We have been working with Orta Anadolu on various projects over the last six years, and this tale of Intergalactic space tribes and denim clad nomads has been our favourite so far. Usually our projects for Orta have had more of a heritage, historic feel about them, so it has been fun to place our latest collection into Outer Space. In design terms if you are either the Flintstones or the Jetsons then usually we are firmly planted in Bedrock, but for this concept we are the Jetsons!
- Oct 19th, 2016
- Sep 16th, 2016
- Sep 6th, 2016
- Aug 31st, 2016
- Aug 23rd, 2016
- Aug 17th, 2016
- Jun 29th, 2016
Still somewhat of an enigma, in terms of how useful can pink camouflage be in wartime, is this WWII British Army gas cape. Designed to be worn over the uniform and webbing in the event of a gas attack, it features a shaped backpack ‘hump’ for want of a better word.
- Jun 12th, 2016
Nicely hand painted personalised bag belonging to : N. Liebert, 22 Acacia Avenue, Hayes, Middx.
- Jun 8th, 2016
Nice early 60s English, cape buck suede, Modernist slip on shoes. Something ‘the Dean’ or even a young George Skeggs would’ve been happy to be seen sporting on the corner of Frith St and Old Compton St.
- May 31st, 2016
James Watson Gieve took over the already flourishing Portsmouth based tailoring business in 1888 following the death of his father James Gieve. Over the next ten years the company became the primary supplier to Royal Navy officers of uniforms and accoutrements. One of the most interesting items we have come across in a while is this seemingly simple at first glance Royal Navy officers waistcoat. However J.W. Gieve infact first patented the design for this innovative invention in 1915. May we present “The Life Saving Waistcoat”.
- May 25th, 2016
- May 18th, 2016
Take a stroll in the clouds in the First Class luxury that was air travel in the 1960s with this BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) in-flight travel bag, complete with the original menus and holiday guide to Hong Kong.
Step into Wicker’s World, a world of glamorous stewardesses, Martini’s and duty free cigarettes, back to the nicotine stained golden age of Trans-Continental flying from London to Hong Kong, via Tehran.
- May 5th, 2016
This Aeronautica Militaire flight jacket displays all the pomp, flair and panache you would come to expect from an Italian Air Force pilot.
With it’s heavy Prada spec nylon body, a removable blue grey bomber jacket liner with real fur mouton collar and B-15 styling, Riri paper clip zips throughout, could this be more fashion?
- Apr 15th, 2016
One of the pieces from our last book which we found fascinating was this (relatively contemporary compared to much of our collection) divers shirt. We felt it channeled the stillsuits worn by Frank Herberts fictional Fremen from his epic Dune novels. Worn below by Kyle MacLachlan playing Paul Atreides in David Lynch’s much derided film Dune.
- Apr 15th, 2016
- Apr 10th, 2016
It is most unlikely that the British Mount Everest Expedition members of 1953 gave much thought to the impact that their choice of watch would (still) have over 60 years later. That vintage Rolex Explorers regularly appear on the must-have lists for the Modern Man and the fact that Smiths closed down in 1980 pretty much tells the story of the two watch manufacturers most closely linked to the Expedition.
- Nov 2nd, 2015
Just back from an amazing week in Amsterdam at the ever Impressive Kingpins show in Westergasfabriek. As we get to just 24 hours from the Kingpins New York show doors opening, we wanted to share looks from our Amsterdam offering. As always an amazing show and one not to be missed by any in the denim industry. Read the rest of this entry »
- Sep 8th, 2015
Credit where credit is due, it’s down to the beady eyes of Dave Carroll from La Rocka, who spotted the striking similarity of this mid-century American tux with one worn by John Lydon on the Sex Pistols 1977 Swedish tour. Both jackets are cut from a yellow silk damask fabric with black silk revers, and turn back cuffs. Lydon’s undoubtedly an original 50s one also, has been modified by being crudely cropped in half, turning it into an almost razored bolero.
- May 28th, 2015
Interesting bespoke traveling suit, previously owned by DR. Henry Reginald Hall a well known early 20th century English Egyptologist and Historian.
- Mar 15th, 2015
A book charting the intricacies of 1980s Indie fashions and a German word with roots in Southend-on-Sea, sounds strange, intriguing, even obscure, but there is a connection. The book, A Scene In Between by Sam Knee, sheds light on the often overlooked scene in-between scenes, that bridged the gap between post-Punk and the acid house of the late 80s, and whose style reverberations are still felt today, and constantly referenced by the style cognoscenti.
