Danish Short Film, “The Trench”

True Love Video is a small collective of filmmakers and creatives based in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Dedicated to exploring, “beauty and the human place in the Nordic nature,” they have released the first in a series of short films that capture iconic outerwear and the humans beneath.  The series, entitled UDE, begins with that most traditional of menswear garments, the trench coat.

An art house styled short, Trench is slightly moody, narrated in Danish, and doesn’t even have a guy in it.  What it does do is convey the ubiquity of menswear and its easy movement between intended purpose and daily life, like a thoughtful, solitary stroll along the quay.

True Love Video producer Emilie Bredtved Hansen told OTC, “We want you to think of these works as morning walks.  As Something simple and pleasant and without any higher purpose.”

 

Concord Button Downs2 Concord Button Downs: The New Old School ShirtIt should come as a surprise to no one that far too often form trumps function in the fashion world.

Creating something in the “style” a timeless classic is more important than actually creating something that will last long enough to become a classic. “Inspired by” is often a phrase that makes our warning flag go up.

Take the humble but indomitable oxford cloth button down shirt, “OCBD” to the preppy cognoscenti. It is perhaps the quintessential American garment, regardless of the fact that it was in fact brought to America by John E. Brooks, as in Brooks Brothers, in 1896. While taking in a polo match, Brooks was captivated by the non-flapping shirt collars worn by the English polo players. To prevent them from being whipped in the face during full-speed gallops, the riders’ collars were held in place by small buttons.

Brooks took the concept back to the States and created his own version. Thus was born the legendary Brooks Brothers button-down polo collared shirt, perhaps the most famous version of the now iconic garment.

While Brooks’ OCBD is perhaps the emotional standard-bearer of the trad-iest of all Trad garments, it is not necessarily perfect, or for that matter, what it once was. Taking this as a starting point, Dan Castelline, founder of Concord Button Downs set about the task of creating a seriously old-school, like-your-dad-wore OCBD.

Constructed from 100% untreated cotton oxford cloth, these shirts are meant to be passed down father to son and worn into the ground. Founded in Concord, Massachusetts, Castelline sought out local seamstresses to cut and assemble the shirts.  While the fabric is imported, all production is not only kept in America, but also kept in New England.

To ensure that each shirt meets specific criteria, a 65-step process covers every detail of construction. By incorporating old-school characteristics found in traditional prep school attire with updated shirting details and silhouettes, Concord Button Downs’ shirts reflect a modern take on this wardrobe staple.

While the overall cut is traditional, extra fabric has been trimmed from the waist and hips, eliminating the typical blousing effect of a full-cut shirt. The result is a trim fit that is neither slim nor skinny, but realistic and comfortable.

Collar points have been slightly lengthened to achieve a more balanced look and the collar itself is constructed without interlining or fusing. This creates a shirt collar that is soft and able to form a natural full roll. Additionally, each collar is attached by hand. Together, these elements allow the collar to be “turned” once it reaches a well-worn and frayed state, should you choose to keep it fresh looking. Now that’s New England sensibility for you.

Concord Button Downs Logo Concord Button Downs: The New Old School ShirtThe distance between the collar button and second button was also increased, which presents a more natural look when not wearing a necktie.

While there is no visible logo up top, the company does make a clever and subtle concession to branding that we happen to like. Their Minuteman emblem is stitched on the bottom of the shirt’s inside placket and is visible only when the shirt is worn un-tucked.

We love these shirts, and while we hope that sizing will eventually expand to neck/sleeve gradations, for us, Medium is just right. They are not inexpensive, but these OCBDs are meant to be a lifelong investment, and when viewed in that light, $128.00 is a deal.

We also want to add that on a personal note, Dan is an impressive young guy. Starting your own business at a young age is one thing, and actually getting a foot into the garment industry is another one all together. But talking on an iconic and frankly interchangeable product like the button down oxford takes some guts.

In our opinion, Concord Button Downs has indeed succeeded in crafting a shirt that you should have in your closet. Actually, you should have several of them in your closet.

 

American Made. Global Market.

Frank Clegg has become the face of American leather craftsmanship.  Seemingly overnight, he has surged in the consciousness of high-end customers, style bloggers, Madison Avenue editors, Fifth Avenue retailers, and Made-in-America aficionados.

His brand, Frank Clegg Leatherworks, is built around the fact that he is more than just a name, he is also a maker.

It’s a great story, but it’s only a very small part of the larger story.  No overnight success – not by a long shot – Frank is a craftsman, yes, but he also has 30 years of expertise in custom leather work under his belt.  He has long been sought after by such top-notch brands as Alden and Cole Hann.  And he has legions of customers around the world who hand down his goods father-to-son.

If you want to know what makes Frank tick and why he is very much an American treasure, please read our earlier article about his background and passion for his craft.

The folks at Craft Series, which documents American artisans, created this great video that captures Frank’s remarkable skill and showcases his craftsmanship in action.  Check him out as he creates a custom briefcase on the fly; no pattern and no template.  Just experience and expertise.

 

How to Tie a Sette Necktie

The dashing gentleman in this wonderful little video from Sette Neckwear, is the owner of the Como, Italy, mill that produces the silk for Sette’s outstanding handmade ties.

Watch and learn.  And, if you are able, invest in a Sette or two.  They are some of the finest ties you can buy – and worth every penny.

 

Behind the Brand: J. Panther Luggage

We were recently chatting with Darren Gore, of J. Panther Luggage Co., and – in addition to showing us this great little video interview with founder Johnny Diamandis – he gave us sneak peak at some of the their upcoming plans.

This creative and innovative brand initially caught our attention with the multifunctional Courier Ruc briefcase.  This winter they will be releasing a canvas version of the Courier Ruc as well as some new colorways for the equally functional-yet-cool Ruc Tote.

Additionally, they have been working on a new bag that is something a little outside the established carry genres, as well as some small leather accessories to be released in the first half of 2013.  If the past is any predictor of what’s coming down the road, expect a creative combination of style, materials, and design.