Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Lancashire Pike Ventile cycling jacket: a fifties classic reborn

Last year I was approached by Stephen Ball of Lancashire Pike, a business that designs classic outdoor clothing, making it in Bolton, Lancashire. Stephen had spotted that I own a vintage cycling jacket, a Bertram Dudley Greenspot, the staple of every cyclist in the fifties and sixties and he asked to borrow it in order to remake this cycling classic in Ventile.

Bertram Dudley & Son Ltd cycling jackets

After some weeks the jacket was returned and Stephen sent me a sample of his Ventile homage to the fifties British cycling jacket to try out. I wore it at L'Eroica last year (image below) and it was warm and comfortable on a chilly day's cycling. Sadly I had to return it afterwards as it would have been stylish, waterproof and wearable on or off my bike.

Wearing the Lancashire Pike Ventile cycling jacket at L'Eroica Britannia 2015

This is a superb updated version of a classic cycling coat. It has arrived just as the popularity of classic cycling has taken off, with rides like L'Eroica Britannia going from strength to strength and driving demand for retro cycling jerseys, cycling shoes and equipment. Available in green, blue stone or cinnamon from Lancashire Pike £330. See also their range of up-to-date retro climbing and ski wear.

Manufacturing the jacket

Lancashire Pike's modern classic Ventile cycling jacket

Monday, 8 February 2016

Cheaney Avon brogue with Cherchbi Herdwyck tweed

I've been meaning to get hold of a pair of these Cheaney x Cherchbi Herdwyck tweed brogues for weeks. The chance came recently when I borrowed a pair for a photoshoot. Cheaney manufacture in Northampton and the Avon is a classic country brogue available with leather or rubber soles. This version includes tweed made by Cherchbi from my favourite sheep, the hardy Herdwick of the English Lake District.

Adam Atkinson uses the wool of the Herdwick for his Cherchbi bag collection and here it's used for this stylish shoe collaboration with Cheaney. I tried them briefly for the photoshoot but wasn't able to walk any distance in them as they had to be returned in as new condition. However, the waterproof tweed was comfortable and flexible.

I wear Cheaney Avon Herdwyck brogues at a photoshoot, image Nick Maroudias. Trousers Scotland Shop

Ideal worn with jeans or a tweed suit, the Cheaney Avon brogue with Herdwyck No.10 tweed costs£325 from Cheaney Shoes of Northampton. See also Cherchbi for more products made from Cherchbi Herdwyck tweed.

This post is unsponsored.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Tailored Tartan Trousers from Stylish ScotlandShop

Tartan became part of my life some weeks ago when ScotlandShop contacted me to offer me a pair of trousers tailored by them in plaid cloth woven in the Scottish borders. To my delight they also asked for a Grey Fox photoshoot to show the versatility of tartan - and here are the results.

Enjoying our ScotlandShop tartan trouser photoshoot

Using their website, I was able to select the style of trouser I wanted: width of cut and details like turn-ups, waist adjusters and belt loops. I wanted a fairly slim cut and this was achieved by specifying the width of the trousers at the bottom hem. Other details such as pocket shape and pleats can be changed simply by asking. This 'nothing is too much trouble' approach is obvious from the start.

The next fun part is selecting your tartan. Being of Welsh descent I was completely free here, not feeling constrained by Scottish ancestry to go for a particular design. Of course, I chose by colour, selecting a dark green and blue plaid called 'Austin Modern'. Finally you pay; a very reasonable price from £145 depending on cut and other details.

The trousers arrived a couple of weeks later and I was immensely impressed. The fabric is superb, soft and crush resistant without being heavy. The cut and fit too are excellent. Overall, superb value and quality for a made-to-measure item with almost infinite variations of choice. 

The next task was to wear them and think about their versatility. As an Anglo-Welshman I see tartan as a formal cloth, worn at Hogmanay as trews or a kilt, but a little thought and experiment shows that we have a fun fabric that can be worn casually or for various levels of formality.... and you certainly don't have to be Scottish to wear plaid. 

With the help of the usual crew, Nick Maroudias, photographer and personal stylist, Sarah Gilfillan of SartoriaLab, we put together a few looks to show how tartan trousers can be worn. Here are the results, let us know what you think - see links below.

I'd like to start a new trend with tartan, but I suspect it's been done already. Tartan is seen at every fashion week and its popularity for men and women is well-established. If you feel bold, you can order not just trousers, but a whole tartan suit. To impress your neighbours go to ScotlandShop and order your trews (or jacket or suit) today.

