Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Staple Returns

No apologies for being a bad ‘blogger’ this time.

As most people reading this will probably know, I left Notion a few months ago to ‘freelance’ and work out what I actually wanted to do. A tough thing, given that the future of word-based editorial around the topic of fashion and music is so uncertain. I’ve been pretty lucky in that a number of great opportunities have come my way (you know who you are) and I’ve managed to forge a semi-successful/solvent career of sorts in the last few months.

It’s taken me a while though, to realise that I can actually be a publisher myself again, without the backing of Style Title X or Men’s Magazine Y behind me (though if ‘Style Title X’ or ‘Men’s Magazine Y’ do want to commission me, then drop me a line at the usual address). After a number of enlightening conversations with an array of great people within fashion, I’ve decided to reboot my blog.

I’m hoping that writing and publishing this way - without any specific editorial constraints, advertiser puff-pieces or deadlines - will be much more entertaining for anyone reading (and me as a writer), without the hassle joy of chasing invoices.

I’m going to try and avoid broad brushstrokes of ‘trends’ or ‘scenes’ and focus simple on great things, done well. Whether that’s music, fashion or a particularly well-made bathmat (getting a strong homewares vibe right now), but let’s say the focus will be primarily menswear. The whole LCM thing is pretty well-documented, but there are pockets of brilliance that never really get the coverage they deserve, and aspects of what the big designers do that often end up on the digital editing room floor.

Anyway, slightly pretentious manifesto over, on with some ‘content’. Well, some words at least. No fancy bells and whistles, not even any GIFs (for the moment) – I’m going to stick to what I’m good at: words. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Staple - Nike Air Vortex Vintage

In Training

< insert obligatory apology for not blogging for six months >

So. I'm not quite sure why, but I'm now more or less living in these trainers. I didn't even own any Nikes before Christmas, and I'm starting to wonder what I spent the last twenty-asdghfhg years with on my feet. Don't get me wrong, I've always had a few pairs of trainers knocking about, but for some reason these have become my 'I'm wearing those today and tomorrow, in fact every day' shoe. As usual, I picked them up in a sale, this time at Office in Topman, on the day before LCM, in a moment of 'I've got nothing new to wear so I'd better buy SOMETHING' panic. These Nike Air Vortex Vintage spoke to me and I saw, tried them on and bought them in about 3 minutes flat. They're both exceptionally comfy - kinda essential as I'm getting as old as the hills - but also still cool; the mix of colours means that they stand out, and the metallic sheen give them an extra dimension. I've got a few other pairs on the go (some New Balance 420s, Ellesse Italia Heritages and another pair of Nikes), but these are what it's all about for me. Perhaps I'm blinded, but is there anything that they wouldn't go with? I've got a worrying feeling that I'm probably going to become one of those sneaker obsessives who seeks out rare colourways and stores piles of never-worn kicks in a cupboard under the stairs. It's a worrying thought, but I could totally go that way. The whole retro trainer thing has been a big story in fashion for a while now, but it's only just filtering onto the catwalks - see the recent lust that those camo Valentino kicks created? Or how everyone from Raf Simons to Lanvin is showing trainers on the runway? The thing that makes the look is to pair trainers not with jeans and a sweater (though obvs I am guilty of that) but with tailored jackets or smart coats for a real mixed-up approach. It's what I'll be doing at LFW in a fortnight's time...
Other Staples of the week:
Nike Air Vortex Vintage
Alicia Drake's 'The Beautiful Fall'
Rhye's album, 'Woman'
Still baking cheese scones
Africa on the BBC
The latest issue of Man About Town magazine
Finally making it to Paris men's fashion week

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Staple: Maria Francesca Pepe Bracelet

Brace(let) Yourselves

It's been six months: #obligatorybadbloggercomment. Times are busy with Notion, but I'm still all over menswear, just pon de Twitter rather than on blogger. Anyway, a few things left me to start up The Staple again; many of which stem from the fact that my Staples have been significantly added to since I last did any proper blogging, and that I reckon there's still a bit of mileage in the format of a blog analysing menswear from the angle of individual essential pieces. Which brings me nicely to one of my latest purchases. I've long been an admirer of LDN-based designer Maria Francesca Pepe's jewellery. It's bold and statement enough to warrant its own installations at LFW (including a memorable one a few seasons back in the crypt at the Freemason's Hall), yet still subtle enough to be worn everyday. So after last season, I was contacted about pre-ordering AW12's collection at a rather attractive discount. Press discount and pre-season private ordering are increasingly common with London designers - they know who their audience is - and it's a relatively inexpensive and pleasingly ahead-of-the-curve way to think about clothes. Anyway, my longtime lust has been the perfect wrist bangle. I bought a Margiela Love/Hate bracelet a few years ago, but it's broken after the catch becoming loose. In any case, it wasn't the brass nail that I really wanted. With Cartier's beautiful signature Juste un clou bangle well out of my price range, MFP's line sheet arrived at precisely the right time. I selected this one, fairly simple copper-plated brass set with two Swarovski black pearls back in March, and it arrived in the mail just the other week. It's barely left my wrist since. And now my wrist is free from the tyranny of the green cast, it's free to be adorned. The tones complement my watch, and it fits perfectly on my wrists. It's in fact from the women's collection but items like this are pretty unisex IMHO. What I really like about it is the subtle sparkle that it adds to my gloomy summer mornings: there's something really energising about the rosy hues and reflections that it makes on the bus, and it makes me smile when I see it. If that ain't a necessary Staple quality, then I don't know what is. Other Staples this week:
Maria Francesca Pepe black pearl copper-plated brass bracelet
Not having my arm in a cast! (though the green shade was rather fetching)
Frank Ocean's 'Channel Orange'
Brownies from Salvation Jane on City Rd
Pernod's Bastille Day garden party and a rediscovery of Chelsea
A full-size umbrella
A pair of comfy, retro trainers (New Balance/Ellesse)

