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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

In a world where menswear accessories brands are a “bespoke” dime an “artisanal” dozen, Frank Clegg is the constant. What began as a hobby for Frank during the early seventies has now blossomed into one of the last great luxury leather goods companies in America. For over four decades, Frank has worked out of his Fall River, Massachusetts studio to create a line of bags and accessories that recapture the days when a solid leather bag was a man’s trustiest sidekick. I had a chance to speak with Frank about his brand’s past, present, and future.

To start off, how did Frank Clegg as a business begin, and how did you first get involved with making bags?

I started in the business in 1970 when I was given a few tools as a gift. I realized early on that I was able to make just about anything I wanted to without much effort, so I began selling pieces as fast as I could make them. Not just bags and briefcases, but boxes, chest sets, plant hangers, just about anything that could be made from leather. We were all experimenting in those days!

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Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

It began with globes. Then it was maps. Then it was antique collectibles from the World’s Fair, and from there it was just about anything they could get their hands on. All my life, my parents have been collectors, amassing everything from a golf course windmill, to “Buildings of Disaster,” to bank giveaways from the midcentury, to folk art from around the world. Today, my Dad’s office is a shrine to a life spent collecting – a personal museum fit for a museum designer.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

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NewBalanceAd

In 1972, New Balance made just thirty pairs of shoes a day. The brand had been founded over seventy years earlier, but by the early seventies, there were just six employees working out of the brand’s Boston based headquarters to fulfill a trickle of orders that mainly came from a dedicated fan base of dedicated runners. All that changed on the day of the Boston Marathon that year, when Jim Davis, a Massachusetts based entrepreneur decided to purchase NB and propel them from middle-of-the-pack all the way up to the podium.

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Screen Shot 2013-03-24 at 1.33.17 PMI can’t say everyday starts the same, but I can say everyday starts with the same shirt. Or, should I say, a similar shirt. For years now I’ve worn a blue or white oxford, with the occasional university stripe thrown in there for good measure, nearly every day. It’s one less thing to worry about in the morning, and I prefer the simplicity of a solid oxford over the forced experimentation of some overly checkered plaid any day of the week.

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Gene Kelly Wore Khakis

In 1993, Gap set out to pull off a nearly impossible feat – to turn khakis into something sexy. During the brand’s early decades, Gap had made a name for themselves in the world of denim, but by the late eighties they had expanded into the world of basics. For the majority of Americans who did their shopping in the interchangeable chain stores of America’s cookie-cutter malls, Gap was their homogenous headquarters. With their unexceptionable line of essentials, Gap provided customers with a reliable (albeit mundane) respite from the bright colors and rampant individuality that marked much of the style’s of the sixties and the seventies. They became the epitome of average, but Gap was comfortable with this title, as they hawked out their beige rainbow of nondescript designs to the masses, and watched their stock soar. By the early nineties though, Gap had become like two pieces of white bread, and business was petering out – not only were their designs unremarkable but they were beginning to make what was underneath these clothes seem equally as tedious.

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StarskyandHutch4

I’m not sure how many of you caught it, but in this Monday’s post on shawl collars I threw in a half-serious/half-sarcastic line about Starsky & Hutch as style icons. The line popped into my head as one of those random thoughts that always seem to surface as I approach the end of post and began to feel slightly delusional, and so I hastily typed in there without even really remembering what Starsky and Hutch actually dressed like. For some reason though, the idea of Starsky & Hutch as style icons stuck with me, so a couple hours later I found myself sifting through screen caps and promo shots of the late seventies series, and I soon realized that my uneducated guess was actually spot on, at least to a certain extent.

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Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 7.45.03 PM

I think it’s about time that I make a confession: I as an “adult” have never actually owned a suit. And yes I do realize that preaching about the importance of dressing well, while not even owning a suit myself is more than a bit hypocritical. So, after years of not practicing what I preached, I finally decided to take the plunge this weekend and head up to Ralph Lauren’s Rhinelander Mansion to pick up a suit. While I plan to follow up the suit story with a full post in a couple weeks once I get it back from the tailors, I’d like to shift gears now, because aside from riding that “I just bought a suit” high, walking through the maze of sub-labels throughout the Mansion, I was continuously impressed by the shawl collar cardigans that I saw.

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Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

After making it’s debut half a year ago, J. Press’ York Street collection finally hit stores this past month. Coinciding with the launch of the line, and as a continuation of J. Press’ efforts to win over a younger audience, the brand decided to open up a York Street flagship, the first such store of it’s kind, in New York’s West Village. Situated on Bleecker Street, which is rapidly becoming one of the most important blocks for shopping in the entire city, the York Street flagship has been unofficially open for roughly a month now, but it wasn’t until this past Tuesday night that the team over at J. Press and Ariel and Shimon Ovadia of Ovadia & Sons, (the duo behind the collection), properly flung open the doors to christen the new space.

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Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

I’ve always considered Jack Spade to be like some sort of Norman Rockwell with a pulp colored palette. Rockwell’s canvases immortalized this idyllic, ever-presently nostalgic sense of America, that I think is shared by Jack Spade and their line of candy striped shirts, and combed out sweaters. And yet, as I entered the Jack Spade showroom on Monday afternoon, what I saw in front of me wasn’t so much Rockwell as it was Ray and Charles Eames. With the brand now well into their second decade, I suppose it only makes sense that Jack Spade would draw inspiration from the design world’s first power couple. After all it was the clean lines and primary colors of the Eames’ work that helped usher this country from our quaint Rockwellian days into the brave new world.

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