There’s just no stopping Nike. Or Liberty. And as for the Nike X Liberty collaboration, it’s now in its 9th season and going stronger than ever. At a special presentation in the Liberty store, I was told that managing the demand is quite a feat, a fine balance between creating interest for the product and over hyping it. (I guess they need to try harder, the collection was almost sold out within three days of hitting the shop floor.) (more…)
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. (more…)
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… (more…)
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. (more…)
“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 Hermès’ Festival Des Metiers lands on the London leg of its world tour. (more…)
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.
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. (more…)