Every now and again we are given gifts from the past. You find your father’s old jacket that has miraculously come back into style or maybe you find some old records in your parents basement just waiting to be played. In my case gifts from the past usually come in the form of cable programming. Once in a while Direct TV sees fit to show me something that I wasn’t alive for, but is brilliant nonetheless. The recent historical treat for me was the Paul Newman classic film Cool Hand Luke and the film’s predominant style….the Chambray Shirt.
The chambray is of course the prisoner’s attire in the film, but there’s no denying that it looks rugged and stylish, perfectly indicative of Newman’s fast talking antihero.
One needs only to listen to Otis Redding to truly understand his importance. He helped to define soul. Every note that poured from his mouth exuded a passion and emotion that few are able to portray. To hear him is to understand what he was feeling. It’s amazing to think of the magnitude of his impact given the fact that the lion’s share of his recordings were recorded in a mere four year span between 1963 and 1967. In fact perhaps his most famous hit “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” was released posthumously and was recorded only days before his tragic death on December 10th, 1967.
Sadly, while en route to a concert in Madison, Wisconsin, Redding’s private jet encountered a storm that caused it to crash into Madison’s Lake Monona. The crash claimed the life of Redding and four members of his Bar-Kays band leaving trumpeter Ben Cauley as the only survivor. On the 40th anniversary of his untimely death a crowd of hundreds gathered at Madison’s Monona Terrace to remember the legend that they had lost.
While only with us for a short time his impact was profound. His artistic touch is weaved throughout our culture. His songs have been heard in such classic movies as Top Gun, The Blues Brothers, and Casino. He wrote the Aretha Franklin hit “Respect.” Even in today’s popular culture you can see examples of his impact. His music has been used in television shows Glee and American idol. Most recently Kanye West and Jay-Z sampled his hit “Try a Little Tenderness” for the lead single off their album, Watch the Throne, “Otis.” The song is kicked off by Otis’ voice followed closely by Jay-Z proclaiming how soulful it is. Though his time with us was short his legacy of love and soul will last forever.
To raise awareness for Prostate Cancer, the guys at Lands’ End teamed up with Shawn Colley from Noble County Gold and grew mustaches in exchange for donations to the cause. The team raised almost $2500 dollars over the course of the month and celebrated with some beers at Sam and Maddies, in Dodgeville.
A few weeks ago I had the honor of heading to NY to represent the Lands’ End Canvas brand for our Spring/Summer 2012 Preview event.
An awesome band, great food, Wisconsin Beer, and a blank Canvas where each person attending the event had the opportunity to paint whatever they were feeling at the time…..all surrounded by cool clothes and fun people.
Check out some of the pics below of the event, the product, and some shots of The Wanda’s closing out the event with a bang.
Over 100 years ago, men who worked at sea were at the mercy of the elements. Rain, wind, and waves were an everyday part of life, with no protection being offered by their clothing.
The story goes….that in order to survive the icy water, these men would take their clothing, usually made from the remains of wind torn sails and rub them with linseed oil. The oil would penetrate the fabric and create a waterproof barrier against the elements.
At the end of the 1880’s, British Millerain began to develop fabrics for the military, sea-farers, and anyone else that needed relief from the elements.
Today, over 100 years later….people are still using the fabric recipe’s that has been passed along for 6 generations by this family company to make waterproof fabrics much the same way they did on ships in the 1800’s.
Anywhere you see the British Millerain logo….you know its a quality fabric. Check out some of the ways we used it in the Holiday Lands’ End Canvas line.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the legendary band Pearl Jam. In commemoration of that achievement the band has recently release a new documentary directed by Cameron Crowe called Pearl Jam 20.
This will be the second time you’ve seen Pearl Jam in a movie directed by Cameron Crowe. The band could also be seen in Crowe’s cult classic Singles. The film perfectly captured the look and feel of early nineties Seattle grunge and it is with that inspiration that we should take a second look at the garment that best symbolized the movement, the flannel shirt.
The flannel shirt has been the Superman’s cape for Pearl Jam front man, Eddie Vedder since the beginning. He wore one in the videos for Alive and Even Flow and when Pearl Jam performed on SNL following the death of Kurt Cobain; it was a flannel shirt that Eddie pushed aside to reveal the K-C that he had written over his heart.
Now, the flannel is back. You could speculate the fashion is simply cyclical. You could argue that the issues we are dealing with today aren’t that dissimilar from the ones we dealt with in the early 90’s, a struggling economy, and political frustration, but whatever the reason I’m going to go ahead and credit Eddie and the guys.
