Iconic Surf Brands

ABA96DC2-AEFB-43ED-B3FE-556F75D2F5CC

I love surf/hippie/beach culture. Whilst it may be a complete mare to get to in July and August the realm of Tarifa, on Spain’s Costa de la Luz, is a Mecca for those who get their kicks on a kite, surf, SUP or boogie board – see our previous post here on Morey Boogie Boards – Morey Boogie boards.

E3BD64A3-C262-463E-9BDF-0F042CD5D3E4

This is a lifestyle, available to all adherents. Whether you are a weekend hippie with a real job in corporate finance, benefit from a distant relative having invented some practical gizmo that makes life easier even today, a vacationing student or a “Crusty”, who sees the conventional pressures to earn a living, have a mortgage or to otherwise conform to some dated middle class ideal of the perfect life, as pointless, then there’s a welcome for you on the beach.

087E30BC-A0BC-4386-A2C0-6B77A201C877

For core participants of this tribe, whose transient existence may be complemented, if they have the funds, see previous references to those in the City and/or being a Trustafarian – by a VW bus – see our previous post here – Volkswagen Kombi – as the perfect transport for your kites and boards, their careful devotion to their appearance on an off the sand is crucial. Indeed being able to take the beach with them as they return to their other life is made possible by several wonderful and iconic surf brands who shroud the faithful when the smell of the salt air is a fading memory.

255907BB-C7B0-43FF-80E2-1BF57216FA2E.jpeg

Founded in Tarifa in the 1990’s by designer Andoni Galdeano and entrepreneur Herbert Newman, the El Niño brand of surfwear is defined by a passion for the perfect wave and embraces much of what our tribe of surf worshippers love. It’s colourful, expressive and almost all pieces bare the distinctive El Niño logo that my family has always called “the Angry Sperm” – the little discontented drip. In fact the name comes from the “levante” wind of the same name that blows from the East  over Tarifa.

For Adults and Children – add an El Niño shirt to your summer collection by clicking the Amazon link after the image

569EE273-5DE9-4632-BA0B-9342ACBEA5DC

El Niño The Child 11102 T-Shirt, Men, Men, 11102, Grey (Stone Grey), Medium

9B068EE2-036B-4454-AB5A-BD76D200FB5B

El Niño The Child 0128013101 T-Shirt, Children, 13101, Orange (Fiesta), 12

9FB79A0E-08A4-42AA-9611-1F8BBC432C5A

Quiksilver was founded in Torquay (Australia) in 1969 by Alan Green and John Law. It is now a multi-million dollar business, one of the largest manufacturers of surf and related sports goods, operating many stores worldwide. The company developed the successful young woman’s wear brand “Roxy” – who’s logo is a duplicate of the Quiksilver wave doubled to form a heart – it also owns the DC brand of skate shoes.

After a difficult period of trading in 2016 and restructuring the majority shareholder is now Oaktree Capital Management. In 2017 the company’s name was changed to “Boardriders” and is now based in Huntington Beach, California.

Quiksilver, along with Rip Curl – also founded in 1969 in Torquay (Australia) and still owned by co-founders Doug Warbrick and Brian Singer – and Billabong – founded on Australia’s Gold Coast (Queensland) by Gordon and Rena Merchant in 1973 and now co-owned by Oaktree Capital – are regarded as the “Big Three” Surfwear companies.

Add a pair of Quiksilver nubuck flip-flops to your beach collection by clicking the Amazon link below the image

298B6BA2-A557-4D41-BBBF-C2D876BDEF56

Quiksilver Men’s Molokai Nubuck Flip Flops, Multicolour (Brown CTK0), 42 42 EU

Or a pair of cool DC low top shoes….