- Feb 6th, 2015
‘DENIM DUDES – Street Style. Vintage. Workwear. Obsession’ by Amy Leverton unzips the global obsession with denim through the eyes of the men that shape, style, sell and design it. It is a bold statement to say that “denim is the most important fabric of the twenty-first century” but one that surely must resonate with a world in which half of its population, at any one time, is wearing a pair of jeans.
Denim Dudes leaves no sartorial stone unturned in the quest to hunt down the perfect pair of jeans and discover the most desirable denim, asking what exactly makes this once working-men’s fabric just so appealing?
- Jan 20th, 2015
It was a privilege and honour to have known Billy Murphy who kick started me off, as like many others, into a vintage existence that is still going strong today. An innovator and forward-thinker that put American vintage clothing on the map in Britain. A more charismatic man you will never meet; it was a pleasure to know and spend time with him.
Rest in peace Billy.
Words from the heart, Roy Luckett.
(co-founder The Vintage Showroom)
Billy Murphy by Sean Moorman. Courtesy of Paul Gorman
- Dec 22nd, 2014
Though the preferred cold weather option for RAF ground crew since the 1950’s which often sees them described as such, these parkas were originally intended for pilots rather than those on the ground in vital maintenance roles. The 22C prefix on the labels was used by the Air Ministry from the 1920’s to 1960’s under the general heading of “Clothing and Accoutrements”. Though some codes cross over, generally speaking the 22C prefix referred specifically to RAF flying clothing.
- Nov 17th, 2014
We are very pleased to announce we are now stocking Japanese brand Timeworn Clothing. Established in 2010 by Kei Hemmi, Timeworn encompasses several labels under the same umbrella. At Last & Co. represents the classic workwear pieces and denim, whilst Butcher products covers military and sportswear inspired pieces.
- Oct 27th, 2014
PF Flyers gained popularity in the 1930s and early 1940s and whilst ‘Center Hi’s’ (pictured) never quite making out of the Converse shadow, the ‘P.F.’ (Posture Foundation) patented insole technology set new benchmarks in sneaker comfort. The insole technology was first used in BF Goodrich shoes. It involves a wedge-like insert (promoted as the “magic wedge”) that moves weight to the outside of the foot, evenly distributing weight, reducing leg strain. As the success of the sneakers with the Posture Foundation insole technology grew in 1937 it became the basis for the brand name, “PF Flyers.” Sport styles by PF were very popular in the 1950s, renowned for helping you “run faster and jump higher” courtesy of the “action wedge.” This ability would be a result of the improved fit of the foundation, but similar foundations were finding their way into competing brands, countering the PF advantage.
- Oct 1st, 2014
It would seem that there as been a lot of channeling of inner Midnight Cowboy’s of late, but as these original b&w stills from the 1969 John Schlesinger directed classic show, Jon Voight takes some beating for rocking the look. Script written by Waldo Salt from the original novel of the same name stars Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman, and if you haven’t seen for a while it is strongly recommended for another look. The film won three Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, and is often in the shortlist of greatest American movie. Worth watching again for the soundtrack alone, (especially the Jean Toots Thielemans harmonica intro on the John Barry title track), and the late night 1960’s street shots of NYC.
Texan Joe and Ratso we salute you and the soundtrack is playing outing the showroom for the rest of the day on repeat!
- Sep 29th, 2014
Albion Kinitting Mills Wool produced these over-length custom letterman cardigans throughout the 1940s/50s and 60s. For personalization, one could have their surname chain stitch embroidered onto a neck label add-on, and full name applied to colour contrasted inner pockets. Ball trinkets an optional extra. Knee-length and extra heavy, these make for great autumn cheerleading outerwear!
- Sep 11th, 2014
Vintage military athletic, or PT shoes are virtually impossible to find. These are a particularly nice US Navy example, and date from the 1940s. The model is virtually the same as the classic Jack Purcell badminton shoe, but with a black rubber sole and trim.
- Aug 28th, 2014
Acquired from an old Kent cobblers (est 1908 and now sadly closed down), these bespoke ‘big toes’ where made for a customer of whom never returned to collect. If you’re out there, get in touch!
