Eric Bay

 The best way to really get your money’s worth; make your wardrobe multitask. Here, Men’s Stylist Brenna Carlson schools us on five distinct and sharp looks for a casual jacket.

Field jackets are made to be tough. Utilizing a design honed over decades, designers put waxed canvas, corduroy and wool to task, shielding the wearer from elements on any adventure. I styled a Barbour jacketan older, tougher version of your go-to leather jacket and a rugged complement to any wardrobe—for the office or a casual date, or really any occasion that needs a little edge.

Five different ways to wear a coat

Office Ready: Field jackets are always on standby for the weekend, but try switching out your weekday suit jacket for this unconventional topcoat alternative.

[continue reading…]

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About Craig Stecyk III: “Artist, photographer, writer, filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Dogtown visionary and architect of surf and skate culture as we know it.”


About John John Florence: “Photographer, filmmaker and currently the world’s most dynamic surfer. Born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu. His supernatural skills in the water will inform the future of the sport for generations to come.”

—  —  —

…That’s some high praise—but when it’s quoted from a surf brand as legendary as Hurley, you know it’s well-deserved.

Hurley’s roots are deeply embedded in the beach culture of 1970s Costa Mesa, where Bob Hurley got his start shaping surfboards for some of the best surfers in the world. Today, Hurley (a key player in our new Pop-In Shop—Surf City) has grown to a global force that pushes the technological envelope—as well as the visual aesthetic—of what beach gear can be.

Keep reading for an exclusive Q&A with Hurley ambassadors Stecyk and Florence—and to see three Stecyk-designed surfboards on display at selected Pop-In @ Nordstrom locations.

Read More >

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hero

We spent a week this summer invading the offices and going inside the minds of six American menswear heroes. In our fifth installment, Jack Spade creative director Cuan Hanly (that’s pronounced “COO-in,” if you’re curious) discusses Charles Eames, growing up in Ireland and style that’s tough enough for a hardware store.

MEN’S SHOP DAILY: Legend has it that Jack Spade started by making bags—and selling them in a perhaps-unexpected venue.
CUAN HANLY OF JACK SPADE: We sold our first bag in 1997, and it was sold at a hardware store. I think the idea was to put bags in the hands of people who actually use bags, and who use ’em for function. So it was the idea of a builder, a painter, an architect having a bag—and it was primarily a tote bag at that point—that could be multifunctional. It was something that would carry tile samples around, but then equally, you could bring it to work and use it in the office. So that was really the origin, and then over the years, the bag range developed greatly—outside just the tote shape, and outside the hardware element. But it’s always been about timeless functionality—stuff that always works and continues to work.

Jack Spade bags have earned kind of a cult status.
We have people coming into our stores that have had our bags for eight or ten years, and now they’re broken-in and battered, but they absolutely love them—because it represents that kind of journey and experience with a product or an object carried with you.

Eventually, around 2009 [when Cuan came on board], you guys started rolling out clothing in addition to bags. Is the same “form meets function” philosophy reflected there as well?
I believe so. It’s something that we focus on a lot. We select raw materials that have durability. We concentrate on the way things are constructed in our design process. So, yeah, I feel like we want the apparel to act in the same way as the bags—in the sense that it becomes a favorite shirt or favorite jacket or favorite pair of trousers that you’re gonna go back to all the time.

What inspired you and the Jack Spade team when you were designing the fall collection?
We were very interested in the crossover in the creative world, of work and play, and the kind of blurred boundaries if you’re working in a creative environment—that really you never stop thinking about it, whether you’re at home or at work. We did a photo shoot with an artist called Geoff McFetridge. He’s a graphic artist out in L.A. It’s just interesting seeing how he lives his life—he’ll go surfing in the morning, then he’ll go to work, and it’s just kind of a complete blurred line.

How did that play out in some of the pieces?
Following what I said about bringing the concept of “play” into it, we have what we’re calling our Tangram pattern. [Case for iPhone here; sweater coming soon.] It’s like where you take little blocks of wood, and you create shapes out of it. Actually, it’s supposed to be like a little flying bird. So that was a motif that we used throughout. We’re pretty well-known for color and pattern, so we wanted to bring that in, but in a way that remains wearable, because it can go un-wearable very easily. We got such a phenomenal response for this sweater.

Well, people love tangrams. What led you to choose that as a theme?
We were also a bit influenced by Ray and Charles Eames, because their creative environment was very much [a blurred line between work and play]. They did a lot of toys. They used to do the House of Cards and so on, so this kinda felt like it was a follow-up from that—taking essentially what are kids’ toys but doing them in a way that makes them feel a little more intellectual and sophisticated.

 

There’s a great leather jacket in the collection.
It’s Italian lambskin. One of the things we’re really interested in is how product wears and how the user affects the product. So, we don’t tend to break our product in too heavily before people buy it. We love the fact that if you wore this, and if I wore this—or if you carried one of our wax bags and I also carried it over a period of a couple years—they would look completely different, ’cause we have different lifestyles, and we use them in different ways. So, we like the aging process. We like the way that things age [depending on] how a customer uses them.