64A3DBED-2102-403B-B472-17757B1A17F9

DC Shoes Trase TX, Men’s Low-Top, Blue (Navy/Camel Nc2), 8 UK (42 EU)

293E4920-25B0-4D58-B6F7-98E357BAD56A

Orange County on California’s Pacific Coast is the home Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach each with their own distinctive surf communities. In the 1984 Shawn Stussy – a young surfboard manufacturer – who signed his boards with his distinctive signature – founded his eponymous surfwear brand with Frank Sinatra Jnr (unrelated to the singer) in Laguna Beach.

Stussy surfwear became a favourite of the hip-hop scene of the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. The brand is now a favourite of Drake and A$AP Rocky.

In 1996 Stussy left the brand selling his holding to Sinatra’s family who still own it.

A piece by Stussy is a must ….how about this signature cap? Click the Amazon link below the image

32E3AB07-4049-422C-A0C6-E2479833ECA8

Stussy Stock SP18 Snapback Hat Teal

Images with grateful thanks – El Niño Tarifa, Quiksilver/Boardriders, DC Shoes and Stussy.

If you like this post please “Like” and share it with your friends and colleagues. We’d really like to hear of your experiences of the products/subjects featured in this post. please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks 

Unsung but Essential Icons

C4207DAF-AF0B-427C-9666-7C2E3301CF53

As I control the creative direction of Aestheticons I choose what’s featured. Largely that means that I chose aspirational gems. However, instead of looking up in awe and appreciation we need to consider the more mundane.

The items featured in this piece are neither glamorous, alluring – unless you are into the really weird – nor really do anything in excess of their primary function. At that, they are superlative and without them elements of our busy lives would be a struggle. They are Unsung – not enjoying massive Instagram accounts with millions of adoring followers – but Essential Icons.

Cable ties

18D10B64-5A5E-4009-A3C9-201FC244EAA1

I defy anyone who derives the smallest amount of pleasure from tending a garden, to fix a plant to a trellace or a bamboo cane or a brush screening to a gate without the use of a cable tie. Not only can this devilishly small but wonder strips of plastic fixing be a the gardener’s friend, they, with equal competence, support the work of electrician, plumbers and builders and many others in thousands of conceived and yet to be conceived ways.

Known as originally as Ty-Rap, cable ties were first invented, primarily to secure airplane wiring into the bulkhead, in 1958 by US based electrical business Thomas & Betts and more particularly their employee, Maurus C. Logan. Mr Logan developed into production the idea he’d conceived of aboard a Boeing during construction. The Patent was submitted on 24th June 1958.

Why not add to your tool drawer with this Amtech selection of 500 cable ties? Click the AMAZON link below the image

750CC5B8-1E78-4155-8E0C-AD23603A7995

Amtech S0680 Assorted Cable Tie, 500-Piece

WD40

A7508063-8089-43D9-A15B-C3EBDC7F8916

As our readers know I Like to cycle but over the winter months my bike has a tendency to be a little neglected and exposed to the elements. When the cooler seasons have done their worst on my waistline the time is right to look for the foot pump and adaptor and get some air into those bike tyres. The tyres are only half the battle. The gears, brakes and chain scream out for the TLC that can only be lavished on them by WD40 the spray delivered a light penetrating, protecting and lubricating oil.

As the saying goes a “Sucess has many Fathers” and there appears to be some controversy as to originator of WD-40. It seems that the formula of WD-40 was developed in 1953 by The Rocket Chemical Company in San Diego, California and first produced in commercially available quantities in 1958. The contributions – depending on sources – of a Iver Norman Lawson and a Norman Larson (President of Rocket) are named as the “inventor” of the formula with the name WD-40 seemingly stemming from the expression “Water Displacement  40th Formula” – suggesting there may have been a 39th, 38th and so on versions of the formula.

It may be that Lawson invented the low viscosity formula – still a trade secret but still has the original and distinctive smell – and sold it to Rocket where Larson had the bright idea of putting it into aerosol cans. It arrived in the UK in the late 1960’s.

For those many jobs around the home or office for which only WD-40 will do, why not pick up a can or two by clicking the AMAZON link below the image?

