The Fair Isle and Norwegian patterns were quite evident in Japan. Even though a lot of the top shops had pieces imported from northern UK and Scandinavia, some of my favorite pieces were the inspired items produced in Japan. A handful of the people we met with were sporting the colourful patterns as there seem to be endless ways to mix and match, from socks and vests to cardigans, hats and ties. I picked up this Beams Plus knit tie which features a soft wool from Tucker's Mill. It has a more Norwegian feel to it, but it's the nice mix of navy blue, white and a dark red that make it quite wearable. I particularly like how the colour and texture sits on a chambray shirt, so anticipate that being a favored holiday match up in the next month or two.
I'd seen the beautiful Superior Labor canvas utility tote at J. Crew's Broadway shop in the summer and was quite impressed. I ended up shying away as I has just bought my Wm J. Mills bag, but it's been in the back of my mind since. With Tokyo on the schedule, I was looking forward to finding more canvas goods by a couple companies I'd only read about online, Superior Labor being at the top of the list. While the pick up isn't of ground breaking proportions, I was happy to come away with this camera-sized pouch. It features a few of the large tote features in a mini package. The leather pull tab on the Waldes treated zipper, special canvas that was developed locally, their great branding in stamp and woven tag form, and the dipped water proofing process. While Superior Labor often use a colour to coat the bottom of the bag, I really liked the look of the white dip. Something simple can sometimes just be exactly what you're looking for.
Filson has a couple of web exclusive products up right now in my favorite color of the season - navy blue. This shelter cloth bomber reminds me a little of the EG Wing jacket, in terms of the shape. It's one of the Engineered Garments pieces I've never got overly excited about, but often tried on and still thought highly of it. Filson's short bomber however is just a bit more casual and easy going, or at least it feels that way to me. I like the pockets and the waist band and how the jacket might could offer an interesting layer on top of something a little longer. If you were to wear a light colored Baker perhaps, the lengths could work well in the fall. If not, it's an afford layer at $109, that will look good any time of year.
I wish these came with the shoes. I've got a couple pairs of Alden's at home and they all need shoe trees. I can be a little silly when it comes to brand cohesion and things working together, so I'm afraid a shoe tree by Alden would be the only kind that would work, and leave my mind at ease. It's unfortunate as there is nowhere to buy them around here and they cost between $60-80 whenever I find them online. When you're spending a couple hundred dollars on footwear you plan on having for decades, it is worth an extra investment to make they last those extra couple seasons in the end.
South 2 West 8 has a deep collection which includes several items I would like to get my hands on. While most of the soft goods are made in Japan where the collection is retailed, some of the accessories are made in the USA. The great navy blue oxfords being one, and their set of travel bags being the other example. I know that Nepenthes has had an on-going long relationship with Duluth Pack and due to a couple signature details, I have reason to be believe this great looking pack might be made in the same factory as our Utility Bags. What I really like on this backpack is the pull string cinch top. With a simple flap and one leather strap/buckle to close it up, the cinch is a great way to keep things secure while keeping the bag looking nice and neat. The yellow colour is really nice as well, but of course even though it's made in the USA, it's only available overseas. —
Oliver Spencer's collection isn't usually known for the footwear, but next spring we'll see the English brand put forth a very sharp variety of shoes. These red brick soles were rare but apparent in Japan, made by Vibram of course. We definitely made note and snuck some photos while browsing around for future projects. I'm not sure if the ones on Oliver's shoes are by Vibram but the shape and profile fits perfectly with the navy and tan suede. It works well with the dark leathers too, but I'm more of a fan of the suede pairings. The collection looks nice overall and you can see more of the preview at Secret Forts.
The magazines are out of the boxes, the smell of glue is in the air and it's time to celebrate – at least a little. It was definitely an undertaking putting together a 140 page magazine in only a few months, along with a new website, a brand and a series of collaborations. We're extremely excited about the launch of our first printed issue, so to celebrate we're having a 3-day shop-in-shop that kicks off with a party at Roden Gray on Friday, November 27. We'll have a lot of magazines for sale for the first time in the flesh, while copies begin to land around the world in select retailers. We'll also be taking over the corner of the store with a selection of our fall Inventory Items, featuring Mark McNairy Bucks, Alexander Olch Ties, Duluth Utility Packs and the launch of our first collaboration with Inverallan – including the cardigans and caps. It would be great to see and meet any of our readers and supporters that can make it out. There will be free drinks and as many magazines as you can buy. We'll be taking over Roden Gray around noon and hanging out for the day until the party kicks off around 6pm. We'd just like to say thank you again to anybody and everyone who has encouraged us to keep moving forward and supported us in anyway.
One of the items that I will definitely remember from Tokyo – partially because I didn't end up purchasing it and partly regret it – were these special edition Bedford jackets from the Engineered Garments store. They jackets themselves are made from a washed-out cotton twill material which was extremely soft and very comfortable from the first time you put it on. I'm not sure, but I think it may have been a treated version of last spring's unlined navy twill Bedford. The patches apparently come from Daiki Suzuki's collection of deadstock goodies. Picked up over the years, there is only one combination of jacket and patch, which means your choice when picking your patch/size gets pretty slim, pretty quick. The patches are from old baseball teams and definitely fit well with the aesthetic of the sport coats. Although you could surely find your own patch and sew it on yourself, there is always something nice about finding a really unique piece and making it yours. —