Publicerad 13:00, 1 maj 2013
It's My Birthday and I'll Buy if I Want to...
How did this happen? How? Which idiot thought that it would be ok to sell literally all of the deadstock Swedish army belts to a webshop in Canda?
I demand to know.
Because you need to be beaten with the crappy replacement canvas belts until you are blue-arsed and then made to buy them all back again so that they remain in Sweden where they ruddy well belong.
To make things much easier, I have bought one as an example of how easy it is to rectify your ways.
Damn though, I've got some belts but this is a peach. One of the most wonderous paradoxes of living in Sweden is the knowledge that the Swedish army has produced some of the most desirable items during the last decade. For starters there's the bike.
According to lore, the Swedish army bike was such a shockingly successful creation that it was chosen as the 'item to keep' by an astonishing proportion of soldiers once their commission was over. Apparently, the soldier could choose any item as a sort of slap on the back. Most choose the bikes as they are real workhorses and tough as hell. The newer versions from Skeppsholt are crap but the old ones, with their beautious smooth fillet brazed frames are brutish.
I also feel that, given that camo is making a triumphant return, the current Swedish army cargo pants are a bit boss too - those boxy pockets that curl around the knee and tapered cuff that slots into the boot make for a really great silhouette.
Yet this belt. Damn, this belt is the bees knees. Some dude from Iventory magazine was in Sweden, saw one, bought it, saw how it aged (see picture), found the deadstock and promptly bought the lot! The devil. Look at the brass buckle (a guess as it's more of a likely material than copper for the buckle) and copper rivets (in this case I'm guessing copper as there's some green from oxidisation but Sweden has more of a affinity for the brass). And the stamped size.
Publicerad 12:24, 30 april 2013
To Hell With It
This Wednesday (tomorrow) marks my birthday. I've already chalked up a new overcoat for the spring with a nice raglan sleeve (instead of being cut square across the shoulders - like a suit jacket), a raglan has no discernable shoulder seam, meaning that you can have a jacket underneath without looking like you've been transported to this point in time from the 80s. If you're buying undergarments try to look for a raglan as it will look much cleaner under a shirt too.
Anyway, I picked up a new coat in a nice Limonta textile with a bit of antifit to it. It's nice and airy but with a bit of rainproofing too. Perfect for a spring shower. Otherwise I'll flex the Stutterheim Arnholma.
But, my birthday. Given that I spent only half a year actually knowingly being 33 I intend to be 34 for the duration this time. My memory actually making me think I was 32 for much of 2012!
If I did not already have a couple in my treasure trove, I would be very tempted with this fella to help my ring in the years. If you don't have a hipflask then you ruddy should. Stick a bit of decent single malt in and you're laughing - not to mention automatically become the most incredible king of all parties once the booze runs dry.
This one from Izola
bears a cheeky banner and has a very fetching shape.
Publicerad 09:41, 29 april 2013
Nudie No No
Nothing gets my goat more than greenwashing. I remember the agony of my days as a contributor for Inhabitat, a massive website whose green premis remains the most tenous I've ever encountered. The missis used to write for them too, not sure if she has for a while as a result of the ridiculous contributor guidelines (I'll stick to Cool Hunting thanks ta).
However, the experience has cultivated the most incredible disgust to anything remotely resembling greenwashing. Although this is not a design blog anymore (thank heavens) I did have a run in with a tool in Milan who was flaunting the supposedly sustainable LED lamp by Formafantasma which almost drove me to violence. If by the way you are reading this and have bought one then you, son, are a mug. Sorry but you are. Live with it for all of its sustainable life and know that, every time you switch it on, you are a mug.
Ultimately, if you are trying to live a sustainable lifestyle then do it properly. Don't fall for marketing waffle.
Which brings me to the land of denim rugs and blankets. I've got two to highlight. One is good, the other for the mugs out there.
Let me clarify very very quickly though, I am ok with consumerism. Honest consumerism. If you buy something because you like it then I have no problem with that. It's when you do so to adhere to some made up lifestyle which you've fallen into as a result of being a mug then I take offence.
Last year I was in New York. I was there as part of a Swedish contingent who were in town to take part in the Designboost looking at sustainability in fashion. For a start I flew there. Wrong isn't it. However, when I was on the plane I saw an advert for a Norwegian brand of jackets who was making a massive deal out of its coat lining which was 100% recycled PET bottles (think soft drink plastic bottles). The advert explained the whole process to create the lining material. First it collected the bottles, then it shipped them to a boat which recycled them (melted it) and shipped the material to China. CHINA! Where it was made into the fleecy padding, then shipped it back FROM CHINA to Norway where it was made into coats and then flown to the final destination.