2A69DE6E-F5E9-4F7E-BC73-BAB3169D054E

3 x WD-40 Smart Straw Aerosol 420ml Penetrant, Lubricant, Releasant Oil / Stops squeaks / Cleans and protects / Loosens rusted parts / Frees sticky mechanisms

Paper Clips

782C386D-1C8F-4488-8DFD-32E10D5F1A16

As a lawyer I am very pro the paper-less office, technology can teach us loads about sensible digital storage and retrieval. In parking our fears and posting to the Cloud we make a statement that’s more about efficiency and less about tree hugging.

For years we relied on the trust paper clip to secure our files, ensure correct attachments to letters and avoid inevitable embarrassment on a windy day. Called a “Trombone” in French, a literal use that I find very appealing, the simple paper clip does exactly what the tin says.

History tells us that in the US on April 23rd 1867 Samuel B. Fay successfully obtained the first Patent for a bent wire paper clip. On November 7th 1899 William D Middlebrook obtained a Patent for a paper clip making machine that produced an item – made popular as the “Gem Paper Clip” which went on sale in the UK in the 1870’s – and are similar to those sold today. The name Gem – trademarked in the US by Cushman and Denison in 1904 – became known Worldwide and in Sweden, I am told, that the word for paper clip is “Gem”.

6EDB8F4A-FDE4-4BD0-89C6-0156C56272DD.jpeg

No desk is complete without a selection of plastic coated paper clips – please click the AMAZON link below the image to get yours.

306DADA6-3AB6-461D-9BF5-CD6A63748F5A
Zealor Paper Clips with Assorted Colors and Sizes (28 mm, 50 mm, 100 mm)

Image Credits – with grateful thanks – http://www.officemuseum.com, Zealor and the WD-40 Company Inc.

If you like this post please “Like” and share it with your friends and colleagues. We’d really like to hear of your experiences of the products/subjects featured in this post. please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks 

 

Mason Pearson and G B Kent & Sons

Belgian Hare in front of a white background

For a man with minimal hair my need for a brush may at first blush seem limited. That is until you look at the beautiful brushes produced by companies such as Mason Pearson and G B Kent & Sons – there are things in life that I can appreciate even without the need to use them!

Just looking at the intracy of persuading a pure boar bristle to stay mounted to a fine wooden handle and to remain attached for many years of grooming. These brushes are not only iconic but they seem devilishly complicated to make – and even more so as some are hand-made.

Somewhere deep in childhood I seem to have, incorrectly, understood, in a routined pink for a girl blue for a boy kind of way, that Mason Pearson made brushes for women whereas Kent made brushes for men. In fact, both companies have extensive ranges for men, women and children – as well as specialist brushes. My Grandmother had a large pure boar bristle Mason Pearson brush and my wife and daughters each have a medium sized Mason Pearson. My Father, who had a distinguished military career prior to commerce, always had a Kent brush – that I think may have been military issue – on his bathroom mirror shelf an in his travel case.

Mason Pearson Brushes was founded in 1860 by a Bradford (Yorkshire, UK) Engineer of the same name who, having had some experience in the weaving business left, with his young wife Mary, for London’s East End to work with brushes. His automation of much of the brush making process resulted in 1885 in Mason being awarded a Silver Medal at the International Inventions Exhibition in London. In the same year his invention of the “pneumatic” rubber-cushion hairbrush became core Mason Pearson product and with some redevelopment between 1905  and 1920’s the resulting 1885 brush sold today is little changed since its first launch.

On Mason’s death Mary, eldest son Mason Jnr and his sisters ran the business for a further twenty years from premises off the Old Ford Road (London E3). In 1986 the business relocated to Stratford but moved in 2009 to give way for the London Olympics that resulted in a move to Rainham in Essex. The business is still owned by the Pearson family and continues to thrive.

The pure bristle versions of the iconic Mason Pearson brush come in several sizes. I understand that for the bedroom/bathroom the B1 and B2 sizes are preferred whereas for the handbag the B3 – the “handy” size – and the B4 – the “pocket” size – are perfect.  Get your favourite by clicking the AMAZON link below the image of your choice

0F18359D-0C50-4F49-A6F5-AB93B6F7391F

Mason Pearson Extra Large Pure Boar Bristle Hair Brush B1- Made in England

63677828-4FAF-47DF-9911-C67A87150A26.jpeg
Mason Pearson B2 Medium Pure Boar Bristle Fine Hair Brush, Cleaner in Gift Box

78058356-ACA2-4A57-B050-56E382429E00

Mason Pearson Brushes Pure Bristle Handy B3 Black

4CEB7470-762F-47A9-AE35-2B4560974FAB

MASON PEARSON Pocket Size Pure Bristle Hair Brush (Model:B4)

G.B Kent & Sons Ltd, was founded in 1777 by William Kent and has, very impressively, held unbroken Royal Warrants for now nine reigns. In 1932 the company was acquired by Eric Cosby, the owner of Cosby Brushes Ltd. It was a dynamic and creative alliance. Today Eric’s grandson, Alan, is Managing Director and Chairman and his wife and four children work for the business.

Kent Brushes moved from its old London factory – as seen depicted in the videos below –  to Apsley (Hertfordshire, UK) in 1984 and remains there today. The companies reputation is based on its craftsmanship and quality combining hand-made techniques with the latest hi-tech developments in brush making.

Kent iconic brushes are known in the barbering trade as the “lifetimes brush”!

For me, there are two clear and different buying options for the prospective Kent brush purchaser. It’s true, that they look similar – but for the tell-tale screw fixed back – but the first is 100% hand-made progressing through different processes to arrive at the definitive men’s hair brush:

41EAAE9A-EBEB-4006-A1D2-40E708C2B354

Kent Handmade Military Oval Bristle Hairbrush for Men White

The alternative is a largely machine made version but just as appealing:

96B44247-9488-40A7-B825-F0E1D9842122

Kent Oval Military Style Bristle Brush for Men, Cherry Wood White

There are many men who have a beard and the perfect accompanient to their grooming regime is the Kent Beard Brush – this is a right handed version.

E2EA4AE2-3436-41A5-B5B5-1ED2117FDD11

Get yours here – Kent Right Handed Beard Brush

Check out the following charming videos from KENT Kent Brushes 1 And Kent Brushes 2

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Image credits – thanks to Mason Pearson and G.B Kent and Sons Plc.

 

Fiat 500 Riva

img_0053

That reimagined classic that is the Fiat 500 has evolved yet further. With the release of the Fiat 500 Riva, styled as “the smallest yacht in the world” Fiat has made several design and styling connections – particularly in the hood and facia – with the iconic boats of the Riva boatyard.

The TV commercial for this new Fiat 500 features, I think, a Riva Aquarama. Our regular breakers will know of my passion for these amazing boats – read here our previous post – Riva Aquarama

See the TV commercial for yourself by using the following link Fiat 500 Riva

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Images courtesy of Fiat and Riva with grateful thanks

RM Williams – Living Craftsmen

rmw-classic

I have received from the Australian based business of RM Williams – who our regulars will know that I really like their “Craftsmen” boots RM Williams Craftsman Boot – the following which I am really happy to promote.

We have a strong and increasing commitment to maintaining and nurturing crafts and supporting those, in both small and larger business, who plough their careers, honing practised skill and differing disciplines that result in beautiful products. RM Williams’ Living Craftsmen

Dr. Martens

img_0034

They may have been around since Noah herded his flock into the Arc and they may have been the only item to appear on Miley Cyrus’ body in the clip for her track “Wrecking Ball” but Doc Martens have a curious place in the history of iconic objects. I think they may be a bit like sex as each new generation seems to discover them.

Their most recent store in London’s Covent Garden bears testamony to their enduring appeal. It is stuffed wall to wall with English and Euro Students, visitors from the Far East and new hippys all trying on the classic pairs but also the current seasons  crop – reimagined icons – of “designer” versions. What they will be assured of is that they will wearing a practical day to day and somewhat timeless, icon.

3CC6DCA9-BD25-40E0-A3CC-31749E0EBB75

Whilst I have enduring affection for Dr Martens, I have, in fact, only ever had one pair. They were a simple black low classic shoe design that lasted me years and were amazingly comfortable. They were a present from the company (R. Griggs Company Ltd the owner of the “Dr Martens” name) following their opening in the early 1990’s of their then flagship store in Covent Garden – next to St Paul’s Church – that I had helped them with image rights clearances. The same store is now occupied by the Oakley.

There are several distinctive elements to a pair of Dr. Martens, in addition to the yellow sole stitching, including a primary asset, enjoyed by the wearer, the air-cushioned “AirWair” soles.

Perhaps ironically given the status his boots and shoes have achieved in being seen as as an iconic British made product, Dr Klaus Märtens – the eponymous Dr Martens –  was a doctor in the German army in the Second World War.

In 1945, following sustaining an ankle injury Dr Martens found the regular army boots too uncomfortable and so designed various improvements including the addition of softer leather and an air-cushioned sole. He incorporated his designs into a version of his famous shoes post war. In 1947, together with an old college friend, Dr. Herbert Funck, the pair set up business in Germany to manufacture the shoes – finding initial successful market with a middle-aged female market! With an increase in sales and the establishment of a factory in Munich in 1952 the pair looked for export markets.

In 1959, UK footwear manufacturer, R. Griggs Group Ltd., licensed production rights, made slight variations including the yellow sole stitching and trademarked the name “AirWair”. On 1st April 1960 Griggs launch the first Dr. Martens boots to be made in the United Kingdom, known by the style number “1460” and produced at their factory in Wollaston, (Northants UK) Initial success came from supplying postal workers and the police forces.

This was the iconic 1460 boot – now an essential piece of classic English wardrobe.

I really like the 1460 Crazy Horse in brown – check out the following AMAZON link

Dr. Martens Unisex Original 1460 Aztec 11822200 5 UK Regular or black

Dr Martens 1460, William Blake 8-Eye, Unisex Leather Lace Up Boots, Black, 8 UK (42 EU)

We’ll all be familiar with the affection held for “DMs” amongst various music based sub-cultures including Mods, Skinheads, Punks and latterly in the mid-1990’s, Grunge. However, as with all such youth trend linked products, fortunes varied. Turnover for the group in 1999 was $412m falling to $127m in 2006. Narrowly avoiding bankruptcy in 2003, the company ceased UK production and moved all production to The Far East. However, in 2004, a moment of inspiration struck and Dr. Martens started manufacturing a “Vintage” range based on original production specifications in small numbers from the Wollaston factory.

0F8CD6FA-0599-4FFD-89CD-87B8E8C23C3C

Dr. Martens Original Adult’s Vintage 1460 Black 12308001 5 Uk Regular

Worldwide sales revived and the Company was hailed for its turnaround achievement. In October 2013, R Griggs Group Ltd, was acquired by Permira, a private equity group, for £300m a deal that included all rights to the Dr Martens brand. Griggs continues to be based at Wollaston (Northamptonshire, UK).

A statistic worth noting is that over 100 million pairs of Dr. Martens shoes were sold between 1960 to 2010!

Well that’s done it I am getting a new pair – join me by clicking the following Amazon link – I think these Dr Marten Adrian Tassel’s are not only great looking shoes they carry aloft the fine tradition of Dr Martens.

F8E9D81F-3D53-4E4E-8955-2B14A248DA92

Dr. Martens Unisex Adults’ Adrian Slip-on Loafer, Red, Burgundy, 9 UK

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Image credits with grateful thanks R Griggs Group Limited – Dr Martens

Robin Wood – Traditional Wood Turning

When I was at school pre-O levels one of the elements of the scholastic week that I really enjoyed was our time in the Woodwork shop.