- Aug 8th, 2014
This charming illustrated childrens book from 1979 by Virginia Parsons is a thinly veiled commentary on the development of the Covent Garden market, and Seven Dials area of London by big greedy property developers in the 1970s.
For ‘End Street’ you should really read Earlham St., and the hero of the book Mr Hobbs is the proprietor of a hardware shop which is none other than the former F.W. Collins, now The Vintage Showroom, at 14 Earlham Street. Even Mr Hobbs’ unique invention of elastic glue, which he uses to foil the wicked developers, is borrowed from F. W. Collins the original hardware shop owners.
This modern day parable is a halcyon view of days gone by and the innocence of childhood, made all the more pleasant because it was a gift from the Collins family. Thank you!
- Aug 7th, 2014
- Jul 14th, 2014
Found photographs always make for fascinating viewing in a socio-political fashion context, these piqued our interest because some date to a pre-Vietnam war Indochina of the 1950s. Beautiful people, great styles. Think Scent Of The Green Papaya and Graham Greene’s The Quiet American and you get the picture…
- Jul 1st, 2014
Not the world famous Tudor-clad retailer famous for it’s paisley prints and Arts and Crafts pedigree, but another kind of liberty. The naval souvenir kind, like this dragon embroidered souvenir jacket from the late 1940s.
- Jun 11th, 2014
This year we collaborated on two projects with our good friends at Orta; Rebel Blues and Arctic Whites, which were showcased at Denim by PV in Barcelona last month to an amazing reaction!
From the initial concept meetings with Orta we wanted to showcase some of the huge range of fabrics that they offer their customers by developing two separate collections.
Rebel Blues showcased some of the heritage fabrics in Orta’s collection with their roots in the 1950’s and its sense of rebellion epitomised by James Dean, Brando, Kerouac et al. Part Beat Generation part Wild One mixed of course with a London flavour and a cafe racer/ace cafe feel.
Arctic Whites was a 1920’s inspired collection based on the first women to take to the skies. Amy Johnson, Amelia Earhart and Jacqueline Cochran to name but a few, and the Ice woman herself Louise Arner Boyd whose love of the Arctic inspired the name for the collection. Recreating a wardrobe suitable for these queens of the skies was amazing, playing with early flying jackets and sporting pieces from our archive.
Vintage pieces were selected from our collection and lovingly reinterpreted by Orta at their Istanbul atelier. Once finished we had the pleasure of working with Claudio Toson who developed and recreated the amazing washes seen across both collections at northern Italy’s Castelfranco Veneto laundry Everest.
The final and most enjoyable stage was shooting the images for both collections in London with an amazing team. Nic Shonfeld photographed Charlotte de Carle (Profile Models) who was the perfect pilot for Arctic Whites and Zoe Basia Brown (Profile Models) and James Alexander Adair (AMCK Models) were our fasntastic couple for Rebel Blues.
- Jun 9th, 2014
Off white, not stark or bright, not ivory or buttermilk, just off white, not milk nor cream, the best way to describe it is Chalk White. The pristine colour of those brittle sticks of schooldays that came in card packets reminiscent of cigarette packs. The colour also implies a certain dustiness that chalk gives off, a soft washed texture, pale and powdery. As part of a Summer palette don’t forget to include chalk white, much as Lucien Freud’s colour of choice for painting flesh was Cremnitz White, Chalk White is the perfect accompaniment to washed out blues and dusty yellows.
Words Simon/photo Nic
- Jun 9th, 2014
So Dylan said apparently, so here are some blue (muted in this set) pants, jeans, overalls, bleu de travail etc etc. The de rigeur colour of choice for workwear all around the globe.
- Apr 17th, 2014
British Army denim ‘overall’ or battledress trousers from the 1950s. All deadstock, and even better all in the distinctive green denim with white selvedge seams.
- Apr 15th, 2014
The only way to describe it is a paler, subtler, more soft on the eye yellow. Such is the colour of this Rockall ‘souwester’ and matching hat, and is only enhanced by the honey coloured corduroy collar and slightly golden transparency of the rubber moulded stud buttons. One of several pieces from this little known English nautical brand that produces fishing, sailing attire, and that continue to inspire us with their simplicity of design and functionality.
