Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Billy Tannery: An Exciting Enterprise Launching Today on Kickstarter

In the week of Meet the Manufacturer, that celebration of British manufacture, it's good to bring news of the launch of Billy Tannery on Kickstarter (links below). Another new enterprise from Britain's exciting new wave of young entrepreneurs, Billy Tannery is, as its name suggests, a brand which makes products from kid goat leather tanned in their small-batch tannery or ‘microtannery’.

Image Grey Fox

Founders Jack Millington and Rory Harker (both aged 28) discovered that a growth in demand for goat meat in the UK had coincided with the decline of the British leather industry, leaving thousands of British goat hides going to waste. In response they have collaborated with ethical goat meat supplier Cabrito to use leftover hides to produce premium vegetable tanned kid leather in their new tannery near Northampton. 

Billy Tannery is launching a range of luxury kid leather bags and accessories that are designed and handmade in Britain. I recently had a preview of some of these products and can confirm that they are beautifully designed and made. The first range of Billy Tannery products launches on the crowdfunding site, Kickstarter, today, 24th May 2017. 

Please get behind another exciting young brand whose vision is to design and manufacture here in the UK. Our support is needed, especially at a time when the UK, Brexit bound, needs more than ever to promote its own wares. Here are the web links:

See Billy Tannery on Kickstarter to support them as they launch.
See Billy Tannery for more information.
Cabrito Goat Meat Ltd.

This is an unsponsored feature. If you'd like to support Grey Fox Blog please email me here.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Top Hats: Vintage & Modern from Oliver Brown

With less than two weeks to The Investec Derby, or maybe a wedding coming up, you may be in need of a top hat. The top hat is worn at many of the prestigious racing events around the UK and is obligatory at The Investec Derby if you are a guest in the Queen's Stand. It's also worn at weddings and various ceremonial occasions. 

Getting ready for The Investec Derby

In my capacity as a style consultant for the Investec Derby I've been looking into the story of the top hat with the help of one of London's largest suppliers, Oliver Brown, whose well-stocked shop is in Chelsea and online here.

Modern top hats are made of rabbit fur felt and, while this makes a beautiful hat, it can lack the deep black, highly polished finish of a silk top hat. And here the story gets interesting, so I'll let Oliver Brown take up the tale:
"During the nineteenth century, the top hat [was] made with a unique fabric called ‘silk plush’ which has a long nap, giving the hat its high shine. This was stretched over a hard gossamer shell. [However] in 1968 the only factory that produced silk plush ceased production [and] today there is a finite supply of silk top hats in the world. Their stunning lustre, shape and lightness are the height of beauty and elegance".
Oliver Brown do offer a 'melusine' fur hat to attempt to reproduce the shine of the vintage silk hats. I suggest you visit them to compare the vintage top hats in their collection with their modern offering to see what you think. The vintage hats are pricey, particularly in larger sizes (head sizes seem to have been on average smaller in those days) but if your budget allows you will have found a true investment. 

Vintage top hats from Oliver Brown

Oliver Brown offer a refurbishment service for both vintage silk and more modern top hats, see here.

I'm pleased to own a vintage silk top hat, which I hope to have cleaned and polished and I look forward to wearing it at The Investec Derby. For more advice on what to wear at The Derby, see my videos here.

This is an unsponsored post.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Tweed Run 2017 and Cordings of Piccadilly

I was invited to take part earlier this month in The Tweed Run, that annual tweedy/vintage bicycle ride around London, by my friends at Cordings* who sponsored the event.  Here are a few images in case you'e looking for tweedy/vintage inspiration to replace those Lycra shorts:

With Hillary of Cordings. I'm wearing all Cordings except the vintage Fair Isle jumper (image Cordings)

A very dapper gentleman. Image Grey Fox

Am I allowed to show smoking on a family blog? Fine 'tache if I may say so, Sir! Image Grey Fox

Tweeders and tweedlets crossing Westminster Bridge. Image Grey Fox

A handsome couple on The Tweed Run. Image Grey Fox

*Cordings is one of my favourite menswear suppliers. The original store has been on Piccadilly, London for decades. Stocked with tweedy and country goodies, and much more besides, it combines a comforting old-school approach to service (and store decor) with products that veer from very contemporary to heritage menswear.