The t-shirt, perhaps the most utilitarian of fashion items has since its inception been the uniform of a cause, the garment that tells a story. Over the years the story has adapted, splintered, mutated, and contradicted itself, but the t-shirt has essentially remained the same. Its comfort and practicality have sustained its popularity and significance throughout its history.
There is some debate over the specificity of the origin of the t-shirt as more than just underwear. One such theory contends that during WWI American soldiers wore wool uniforms while their European counterparts were given cotton t-shirts in warmer climates needless to say the trend setting Europeans garnered the envy of the Americans. Another theory sites the US Navy as the trailblazer, stating that US Naval soldiers would wear only their undershirts when working on the deck of a ship and the trend caught on. Like any good trend it is hard to know exactly when and where it began, but in any case by WWII the t-shirt was a staple of the US military uniform and when the war ended and the troops came home and reintegrated back into the culture their uniform t-shirts came right along with them.
Since the turn of the century the t-shirt had been worn by laborers of all types. The garment was working its way to the forefront simply out of necessity. Civilian miners and dock workers would adorn what was then considered underwear because it was more comfortable, but it wasn’t until troops returned home from the war and began wearing their government issued t-shirts that it truly became acceptable as an exterior garment. In the 50’s Marlon Brando and James Dean changed the image. It went from being a symbol of utilitarian military conformity to being the uniform of the rebellious youth. In the 60’s when the rebellion became more directed and the rebel acquired a cause the technology of screen printing made it easy to get one’s political or social message plastered across their chest. The t-shirt became a means of overt expression, whether it was tie-dyed or a written phrase, the t-shirt went from a connotation to denotation. No longer was there a suggestion of status, now the suggestion was written, it was clear.
Since the 60’s the t-shirt’s versatility, comfort, and the ease at which messages can be so easily displayed has morphed its purpose into basically a mobile billboard. In the 70’s and 80’s small companies and bands would commonly use t-shirts to spread awareness of their fledgling brands. By the 90’s larger companies such as Coca Cola and Nike co-opted the style for the purposes of advertising through fashion and normalized the trend. The t-shirt became the less expensive way of showing one’s penchant for designer clothes and specific goods. The shirt’s journey had once again led it into the realm of conformity and uniformity. In the 30’s and 40’s people were wearing the same t-shirts because they were in the military and the shirts were free and comfortable, in the 90’s people were purchasing the same t-shirt because Michael Jordan was cool.
Of course today the t-shirt has the ability to make one of a thousand different statements. It is the shorthand by which one communicates, the way we tell the outside world who we are. Whether the message is the supporting of a specific political candidate, the supporting of a specific team or the lack of financial support that one possesses. It can say a myriad of things, but rest assured like any great piece of fashion it’s always saying something.
This weekend I watched “Back to the Future” on cable. I understand that this is a somewhat redundant statement because as far as I can tell, “Back to the Future” and “Catch Me If You Can” have become mandatory bi-weekly programming for any major media outlet. However, I noticed something this time that I haven’t noticed before. Mr. J. Fox is really rocking that orange vest. I’m speaking, of course, of the puffy orange vest that Marty takes from his home in 1985 to the unsuspecting world of 1955. Like all major fashion trends it is first met with derision. The vest becomes one of the many markers of time. It’s one of the red flags that Marty is not from the time period that he is currently in. When Marty enters Lou’s Café before the renowned chase scene, it is speculated that Marty is a sailor. The orange vest is such a stand out piece that the good people of 1955 assume that it must be a life preserver worn only by the heroes fighting in our naval services. Like all great fashion icons, Marty is quite literally ahead of his time. All I could think was how I need to get my hands one of those vests. Maybe, just maybe it was the power of the puffy orange vest that made us all believe in the power of love.
James Van Doren, one of the co-founders of Vans passed away at the age of 72 on October 12th, 2011. On March 16th 1965 the Van Doren Rubber Company opened its doors at 704 E. Broadway in Anaheim, California. The thing that made the company special was that it was both a manufacturer of shoes as well as a retailer. James helped to create the first mold for Vans’ signature waffle soul. The waffle soul’s thickness, quality and design made it a popular shoe for skaters in southern California’s emerging skating scene. The soul of the shoe was twice as thick as the PF Flyer’s, their canvas was known to be of a higher quality, and the unique waffle pattern that was originally designed for boat shoes added additional grip that came in handy when riding a skateboard. In addition to the shoe’s quality, the company’s versatility as both a manufacturer and retailer added to the popularity. The company made the shoes they sold and therefore they were able to create custom shoes which led to more innovative designs. While shoe companies like Nike and Reebok were working on new technologies, Vans attempted to keep the focus on quality and creativity. It was that creative vision that led to the invention of the checkerboard slip-on which was of course immortalized by Sean Penn in the film, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. In the 90’s Vans helped to create the Vans Warped Tour, a nationwide skating and music festival. For almost fifty years Vans has stood for durability, creativity, and ingenuity and while we have lost one of its founders, his spirit lives on.
