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.