Fall

It takes a lot to engineer a truly new development in the field of menswear. (Before you make fun of Kanye West for wearing a skirt—talk to William Wallace.) That’s not to say the great minds in our industry are lacking new ideas—rather, they reap the benefits of centuries-worth of reference points, and innovation comes in the form of fit, fabrication, and re-thinking the ways we wear eternal classics.

For that reason, we’re pleased to bring you 10 Fall Essentials: a considered list of items every man should have in his arsenal this Fall—and that won’t let you down in the years to come. Ever.

Below, find three ways to wear our first cold-weather necessity: The Wool Overcoat.



1. Weekend Upgrade. An overcoat, of course, is essential for shielding your finest suits from wind and rain. But you can maximize its mileage by repurposing it off the clock, too. A hearty tweed is especially at home in the country, as much as it is uptown. Wear yours with white jeans (yes, after Labor Day) for a fresh perspective—and don’t be afraid to beat ’em up. They are jeans, after all.
Billy Reid overcoat | Burberry Brit white jeans | Wallin & Bros. quilted vest
Johnston & Murphy chukka | Grayers henley | Shinola watch

 



2. Modular Office. A coat this streamlined will make you the sharpest-dressed guy in the elevator, no matter what office gear you layer underneath it—be it a suit or tweed sportcoat for a big meeting, or a shirt/sweater combo with dark selvedge jeans for your standard daily grind. Add impeccably detailed, slush-proof boots and a laptop-friendly bag, and you’re ready for any commute.
Theory overcoat | Naked & Famous selvedge jeans | J. Press York Street shirt
Lottusse boot | Grayers merino wool sweater | Jack Spade briefcase

 



3. Boozy Brunch. Last night was wild. The fall sky is brisk and far too bright. You’re starving. Drag your significant other out of bed, locate some alarmingly comfortable yet intelligently designed clothes, and throw your best overcoat on top. The concept is called high/low, and it’s a smart way to elevate a casual occasion—even when you’re not at your Sunday best.
The Kooples overcoat | Stetson beanie | Zanerobe ‘Slapshot’ pants
New Balance sneaker | Shipley & Halmos long-sleeve T-shirt | Shwood sunglasses

 

FOR MORE:
SHOP ALL 1o FALL ESSENTIALS 

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Having knocked the collective socks off the menswear industry last week (no small feat when most of whom are still clutching at summer sockless-ness) with his impeccable vision of Spring ’14 (look toward the bottom of this post), what do you think Iowa-born designer Todd Snyder immediately did? A) Sleep for 50 consecutive hours; B) Go to Disney World; C) Cross the pond for a little R&R—and of course, more work.

If you guessed C, treat yourself to an extra Guinness on this glorious Wednesday. While the self-professed workaholic’s shot of Europe’s finest shearling, above, first caught our eye (and got us jazzed for Fall) this morning, the pics below kept us scrolling. Check out the view from Snyder’s Paris hotel, the designer’s favorite London hat shop, an epic victory in the form of actor Justin Theroux rocking Todd Snyder + Champion on the cover of GQ, and much more—all on Todd Snyder’s official Instagram feed.


…And while those Autumn tones match our current mood to a T, a pop of color is always welcome:

 

FOR MORE TODD SNYDER:
Shop Todd’s fall collection
Read our exclusive Q&A
Get Todd’s tips on office decorum

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What happens when our Men’s Shop video team goes to Las Vegas during Market Week? They run into Pharrell. They get down to brass tacks with up-and-coming design heroes. And they make some movie magic.

Above is one of four new videos we shot while traversing the vendor booths in Vegas during three furious days of menswear trade shows. Press play, learn about the elbow grease that goes into some of today’s best gear, and shop our Editor’s Picks from a few of the brands we interviewed. (Notice a theme? Fall is officially here.)


L-R: Wolverine Boot | Ted Baker London Coat | Red Wing Boot
Gant Shirt Jacket | Sperry Top-Sider Belt


L-R: W.R.K. Blazer | New Balance Sneaker | Grayers Cardigan | Sperry Top-Sider Boot
Todd Snyder + Champion T-shirt

 

Watch: More Videos in this Series

Shop All: ‘Functional Craftsmanship’ Featured Brands

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Style Profiles. In honor of our twice-a-year Men’s Shop Catalog dropping this month, we decided to profile 6 real men of style and substance. Here, our own Nordstrom Men’s Fashion Director, Jorge Valls.

The shelves at your local Nordstrom? And the stylish cyberspace on Nordstrom.com? They don’t stock themselves. Dozens of dedicated buyers hand-pick every piece—and one man sets the tone and coordinates all their efforts: Jorge Valls, the Nordstrom Men’s Shop Fashion Director.

We caught up with Jorge (it’s pronounced the same as “George,” by the way) recently, to learn a bit about his worldly background, hear which fall trends he’s looking forward to, and get a sense of what it’s like hopping from show to show during Fashion Week. Read our Q&A below—accompanied by some of Jorge’s own Instagram shots from the spring/summer ’14 shows in Milan and Paris this past summer.