Overseen by a reliable older teacher dressed in a long brown workshop coat – probably with a breast pocket full of triangular pencils – I forget his real name but I think we all called him “Sid”.  I suspect he was a retired carpenter who wasn’t there to teach as any form of an academic subject. His role, at which he was unassumingly brilliant at, was to impart the wonders of working with wood and in so doing he sparked a life long affection for this beautiful material.

The Woodwork shop had a vaulted glass ceiling that echoed to the whirl and clatter of a series of old electric lathes, I say “old” as they probably pre-dated me by thirty plus years making them nearly over forty in the late 1970’s. We’d be taught to centre the wood on a spike which had a back plate that we screwed into the wood making it firm for turning. We’d be shown how to sharpen chisels to achieve a desired cut. After the Master has placed the blank in the lathe we then be shown how to rest the chisel and work it to cut into the timber. There was minimal Heath & Safety input but we probably had perspex glasses borrowed from the Chemistry lab.

Sometime around half-term we be the proud owner of a four and a half inch diameter freshly beeswaxed bowl which our Mother’s would then fill with peanuts and offer them at drinks parties to admiring friends who’d remark on the quality of the bowl.

Aged 14 I came top in the year end exams in two subjects, Woodwork and Religion. Shrugging off the suggestions of a Second Coming, to this day I have loved wood, particularly turned wood, and have sourced all manner of examples including spindles for chair back, table legs and stair bannisters.

What I have never attempted is to operate a manual lathe – indeed until recently I didn’t know that they existed but exist they do and they are seeing a revival in the craft of Traditional Turning one of its best exponents is a very engaging chap from Sheffield named Robin Wood – yes, seriously!

Robin, who holds an MBE – awarded in 2014 for services to Heritage Crafts and Skills – is a master wood turner who for the last 20 years has been making wooden bowls, plates and utensils on a simple foot powered lathe. His products, if respected and treat with some care last and age beautifully. His extensive studies have influence his design and techniques.

Fuelled by a simple mantra of “Never to do a day’s work he did not enjoy” it was the experience of working close to nature with the National Trust that introduced Robin to traditional woodland crafts and ignited his and he started to make spoons and bowls bringing “a little quiet beauty into everyday life”.

Robin was inspired by the work of George Lailey, who died in 1958. He was last person in England to make his living turning wooden bowls on a foot powered pole lathe. Seeing the great beauty in the simplicity of the craft Robin sought to revive the technique. His first task was to learn how to create the cutting tools required which involved him training as a blacksmith. It has become a source of some pride that no sandpaper is used and the smoothness of the finish is achieve by the sharpest of tools.

Clearly evangelical about the simple pleasure and satisfaction to be achieved from wood turning Robin teaches and also, in addition to hang his own tools, make tools for others help others learn to carve.

Robin has assured us despite the bitter weather that he is hard at work restoring his stock of bowls  – but it will take some time. So for those wishing to make a purchase please be patient. Please complete the Contact section of our site

In this film, Robin can be seen at work in his idyllic outbuilding/studio. Enjoy!

Film used by kind permission of Artisan Media/Image courtesy of Robin Wood

Jeremy Atkinson – The Last English Clog maker

There is a quite confidence that comes from knowing exactly what you are doing.

Jeremy Atkinson is a highly skilled and time-served craftsman who is also lamentably described as the last – no play on words here – maker of English traditional bespoke clogs, a craft going back to Roman times.

Based in the Hereford, Jeremy turns “green” unseasoned timber – sycamore, birch, cherry and alder into the soles of really very beautiful shoes with wooden soles – classically designed English clogs. Perhaps unsurprisingly Jeremy is also a skilled at cutting, dyeing and stitching leather uppers.

Having first split the timber with a froe, the half log is marked with the desired bespoke foot pattern and is then taken through a cutting process which sees Jeremy exert some force to manipulate a three foot long oversized cut-throat tool called a “blocker” or “stock knife” to slice the wooden blank to gradually take the shape of a sole.

