27 February 2012

The North Face.

I don't think I've ever owned anything by The North Face, anything current might be alright but I don't really seek it out. The older stock though....hmmm, got this a couple of months ago - nice bit of Goretex from days of old, simple, classic, cool. Look at the press studs.

24 February 2012


Continuing nicely from Monday, this is currently this year's winter jacket for me, one of my best finds. More often than not it's usually better to seek out the originals, I wanted a snorkel parka but not some indie-kid one from a vintage shop, what's the difference you say? not a lot really, it's only slight and fickle but it matters in this case.
The navy nylon outer with familiar hand warmer pockets placed in exactly the right spot for that hands in your pockets pose, the pocket on the sleeve for pens/bullets are present. The cool orange lining is actually red, a bit different, the hood is real fur - great for authenticity but not really for this conscious tree hugger who's not into all that kerfuffle at all, but what can I do? my Jack-Chi keeps trying to shag it too.
This is arguably the best of it's kind, certainly the coolest I've seen. The Woolrich Kodiak parka, it's older than me and pretty much as good as new. I love the fact it came from the other side of the globe, I've no idea what journeys it's been on before it ended up here (sounds like something you'd read on a blog that doesn't it?) or who 'Ron Scott' is or what he was like? a fucking dude I'm sure. This takes me back to childhood and beyond, it's cool as fuck and if you don't like it you're just jealous!

20 February 2012


The 'Snorkel parka', classic eh? I think so. Worn by all kinds from 70's school children in the playground to their teachers on field trips, to modern day indie kids, geeky anti heroes like Jason Schwartzman, Tim Roth's 'Colin' in Mike Leigh's Meantime, to adolescent nerd Adrian Mole himself, not to mention Kenny from South Park. Paraded by Feargal Sharkey on Top of the Pops, pre casual match going lads home and away and reclaimed during the heady days of Britpop by the likes of Damon Albarn and also an enduring fanbase within some sections of hip hop.
Massimo Osti was a fan too, just look at old Boneville boating jackets and earlier heavyweight Stone Island and CP Company pieces with the identical pocket placements and rabbit fur lined hoods. Stanley Kubrick directed films in them during location shoots. Paul Simon on his self titled album cover too. The choice of outerwear for striking miners during the bleak conditions of a long stint outdoors. Who can forget the hordes of young parka wearing Hereford pitch invaders during their FA Cup triumph over Newcastle in 1972?

I've always liked this jacket, maybe that goes back to schooldays and running around pretending to be superman with just the hood stuck on my head and the coat dangling behind me like some daft cape. I can remember having mittens attached to the sleeves during primary school too. I love the fact this coat is still seen today, it's as generic as it is a classic, from the new hipster nerds to old men still wearing their original ones, you can always spot them. It's that so uncool it's cool thing for me, more often than not in navy blue - though sometimes brown and green, the massive fixed furry hood and bright orange lining, pockets in the right places and just the right cut. I've ummed and ahhed about getting one for years, ten a penny in the vintage shops in town, still pretty cool but not really for me. Just before Christmas I took the plunge on one though, whilst it looks the same as those I just mentioned there is a difference. I got an old Woorich one, but we'll see more of that in my next post.
The Snorkel parka took it's more common nickname from the large hood which when zipped up fully resembles a tunnel for the wearer looking out, in the seventies cheaper variations became the popular choice for parents buying for their children to wear at school, a tough jacket which was as snug as a bug in a rug dominated the playgrounds for the next decade at least. During the late 80's the jacket lost it's popularity, becoming a subject of playground ridicule, the hip and trendy kids had moved on and only the school wallies still wore them. This led to the term 'anorak' being laregely given to this jacket as it become unfashionable, skip forward another decade and it's popularity grew again, anything that stays deliberately true to it's iconic original always gains a new following, so when 'slebs come out in their ironic cool coats the fashion mainstream picks up on it once again. That's the sign of a classic though, I guess.

Geek chic in Meantime (1984) and Ratcatcher (1999) (above) the choice of outerwear for the young nuisance.

Stanley Kubrick directs Barry Lyndon (1975) and Mike Leigh on location for Nuts in May the following year.

