Unique isn’t something typically synonymous within the menswear trade show circuit. Many shows bring a similar vibe and often place the emphasis on size. Not the case with Jumble. The Japanese trade show makes an added effort to focus on the experience along with the brand selection, making it worthwhile for buyers and visitors alike. The difference has been noticeable and has led to considerable growth since its Tokyo based start in 2004.
Since Jumble’s inception, its presence has increased both within Tokyo as well as abroad, hosting installations in Berlin, Paris and Florence. The open layout has created an intimate relationship among brands and buyers. Although the roster is global and the international presence is strong, a clever selection of local Japanese brands are an added highlight. The offerings consist more than just wearables. Throughout Jumble you can find clothing along with home goods or locally sourced ceramics. The resulting mixture is a welcomed change-up to the alternative.
Hosted twice a year in Tokyo, Jumble’s founder Shinji Kitada has his sights set on expanding the event internationally. Bringing a different feel to trade shows and further growing the Japanese brand presence is goal of Kitada’s. With Europe and Japan in full rotation, a plan to reach New York is under way, you can count on seeing Jumble on more foreign shores soon.
Jumble kicks of their Tokyo show next week, September 10th – 12th at Belle Salle Shibuya, Hall B1.
From day one, Billykirk has had their sights trained on the details. For the last 15 years they’ve been producing what are arguably some of the best leather goods available. Not only will many of their products outlast its owner, they’re thoughtfully designed and all made stateside.
To commemorate their 15 year milestone, the brothers at the helm have opened their first brick & mortar retail store. Like their bags, belts and small leather goods, they didn’t forget about the details. Throughout the space, there are subtle touches to the company’s past and appreciation for well-worn vintage items. That said, the space’s design is a breath of fresh air to a nostalgic heritage movement that has been done well throughout New York, but been done several times over. Chris and Kirk Bray took inspiration from Danish and other Scandinavian spaces, creating a clean, modern, simple space where the product is the primary focus, not what type of reclaimed wood was used to create some one of a kind ceiling display – or something along those lines.
Over the company’s life, which started in Los Angeles, they’ve expanded and grown considerably. Today’s collection is robust and has typically been available through a whole host of vendors, both domestic and international, Japan being a big customer, or through their own e-commerce site. Now, for the first time the whole collection will be available in one place, with a custom area for monogramming and adding other details right on site. Simple touches, subtle details, and a mixture of third-party product make the space a nice experience and well worth a stop.
Visit Billykirk 16A Orchard Street, New York.
An arsenal of well-made things is a description best suited for a company such as Kaufmann Mercantile. The Brooklyn based online store has created a single source for everyday and lifestyle products that are simply better. Their search for products, designers, old companies, new companies, foreign, domestic, has taken out the leg work in finding good things.
When Kaufmann initially launched, they offered only a handful of products for sale, mainly items founder Sebastian Kaufmann was either inspired by or appreciated the design. Today, the product list has grown to over 750 objects that not only look great, but serve a very useful purpose. And although there is more to offer, the same level of careful consideration still exists when deciding what makes the cut, and what doesn’t. The selection criteria at KM is what helps them stand out from a typical online retailer selling a wide range of different things.
The vetting process isn’t one to be taken lightly at the KM offices. Four main criteria are considered with each product, whether scouted, pitched or suggested. One, is the product even worth looking at and are the aesthetics on-point? Two, does it serve a purpose and have function, or is just another widget that takes up space? Three, is the product designed well and capable of lasting a long time. And four, are the materials earth friendly and free of plastics (KM uses no plastics)? If all the boxes are checked, great. If not, it’s back to the drawing board which may mean asking the manufacturer to make a revision, which in some cases works, in others it doesn’t. Sticking to your guns and saying no isn’t always easy. And while these standards may not seem tough, only about 20% of all products reviewed make the cut.
Where is all this going? During this summer Kaufmann Mercantile has decided to open a temporary retail shop where you can check things out in real life. They invited us over to the new Amagansett outpost for a look at the space and to discuss all the great looking objects for sale. Located right between Montauk and East Hampton, the Amagansett store is parked in the middle of town on main street in a cluster of beautifully aged buildings. Inside you can find a streamlined selection of their typical online offering that ranges from clothing to housewares to outdoor goods. Although shopping online is easy, relatively painless and pretty fast, it’s always nice to get a feel for a new purchase. If you didn’t have an excuse to escape out east this summer, now you do.
The evolution of the Freemans Sporting Club label is one that only gets better over time. The Spring 2015 line serves as evidence. As the label ages so does the quality of the collection, both literally and figuratively.