So, now to the denim. And Nudie, the big Swedish brand which I mostly don't like (horrible pockets, all long and thin, like a spaniel's ear) which has started to make rugs from, supposedly (I'd like to see the credentials as I bet it's not) recycled jeans. The rugs are made in Spain I think. Again, great. Really really great. Yeah, I quite like the rugs though - see, I'm a consumer. But I'm sure as hell not going to buy one because it's 'green' because I really don't think that is the case. How about operating a system like the Swedish furniture producer, Zweed, which will only sell its product in countries in which it can produce and make them locally. Much better.
Another denim brand making a similar thing but with no signs of greenwashing is Indigofera, the label based in the North of Sweden. I really like these. Really.
Nudie's piccies at the top, Indigofera's blankets at the bottom.
Publicerad 12:41, 24 april 2013
Imperial x Sefl Edge SEXI04 Fades
I bought these jeans after my good experience with the DH MIJ 19cms. I remember getting really excited about them as they were one of the earlier collaborations that the excellent Self Edge was involved with. The store worked with Imperial, an Australian label which I was pretty taken with at the time. There was a competition to design some sort of guerilla promo for the collaboration but they also auctioned the first pair off on ebay for charity.
Me, being the fool I am, stayed up all night until I secured this pair. The first pair. Or at least the first pair actually bought by someone. Thing is though, the cut was odd. The inseam was ridonkulously long - 38 inches if I remember so I didn't actually wear them until I moved to Sweden and had them hemmed at Sivletto.
Even after the hemming there was still something majorly wrong with them in my eyes, they just would not sit right. Something about the label made my belt ride up over the waistband, which really got me annoyed so they quickly found themselves relegated to the 'lounge jeans' department (I so have lounge jeans. Pairs which I don't like quite enough to wear out and about but still get a decent fade as I just wear them slobbing about). I think I got a pair of A.P.Cs for a spell afterwards.
So the pair of jeans that I stayed awake until about 4am to win on ebay found themselves being worn for shitty jobs like painting or sawing wood. Last year I just wore them as a cycle jean.
I thought I'd try them on today to check they'd still be up to task but of course they don't go over my sodding thighs.
So what we're looking at is a pair of jeans which have somehow got some decent fades through being given a bit of a kicking. I still sort of don't like them but apparently the label has now changed its denim stock (now Cone Mills I think) so perhaps they're better. I think the arcuate is not for everyone and the pockets are pretty huge if I recall. But they've faded pretty well I reckon.
Take a butchers. Considering I wore them in Sweden they're cuffed. Size originally was a 28 (oh those skinny days). I have no real clue how long they got but there was no wash or soak for these.
Publicerad 09:42, 24 april 2013
Food & Fashion
I've started hopping on more sites lately, partly through my search for watches earlier in the year. Through a sort of friend of a friend style web connection I've discovered Bitchslap, a Danish mag which has styled a great fashion shoot
pairing smorgas (sandwiches) with Danish fashion brands. It's ace. A very strong shoot compared with the tat which gets churned out of Sweden.
Sorry 'Sweden' but much of your fashion spreads does suck in a big way (clue: you never use the same piece twice in a story - it's not hard, put the leg work in a bit when you're out there 'pulling' looks).
So here's Denmark schooling Sweden (again).
Publicerad 09:29, 17 april 2013
The sun shines bright now in Stockholm and my mind starts to creep towards the day in which I shall throw my leg over the deathtrap bike I own and attemtp to put a few miles onto the clock. I have no doubt in my mind that my bike is also feeling similar, starting to think of more ways in which it can inflict physical harm upon my body.
While we were in Milan last week, and with a moderate nod to putting something on the site which is slightly connected to design (apparently the boss reads it now), I saw this tasty Bianchi tied to a lamp post. Old, like one of the Monarchs or Crescents that we see in Sweden - an urban runaround no doubt. But shit, it was a great steed. From a time in which even basic parts just seem to have been made better. The grips for one thing, ergonomic but seem perfectly aligned. The brake levers too were begging to be squeezed too. And that classic Bianchi green/blue which was almost taken off the brand until a loyal following lead a revolution and the brand decided to keep it as the core colours.
Yet the most important part of this bike is those handlebars. Just epic.
Look at them.
