A few years ago I became a tailor for Self Edge denim in San Francisco. Through my experience there I learned to appreciate high quality shuttle loom denim that was coming out of Japan. Through working this intimately with denim I learned to ditch polysynthetics and embrace cotton, wool, and leather. Not only do these materials breath better, but leather and cotton have the bonus of getting better looking with age.
I guess all of this is a roundabout way to say that I’ve never really had much interest in fashion, but have finally come to realize the functionality that can come along with some particular fashions. I went from total thrift store shopping to mostly thrift store shopping with the occasional high end jeans purchase. It wasn’t until recently that this interest in clothes really branched out beyond jeans and boots. I remember stumbling upon a post on the BoingBoinghole about a $75 merino wool tee shirt. Most folks who read about the shirt probably thought it was ridiculous amount to pay for an undershirt, but I was fascinated with it. $80 bucks for a shirt may seem ridiculous, but I used to think $300 for jeans was crazy.
After a few months of thinking about it, I started digging through Outlier‘s website for more details about this “wundershirt” when I found their “pivot sleeved” button shirts. These shirts were based on the classic men’s long sleeve button shirt, but the cut was specifically designed for bicyclists. The shirts are cotton with a stain resistant stain… and hella sharp. After trying one at the newly opened Mission Workshop, I fell in love. I love the way they fit, and really digging the pivot design for just plain everyday use. I’ve bought 4. Also: I blogged about this shirt a while ago and referred to it as my Zombie Shirt because of the way the shirt stays tucked in even when arms are outstretched.
BTW, I finally bought one of those merino wool shirts (after 8 months of thinking about it) and it’s become one of the best clothing investments I’ve ever made. They breath fantastically and can be worn several days without washing. So one shirt can be stretched out between washes if needed. Despite being wool, these shirts are knit very finely and feel just like a super soft and light cotton.
I’ve recently completed my “bicycle fashion” with a pair of Quoc Pham “Tourers” shoes. These classic leather shoes have a hard sole with a space for bike cleats. They are designed in London and manufactured in Vietnam. I’ve spent a few days riding in them and they feel better with each ride. I went for a tighter fit and the leather is stretching out nicely.
Until these last few years, I’ve never really given a damn about clothing manufacturers. Even as a teen, I used to rub the labels off of my shoes and clothes, but now I’ve finally found some clothes I can be passionately about. Flathead Jeans, Mr. Freedom, Outlier, and Quoc Pham make great shit… I’m glad I finally came out of my “anti-fashion” shell and found the stuff that works for me. I don’t even think of this as an interest in fashion, to me I’m just geeking out on design/construction/material just like I would geek out on a nice calligraphy pen or bicycle part.