Friday, 28 November 2014

Walsh: trainers made in England - 30% discount today

I love these Walsh trainers, made in Bolton, England. Founded by Norman Walsh, who made shoes for some of the great athletes and sportsmen of the fifties and sixties, it's a British brand based on genuine heritage and skills; one to be proud of and to support. Why buy trainers made in far-flung parts of the world when you can find well-designed and reasonably-priced UK-made shoes?

Seoul '88 blue

And this raises the issue whether the older man should wear trainers other than at the gym. Frankly I wear what I like, not what some fashion guru tells me to wear, so I'm going to wear my British-made trainers with pride.

I see that Walsh are offering a 30% Black Friday discount today, so there's every excuse for visiting their website here to browse and buy, using the code 'BLACKFRIDAY'.

Challenger black tan

Friday Favourites - Men's t-shirts and underwear special: Robert Owen, Hamilton Hare, The White T-Shirt Co.

Robert Owen
Made from bamboo fabric (rayon) mixed with elastane (Spandex), Robert Owen's undershirts are made in London, England. The fabric has a soft, silky feel and comes in four colours and five sizes. I find them very useful as the weather turns colder and, unlike many thermal undershirts, they stay  reasonably odour-free in warmer weather. Prices from £22.

For more information, see Robert Owen's website.

Hamilton and Hare
Hamilton & Hare's men's boxer shorts are now made in the UK. The Frank collection takes inspiration from the original boxing short. Made from 100% two-ply cotton, they're priced at £35, the shorts can be personalised, as mine were.

A donation of 10% of proceeds from profits from the collection is given to Carneys Community, a London charity that gets disadvantaged and excluded young people away from crime through community boxing projects. 

For more information see Hamilton & Hare

The White T-Shirt Co
Makes just that; organically-made cotton t-shirts in white. A wardrobe staple, these shirts are simple and ethical in concept and design. Price £35 for men and women. Customers can trace the complete supply chain and see the workmanship that goes into each t-shirt on their website (see below).

See the website for more information or to buy.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Greatcoat - coats made in England

I first came across Greatcoat at Jacket Required, a menswear trade show. They were still developing the business, but now have an AW14 collection of London-made coats to show. Although new to me, Greatcoat is a family business combining over 80 years of experience across the fashion apparel and accessories industry. Using these skills they have created a premium brand inspired by iconic outerwear styles updated for a contemporary look. 

I tried some on and was  impressed by the design, fabrics and fit. Greatcoat are proud of their British-manufacturing background; their coats are made in London.  They tell me that they use only the best available Italian wools and wool blends bonded with neoprene and British fabrics from Halley Stevensons (waxed cottons) and British Millerain (waxed wools) and Harris tweed. 

Retail prices vary from £275 to £400; scotching the view that British-made means high prices. See Greatcoat's website.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Shinola - American manufacture and style for sale in the UK

I came across Shinola recently for the first time when I saw images of some of their products on Instagram. Founded in 2011 in Detroit, Shinola sold only only in the US until September 2014 when it launched European e-commerce stores. It now has five such outlets around the world, with the last opening in London's Carnaby Street earlier in November. 

What attracted my attention was the interesting range of goods sold. Watches make up their largest sales, but they also sell leather goods, journals, bicycles and pet accessories. 

The emphasis is on bringing manufacturing back to the USA. Just as in Britain, there is a growing interest in reviving home production of luxury items. The watches, for example, are made in a new watch factory in Detroit. 

Good design is clearly at the heart of what they do, the products being attractive and practical. For more information on Shinola, and to browse their products, see the Shinola UK website here. 

I'm grateful to Shinola for their sponsorship of this post.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Christmas jumpers - sophisticated or kitsch?

The Christmas jumper has a grim reputation, often justified (see the images below). Despite this, as I went to press with this post, I heard that Debenhams sales of 'novelty festive jumpers' are up more than 200% on last year. They claim that more than a third of men (35%) and three in ten women (31%) admitting to owning one. They suggest that, 'Once the uncontested preserve of the uncool dad, Christmas sweaters have become a festive must have'.

Christmas jumpers from the presumably ironically-named Funny Christmas Jumpers

Debenhams jumpers are less kitsch than many (see below), but you may prefer something a little more sophisticated. Help is at hand and I've tracked down some tasteful Christmas knitwear, at varying prices, for the discerning readers of this blog. I was looking for bright colour, Nordic influences, fisherman's knits, Fair Isle, Aran, Argyle or cable/patterned looks. Traditional knitwear is the way to go. The links to buy, or for more information, appear under each image.

Kitsch featuring flashing lights & more traditional, both Red Herring from Debenhams
A favourite of mine, this Inis Meáin Aran jumper is from Private White VC. Other colours and patterns available

Jacamo - Williams & Brown Shetland wool jumper and Southbay Sherpa lined cardigan
Howlin' Neish Crew from End Clothing
Cashmere 8-ply Aran - Johnstons of Elgin

The Cave Embroidery - I love the designs hand-embroidered in London
Marks & Spencer Blue Harbour

APC Pull Yeti Snow from Oi Polloi

Dale of Norway Anniversary sweater

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Caterina Belluardo: luxury footwear made in London

Caterina Belluardo is a Sicilian designer who lives and works in London. She graduated from Cordwainers College in 2009, then gained a Masters degree from the Royal College of Art in 2013 specialising in mens’ fashion footwear. 

I stumbled across her work at Best of Britannia and was attracted to the colours, shapes and patterns; Caterina has interpreted the man's shoe in a new and original way. There's something for every man, however bold or traditional your tastes. To be different, find out more, to buy or to commission a bespoke pair, go to the website here.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Oliver Spencer opens new store in London's East End

I always find Oliver Spencer stores a pleasure to enter and browse; well-designed with natural materials, light and welcoming. The new shop in London's East End is no exception. It's the result of a collaboration with the furniture brand Another Country, whose beautiful, minimalist, wooden products are almost Shaker in design.

Oliver Spencer is proud of his new store and told me:
"When the store came up at Calvert Avenue I jumped at the chance, as not only is the store very beautiful, with the triple store front, but also Calvert Avenue with Arnold Circus at the bottom is a joy! We also felt sure that we had a customer base living and working in that area."
Many of Oliver Spencer's clothes are made in the UK and he has extended this love of British workmanship into the new store. All the furniture and fittings are made in England from oak with a very modern-looking burnt wood finish.

Visit the new shop at Calvert Avenue, Shoreditch, East London. See the Oliver Spencer website for his menswear collection.