Of course Jack Spade is still making great bags. Which pieces are you looking forward to for fall?
Definitely feeling a big drive toward briefcases. So we have our classic Waxwear, which is this guy [above left]… our slim briefWith technology these days, iPads and so on, a guy doesn’t need a really big briefcase anymore. He’s carrying less from a paperwork point of view. We’ve been using waxed canvas for a long time, and it just has such a beautiful character. I think it’s better and better the more you use it. Again, it’s our fascination with how things age and wear, and waxed canvas is just one of those things that really wears in beautifully and becomes like an old friend the more you use it.

It’s apparent in some of your accessories that Jack Spade is funny. Has a sense of humor always been part of the brand?
I think it’s always been there. It’s something that attracted me… from the outside, before I joined the brand [in 2009]. I think it’s not a juvenile humor; it’s self-effacing humor. We like to refer to it as an unexpected wit. It’s a little bit of a surprise, ’cause I do think our customer is interested in discovery and in finding things that they’re not expecting to see. You’ll find cards in your [Jack Spade] wallet, when you buy your wallet, that have the top-ten chess moves—little things like that.

In addition to bags and clothes, Jack Spade launched a line of watches this past year. What sets Jack Spade watches apart?
All of the metal-case watches are Swiss movement, so we get the interior from Switzerland. They’re sapphire-crystal faces, so basically anything but a diamond is not going to scratch your watch. We developed this guy, which we call the Dual Time. This is actually a movement that we developed ourselves. It’s got an internal rotating bezel, and by turning the fourth hand, you can set a second time zone, and it keeps in sync with the main movement, so you can look at two time zones on one face. It’s based on an old ’50s pilot watch that I have.

What does it mean when we hear “Swiss-made” or “Swiss movement” when it comes to watches?
It’s just the level of quality, really. That’s the main thing. Switzerland is the mecca of watchmaking. Generally, our products are a lot about the functionality, the durability and the quality of the product, so we felt it was appropriate for our watches to have that.

For guys with less money to invest in a top-quality watch, you have options under $100, too.
We launched with what we’re calling our ‘Graphic’ watches. These retail at $98. They’re a great opportunity for the brand to show its personality. [For example], the ‘Graphic’ watches are not Swiss movement; they’re Japanese movement. So what we put on it is “No jewels, not Swiss.” We never try to be something that we’re not, so it’s important that, when we do something like this, we’re not pretending—it just is what it is. So we kind of embrace the high and low of things, in a big way.

Do you have a watch collection of your own?
I do. I probably have over 30, ranging from top-end to low-end. I picked up an old Elgin in a flea market in L.A. That was kind of one of my better finds, ‘cause it was in one of those boxes where they’ve taken the straps off and it’s just the cases. And I spotted ’em and had a quick look at it, and I was like, “Hmm, this looks really good.” It’s an automatic one, and it was still working. The guy looked like he knew [his stuff], ‘cause he had other, much higher-level watches out. And he said $30, so I was like, “Will you do it for $25?” and he said yes. So that was a little bit of a prize “get.”

 

You guys use a lot of color, but it doesn’t feel loud.
We tend to build our own color palettes. We don’t really follow color trends, so we create a lot of our patterns and colors ourselves, so I think that’s something that our customer comes to us for. They’re not gonna see this type of pattern anywhere else. The color combinations feel interesting. We don’t always put the “right” colors together, which I think is something that people kind of like.

This sweater has an interesting effect—with some interesting colors.
It’s a bit like a Donegal tweed but, as you can see, pulling out colors that you wouldn’t normally see in a Donegal, like the bright green and bright pink and so on.

For the layperson, could you define what Donegal means?
It’s just basically where you take a darker color and you shoot brighter colors through it. So they’ll pick different-colored yarns and feed it through while they’re weaving, and you get these kind of little small specks of color. I mean, I think originally it probably represented the moss on the heath in Donegal. I guess that’s where it came from originally. Don’t quote me on that! [Sorry, Cuan.] But being from Ireland, I think that’s what it looks like.

How do you utilize these giant fabric books [pictured above]?
They’re all vintage. They’re pretty incredible. You can take patterns off them and work them in different fabrications. I’ve got about 30 of these books that we dive into when we need to. “Spring 1969″—these are a little crazy. We got some great color inspiration from them as well. You can pull color palettes out of them. I also collect scarves. They’re a great source for swimwear patterns.


You guys have an interesting collection of artwork and memorabilia around the office.
We just collect them anywhere and everywhere: eBay, flea markets, vintage stores. There are two or three of us who do a lot of the collecting, and we just amalgamate and collect stuff all the time. Collecting is a big part of the team and the brand, so we just continue the art collection. Generally, it’s just stuff that has a little element of humor to it or kind of an odd sense to it. We like oversized things as well. In the prop room, you’ll see some things that are kind of oddly sized. As I say, it’s a collection of the classic but equally the slightly odd.

How do you and your team find time to go thrift-shopping? Do you pencil it in as dedicated research work?
Yeah, we do. We do road trips to particular things. We’ve done a few to L.A, and then… you know, flea markets on the weekend, or you just see stuff. eBay is a great source for stuff… I just love the idea that some things people completely disregard, we find really interesting. You know, one man’s fat is another man’s meat. Or is it the other way around?

