Klaxon Howl is a beautiful shop on Queen West in Toronto I first heard of, and visited, last summer. Kyle from Dejour mag took me through for a look at the vintage denims, military jackets, boots and helmets, and whatever else the shop had accumulated. It seemed to be a haven for all things vintage, military and cool. While it was hard to get too excited about heavy wool jackets in the middle of the heatwave of the summer, the shops goods were definitely exciting to browse through. This year the shop has put together their very own collection. Inspired by the items around them and the techniques used in their manufacturing, the filtered military and work wear pieces look great. The collection of shirts, denim and outerwear are said to be inspired by the 'frontiersmen and prospectors, soldiers and sailors, aviators and American Indians' that made use of the original designs. While the shop's items seem rather 'on trend' as some like to say, it only takes a quick look through the retail location to see these folks are serious about their wears. From the vintage buttons to the gun shell cases, to the hunting knives and the old Levis posters, Klaxon Howl is the real deal and I look forward to seeing more of the collection for fall/winter 2009.
I just got put onto the Brooklyn Radio website the other day and it might be one of the best online resources for great music listening ever. With hours and hours of free steaming or down-loadable, well mixed sets covering the history of hip hop from 1990 up to 2008, what more could I ask for? If you don't read the music reviews every month, not only are you missing on some gems, but you might not know that we at h(y)r collective love our hip hop music. I'm constantly looking for good sites or mixes I can let play at work all day, or especially when I worked retail it would have been great. Something classic, easy to listen to and that you don't get bored off. That's exactly what this website has. 'The Rub' is a small gold mine of some seriously good tracks from classic artists throughout the last decade and a half of music. Brand Nubian, Tribe Called Question, Black Moon to Nas and Ludacris to Sean Price and De la Soul. I doubt you'd be disappointed by a single track as each song is picked from a year of great music and whoever is in charge is doing a great job. Check The Rub here.
I have been following this blog a lot more in the last couple months, and in the last week or so the author has written a couple posts I've quite enjoyed. The latest titled 'The Bean Blucher vs. The Frau Blucher', talks about the old Bean Blucher moc in comparison to what the brand is making today. The other post I quite enjoyed was titled 'I can't wear what?' The post touches on a current issue of people wearing clothing meant to be worn in the bush or while hunting, and it's recent appropriation to the city dwellers. The perspective is refreshing and the words are strong. In the end you can't tell him (and I) what you shouldn't wear, but you can't stop somebody from wearing it. This whole debate whether people should be wearing work wear if they aren't actually doing manual labor etc is getting a bit tired. If you like it, you enjoy the aesthetic of it, and you feel comfortable, I feel you should be all means not be stopped or discouraged. That doesn't mean I won't pass judgement if I don't like it, but I'll respect you for wearing what you want.
Light jackets are key items these days as the temperature rises as we move from winter into spring. Stafford & Sons' safari jacket looks to be another solid outerwear option. Made from poplin it looks to be a perfect weight for chilly spring nights and the in between weather like now. Made by another genuine American workwear company it comes in usual the beige or olive and has the customary nice big button down pockets with good buttons. The single pleated back is looking good too but for me, it's the waistband that really makes this coat. You can do it up and it slim the coat down and give it a nice lean silhouette. Or leave it hanging and layer it up for you 'anti-fit' looks. A jacket like this probably isn't for everyone but it's a good alternative, and a great one if you're worried about one of the many other options (military jacket, toggle coat, Harrington) becoming too trendy.
