Way Out West Week

lg_RM-Williams screen res

Normally two shoe posts in one week is something I try to avoid at all costs, but with the holiday and such, things have been a bit off to begin with, and what the hell, I’ve got boots on the brain.  Oh and this is my blog after all so I might as well do as I please.  Alright, enough with the excuses, because it’s time to talk about a man who probably wouldn’t have had the time to listen to a single excuse in his entire life: R.M. Williams.  Born Reginald Murray Williams in 1901 in Belalie North, South Australia, R.M. was a camel-boy, a well-digging, a business, a bootmaker, and an all around tough-mother.

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What is it about the southwest U.S. that makes it so appealing to a Jewish kid from the East Coast?  Now, I don’t have much in common with the mighty Ralph Lauren, but I can say that he and I do share this particular question.  For the past decade or so, since my parents decided to purchase a vacation house not near the beach, nor the mountains, but in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this question has been on mind.  At first I dreaded coming out here, yet as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to love the Southwest for the much needed change of pace that it provides.  For Ralph, the southwest was an untapped well of inspiration, a region with colors, designs, and textiles that were unlike anything he could find in his homebase of New York.  And so in 1978, with the west on his mind, Ralph Lauren launched a new side of his brand, a move that elevated him from being merely a designer for the natty East Coast mentality, to a designer for the American history books.

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Six months ago, if you’d asked me what I thought about the heritage movement I would’ve told you with all the confidence in the world that it was undoubtedly on it’s last legs.  And yet here I am, eating those imaginary words by writing about a pair of Red Wings as one of my final posts so the year.  You could say that it’s this southwestern atmosphere messing with my head, but I suppose in a way it all makes sense.  I, like so many of my peers, had used the heritage wave as my gateway drug to the hashtag menswear set, and as they say everything is cyclical, so with another year coming to a close, I have found my way back to the start once again.

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