30 September 2010

Garbstore - a guided tour.

Wednesday gone, I was lucky enough to meet up with Ian Paley of the Garbstore, designers aren't celebrities really are they? but like filmstars and footballers, they could be classed as heroes of some sort, they make the clothes we enjoy, they add the quirks which make them ace, they make it happen, kindred spirits to anyone with more than a passing interest in good old fashioned menswear. I'm a big fan of Garbstore, I think it's a cool label, I'd wear pretty much everything they put out if I was mega minted. Ian Paley worked for Paul Smith and the Red Ear line, R Newbold and founded OTS which was a cool and highly original brand to begin with, doing the whole Japanese denim thing long before it became as big as it is over here and doing trousers in every Saxon collection before chinos and work pants once again became acceptable part of the wardrobe as they are today. Above all, the personality of a designer shows through in their collections, and Ian is a very knowledgable chap, and totally genuine to boot, with a personal archive of authentic and original military and old school clothing and a collector of lots of eclectic little things from old photography stuff, Charles Shulz's Peanuts, to lots of interesting and inspiring items from his travels around the world. Meeting Ian with my comrade Mark from Proper I thought we'd visit the store and have a little natter, obsess over some of the gear we saw, and be on our way. But Ian gave us several hours of his time, an extensive insight into the brand and the full tour of Garbstore's headquarters and beyond, we even had lunch with him (get us eh?) a thouroughly nice guy who was happy to show us how his label operates and every nook and cranny of the Garbstore universe. There are worse ways to spend a very sunny day in around Portobello.

The Store: Situated on Kensington Park Road, in the hip, happening and salubrious Notting Hill, the store - as profiled back in May on my third visit ( that time with camera ) is a really cool place with Garbstore's current collection sat alongside labels you will be familiar with and others you may not. Everything in there is considered, from the brands they stock to the vintage Action Men and framed art on the walls all sourced carefully and passionately around the globe.

The Couverture: on the ground floor as you enter, the Couverture also comes under the Garbstore brolly, this is somewhere your lady and kids can browse whilst you're trying on some nice jeans downstairs. Having only ever just passed through this shop on the way down every time I've visited, it was interesting to actually have a look. Once again the considered layout and hard sourced items are there for your perusal, including quirky furniture, selvedge denim for little legs, nice books for kids, toys, jewellry and stuff for the home, plus vintage collectable toys you wouldn't let your children even play with - such as deadstock boxed Sasha dolls which I remember being a bit scared of as a toddler when my sister had a couple.

The Office: Above is the view from the Garbstore office window onto Kensington Park Road, the heartbeat behind the scenes, in here was an intriging mix of what the brand is about, hints of where it's going, sketches, photos and samples of fabric, plus a mine of inspirational old materials all fondly collected and compiled, such as L'Illustration journals from the very early 1900's, Field Notes notebooks with many jottings and old salesbooks with great illustraitions and packaging examples in them and lots and lots of books. The collectable side of Mr Paley shines through with loads of little Snoopy figures hanging about and an original USN desktop paperweight there was even an old Saxon jacket which he'd brought in to show us, the first one they ever did.

The Studio: Situated a small stroll from the store is the studio, I recognised this street instantly from film and television, it's been graced by stars and also been in the headlines for more tragic circumstances in years gone by.The Garbstore studio is set over several floors, a workroom, a showroom, photo studio and roof terrace which is where we finished up, after climbing the spiral staircase to glance at superb views over Notting Hill's rooftops and beyond. Here you'll find a curious mix of stuff alongside Garbstore's current collection on show, archive magazines sit on the shelves which run the length of the walls, which are adorned with unique framed posters and artifacts from the British military.

Hands on involvement in the studio and stockroom.

Big thanks to Ian and Ewen for the guided tour.

29 September 2010

Rig Out III.

Nice photography, nice clothing, nice views. Out soon.

27 September 2010

Enter the Void.

