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.
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.
If Rob's excited about one thing this season, it's this. The arrival of one of Tokyo's finest heritage brands to the basement. Beams, which started out as a small shop in the Harajuku district in 1976, is a major retail force in Japan these days. They don’t just have a shop in Tokyo, they have a whole street. Here at the Hambledon though, we're running with Beams Plus, the company’s heritage- and workwear-inspired range, which "remembers the good-old American styles that Beams grew up on".
Rob describes SS15 as Tokyo goes to Harvard; all-American Ivy League meets cool Japanese styling (and of course their renowned production values). The answer is layer it up and keep it casual. So wear the button down Oxfords open over stripe t-shirts, with loose slacks and a smart mac. Maybe throw a cotton cable knit sweater or collegiate sweatshirt round your shoulders. Keep it fun with colourful madras checks under a sharp tailored blazer. Roll slimline chinos up at the ankle. You know how it goes.
Carhartt are celebrating an impressive 125 years in business and to mark the occasion we've given them free run of our project space. It is, as you'd expect, a full-blown workwear affair, clean and simple. On the rails we've got a really nice cross-section of Carhartt then and now; all-American workwear meets contemporary streetwear. Heritage bombers, classic work jackets and twill chinos sit alongside camo shirts, print slacks and their much-loved Ts, hoodies and sweatshirts. Say hello to your SS15 uniform.
Rob and our lovely new menswear assistant, Sam, took the annual trip to Berlin to buy A/W'15 last week. Here they caught up with some old friends - Merz B Schwanen, Universal Works and Filson - and brought a couple of great new brands into the fold.
It was Sam's first ever buying trip so Rob walked him through the process (shopping for nice threads isn't as easy as you might think!), and they bonded over the love of a good burger. Turning down an invitation to a veggie restaurant, the boys hotfooted it across the city on a tip-off in search of the best burger joint in Berlin - The Bird in Kreuzberg. And it was worth the trek. The burgers were indeed tasty, and they met Plya, a beautiful Hungarian Vizler who sat doe-eyed watching them eat their burgers. Quite possibly the highlight of the trip.
Anonymousism, Apenteur, Baracuta, Barena, Beams Plus, Buzz Rickson's, Carhartt, Champion by Todd Snyder, Christys', Converse, Edwin, Engineered Garments, Filson, Gitman Bros, Grenson, Iron heart, L.V.C., Merz b. Schwanen, Moscot, Norse Projects, Oliver Spencer, Orlebar Brown, Our Legacy, Redwing, Sunspel, Tanner Goods, Trickers, Universal Works and Woolrich.
Gosport is not somewhere you would associate with premium Japanese selvedge denim. But sure enough, here it is we find the unlikely outpost of Iron Heart, one of Japan's most iconic denim labels - and our latest basement addition.
Why Gosport, then? Well, it's home to Giles Padmore, a denim nut since his early teens who accumulated a collection of Levis that ultimately led him to Iron Heart and its founder, Shinichi Haraki.
Haraki-san, mostly referred to as 'Boss', is basically a denim sensei. His 20-year career started at age 23 with Edwin where he progressed from pattern maker to designer to producer/director in just three years. He launched Iron Heart in 2003, focussing on heavyweight 21oz denim that was originally aimed at the Japanese-American motorcycle community.
Giles and Haraki-san met in Los Angeles after Giles contacted Haraki-san via e-mail with a proposal to distribute Iron Heart globally. And the rest is a story of one of the most unlikely yet most successful pairings in the denim business - their market size has increased almost fifteen-fold since the partnership started out; Haraki-san at the heart of Iron Heart's aesthetic and Giles bringing his expertise in international markets.
What they do share is an absolute passion for denim; and knowing those that share that passion is the reason we had to bring Iron Heart to the basement. As far as Rob's concerned, for the denim heads and purists out there, nothing betters Iron Heart.
100% milled, designed and manufactured in Japan, this is heavyweight denim that is surprisingly soft. They use the highest quality long staple cotton which means the warp and weft don't have to be overly spun to keep their integrity. The result is jeans that will develop their own unique patina over time.
As Giles' puts it, "A pair of jeans is an extension of your personality and soul. Buy a pair that you feel great in, then wear them as much as possible before washing them, that way they will mould and fade uniquely to your body shape and the way you live. They will become part of who you are."
Here at The Hambledon we're stocking the 634s in a 21oz selvedge denim and the the The Devil’s Fit 666 slim cut jean and in an 18oz selvedge denim. Jeans for people who take denim seriously.
Anonymousism, Apenteur, Baracuta, Barena, Buzz Rickson's, Carhartt, Christys', Converse First String, Edwin, Engineered Garments, Fidelity, Filson, Folk, Gitman Bros, Grenson, Iron heart, L.V.C., Merz, Moray Cashmere, Moscot, New Balance, Norse Projects, Oliver Spencer, Orlebar Brown, Our Legacy, Redwing, Sunspel, Tanner Goods, Tellason, Trickers, Universal Works, Vetra, Woolrich.