Wow. In all the hip-hop and movie excitement, I forgot to talk about clothes. It’s all go in London, but this is a nation that doesn’t wander around bigging itself up like those ‘How to Make it in America’ bellends.
I find that when it comes to matters of menswear online, at least 80% of the time earnestness outweighs knowledge. Sure, you can talk about plackets and positions of collars all you like, but plenty of paragraphs fizzle out – lost in the quest to create content but lacking direction. I speak as one who knows nothing of menswear who pads out pages with the worst of them. That’s what makes those who genuinely understand the subject matter and can offer a context in terms of both the details and the sub-cultural something to cherish — Mr. Jason Jules has been mentioned here many times, but it’s worth celebrating the work of a chap who’s always impeccably dressed, lacks any know-it-all pretense, blogs like few others can and can turn out a perfectly structured page or two too. He has the ability to tell the stories.
He’s also been modeling for the the Hideout and Stüssy Deluxe lately, but I’m sure he would be too humble to talk about such things on his Garmsville site. Lately I’ve become a little tired of magazines. My print spend is down significantly — you can bang out a magazine over a few months, but if none of it offers any content that informs and educates me, or if your writing is weak, you’re out the pile. My days of paper loyalty are looking a little tattered. It’s funny how much can change in a year. ‘INVENTORY’ is still a decent publication, despite my allergy to stern-faced matters of loomed cotton and long-lasting leathers. The UK price tag is dizzying — emulating the heavily-taxed Japanese publication costs, and the ‘Monocle’ influence is undeniable, but the John Smedley article by Leanne Cloudsdale and the history of the humble Harrington by Mr. Jules are outstanding.
With extra insight from John Simons, the design’s popularity via these shores and time as a totem cool and uncool (via Arthur Fonzarelli) are explored. Great stuff. Bear in mind that Jason’s been putting it down as a writer and stylist since ‘i-D’s early days and even contributed to ‘Boy’s Own’ circa 1987 (documenting a visit to Soho’s legendary CUTS). Many who know, keep their cards to their chests and the inquiring mind of many a veteran has a tendency to close for business — especially when they see their old favourites paraded again and again — but this guy just maintains and keeps on educating.
I liked the little interview with the man himself for the launch of Utile clothing. I think I know a few folks involved in the launch of this UK-made collection and the output looks promising. There’s enough going on to separate it from the horde of Albam, Garbstore and Folk-alkes who have a tendency to miss the point a little. It’s all in the little touches — as Norse Projects have demonstrated — but fuck with the formula too much and it tumbles into a longevity-free land of quirkiness. The Utile crew seem to know the power of the smaller touches and what little branding there is comes via the talented Nick Duggins — I think the Jules jacket may be named after a certain someone. It definitely fits his style. Like any true Ivy disciple, Jason prefers to listen to the masters play the horn rather than blow his own trumpet, so big up “The Professor.“
While we’re talking UK-brands that are linked to people I’ve got a lot of time for, seeing as I covered Utile here a week late (despite a heads-up), Greg (of Pointer fame) has been getting busy too with his partnership in the LARKE line that’s also UK-made. Bomber jackets and overshirts for men, plus some equally intelligent outerwear designs for the ladies too, are being stocked in east London’s The Three Threads make up the inaugural drop, and like Utile, they’re created for a gap in the market and personal tastes rather than a cash-in. The product looks great in the flesh and that Auton-looking dummy is no substitute for a sentient being. The site isn’t fully operational yet, but it’s located here.
It’s nice to see nice people creating nice things.