Other products I'm wearing (from top):

Dark blue tartan jacket from Jigsaw Menswear
Blue cashmere roll neck from Johnstons of Elgin
Black capped derbies from Cheaney
White submariner jumper from Richmond Knitwear
Grey herringbone jacket from Gloverall
Navy blue velvet jacket from Jigsaw Menswear
Pocket square from Deji George
Patent dress shoes from Marks & Spencer
Blue chambray shirt from TriplStitched x Grey Fox collaboration
Plum cable-knit cashmere jumper from Johnstons of Elgin
Brogues with Herdwyck tweed from Cheaney x Cherchbi
Blue double-breasted blazer, bespoke from Susannah Hall, tailors
Blue striped shirt from Milton Green
Navy grain leather/suede brogues from Marcus De

This feature was sponsored by ScotlandShop.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Farer watches: British-designed Swiss timepieces for the traveller

The last few years have seen the arrival of several UK watch companies, in general designing in the UK and manufacturing abroad. Farer is part of this trend, their attractive watches are made in Switzerland, designed in London and, named after British explorers, take their inspiration from celebrated wayfarers and seafarers.

Wearing the Farer Barnato GMT watch

Some of these new watch companies have made the mistake of over-designing their products. Cluttered dials, ugly hands, massive cases and crowns make for unattractive timepieces. Farer haven't gone down this route. Their designs are classic, simple, very attractive and, at 39.5mm in diameter, haven't taken the over-sized option.

Farer Barnato GMT watch

Farer Frobisher sub-dial watch

Farer Johnson three hand watch

Farer sent me the Barnato, from the GMT collection, to try out (top image, above). Its plain and minimalist design has drawn many positive comments. I've worn it for five weeks or so and in that time it's gained around a second; good accuracy from the Swiss-made Ronda quartz movement.

The case is a subtly brushed stainless steel and the vintage-style two-tone dial and hands are easily legible. The leather watch strap is a nice touch, fitting well with the watch's classic looks. A minor comment is that the 24 hour hand lags slightly behind the 12 hour time. This doesn't affect watch accuracy at all. [Edit: Farer have spoken to me and tell me that they have not seen this problem on any other watch. They are looking into it].

This watch has become a daily wear for me and is ideal for both casual and more formal wear. The GMT models are ideal for the traveller as you can keep track of time in another timezone with the independently adjusted 24 hour hand without having to stop the watch to alter the time. 

Summary: nicely designed and reasonably-priced watches, designed in London, made in Switzerland. Watches come in three collections: the three-hand collection, one with a sub-dial and the GMT watch. Prices from £340 to £420 from Farer.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Marcus De Shoes made in Northampton

Marcus De Shoes is headed by Miguel De Almeida, the grandson of Marcus De Almeida, whose name is given to the business and whose style and love of a good pair of shoes inspired his grandson to make quality footwear for men. Having studied shoe and boot making some years ago, Miguel designs and makes his shoes in England's shoe capital, Northampton, closely overseeing their construction to ensure the highest standards and using the best leathers and materials he can find.

Miguel gave me a pair to wear and try for review on the blog. They are beautifully made, with the detailed workmanship seen in the best hand-made English shoes. These are made in small quantities and you are buying into the best of English shoemaking craftsmanship. Needless to say, they are comfortable and stylish, attracting many admiring comments. Miguel's love of detail and British manufacture even shows in the care he takes to make even his laces and shoe boxes in England.

I wear Marcus De Navy Pebble grain/Suede brogues. Image Nick Maroudias. Trousers Scotland Shop

I'm wearing Marcus De navy pebble grain/suede brogues, £575. For the complete collection see the Marcus De collection here. Prices usually from £495 but, as an introduction to his collection for Grey Fox Blog readers, Marcus is offering the current AW15 shoes at prices from £395 to £445 for a limited time from Wednesday 3rd February.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Cheaney Thomas: shoes made in Northampton

I borrowed these Joseph Cheaney & Sons Thomas shoes for a recent photoshoot and fell in love with their robust elegance. Available in black or almond grain leather, these capped derbies have tassel leather laces and rubber Dainite soles. The black pair bridge the gap between informal and more formal shoes. I wore them only for a short time, but was struck by their comfort.

Ideal for wear with suits, jeans or chinos. The best of British manufacture. From Joseph Cheaney & Sons: £325.

I wear Cheaney Thomas capped derby in black, from image by Nick Maroudias. Trousers tailored by Scotland Shop

This post is unsponsored.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Belstaff x Rankin photoshoot features Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Photographer Rankin has collaborated with Belstaff to feature the celebrated explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes in a photoshoot featuring Belstaff's jackets and boots. Sir Ranulph met stuntman Riley Harper and the two were photographed to embody the spirit of adventure each represents.

The shoot is tagged "Worship The Ground" and some of the images were shot from below a glass floor across which the two models ran and rode Harper's custom 1965 Triumph TR6 Trophy bike. See the video below:

I attended a lecture last year at which Sir Ranulph talked about his life and his recent adventure running the Marathon des Sables on behalf of the charity, Marie Curie - described in his book 'Heat' (available below). Sir Ranulph is a man of supreme courage and humour and it's good to see a brand using an older man of his calibre to advertise its products. More information and links below.


This feature is unsponsored.
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