[Nordstrom Men’s Fashion Director Jorge Valls,
photographed at Milk Studios in NYC.
Paul Smith London tuxedo | Levi’s Made & Crafted shirt]

MEN’S SHOP DAILY: What does your job as Men’s Fashion Director entail?
JORGE VALLS, NORDSTROM MEN’S FASHION DIRECTOR: “It’s a mixture of things. I work with our product development team, as well as our merchant teams, to get everybody following the same vision. Working with the buyers involves deciding trend direction, color palettes, key items for upcoming seasons, and working with them at market, walking shows, and going to vendor appointments to see what kind of product is available that matches what we’re trying to say at Nordstrom.”

How did you get to this point in your career? What did you study in college?
“I had a double major in English and French literature, then I got a master’s in business after that. As far as favorite authors…I really like the old British classics—Thomas Hardy, but even Shakespeare. My favorite Shakespeare is probably one of the comedies, like Twelfth Night.”

How did you get started at Nordstrom?
“I started with Nordstrom as a temp, working odd jobs. I worked in the mailroom. I worked as a receptionist. Eventually, I worked in the PR department as the assistant; that was my first full-time role, and that opened the door for me to get into advertising and marketing…eventually, I became the men’s designer buyer, and now I have this job.”

Do you you have a “uniform” of sorts—office essentials you frequently turn to?
“I’m a big fan of a crewneck sweater, a navy blazer, denim, and a dress shoe. That’s kind of my go-to.”

What do you think Nordstrom Men’s Shop does better than anyone else?
“We have something for every customer out there, from traditional to more fashion-forward. We have in-house tailors, personal stylists, a lot of our stores have shoe-shines. We try to offer everything a man needs.”

What would you say to a guy who thinks our Personal Stylist service is not for him?
“A Nordstrom Personal Stylist is an expert on everything we have to offer. They’ll set up a room for you with everything you need. They make your life easy. And it’s free.”

We’re doing this Q&A, in part, to help kick off our Fall 2013 Men’s Catalog [hitting mailboxes and online soon]. What else is special about this year’s catalog?
“We [compiled] Ten Essentials—classics that every man needs to have in his wardrobe, that’ll last forever. We also wanted to acknowledge some real men out there who are doing it right, and share their insights with our customers. And, we’ve touched on some trends that are of-the-moment, but at the same time, totally timeless.”

One of those timeless trends is “University.” Any insights?
“I associate the ‘University’ look with preppy styling, heritage, plaid shirts, navy blazers. Classic items every guy should have in his wardrobe, but updated and new.”

Another fall trend is “Moto.” Can guys who drive four wheels to work pull this off?
“The ‘moto’ trend is a classic, too. It’s a leather biker jacket, it’s denim, it’s T-shirts…It’s very James Dean, very Steve McQueen. It’s cool, it’s accessible, it’s very masculine.”


[L: Marais Arrondissement, Paris | R: Diesel Black Gold spring/summer ’14, Milan]

Your title being Fashion Director, what does the word “fashion” mean to you—especially in the context of menswear?
“Fashion, or style, is how you present yourself to the outside world. I think men understand that now. They’re not afraid of it, and they want to express themselves. They want to look appropriate, but they also want to look like individuals.”


[Canali spring/summer ’14, Milan | R: Tables turned on the fashion-week photographers]

What are you seeing as a key color for this fall ’13?
Grey. It’s a very masculine color, and also a neutral one, so you can wear it with black, with brown, with navy, with camel—any broad range of colors. So it’s a good basic. And with grey as a main color, it’s good to maybe have a pop of something a little bit bolder.”


[L: An ivy-covered building in Milan | R: Gucci spring/summer ’14, Milan]

You often attend fashion shows in Paris and Milan. What do you enjoy about Fashion Week?
“The shows, the production, the vision of what the designers want to show you is all very exciting to experience in person. And now, the street scene is also a big thing. People really dress up. There’s a lot of people trying to express themselves and get photographed…It’s almost as big of a circus outside when you leave the show, as it is inside the show.”


[L: Cerruti spring/summer ’14, Milan | R: Walking into the Thom Browne show, Paris]

How often do you travel for work?
“Quite a bit. I’m home, I’d say, 50 percent of the time—maybe 60 percent, depending on the season. I spend a lot of time on the road.”


[L: Outside the Lanvin show, Paris | R: Givenchy spring/summer ’14, Paris]

You work at Nordstrom HQ in Seattle. Have you always lived around here?
“I’ve lived all over the world. I was born in New Jersey. I moved to Portugal when I was two. Then I moved to Mexico, then Belgium, then Pennsylvania, then Spain, then back to Pennsylvania. Then, my family moved to Italy, and I went to graduate school in France. I moved to Seattle in 1991.”

 
[L: Dries Van Noten spring/summer ’14, Paris | R: Jean Paul Gaultier showroom]

Fashion shows, at times, can verge on the bizarre. How do you suggest the average guy interpret some of the things designers send down the runway?
“Fashion Week is a show. I don’t want to say it’s theatre, but—it’s the purest expression of the designer’s vision, so sometimes there will be things that are, you know, hard to wear for the average guy. But those are the ideas that develop into a new proportion, or something being a bit shorter, or tighter, or looser. When you go to a showroom after a show, they have the runway collection, which is the ‘pure’ statement, but the rest of the showroom supports that—usually with more digestible ideas that the average guy can buy into, and maybe dip his toe into some of those [emerging] concepts.”

