Touring the Danner Boot Factory, Summer Essentials for a Song and the Rules of Taking Off Your Hat
- Kempt Staff
Entrenched: Well Spent goes hands-on with American Trench to get an itemized look at the return on investment.
Game Time: With the return of Game of Thrones on Sunday, Wired endeavors to get you up to speed. (Spoilers abound.)
Fitting In: Gilt MANual has some solid advice for anyone still wondering exactly how a good pair of pants should fit.
Well Suited: An up-close-and-personal tour of Southwick’s legendary suiting factory in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
Pressing Matter: Richard Press of legendary men’s shop J. Press tells the story of his fleeting friendship with Frank Sinatra over on Ivy Style.
Sole Man: Hypebeast goes inside the Red Wing factory with this video on how the boot makers mold their soles.
Scarf Face: Deadspin takes a hard-line stance against scarves, claiming the only reason for their continued existence is entry-level knitting.
Strong Suit: Gilt Manual gets some pointers on con man style from White Collar star Matt Bomer.
Nowness managed to talk their way inside John Lobb’s Northampton factory for a brace of behind-the-scenes photos. This one’s our favorite, showing the cellophane-wrapped brogues in almost-finished form. Score one for British shoes.
Fair warning: this is one for the fabric nerds.
Tenue de Nimes dug up a century-old German cotton company called Merz B. Schwanen, and it’s lured us back into the world of intensely intricate fabric details. The clothes are all staples—sweatshirts, henleys, the occasional smock—but the real prize is how they stitch it together. Instead of the standard back-and-forth flat looms, these stitch together fabric around enormous circular molds.
That means no side seams under the arms, since the fabric comes off in circular sheets—a pretty neat trick if you manage to pull it off without a tailor. The shirts will be arriving at TdN next season, but in the meantime…there’s always factory pics.
Take a look at the legendary circular loom firsthand»
We’re not generally fans of $20 pairs of jeans—with denim especially, a little extra will get you a lot better stuff—but it looks like the days of cheap jeans may be numbered. The culprit: cotton prices.
The Telegraph spills the beans in a great report from Xintang, a southern Chinese city that turns out 260 million pairs of jeans a year for everyone from Levi’s to Evisu. But the price of cotton’s skyrocketing, the workers are becoming slightly better-paid and the factory owners can’t make a profit on budget priced jeans anymore. The result? Absent some globalizing shenanigans, the denim rack at H&M is going to get a bit more expensive.
We’re sure the head office isn’t too happy about it, but If that’s enough to spur anyone to move up a rung or two on the denim ladder, we’re willing to call it a win.
One hears the word “artisan” a lot these days, but it’s remarkably rare to see an intricately crafted product like, say, eyeglasses, being put together by a single person in a single space. So we were understandably intrigued to find a custom frames shop that puts together frames from scratch in a small space on the Upper East Side, with the help of a lens grinder, finishing wheel, drill press, an occasional lens-tinting setup and countless other bits of industrial gadgetry.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Nader Zadi.
See the man at work»
You’re about to learn everything you ever wanted to know about French linen. This 15-minute film from Benoit Millot follows a single crop of flax from the fields of Normandy, through harvest, spinning, knitting and tailoring. The finished product is as good as the European luxury industry gets—and food for thought the next time you’re wondering where the fabric in your suit comes from.
Follow the linen here»
Industry of All Nations is mostly known for their fair-trade espadrilles, but they’ve spent 2010 cooking up something a good deal more exciting. Next week, they'll be bringing a batch of Indian artisanal denim to Ron Herman at Fred Segal. We’re not sure if it’s the local dyeing process, their rickety loom or the notable absence of deep indigo, but it comes out looking softer than anything you'd see out of Japan. And the factory’s certainly unlike anything we’ve seen stateside. Check it out after the jump:
Take a factory tour»
The term “heritage brand” gets thrown around quite a bit these days, but it always helps when someone’s got a photo to prove it. This snap comes from the Red Wing cutting room, circa 1909. It may be time for the apron-and-tie look to make a comeback…
The Lebow Clothing Factory has been abandoned for upwards of 20 years, but apparently nobody thought to remove the stock. It’s a shame. From what we can tell, they’re not bad…but we’re guessing they’ve seen better days.
While it’s usually best not to think of exactly where that vintage trench has been, it may have looked something like this.
Take a look around»
We have a sentimental weakness for factory tours here at Kempt. And when combined with our sentimental weakness for trail moccasins, it’s just about irresistible.
All Plaidout (via Hypebeast) just posted an indepth tour of Quoddy’s Lewiston, ME headquarters, giving us a secondhand peek at exactly what hand-stitching entails.
The biggest surprise is the tiny device they use to measure the gauge of each stitch. Of course, you’ve got to keep that kind of detail in check…but who knew they used a mini-ruler?
Naturally, if you happen to be in Portland (Oregon, that is), we know where you could pick up a pair.
Take a look around»
For all our gushing about ACL’s American List, we’re more interested in how things are made than where. Of course, it’s easier to keep an eye on things if they’re domestic, but really we just want to see what those factories really look like.
Patagonia is giving us the next best thing with their latest site, the Tin Shed (via Josh Spear). It’s not exactly complete transparency, but it gives a peek into the early history of the brand, which turns out to look a little different than you’d expect.
More on the Tin Shed»