The story of Andersen & Andersen is like a case study in low key Danish design. Founders Cathrine Lundgren-Andersen and Peter Kjær-Andersen had spent their careers working in the fast-paced fashion and advertising industries so when they founded their family run business back in 2009 they resolved to work in completely the opposite way; focussing on just one thing and setting their sights on perfection; a fisherman's sweater that would outshine all others.
Gathering the best details from maritime knitting history and adding new ones, theirs is a fully fashioned knit inspired by an old navy sweater. This means the stitches are increased and decreased to form the shape, all seams linked together meaning no sloppy cut and sew. The wool too is as neat as it comes, 100% new worsted with uniform length fibres combed so that they all face the same way. To top it off the construction is symmetrical so no worry of wearing it back to front.
Yes, we think they've nailed it. Fisherman's sweater perfection.
It's not every season we can shout about a mainland exclusive. And it's Engineered Garments' hard to come by Workaday line no less. Primarily designed for the Japanese market, it's a collection of exceptionally made basics; seasonless and timeless clothes, designed to be worn through and through. Thermal hoodies, selvedge denim, Oxford shirts, khaki pants and five-pocket cords - the pattern and construction of each piece remains the same season after season, ensuring they earn their place as enduring classics. Daiki Suzuki's utility jacket has already become somewhat iconic in the menswear world. Get yours now.
We're smartening up our game in menswear in the later months of AW13. It's decontructed tailoring all the way. Beautifully cut tweed jackets. Heavy wool pants and twill chinos. Clean-cut, unfussy shirting. Brogues, brogues and more brogues. Teamed with interesting scarves and spectacles.
Heads up Nashville converts, here's your chance to go all out Western style.
We've got three pairs of Edwin Nashvilles up for keeps.
Crafted from 14oz unwashed red listed selvage detailing, these are the jeans of cowboys, a traditional straight cut, high rise with a donut button fly, designed to be worn turned up to show the red selvage detailing.
For your chance to win, simply follow us on Twitter and direct message us the answer to the following question:
In the Grand Ole Oprey, how big is the famous stage circle from the Ryman Auditorium?
All the credentials of a fine heritage brand - and the sweet, sweet smell of leather. That's Tanner Goods, the company responsible for the impeccable leather accessories that have found a home in our menswear department. They're the kind of wallets, belts, camera straps and cardholders that become like old friends through years and years of faithful service.
The nicest thing about the Tanner story has to be their commitment to honouring leather-working traditions and passing on a dying craft. Working from a small studio in Portland, Oregon, each piece is produced by hand by a small team of craftsmen who have learnt everything they know from mentor, L.P. Streifel, a master saddle-maker who started out as an apprentice in the industry in 1964 after his bronco riding career was cut short by injury.
The designs are kept simple (they believe in having less, and better versions, of the things we need) and the leather is the best quality you can come by in the whole of the US, vegetable tanned English Bridle American leather, renowned for its ability to age beautifully and gain character over years of use. As they put it, these are goods "worth holding onto", and given we love a piece of beautifully bashed up old leather, we'll be happily abiding by that.
Now this is a trend we can wholeheartedly jump on board with. AW13's ode to the trusty fisherman's knit. No more freezing in the name of fashion. This winter's all about staying warm and snuggly in the chunkiest and hardiest of seafaring sweater. And we've no pretenders in our boat. All the way from Nordic shores there's Mads Norgaard for the girls, working traditional patterns with a fluoro twist, SNS Herning for the boys with their clever heat preserving 'bobble' knit and Andersen & Andersen with beautifully simple and weighty cable knits.
It's the menswear coup of the new seaon, the hotly anticipated follow up to our 2012 Tricker's collaboration. Our second custom project with England's finest shoe maker sees us refining our mark on the same two much-loved styles, the Burford and the Kendal.
The Burford boot features a burnished chestnut calf upper with contrasting repello suede tongue, and a natural welt and double leather sole. Meanwhile the Kendal comes in an espresso calf with blind eyelets and repello suede detailing in the bellows tongue. Like the Burford, it comes with a lovely contrasting natural welt and double leather sole.
Both styles are entirely exclusive to The Hambledon and in very short supply.
The Hudson team rocked up to install their pop-up shoe shop in our project space last Friday. Among them was Les - the brand's resident shoe expert (they have an 'Ask Uncle Les' on their website). There is no shoe-related question this man can't answer, so we took the opportunity to grill him about what we should be wearing on our feet this season (and a few less serious matter too).