—  —  —

Read Jorge’s insights from the spring ’14 trade shows in Las Vegas here.

Shop: Jorge Valls’ favorite items
Read more: Style Profiles

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Style Profiles. In honor of our twice-a-year Men’s Shop Catalog dropping this month, we decided to profile 6 real men of style and substance. Today, midwestern menswear engineer Todd Snyder.

If the phrase “fashion designer” sounds like someone you could never relate to—consider Todd Snyder. Born and raised in Iowa. Dropped out of architecture school (not enough girls in the class). Loves Newman and Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. And one of the nicest guys you can ever hope to meet.

Having paid dues for 20 years at some of the best menswear powerhouses in the biz (Ralph Lauren, amongst other)—before quitting a plush job in order to start his own business, just in time for the recession to hit—we figured Snyder knows a thing or two about workplace decorum. In the video above, and the choice words of wisdom below, he delineates what to wear and how to act at the office—and why there are more important things in life than work.

ART x INDUSTRY. “My father was an engineer. My mother was an artist. So I always had this kind of push-pull on art and building things, and that was always the thing that I think really kind of helped me become who I am.”

MEN AT WORK. “My father had his own company. He was a civil engineer in Iowa. I worked summers on the survey crew, which would go out and do the layouts for bridges and roads. Then I moved into the office, where I started working as a draftsman. That’s where I really fell in love with the more technical aspects of building something.”

THE SCIENCE OF STYLE. “In college, I worked at this men’s shop called Badowers, in Des Moines. That’s where I learned how to sew and alter garments. I wanted to learn from the ground up how to make something—to understand the mechanics that go into it.”

HAND CRAFTED. “It’s rewarding to see something you did, and step back and say, ‘Wow, I did that.’ I used to build furniture sometimes…I did all of this molding in here [pointing to the office wall]…When I first moved here to New York, I was making all my own shirts.”

MADE IN THE USA. “For our new line of Todd Snyder suiting, we collaborated with Southwick, a factory in Massachusetts. They’ve been in the business over 100 years. They traditionally made jackets my father or grandfather would wear. Now, you’re starting to see a younger generation of guys wanting to know about it, wanting to dress like gentlemen—which is kind of rebellious in a way.”

THE FIRST THING YOU NEED. “A perfect-fitting navy suit. You can wear it with jeans on a date. Wear it as a suit to a wedding. You can wear a dark tie and be very sophisticated at night. Make sure the sleeves aren’t too long, so you can see a little bit of cuff. Those little details make a huge difference.”

FROM THE GROUND UP. “Buy good shoes. Look at them as an investment. Get yourself a great pair of wingtips, desert boots, and sneakers, and you can wear them with anything.”

BUILDING A WARDROBE. “I’ve always looked at fashion similar to architecture, and it always starts with a great foundation—great jeans, great chinos, a great suit, great oxford, sweatshirt, and so on. As long as you have those pieces, it’s really easy to make outfits.”

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WORDS TO LIVE BY. “I talk to a lot of students, and they always ask me, “What’s your advice?” And I’ve always said, “Work hard and be nice.” It’s two simple things. But you’d be amazed at how many people screw that up.”

WORK/LIFE BALANCE. “I have two daughters. Some might disagree, but having kids kind of keeps me sane. Going home and just seeing them changes my whole [perspective]. If I had a long day, going home, seeing their faces, you forget about it instantly.”

—  —  —

Shop: Todd Snyder’s favorite items
Read more: Style Profiles

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Style Profiles. In honor of our twice-a-year Men’s Shop Catalog dropping this month, we decided to profile 6 real men of style and substance. Today, the men behind acclaimed style, life, and travel website Street Etiquette.

Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs are a lot of things: stylists, models, photographers, expert thrift-shoppers, music lovers, cultural ambassadors, historical preservationists—and proof of the power of the internet.

High-school friends from the Bronx, the two started a blog—called Street Etiquette—to document their growing interest in refined personal style. Their early work followed a successful blueprint: Build a dapper outfit based on a classic menswear item, and explore said item’s significance by delving into historical photos. Think ’60s biker gangs giving context to leather jackets, and Pat Boone rocking suede bucks. The next thing they knew, Kissi and Gumbs were gracing the pages of GQ and The New York Times at the ripe old age of 22.

Two years later, they’re designing their own clothes, producing short films, and generally proving that the universe is kind to those with passion, curiosity, and a willingness to work hard. We caught up with the guys in NYC this summer—to take some photos, shoot a video, and better understand their continual quest to learn and be inspired. Read the full Q&A below.


[On Joshua, left: John Varvatos blazer | Ted Baker shirt
Dockers cargos | Cole Haan wingtips
On Travis: Wallin & Bros. quilted vest & chambray shirt
Jack Spade chinos | Nike running shoes]

MEN’S SHOP DAILY: What does the phrase “Street Etiquette” mean to you guys?
JOSHUA KISSI OF STREET ETIQUETTE: For us, it’s more than a website. It’s more than the clothing. It’s like a lifestyle that we’ve built, just on inspirations around us. It’s not all about Travis and myself—it’s bigger than that. It’s what we’re inspired by, whether it’s traveling, clothing—just everything that encompasses life for us, is classified as Street Etiquette. So it’s more than a website. The site is like the platform where we put ideas that we have and what we’re inspired by. It’s just the portfolio.

