Tuesday, 21 November 2017 13:37

Label To Know Cotton Citizen

Cotton Citizen basic made in LA The Chic Geek menswear

Another California based and made basics brands? Sound familiar? Read about The Death of American Apparel here

This time it’s different. Driven by Founder and Creative Director, Adam Vanunu, Cotton Citizen is about experimenting with colour and mastering the art of garment dying. A curated palette of super saturated, eye-catching coluors are released every season, created exclusively with their exclusive dye house’s capabilities.

Inspired by destinations around the world, Cotton Citizen is designed and produced in Los Angeles. Each Cotton Citizen piece is as unique as the person who wears it. 

An off-shoot of his family’s American Dye House business, which he took over when he was 20, Cotton Citizen launched with a T-shirt line in 2012, sold exclusively at Fred Segal. 

Adam still develops all the dye colours and washes the mens and womenswear collections by hand. He picks the fabric and launders it before he cuts and sews it, just so all the shrinkage gets out. 

Cotton Citizen basic made in LA The Chic Geek menswear

When Cotton Citizen dye, they provide a colour fascinator to the washes so that the colour doesn't bleed or fade and it stays as rich as the first day you got the shirt. 

Everything is made in the U.S. from 100% cotton.

TheChicGeek says, "I really like the vivid oranges and greens with coloured flecks for SS18 and while it is relatively expensive you are paying for the individual attention to each garment."

Left & Right - Cotton Citizen - Sweatshirt - £170, Jogging Trousers - £170 Available at Harvey Nichols

Monday, 20 November 2017 16:07

Hot List The Made In UK Down Parka

In a post-Brexit world we’re going to have to make more than leather shoes and Scottish cashmere sweaters. UK Plc needs to turn our world class creativity into a German style industry: manufacturing in volume and of the highest quality.

From small acorns mighty English oaks grow, so, when I heard The Shackleton Company was manufacturing their parkas in the UK, I wanted to find out more and see what we are paying for. The majority of the world's down parkas are made in Italy, France, Canada or China, so a UK-made is rather special.  I’ve dissected their new “Discovery Jacket” to show you all the different components and design details, so when the temperature drops we can keep the Union Flag flying high!

men's down parka Shackleton made in UK The Chic Geek menswear top picks

Entirely handmade in Cheshire. The majority of the materials are made in Britain with the odd exception, i.e. zips and zip pullers. The outer shell is Ventile, designed in the UK. The densely woven, 100% cotton uses the world's finest, long staple fibre. Ventile is not coated or laminated and the combination of the dense weave and swelling properties of the fibres, when wet, provides excellent weatherproofing. It's an entirely natural product - windproof, breathable, durable and quiet.

 

Filled with 100% of the finest, pure European goose down, it provides an unsurpassed warmth to weight ratio. It is a by-product of the food industry, in fact, a waste product, if not used for insulation. The highest quality of down, which The Shackleton Company uses, comes from the oldest, free-range birds. Each individual pocket of down is hand filled & stitched. No machinery is used. 

 

The adjustable hood design enables the wearer to create a wrap-around tunnel to protect against extreme cold. The coyote fur hood trim is removable. Tested in Antarctica to minus 20 Degrees centigrade, the coyote is shot as part of a cull program to control popuations in Alaska. The Shackleton Company do not use any farmed or trapped coyote. 

 

Large rubber zip pullers are designed with pimples on the reverse for ease of use with cold hands or whilst wearing gloves.

 

 

 

 

 

men's down parka Shackleton made in UK The Chic Geek menswear top picksFour outer pockets - two chest (zipped) and two fleece-lined, hand-warmer pockets have press stud fastenings for quick access. Four large internal, zipped pockets - two close to body core for extra warmth for storing phone & batteries in extreme cold environments. Internal waist draw cord for a tighter fit - minimising cold air flow, providing extra insulation. Lower draw cord for a tighter fit and extra protection in stormy conditions.

 

Extendable storm wrist cuffs.

 

Internal patch -  “I hold that a man should strive to the uttermost for his life’s set prize”. Poet, Robert Browning, quote, engraved on Shackleton’s gravestone in South Georgia.