Opening Ceremony has a pretty vast range of footwear that seems to grow more every season. While there are a number of hits, they also tend to come with a fair number of misses, like these zip up oxfords. While the quality of the New York brands footwear has often come under question, the staples of their seasonal offerings remain fresh and undeniably good looking. This spring Opening Ceremony are offering a leather trim sneaker for the first time, at least that I'm aware of. Coming in black and teal, the shoe's silhouette is much like the Vans Authentic and others following the very similar style. This version however is slightly different, with the metal eyelets, leather laces and a couple different leather hits to compliment the canvas body. The shoes are also leather lined which is definitely a must for the price, and if you plan on leaving your socks in the drawer. I'm not personally into the teal color too much but the black does appear to have nothing wrong with it from the pictures. Without laying my hands on these, it's really hard to determine how they feel, how well they might stand up and the value in which I would put on them. I probably wouldn't recommend buying Opening Ceremony online, especially if its a model you haven't handled or seen before. But in case you're up for some excitement, they are available here.
Is there not always going to be money in the world? Recession or not? It's probably safe to say that if you read this blog you are probably not living on the streets and have a bit of money in your bank, or at least have the ability to make some. So why are so many so afraid to spend theirs? I'm not just talking about on wind breakers or chinos, but to actually do something, or make something cool happen. I really do believe that you only live once, and now is probably the best time to do something. There is a pretty great opportunity to do some fun, interesting and cool things in the next couple years. And if you are young, creative and relatively bright (and dressed well), the only person stopping you is probably yourself. I know I have stopped myself at times and I feel like the time is coming to jump off the cliff and take a risk. I have been getting pretty stressed out about costs, start up problems and tons of stuff I need to learn, that I don't know about. But you can't wait forever for that perfect time to make big decisions. I feel that risks are what makes life interesting and fun to live. Whether it's wearing some overalls or starting a business that you really believe in and are passionate about. Of course there are smart choices and there are poor choices, but with a realistic perspective, positive outlook and an actually good idea, you can make something happen. There are lots of people who read this blog who already have taken a jump of a cliff, or maybe a few, but there are going to be more to take in the near future. And for a lot of us we haven't taken the first big one. I definitely have a lot of respect for those who have taken a well calculated jump, it is rare - but I can't imagine anything more exciting.
This spring the leading New York based boutique Odin, has teamed up with well respected English footwear maker, Grenson. The capsule collection so far has two models including a leather ankle boot and a canvas oxford. Both are extremely clean and classic looking and would work, or should work, with any man's wardrobe. I am particularly a fan of the canvas oxfords. I think they are a perfect spring through fall shoe. With nice detailing, a great natural leather sole, white stitching, nice color choice on the laces and of course a nice leather lining, these feel very well balanced. I think Odin has definitely been one of the leaders in bringing menswear to a place where it should be. From their stock list, to their great Den concept location, Odin continues to push retail in New York and this is another very nice addition. The ankle boot retails for $350 and the oxford comes in at $325, which are not incredibly bag prices at all. I would like to see the black canvas under some better lighting, but these are definitely being considered for purchase.
Finding chinos that fit well is not easy. I am fairly picky with how pants fit me and chinos are the hardest of all to find in the right proportion. The best I'd personally found were BDG (UO in-house line) but unsurprisingly, they aren't very high quality, and they didn't have khaki colored chinos when I was in last. I wanted something casual, not too skinny, and definitely not loose fitting, something along the lines of a New Standard is ideal. Wings+Horns seem to be slightly refining their direction for the spring as they are offering oxford shirts, traditionally styled military jackets, a Macintosh style coat, slim wool pants, and of course the chino pant. I think the spring collection from W+H is probably their most classic looking to date. The chinos come in olive green and a great khaki tone. They are a great all season weight and feature taped seams, fifth change pocket, 100% cotton and really nice detail buttons. The fit is really nice. Great for rolling up or letting sit on your footwear of choice. I have worn them already with both my Redwing 875's and red sole dirty buck and found they worked well with both. I could probably have fit my waist into a 30 for a very slim fit but I decided to go with the 32 for a slightly more relaxed look that would work better for me, and with some EG items. They have a really nice solid texture as well that feels it will last a couple years and break in really nicely. Plus it feels good supporting a brand that designs and manufacturers here in Vancouver, Canada. Available at Roden Gray for $228 Can.