What was Black Ivy?
TRAVIS GUMBS OF STREET ETIQUETTE: Black Ivy was a photo editorial that we did about three years ago. We got a whole bunch of our friends [together]. We were paying homage to the old HBCs, and Ivy style. We shot it at 145th and City College. The response was a lot bigger than we ever anticipated.

What is an HBC?
Travis: Historically black colleges. We found a whole bunch of old photos, like from Howard, and these guys were super dressed-up, and the style was amazing. And we were like, “We can do this.” At the time, it was a style that we were [already] venturing into. So we were like, “You know what, why don’t we just come together and just shoot this, and see how it comes out.” And it just worked.


[The Blacky Ivy, by Street Etiquette.]

What are some of the things guys were wearing in the historical photos you mentioned?
Travis: Definitely like the typical prep stuff, like tweed jackets, shorts, loafers with socks, ties—
Joshua: …Suspenders, oxfords, paperboy hats…
Travis: …And just wearing it your own way. So we had guys that were super prepped-up, and then we had guys that were a little bit more lax—a little bit more like the bad-boy style, but it was still the same Ivy, prep style. The same clothes, but it’s about how you wear it. That’s what was really cool about it—we would see these photos, and see all these different types of guys, but they were all dressed up in their own way. So we really wanted to show that with Black Ivy, and I think we were able to do it.

You said it got a larger response than you anticipated?
Joshua: It was just one of those things where people kept talking about it.
Travis: I think it challenged a lot of social issues, in a sense, like masculinity, black masculinity, perception of style and who you are—so it touched on a lot of social topics that people didn’t necessarily want to talk about until they saw the editorial, and it was like, “OK, let’s talk about this stuff.”

Tell us about some of your recent travels.
Travis: We did this cool project in Angola this past summer. And that was great, because it was my first time in Africa. Josh, he’s been to Africa before. But we really got to soak up the culture and photograph stuff we never got to photograph before. And then, in a couple weeks, we’re actually going to Thailand to do the same thing.

 
 
[Excerpts from Street Etiquette’s Travel Etiquette series.]

What do you enjoy about traveling?
Joshua: I think traveling is one of the best educations you can get. Exposing yourself out there kind of reveals who you are as a person, how people see you, as you cross each continent and each country. It’s super interesting, waking up and just walking around the street. It’s definitely fun. We have this thing called Travel Etiquette—it’s basically our series of traveling around the world with style and character, through the lens of Travis and myself.

To decide the destination of your recent trip to southeast Asia, you guys conducted an online poll amongst your readers.
Joshua: The poll was interesting. There were a lot of votes from Vietnam, and Thailand, and Hong Kong. People were really repping for their cities.
Travis: A lot of people were voting from those places. It’s crazy, because you can see the votes; you can see where they’re coming from. A lot of people voted from Asia—I feel like more than the United States.

What kinds of things are you looking forward to seeing?
Joshua: Just the fashion—see what the fashion is like there, even if it’s just regular, everyday people. I’m not saying like runways—just how people live and do their style every day. That’s important.

You’ve mentioned in the past, Joshua, that the streets are like the new runways. Could you elaborate on that?
Joshua: What I meant when I said that, is that style and fashion are not just encapsulated for one week in February or one week in September—it happens every day. And it’s not just downtown. It’s not just uptown. It’s not just Brooklyn. It’s all over the place. [Getting] inspiration from people on the street…is one of the biggest things for us. Especially right now—everybody has a camera. There’s an overload of information for people to go out there and explore.

It’s interesting to delve into your guys’ Tumblr page and see the wide range of art, culture, and history that you reference. What do you think inspires you the most, in life and in your work?
Joshua: My inspiration comes from a plethora of eras, like 1950s, ’60s…1980s hip-hop, punk rock—
Travis: Reggae.
Joshua: …Reggae, exactly. Reggae culture. Skinhead, mod—the U.K. had a big influence on us, too. [But] to be honest, I think a lot of our inspiration comes out of jazz.

What are some of your favorite jazz musicians?
Joshua: Coltrane, Miles Davis, Mingus, Max Roach was an amazing drummer. Thelonius Monk. There are a lot of good guys. Chet Baker.

Favorite albums?
Travis: Well, of course Bitches Brew [1970, by Miles Davis], because that’s a little bit different from anything else. I mean it’s a little bit redundant at this point—to say Miles Davis is kind of like saying Michael Jackson. It’s true, though, you know? It’s not overrated; it’s justified.


[Behind the scenes at Street Etiquette’s Sewn From The Soul
project, which honored Black History Month.]

Do you prefer late-era Miles, then?
Travis: I like it all, because for the era that he was in, he was pushing the boundaries. So each era was good for what he was doing. It wasn’t just like, Miles Davis of the ’80s, more experimental than Miles Davis of the ’60s—that wasn’t really the case. [In each era], he was perfecting a certain sound and a certain taste level that he wanted to do. And he did it. He was able to switch his sound for every decade that he did music. It’s very few artists that did the same.
Joshua: The funny thing is, I have no vinyls. It’s all off the Internet. Kind of Blue is great. Even though in his later times, people consider that he got a little bit too weird—in the way he dressed, or his music—I think that as an artist, it’s kind of like your obligation.