- Apr 4th, 2014
To coincide with the release of the new Yves Saint Laurent bio-pic, we thought we’d give an illustration of just one of many of Saint Laurent’s creative collaborations. In 1971 Jean-Claude Vannier made an instrumental album to accompany the Autumn/Winter collection of Yves Saint Laurent. Vannier was also a close collaborator of Serge Gainsbourg, he composed Melody Nelson, and he composed several soundtracks for director Philippe Garrel. But we will talk about that later! Here we take at a look at this extract from Roland Petit’s show where a special live version of L’Enfant, La Mouche Et Les Allumettes accompanies YSL’s creations. Stunning, non?
- Mar 20th, 2014
Here are some new jewellery pieces we are currently holding at the showroom, a strange brew of Mexican, Navajo and WWII. Please email for more details – email@example.com
- Mar 14th, 2014
Industrial factory glitter glamour baroque pop underground Andy Edie Gerard silver balloons Campbell’s soup Elvis space-age safety protective plastic people crackle tin foil Velvet fire proof fabric. All in one amazing piece is such a thing possible?
- Mar 7th, 2014
Jeremy Brett, quintessentially.
- Feb 28th, 2014
- Feb 28th, 2014
- Feb 13th, 2014
As a follow on to our piece about American carpet manufacturer turned hunting apparel makers C. H. Masland of Pennsylvania, we’d like to share some recent additions. Unlike other outdoor clothing companies, Masland came to it relatively late, and almost by accident. They had a wartime contract for canvases, clothing and tent awnings, but their main business had always been carpet manufacturing.
It is perhaps this difference that makes their hunting clothes so unique, and so unlike the typical brands of the era. You can almost see in the garments that they were testing and creating new design features, zipped pockets, press stud fastenings, suede and leather patches, quite often using up their surplus stock of military grade zips and hardware. Unfortunately their foray into the world of outdoor clothing was short-lived, and production soon turned back to carpets, perhaps due to the bigger competition of such greats as Sears & Roebucks, L L Bean, Penneys etc, or perhaps as a result of some of those off the wall design details! Read the rest of this entry »
- Jan 28th, 2014
Part sailor, part fisherman, part debonair film star, all Dirk Bogarde.
- Jan 23rd, 2014
Collection of hunting buttons ‘up close’ and personal depicting foxes, boars heads, deer, horses et al
- Jan 16th, 2014
Again exploiting the microscopic detail that is revealed by a macro lens, tweed cloth starts to look like the surface of the moon. Tiny flecks of colour are revealed that make up the bigger palette, almost like a Sigmar Polke spot painting in miniature.
- Dec 19th, 2013
Trying to get our heads round the craze for ugly Christmas jumpers, the best we could come up with are these more tasteful 1950s designs, featuring classic Nordic and festive motifs, such as snowflakes, reindeer and pine trees. If one must wear a Christmas jumper to the office party PLEASE make it a good one!
- Dec 16th, 2013
- Dec 5th, 2013
A cream silk evening scarf, presumably 1920’s deco era, from glover, hosier and shirtmaker Frederick Noble Jones of Burlington Arcade. We think the centered embroidered monogram spells out RON, but it could be the initials ‘R.N’ with an non-functional embroidered hole in the middle.
The Burlington Arcade is a fantastic relic of regency London. Built in 1819, the arcade is lined with tiny shops under a high glass ceiling/roof and connects Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens. Still to this day patrolled by THE BEADLES (commissioned by Lord Cavendish as the smallest recognised police force) in full Edwardian costume whom are responsible for enforcing the ancient by-laws of the arcade – No whistling, no singing, no hurrying, no carrying large parcel or packages and certainly no opening of umbrellas.
- Nov 29th, 2013
The term ‘California styling’ refers to a certain aesthetic, and conjurs up iconic, hip images from the history of the golden state. Starting in the post-War boom of the affluent and secure 1950s it seems California developed it’s own distinctive style, part Hollywood part pioneer, perhaps in some way due to it’s own unique weather or geography, or it’s proud independent history. Advertisers were quick to realise the mere word ‘California’ had connotations of space, freedom, sunshine and modernity. Add to this the element of cool, the California of Big Sur Beats, West Coast Monterey Jazz, and The Beach Boys and you have era defining style.
