Seems like everyone waiting with bated breath for Amazon to launch in the land of Oz have had their shopping heaven dreams crushed. Newsflash: Amazon is not the retailer-Armageddon. Not yet anyway. Not only is the range of products on Amazon Australia much much smaller than the US counterpart, but the prices are pretty much what they normally are in Australia (read: rubbish).
With the annual orgy that is Black Friday sales just around the corner and Christmas and boxing day sales looming, it pays to think about the ethics of fashion when you are diving into those deep deep discounts. Sure we all love a good bargain, and with these fast fashion brands springing up everywhere, the prices are lower than ever before. But who is really paying the price?
I watched a documentary recently where Ricky Yates went around the world looking at where sable furs and croc skins come from. Some of the ‘farms’ where they keep these animals are absolutely horrendous. The scale of operations in China are so huge now that real fur can be bought at a lower price than synthetic furs. Live plucking of down has also come under the spotlight recently. Continue reading “Ethics in fashion”
I’ve been listening to Blamo! recently (which is an awesome podcast btw) on my work commutes and many of the interviewees mention their style influences come from their dads. My story is a little different and my dad definitely does not have a sense of style!
Arriving in Sydney from China as a little immigrant kid, I grew up on the streets of Cabramatta in the 90s. This was during the violent, drug rampant era where fights broke out on the streets, junkies were literally shooting up in the stairwell of the flat where we lived, and John Newman was assassinated. My primary school friends were all little hoodlums and the coolest shit back then were Nike hats, baggy sweats and massive baggy pants. Naturally we appropriated gang culture and gangsta rap tropes. For some reason the school principal at the time thought it wise not to enforce school uniform rules so me and my friends would turn up to school in our homie G attire. The only rule was we had to take our caps off during class.
I picked up a pair of Yuketen Maine Guide Ox FO by accident about a year ago. I have always loved handsewn moccasin styles from Maine, and Yuketen’s slightly offbeat sensibilities add an extra level of interest for me. That intersection of style, fashion and old school craftsmanship is rarely seen in the shoe-making world. So when this barely used pair appeared on eBay, I put in a low bid, not really expecting to win, but win I did and ended up with what would become one of my favourite pairs of shoes.
The Maine Guide Ox is a low version of Yuketen’s signature Maine Guide boot, Yuki Matsuda’s interpretation of the hunting boot. Pairing true moccasin construction with thick boot soles makes for a comfy pair of boots, and my low top versions are no different.
Almost everyday I see some new startup on social media claiming to be disrupting the watch or clothing industry. I won’t name any names but there’s this watch one that keeps coming up so I click on it and sure enough it’s some fashion watch startup with a cheap quartz movement. I’d hate to be the naysayer but you ain’t disrupting shit.
I can’t imagine any watch enthusiast abandoning their collection of mechanical art pieces for this crap. And if I wanted a cheap fashion watch that was “excellent” quality I have many other brands to choose from. The reality is that these are completely different markets and “disruption” is just a nice buzzword to use but a distortion of the truth. True disruption is making a product that can actually stand up to the competition in the same class.
I’m sure by now everyone has read about the recent auction of Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona which sold for 17 million US dollars and I’m reading about it online and having discussions with people about it and the question that is always asked is: Is it really worth it? In the context of this particular watch, probably not to me or a lot of other people, but it was worth it to someone because that’s what they paid.
And really you can apply that logic to a lot of the watch world. To pay a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars for an antiquated device that “just tells the time” seems absurd, but then if that’s what you think, you are really just missing the point.
I’m gonna take a break from the clothes and shoes for a sec to talk about something I’ve noticed since becoming a dad.