Lands’ End Canvas now has a house band. We’re sponsoring The Wandas on their cross country tour. You can follow their tour on the Canvas website www.landsend.com/canvas to learn about the band, see pictures, watch videos, and check out their tour dates.
They visited us in Dodgeville recently and played an 8:30 AM show in the main lobby at the Lands’ End headquarters….here are some pics of their visit.
On a recent trip to NY with some buddies we came across one of the coolest places I have been to in a while.
THE SHOP Brooklyn has New York City’s only licensed bar, music venue, and cafe inside of an active motorcycle garage. We hung out for a few hours….had some drinks, listened to some great music, and had amazing bbq. All in a working bike shop.
I got my first pair of new Boots for the fall/winter.
I was at Palmer Trading Company (www.palmertrading.com) and saw these beauties from Oak Street Bootmakers.
The Chicago based company was founded by the son of a cobbler, George Vlagos. Each shoe is handcrafted in the USA by shoemakers with over 20 years of experience, using renowned Horween Chromexcel leather which undergoes an 89 step process taking 28 days in their Chicago based facility.
Sitting in the entrance of our new LE Heritage Room (courtesy of visual extraordinaire Mason Warner) is our very own Compass. This one of a kind piece was taken from the former Lands End store in the Pittsburgh Airport.
Thorps….a great barber shop hidden away in Madison’s Schenk’s Corner neighborhood. A great place to stop in, hang out, grab a beer, and get an amazing haircut finished off with a straight razor shave. The way it should be done.
J shows some of his pics from his latest cut with Stephen.
Spring Green WI is home to one of Wisconsin’s little known treasures, The Sh*tty Barn….and on Wednesday nights all summer, they host the Sh*tty Barn Sessions.
Bands from all over the midwest travel to Spring Green and play to an audience sitting on blankets, benches, and lawn chairs.
No Stage. Stripped Down. Pure Music Love.
I was able to go with some members of our Creative Team I had the pleasure of seeing Milwaukee’s own .357 String Band. They are an amazing combination of punk, bluegrass, and country….delivering pure Americana with the back door of a barn as their backdrop.
"Advertising without posters is like fishing without worms." - The Hatch Brothers
A few weeks ago, members of our Creative Art and Copy team at LE made a trip to Nashville to visit the genius’s behind Hatch Show Print and get a behind the scenes look at their operation.
Anybody that follows the music, art, or culture of the South knows the look of Hatch Show Print. Being one of the oldest working letterpress shops in America, they have designed posters that featured legendary artists from Johnny Cash to Hank Williams.
In their own words….
We’ve done it all without losing that irresistible appeal of turn-of-the-century Hatch posters, which were used to promote vaudeville, circus, and minstrel shows across the country. There’s a reason why music lovers, Americana buffs, graphic arts collectors and designers, and commercial advertisers of all persuasions continue to turn to Hatch for inspiration. We are, indeed, a tonic for the information age.
I’ve been breaking in a pair of Unbranded by UO jeans for about 18 months now….with no washes.
I was able to make it to South Carolina and give these bad boys their first taste of water, in the Atlantic Ocean.
I love these jeans because there is No Branding. No Embroidery. No Ad campaign. Just a great fitting, quality 14.5oz Selvedge Jean.
Check out the pictures below to see the differences between a brand new Unbranded Selvedge Jean and my Jean…..complete with 18 months of wear, tear, sweat, and one Salt Soak that make this jean completely me. Every whisker, stain, and wear pattern are uniquely mine, I’ve earned them.
Monday night….at the CFDA awards, my personal favorite designer Michael Bastian won the award for Menswear Designer of the Year.
Winning this award without a true “Michael Bastian” show this year illustrates the impact that he has on Men’s Fashion and how much everyone was inspired by the smaller show for his teamed up assortment with Gant.
In February, Esquire magazine wrote a great article on Michael, check it out on the link below.
Head of Men’s Design J Henley was in Canada to visit the 80,000 sq foot Fullum & Holt belt factory.
Founded in a small workshop in Old Montreal in 1897 where a few true Crafstman applied there know how to create quality leather goods…the company started making belts for the Canadian Armed Forces and Calvary dating back almost 100 years. Nowadays they make high quality leather belts that any tasteful person wearing pants can enjoy.
Check out the pictures he brought back….tools of the trade for quality leather goods.