 

Left & Above - The Shackleton Company - Discovery Jacket - £1575

Monday, 20 November 2017 13:51

Menswear Trend Vinyl Revival

asos black vinyl Menswear

We’ve all heard about the revival in vinyl over the last few years. The hipster’s music medium of choice, vinyl records are now everywhere from Sainsbury’s to Tesco. Well, the revival continues, but into our wardrobes this time.

Think shiny, think black, think vinyl. There’s something slightly pervy and sexual about it. It is one part Berlin of the 1920s - have you seen Babylon Berlin? it’s very good - one part grungy/graffiti New York of the 80s. It adds a frisson of excitement to your wardrobe and shows your daring side. A walking oil slick, team with coloured lensed sunglasses and flared jeans.

Left - ASOS - Oversized Vinyl Trench Coat - £70

Calvin Klein SS18 black vinyl Menswear

Left - Calvin Klein SS18

Below - 66 North - £670 www.66north.com

66 North black vinyl Menswear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balenciaga wobble jacket black vinyl Menswear

Left - Balenciaga - Wobble Leather Jacket - £1795 from matches fashion.com

Topshop black vinyl Menswear

Left - Topshop - Vinyl Bucket Hat - £16

Below - Moncler - Mancora - £900

Moncler mancora coat black vinyl Menswear

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 11:18

Tried & Tested Bic Shave Club

Review Bic Shave Club Razor Wars The Chic Geek men's grooming expert

TheChicGeek says, “If you’re worried Bic is going to send you one of their famous orange-plastic, disposable razors, which literally scrapes the hair off your face, don’t worry, their new refillable blades are so much better. So good, in fact, it makes you wonder why they haven’t sold these before? Or, if they do, why didn’t I know about it.

This new subscription service enters a market that is quickly hotting up. We’ve had Harry’s launch this year and I don’t think it’ll be long before Unilever’s Dollar Shave Club makes an entry into the UK market, plus a few other, smaller European subscription services such as Boldking and Grüum.

Men are notoriously tight, so the razor market is very price sensitive. They are also lazy and adding convenience will increase razor use and grow the market. 

This seems to be offering great value. Still French, family-owned, the Bic Shave Club is a monthly or bi-monthly subscription service offering 3 or 5 blade refillable razors. I tried the 5 blades razor and it arrived with the razor handle and four blades.

I’m told the regular price for this is £8, which is much cheaper than Gillette and with more blades, but they are offering it at a special introducing offer of £2.95, and you can cancel at any time.

The razor was easy to use, with plenty of lubricating strip. It’s a standard razor, but Bic do know how to make blades and have plenty of experience in this area. They’ve designed the razor head to be less proud, so it is easier to getting into a smaller, slimmer box and therefore through your door or into your mailbox.

This service seems really simple, easy to understand and offers good value. I think we will see the established players - Gillette, Wilkinson Sword - offer better value and compete in these new “Razor Wars” and the winner will be, you, the consumer.

www.bicshaveclub.com

Disclosure - I’ve worked as a consultant on the launch of Bic Shave Club - see video below - but, they never asked/paid me to use or review the service and product.

Monday, 13 November 2017 17:02

Tried & Tested Proverb Men’s Skincare

Review Proverb skincare The Chic Geek men's grooming expert

Starting with sports and diet - which is a good idea, these days - Proverb skincare says it takes the understanding and efficacy of elite sports nutrition and applies it to your skin. Proverb is a “lifefuelled” training program comprising of skincare, supplements, and expert advice.

Founders, Kirstie and Luke Sherriff, met at Oxford University from where Luke signed a professional rugby contract for Harlequins RFC and played in the Premiership and in top flight rugby for 11 years including the England and Great Britain 7s, and Barbarians squads. Understandably he developed a dedication to elite health, diet and wellbeing. In 2009, he joined Kirstie to launch their first natural spa range for women. 

With over 20 years' of skin expertise, Kirstie developed organic spa products, beauty schools and trains therapists at spas including Āman Global Resorts, Cowley Manor and at John Lewis’ first concept beauty spas. 

Ben Burch, the third founder, is a former Great Britain rower. While, officially, he is the IT expert and completes the Proverb trio of skin, body and mindset. 