  

For eBay, it seems like you’d need to have a specific item in mind that you’re searching for.
My watch list is very extensive. Some of them work well, but eBay is always a little bit risky. I remember I was buying—don’t ask me why I was buying it—but it was just this beautiful brass doorknob, and it was supposed to be off one of the cathedrals in Boston. And it was only like a dollar, so I was like, let’s get it. And it took ages to arrive. And three or four weeks later, I just got this little envelope, and it was kinda handwritten, and it was basically a postcard of the doorknob, and that’s what I had bought. So you never know. Sometimes you fall afoul of eBay, but most of the time you get pretty interesting stuff.

Any other tips on vintage-shopping?
It’s a lot of fun. I do a lot of it. If you spoke to my wife… it’s like, I’ll come home with more jackets, and she’s like, “Didn’t you just buy one of those?” I’m like, “The pockets are different. That’s very important.” Luckily, we have a basement.

What was it like growing up in Dublin?
It was great. I mean, it’s a fantastic town. It’s an odd combination of feeling like a small village where everybody knows everybody—but it’s a capital city, so it has that bigger-city vibe to it as well. So it was a really nice combination of closeness to family, but then feeling like you were part of a bigger strata across the world of capital cities. We try to go back there twice a year.

How did you go about becoming the creative director of Jack Spade?
I studied design in college, and then I worked for a long time with Paul Smith in the UK. My wife’s American, and we moved over to New York about seven and a half years ago, and I started working as a creative director at Original Penguin. I was there for just under three years. And then, I basically always loved Jack and what it represented, and at that time they were looking for somebody to head up the brand. So I came on board about five years ago.

Were you always interested in clothing and style?
Yeah, I think so. I was certainly interested in design and architecture, photography, clothes. So, it wasn’t necessarily specifically about clothes, but it was just a broader sense of design and aesthetic—that’s always been a big interest of mine. And I do a lot of photography personally, so that’s something that’s close to my heart as well. So, it’s just a general fascination and love of design across a lot of different disciplines.

What made you choose to be a design major in college?
I think it was an interesting combination, because there’s a technical side to clothing—design and construction and raw material. I was always very interested in architecture as well, and it felt like almost kind of architecture for the body—the way you construct things and the way you design ’em and the technical side of it. So that’s always fascinated me and, I think, drew me to it.

Did you dress well as a kid in high school?
I guess. You’d have to ask my friends!

Were there school uniforms back in Dublin?
There were, yes. I kind of [liked them] in a way, because they were super classic… black blazer and gray trousers.

Did you and your classmates do things to kind of personalize the uniforms?
To a certain extent. Not too much, but… wearing trousers a little shorter or untucking shirts. That was about the extent that we were allowed. The tie undone was a big thing I always remember.

What else were you into growing up? Music? Sports?
I grew up listening to a lot of Van Morrison… Neil Young… and a little bit of Led Zeppelin, so kind of a broad spectrum of stuff. And I did play a lot of sports—a lot of cricket when I was younger. That was a big part of my youth—which obviously has a uniform also. I got hit pretty badly as a kid [playing cricket], smashed my nose up. The batsman just—bang—straight to my face. But it’s a great game. It’s like a game of chess… I guess it’s like any sport—when you’re into it, you can tell the subtleties and the nuances of what people are doing and what the impact of those are gonna be.

You guys have a Galaga-slash-Ms. Pac-Man arcade machine here in your well-appointed employee break room. Do you hold the high score?
It doesn’t log the high score. I’m one of the people who plays it most, though. Galaga is one of my favorites. It’s great. We’ve set it so you can basically just keep playing, no quarters required.

Who are your top style icons of all time? 
Oh, let’s see. I think Cary Grant is definitely—do you know the movie To Catch a Thief? You should definitely see it. It’s pretty amazing. So, yeah, he would be up there. Just again, that kind of really super-classic, simple but great color combinations. Not afraid of pattern. On-screen and off-screen, just beautifully perfected style. JFK obviously was another—an American icon. And going into, you know, Jackson Pollock and people like that, where it’s a little bit left of center in their design aesthetic—or their clothing aesthetic as well.

Who’s that grizzled gent in the black-and-white photo there [pictured two photos up]?
Edmund Hillary—explorer, Mount Everest. That was one of the kind of kick-off thoughts about our holiday concept, ’cause it’s the anniversary of them conquering Mount Everest, Hillary and Tenzing. Obviously, he wore amazing mountaineering gear, but then he’s got this really nice kind of softened English-tweed aesthetic in his non-mountaineering wear. So, an interesting guy.

How about a design icon? I see Dieter Rams referenced on your office wall.
His design philosophy was pretty amazing—less design is more. And you think, with Apple and where they’ve gone with a lot of their product, I think it’s drawing a lot of influence from him. Just the simplicity of it. It certainly resonates with me: as little design as possible.