When did you guys first get into jazz?
Travis: I didn’t listen to jazz growing up at all. [In] my household…we listened to more soul stuff, reggae, hip-hop in later years—but it wasn’t until maybe a few years ago that I started getting into jazz. Honestly, it was more the style thing, because we were doing research on different styles. And then you see the style, and you get into the music, and you see why the style was so refined for the music. When you start listening to it and developing that taste, it’s phenomenal. It’s one of those things. I listen to jazz at least two, three times a week.

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Joshua: [Jazz music] calms you. It’s not as, like, rambunctious and lyrics-driven as [most of] today’s music—but there’s still a message.
Travis: There’s a lot more emotion.
Joshua: You feel that message according to your ears and what you want to hear. And that’s one of the most important things. But for me, I play the drums—so growing up with jazz is kind of essential, just for that beat.

So it sounds like together, the two of you really delved into jazz based on how the musicians dressed.
Joshua: We love the way that the jazz musicians dressed. They kind of represented the first type of “cool” in America, you know? A lot of kids—I mean, the original term “hipster” meant going away and trying to be a jazz musician on the road, and traveling, and just, like, doing your hitchhiking thing. So it’s like they were the original cool.
Travis: And then, when you go back and listen to it, you see how many hip-hop artists sampled from jazz musicians. So it was interesting to see that. Hip-hop is a form of jazz; it evolved from jazz.
Joshua: It’s all related, really.


[Promotional posters for Street Etiquette’s new short film, Slumflower.]

Tell us about the project you’re debuting [this Saturday, 9/7] during New York Fashion Week this season.
Travis: It’s called Slumflower, and it’s a photo editorial and a short film. It was, like, 17 of our friends all suited up in tailored suits. We shot it in the projects.
Joshua: …In public housing, which isn’t far from here [Ed. note: we were filming at Milk Studios in NYC]. It’s like 16th and 9th or something like that. The short film just came from an idea we had and wanted to present. [It’s about] a kid living in the projects, dressing a certain way, and he’s kind of defying social inequalities. There’s a message behind it, but it’s represented through style.

You guys have made videos of your travels and whatnot before, but this is your first official “film.” How did production go?
Joshua: We did the whole routine, as far as storyboarding, location-scouting, budgets. It’s going good. We’re just trying to define the meaning of having a blog—or a website, or a brand, whatever the case may be.

That raises a good question: What do you say your job title is, when you meet someone?
Joshua: Funny thing about job titles, especially living in New York—it’s like a constant conversation starter. “Hey, what do you do?”
Travis: The number-one question…If I’m not really feeling like [explaining], I’m like, “You know what? I’m a blogger.”
Joshua: It’s bigger than that, though.
Travis: The term “blog” seems too amateur for some reason. I mean, we’ve been “blogging” for five years now. But it’s like, what’s the next level of—
Joshua: …Yeah, that’s the next question. Everybody is like, “What’s next? What’s after ‘blogging’?”
Travis: Are you a “professional blogger”?
Joshua: [In the end], you just want to keep pushing out good work. [These days], everybody is kind of a Jack-of-all-trades—a Renaissance man. So somebody asks you…but there’s no job title. And that’s the best thing about it: you kind of get to diversify, rather than just be in a box.
Travis: Yeah, the title thing is weird. If I could just not have a title, that would be cool. Then, I could just do whatever I want. I could do stuff outside of what my title would be.


[The video Street Etiquette shot while covering New York Fashion
Week for the Nordstrom Men’s Shop last season.]

How did you two first meet?
Joshua: We met in Iceland. No, I’m playing. We met at high school in the Bronx. Straight up.
Travis: There’s no cool story behind it, though.
Joshua: It was like, biology class.
Travis: We were both into style at the time. That’s how we connected. We would both post on online forums, like Hypebeast and Superfuture, and got a lot of followers on there. That’s how we got a lot of traction when we started Street Etiquette [in college].

So did you guys have different tastes than most of your classmates in high school?
Joshua: Yeah, definitely. We saw a bigger picture in a sense, than our high-school peers. You get ridiculed for dressing different, because high school is all about fitting in.
Travis: We were just curious to know what else was out there, outside of our borough. So, we started coming downtown—because no one came downtown, man. [When you live] in the Bronx and whatnot, you don’t come to the city at all. You stay up there. You come to the city once in a while, you do a little shopping, and you head back up. We would actually come down here and—
Joshua: Hang out.
Travis: That’s how we connected with a lot of our friends from Brooklyn, and Harlem and whatnot. We were amongst all these other—a lot of these guys were actually older than us, too, so they knew a lot more. And they kind of helped us craft our taste level.

What do you guys love about New York City, and how does living here inspire you?
Joshua: New York City is the best city in the world, as far as I know. Just the energy. It’s a melting pot. You can see every type of ethnic group, every culture. You’re exposed to so much here. Growing up in the Bronx…you got the Spanish cats, Jamaicans, West Indians, Africans—all in one. All those cultures are vastly different, and you have friends from each one.
Travis: You know, like, sometimes you go to your friend’s house and you’re eating Spanish food—or you eat Jamaican, or Indian, or whatever—so it molds you as a person, to always be open.
Joshua: There are very few places in the world that you can do that, from what I’ve seen. It’s such a big melting pot; that’s what I love most about it. And that’s what inspired us to travel so much—because we see all these people from different parts of the world, and you talk to them, and they tell you about their country, and you just want to go and experience it firsthand.