I've never seen a set like this ever and I've been absorbing bikes for decades now. Like a flat bullhorn design. The flat section getting its sweep from the curved, smooth bend which was perfectly flat. Narror too - perfect for pushing through traffic jams and with a bit of extension on them so you're pedalling in a slightly aggressive posititon.
Admission time. Sometimes I have been known to be slightly gypsy-fingered. For instance, the missis had to almost forcibly stop me from lifting a little plastic figurine which was a part of a Samsung installation at Milan's university. Looking back at this image it's good that the missis was present again as I may have been tempted to wrench the bike from its lock and half-hinch the handlebars.
If you make bikes in Sweden and are reading this. Make bars like this now. I shall buy two pairs.
Publicerad 08:37, 16 april 2013
Iron Heart 666 (Retirement) Fades
Reader, you'll recall that I took my Iron Hearts to Milan this year, with my mind set on giving them one last tour of duty before treating them to a well-earned rest on the shelf alongside their peers.
The trip was a tough one, partly because yours truly has gone and got himself a bit beefy in the gym over the past twelve months, with a growing number of jeans now enjoying early retirement - not due to wear and tear but simply beacuse I cannot get my legs into them.
The 666s were no different and I'll admit that, while wearing them for the week, they did strangle the hell of of my thighs, making tackling steps something of a troublsome venture. I thought that they might stretch out but, of course, these are Iron Heart's. Although they're not the heaviest denim in the Iron Heart line up they still weigh in at 18oz, which is thick compared to almost all other jeans on the market today.
Even after a week they only eased up very slightly meaning that the crotch has (once again, true to form in my case) taken a real beating. Hence, they're going to have a rest and live on as part of my library. Perhaps one day I might slim down again and be able to fit into them again. Sa it happens though I'm already beginning my hunt for a new Summer pair with a bit of growing space, like your mum might buy if you were a child.
We'll report back on the search itself and its development but, for now, enjoy some fade details from this ace pair of jeans which have, quite literally, seen the world joining me on my honeymoon travels to Singapore, San Francisco, Brisbane and New York. A cracking pair of jeans if you're looking to put some real wear into a pair.
Age, hmm, about a year with no wash and basic soak for fit. Tagged 30.
Publicerad 11:02, 15 april 2013
Julius has always had some of the finest leather jackets money can buy. Creamy soft leather from various animals and really good construction. Owning a suit and a pair of desert boots from the label, I can vouch for the construction and level of detailing. The brand has teamed up with Black Sense magazine for a limited run riders jacket that's well pitched at about 1500 dollars
Publicerad 10:21, 9 april 2013
Is away from its desk for the week. In Milan. With design people. And we all know how I feel about them...
Giving the Iron Heart 666s one last hurrah before their retirement. They're tight as hell in the thigh now - I can barely move. But the creases and fades are deep and rich. Here's a shot of the whiskers.
And another of the pocket degradation, which is quite lovely.
Publicerad 14:08, 5 april 2013
I've had many pairs of A.P.C.'s in my lifetime. Like many denim enthusiasts, the New Standard was my first proper pair of raw jeans and I've been a fan ever since. Yeah, they're not the most expensive and neither are they the heaviest and they don't have a long heritage but they're good jeans, reasonably priced and if you're wanting to find out just how a pair of jeans might mould to you then they're going to be the quickest way in which to find out.
Because there's one key thing which people love about A.P.C.'s. They fade fast.
Again, they're not the best fading jeans in terms of depth of colour but they do look great quick and will, probably, as a result lead you further down the rabbit hole.
With my rapidly expanding waistline I'm having to get rid of a few pairs of surplus jeans which I cannot fit into anymore. So this is a kind of mark of respect as we take a look at the fades on two pairs of Petite New Standards, one in blue (tagged 25" - remember, size down three sizes normally), the other a 27 I believe (bought the wrong size but they were ok with a belt) in black. I'm not going to go so big into detail on these, the black pair I wore when cycling a lot on a bike with a very old Brooks saddle, which left, hmm, it's mark where you'd imagine a mark to be left. So we'll get the giggling out of the way and say, yes, that's a big brown mark on the ass. But as we said, the saddle.
Still, not bad fades - worn as always with my pairs without a soak and with no washes. I think half a year and a year perhaps, respectively.
Just to stress once more, if you're buying a pair of A.P.C.'s remember they do stretch out a lot. So the advice is size down as much as you can bear and they'll be perfect within a week or two.
First are the blues, secondly the black.