 
—  —  —
 


Key items from Jack Spade’s fall collection:
Merino Wool CardiganSuede Tote | Quilted Vest
‘Waxwear’ Backpack | Donegal Sweater | Leather-Strap Watch

SHOP ALL: JACK SPADE

 
 

[Photos by Robin Stein. Interview by Justin Abbott.
Special thanks to Cuan Hanly and the Jack Spade team.]

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hero

We spent a week this summer invading the offices and going inside the minds of six American menswear heroes. Well, technically seven, given that Shipley & Halmos consists of the right-brain/left-brain duo of Sam Shipley (left, above) and Jeff Halmos. Below, we talk vintage video games, pugs vs. killer whales—and how subtle, high-quality clothes can be kind of hilarious.

MEN’S SHOP DAILY: We heard you guys had a wild night last night.
SAM SHIPLEY: Well, we took the crew bowling. One of our employees is leaving to start her own business, so we took everybody out to go bowling over in Williamsburg, which was pretty fun. Pizza, beer, bowling—what’s not to like about that?

Did it get pretty competitive?
JEFF HALMOS: No, it’s usually pretty friendly. There was a lot of high-fiving, a lot of clapping. Everyone seemed to have some good rolls and some bad [note: rumor has it that Jeff somehow rolled a ball into his own ankle]. It looked like we were going have way too much pizza, but…All gone.

What toppings?
Jeff: We just went plain.
Sam: Regular old cheese.

Well that’s exciting.
Jeff: Plain-cheese pizza is the standard on which all pizza is built. You don’t have to get so crazy with the toppings—ham and pineapple and all this other stuff. Keep it simple.

Keep it simple. Is that like a metaphor?
Jeff: Very much so, as a matter of fact!
Sam: I would say it’s a metaphor for design in general. Restraint is the key to good design. So if you can make a pizza with only four ingredients…or whatever it is to make cheese…then you can probably put any topping on there and it’ll be good.

Would you say Shipley & Halmos is the ‘cheese pizza’ of clothing design?
Sam: I would hope that we are the standard of cheese pizza. The Ray’s or…who else?
Jeff: I like Saluggi’s right across the street.
Sam: Yeah, Saluggi’s is good.

Let’s go back for a moment. How did you guys meet?
Jeff: We met at the University of Colorado Boulder, our freshman year of college. We met in front of Sam’s dorm, hanging around like freshmen do when you don’t know anyone, looking for a party or something.
Sam: First couple weeks of school.

How did you guys start working together from there?
Sam: Well, we became friends first. We got a house with some other dudes off-campus, and then Jeff had a friend who was into starting a clothing company. It turned into a school project. So by the end of school, we were kind of applying our majors and organizing our thesis based on a clothing line. Web design, graphic design, business plan, figuring out financing—all that stuff. And then the result was that we actually made some product—and we sold it. And that’s kind of what kicked it off. When we graduated, we took some time off and then decided, what do we have to lose? So we started doing clothes.

What were you guys’ majors?
Sam: Fine Art.
Jeff: Finance.

What were the early days of your company like?
Jeff: When we started Shipley & Halmos, we worked out of Sam’s apartment in Long Beach, California. At that time, he was recording an album in the kitchen portion of his one-bedroom apartment. So there was a bedroom…the living room, which acted as the Shipley & Halmos office-slash-Sam’s living room…and then the kitchen, which acted as Sam’s kitchen-slash-recording studio. So there were amps, and tambourines, and fabric swatches. For a 600-square-foot little room, it was a very creative environment. Creativity per square foot, I would say…
Sam: Oh, jam-packed.
Jeff: That it was. You got a lot of bang for your buck.

What’s the Shipley & Halmos mantra?
Jeff: The first thing that we did was write a message for the label of all our garments. Sam drew the font. We carefully chose each word. It says, ‘An offering of some clothing and things crafted with hand, health and heart.’ The reason why we added ‘and things’ is because we always knew that we wanted Shipley & Halmos to be the vehicle that would allow us to create whatever we wanted.

Create whatever you wanted—like what?
Sam: If someone came to us and was like, we want you to design the interior of a car, or a series of drinking glasses, or work on a rug, or whatever the case may be—whatever kind of product design that we could get our hands on—that’s something that would be interesting. We consider the ‘things’ side of our label as being almost like a creative agency.
Jeff: Chocolate bars were pretty fun.
Sam: Right, we made some chocolate bars and created custom wrappers for them. We made beer. We fake-sold a dog [on our website]. We found foam fingers, and got a yellow one with black writing, and wrote ‘Taxi’ on it [for hailing cabs]. Just looking through the lens a little differently than you normally would.

What was the story behind the NBA player mini-hoops you made?
Jeff: That was in honor of the Dream Team. They had the anniversary of the [1992] Olympics recently. We’re both into basketball, and sports in general. We have these little hoops here in our office, so we thought it’d be a nice ode to that team. So we picked Barkley…
Sam: Barkley, Jordan, and Bird.

