Back for winter in super soft leather, Jack Purcell is our menswear sneaker of choice. Not only is it designed by a sporting legend (Jack was five times Canadian Badmington Champion), it totally trumps All Stars on comfort and personality with its cushioned footbed and iconic smile accross the toe. Rob's total no brainer for dressed down days.
If there's a shirt Rob loves to wear it's his white Gitman Brothers Oxford. As clean and as classic as they come, and back on the menswear rails for A/W12 as part of another superlative offering from our favourite shirt-maker. Alongside our perennial favourites, the standouts are the beautifully intriciate Japanese poplins carrying micro dots and key collars, a trend which is firmly sticking around for autumn/winter.
Welcome to Winchester, YMC. Don't you fit perfectly in our project space with the charming mix of oddities and beautifully straightforward clothing you're displaying. We're quite certain you'll make plenty of new friends here thanks to your latest offering of re-imagined classics. Recall summer days gone by, knee-length silhouettes, preppy chinos, blazers, crisp cotton, pretty broderie anglaise and leather sandals. Yes, YMC we like your style, please make yourself right at home.
Takeovers tend to be unwelcome affairs, but we couldn't be more happy about this one. Yesterday we flung our doors wide open to favourite Brit label YMC, plied them with tea and biscuits and let them do their wonderful YMC thing to our first floor project space. For the next month we'll be wearing their clothes and playing their music, and to offer a bit of background on it all we had a nice chat with Design Director and Partner, Fraser Moss.
YMC takeover The Hambledon. What can we expect?
Winchester can expect a little of what YMC has to offer in its home town of London. Old oddities from all over the world mixed with a clean, fresh approach to clothing.
Tell us a bit about the SS12 collection?
The men's is clean cut with a sporty take on Ivy League to it, whereas the women's offers delicate details, cropped hem lines and a touch of the English Riviera.
How does each collection evolve and how do you marry the menswear and womenswear collections?
The YMC collection evolves naturally. We like to keep moving and hopefully keep things fresh and exciting. The colour palette, prints and fabrics stay true throughout the mens and womens collections.
If you could only keep two pieces, one for a boy and one for a girl, which would you choose and why?
From SS12 I'd keep the cotton knit Boating Blazer for men because it is a staple smart and casual item which is extremely versatile. For women's, it would have to be the beautifully simple lace embroidered skirt just for being so pretty and timeless.
What inspires you?
I'm constantly looking for inspiration wherever I am. I often find what I need in the most obscure places from old comic books, poster art and a seemingly never ending source of vintage detailing which can be worked into a modern design.
Tell us a bit about the mix we're playing and what part music plays at YMC?
My job can be pretty mentally intense at times and my obsession with music is what keeps me sane. Growing up the two were so tightly entwined that if you were into clothes you were naturally into music, from Mod to Goth to Punk etc....it's part of by my DNA.
Who would you most like to see wearing your designs?
Intelligent, modern thinking people. Someone that isn't influenced by things that we are 'told' to wear.
How did you get started as a designer?
Growing up in Wales there were limited resources so to be stylish and fashionable you had to be very canny which involved a lot of secondhand clothing and various alterations. I feel that I have always had this in me and it was an inevitable route but I had to do it the hard way as I am self taught.
What do you like most about your job?
Being able to create.
And having a shop?
The shop has been an interesting learning curve and has helped me from a design point of view by giving me more of an understanding of the correct balance between creating an interesting yet commercial item. In the past I may have been a bit too left field!
What's next for YMC?
Our first catwalk show at Mens London fashion Week in June which is a really exciting project for YMC. Photo: Noble Pauper
Red Ear is the surprisingly under the radar premium denim and clothing line from acclaimed Brit designer Sir Paul Smith. Perhaps it's because you need to turn the clothes inside out to truly appreciate them. Rob reckons the quality and attention to detail is as good as mainline Paul Smith. Either way, inside and outside, we think this season's super cool collection, inspired by the work of the late artist Louise Bourgeois and the director Jean Luc Godard, is deserving of some serious attention.
Print takes centre stage at Engineered Garments this season and this great little film gives a flavour of the stripes, checks and Hawaiian styles you can expect. What the camera fails to capture however is the close-up and this is another brilliantly thought through collection, unparalleled on detail and heavy on texture. We strongly recommend a closer look.
Nothing excites Rob more than a great pair of jeans, so when Levi's Vintage Clothing came to menswear, oh how we knew about it. The heritage! The quality! The fit! No other denim label compares we're told.
The label was launched in the early 90s to celebrate and keep alive Levi's impressive history. They create exact reproductions straight out of the Levi's San Francisco archives, and they're authentic to the core; manufactured in the original Levi's factory using original quality selvage denim sourced from their original US supplier, Cone Mills. We love that each style has its own story, charting changing tastes, production methods and new innovations.
First up on our Levi's timeline is the 1947 501 - a classic slim fit with a straight leg, it was a jean for the new, post-war generation. Next is the 1954 501Z with its narrow, tapered leg. It was the first jean to carry a zip much to the dismay of one disgruntled customer who said it was like 'peeing into the jaws of a crocodile'. Fast forward to 1967 and we have the 505 - a jean for the modern man with a straight fit that now sits lower on the waist. We could go on, but just come and have a chat to Rob, and he'll tell you'll all you need to know about LVC.
Time to pass on the puddle stomping leathers and opt for something a little lighter on the sole. Basement favourite Grenson have delivered a great range of suede options for SS12. We have their very fine version of the iconic desert boot, known as Oscar, available in navy and tan. Then there's James, a well turned out preppy penny loafer. And finally, Sid, a handsome nubuck brogue, as perfect as the rest with simple chinos and an Oxford.
It's another star turn for sophisticated casual supremo, Oliver Spencer. Inspired by late 70s French Mod, his SS12 collection is packed full of easy to wear pieces and lovely details - light jackets with large buttons, striped jerseys, proper linen suiting, shirts with checks and polka dots plus Oliver's super nice new 'posh trainers'.
Founded by Soren Nielsen Skyt in 1931 in Herning, S.N.S. Herning is the iconic Danish brand, famed for producing traditional fishermen's sweaters from the original early 20th century patterns. The knitwear is still produced on German Stoll knitting machines. Each finished piece is still signed by the individual knitter and the main part of the collection each season is still a remake of designs from the archives. Function is key. The classic 'bubble' pattern evolved as a means of creating a heavily insulated garment, the texture of the yarn to withstand hard manual work. However, though the logo still bears the dinghy icon, it isn't just trawlermen heading for Herning.