Towns like Anaheim, Tracy, and Glendale are instantly imbued with a faraway Romanticism, American Graffiti and E.T. capture on celluloid some of it’s golden glow, and the folklore of Laurel canyon provides a soundtrack, a synthesis of music, style and sunshine that has created a Universal sun-kissed style still felt today, and seen in everything from Van Dorens, early Stussy and Dogtown and the Z Boys.
- Nov 7th, 2013
Our first publication ‘Vintage Menswear – A Collection By The Vintage Showroom’ just won the Lifestyle Illustrated Award at the recent British Book Design and Production Awards for 2013. We are more than thrilled to receive such an accolade for something that was essentially a project of passion which gives an insight into what we do, and a team effort by like minded individuals. The fact it has been so well received Internationally is beyond our original expectations, and has inspired us to contemplate taking up the pen again…
Thank you to everyone who has bought a copy and helped make it such a success.
- Oct 28th, 2013
The Earlham Street shop recently underwent somewhat of a refurbishment. Here are some snaps…
- Oct 11th, 2013
OK, so here we are. Showroom volume II has just been delivered and is now available to pre-order HERE.
The official launch date is 24th October.
You can find out more info about the publication on the newly re-vamped website – www.showroom-publication.com
Please take a moment to head over to the FB page and help spread the word by ‘liking’ us, if you don’t already. We are really proud of this new volume, we hope we inspire you.
- Oct 10th, 2013
What can be more appropriate at this time of year than the autumnal shades of a Harris Tweed two-piece gamekeeper suit. A traditional Scottish design it features distinctive styling such as the cut away front, a shorter body length and the scalloped and glove stitched pocket flaps. Partnered with a kilt and sporran it conjures up images from the film Mrs. Brown or The Shooting Party.
Interestingly the jacket shape is not too dissimilar to some of Vivienne Westwoods House of Mud designs, even some of Christopher Nemeth’s creations. Very Buffalo!
- Oct 7th, 2013
The Pop Up Flea, the one-weekend-at-a-time menswear shopping event based in New York is heading to London for the first time ever this October. The Vintage Showroom will be en présence for this event so please come down and say hello. We will have a good selection of archive pieces with us. Read on for more details…
‘The Pop Up Flea’ is the creation of New Yorkers Michael Williams and Randy Goldberg. Each year Michael and Randy invite their favorite brands to participate in the event, creating a dream store of handsome and diverse products (see below for the list of contributors). The event is open to the public, and will take place on Piccadilly in Central London over the weekend of 10th and 11th October, and will include a mix of US and UK brands not often seen together under one roof.
For more information visit: www.thepopupflea.com.
St James’s, London, W1
Friday, Oct 11th: 3pm to 8pm
Saturday, Oct 12th: 11am to 7pm
Sunday Oct 13th: 12pm to 6pm
Vendors for this year’s event include : Aether, Field Notes, Filson, General Knot & Co.,Levi’s Made & Crafted, Levi’s Vintage Clothing, London Undercover, Man of the World, Marwood, North Sea Clothing, Red Wing Heritage, Shinola, Tanner Goods, Tellason, The Bread Collective, The Good Flock and Todd Snyder.
- Oct 1st, 2013
Further to our recent delves into the archive of SHOWROOM Vol.I, here is a wonderful insight and example of resistance through style penned by regular contributor and ‘antiquous oracle-ius’ Simon Andrews.
FRENCH RESISTANCE – IMPOVISED STYLE IN OCCUPIED FRANCE – by Simon Andrews.
New York, August 1939, and Time magazine, reporting on the Parisian autumn collections, somewhat prosaically notes that, “whoever runs the world, Paris intends to go on making his wife’s clothes”. However, within a few months, as German forces hovered on the perimeters of France, it was clearly evident that no European city would be able to boldly claim such influence. What was to evolve, by contrast, was a hybrid yet distinct style borne from necessity and infused with covert and symbolic aspects of a defiant national identity.
‘FTPF FFI’ Communist Résistance brassard, white cotton and embroidery, with Phrygian bonnet motif, France, c.1943-1944.
