New Balance is an American heritage brand, fourth largest sports good manufacturer in the world and making shoes in the tiny town of Flimby in the Lake District. Think global, act local.
Founded by William Riley in Massachusetts at the turn of the century (not this one), New Balance originally specialised in orthopaedic shoes and arch supports. William Riley developed his first pair of running shoes in 1938. When the company was taken over by Jim Davis (who still owns 100% of the business) in 1972 New Balance made a single style of shoe, the iconic Trackster, and employed just 6 staff. 1n 1976 the NB 320 and 305 were voted the world?s best running shoes by Runner?s World and the company, in its present incarnation, was launched. New Balance now employs 2,400 people worldwide, makes 200 different kinds of shoe, has 5 factories in the US and the UK and sells in 120 countries.
Production in the Britain is indicative of the company?s commitment to domestic manufacture: in part about support of the local economy and in part about super quick turnaround and tip top quality. Go glocal.
It all started with the Lomo Kompact Automat in the early 1990s. This small Russian camera offered vibrant colour, deep saturation and beautiful blurs, prompting a fanatical following in Vienna and leading two Austrian students to St Petersburg to set up the worldwide distribution for Lomo cameras.
Lomography is now a global organisation dedicated to experimental and creative visual expression (organising exhibitions, events and collaborations). In an age of digital cameras, the followers of Lomography (blimey,it sounds like some weird cult) are dedicated to the unique imagery and style of analogue photography.
They have 10 Golden Rules:
- Take your camera everywhere you go
- Use it any time ? day and night
- Lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it
- Try the shot from the hip
- Approach the objects of your Lomographic desire as close as possible
- Don't think (William Firebrace)
- Be fast
- You don't have to know beforehand what you captured on film
- Afterwards either
- Don't worry about any rules
And an ever growing range of cameras including: Diana - 1960s cult classic, lo-fi image and lots of cool features
Mini Diana - little sister of Diana, switch from full to half frame
Edelweiss - gorgeous, all white, all plastic Diana
Oktomat - 8 cute little frames
Holga - medium format, seriously lovely
Fisheye - the World's only 35mm camera with built in fisheye lens
Edwin is one of those iconic denim brands. Established in Japan in 1947 as the Tsunemi KK Company, it was originally an importer of used denim from the States. Influenced by the fit, wash and quality of American denim, and disappointed by homegrown attempts at its manufacture, denim afficionado Mr Tsunemi set about creating his own brand (playing boggle with the letters in the word DENIM and coming up with EDWIN) and revitalising the industry in Japan.
By 1961 he had created his first pair of Edwins. By 1963 Edwin had produced the world?s heaviest ringspun (this is a weaving technique, ask me later) 16oz denim. These jeans can stand up all by themselves. And they featured the rainbow selvedge which is still in use today. In the 70s Edwin were the first company to develop ?old wash? techniques to mimic the wear on vintage workwear.
In the 80s this was further developed with the advent of ?stone washing? (pay attention, this properly revolutionised the industry worldwide) and in the 90s Edwin created the ?new vintage? concept, using subtle hand techniques to replicate vintage washes from pre 1947. At once both old school and innovative Edwin is the denim man?s denim. Go for ED47 for a straight classic (the clue?s in the name, this is really about Edwin?s heritage), ED55 for a carrot leg and ED71 for a slim fit.
There's crockery and then there's Branksome - capable of holding any tea party to attention with it's beautifully delicate, timeless and colourful designs. For us, the fact that it's produced by a small, independent British business with a long history here in Hampshire just adds to the appeal. It's the sort of crockery to covet and collect piece by lovely piece.
The company was founded in 1945 by Ernest Baggaley, a gifted potter who recognised that 'to be a good china-man I had to create and make my own style using my own technique.' Indeed, at the heart of Branksome is Baggeley's special porcelain recipe which remains unchanged today. Fine and light, yet stronger than earthernware and bone china, water can be boiled in it they claim. Lucy has even followed a lady round the factory clunking mugs together to prove their durability.