Suiting has always been a priority at F.S.C. It’s also been one of the few places with custom well-made suits for a modest price point, all things considered. With last year’s launch of the Freeman suit, this category grew exponentially and eliminated any excuse of not owning a beautiful suit that’s made stateside. This upward trajectory continues into next Spring’s collection. An expanded selection will offer varied styles of fabrics that would be considered all but typical. Natural shoulders in a mix of weights & colors create a line that is enviable.
Along with the expanded suiting and dress shirts, expect new things elsewhere. Think linen western shirts, oxfords sans collar buttons, and prints that promise attention. And not to fret, the all-star Isle of Man jacket resurfaces in new colors and an unlined weight that allows for continual wear into the warmer months. This jacket’s popularity is not an accident, and it will happily compliment you from tie to t-shirt.
From restaurant to barber shop to sporting club, the Freemans brand has always understood the details. Be it the design and construction of their popular spaces or their clothing, it’s safe to assume both are done well. F.S.C.’s subtle touches, continual improvement and a willingness to take risks have created an overall lasting brand. And by the looks of next Spring’s offerings, you can only count on it getting better.
Things made in Japan are typically well made. This is no secret and often expected. The crew at Hickoree’s and the Hillside understand this, and their appreciation for Japan and Japanese products runs deep. What began with a fresh take on handkerchiefs, ties and scarves, constructed of updated fabrics, has grown considerably. They have a great eye for not only well made items (many Japanese), but ones that are different and hard to find. A visit online or to the brick & motor Floor Two space is a testament to their continual commitment to keep things fresh without any compromising.
The rotation in the Floor Two space is changing things up again and will be taking on all things Japan. Keeping consistent, during the next three weeks, the entire collection will feature Japanese-only items, many not easily found and some making their first stateside appearance. The impressive selections will consist of over 20-brands that will include not only wearables, but plenty of things for the home.
Visit Hickoree’s at Hickoree’s Floor Two, 109 S 6th Street, Brooklyn, New York
The word antiquing is just as difficult to hear as it is to say. This is par for the course when it come to visiting the Brimfield antique market.
Essentially a shopping mall for just about anything aged, and like many shopping malls, the bad out weights the good. This said, a discovery at a forum such as Brimfield is promised to be better than any mass-produced must have mall acquisition.
Brimfield is experiential and completely bonkers – for a whole host of reasons. And this is why we like it and why we make the trip. It’s just as easy to leave with a truck load of things as it is to part ways empty-handed. Either is just fine. It’s probably on one of those lists of things to do before you die. At least for those who are always in pursuit of things with a past.
Among the largest outdoor markets in existence, Brimfield has been in continual operation since 1959. What started with 67 different dealers has grown to over 5,000 and completely dominates the small Massachusetts town which is shares its name. Roughly a mile of road and nearly 100 acres of land house the show, rain or shine. The scale is massive, and only an aerial photo can truly put things in perspective. Which is exactly why it’s not only a destination for every industry’s heritage connoisseur, but impossible to cover without committing some time.
If you have a couple of days and some money to burn, take a trip over and check things out. The tri-annual event takes place every spring, summer and fall, rain or shine – the most recent was last weekend and the next in September. Just be sure to bite your tongue before telling people you’re going antiquing.
Arts & Architecture magazine served several purposes during its forty-two year tenure. And while in many ways it set the American Modernism standard, it can be said the magazine’s most notable achievement was its sponsorship of the Case Study Housing program.
A thought, which became an idea, that turned into a conversation would eventually grow into a very well conceived plan. One which would not only challenge, but change the view of how people lived in America. Granted, at the time, I’m not sure if the editors or the architects involved shared the this vision, but they were definitely keen to change things up.
In 1945, as World War II was nearing an end, it was clear housing would become an issue for the millions of men returning from war to start a family. At the prospect of a potential housing shortage, several prominent Southern California architects and the editors of Art & Architecture magazine began discussing solutions. And so the Case Study House Program was born.
The program’s mission was to create or re-create the modern house-post war. This meant the homes needed to utilize the best materials available, be economical and lend itself to mass production. Easily fabricated, quickly constructed, and ultimately not an eye sore on the American landscape. The original announcement adds, “It is important that the best material available be used in the best possible way in order to arrive at a ‘good’ solution of each problem, which in the overall program will be general enough to be of practical assistance to the average American in search of a home in which he can afford to live.”
What started with eight homes would eventually grow to over 30, along with names synonymous with architectural significance. Some of the names at the helm consisted of Koenig, Geary, Eaams, and Rapson, Neutra, Walker for those with a deeper taste for the popular modern architects of the time. The result would be some of the most impressive examples of modern residential architecture ever created. Built to incorporate all the elements of their intent, many of the home still stand throughout southern California and parts of Arizona, many unaltered and in their original condition. Thanks to Julius Shulman, the celebrated architectural photographers, many of the Case Study Homes were well documented and captured in their original form. Images of Case Study House #22 are amongst some of the most famous photographs ever taken.