Paris, May 1940, the eve of the invasion, and Lucien François, editor of Votre Beauté magazine, observes that “every woman in Paris is a living propaganda poster”, acknowledging the proliferation of cheerful summer colours, patriotic silk scarves and the use of popular Gallic imagery. However, such buoyant optimism masked the practical realities that necessitated the stockpiling of many materials now deemed necessary for the war effort, and the sober consciousness that fashion, or rather clothing, should now bring considerations of practicality to the fore. Although the Parisian couture houses were to remain operative, supplying a wealthy elite throughout the duration of the war, the humble reality was that most materials – silk, leather, and even wood were rationed by 1941. Prompted by a paucity of materials, the fashion-conscious Parisienne, now obliged to improvise, personalized a distinctive silhouette of high hemlines, towering headdress, and clattering wooden- soled platform shoes – the latter jauntily celebrated in Maurice Chevalier’s `La Symphonie des Semelles de Bois’.
- Sep 27th, 2013
Here are some mobile snaps taken whilst at Aldgate Press in Whitechapel. We went to see the latest volume of SHOWROOM rolling off the print line. It feels like only yesterday when we were last there having a sneaky peek (getting in the way) at Vol.I. A year later, here are some sample spreads of Vol.II , to be launched on 24th Octobber 2013. The publication will be available to pre-order online in the next week or so, more details to follow…
- Sep 23rd, 2013
- Aug 5th, 2013
Rumour has it, when Francis Ford Coppola was looking for a new film to make back in 1982, it was his daughter Sophia who recommended S.E. Hinton’s teen classic ‘The Outsiders’. Her recommendation was a winner, the all star cast and the coming of age theme, along with a classic wardrobe made it an instant hit.
As with West Side Story, gangs and stylised youth sub-culture never looked so good, in this case it’s the privileged ‘Soc’s’ in their Sta-Prest and Madras checks, versus the white-trash ‘Greasers’ in dirty denim, hooded sweats and cut-off Mickey Mouse tees.
- Jul 26th, 2013
Kicking off our final boots triptych, here is something for the ladies. A pair of womens ATS ( Auxiliary Territorial Service) pebble grain short lace up boots, featuring the distinctive War Department Broad Arrow, or ‘Crows Foot’, stitched into the toe. Very similar in style to our Broad Arrow’d John White boots dated 1941, these have no discernible makers name, but are War Department stamped at the ankle.
The ranks of the ATS swelled dramatically during World War Two as women took over the military roles that were vacated by men sent off to fight. By the end of the war there were over 190,000 members of the ATS, not including the Royal Navy equivalent the WRNS, or the Air Force WAAF.
- Jul 12th, 2013
As a follow on from the Nikolaus Tuczek spats, here are another pair, this time by Anton Penk. It would be rude not to mention the character namesake ‘Spats’ Colombo from Billy Wilder’s inspired comedy Some Like It Hot, played by real-life debonair bad-boy George Raft.
- Jun 12th, 2013
The Donkey jacket comes and goes, but only in trend. We saw a fair few Dalston Donkeys last winter (and only the lord knows what will be next over in the ephemeral East) but, to our knowledge, nobody has quite celebrated these hard-wearing British staples in quite the same manner as the seminal Tuf Work Boot Fashion Show of 1974.
- Jun 7th, 2013
‘Chamois’ and ‘knees’ – two words you don’t often see together, but start to make sense when in a Jodphur-y riding kinda context.
- Jun 7th, 2013
Just in, for all you Flintstones fans, a University of Bedrock sweatshirt. Team it with Converse sneakers and a sabre tooth tiger loincloth for the perfect Summer look! Available now at the Earlham St. shop.
- Jun 5th, 2013
As a follow on from our post about the Hussars tunics we’d like to recommend watching this little known gem from Ridley Scott, his first feature film in fact, based on the novel The Duel by Joseph Conrad. The film revolves around two Napoleonic French officers who pursue a protracted grudge through a series of duels lasting two decades. Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel play the stubborn duellists of the title, beautifully shot and historically accurate, The Duellists is an enigmatic and stunning visual treat.
- May 31st, 2013
Less Harry Hope’s Greenwich village flea-pit booze can and more The Vikings x Seven Samurai.