Does the concept of sports always play into your collections?
Sam: Sports are a common thread. We’ve done a varsity jacket since 2009 (a year after we started our brand). I think it keeps Jeff and me interested in being a part of the US, like as a whole. Through sports, you’re always reminded about places and not just being so New York-centric. You’re getting reminded about cities that have certain personalities, and their teams embody that personality. We took a store tour around the US and shot portraits of customers and then made a book out of that. Austin, DC, Boston, San Diego…
Jeff: Houston. We live in New York, but we’re not from here. We always try to remind ourselves that we represent other parts of the country, and our brand is sold outside of New York, too.

Who are some of your favorite athletes of all time?
Jeff: I mean, we both grew up in the ’90s, so every kid our age loved Michael Jordan. We do have a little bit of a rivalry around here, because I’m a Miami Heat fan and Sam is a Chicago Bulls fan. So that can get interesting on occasion.

Congrats on the Heat taking home another ring. What did you think of that play where LeBron got called for a charge on Roy Hibbert, in the Eastern Finals, and wigged out?
Sam: [Under his breath] I would call it poetic justice, that flopper.

 

How do you guys collaborate with each other?  Do you divide and conquer and have different roles, or do you work together on everything?
Jeff: We definitely divide and conquer. Sam has a Fine Art degree, and mine is in Finance. So Sam works mostly on sketching, technical aspects of design, goes to fabric appointments. He kind of leads the charge in the design aspect. I look over sales, marketing, bookkeeping, legal, a lot of the operational elements. We’re different in that aspect, but at the same time, we can sit down and talk about branding and accounting in the same conversation and both be speaking the same language. I think that’s really important when you have a business partner, to have someone that complements you.

Do you guys ever disagree?
Jeff: All the time. Yeah.

What do you do about it?
Sam: Best idea wins. The rule we institute is, if you don’t like something you have to be able to explain why. If you can’t, then you’re just being contrary. Then you get into really good practices—constructive criticism that leads to a good idea down the road.
Jeff: [If that fails], a decathlon of office games to see who wins. Paper football competition…
Sam: We’ve been photographed arm wrestling quite a few times.

Which one of you guys would win at one-on-one basketball?
Sam: Jeff.
Jeff: I’ve got the height advantage.
Sam: Jeff’s better at basketball than I am. He played in high school.

Who would win in a drinking contest?
Sam: I think we both can put up the numbers there. I would say we can both go hard on the paint on that one. It would depend on who wants it more.
Jeff: That’d be a close competition. It’s probably any given night, you know.

Who is the Shipley & Halmos ‘guy’?
Sam: We think of him as the director, not necessarily the actor. The music producer, not necessarily the band. Kind of a behind-the-scenes type. That’s how we are here in New York. So there’s a subtlety to the brand that’s downplayed on purpose. We want to let a person’s style dictate [how he wears] our clothes, as opposed to our clothes dictating his style.

What’s new about this Fall’s collection?
Jeff: It’s probably one of my favorite collections that we’ve done. We have pieces that have been in our line since day one—the Belmont chino, Broome polo, Marine shirt—that have been staples of what we do. But for this particular collection, we wanted to kind of take it up a notch. A little bit dressier of a look, without being formal. Like this henley—it’s got kind of a varsity look to it, but it’s made out of a really, really nice pima cotton. That balance of casual and dressy is really important. There’s always a little bit of sporty in what we do, mixed with a little bit of tailored.

What do you love about a solid, reliable basic?
Jeff: I’ll wear like the same pair of pants for two weeks straight. I’m just like, ‘I’m real into these right now, and there’s no reason for me to change them.’ Once they get dirty, then I’ll change them. I think a lot of guys are like that. They have a rotation. So we make some of those staple products, like a great pair of chinos.

What’s special about the chinos in your Fall collection [pictured above]?
Jeff: This piece has been in our line since our first season. It’s called the ‘Belmont.’ Actually we talked about it earlier—Sam’s apartment/recording studio/office was in the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach. So this is an ode to that shore.

Also: They’re green. How would you suggest wearing them?
Jeff: Yeah, they’re a really dark green, which is nice. I’d go brown shoes…shirt and tie, to work, with a blazer. You could also wear it with a white T-shirt, rolled up with a pair of Converse. One of the most versatile pieces in a man’s wardrobe, I think, is a great chino.

 

Sam, as a fine art major and accomplished artist—could you draw us something?
Sam: Uh yeah, I could probably draw something. It depends on what you want though. I’ll draw you a killer whale. You want a killer whale?

Sure. Why did that come to mind?
Sam: I don’t know, I’m good at it. Male or female?

It’s up to you.
Sam: Male, we’ll do male. All right here we go…There you go. See the tall dorsal fin? The female has more of a dolphin look.

Can you sign it so I can sell it on eBay?
Sam: Yeah, absolutely. You’ll get a ton of money for it, I promise. [See Sam’s drawing here.]

Sam, for a story we did last Christmas, you said the best gift you ever got was your Game Boy. What’s your favorite Game Boy game of all time?
Sam:
God there’s a lot of those. I mean the original Tennis is just kind of a classic. It’s really fun, and you could link it up with another guy and play tennis against them. That was like—magical.
Jeff: I mean Tetris for Game Boy. I kinda feel like that’s the iconic game.