—  —  —

Watch for new Fashion Week coverage from Street Etiquette coming to
Men’s Shop Daily 
soon—and catch up on their dispatches from last season here.

And, if you’re in the NYC area this Saturday, September 7, stop by
Street Etiquette’s Slumflower gallery show at TEMP Art Space in TriBeCa.

—  —  —

Shop: Street Etiquette’s favorite items
Read more: Style Profiles

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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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Yin and yang. Light and shade. Concrete and jungle. Life is a study in contrasts—and your Fall wardrobe should be, too.

To fully meditate on Fall’s dense tweeds, intricate knits, revved-up leather, and sturdy workwear, we took our favorite Designer Collections to Seattle’s historical, 20-acre wooded oasis, Kubota Garden—as well as the surrounding urban sprawl. The conclusion is clear: Fall’s best clothes feel calm, cool and collected, whether you’re in nature’s domain or the wilds of the city.



Missoni: green chest-stripe sweater | grey zigzag sweater (b&w photo)
A.P.C. jeans | Denim jackets (shop similar)



Band of Outsiders: wool cardigan | embroidered-fly shirt | tartan-plaid shirt

  

Gant by Michael Bastian wool cardigan


Rag & Bone field jacket | Band of Outsiders chinos



John Varvatos Collection double-breasted topcoat
PS Paul Smith wool sweater | Band of Outsiders oxford shirt



Pierre Balmain: leather moto jacket | destroyed jeans
Duvetica down jacket 




Band of Outsiders: wool-blend blazer | twill jacket

 
 

[Photography: Kyle Johnson. Styling: Ashley Helvey. Model: Joel Carlson.]

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We spent a week this summer invading the offices and going inside the minds of six American menswear heroes. First up in our series, Todd Snyder discusses his Midwest origins, how to quit a cushy job to follow your dream, and the engineering behind an impeccable lapel roll.

MEN’S SHOP DAILY: Growing up in Iowa, what was your first summer job?
TODD SNYDER: “You won’t know what it is, but I detasseled corn. The corn has tassels on the top that have pollen that gets into the corn itself, and either turns it into sweet corn or, uh…honestly, there’s a whole process, but I don’t know what the hell it is. My science teacher would be horrified that I don’t remember all this, and so would my dad.”

The sex life of corn?
“Yes, exactly. But anyway, you would have to take the tassels off because you didn’t want it to pollenate. So the only way to do that is to go through it with your hands and pick it. It was probably the worst job ever. After I did that I was like screw this I’m going to work for my dad.”

What did your dad do?
“He was an engineer, so I worked on the survey crew. I would literally be laying out roads, bridges, houses, things like that. [Designing clothes] is a lot easier than working in the summer in the hot sun, looking through an instrument, running numbers all day and trying to figure out where to put all the points. You’re not dealing with heavy equipment behind you, waiting for you to put the road down. I would literally get these big trucks and these angry construction guys—’When you gonna have that done?’ It was crazy.”

What life lessons did you learn on the survey crew?
“I worked with a lot of construction guys that would never let your ego get out of hand.”

What was it like working for your dad back then?
“One of the things I learned most from my father was just being very diligent in my work ethic. He instilled that at a young age…I hated it when he was doing it, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I talk to students all the time, and I always say, there might be people that are more talented than you, but don’t ever let somebody work harder than you.”

Where did you go to college, and what did you study?
“I went to school at Iowa State, and since my dad was an engineer, I kind of wanted to be an architect. But to be honest with you, there were no girls in the class, so I was like, ‘This sucks.’ Plus, you think you’re going to build all these amazing things, and I was building like, sewer intakes. So I switched over to Finance, and there were no girls there either. And then I switched to Fashion—almost right before I was going to graduate. And I kind of fell in love with it.”

What led you to switch to a major in Fashion?
“I started working in a men’s store [during college], doing whatever I could just to learn. Sweeping, cleaning up, sales—and then when I saw the tailors come out, I was like, ‘What are they doing?’ And it all kind of made sense. I want to do that. That, to me, seems more fun than selling, let me go do that, because I really like working with my hands. That’s where I learned how to tailor a garment. I taught myself to sew, and that’s how I started honing my skills. It became a hobby.”

Did you always have an interest in personal style?
“I was always into clothes…I got voted best-dressed in high school. I was obsessed with Calvin Klein back then, Ralph Lauren, anything designer. But then I had Levi’s, and my Nike Air Force 1’s. That’s when they first came out. I worked all summer to get a pair.”

Did you have reservations about making such a big leap—from Architecture to Fashion?
“I mean, growing up in Iowa, everybody’s either a farmer or an engineer or a dentist. It was like, ‘You’re going to do what?’ But after I read Ralph Lauren’s book in the ’80s, I could just see, like wow, somebody can really do that. I found out Halston actually came from Iowa, and somebody like him coming from there and doing what he did was amazing. And then, when I told my grandmother I was going to be a fashion designer, she said, ‘Ah, that’s interesting. You know your name in Dutch means tailor.’ So after hearing those things, I was like okay, I’m on the right track. I’m not nuts.”

