no further than Ger Buckley, their master cooper who’s worked there for decades. Coopers, of course, build barrels and casks (the original Kennedys—yes, those Kennedys—who immigrated to America were coopers). We watched Ger demonstrate how to assemble one of the barrels that ages the whiskey. It’s a demanding process that Ger made look easy, like an expert fly caster, but of course you know it’s not. The barrels are made of charred white oak from Kentucky, using the same essential technology the Romans invented two thousand years ago. Why change a good thing?


Mar 24th, 2014 | Categories: SIGNALS | by Michael Williams


  • The power of sweatpants. Success outside the dress code. [Wall Street Journal]
  • The story of the secret mission to resurrect a B-2 Stealth Bomber. [LA Times]
  • Every wants to tap into the ‘Maker Movement,” including the big guys. [Ad Week]
  • Leffot has some handsome new suede Quoddys in the shop. [Selectism]
  • Everything you ever needed to know about the ubiquitous Nato strap. [Gear Patrol]

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Rover photo via Its Tactical.

A Bloody Good Time: At the Bullfights in San Miguel.

Mar 23rd, 2014 | Categories: Adventure, Jared Paul Stern, Long Reads | by Jared Paul Stern

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Blood sports aren’t all that popular these days. But bullfighting, beautiful, brutal and balletic, has been an important part of Spanish culture for hundreds of years. In the otherwise tame artists’ and expats’ town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, founded by the Spanish in 1511, we attended a bullfight recently and came away with one of the most authentic, un-touristy experiences we’ve ever had abroad, one that’s seared in our memory forever. While bullfights have been banned in some countries and toned down in others, in San Miguel tradition holds fast. Hemingway wrote that for a country to love bullfighting “the people must have an interest in death.” That’s certainly true in Mexico’s case, think of dia de muertos. Going to see one felt slightly illicit at first, gothic, decadent and antiquated, as befits what the author and bullfighting aficionado called “the only art in which the artist is in danger of death.”

We won’t get into a discussion of animal rights here, but while unquestionably meeting a cruel and bloody end the bulls are said to have a far better life than most of their ilk up until the final hour. And though they haven’t got much of a chance, there’s always the possibility that the bull will do some damage. The matador who risks nothing will never achieve greatness, and the best bullfighters stick their necks out the farthest. Prayers to the Virgin of Guadalupe are given before each event. In San Miguel the bullfight, or corrida, is in fact a corrida de rejones, meaning that the matadors – in this case rejoneadors – are mounted on horses. That may sound safer but repeatedly stabbing a raging, stampeding bull in the back, from the front, on horseback at full tilt while wearing a suit and hat takes serious cojones.

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