It’s like the cheese pizza of Game Boy games.
Jeff: Is your Nintendo still hooked up? He’s got a bunch of regular Nintendo games.
Sam: My NES, yeah.

What’s your favorite NES game?
Sam: Oh gee, well, Zelda, the original. Solomon’s Key is a classic. Ice Hockey, the original.
Jeff: Oh I love Ice Hockey.
Sam: An unbelievable classic.
Jeff: Soccer.
Sam: Double Dribble. I mean, you could go on forever. Russian Attack is a classic. That’s an early one. That’s kind of like what Contra came from. You could pick up and drop weapons. That was important.

Every time you turn on your NES, are you praying that it still works?
Jeff: Well everyone knows that [mimes blowing into a dusty game cartridge]—done. A couple bounces in there [mimes pushing spring-loaded cartridge slot].
Sam: Those video-game consoles don’t work like that anymore.
Jeff: No, I’ve played some of the new ones. It’s like things are happening everywhere! It takes a while to get used to it.
Sam: I went to the ‘Last Arcade‘ in New York, down in Chinatown recently, which is hilarious. It’s amazing. It’s just like a bunch of Dance Dance Revolution people that bring water and towels and are like, literally there to work out. They’re going there in gym clothes.

It’s on the books that you guys love Commando. What are some other favorite movies?
Jeff: Terminator, Terminator 2.
Sam: Predator.
Jeff: End of Days. Last Action Hero.
Sam: Kindergarten Cop. Twins.
Jeff: Just to name a few. Conan the Barbarian.

What does Shipley & Halmos do better than any other brand out there?
Jeff: I think we pay attention to all aspects of our brand…and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
Sam: I was gonna say kicking a–.

Like metaphorically speaking, or…?
Sam: I mean both. Yeah. But I think Jeff’s answer about not taking ourselves too seriously—we try to put that in the clothes as much as we can.

What are some product details that express that—your sense of humor?
Sam: Labels. Like, varsity jackets always have a nametag, so ours has spaces for ‘nickname,’ ‘class,’ and then ‘power animal.’ But you would never really notice this until you got the jacket home. This is a very classic design philosophy for us, where you buy this really great jacket, you try it on, you look at it in the mirror—and you go home and you put your hand in the pocket, and it has corduroy. So there’s a texture that registers, like Oh, they didn’t have to use that. And then there’s a small label in there, you read it, and then ultimately you’re like Oh, this company’s awesome. Or hopefully you’re like that, because it relates to you. It catches you off guard, or it relates to you as a person. It has a message behind it that gives a personality to whoever intended that label to go in there. So all of a sudden, you have the designer speaking directly to the person, who is supporting the designer’s ability to design clothes in the future.

Sam:…There are more littered throughout here. Our knits all have like a little fancy message. Or not fancy, but like a quote from a movie.

Are they all from Schwarzenegger movies?
Sam: There are a few from Schwarzenegger films. I think there’s some Dazed and Confused. There are some other movies.
Jeff: We vary.
Sam: Oh definitely some Top Gun. Oh yeah, see like this label here [on the back of the ‘Belmont’ chino above]—this label says, ‘We are using this space to let you know the name of our brand is Shipley & Halmos. —Sam & Jeff.’ On a really nice, vegetable-dyed leather label. It’s kind of like graffiti to some degree. The label is kind of making fun of ourselves, but also creates a memorable experience.

What would your power animals be—if you filled out the label you mentioned in your varsity jacket?
Sam: I think I drew you mine. The orca.
Jeff: Pug. Very different animals.
Sam: They’re relatable. They both look like they’re having a good time.
Jeff: They’re both black and white. Or your pug is black.
Sam: Yeah, so they’re both black and white. Both have a roundish shape.
Jeff: Cherubic.
Sam: Yeah. A streamlined design.
Jeff: And a blunted nose. Both mammals. They both have teeth.
Sam: And both can be vicious, vicious killers if they so choose to be.

 
—  —  —
 


Key items from the Shipley & Halmos Fall collection:
‘Ralphie’ Varsity Jacket | ‘Belmont’ Slim Fit Pants | ‘Earnest’ Wool Shawl Collar Sweater
‘Marine’ Plaid Shirt‘Brett’ Henley | ‘Spaniel’ Long-Sleeve T-Shirt

SHOP ALL: SHIPLEY & HALMOS

 
 

[Photos by Robin Stein. Interview by Justin Abbott.
Special thanks to Shipley & Halmos and team.]

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It was just last week that we mentioned the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) and its uncanny knack for a) honoring our favorite menswear designers in the biz, most recently Thom Browne, and b) throwing parties that draw highly photogenic crowds.

The CFDA’s noteworthy deeds continue this week with a collection of one-of-a-kind weekend bags that the non-profit organization, along with Details magazine, commissioned from top menswear designers including Michael Bastian, Rag & Bone, Todd Snyder and Billy Reid.


[The plain, military-surplus duffel each designer started with.]

The bags are being auctioned on eBay through this weekend only. As of this posting, Todd Snyder’s is the most hotly sought after with 23 bids. But you know how these things work: The auction ends June 17; now’s your chance to stake out your favorite bag, then swoop in at the last minute to drop the winning bid.