This new addition to the archive is a hardcore piece. Deadstock cotton canvas shell with leather belt fastening, comes complete with original cutters tag and stencil bearing the legend “Cape Axeman 1942” with distinctive War Department broad arrow – the wearer of which would not be someone you would want to meet on a dark night axe in hand…
- May 29th, 2013
May 29th marked the 60th anniversary of Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay’s historic ascent of Everest in 1953. The expedition’s physical achievements are well-known and well documented, no more so than in a beautiful new book The Conquest of Everest : Original Photographs From The Legendary First Ascent by expedition photographer George Lowe, capturing every stage of the attempt on the summit in detail, and notably in colour. In fashion and design terms these photographs are an amazing archive that still serves to inspire in a remarkably contemporary way. The army surplus, Norwegian knit patterns, Sherpa’s traditional garb, and the revolutionary, at the time, new technology of the cotton/nylon windproof suits and oxygen equipment, in sharp contrast with the primitive tweeds worn on the doomed earlier 1924 expedition led by George Mallory and Andrew Irvine.
The colour plates, in tone, and their silvery grey paleness are reminiscent of the technicolour cinematography of Jack Cardiff on the 1947 Powell & Pressburger film Black Narcissus, set in the high Himalaya’s.
- May 24th, 2013
A St John Ambulance Association triangular bandage [circa 1910s] printed with diagrams of how to use in an emergency, for various breaks and sprains, in differing degrees of seriousness. Trying to replicate some of the origami-like knots and ties, under pressure, would make quite an entertaining challenge. A practical as well as graphic piece of printed ephemera from the early 20th century.
- May 22nd, 2013
‘TROY’ blanket linings in old American chore jackets, fade and fall apart in interesting ways. Made using re-processed wool they were a cheap and durable way of adding extra warmth to denim workwear. They invoke a spirit of the Old West, Americana, Okies on the move, bedroll campfires, but also chain-gangs, Shawshank and Jailhouse Rock. Here’s a selection of stripes…
- May 17th, 2013
I met a man with seven wives… So the rhyme goes, but I suggest if you are going to St. Ives in Cornwall you should definitely check out the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. These are a few snaps I took of her studio when I was last there. The studio itself is a beautiful space and it has been preserved for visitors to see ‘as it was left’. We have long been fans of her work, and fellow sculptor Henry Moore, and her taste in salmon windcheaters!
- May 15th, 2013
French vs English Hussars ‘pelisse’ tunics, although very similar in style, exhibit little continental differences, an extra swirl in the braid, astrakan trim, different buttons and intricate frogging. Our cross Channel cousins example has a certain panache, originally all black (of course) some of the braid has now faded to green, and the back calligraphy would make even Jimi Hendrix* jealous. The English version, an 11th Hussar’s Lieutenants tunic, tailored by Stohwasser & Co., exudes a certain ceremonial swagger, replete with heavy wire gold braid, in knots and swags, and a regal red satin lining.
* French Hussars Tunic.
Both however share the same genetic traits of 18th century Hussars jackets from middle Europe, when Prussian and Austro-Hungarian cavalry wore these distinctive short Dolman jackets, usually trimmed with fur and decorated with Tyrolean braid knots. Friendly rivalries aside these subtle design differences betray a long and lethal history, but are still undeniably beautiful.
- May 13th, 2013
“Now, I’m liberal, but to a degree
I want ev’rybody to be free
But if you think that I’ll let Barry Goldwater
Move in next door and marry my daughter
You must think I’m crazy!
I wouldn’t let him do it for all the farms in Cuba”
From Another Side of Bob Dylan 1964, copyright Special Rider Music
- Apr 26th, 2013
We have just received our latest printed matter, the 2013 Vintage Showroom lookbook. There is something inherently pleasing about opening up the boxes and being hit by the smell of repetitive stacks of fresh print on high quality stock. A nod to our printer at Aldgate Press for another fantastic job, we cant wait for them to get cracking on our next project – SHOWROOM PUBLICATION VOL II.
photos – NS
- Apr 10th, 2013
The bad news is we produced such a fantastic book that we completely sold out. BOOOOOOOOOO. Good news is that we have just taken delivery of a fresh consignment. HUURRRRAAAHHH!
Available in our shop, all good book stores and online HERE.
- Mar 25th, 2013
Shining a light on recurring design details. A reinforced shoulder is an obvious functional thing that has uses in work clothing, sports, miltary and motorcycle clothing, either to protect the shoulder or the garment (areas of stress and wear) or simply from the elements, sometimes all of these.
- Mar 25th, 2013
So the rap goes in Salt N Pepa’s eponymous 1987 hit Push It. What we have here is an altogether different condiment though, salt and pepper fabrics from around the globe. Similar either just in colour, or in their workwear usage. Their global reach is interesting and show it’s International pedigree. For instance we have black flecked chambray from France, grey Italian prison issue, two melange fisherman knits from these shores, and the unique fleecy flecked weave known as Brown’s Beach Cloth* from across the Atlantic.