The “blocker” is pivoted from the bench via a hook and eye arrangement so that Jeremy applies purchase with his right hand guiding the blade with pin-point accuracy where he want the cuts to be made.

Finer adjustments to the instep, cast and camber of the sole are achieved with two more swivel blade tools, the hollower for the footbed and the gripper for the welt ledge in which the upper is nailed.

The upper is shaped over a wooden last and then lightly tacked to the wooden sole prior to a final fitting with the client – if they are able to visit.

hm-clogs

The finished clog is completed with a brass toe piece and either clog irons – similar to horse shoes – or a rubber sole – clogs have a particularly good reputation wherever it’s wet underfoot.

Jeremy has been taught his craft, one that has experienced great longevity in the many regions of the United Kingdom and he travels extensively demonstrating his skills and picking up ideas for his continued work.

Given the physical nature of the work his wrists bear the brunt of the repetitive slicing of the “blocker” and he is worried that he may only have a few more years left in the craft.

Jeremy notes that a number of satisfied customers have used his clogs successfully to provide support for poor feet and in the management of painful foot conditions.

He’s not particularly sentimental about his unwilling role as the last in England to pursue this centuries old craft but he is realistic and in part doing his best to impart his skills having taught Geraint Parfitt (based in Wales).

The struggle to obtain recognition for the social and economic value of crafts and their exponents may well have a quiet champion in Jeremy who in the film below notes that in other parts of Europe people are given state funding to ensure that these crafts do not die out.

I for one would be willing to work much more closely with the Heritage Crafts Association – of which the Prince of Wales is the President – to see what can be done to harness both respect and funding for these legacy crafts.We are becoming increasingly involved in an effort to raise the profile of these crafts and through us I want to market and hopefully sell the work of craftsmen like Jeremy.

Please complete our Contact section so that we can introduce you to the more of the amazing products made with great affection and skill by Jeremy and his colleague.

Film used by kind permission of Artisan Media/Image courtesy of Jeremy Atkinson

RM Williams’ “Craftsman” Boot

rmwilliam-suade-boots

Reginald Murray (‘RM”) Williams was born into a pioneering settler family in 1908 at Belalie North about 200 miles from Adelaide, a horse trainer and bushman who rose to be a millionaire entrepreneur.  His adventures in the outback created a recognisable and iconic Australian style of bush-wear.

RM was taught leather working by a horseman, Dollar Mick, including making bridles, pack saddles and riding boots. In 1932, to fund the hospital care of his son, RM founded “RM Williams” and he began to sell saddles. In 1934, he established and rapidly expanded a small factory running in his father’s back shed at 5 Percy Street in the Adelaide suburb of Prospect.

2728A7B0-57D5-4EA5-B559-3ECB504E4347

RM’s most iconic designs were his handcrafted riding boots. They are formed of a single piece of leather or suede and stitched at the rear with elasticated sides.  As of 2013, the company’s handcrafted riding boots comprises 70 hand processes and a single piece of leather.

RM sold the business in 1988 but sadly it entered receivership in 1993. The company was then taken under the control of RM’s long-time friend Ken Cowley who, with businessman Kerry Stokes, and Ken’s family ran R.M. Williams Ltd. for over twenty years.

RM died in November 2003. In March 2013, the Cowley family released a statement of an intention to sell the company to a new owner for AUS$100 million sum. In April 2013, R.M. Williams sold a 49.9% stake to L Capital, the private equity affiliate of LVMH.

These guys a wish list item for me. I have known of them for over twenty years as a friend from Sydney had the well known classic Craftsman boot which at that time he had owned for over fifteen years – they were pristine with minor tell-tale wear and a fabulous sheen.

rmw-classic

In July 2016 I was in London and went to the new Westfield Shopping Centre at Shepherd’s Bush. I walked into the newly opened RM Williams store to discover I was in fact the very first customer.

