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.
Has the recent finale of HBO’s True Detective left you jonesing for more pulpy American grit? Do you like your heroes broken-hearted yet courageous, desperate but loyal? Does your hard luck story require just the thinnest beam of light to pierce the looming darkness? Then author Willy Vlautin is your guy.
A Reno, Nevada native, Vlautin moved North to Portland, Oregon in the nineties to paint houses. When he wasn’t up on the ladder he wrote and played in bands. He founded, and still fronts, Richmond Fontaine, one the most-loved rock bands to come out of the Northwest. Starting with The Motel Life in 2007, he has published four novels that fit on the shelf next to Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son and Larry Brown’s Big Bad Love. Immensely talented company, but Vlautin’s work is at home with these greats.
There was a time in the not too distant past when all of our clothes were truly organic, created along a clear path from seed to seam. Nowadays though, our textiles are not so much grown by farmers as they are developed by scientists who continuously search for new ways to make our clothes better, faster, and stronger.
This quest to meld textiles and technology has given us a whole new set of fabrics that continuously push the boundaries on what a garment can achieve, and today these cutting-edge materials have become almost commonplace. Performance wear and sportswear designers now share the common goal of crafting garments that not only stand out, but also out last their competitors, and so with these fabrics moving from REI up to Barneys, we figured we’d give you all a primer on some of the biggest names in high-tech textiles.
When it comes to making fine Scotch Whisky, Glenmorangie subscribes to the idea that a little bit extra makes all the difference. Never willing to settle for the standard, Glenmorangie goes one step further with each piece of their scotch production process. Its casks are formed from trees harvested in the Ozark Mountains. Water is sourced from the mineral rich wells that surround their distillery in the Scottish highlands. The stills are the tallest in all of Scotland at over twenty-six feet tall. And a team of sixteen artisans that have meticulously mastered the art of well-aged whisky crafts each barrel.
This legacy of craftsmanship has defined Glenmorangie’s crisp Scotch for well over a century and a half, and has brought them together with Thomas Pink today. At just twenty years old Thomas Pink might seem youthful when stacked up next to Glenmorangie, but the London-based shirt maker is a faithful producer of traditionally tailored dress shirts with a contemporary edge. This shared dedication to impeccable craftsmanship has made Thomas Pink a logical partner with Glenmorangie to produce a collection of three shirt and scotch pairings. It’s the ultimate expression of craft and style.
The folks at Harrison Limited down in Birmingham may be landlocked, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have good taste when it comes to boat shoes: case in point these handsome Rancourt mocs. It was only last summer that I was falling for the long-time-coming made in Maine Sperry Topsiders, but one can surely make room in his closet for two well-made pairs of boat shoes.
There have been mentions of it here before, but Harrison Limited is probably my favorite store I have never actually been to. That honor was help previously by Leather Soul, but I’ve now been lucky enough to have visited that shoe mecca the past two years in a row (and I might even see it again this April, depending on how things go).
It’s one of America’s greatest rags-to-riches stories: two brothers, born into the utter poverty of lower-class Scotland in the mid-1800’s, immigrate to America and amass an inconceivable fortune all on their own. The Carnegie tale is a prime example of American industry at its finest, because in nineteenth century America, you didn’t exactly have to do everything by the book as long as you made billions.
That’s not to say that Andrew and Thomas Carnegie were purely driven by greed, after-all their name is emblazoned on buildings up and down the Northeast as a testament to their philanthropic spirit. From concert halls, to universities, to museums, the only thing the Carnegie’s liked more than making money, was putting their name on buildings, yet one of their most spectacular structures didn’t bear their name at all.
Toward the end of his all too short life Thomas, the younger of the two brothers purchased a vacation house on Cumberland Island, just off the coast of Georgia. Thomas was eight years Andrew’s junior and had spent his career assisting his brother with the daily operations of the family’s various corporations. Andrew was the idea man, while his brother did much of the grunt work, a role which helped make him both incredibly wealthy and incredibly tired. By his late-thirties, Thomas was ready to retire, and so he and his sizable family purchased “Dungeness Mansion” on Cumberland Island, a house with a history that rivaled that of the Carnegie’s themselves.
- A short list of places to drink wine in San Francisco, Berkley and Oakland. [Food & Wine]
- Bespoke (Neapolitan) bragging rights. [Wall Street Journal]
- If ever there was a time for Irish Coffee, it is now. [The New York Times]
- A 1940s era tour of the Allen Edmonds factory. [YouTube via Valet]
- Back to the Future is the prevailing fashion trend at the moment. [The Guardian]
- Bonus: Couple of famous Irish Americans. [via Reddit]