- Mar 20th, 2013
Just unearthed a cache of Little League (literally) team baseball tops. Seems we got the whole team’s jerseys, all chain stitched numbers, woven labels, cat eye buttons etc. The title of course refers to the 1976 comedy film starring Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neal, about a hapless bunch of teenage reprobates cobbled together to make an unlikely Little League baseball team.
- Mar 8th, 2013
What is it with this logo? We, and countless others agree it’s a modern classic. What better illustration of the home-made PUNK do-it-yourself aesthetic than a handmade t-shirt, scribbled on in marker pen. The best thing about it… the spelling mistake of Images rather than Image. ‘Doh!’
Words Simon/photos Nic Shonfeld
- Mar 7th, 2013
A consignment of tie-clips. Silver, gold, initialed and bejeweled – all and each perfect for blinging up your kipper. In the Earlham Street shop as of the morning.
- Feb 20th, 2013
A wolf in sheepskin clothing, well almost in the case of the painted A-2’s below, but a sheepskin flight jacket in any other fabric, just wouldn’t be the same. 1940s design and functionality in perfect chrome tanned, veg dyed, leather seamed harmony. Designed to keep high altitude bomber crews warm at near freezing temperatures, this was the best performance pedigree fabric available at the time, until the introduction of lightweight quilted and nylon fabrics in the late forties superseded the days of sheepskin flight clothing, and some of the romance of the early days of flying disappeared forever.
Sometimes the medium IS the message….
USAAF A-2 leather jackets, ‘El Lobo II’ belonging to B-17 pilot Richard E Fitzhugh of the 457th Bomb Group, and the 1st Glider Provisional Group patch, both featuring Disney-esque wolves.
- Jan 15th, 2013
The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is part of the Natural Environment Research Council based in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It has a long and distinguished history, for over 60 years, undertaking the majority of Britain’s scientific research on and around the Antarctic continent.
The UK’s interest in the region goes back some 200 years in which it has been a leader in Antarctic science and exploration since Captain James Cook became the first person to sail around the continent in the 1770’s. The most famous British expeditions to the Antarctic took place during the so-called “heroic age” at the start of the 20th Century.
Primarily remembered for their extraordinary feats of courage and endurance, the expeditions of Scott and Shackleton had important scientific goals. During the southern winter before the fateful push for the pole, Scott’s expedition gathered large amounts of scientific data. Undoubtedly the most hard won were five emperor penguin eggs, which three men travelled for more than a month in the middle of the Antarctic winter to collect, in the hope they would shed light on the evolutionary links between reptiles and birds.
- Jan 14th, 2013
Recognise your brands, marques to be reckoned with, some instantly recognisable, some a little more obscure. First up is the Harris Tweed Orb logo.
- Jan 7th, 2013
Button up against the wind with a concealed throat latch, collar tab, whatever you wanna call it…
- Dec 7th, 2012
A few fresh key clips have just arrived at the Earlham St. shop in time for Christmas. Made using vintage leather, antique buttons and assorted curios. Once we’ve unwrapped them they make a good accompaniment to our selection of vintage watches, watch straps and jewellry.
- Nov 27th, 2012
We have just had these leather boots beautifully restored to an exceptional standard by our master craftsman cobbler. WWII military officers boots, dispatch riders, country stouts and walking shoes with upgraded leather soles and polished patinas. Unique, weatherproof and thoroughly wearable boots and shoes available at 14 Earlham Street as of the beginning of December, with more additions widening the selection in the up-coming months.
- Nov 23rd, 2012
Albeit already tried by A.P.C. Surplus in the golden heyday of ‘doursoux’ finds. These are things we just like and we think merit a second look and more appreciation, in keeping with the shop’s aesthetic and previous life, sometimes modified, sometimes simply re-discovered, appropriated and brought to the fore.
- Nov 21st, 2012
- Nov 16th, 2012
Nothing like a white linen suit better evokes images of Graham Greene’s Our Man In Havana, keeping sartorially sharp under a fierce colonial sun, Jay Gatsby and Jake Gittes, or even the multiple cover images from the 1979 Led Zeppelin album, In Through The Out Door.