Monday, 24 February 2014

Levi's Commuter range is Hot in the City

Levi’s still ringing the bell in Commuter wear:

The link ups, bare with me here, as I do not understand words such as Nanosphere, (but it does sound pretty impressive), with Swiss tech genius’ Schoeller Technologies AG, are ground-breaking. Schoeller’s Nanosphere treatment makes the range not only water-resistant, but able to repel dirt and possibly nuclear bomb proof, well you know.

Sticking with all technological advances Swiss, an obvious issue with sweat is eradicated through the oddly named odor-nixing treatment, which means the garment is permeated with it, so no need for deodorant pit stops either.

I told you it’s all clever stuff, along with the little safety touches, where jacket cuffs and yokes, jean and trouser seams are lined with 3M reflective tape ‘Scotchlite’ as its commonly known, to ensure riders are seen, bright and clear.

Erike Joule, SVP of Levi’s men’s merchandising and design, said of the range; We knew that our jeans were already being worn by urban cyclists across the country. We listened to what they wanted and created a product with performance traits for biking that also functions as daily street wear.”

The stunning hooded, yes hooded, denim Trucker jacket from the range is a delight, in beautiful tailored fit. This wonder has little extras that not only ensure safety and comfort, they really add to the style of this piece. Adjustable velcro cuffs with extended fit, button fastening with a zip fastened back pocket and back inside one are all features.

The button through piece also has two chest pockets, back venting for maximum breathability, along with being odor-resistant, with an extended longer tail. Anyone who cycles will know how important that one little extra touch is.

The 511 five pocket indigo jeans have all the aforementioned additions, coming in slim fit with zip fastening and higher back rise. They look pretty amazing as well.

The 511 black trousers from the range come with four pockets, once again in slim fit design.
They are a lighter weight version when compared to the jeans, but offer the same protection.

All sounds pretty impressive doesn’t it! 

Well with more than 150 years of experience in denim doyenism, what would you expect from the California born icon, that’s always leading from the front? 

OK Commuter with Levi's

IT WAS his holiness of indie rock Stephen Malkmus, of cult band Pavement, who sang: ‘I’ve got style, miles and miles. So much style that it’s wasting’
The California born songster could well have been singing about the Commuter range from Levis, which in its fifth year is pushing the boundaries of style on pedals further and further, with new innovations in durability, safety, comfort and of course style.

Strictly aiming itself at the slick round town cyclist, no room for Chris Frome here, this is definitely inner city peddling garments at its best, although it must be said that you can imagine Sir Bradley Wiggins the recognised Ace Face of bikes, and entrant into the fashion world with his Fred Perry range of tops and jackets, sporting some.

The Commuter range is definitely at Le Tete de La Course.

Utilising the 511 slim/skinny as the building block for the range, dropping in the Trucker denim jacket, this is as the brand suggests, ‘clothing for people who ride bikes, designed by those that cycle’.

And some natty touches such as higher waistbands, or utility, designed to avoid unsightly ‘under-cracker’ flashes, along with extra comfort, with reinforcing of vital areas of each garment, for example; crotch, belt loops, pockets and waistbands.

Gone are any images of ‘street wear’, you know that baggy awful relaxed look sported by BMX riders, or the knee high short Americana looks of other brands attempting to put a style on commuter cycling.

The advances in lines, fabrics, colours and design give this line a ‘utility’ which works perfectly with the cityscape or urban environment that they were born to be worn in and it is more than feasible to wear Commuter throughout the day, and then stay in the garments until a night out. 

Not something you could do wearing the usual Lycra gear donned by most road/street cyclists. Well, not if you want to make an impression on your potential date, if that’s what you are planning.

More in a bit:

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Church's New Religion Pt 2:

Returning to the Church of shoe style: 

Concessions and external stockists of which Stuarts London can proudly boast to be, began in earnest in the early 1950s, further enhancing Church’s as an international brand and has seen this icon stand firm in the famous West London shop.

There were always certain rules that went with handmade leather shoes, although traditions such as ‘no browns after six’ and never wearing the same pair of leather shoes two days in a row, to allow for drying out, have somewhat died the death. Although the latter should be adhered to, wherever possible.