Left - Proverb - Hydration Pro Moisturiser - £55, Cleanse & Shave Nutrient Mud - £30

TheChicGeek says, “I like the rounded approach to this. Diet, exercise - it even mentions water!!!! - has an effect on your skin. I was sent two products to try: "Hydration Pro Moisturiser" and "Cleanse & Shave Nutrient Mud".

My initial impression was the packaging seemed really cheap: the sort of generic packaging and labelling a product manufacture offers a start up brand, which is surprising considering the experience above.

There are six launch products in total including a “Skin Resistance Training Supplement”.

The moisturiser contains hyaluronic acid, which always keeps your skin nice and plump and moisturised. More interesting is the dual cleanse and shave product. I used it for both.

"Glycoproteins with omega fatty acids from acai and avocado help calm and repair environmental skin damage. Nutrient clay minerals cleanse deeply, while lycoprotenetm complex from tomato and egg white help reduce skin stress, providing powerful anti-oxidants", it says.

I found this almost waxy. It was almost a bit too dry. It worked well as a shave product, but could easily be looser. It washed off okay and I do like the idea of combining products.

It you had asked me to guess the pricing I would have said cheaper than what they are asking, which is probably down to the packaging and labelling. The products are fine, but these prices are premium and they just don’t have the feel and bathroom shelf appeal of others in this category.

Adding supplements to a grooming range is a great idea - £45 - and pushing grooming into overall health and wellbeing is definitely the direction it is going in.”

www.proverbskin.com

Bally Gucci Greedy Margins Brand Blindness

At a recent press day, previewing the new SS18 collection from the Swiss brand, Bally, I got thinking about how you can slip between the gap. Bally has followed the Gucci model of Wes Anderson statement pieces in bold colours and look-at-me graphics and slogans. But, Bally’s problem is, it isn’t Gucci, and just doesn’t have the attraction as a “name”- I actually like it more for this reason. Therefore they can’t charge the prices Gucci ask and sell in the volumes too. They also have another issue, well, it’s actually a good thing, they are offering a quality made product. 

Left - Gucci Cruise 18

I’m going to call it out. Gucci isn’t good quality. I like Gucci’s ideas, I just don’t think it’s executed to reflect the prices they charge. I’m not naive, I know luxury goods have huge margins, but there’s margins and then there’s margins. No wonder Gucci’s profits are through the roof, they are making products that aren’t as good as they should be in that price category. 

There’s enough Gucci out there, now, to hear of plenty of quality control issues: shoes than run in the rain, tiger patches on jeans repeatedly fixed, leather belts that feel like a free school belt. It’s not just Gucci doing this, but they’re the label flying high and drawing in the masses. They are also creating complicated product that requires time and a level of expertise to make it well and quickly shows its quality.

Bally Gucci Greedy Margins Brand Blindness

I recently posted a tweet following an article on the Business of Fashion - Interesting @BALENCIAGA has overtaken @gucci on the @lyst of most wanted brands.

The article said  “Balenciaga has stolen Gucci’s crown to become the hottest brand in fashion. According to the latest data analysed by BoF in partnership with search platform Lyst — which tracks 4.5 million data points per hour from over 65 million annual consumers, five million products and 12,000 brands — the Demna Gvasalia-designed brand climbed two places to top the hottest brand ranking in the third quarter of 2017.”

Right - Bally SS18

The feedback on Twitter, from many passionate people, was that they wanted Gucci and couldn’t understand this. It must be wrong. Clearly, Gucci is still in demand and they need to maximise this while they can, but this quality issue will speed up their “hot” lifecycle. People will question what they are paying for and many will feel cheated. The fashion crowd are already over Gucci.

A friend recently had a scarf, retailing, probably, for around £400, and it was so thin, it was clearly nowhere near the best quality scarf of that type. It’s almost laughable, and while people have “Brand Blindness” it’s okay, but you free-fall quickly after without quality. Quality makes people return to a brand.

And, this takes me back to Bally. Currently looking for a new owner, they need to decide whether to offer quality and an acceptable price or chase the higher margins, slash quality and see what happens. They’ll never be a Gucci, but they can clearly maximise sales, but increasing margins like many of its competitors. It'll be interesting to see who the new owner is and which direction they decide to take.

Page 1 of 47