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)
No shortage of conversation occurs after experiencing a film like HER. High waisted pants, well-worn mustaches, dependency on technology, the future of video games, all make the conversational check list. And while all are valid and worthy of discussion, the film’s design aesthetic is what really sets it apart. It’s safe to say Spike Jonze is the consummate creator of art(y) films, and there were no punches pulled with HER. The set, the wardrobe, his view of a future Los Angeles are all done so well, and perhaps more important, feel natural.
Jonze enlised the help of Geoff Mcfetridge to build a world that’s artificial, yet realistic. With much of the landscape consisting of a blend between Shanghi and L.A., the Los Angeles creator took ques from designers past. In addition to creating the drawings inside the offices of Theodore Twombly along with the computer interface and handheld device graphics, and the films credits, Mcfetridge was also responsible for the elaborate transit map that’s found in the back ground throughout several scenes.
The retro aesthetic was inspired by Massimo Vignelli’s 1970s New York Subway map. Vignelli, originally from Italy, came to America and attracted attention for his work designing signage for the D.C. metro and New York subway, the latter eventually hiring him to design the system’s map. Although Vignelli’s map met mixed (unfavorable) reviews from New Yorkers for its diagrammatic approach and lack of scale geography, it remains a favorite amongst graphic designers and modern lovers alike (it still draws significant bids on eBay and the like). And like Vignelli, who worked on just about every type of design that exists, Mcfetridge’s modernist approach spans the life of the film, woven into its fabric. But it’s a glimpse at L.A.’s future transit system where the most influence can be felt with its broad use of geometric shapes and vivid color.
So now that HER is soon to be available online, you’ll have one more detail to search out, one more box to check. For a look at similar design work, visit Champion Studio.
In 2009, Unionmade opened their doors. Located in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood, it didn’t take long to get attention. And deservedly so. By many accounts Unionmade, with Todd Barket (of Gap fame) at the helm, can be given credit for bringing the menswear scene west. In a city with a significant lack of the brick & mortar found out east, there was high demand for a place that carried a large selection of good, well made things under one roof. Unionmade fit this bill, offering a full roster of quality infused brands whose relationships would later develop into collaborations, setting the selection completely apart from any coast.
Today the brand list tops 100, and includes all the crowd pleasers such as Alden, Barbour and Filson, but while great, these aren’t why you shop here. The rest of the lineup is choked-full of goods from England, Japan, Italy, and of course good ol’ America. The Sunspels, North Sea Clothings, Drakes, Kapitals and Boliolis are all on the team and ready to play. And the collaborations we mentioned run deep, so a lot of what you see isn’t going to be easy to find elsewhere. I paid a visit to Unionmade when they opened in ’09, and make it a point to visit whenever in town, and I’m always impressed.
Now just over four years later, Unionmade continues to carry the torch, and is expanding, again. After first out growing and expanding the S.F. store, they opened two additional locations, one in Los Angeles and another in Marin (just north of S.F.). Both the second and third locations carry the aesthetic and branding that made the first store so successful. The sights are now set on a fourth location, again in Los Angeles. The new outpost will be seated in the Grove shopping center and is sure to do well – the Grove may be one of the busiest places on earth. The new location will be large enough to carry most of what you’ll find in S.F. and has the same vibe. If you’re nearby, pay a visit.
Check out Unionmade at The Grove: 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles.
In the last couple years, it seems there’s been an influx of centennial celebrations by companies making just about everything. This is a good thing. It not only means that there are a decent amount of companies which still exist stateside, but that they’re continuing to produce good things. Spiewak is amongst this contingent.
With 110 years under their belt, Spiewalk has continued to produce high-quality outer wear for dockworkers, the armed forces, city and public workers alike. Their jackets and their stories continue to be inspirational. While the word iconic isn’t amongst my favorites, there isn’t a better word to describe a lot of what Spiewak has created. The infamous WWII Navy deck jacket, snorkel parka and one of the first double-breasted pea coats all fall under the Spiewak label.
Kicking off the new year in good form (and temperature appropriate timing), Spiewak is set to premier their latest collection at Pitti Uomo in Florence. With Maurizio Donadi of Levis & RL fame at the helm, the New York native label is taking a new approach and creating a collection suited towards today’s lifestyle, while maintaining quality consistent with products past. Additionally, a Golden Fleece collection is slated to launch in the near future, which will take cues from its 1920’s predecessor and consist of pieces from the company’s archives.
Visit Spiewak for the full story and a glimpse at the complete collection.
Images via: Spiewak