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.

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