Check out our favorite bags below, and pop over to eBay to see about scoring a one-of-a-kind work of art (slash piece of luggage). All proceeds go to the CFDA to benefit new and emerging designers.

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Michael Bastian. The 2011 CFDA Award winner patched up his bag like an Eagle Scout sash full of merit badges; but in a Jack Kerouac-like twist, the obscure mementos look like they’ve been collected throughout a road scholar’s lifetime of strange trips.
Shop Michael Bastian | Bid on This Bag


Rag & Bone. Sleek black leather contrasting the faded olive give this duffel—by the English-bred, New York-based duo behind Rag & Bone—the look of a refined  doctor’s bag. Perfect for carting a change of clothes uptown to hit the gym before or after the office.
Shop Rag & Bone | Bid on This Bag


Marc Jacobs. Win this auction, and you get not only a cool bag—but also dozens of what appear to be hand-doodled buttons to pluck off and pin to your jean- and leather-jacket lapels.
Shop Marc by Marc Jacobs | Bid on This Bag


Tommy Hilfiger. It’s amazing how some blue dye and leather accents can make an Army/Navy bag look incredibly luxe—as with Hilfiger’s unmistakable play on one of our favorite trends for summer: unapologetic Americana.
Shop Tommy Hilfiger Watches | Bid on This Bag


Billy Reid. Alabama-based Reid devised one of the most functional duffels of the bunch—complete with longer handles to toss it over your shoulder during endless airport treks, and a strap on the end to easily nab it from the overhead compartment (or the flatbed of a truck).
Shop Billy Reid | Bid on This Bag


Ovadia & Sons. Twin brothers Shimon and Ariel Ovadia offer a wry twist on their signature mix of preppy and military influences, with aeronautical patches affixed in a jaunty, haphazard manner.
Shop J. Press York Street by Ovadia & Sons | Bid on This Bag


Duckie Brown. Where other redesigns sought to urbanize the source material, this one embraces olive green’s earthy side, with a wooly blanket pattern that recalls visions of summer camp.
Shop Florsheim by Duckie Brown Shoes | Bid on This Bag


Todd Snyder. This Iowa-born designer chose to pursue the ‘Navy’ side of Army/Navy, with a sailor-inspired creation that turns the conventional duffel on its ear. Rugged natural leather and sturdy rope make it ready for a long boat ride—preferably to the Bahamas.
Shop Todd Snyder | Bid on This Bag



And two more auctions we’re eyeing: Richard Chai (top) and Public School—we don’t carry these guys, but they made some of our favorite bags of the bunch. The former utilizes a rare color scheme we suddenly hope to see more of: olive green x neon blue.

The latter, in always-appropriate black on black, looks like a cross between Michael Jackson’s jacket from Thriller and some space-age survival gear from our recent favorite sci-fi film-festival throwback.

 
 

[Intro photo by Donnell Culver for We Are The Market. Duffel photos via Details.com.]

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In the spirit of the holidays, we asked some of our favorite brands and designers a simple question with a rarely simple answer: What’s you favorite gift? Answers ranged from prized possessions they’ve received, to a signature item to give, to less-tangible ‘gifts’ that can’t be bought. Though they vary wildly, the answers below all have one thing in common: They give an unmistakable look into each brand’s ethos. Scroll down to get inside the minds of America’s best designers (and click the links to start deciding how to spend that Nordstrom Gift Card that Grandma gave you).


Heavy Medals from Legendary Friends. “My favorite gifts are from my friends Jimmy Page and Alice Cooper, who gave me their gold and platinum record awards, respectively. These are framed in my office and commemorate 500,000 and 1 million copies of albums sold—a phenomenal achievement that I get to hang on my wall and see every day.”  —John Varvatos
 


Bulls Tickets, 1989. “The best gift I ever received came from my sister: my niece Isabella. The second-best I got from my parents in 1989 for Christmas: Two tickets to see Michael Jordan play at Chicago Stadium with my dad. I was 10. Jordan scored 42 points against the Golden State Warriors; I’ll never forget how loud it was when they announced his entrance.”  —Andy Dunn of Bonobos
 


A Bronzed Artifact. “This is a gift I received from Michael Stipe after we collaborated on an art project of his. He took a Diana/Lomo camera (similar quality to lighting filters used on Instagram) and cast it in bronze. I love the idea of low/high art and technology. A low-tech, cheap plastic camera, immortalized in bronze. This gift I will have and appreciate forever.”  —Rogan Gregory of Rogan
 


A Family Tree. “My favorite thing about the holidays is the huge tree we do every year. My wife is a Christmas ornament freak, so we load it down with white lights and tons of ornaments. My favorites are the homemade ones the children make. We decorate with all-natural clippings of pine, cedar, boxwood, holly and magnolia—using fresh keeps things simple. Most important is to relax and enjoy the family and special time of year.” Billy Reid
 


Iowa’s Best-Kept Secret. “All of my friends and family get a bottle of Templeton Rye, a small-batch rye whiskey based on a Prohibition-era recipe that was made in Templeton, Iowa. Since I’m from Iowa, the connection is obvious—and there’s no better way to warm up a cold, holiday night than with a nice glass of Templeton.” Todd Snyder
 