My favourite pieces are their genuine heritage rubberised cotton mackintoshes (made in Scotland), the Cordings x Grenfell Shooter jacket, their tweed suits, pocket squares, colourful well-fitting chinos and.... well, you get the idea. Visit their lovely new website here or, even better, make the journey to their Piccadilly, London or Harrogate, Yorkshire stores.

I was a guest of Cordings, Piccadilly.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Here And Now: London Portraits by Niall McDiarmid

I first met photographer Niall McDiarmid in the very early days of the blog when he kindly photographed me in Richmond upon Thames. Niall's unique style of street portraiture captures personality and colour with great skill. For the past few years he has been photographing people on the streets of London (and many other cities and towns in the UK) and a selection of his London work is shown in a striking outdoor display outside The Museum of London from 18th May to 15th October 2017. 

The exhibition is free of charge. The launch night (open to all with no charge) is Friday 19th May 2017 from 7 - 10pm. 

I am privileged and delighted to have a portrait of me in the exhibition. Niall took it on Milford Lane, Aldwych, London in September 2015 (below).

See Museum of London. To further appreciate Niall's work please visit his website or see if you can track down one of his excellent but now (I believe) out-of-print books. I've mentioned his work in the past on the blog here.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Lamler: British-Made and Designed Outerwear

I came across Lamler earlier this year at London Fashion Week:Men's. My eye was caught by founder Helen Plummer's vision of well-made, well-designed but practical, British-made waxed cotton coats. Her intention is to produce limited runs of each design, so your coat will be a rare beast. 

I like the Lamler product and concept very much. I will be trying a coat soon and will show it on Instagram where you can follow me for more style coverage. Lamler are now accepting pre-orders on their website. Please have a look here and consider supporting a creative British brand.

This is an unsponsored post.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Chap Relaunches (and Grey Fox Contributes)

Eighteen years after it was founded on a shoestring, The Chap, Britain’s favourite gentlemen’s journal, relaunches this week (on 17th May) with the aim of 'changing gear and broadening its horizons'. Alongside changes in design, it becomes a quarterly journal, double its former thickness but with the same page size as previously.

The extra 72 pages have been devoted to more in-depth sartorial features and longer features on topics previously eschewed in the Chap, such as art, politics, sexual politics and social history. The main interview in the first quarterly edition is with actor Richard E. Grant, who discusses the making of Withnail and I on the 30th anniversary of the film’s release.

The sartorial coverage is only part of the offering, but includes a new column by Grey Fox Blog (yes, me) for the older chap (actually for anyone as the content isn't age-related) and a column at the opposite end of the sartorial spectrum from a 22-year-old Nonbinary Chap; an interview with dandy designer Joshua Kane, a photo feature on retro-stylish new fashion label Simon James Cathcart, polo shirts, Hutton Desert Boots, workwear and knapsacks, plus a feature on Chester Cordite, the tailor bringing film noir suits back into style.

CHAP Summer 2017 edition is on sale 17th May in all branches of WH Smith and independent retailers.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Wallace Sewell's UK-Made Tie Collection: No Two The Same

Wallace Sewell (see my blog mention here) have launched a range of UK-made silk ties designed in their characteristically colourful geometric styling to celebrate their twenty-fifth birthday. What I love is that each is unique in design. They are 7cm at the widest and made of a soft, luxurious silk that is a joy to knot. Available from Wallace Sewell's website priced at £68.

Worn with grey suit and striped shirt. Try with a pale-coloured summer suit and plain linen shirt

I was sent a tie to review (at my request) and all views are mine alone.

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