(Hope you like the new visual motif btw - it may look like a pub table, but it's in fact a piece of wall art which was a gift from my very old schoolfriends...)

Monday, 30 January 2012

The Staple: White Shirt

It's pretty safe to say that there's not much more of a menswear wardrobe staple than the classic white shirt. I've blogged about it before, but this return of my somewhat-sporadic updates was prompted by an email dropping into my inbox from the lovely people at Jermyn Street shirtmakers Charles Tyrwhitt. Entitled the White Shirt Challenge, it's a classic Ronseal job: take a white shirt and make it interesting. Now since last LFW, I've been toying with the idea of a fur collar, so in my best Blue Peter mode, I decided that this was the right moment to trial it. I picked up an old baby's faux-fur jacket in a charity shop in Hastings for 4 quid, made a template of the collar shape of the shirt and chopped off a portion to fit the collar. Luckily fur has a shaggy edge, so it didn't need to much careful trimming and (not being a dab hand with a needle or thread), I safety-pinned it in place. For some reason, it made me think military, so I upended my enormous box of badges and made this lil militaria-inspired collage on the breast before teaming the finished article with a pair of Helmut Lang military trousers, a Reiss patent belt and these lovely (and in need of a resole) Russell & Bromley patent boots. Et voila: look complete. I'm pretty pleased with it tbh - it's been a while since I did any kind of bloggy/customisation thing and this one came around at the right time. LMK thoughts through the usual channels. And who knows, a regular return to blogging soon? Let's hope so.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Pen Magazine Feature

A few months ago, completely out of the blue, the lovely folks at Japan's Pen Magazine dropped me an email to ask if I'd like to be featured in their magazine. I originally thought it was some sort of semi-elaborate joke from one of my mates, but it turned out to be real, so I went along with it,styled up some outfits which were all based around a cardigan (at their request) and took the day off work. It was tremendous fun, though somewhat sweaty under the lights, and a great opportunity to go through my wardrobes to find suitable outfit combos. And now, it's in print! So here I am, rocking some fairly eclectic outfits and looking about a thousand times smarter than I usually do, in the Japanese version of GQ (apparently) let me know your thoughts and if anyone does happen to read/translate Japanese then I'd love to know what the article says - something about Big in Japan, presumably...

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Staple - Sandqvist Rucksack

Backpack Pro

It's been awhile, what can I say? Editing PlanetNotion is stealing my days, and my evenings are filled with gigs. I'm not sat around like I was at my old job, surfing the web and reading menswear blogs incessantly. Also, Twitter for me seems to have rendered the blog a little superfluous. But look, it's been six months since I posted anything and I reckon I oughta get back into it. So here I am. There have, it's safe to say, been many Staples over the last six months, but Imma try and be forward-looking rather than retrospective. Best purchase has to go to my rucksack. It was, I'm afraid, a wantonly whimsical purchase from (where else?) Liberty, while on a casual shopping trip with my mate Mark. Rucksacks are obvs all over the shop nowadays, and you can buy a perfectly good one from ASOS. So why splurge? Well in a sea of lookalike Dalston trends, the details are uber-important. On first glance my Sandqvist number might not be the most obviously nice bag, but well, since when did first glance give you the whole picture? Take a closer look (past the dirt if you please); the tan leather straps have aged nicely in six months of near-continuous wear, though the heavyweight black canvas is still as tight as day one. The fastening, a combo of a thick drawstring and two of those rich tan straps tucked into neat tabs is practical if occasionally fiddly, and looks good without recourse to jangly metal hardware. It;s the kind of fastening that only works with precision finishing, which is just the kind of thing Sandqvist do, as Scandinavian connisseurs of design. I'm obvs very much used to it now, but my bag is both widely admired and not often seen on the street; is there a better combo for an item? I've become a big fan of the brand, and this example has accompanied me on trips all over the place; not to go too Tyler Brûlé on your asses, but it's great as airline carry-on too. Anyhoo, I'll not bore you with my ode to a canvas bag. The purpose of this is to highlight what for me makes an item a Staple; it stands out and it's - well, if not individual, every hipster cyclist and their miniature daschund has a rucksack now - of sufficient quality to make the design notable. Look, it's a nice bag, alright? I like nice things...other Staples this week:
Sandqvist canvas rucksack with leather trim
Azari & III's debut album
Home-made cheese scones
The Travel Almanac (magazine)
M&S triple-berry juice
Eley Kishimoto x Orlebar Brown Setter shorts
A nice bottle of rosé from Majestic in Shoreditch

Monday, 28 February 2011