A charming girl who had been seconded from RM William’s office in Adelaide was so well informed and enthusiastic in her desire to impart details about the hand-made boots I felt almost rude leaving after the limited time I had ran out…only to be stung by the excessive parking charges at Westfield!

She explained that they would prefer – if I lived in the UK – that I should opt to have a rubber rather leather sole, as the leather is so thick it took a while to dry out and risked deteriorating if not totally dried before it got wet again. She explained the use of kangaroo hide – which caused my son some disquiet – but it was explained as a by-product of meat production.

I am determined to return to place an order in due course – but suspect I may go for a suede pair.

Stop Press: Since we became an Amazon Affiliate in December 2017 I have now discovered that I can get my favourite RM Williams chocolate brown suede Craftsman via this source – so the order is on its way! If you’d like to join me in this please click on the link below the following image 

rmwilliam-suade-boots

 

R.M. Williams Craftsman chocolate/suede, Größen:43

Images from RM Williams

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Levi‘s 501

AAFA4ABB-0017-4046-91D7-1DC9C4143EDD

501’s were seen as work-wear for much of its first sixty years being rechristened ‘blue jeans’ in the 1950’s.

Jacob Davis, a tailor, was approached by a workman’s wife asking for a stronger pair of trousers. He sought a solution to pocket and fly tearing experienced by workers using his denim trousers by applying copper rivets to the stress points of the garment. He then went in search of a partner to help make these early examples.

Levi Strauss was a dry goods vender who had sold Jacob the denim he needed for his early samples. They joined forces and the production which following its the grant of Patent on 20th May 1873  for “waist overalls” heralded a massive success.

5B088D9D-BF7A-4071-BB8B-EE8C679B323B

In 1886 the Two Horse leather patch was first used and added to the overalls.  In 1890 the Patent passed into the Public Domian, meaning the company lost their exclusive over riveted denim. As a result the company introduced the “501” as the definitive version of their denim work “waist overalls”, with copper rivets and the Two Horse leather and later the “leather-like” patch.

51368290-ED71-47A8-8A55-03DDE093BC66

By 1936 the Red Tab appeared. These ingenious and other design elements have ensured that Levi Strauss have been able to seek protection for their design against cynical copying. The company spend million of dollars annually protecting their Intellectual Property Rights.

3AF06DC9-157A-4470-A111-074088B9C2DE

Always at the heart of youth culture, the universal appeal stems from its integrity, a loyalty to the original design, the highest quality denim and sturdy manufacture.

I have loved Levi’s jeans since a teenager. Whilst the waist band may have expanded – and indeed contracted on various occasions due to mad cabbage soup diets etc – I have been through zip-fly, yellow label and 360 degrees back to red-label button-fly 501.

FDF17431-114F-4F32-A04A-D1FDC21A4CDA

They are simply my favourite jeans that have seen me through endless concerts and music festivals. Dylan at Blackbush in 1977 (that included sleeping on Waterloo Station concourse due to a missed last train), to Glastonbury mud-caked, U2 and the Rolling Stones at Wembley to Mumford and Sons at Benicassim they have simply been more than a wardrobe anchor.

Today they combine perfectly with classic shoes, an Argentinian woven belt and a great shirt and/or jacket – depending on the season – for London creative business meetings. Less Revolution and more Evolution my 501s – and I now have several favourite pairs – are still beautifully made, ooze classic iconic style and are, above all, hugely dependable.

Would you like a pair of Levis 501? Click this AMAZON link to buy your own iconic jeans click the Amazon link below the image: 

AAFA4ABB-0017-4046-91D7-1DC9C4143EDD

Levi’s 501 Original Fit Men’s Jeans, Blue (Onewash), 34W x 30L

The essential Argentinian belt can also be added here by clicking the Amazon link below the image – make sure you get the right length!

5E82A122-7E82-4346-AF78-611C6D29E07F

Carlos Diaz Mens Womens Unisex Argentinian Brown Leather Embroidered Polo Belt (85 cm/ 32-34 Inches)

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Photo by Levi Strauss