Here’s a new secret weapon for your weekender bag: a pair of leather slippers. This pair comes from Portegna—a Spanish leather company more accustomed to handbags and card holders—with a little design help from Monocle. It’s designed to sub in for the flimsy hotel slippers you usually find alongside your terrycloth bathrobe. But instead of cotton and cardboard, these are glove-soft leather—and the kind of thing you might actually want to wear around the house.
Halloween can present a challenge for a well-dressed man—especially now that the “Don Draper” costume is well past its expiration date—but we’ve got a solution for you. It involves monocles…
The menswear canon has a lot of items that are both fantastic in a “deep trad” kind of way and completely ridiculous in any normal setting. This is your chance to see what you can do with them. And thanks to the pandemonium of style that will going on around you, you’ll look good pretty much no matter what.
These Kyoto-inspired slippers are the latest item in Monocle’s never-ending parade of desirable goods, and they got us thinking about exactly where the slipper falls in the modern domestic arsenal. Most western eyes probably see these as a good item for Sunday mornings—possibly to be paired with a bathrobe and a homemade Bloody Mary—but to Japanese eyes, they’re a good deal more versatile. Stop by a Japanese house, and you’ll find an array of these slippers at the entrance for padding around after you’ve taken off your street shoes. If you’re looking to institute a shoe-free household—and avoid bloggy repercussions—you could do a lot worse than picking up a half-dozen of these. At the very least, they’ll be handsomer than socks.
Scanning the catalog of the newly landed Warby Parker Eyewear, we were pleased to come across this tradwear gem: the monocle.
Currently available under the Lewis Carroll-esque name, “Colonel Whisky Tortoise,” it’s one of the few monocles that we’ve seen actually make it onto a line sheet in quite some time. It’s pretty far along in the trad continuum—i.e. on your wishlist, it should go somewhere below your second plaid three-piece suit—but if you need to break something to register comic disbelief, accept no substitutes.
The chaps at Monocle are in the news again for launching both a Hong Kong bureau and a program on the BBC World News channel—a pair that would overjoy J-school purists, if it didn’t come attached to a magazine that’s looking more like a boutique every day. For those keeping score, Newsweek doesn’t have either.
The line so far is that they funded the new bureau with tote bag sales. Of course, all their revenue goes to the same place, so you might as well say they funded it with blackberry sales, retail money or (gasp!) good old advertising. It’s sort of true, but more than a little unfair.
Still, we’re going to call Good Idea on this one.
No longer satisfied with newsstands, radio, and the scarf business, Monocle is moving into publishing. Their latest one-off is a hard bound book called The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, and it looks like the latest in a long string of good ideas.
The binding is perfect, the run is limited to 1000 copies (just on the cusp of a guaranteed sellout) and the book itself, from Swiss essayist Alain de Botton, looks both impeccably written and perfectly chosen for Monocle’s office-bound demographic. A few hundred pages of well-thought musings on the nature of the working life might be just the thing to remind them what they liked about books in the first place.
Luckily, the magazine offers the perfect venue for publicizing the book, and they already have a few stores they can place it in—all of which makes Tyler Brule look more like Ted Turner than William Shawn.
At what point do we stop calling them a magazine and start calling them an empire?
Apparently Monocle’s exclusive Woolrich Woolen Mills jacket isn’t quite so exclusive after all.
In fact, if you’re willing to settle for a black version (instead of Monocle’s Navy and Olive), you can get exactly the same jacket stateside for $50 less. It’s a bit surprising, since all their previous goods were whipped up just for them. We guess Mr. Suzuki didn’t want to waste any good ideas.
So we guess Monocle’s contribution was picking out a couple fabric swatches?
With Monocle steadily making its way through our favorite brands, it was only a matter of time before they got around to Woolrich Woolen Mills.
The lightweight, unstructured fabric is simple enough, but a closer look shows all kinds of oddball details, from the ticket pocket on the right side to the puzzling cutaway around the middle button in front.
In keeping with their usual small-run strategy, only 110 of the jackets were produced (half in navy, half in olive), but we’re betting it won’t be too hard to come away with one. They’ve only been on the market a few hours…and £370 is nothing to sneeze at.
Monocle knows their way around the continent a lot better than we do, when they start listing shops, we start taking notes.
