Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia's founder, got his start as a climber in 1953 as a 14-year-old member of the Southern California Falconry Club, which trained hawks and falcons for hunting. He was taught how to rappel down the cliffs to the falcon aeries. He soon started hopping freight trains to Stoney Point and eventually learned to climb. From there he moved on to the big walls of Yosemite..
In Yosemite, multi-day ascents required hundreds of placements of soft iron pitons which were placed once, then left in the rock. In 1957 Chouinard decided to make his own reusable hardware. He went to a junkyard and bought a used coal-fired forge, a 138-pound anvil, and started teaching himself how to blacksmith..
In the 60’s Chouinard began his business by forging and selling steel pitons to sustain his climbing. He could forge two of his in an hour, and sold them for $1.50 each. Since most of his tools were portable, he’d load up his car and travel the California coast from Big Sur to San Diego, surfing and forging pitons. By 1965, there was enough demand for Chouinard's gear that he couldn't keep making it by hand. He had to start using tools, dies and machinery. He began redesigning and improving almost every climbing tool, to make them stronger, lighter, simpler, and more functional.
In 1970, Chouinard Equipment had become the largest supplier/manufacturer of climbing gear in the North America. But as climbing became more popular, it also remained concentrated on the same routes. The fragile cracks had to endure repeated hammering of pitons, both placement and removal of pitons caused severe disfiguring of the rock face.
After an ascent of the degraded Nose route on El Capitan which had been pristine a few summers earlier, Chouinard decided to phase out of the piton business. In 1972, pitons were discontinued and an editorial was written for the catalog advocating “Clean Climbing” the use of aluminum chocks and slings instead of chrome- molybdenum steel pitons. Within a few months of the catalog's mailing, the piton business had atrophied; chocks sold faster than they could be made. It was at this point that he began to see a correlation between the environment and business.
Clothing became part of the Chouinard Equipment catalog with the introduction of Rugby shirts to be used for climbing. The soft goods line expanded to include polyurethane anoraks and bivouac sacks from Scotland, boiled-wool gloves and mittens from Austria, and hand-knit reversible "schizo" hats from Boulder. Chouinard believed that clothing must be as efficient as climbing equipment: an alpinist on a bivouac needs to stay warm when it is cold and feel comfortable when it is warm. In 1973, the name Patagonia was founded. The name was chosen because of Chouinard’s love of the region, it would broaden the appeal beyond climbing and it can be pronounced in every language.
Patagonia A/W15 is now available in our Winchester store.
Anonymousism, Apenteur, Baracuta, Barena, Beams Plus, Buzz Rickson's, Carhartt, Champion by Todd Snyder, Christys', Converse, Edwin, Engineered Garments, Engineered Garments Workaday, Fidelity, Filson, Gitman Bros, Grenson, Hawksmill Denim Co., Hestra, Howlin', Iron heart, L.V.C., Merz b. Schwanen, Moray Cashmere, Moscot, Norse Projects, Oliver Spencer, Our Legacy, Patagonia, Portuguese Flannel, Redwing, Sunspel, Tanner Goods, Tellason, Trickers, Universal Works and Woolrich.
We are delighted to welcome brand new British denim brand Hawksmill to the basement. Based in Brighton, manufactured on vintage Union Special machines, using exclusive Cone Mills selvedge cloth and drawing inspiration from European and American workwear, this is set to get the denim heads hearts racing. We asked founder, CEO and designer Fraser Trewick to tell us a bit about the Hawksmill story.
I've known you since your days with Nudie and I know indigo runs though you veins, was this the main reason to go and start up by yourself ?
I've alway had an interest in denim since I was a teenager. In the 80s it was a big thing to buy vintage Levis, and I soon noticed that some of the jeans I was buying were of far superior quality to others. With a little research I discovered that these were the jeans that were made before the age of mass production. They tended to have a capital E on the red tab and were made from selvedge fabric. That was when my love affair with denim began and it's alway been an aspiration to create my own label. Myself and my partner Anthony Smith have had this planned for sometime and just felt that now was the right time to introduce our ideas to the market.