Tell us a bit about the collection you've put together for The Hambledon pop-up?
I think the collection is reflective of the store; it's a range that is simple and effortless in style. I think there's a pair of shoes in there to suit everyone's taste and you'd be hard pushed not to find an essential pair to compliment the key pieces in your wardrobe for the A/W season!
What are the girls wearing on their feet this season?
This season the girls will be sporting androgynous and punk inspired boots, block wooden heels and an array of textures. The 90s are back!
And how are they wearing them?
The boots look great lending a masculine edge to a feminine dress. Or styled up with oversized coats and a pop of colour. The shoes, made up of patent loafers and hi-shine flats, lend themselves to the continuing ‘prep’ trend.
Favourite new style of the season for the girls?
Impossible to choose! But the Mirar Ankle Boot and Paddi Brogue would be up there.
Favourite new style of the season for boys?
Toecap Fenway in Tan. No question. Would look fantastic with a pair of Norse Projects chinos.
What will be on the Hudson playlist at The Hambledon?
Daddy You're a Fool to Cry by The Rolling Stones.
Where are you hanging out in the Hudson manor?
(Hudson are based in East London)
I like to get home to Leigh on Sea. I love it there.
What's your favourite thing at the moment?
Dixie Lee and Coops. (Les has a brand new baby daughter to go with his lovely son Cooper)
Norse Projects has to be one of the most influential menswear brands of recent years. They've certainly won a loyal following here in the basement thanks to their distinctive take on Nordic workwear meets contemporary streetwear. Here as their AW13 collection hits the shop floor, we talk Copenhagen and cool beers with sales manager Mikkel Krath.
Describe your typical working day?
I walk to work and answer too many emails. The showroom and studio is located in a cool central part of Copenhagen with a lot of cafés, bars and stores so when we go outside for a coffee and smoke we can meet friends and watch the world go past. I’ll often have meetings with the design and production teams and that’s the regular 9-5. Half the time though, I’m on the road doing fairs around the world or visiting customers.
When and where are you most productive?
Has to be in the morning when I first show up at the office. I have a 1.5 year old son so I have to be productive when I’m at the studio. No more working late nights!
Who or what couldn't you live without?
I guess it’s obvious choice but it has to be my iPhone. Not sure how I managed anything before the iPhone era!
What do you like most about what you do?
I love providing products to people who share the same values when it comes to design and quality. It’s just a great feeling providing people with quality stuff. And of course working in a creative environment with creative people is amazing.
Who or what inspires you?
I would say the entire Norse Projects team has inspired me a lot. The people involved come from so many different backgrounds and we all see things from different perspectives.
Tell us something we're unlikely to know about
Norse started as a retail concept which pooled inspiration, product, imagery and stories from a number of backgrounds. The retail element is still a strong part of our business but Norse Projects stands on its own feet as a brand now.
What project, collection or achievement are you most proud of?
I would say the constant development of the brand and company. We have come a long way but the journey continues.
What has been the most important lesson learnt?
You've got to work hard to make success. Nothing comes easy. Turn off your email sometimes.
What would you like to do in the future?
Don’t need to worry about that because they will have invented time machines by then.
What is the Norse Project team's guilty pleasure?
We’re all so different but can mostly agree on a few too many cold beers.
And finally, Mikkel Krath's top three Copenhagen must see/dos.
Bo-bi Bar. One of the oldest bars in Copenhagen.
Louisiana Modern Art Museum
Canal tour. Copenhagen is best seen from the water.
It's 1836 in the German Schwabian Mountains. The land has grown infertile and farmers and their families are starving. So the government kits them out with circular knitting machines to earn their way and some years later a chap called Balthasar Merz founds a company called Merz b. Schwanen, producing a fine line in cotton undergarments.
Fast forward and the fastidious Peter Plotnicki steps into the picture. Determined to revive traditional circular knitting processes, he takes on the Merz brand name in order to continue the family's tradition and history. The result is here in menswear to see - an immaculate collection of jersey apparel, largely based on original patterns and manufactured on mid century circular knitting machines.
There are no side seams. The weave is beautifully irregular. The fit, quality and detailing is superb. And we rather like the beautiful brown boxes they come in too.