Tag Archives: heritage

Resurrecting the spirit of detroit

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Shinola-bruce-weber

There’s a little bit of a buzz around Detroit at the moment – the once-vibrant-now-less-so motoring and manufacturing city.

Shinola is a brand at the heart of Detroit’s resurgence that I discovered last year. It specialises in watches and leathergoods crafted from leather produced by Detroit’s Horween Leather Company – one of America’s oldest tanneries. Continue reading

Introducing Seek No Further from Fruit Of The Loom

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Seek-No-Further-SS14 4

Just launched: Seek No Further, a new premium fashion line from the heritage utility brand, Fruit Of The Loom. I love these offbeat campaign images from the brand (shot by Colin Dodgson), which is said to harness a pioneering spirit, “inspired by yesterday’s visionaries, today’s trailblazers and tomorrow’s innovators”. Although we’ve all heard that before so the proof will be in the pudding… Continue reading

Ever wondered how Smythson business cards are made…?

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Smythson-Factory main

Shock confession: in six years of freelancing I haven’t had a business card. The shame! I’ve somehow survived on the dual methods of LinkedIn requests and pitiful scraps of Moleskine paper but that only gets you so far. Much better, I decided, to step things up and investigate the process of designing and printing bespoke business cards. Not just any business cards you understand, but the ultimate in luxury and elegance – Smythson’s copperplate printed cards.

Here’s the thing: we’re all self-branders now. From bloggers to entrepreneurs, to graduates, to CEOs, how you present yourself is everything. Continue reading

Workshop visit: The Hermes silk scarf workshops in Lyon

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Hermes-Festival-Des-Metiers

“It takes two years to make and two minutes to buy!” So says Kamel Hamadou, the affable communications manager of Hermès silk, hosting a rare tour of the company’s silk printing facilities in Lyon. Two weeks ago I was invited on a whirlwind trip to learn the many meticulous stages of making one of those familiar silk ‘carrés’ of which I’m the proud owner of a few, neatly folded and stored in their equally familiar flat orange boxes.

My most astonishing discovery? The utter complexity of printing involved in a silk scarf of many colours. The average scarf has around 30 colours, of which each shade has its own precise mixing process. The printing itself has to be seen to be believed, but next week, you’ll have the chance to see it all when HermèsFestival Des Metiers lands on the London leg of its world tour. Continue reading

On Fornasetti incense and preserving the ancient art of Kodo

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

You may know Fornasetti for its distinctive ceramics and homewares. I certainly have an unhealthy preoccupation with the ashtrays and cabinets – especially those depicting the classical features of Lina Cavalieri, the 19th century opera singer and muse of Piero Fornasetti. But a more recent departure for the brand is its entry-point home smellies – the Fornasetti Profumi scented candles in their lidded jars (that are regarded not merely as candles but as decorative objects) and the delightful illustrated incense boxes.

Just like the boxes, the incense inside is an artisanal product. Created in Japan, it’s produced by Nippon Kodo, who have been making incense to exacting standards since 1575. At a workshop hosted by The Conran Shop to celebrate the Art of Kodo and the ritual of incense appreciation, I discovered that like calligraphy and tea ceremonies, ancient Japanese traditions are gradually going out of fashion. Globalisation favours teaching primary school kids English, not calligraphy, we were told by our Japanese Kodo master. And yet, as he demonstrated, the precise and meditative ritual of Kodo is something to be savoured, perhaps more so than ever in the information-overloaded 21st century. In a strange twist, it’s the western cultures that are learning to appreciate the age-old traditions and crafts of the East – as I’ve noticed with the recent flurry of ‘save our artisans’ retail workshops. So maybe all’s not quite lost… yet.