I’m a new-ish dad -my son is now a toddler and I sometimes take him somewhere by myself, whether it’s the shopping centre, or a market, or the doctors, or the park. And the comments or reactions I get from strangers are always overwhelmingly positive, and I feel, disproportionate to the job I’m doing. As in: I’m just looking after my son, MY son. I mean, I’m kinda the reason he is in this world so I SHOULD be looking after him. I’ve been told that I’m an angel, that I’m such a great dad, or I get huge beaming smiles from just about everyone I pass (though that last one could just be because my son is goddamn adorable). And I’ve spoken to other new dads who say they have experienced the same thing. Continue reading “#1 Dad”
I love my blazers and sportcoats. But I will admit that in 2017 it can be hard to wear a blazer or sportcoat without people asking you if you are going to an interview or “why are you so dressed up?”. In our current dressed-down society, anything beyond the boring button-up shirt plus chinos will get a second look from other people. I mean, you can just say to hell with it and wear what you want and I do wear blazers and sportcoats regularly to work, but there are other options as well that are not quite as formal but also not as boring as just a shirt and pants. I personally don’t like to wear certain kinds of outerwear indoors – long jackets/coats and anything puffy are usually out for me. These are usually just too long/unwieldy/hot indoors and belong on the coat rack. They are called outerwear for a reason.
These are my usual go-to if I need something other than a jacket. It’s more interesting in a heavier knit or with a bit of pattern like a cable knit. Merinos are usually too light and can be a bit boring – I like it chunky. I also like shawl collars for their shape – the collar rolls a bit like the lapels of a blazer and just looks better than a regular cardigan. I buy these a little oversized so they are a bit slouchy and relaxed looking. Plus if the weather gets cooler I can wear a thicker shirt, overshirt, or jumper/sweater underneath the cardigan. And pockets, I like pockets ’cause you need somewhere to put your hands/phone/pens/sandwich. A nice alternative to the shawl cardigan is the shirt collar cardigan – I’ve been digging some of the models from Inverallan. Chunky numbers also can come in cotton/linen/blends if wool is too hot (my building’s heating is ridiculously cranked up in winter…no wonder we have global warming). I’ve got a nice indigo cotton/wool blend cardi from RRL and it is great for our temps in Sydney.
But summer is just around the corner, why the hell am I talking about knitwear?? Yeah sorry. When the mercury goes up, chore jackets and work jackets are a nice light option. French chore jackets were all the rage a few years ago thanks to the love of all things workwear and heritage but they are still a good option now. If it’s made out of a lighter weave in 100% cotton or cotton/linen blend or 100% linen they will be nice and breathable in warmer weather (they also come in wool, corduroy, and moleskin for the cool months). Continue reading “The Not-a-Blazer Jacket for Work”
It is with great sadness I receive the news today that Cone Mill’s White Oak plant in North Carolina is closing its doors at the end of this year. These guys have been making denim for Levi’s for over 100 years and is the last mill in America to make selvedge denim. Their parent company was bought out about a year ago and obviously dwindling profits has meant that White Oak is becoming another casualty of profit margins and changing times.
But this isn’t just another unprofitable business going down. This is the end of an era, much like the ceasing of car manufacturing in Australia. Much like how Commodores and Falcons are intrinsically Australian, denim is intrinsically American. And to no longer be able to buy quality denim woven in America is a sad day indeed.
I guess I’m a bit of a sucker for punishment or I don’t learn from my mistakes, etc. As a pimply teenager I had a pair of off-white converse allstars like just about everyone else and the toe box was completely wrong for my foot shape. My pinky toe would constantly rub against the side of the shoe so I either had a blister or no skin on it left by the end of the day. Fast forward to a couple of years ago when white sneakers were all the rage and I was too cheap to fork out for a pair of common projects, so of course I go out and get me a pair of leather Jacket Purcells. The leather was shit and of course they were hell for my pinky toes!
Fast forward some more to more recent times and Nigel Cabourn’s army style sneakers kept coming up on Instagram. Something about the utilitarian aesthetics, chunky soles and old school colours appealed to me. But you know, I had enough sneakers I don’t even wear so I filed it away in the back of my mind somewhere. But they kept coming up! I saw a cool pair of “all-weather boots” on the Drake’s website and the “made in Japan” description and I couldn’t help doing some research. Continue reading “Review: Nigel Cabourn high top army trainers”