Was it always the intention to go out and work with Cone mills ? How did that come about ?
Before I began Hawksmill I worked for a while with a denim factory in Bristol Tennessee. As part of the project I was lucky enough to visit the Cone Mills White Oak plant in North Carolina. It's the last place left in the US manufacturing selvedge denim and is currently celebrating its 110 anniversary. For me it's where everything started and seemed an obvious choice when selecting fabrics for Hawksmill.
When you designed the cuts did you find inspiration from those much loved favourites that we all have in our wardrobes?
Of course when putting together the jeans we would take inspiration from vintage pieces, but this was more in terms of construction. The fits were created from scratch and were a long time in development. The main aim was to offer something for everyone. Hence, we created 5 classic fits which we felt would appeal to a wide audience.
Do you think the man in the street has a better take on how a pair of jeans should be compared to 10 years ago? If so why do you think this is?
The main reason has to be the internet. Now knowledge which was once difficult to accumulate from specialist dealers and books is widely available on the web. This is a hugely positive thing, and a lot more people understand the work that goes into a premium pair of jeans. Without this growing audience Hawksmill Denim Co would not be able to exist.
Tell us 3 important things that you've learned about starting a denim brand?
1. You're only as good as the people you work with.
2. Never compromise on quality.
3. Focus on what you're doing and don't worry about what anyone else is up to.
The Hawksmill A/W15 collection is now available in our Winchester store.
Founded in New York in 2009, KBL (Kind of Bohemian Lifestyle - but I think we'll have to forgive them a dreadful acronym) is the latest eyewear brand to hit The Hambledon. Launched by Adam and Kara Mendelsohn whose collective experience includes stints at Oliver Peoples, Mykita and Thakoon, this is a brand that knows its fashion and sunglasses onions. Featuring Italian acetate, milled Japanese construction and a cute Empire State Building on some of the arms, these are beautifully made and effortlessly stylish. And just in time for sunny holidays.
We wanted to write a provenance all about the history of Ban-do. But then we went and found this on their website and it was way more fun and a whole lot more entertaining than waffling on about the Founder (who incidentally is Jen Gotch, who incidentally everyone at The Hambledon thinks is brilliant).
'Oh hey. We're Ban.do. Let's be BFFs. We can stay up late watching 80s rom coms and eating pizzas with everything on it (except anchovies, grooosss!). Cool. Now that it's settled we should probably tell you a bit more about us. We're a gift, tech, stationery and fashion accessories company designed by a pretty spectacular group of girls in sunny Los Angeles. We love bright colours, irreverent patterns, quirky sayings and kittens. OMG we love kittens so much. Forever inspired by Champagned soaked, all night dance parties, we are serious about fun and so thrilled you are here.'
Enough said. Get your Ban-do here.
Engineered Garments' Workaday makes a very welcome return to the basement for SS15. This is Daiki Suzuki's seasonless collection of everyday staples, which maintain pattern, construction and quality season after season. Expect to see old favourites: the utility jacket, 19th Century shirt, crossover pocket tee and Bedford fatigues. The Hambledon is one of very, very few (we think only two) UK stockists, so this is well worth a trip to sunny Winchester.
Didn't we have a luvverly time the day Meri Meri came to The Hambledon and made party crowns. It was a crafting extravaganza purpose built for half term fun. Everyone made full and free use of lashings of ric rac tape, fluffy pom poms, and glittery letters. The crown jewels have nothing on these beauties. Huge thanks to Nat and Katie who glued and ribboned like troopers at Cowley and Meredithe and Emma for their sterling efforts in Winchester. Long may you all reign.
Blah blah baking, yes, we are all still enthralled - but not with the Village Hall aesthetic of Bake Off. It's summer and we're opting for a more elegant take on the bake. Neither twee nor retro, it's altogether something more beautiful. Colours bright and blush side by side. Seasonal fruits and edible flowers. Swirls of buttercream and dustings of icing sugar. Vintage platters and stylish cakestands. See Linda Lomelino and The Violet Bakery Cookbook for cues, Bitossi bake moulds for practicals and Chiviarini for lashings of jam.