Spanning almost 20 years, the Case Study House program was scrapped in 1962 with Arts & Architecture shutting down not long after in 1967. The homes built by this program created endless inspiration for decades and influenced many of the techniques used to not only design, but build structures today. What was a great idea was realized, and in many ways changed the face of what America was to look like, even if only for a brief time. Many of the homes the magazine help create still stand and can be visited today, and a link to the original Art & Architecture announcement can be found here.
The PopUp Flea is back and is firing on all cylinders. Appearing during the warmer months for the first time in five years, PUF kicked of the year in good form. What has typically been an annual event in New York during December is being expanded both domestically and abroad to include five shows in total, out of the gate first is PUFSUN.
The program for spring proved solid. In total, 35 brands joined the roster with offerings all in favor of warmer temperatures. One third of the vendors were new additions along with several alumni. Some crowd favorites included Freeman’s Sporting Club, Billykirk, Kaufmann Mercantile, Topo Designs, Analog Shift and two new comers Dom Vetro & Thaddeus O’Neil. The brands are what make PopUp Flea really tick, and everyone came out swinging with both booth design and merchandise.
Over the years PopUp Flea has seen continual growth, always for the better. As the event has grown so have the venues, the brand list, and attendance, the latter two making the event not only possible but reason to visit. Aside from being able to get all of your favorite stuff in one place, PUF traditionally offers the opportunity to talk shop with the folks behind your favorite label or other people with similar interests. The Metropolitan Pavilion played host for the spring/summer event, and will serve as the home base for December, which is guaranteed to bring the thunder.
Check out PopUp Flea for the full calendar and schedule of events or tune into the PUF instagram for the play-by-play. Next on the docket is PUFDET. The motor city will be hosting PopUp Flea during June 6, 7, & 8th and celebrating Made in America. If you’re in, around or near Detroit, stop in and get in the mix.
Almost always, the first order of business when hitting the road is finding the right place to stay. Not to be confused with a good place. While away, where you stay is as important as where you’re going. A destination can be ruined by ill-equipped lodging. And the last thing you want to be is that person who shares their horrible hotel experience.
Like many other good things, the devil lies squarely with the details, and the details not only matter, they make all the difference. Most will say location is key. I agree, location is important, but just because something is seated in the times square of wherever you are doesn’t mean you should stay there. Not only can a few extra minutes of walking provide a quiet retreat, you’ll have more to talk about than the yelp reviews of your conveniently located abode. During a recent visit to Australia, the selection was quickly narrowed to BLUE Sydney, where the combination of an interesting property and individual detail made the choice easy.
BLUE is the combination of a lot of things, all good. It’s housed on a former industrial wharf in Woolloomooloo, between the Royal Botanical Gardens and Potts Point at the top of the Darlinghurst neighborhood. It’s location is key, and while it doesn’t sit right next to really anything, it’s close enough that you won’t need to rely on taxis or other transport. The building extends into the harbor for what seems like forever and still carries signs of its previous life. Additionally, some of Sydney’s finest restaurants have also taken residence along the wharf, and are a dining destination in their own right.
Tapping into the building’s past, architectural elements of the property consist of a densely woven system of beams, belts, and layers, all serving a previous tenant that’s since been decades removed. These structural details spread into the rooms, which are not only enviable in size (as someone who lives in New York), but offer a view and every other amenity you’d expect, including personality. It doesn’t hurt that regardless of where you stay, you’ll get a clear view of the sun rising or setting. And not to fret, your confused internal clock will promise your audience to at least a few sunrises.
While the building that houses BLUE is insanely large, the hotel only occupies a fraction of the property. The other portions being privately owned. This not only helps with limiting the volume of clientele, it also makes the experience personal and not very fussy. Things are easier with more space and fewer people. An appreciated notion embraced during our stay. Any visit, wherever it may be, should be simple, easy and a little bit different. The next time you head to Sydney, BLUE has you covered.
One of a few jet lagged induced sunrises.
Special thanks to BLUE Sydney for all their hospitality.
The famed graphic designer, Paul Rand, and his infamous C logo gets a breath of fresh air. (Phaidon)
Uniqlo positions itself to become the world’s largest retailer. (Wall Street Journal)
The iconic biker jacket is celebrated in the exhibit Beyond Rebellion: Fashioning the Biker Jacket at the FIT Museum. (FIT)