Spoilers* maybe, Last night I went to the cinema to catch the new Gaspar Noé film Enter the Void. If you are aware of his previous work - I Stand Alone 1998 (sickly) and Irréversible 2002 (rapey) then you'll have some idea what to be in for...something that's not only thought provoking, but something that leaves you in need of a shower afterwards seems to be the way! Or in my case two pints of Pippin. A stranger to controversy or pushing the boundaries he is not, a genuine artist who makes movies which challenge your senses he is. Upon buying a ticket I had to read a warning, this was mainly due to the strobing and jumpy camerawork, and the craziest opening titles you are ever likely to see. Enter the Void is essentially a tale about life and death, but with a unique and intense feel, like tripping, only with a box of popcorn and a bottle of Coke. The story follows Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) who we only really see once in the mirror as filming is all done from behind his head from his point of view, a young American drug dealer living in Tokyo with his sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta) who we only really see mostly in a state of undress, hubba hubba, they become reunited after spending their younger years in foster care after the death of their parents in a horrific car crash. Oscar dabbles with all kinds of substances and his mentor Alex (Cyril Roy) is kind of a free spirit, painter and fellow dabbler, he gives Oscar the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which intends to guide one through the experiences that our consciousness has after death, during the interval between death and the next rebirth. known as the bardo.
Oscar is killed by the police in a drug bust set up by an accomplice after discovering he was sleeping with his mother. The film then takes the turn of his spirit watching over his sister as the camera hovers around Tokyo throughout walls and buildings and is like nothing you will have seen before, very clever and very psychedelic, we enter Oscar's head, and are in amongst his experiences and thoughts. With great complex cinematography in one of the busiest cities in the world. The film takes a different shape and style as the clever camerawork swirls in and around the bright lights of a sleazy, seedy looking Tokyo, this is both hypnotic and a bit unsettling.
My initial reaction after the end credits rolled were hard to describe, part of me was glad it was over, another part of me thinks I witnessed something truly remarkable, though I dare say it dragged on and on towards the end, with false dawns which almost felt deliberate, and a little frustrating with graphic and very close up shots of real dicks and stuff just persuading me to dislike it even more. They say Gaspar Noé makes his films play out like an endurance test and his previous work left me feeling more than a bit filthy afterwards, this was probably easier to sit through but at times there certainly was some squirming in my seat and quite a few moments where I took that pre film warning quite literally and had to look away. Four people walked out, it seems I am made of sterner stuff. 4/5

26 September 2010

Visit to 6876.

I had the pleasure of meeting Kenneth Mackenzie at his studio on Wednesday gone, for a lengthy chat about the brand, future plans and generally delving into what makes all things 6876 tick. Having cyber 'met' him over the years via my many mithering emails it was good to finally put a face to the name, Kenneth is an enthusiastic character and his passion for what he does really shows through. There were lots of little boxes on lots of shelves, with fabric swatches, archive pieces, books from around the world, old photographs and old handmade look books from the first seasons all archived. With great framed original artwork, lots of curious little things and the odd bicycle. This is a label which I've been fond of, plugged and preached about and been wearing consistently for many years. I started wearing it as a bit of a crossover to be different from the norm during my match going days - something that was never worn by your stereotypical football lad, frankly it should never be pigeon holed as one of those labels in my opinion, despite it's later popularity amongst that group. More something that is worn by all walks of life instead. The brand has a great philosophy behind it, good politics too, and why not? it is afterall all about a lifestyle.
Many items become highly sought after due to their limited production runs and great overall quality and attention to detail, marrying classic tailoring with modern technical fabrics. 6876 tend do things their own way, releasing what they like, as and when, which works for me.
I can't say a great deal about what to expect from the brand over the coming months, maybe we will see another release of a recent favourite and certainly more is to come from the luxury leather and luggage range R6, but I saw some interesting snippets that's for sure.

The studio is set in the splendid location of the Brunswick Centre a Grade II listed concrete modernist construction in Bloomsbury, which has undergone vast improvements over the last decade and is now a really cool place. This is not open to the public, nor is it a store, but it's an intriguing place none the less. Look out for some nice new styles in the future, including some collaborations with contemporary and classic British outdoor brands.
Check out 6876 for more updates.

23 September 2010

Two days in London.

Some of us nothern folk can still get a bit giddy about the bright lights and big city of the smoke, I'm no exception, I recently had a very insightful trip to the capital with a couple of cohorts from Proper. meeting cool people, visiting cool places, I'll be sure to add a few snippets and photos over the coming days.

21 September 2010

A-ha, Partridge in Loaded.

Remember this? when Loaded magazine was decent and Stone Island still (ever so slightly) fairly exclusive. It was twelve years ago, October to be precise when a stroke of genius to get Steve Coogan in a photoshoot as his greatest comic creation. Hailing a taxi in an expensive piece of Italian knitwear was one of the best things I'd ever seen back then. I think I even framed it.

Coogan also played up as Mancunian student hating pisshead Paul Calf.