So it is with interest to see the new variations and lines that Church's have produced, for example the Hirst 3 Nube shoes, which are as far removed from the classic Church's stylings as you can get.
As part of the spring/summer collection this suede upper lace up shoe, (six eyelets) has a relaxed holiday shoe feel about it. The light colouring and stylised detailed heal, all one piece rubber sole, is a delight. With leather lining and rounded toe. Coming in nube or alternatively blue, maintaining the sole detailing, with white trim, this shoe highlights the brands approach to moving forward.

Then there is the Downtown Dirty brogue. The name itself does not exactly conjure images of the brand and this custom grade grain leather lace shoe (five eyelets) catches the eye for its original look the leather smacks of crocodile skin, the design robust and strong, while heavily stylised, white laces contrast superbly against the grey/white leather and dark sole and heal. It really is a break from the norm.

The Downish blue holds the same styles as the Downtown; sole colouring with slightly darker laces, but a delicious and slightly distressed blue leather upper brogue splits to the two shoes apart, both coming in F fitting, or medium or 6 fitting as it can sometimes be known.

Ian Dury, the pop poet, named his debut album New Boots and Panties, its a tenuous link I know, but the Sahara Chuka boot shows Church's attention to detail beautifully, something that Dury did with his lyrical witticisms.
The boot which is offered in two colours, brown and mud brown, has beautiful contrast stitching on the 100 per cent suede upper, and the beautiful contrast reinforced heel with leather sole is just, well, beautiful. The two eyelet lace up boots, run the line between casual and formal perfectly. This custom grade boot is a delight plain and simple and smacks of everything Church’s, encompassing the style, detailing and craftsmanship of the Northamptonshire giant.

Not meaning to sound irreverent, but a company name could not suit a brand anymore than Church’s, to some they simply are a religion.

Church's: A religion in shoes

THEY SAY: ‘If you want to know a man, walk a mile in his shoes’, but if his shoes are made by one of the icons of  handmade shoe manufacturing, Church’s, you can probably forgo the mile trot and already have some idea that you are dealing with distinguished man, with unquestionable style. 
Favourites of both James Bond actors Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan, the brand was choice de jour during Brosnan’s tenure as Ian Fleming’s ice cool hero.
As with the famous spy, who has become an integral part of fabric and tradition of literature, cinema and Britain, it is tradition that Church’s has formed part of when it comes to manufacturing ‘classic’ footwear.

Proudly boasting the moniker of ‘English’ shoes, Church’s history and ‘traditions’ stretch back to Cromwellian times, the company even remains at its original home and area that must be seen as the heartbeat of British shoe production, Northampton.
The standards set back then have remained with Church’s, who are still and rightfully regarded as a ‘benchmark firm for high-quality’ footwear.
At its St James Road factory, Church’s still use the same the 250 point operation and eight week craftsmanship procedure, using the finest leather to create each pair.

It is these attitudes and approaches that create a lasting impression and of course that, in turn, reflects on the wearer, bespoke in as so many ways.
Welted soles, utilising the Goodyear construction process, which in technical terms sees the ‘sole and upper sole first stitched to the ‘welt’, a strip of hand-cut leather, which is then stitched to the bottom of the shoe during the early stages of production’, have become a hallmark of reliability and strength of English shoes worldwide and of course is synonymous with Church’s.

Continual moves to push boundaries is also something Church’s has always explored, the current business employs 700 staff, with the brand expanding its footwear selection along with accessory lines. More of this in a bit.
But in man ways it’s a process of ‘Never stand still, but never stray far from your roots’.
The global company approach of Church’s, which now has a majority ownership by Prada in the 1990s, is nothing new with rapid expansion seeing awards at the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace back in 1881, before the brand began to seek links across Europe and South Africa, before finally reaching the New World in 1907 with buyers found in America and Canada.

It seems odd then that the brand set down its first roots in London in 1921, the brand being in many ways as synonymous with London as the Bowler hat, Underground and black cabs, and surely centreing its production on footwear for the Armed Forces during World War II only further fitted the link with Church’s and this sceptred isle.

Here endeth the lesson until part two: