Saturday, January 30, 2016

Eastlogue - South Korea Does Heritage Menswear?

Eastlogue A/W 2014

Double Breasted Coat in Navy Herringbone
I was browsing through Grailed last night and came across a navy coat that caught my eye - designed with with flap pockets, adjustable cuffs, horn buttons, and a handsome 5 x 2 double breasted configuration. It looked British in origin but was cut in a light 100% Japanese herringbone linen - the brand? "Eastlogue - EST in 21st Century." A quick search turned up something I didn't even know was going on - vintage-inspired menswear in Korea.

What we're accustomed to seeing in the US from Korea is usually just brought to us by Korean pop music:

Not my favorite.
Out of Asia, it's been the Japanese that have been carrying the banner in classic menswear for years. However, there's something exciting going on next door in S. Korea. Founded only a few years ago, Eastlogue was built with the mission "to reinterpret traditional sportswear and produce functional and modern clothing based on it." The result is a blend of military, casually tailored, and vintage workwear that has already started gaining attention in the community. Ventile military coats, tweed parkas, indigo denim duffle coats - it looks something like the lovechild of Private White VC, Nigel Cabourn, and Engineered Garments. Good lookin baby.

Unfortunately, there's not a lot of places in the states carrying Eastlogue. Currently, the largest selection I could find is at Gentry NYC, as well as some select products at Purist in SF and Goose Barnacle in Brooklyn. There's nothing on eBay and I snapped up the only piece on Grailed.

I can only hope two things - that we see more of Eastlogue here soon, and that someone can tell me how to pronounce Eastlogue. In the meantime, I'll be waiting for my new used coat to arrive and wondering how we arrived at this point from this:

The guy on the right is correct

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Climax: Mr. Porter now 80% off with New Products Added

The Mr. Porter sale has been up to 80% off for a few days now, but at the very end they usually throw in a few surprises, which is what happened overnight. Undoubtedly, the picks of the sale are the newly added Kingsman line, which is Mr. Porter's house line. House line's usually are not the best to say the least, but Mr. Porter collaborates with brands like Mackintosh, Huntsman, SAB, etc. for each of their Kingsman lines.

The big difference between Mr. Porter's end of season sales and others is that items are fully returnable and ship free, so you lack any of the usual high risk associated with heavy discounts.

Someone pick up the double breasted grey suit above so I don't have to keep looking at it. Too good.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

In Review: Made in China and Proud of It - The Seagull 1963 Reissue

Previously, I posted about an affordable mechanical chronograph I've had on my radar for a few years now known as the Seagull 1963 Reissue. I ended up purchasing one around the new year from Thomas in Hong Kong, and the watch arrived at my doorstep a few days ago. After a quick strap change, it's been on my wrist ever since. While the prior post skimmed some of the details about the watch and focused more on the difference between models, this review should serve as a more in-depth look at the original 1963 Reissue, and this specific variant on hand.

Background and History

Wu Xing/Five Stars Reference
Compared to its Swiss, German, and Japanese counterparts, watchmaking in China has actually been a relatively recent undertaking. In January of 1955four craftsmen working out of a single room workshop were tasked by government mandate with creating the first domestically produced watch in the nation's history. Given a modest budget and 100 days to make the watch, they produced the "Wu Xing (Five Stars)" watch in late March - a simple three-handed watch with hour/minute/seconds hands featuring Arabic numeral applied indices, a central star emblem, and "Made in China" printed below on the dial. Out of these humble beginnings, Tianjin Watch Factory (eventually becoming Seagull, as it's known today) would eventually be born. 

The group would go on to produce the first Chinese large scale production watch by 1958 called the "Wu Yi (51)," recognizable by its "51" emblem, graceful applied dauphine and stick markers, and English text.
Wu Yi/51 Reference

In 1961, the First Ministry of Light Industries commissioned Tianjin Watch Factory to produce an aviator watch for the People's Liberation Army Air Force under the name "Project 304." The movement for this watch, designated the "ST3" and modernized in 2002 into the "ST19" found in the 1963 Reissue, was built off of the Venus Watch calibre 175 purchased from the Swiss brand and made on the same tooling machinery. Several prototypes were made from 1961 to 1965, with production carried out after they passed rigorous government inspection to deliver 1400 watches to the Chinese Air Force.

Vintage ST3 Reference

It's from this heritage that the Seagull 1963 Reissue draws its inspiration. In the watch world, history is arguably just as important as the components of the watch itself, and the 1963 has a pedigree that lacks for nothing in that regard.

Design, Materials, and Construction

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Found: Persol Polarized 714 Folding Sunglasses ($99.99)

A miniseries about great deals and steals of past and present

Bloomingdales Outlet - Philadelphia

Also Pictured: Compact Bifold - Chester Mox
The new Bloomingdales Outlet in Philly has horrible clothing (just horrible), but a ton of great sunglasses, including my favorite brand Persol (all polarized, folding and non-folding models in various shades and sizes) at $99.99, They have a number of the iconic 714 models immortalized by Steve McQueen in the 1960's. Not quite the $79.99 I found a year ago for the special edition blue lens/brown frame Steve McQueen 0714, but I like these slightly slimmer and lighter 9714S models more actually (and there's a lot more variety to choose from in store as of today). I also snatched up a black pair of nonfolding 9649S as well. 

For comparison, Amazon sells nonpolarized 714 versions for $130's with polarized lenses starting around $150's and climbing.
Bonus Find - British brand Church Caldecott II custom-grade suede wingtip boots there as well possibly as low as $110's on extra 50% discount this past weekend

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Put On Some Weight: Banana Republic Heritage Sweaters

Much like a plain slice of Wonderbread, it's usually pretty hard for me to get excited about Banana Republic. Their main line tends to produce a lot of generic basics that are often done better by others in the same price range, there's something about many of their garments that feels a little glossy and almost saccharin, and they suffer from the placement of some ill-advised accents - like a strip of polka dot color contrast somewhere on the collar or another pattern thrown together in an attempt to make their clothes stand out.

That being said, some things in their Heritage collection are really interesting, despite the painful overuse of the term "Heritage" (is it supposed to reference Banana Republic's safari outfitter heritage? That doesn't really make a whole lot of sense). This A/W they've got some formidable sweaters, and with the inevitable sales games and spring cleaning they are a pretty great value if you can find them in your local store (as they're pretty picked over online). There's just a certain gravitas a heavy knit brings that can make thinner Merino's look a bit anemic. Here is a bear of a Cowichan-style sweater I picked up, fleece lined, heavy as hell, and made in a blend of wool, cotton, alpaca, mohair, with a little acrylic and nylon for resilience. The design is muted in earth tones, and it's got enough body to keep you warm when the weather dips into the 40's.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Remembering David Bowie

David Bowie (1/8/1947-1/10/2016)

Art Credit: Helen Green

I can't think of anyone besides David Bowie whose style was as dramatically dynamic throughout the years yet always looked so effortless and natural, no matter if he was wearing glitter and a leotard or a tailored suit. He was as fearless and singular in his style as he was with his music.

If ever there was a voice that said to have fun with your style, to not be afraid to experiment or make mistakes, and to listen to your inner voice, it was Bowie's. It's something I'll miss, and something I'll try to remember in my own life.

"I don't know where I'm going but I promise it won't be boring" - D. Bowie, 1998

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hallelujah: Suitsupply Outlet is Back

Casentino Wool DB Overcoat
SuitSupply is one of the only things I don't mind paying full price for - partly because they are exceptional quality at their price point, and partly because they never go on sale never went on sale.

Back that up for a second. A few years ago, actually, SuitSupply Outlet opened online and guys went bananas. Unfortunately, however, the free shipping + free returns resulted in a lot of guys ordering a million suits and then returning them, and SuitSupply got burned on the shipping costs. And just like that, they pulled it and it was gone without a trace. *edit 1/12 - looks like it may have been a scheduled closing. 

I remember the day vividly, because the night before my wife promised to buy me a badass suit I wanted the next morning. You know what happened next...

Madison Blue Check Linen DB

It was an emotional morning. Now, after years of waiting, the outlet reopened just today, and it's already generating a lot of buzz online. Things are moving fast. Yes, the stuff is final sale, so if you don't know your sizes (they have a lot of fits, but the most accessible is the Napoli, which I'd say is close to a J. Crew Ludlow if memory serves me correctly), then you are taking on a good deal of risk. I'd highly recommend getting to a store to try some on before committing. If you can't, check your size charts as well, because the different fits vary quite a bit in measurements across the board. If this outlet is anything like the last, things will come in and out of stock extremely quickly and in very scarce sizes. This isn't a fake outlet like the "factory stores" out there that make crap specifically cheaper to be sold cheaper. This really is stuff from seasons past, and at insanity prices. I picked up this linen silk glen plaid double-breasted Madison suit for $199, a baby alpaca grey scarf for $49, and almost pulled the trigger on a couple more things before I stopped myself. 
Havana Burgundy 3-Piece

As far as I'm concerned, if the right thing comes in it's an instant purchase. It's that good, given you know what you're looking for. I wouldn't expect to see a plain navy Napoli here or a charcoal Sienna, though you never know. I'd more expect to find your third or fourth suit here - things that draw a bit more of a line in the sand rather than main staples.

Honestly, this is one of the more exciting developments to happen in quite some time, and something I'll be checking on obsessively often from here on out.

Storefront Link: Code BETHEFIRST

Update 1/7/16 - Stock got run through pretty fast. They re-upped the last time the outlet was running, so I'd be on the lookout for that in the coming days. Pro tip: be sure to check out Grailed/eBay etc  in the next few days to catch a wave of remorse sales.
Update 1/12/16 - Some scant items restocked  last night, then closed this morning. I would bet it will be a couple years before it happens again.