The Original Hand-Held Device. “Does this really need any explanation as to why it’s my favorite? I was 10. It’s a Game Boy. Nuff said.” —Sam Shipley of Shipley & Halmos
 


Christmas in Jamaica. “Last week, my wife treated me to a one-week getaway in Jamaica as my early Xmas gift. We stayed at a gorgeous private villa (Round Hill) overlooking the sea and Montego Bay. The gift included tennis lessons—definitely the best gift ever. The only downside is that now I have to treat her to something even more special!” —Dexter Peart of WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie
 


Late-’80s Pentax 67 Medium Format with Super Takumar 75mm 1:4.5 Lens. “Growing up, the Pentax 6×7 or 67 was one of the cameras I always lusted after but was never able to afford. With the advent of digital, these cameras are now extremely good value as vintage, in comparison to their original prices. I had been watching this camera on eBay as a ‘buy now’ option for a while, but not biting the bullet on it, and obviously boring my wife to death about it—so much so, that without my knowledge, she bout it for me. So I ended up getting one of my favorite presents and fulfilling a childhood dream at the same time.” —Cuan Hanly of Jack Spade
 


One-of-a-Kind Artwork. [It’s a tie. Left]: “White tiger…on a purple crystal…in fog…in space…on a collector’s plate…framed. The best part is the warning on the back that it ‘may poison food.’ I got it from a member of our creative team a few years ago—probably in an attempt to actually poison me.” [Right]: “The photo of a naked girl sitting in the woods with a unicorn is also in the running. Have you ever had a photo shoot with a unicorn? Those things never sit still. And they demand giant dressing rooms, and green M&Ms, and are total divas. They really just aren’t worth dealing with.” —Todd Masters of Toddland
 
 
 

[All photos shot by the designers/brands themselves, except Michael Jordan © Walter Iooss, Jr.]

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We shot this month’s lineup of GQ Selects in NYC the same week we were prepping the GQ & Nordstrom Men’s Shop for opening night. Busy day, but the shots turned out great. Here are some snaps from on-set.


Killer cardigan—and only $125.


(L) We’d recognize that ‘fro anywhere: Mr. Eric Ray Davidson.
(R) GQ styling team’s impeccable watch selection.


…And their sock game is unmatched (no pun intended).

[Photos by Eric Bay, one of our Art Directors.]

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STANDARD ISSUE. When they say ‘military grade,’ they mean it. Randolph Engineering is the prime eyewear contractor for the U.S. Military and allied Air Forces worldwide, and has been for the past 30 years. Randolph’s oldest design, the sturdy ‘Aviator,’ has served as standard issue for pilots and even astronauts—in Vietnam, Desert Storm, Korea, Kosovo and beyond.

 

MIL-SPEC. Randolph not only meets but surpasses rigid military specifications (Mil-Spec) set by the U.S. Department of Defense for reliability, value and performance. The Randolph team scours the world for special alloys that won’t rust. Their lenses are chemically tempered for impact resistance. And they guarantee their glasses’ solder joints for life.

 

MADE IN THE USA. Still based in its namesake town of Randolph, Mass., and still family-owned and -operated, Randolph Engineering continues to utilize the custom machinery designed and hand-built by its two founders in 1972. Each pair of sunglasses passes through more than 200 production stages, most of them by hand. See a few of them in the video above, and click here to tour the factory with GQ and Michael Williams of A Continuous Lean.

 

FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION. Randolph’s frames are as stylish as they are sturdy—and icons as varied as Don Draper, Johnny Depp, Travis Bickle and Michael Bastian have shown that opting for world-class quality is a pretty good look.

Which pair are you eyeing? Learn more about individual models below, and browse the full selection here: Shop All Men’s Sunglasses


The Aviator. Randolph’s flagship model, these have been standard issue for the U.S. Military since 1982. Note the signature, un-curved ‘bayonet’-style arms, designed to fit comfortably under a pilot’s headgear. Shop Now

 


The Concorde. This style of tinged, teardrop-shaped lens was developed in the 1920s (with the help of U.S. test pilot John A. Macready) to shield a pilot’s full peripheral vision. Shop Now

 


The Sportsman. Designed for outdoor enthusiasts, this sturdy frame (also available with polarized amber lenses) adds a sweat-bar on the bridge—a cool vintage design detail that’s also totally functional. Shop Now

 


The Intruder. This pair gets its name from the A-6 Intruder, a twin jet-engine, mid-wing attack aircraft. (They also come in gold, but matte-black is more stealthy.) Shop Now

 


The Crew Chief. Classic styling updated with modern materials, including a high-tech metal alloy eyewire for maximum strength while maintaining a thin profile. Like all Randolph models, it features 98–100% UV protection. Shop Now

 


The P-3 Retro Submariner. Originally designed for the U.S. Navy as a prescription frame for use inside submarines. The ‘cable’-style arms wrap around your ear for a secure fit. Shop Now

 

[Top two photos and video courtesy of Randolph Engineering.] 

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