The latest piece on their 20 favorite retailers (via PSFK) held more surprises than most. The stateside entries are reduced to New York’s Odin, L.A.’s James Perse, and San Francisco’s Bi Rite, but the best finds are from a bit farther out.
Osaka usually misses out on the West’s Japanophilia, so it’s good to know about Truck Furniture. But most of all, we’re happy Beirut’s Johnny Farah is getting some love. Farah used to consult with Donna Karan, and his handbags still find their way into boutiques around the world, but his flagship shop is in Lebanon, where the artisinal cobbling tradition never went away, and you can get a pair of hand-crafted shoes unlike anything you’ll find in London or Milan.
After Monocle used their brand to launch a shop, a newsstand and a half-dozen brilliant collabs, it was only a matter of time before more pubs got in on the action.
The first to catch on is Fantastic Man, a boutique European biannual best known for favoring designers over models for their cover shot. But apparently two issues a year leaves them a little free time for other pursuits like perfumery, because they’re debuting the magazine’s signature cologne next Monday. They’ll follow it up with a candle collaboration with Acne, but we’re still waiting for a bit of apparel to creep into the mix.
The britmag Monocle has been churning through media pretty quickly, but they’ve finally gotten around to radio. Well, podcasts to be specific, but there’s definitely a BBC/NPR sheen to the latest product.
The first week’s topics include Norwegian finance and the philosophy of happiness, but it’s all more or less what you’d expect from an issue of Monocle, audio or otherwise. Of course, they’re coming a little late to the party, and we can’t help but feel like the public-radio ambition (right down to the piano jazz!) is inspired by a bit of friendly competition between Monocle’s Tyler Brûlé and Wired’s Kurt Andersen, currently working on NPR’s Radiolab.
Hear the first broadcast here.
We have to admit, the Brits at Monocle are on quite a roll. They’ve managed to put together their own shop, an excellent scarf and now this leather notebook with a subtle “M” logo stamped on the side of each page. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is branding done right.
We can’t wait until Esquire catches on and we get to see this kind of cross-promotion stateside.
Magazines may be hitting a few speed bumps in the U.S., but it looks like Brit mags are still having a jolly old time. They’re not just staying in print; they’re getting into brick-and-mortar.
Last time we checked in with Monocle, they were collaborating with Drakes for a set of British-made scarves for their online store, but it looks like they weren’t satisfied with staying online. PSFK informs us they’re branching out into a spot off London’s Marylebone High Street. They’ll have less than 100 sq ft to work with, but they’ll manage to fit in all their collaborations, including a fragrance with Comme des Garcons and a travel gear from Porter, along with some of the editors’ favorite swag.
Their online store has a whole range of collaborative products, including a hinoki-scented fragrance from Commes des Garcon, travel bags by the Japanese brand Porter, and even a Swedish bike. The newest addition is a scarf from Drakes, but from the sound of things, there’s plenty more in the pipeline.
It’s a bit odd for a boutique magazine to have an actual boutique tagging along, but we can’t say we mind. Most men’s magazines distinguish themselves by their taste in swag; why not put all that taste to work?
It looks like we were a little premature when we scoffed at Monocle’s sentimental weakness for their local newsstand.
In fact, they’re getting into the business themselves. They’ve bought up a 20-year-old stand on Charlotte Street in London and are taking things over. It will be the flagship store in what the culture mag calls “a network of branded news outlets around the globe.”
It’s a pretty bold statement about the resurgence of print, vertical integration, and the necessity of community interaction in an increasingly dislocated world. Either that or they just wanted better placement in the displays.
London-based Monocle (which, we hasten to add, is not a lifestyle magazine) has posted a front-of-the-book-style roundup that bears no resemblance to lifestyle journalism whatsoever.
Titled “Things to improve your life,” the multinational list includes Italian bathing clubs (pictured), an austere German day bed and Ambassador’s foot-hugging leather trainers. We’re all for self-improvement—we’re even willing to tolerate the dubious inclusion of Monocle’s local newsstand—but is this really what the good life looks like? We’ve taken our own crack at it with the must-haves on the left here, but we can’t help but think there’s something missing…
Maybe something to help put on all those shoes.
This week’s Monocle features a story on a London store called Albam that has made its name by promoting local production—meaning within the UK, or failing that, within western Europe—in favor of the higher profit margins but questionable labor conditions of East Asian factories. It’s a common enough tale, but we couldn’t resist a little peek at how things work across the pond.
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