In it's heyday, Branksome was the tableware brand to own. Liberty constantly sold out, and the factory with it's 100-strong workforce was at full capacity. Just two years later though the out-of-control company fell on it's knees. Luckily Ernest managed to salvage some stock, move in to the old cinema in Fordinbridge it occupies today and continue to operate on a small scale.
In 2007, Branksome was once again under threat from developers wanting to get their clutches on the old cinema. This time, Philip and Charlie Johnson from a family with pottery in their blood came to the rescue, convinced that Branksome had a future. Happily for us they were right, and Branksome continues today, remaining true to Ernest's original recipe and our favourite 1950s design. Shop our collection.
Work together, love this world, be honourable and stay wonky - now if there are any words of wisdom we are trying to live by this year it has to be those of fabulously quirky print company Aardvark. We just love the cheery messages adorning the beautifully handcrafted prints and mugs we have here at The Hambledon.
The brainchild of artist and designers Lesley and Pea, the pair moved from London in 2008 to open the Aardvark Tea Room & Gallery in St. Leonards, East Sussex. As well as serving legendary soups and fabulous cakes the cafe showcased British art and crafts, including their own - which sold so well they were forced to pass the tea and cake baton over so as to concentrate on printmaking.
Today, the design duo are kept busy printmaking for such names as the V&A. Inspired by their love of "handmade signs, typography, village halls, fruit cake, tweed overcoats and twice-fried chips", their business champions the handmade and "skills and crafts such as typesetting and sign writing which seem to be on the edge of extinction."
The linocuts are lovingly carved and printed in their ramshackle studio while the broadsides are made with traditional wood and metal type and are printed on a vintage Heidelberg press at Adams of Rye - "the best old-school printshop in the world." It's no surprise then that when asked what they would do in their wildest dreams, the answer included taking over Adams to "continue the letterpress legacy"...as well as buying a piece of land near their favourite pub and keeping rescued lurchers and a donkey.
The Universal Works story is as much about founder David Keyte, as the label's three years in business building a solid reputation for good, honest menswear. It's the kind of story we love, the sort to inspire the likes of anyone working in fashion who has ever thought "I can do this."
Twenty-five years ago Keyte was a Saturday shop boy working in a small fashion store. From there he went on to climb the industry rungs at Paul Smith before heading up Maharishi for five years. As he puts it, "I was always telling others how they were getting it wrong, and at some point you have to put your neck on the line." And in 2008, he did just that with Universal Works.
"Less interested in fashion and more in the function, fit and cut of garments" David placed these values at the heart of the Universal Works brand. Pioneering a distinctly British look, loosely based on traditional workwear, the focus is simplicity and craftsmanship rather than seasonal trends. As such, provenance is paramount and there's not a whiff of mass-produced to be had. Everything is made in small, highly skilled factories, many of which are here in the UK.
For all these reasons, we've been fans since the beginning and are pleased to bring the label's fourth collection to Hambledon menswear this Spring. Watch this space for a sneak preview.
We're suckers for a bit of tradition so when we walked into D.R Harris's original apothecary on St. James Street we were seduced by this super old-school British brand. As one of London's oldest pharmacies it's been there since 1790 and has reams of impressive history serving the city gentry and Court of St. James.
Hanging on the wall is the 1938 Royal Warrant appointing D.R. Harris as Chemists to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Today they are appointed Chemists to H.R.H the Prince of Wales.
Renowned for the quality of their products, this family-owned company has remained eternally faithful to its roots. The majority of their products are still produced by traditional methods, being hand-made and packed on the premises.
We couldn't resist bringing the classic gentlemen's Arlington range to our bath and beauty department. We have the cologne, shaving cream, shower gel, deodorant and our favourite - the oh so practical soap-on-a-rope.