How did you get your start in the industry, after college?
“My wife and I got married and we moved here [to New York City] when I was 25, and I started making my own shirts.”

You mean literally. In order to clothe yourself.
“Right. I didn’t have any money…I’d see all these great shirts that everybody was wearing, and I’m like oh, I can’t afford that. So I’d go to the fabric stores that would have all these remnants from designers, and you would go through and there’d be a Donna Karan, a Calvin Klein and it’d be like, I’ll take that.  And for like $20 I would make a shirt. That’s what I would do on the weekends—just make shirts. I just loved doing it.

“It was really how I expressed myself and creatively showed what I could do—and that’s kind of how I got ‘discovered,’ so to speak, at Ralph Lauren, where I went from, you know, an intern, off in the corner, to like, ‘Oh wow, this kid.’ [The higher-ups] would be like, ‘Oh, that’s a really cool shirt, where’d you get it?’ ‘Oh, I made it.’ ‘You made that?’ And all of a sudden, it just started snowballing.”

What’s the best advice you ever got?
“My father told me at an early age, if you want to be the best, you’ve got to work for the best. And it was really important for me to learn as much as I could and become an expert before I did my own collection. I worked in the industry for 18 years for other people.”

What was it like when you decided to branch out and start a company of your own?
“Well, it was funny, because I quit…my very secure job…thinking originally I was going to start Todd Snyder in 2008—right as Lehman Brothers went belly up. [The recession] got worse and worse, and I was like, ‘Holy sh–, I just quit my really good job!’ So then I spoke to my brother [who had taken over a small side-project I had started in 1997, Tailgate Clothing Company] and said, ‘Hey, how about I help you guys out.’ Then that started growing very quickly…and we launched Todd Snyder in 2011.”

Sounds like it all worked out.
“I definitely was nervous. I signed a one-year lease on this place thinking, I don’t know if I’m going to make it—but we’ve been here five or six years now.”

And you’re expanding more and more. Tell us about your upcoming Todd Snyder suiting collection.
“We collaborated with Southwick, a factory in Massachusetts that’s been around since 1929. Some of the people that work there have been there for 20, 30 years. That’s all they’ve ever done. They’re kind of the last great American tailor, and that to me was perfect for what we’re trying to do—to kind of reinvent tailoring for the younger generation. You’re seeing a lot of kids these days buying Alden shoes, and wearing, like, what my father used to wear.”

What defines a high-quality suit jacket or sportcoat? What is ‘canvas’?
“Canvas is really what enables a jacket to get a better ‘roll’—this very subtle kind of roll to the lapel. It’s an inner lining that, as it gets sewn into the garment, there’s a tension as they stitch it in that creates this natural roll—whereas a lot of factories will just press it, and they’ll get a really sharp [crease]. So any time you see a jacket, look at the lapel—when you start seeing this very natural roll to it, that really defines a great jacket.”

The jacket you’re wearing today is half-lined. What does that mean?
“[A half-lined jacket] actually takes more time than if you just line the [entire thing]. You get someone to actually sew this on, make sure this looks nice [pointing at interior details]. It almost looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside.”

What’s the benefit of a half-lined or unlined sportcoat?
“For me it’s really about the comfort—the less layers, the better—right? In my opinion, it wears better. It’s nice having it be almost like a shirt, almost like a sweater. Plus, I like to show off how great a jacket it is. Somebody asks you, ‘Oh, who made your jacket?’ You open it up, and they’re like, ‘Okay, got it.’ It’s kind of like looking under the hood of a car.”

How important has it been for you to have that fundamental understanding of sewing, tailoring, shirt-making?
“Once you know how something’s built, you can make it different—change it. You know how it’s constructed, so you can always work with the factory on how to make something—because a lot of times the factory’s like, no, you can’t do it. And I’ll be like well, actually, you can. If you try it this way, and you do this—and before you know it, they’re like oh, okay, this guy knows his stuff. And they kind of let you into their world. And then you start to push the envelope more and more.”

Your previous sportswear collections have contained a lot of military references. What inspired that?
“Military, I think, always has a huge influence in menswear. I didn’t realize it until I started working at Ralph Lauren, and he does military [so well]. The cargo pant is obviously military, but even down to the T-shirt, which was invented by the Navy to cover men’s chest hair. The desert boot that I’m wearing was invented for soldiers in the desert—they created this gum sole so their foot wouldn’t sink through [the sand]. I didn’t know all this stuff, but as I started getting into menswear, you start realizing there are so many references toward military.

“What I like about it is, there’s a basic, utilitarian style to it—and taking those elements, and fusing them with luxury is always a challenge for me. Trying to figure out how to make luxury utilitarian—which [in a way] are complete opposites. But that’s always been my challenge in creating a balance between the two.”

Form meets function.
“Exactly.”

Your latest collection is a bit different. What inspired Fall ’13?
“We called [this collection] Rebel Gentleman. I’ve always been inspired by motorcycle jackets, and this season, really liked the idea of mixing biker with tailoring. In years prior, we always had military mixed with tailoring, and it seemed very natural to mix motorcycle jackets in with it.