Human Made X Coca-Cola for Beams

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Nigo has been off-radar for me for a long time but he’s popped back on since these pictures dropped in my inbox. The ex-owner of A Bathing Ape has dug deep into his extensive workwear and memorabilia archive to produce this teeny-tiny capsule collection for his latest brand Human Made, in collaboration with Japanese store Beams. Continue reading

First look: M&S launches Made In Great Britain heritage menswear for AW13

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Hands down, one of the biggest menswear trends for AW13 is all things traditional, homespun and British. So think Harris tweeds, Scottish cashmeres and Savile Row-style tailoring using textiles from our oldest mills. Nicely timed then, is Made In Great Britain from Marks & Spencer, its heritage line that will be launching in selected stores in the autumn. Continue reading

London Collections: Men AW13 – from highland heritage to city subcultures

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Can you forecast next season’s trends based on three days in one city? A little. Two stood out for me at London Collections: Men this week – neither very surprising. Menswear trends are a bit more predictable than womenswear because (as a rule) men like to shop for the familiar rather than the new. So we saw a ton of youth subculture references, plus many nods to Great British heritage and manufacturing. Continue reading

Something for the weekend: Hermes Leather Forever exhibition

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

If you’re at a loose end this weekend (or any time between now and 27th May), get yourself down to 6 Burlington Gardens for the delight that is Hermes’ free Leather Forever exhibition. Created to give the public a closer look at the artisanal craft behind the luxury bags and leathergoods and to ‘show the depth and breadth of the brand’, it’s an hour of unadulterated sensory heaven. Continue reading

A day at Dr Martens

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl


Heritage is the watchword of the moment, so how timely that Dr Martens should invite me on a trip to their super-dooper factory last week. The British workwear boot company celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and has, ooh, millions of projects on the go to celebrate. On arrival at the HQ in Northamptonshire, our first stop was the showroom where the AW10 collection was unveiled. Ta da! There are polka dots, suede brogues, kiddy colours and a whole family of metallics in store for next season…




I was quite taken with the velvets. Although they may look a bit ‘Dr & The Medics‘, they’re made with very posh Italian velvet. I was urged to stroke them and yes, they did indeed feel lovely and luxe. These made me think of early 90s Nick Knight shoots, Sonia Rykiel, Ann Demeulemeester and dandyish blouses with floppy bows.

I was also drawn to this Redwing-like silhouette. Fact: 75% of the Dr Martens range is available in both mens and womens sizes and this is one of them.

Typically, my favourite style was the most fancy offering, the pebbled leather 1460s which are so super-precious they were secured behind a glass cabinet. Dr Martens are only selling 1460 pairs in each colour as a special celebratory collector’s item and they went on sale last Thursday (I know, I know) so may well be sold out.

There is also an attempt at enticing the Ugg customer with a £200 shearling bootie. Note, it’s made from real shearling, hence the price, none of this cheap stuff.

Also in attendance were creative directors Andrew Bunney and his wife Tommy who have been working with Dr Martens to get the right balance of fashion and function in the collections. These guys have really nailed it and looking at the number of failed rebrands I’ve seen over the years, this is no easy feat.

Dr Martens’ heritage is workwear but from the 1970s onwards, it was adopted by one youth culture after another. Punks, skinheads and indie grunge kids all adopted the boots as their own reactionist uniform, giving it a reverance that few other brands command. Part of the celebrations this year include ten bands recording ten cover versions of cult classics. We were given a sneak preview of three, of which I loved If The Kids Are United by The Duke Spirit (the Jamie Morgan-directed video is a beaut too).

But onto the fun bit – the factory tour! Why am I such a factory geek? Dunno but it was fantastic to watch a whole shoe being made from start to finish.

Outsole waste product is recycled…

Making tongues…
Fascinating fact: I call these ‘Tim Walker’ trollies. Tim Walker has one in his house. Amazing!

A machine for dispensing double-sided tape!




What I learnt:

*In the early 90s, the factory produced a million pairs of Docs a month. The factory was in use 24 hours a day to keep up with demand.

*There is a machine just for making the grooves in the side of the soles. Who knew?

*The Dr Martens leather protection cream can also be used on leather jackets and sofas. Fancy!*Kate Lanphear appears in this wee Dr Martens documentary

*The factory will be open once a week to the public so you too can have a guided tour.
Happy anniversary Docs!
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