Anoraky in the UK! School kid style, above :school field trips, Adrian Mole and his pa teamed with a three star jumper in an unhappy Bradford some time in the seventies.

Above : Angry Kid, everyone's fave street artist Banksy in disguise and spot the geek with second wave skinheads and 'Corrie' alcoholic Peter Barlow some time in the eighties.

'Shake hands....' Yosser about to get to grips with shakehands in the Green Man pub in Boys From the Blackstuff.

Master at work, Massimo Osti in his Bologna studio with some military parkas on show.

The old school ones we used to wear would have been made by the likes of Lord Anthony, Brutus and Campri, or was it Campari? or was it both? Still made today by brands like Spiewak, Alpha Industries and Avirex, plus re-imagined by more contemporary labels like W)Taps, though similar this is not to be mistaken for the classic Mod parka, the M-51 fishtail parka which came around the same time of origin and again later with the second wave of mod and is still re-interpreted and worn today. This style originates from the United States Air Force USAF and was originally created in the 50's known as the N-3B to give it it's proper name, designed for flight crews who had to endure bitterly cold conditions whilst stationed out in baltic locations. Like the other flight jackets these also came in green. An original goverment specified jacket, this has been copied and reproduced by many brands of varying quality and status ever since, for a cold weather parka it remains a modern classic which has clearly stood the test of time.

16 February 2012


Nice bit of vintage two tone from the OG two tone masters.

13 February 2012

Jacket Required.

Just been down to that London for the weekend, a weekend which consisted of typical northern tourism in and around our great capital, drinking myself sober in beer filled dimple jars, traveling first class, sleeping in shit hotels, walking way too many miles and visiting the UK's biggest trade show Jacket Required.
This is the second installment of the British menswear tradeshow held in London, whilst not exclusively UK brands it features several of our favourite labels (one or two notably missing) showing their up and coming A/W collections, or Fall as they say in this world of fashion, it was nice to get an insight into how these things work and rub shoulders with some the cream of menswear 'royalty', press and PR peeps and neck some free beer.
Based in a massive open plan warehouse in the lovely surroundings of Bloomsbury, this was a pretty big deal and done really well too, it was good to catch up with loads of people I've only ever really met via the internet but feel like I've known for yonks and finally put some faces to names, plus making one or two new acquaintances I'll hope to work with in the not too distant future too.
The show had a few old favourites showcasing their complete collections such as Universal Works a with another range of classic schmutter, smart shirts and coats, nice colours, patterns and bits of tweed, Garbstore, with a top selection of simple parkas and shirts based around proper old school hiking wear, with great subtle touches and a dead cool logo, BSA/camporee vibes come to mind.
Newer labels which caught my eye were some nice looking bits from Common People, ace hiking shoes from Veras in great shades of suede/nubuk with coloured laces, posh and quirky from Bedwin, some uber smart cycling wear from PEdALED, eco friendly infused shirts and coats from Two Thirds. Tuk Tuk shirts looking good in a variety of hard sourced patterns, fruity is the word. I even noticed one label had done a retelling of one of my favourite and most hard to find coats ever.
Whilst I'm not sure it was frowned upon, I don't think it was encouraged to take photos, so I pretty much kept my G12 tucked in my bag most of the time, people are understandably precious over what gets out with regard to a seasons worth of new product in a show that's pretty much invite only - but it's fair to say polka dots and camo will be surfacing a lot more than they have thus far, plenty of colours on show too, but also a lot more subtle and muted tones in each collection. Hiking boots and high performance outerwear is certainly here to stay for the time being too and again there seems to be more time focused on accessories too, such as the ever growing popularity of socks and bags, talking of accessories I'm not sure if there's something in the air down there but everyone appears to have become short sighted over the last year aswell, if you weren't wearing NHS specs you were the odd one out, come to think of it this screen's looking a bit blurry now actually, I might need an eye test! Good show, enjoyed it.
Thanks to Leila from Spin for sorting things out, shouts out to Laine Kitsu, David Keyte, Carl from Spiv/Dickies, Mark tuktuk and Jazzy from Veras, top guys.