“This guy’s kind of a badass, you know. He’s somebody who’s well-educated, lives in the city, is very well-read but isn’t pretentious at all—he has a motorcycle and kind of likes to play on the bad side a bit. But you know, deep down, he’s a good guy.”

What is it about motorcycle jackets that inspires you?
“There’s a utilitarian aspect about it—it protects you. But then there’s this kind of bad-boy sensibility about it, because you envision James Dean, The Outsiders. It’s probably the most rugged thing you can wear, other than a pair of old boots. What I love about it too, is the older it gets, the better it gets. Something in design I’ve always appreciated is like having something that you’ve had for a long time, and it’s like an heirloom that you’re always going to cherish.”

hero

Do you own a motorcycle yourself?
“I don’t. Deep down inside, I think every guy is like, yeah, I wish I had a motorcycle. I had a moped. I used to ride it to and from baseball practice.”

What are your favorite pieces to work on these days?
“Leather and outerwear is really where I come full circle, because it’s the closest I can get to being an architect. There are so many details that go into it—the instructions you give to a factory to make it, it’s almost like giving someone a set of drawings for a building.”

You’re an expert vintage shopper. Any tips on thrifting?
“Dig deep. Everybody’s very surface-oriented—they’ll just kind of graze. You need to go deep because that’s usually where nobody goes, and you always find the best stuff…There’s good vintage and bad vintage. The fit is probably the most important thing…Never be afraid to spend too much on something good, though, because it’s usually one of a kind. A lot of [jackets we make] were inspired by old German and British jackets that I collected.”

Favorite vintage shops?
“There’s a store called Old Hat, in London, that sells…old hats. I know, good name, right? But they sell old gentleman’s wares, everything from umbrellas to—it’s just amazing. You find these one-of-a-kind pieces…I bought a jacket, opened it up and it says, ‘Made for Henry Kissinger.’ I’m like, really?”

Do you travel to London often?
“Probably about once a year now…I’ve always been inspired by Jermyn Street and Savile Row, and kind of the old world of menswear—the old tailors and shirt-makers and shoe-makers. I always liked the idea of having this small village of these artisans.”

What are some of your favorite movies?
“I like the old movies. I love watching Cary Grant in about anything he ever was in. Paul Newman I think had such incredible style. You look at Paul Newman or Robert Redford and you’re like holy sh–, these guys are really cool and they just had amazing style—before stylists.”

What else inspires you lately?
Constantin Brâncuși, a famous sculptor. He would create these very geometric shapes, but still kind of organic and natural, in wood or stone. He created these amazing objects, that when you look at them, you’re like, that’s so beautiful —but then you’re also like that’s so simple. There’s a ruggedness about his work, it’s heavy, but it’s still elegant. Plus he just had this incredible beard, and style without even trying.

“[And the architecture of] Mies van der Rohe—it’s amazing when you look at his designs from like 1920 and you think oh, that’s a building from now…And then you’re like no, actually it was designed and built in 1920. He had this way of transcending time, and as a designer you kind of shoot for that…To be able to design something that endures time is the ultimate.”

 
—  —  —
 


Key items from Todd Snyder’s Fall collection:
Leather Trucker Jacket | Slim-Fit Infantry Pants (green) | Wool Herringbone Blazer
Chambray Shirt with Contrast Collar | Slim-Fit Officer Pants (black) | Wool Crewneck Sweater

SHOP ALL: TODD SNYDER

 
 

[Photos by Robin Stein. Interview by Justin Abbott.
Special thanks to Todd Snyder and team.]

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In a previous post, we discussed how A.P.C. founder Jean Touitou likened his wares to the best steak you ever ate.

So what makes the French clothing brand a cut above? Supple, high-quality fabrics, usually exclusive to A.P.C., for one. The unreal balance between modern lines and timeless taste helps. And perhaps most importantly, the fit. Like a song you swear you’ve heard before, A.P.C.’s sweaters, jackets—even their famously stiff, perfectly cut raw-denim jeans—feel like they were made for you. (Trust us, we nabbed an A.P.C. original of our own over the weekend, and were eyeing several others…all on sale to boot.)

Enjoy these shots of our latest A.P.C. delivery, captured right here in our hometown of Seattle. However, as great as the clothes look, you might have to try them on for yourself to fully understand. Staring at a photo of a perfectly charred filet only takes you so far.




A.P.C. – Denim ShirtStripe T-Shirt | Jeans





A.P.C. – Field Jacket | ‘New Chino’ Pants | Shoes by Eastland (shop similar)


A.P.C. – ‘Knot’ Graphic T-shirt



A.P.C. – Linen ShirtJeans


A.P.C. – Mac Trench Coat




A.P.C. – Sweatshirt | Denim Shirt | Jeans


 
A.P.C. – Zebra Stripe T-shirt | Checked Flannel Shirt
Cotton-Leather Bomber Jacket | ‘Petit New Standard’ Jeans


A.P.C. – Donegal Wool Sweater | Chevron-Stripe Pants

 

[Photography: Robin Stein. Styling: Ashley Helvey. Model: Gus Drake.]

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