Sunday, 1 February 2015

Catherine Aitken - Harris tweed bags and accessories made in Scotland

Catherine Aitken's studio is in Leith, Edinburgh, where she creates bags, scarves and other accessories for both men and women from Harris tweed and other high quality materials. Catherine sent some of her products for me to have a look at. All are beautifully-made. 

I love bags made from tweed. As a material, it's strong, comfortable and the colours go with anything. The duffel bag is robust, comfortable to use and well-designed.

For more information and to buy, visit Catherine Aitken's website and blog. To see her collection of men's bags and scarves, visit here.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Deji George's new collection of pocket squares

Deji George's spring/summer '15 collection of silk pocket squares is called 'Psychedelic Nature'. I last reviewed their colourful and geometric products last April. Their new collection follows the same  pattern, offering hand-stitched edges and soft, flowing silks in a vibrant 36cm square, made in Italy.

For more information and to buy, visit Deji George.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Jones the Bootmakers - Cheaney Fenchurch shoes made in England

Jones the Bootmaker was established in 1857 and has a firm presence on our high streets around the UK. Their strength is the wide range of men's shoes that they sell, from lower-priced to shoes hand-made in Northampton, England like these calf-leather Joseph Cheaney & Sons Fenchurch Oxfords with brogue punched detail, worn here with a blue pinstripe suit.

They have a Goodyear-welted leather sole and a slim, elegant shape that goes well with a formal or semi-formal style. Like all Cheaney shoes, these are very comfortable and will provide a shoe for life if properly looked after. 

The selection of styles at Jones the Bootmaker appeals to men of all ages and it's hard to go into one of their stores without finding something that suits. If you can't get to one of their shops, visit their website to find what you need. 

Click to find the Cheaney Fenchurch shoes here.

Monday, 26 January 2015

E Tautz - gritty grey and Terry Street inspiration for AW15

A paper handed out at the E.Tautz show at London Collections:Men earlier this month featured extracts from Douglas Dunn's poem, Terry Street and contained grainy black and white images of factory workers from the mid-twentieth century in the context of a Northern industrial town (Hull?) with back to backs, murky mists, grim canals and distant smoky chimneys.

Talking of the men who live and work in Terry Street, part of the poem reads:   

They are the individualists of our time, 
They know no fashions, copy nothing but their minds, 
They long ago gave up looking in mirrors. 

It's interesting how Patrick Grant of E. Tautz has arrived at a collection for autumn/winter '15 that looks back at a menswear style prevalent in the middle of the last century, when few men were interested in fashion. Yet most men were then proud of how they looked, something that has now been lost. From a time when road and factory workers would wear ties, jackets or suits for work, we now have men caring little for how they look, even in work and formal situations - despite the relative cheapness of clothing now.

So E- Tautz has arrived at a style that looks back at the grey reality of a hard industrial life and reflects that impression in the monochrome nature of the clothing. To cement this link with the past, the collection is made in the UK, as were most clothes before later in the last century. Gorgeous tweeds and flannels in charcoal, dark blue, silver, grey, bottle green, white, black - Donegal, herringbone, Urqhart check - many made at Johnstons of Elgin. 

The impression was of  cloths, fabrics, tailoring of the highest quality. The cuts were generous, again reflecting menswear styles of most of the last century. Whether or not you'd wear such styles, the look was one to inspire, maybe toning down its monochrome nature with flashes of brighter colour in knitwear and accessories. It will certainly encourage me to dig out my grey trousers, white shirts and herringbone tweeds. For me, this was one of the most inspirational shows at LC:M.

I suspect we'll be seeing wider trousers on the high street in the not-too-distant future, so we're looking at what's coming soon in these images of the E. Tautz show.

At the risk of repeating myself, my one concern about this wonderful show was the complete lack of grey hairs on the models. How well a few gritty older faces would have fitted! Is the aim is to sell only to the younger man and exclude the older man from these wonderful clothes? I doubt it, but I still struggle to understand what the menswear fashion industry is up to here: excluding a huge and affluent demographic seems senseless. Older men should be wearing gorgeous clothes like these - and will do so with very little encouragement.

See E. Tautz and visit the store in Duke Street, London W1.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Carradice tweed bike bags - made in Lancashire, England

Carradice have been making cycling bags out of cotton duck for over seventy years in Nelson, Lancashire. They now have a special edition range of bags made from Harris tweed.

Anything that combines my loves of cycling and tweed gets my attention, and I love the variety of colours and shapes in these bike bags, ideal for the commuter, vintage cycling nut or tweed fanatic.

See the Carradice website for more information.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Shirts Made in Britain from Susannah Hall now include Liberty print fabrics

Susannah Hall has been selling her high quality British-made 'Office Smoothie' shirts for a while in a wide choice of plain and stripes. But sometimes a man wants to break out from the conventional office shirt with designs more colourful and interesting. To cater to these, Susannah has added shirts made from Liberty prints, available off-the-peg or bespoke.

Susannah Hall told me: 
'I designed the Office Smoothie fit to be slightly neater that your average shirt with the collar that works well both with and without a tie. It sits proud when undone, which is very important! 
We have been making the stock shirts in Northern Ireland and originally started with some classic colours and designs. This year I decided, at last, to go ahead with the Liberty print shirts. We have four fabric designs and only two in each size available to make them more exclusive. We have 15" to 17.5" collar sizes in stock.

When Dauvit Alexander (pictured above) saw them he immediately got in touch and asked if I could find a specific Liberty print to make up a bespoke shirt. I managed to find the cloth and, as you see, has the fabulous shirt pictured above, bespoke-made in Manchester.
Liberty prints £150.  Office Smoothie stock shirts £95. Bespoke from £130. Available from Susannah Hall, Clerkenwell, London.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Shackleton Clothing: designed and made in Britain on Kickstarter

Simon Middleton started The Great British Banjo Company a couple of years ago to manufacture and sell a British-made banjo - the one instrument that Sir Ernest Shackleton didn't abandon after he evacuated his ice-bound ship to look for rescue on his Antarctic expedition of 1914-17.

Simon has now turned his attention to designing a clothing collection based on and inspired by clothing worn on the expedition, sweaters, jackets, footwear and various accessories. The clothes will be designed and made in Britain. 

This is a wonderful project and one to support. Watch the video for more information and help the project on Kickstarter.