Hawaii is the spiritual home of the tropical floral shirt, so, say ‘Aloha’ to Reyn Spooner.
Reynolds (Reyn) McCullough returned home to Catalina Island, California after serving in WWII. He was inspired to explore his natural connection to that easygoing Cali style, at first as a shop clerk at the local men’s shop, then as the owner of Reyn’s Men’s Wear, soon running six popular stores across the state.
Meanwhile, in 1956, Ruth Spooner had opened Spooner's of Waikiki and quickly built a reputation in Hawaii for manufacturing quality surf trunks working with just one sewing machine.
When Reyn opened his first shop in Honolulu, he didn’t sell Aloha shirts. The shirts being produced at the time just didn’t meet Reyn and Ruth’s standards for style and construction, and it wasn’t until after a local surfer showed Reyn an inside-out sewing method championed by locals, that the dream took shape.
Left - Deep Sea Jive Tailored Buttonfront - Black Onyx - £130
In 1962, McCullough teamed up with Ruth Spooner to ensure consistent quality and decided to merge the two company names to create Reyn Spooner in Honolulu. He then set up four sewing machines in the basement of his Ala Moana store to create ‘Aloha Apparel’.
Developed by founder, Reyn McCullough, Spooner KlothTM is a unique woven cloth made of cotton and spun poly that’s amazingly durable, wrinkly-free and breathable.
Reyn Spooner is now owned by ‘Aloha Brands’, representing a group of investors, led by Charlie Baxter and Dave Abrams.
The brand is available at Liberty of London and The Hip Store.
Right - Kainapu Rayon Camp Shirt - Crocodile - £160
Shaving Goliath, Gillette’s, new brand, King C. Gillette, "brings a century’s worth of expertise to life and promises to be a one-stop-shop for all men with facial hair.”
Bearing the name of Gillette’s founder, King C. Gillette, the man who invented the double safety razor, it embraces nearly 120 years’ of heritage, innovation and grooming experience and, in a first for the brand, includes a range of specific beard care products.
The full range is made up of eight grooming and facial haircare products for men including a Double Edge Safety Razor and blade refills, Neck Razor, Shave and Edging Razor, Transparent Shave Gel, Beard Trimmer, Beard & Face Wash, Soft Beard Balm and Beard Oil.
TheChicGeek says, “When consumers think of the Gillette brand, it really should be as the Levi’s of grooming. The originally inventor of the double-edged safety razor, King Camp Gillette, is one of America’s biggest business success stories - Gillette sold $6.22 billion of men’s razors and blades and $1.28 billion of women’s razors and blades worldwide in 2018, according to Euromonitor data - and, along with Levis Strauss, provided products to the American working man.
Therefore, it’s surprising that few men would be able to tell you much about the man or whether the brand was even named after an individua
So, Gillette is going back to its 1901 roots “Est. Boston 1901” with this new “King C. Gillette” range of razors and grooming products.
Interestingly, this range is more focussed on facial hair than pure shaving.
Some of it is a simple rebrand. Gillette is part of the giant consumer group, Procter & Gamble, who also own Braun, and the provider of the beard trimmer here. The other razors - Neck Razor, Shave and Edging Razor - feature Gillette’s Fusion heads and don’t really offer anything new other than I’ve never seen a monikered ‘Neck Razor’ before?!
The hero product here is the return of the safety razor. While Gillette invented this in 1901 they actually stopped making these 1989 and it offers a really economical way to wet shave. If you want to know more about safety razors and how they work, I wrote this for The Independent last year - here
As for the grooming products, the Beard & Face Wash is a whopping 350ml, so you could do your whole body with this. It has a refreshing menthol sensation, but no individual distinctive smell. It’s light and easy to wash out. The Transparent Shave Gel is probably an already existing Gillette product repackaged and as such you could just buy that and save money. The Soft Beard Balm doesn’t look or feel premium. It looks like a product you’ll find at a cheaper price but it’s more than adequate when on.
I would have tried to make King the expert in shaving and taken the premium route a bit higher by highlighting more of the ingredients etc. It still feels anonymous, like the other Gillette products. I would have linked it in with Gillette Labs, Gillette’s pioneering heated razor, read more here, and played on the fact that Gillette has always invented and pioneered things.
The ‘Beard Kits’ idea is good on their website, where you buy a collection of products and razors or trimmers according to your style or needs, as the range is broad taking in Victorian shaving through to hipster beard maintenance.
Clearly, the King isn’t dead. How about a spin-off rainbow coloured Pride range called ‘Camp’?!”
Takeaway - The King C. Gillette is premium compared to Gillette’s regular prices and I like the concept and branding of bringing the founder back. Maybe they should have put more of him on the packaging to hammer this home?
Disclosure - A sample for review was provided by Gillette
What is happening in the fashion world...
Vogue Scandinavian edition prepares for a spring 2021 launch
Label to know Reyn Spooner
Burberry Pre-Spring 2021 by Riccardo Tisci lookbook is modelled by Burberry colleagues
Paris fashion week confirmed from September 28 through October 8, for Spring 2021
New York fashion week Spring 2021 shortened to three days.
Kanye West has signed ten year deal with GAP
Fashion carries on. @LouisVuitton men's show is slatted for Shanghai on August 6th.
We all like the wind in hair, but how about between our toes? Keen is famous for its woven cord sandals which are perfect for summer sports or taking an energetic dip in the sea. Their new 'Uneek' range pushes the classic style into the chunky trainer hybrid territory.
Left & Below - Keen - Men’s Uneek SNK - £99.99
The Uneek's upper is constructed entirely from recycled PET plastic bottles. By using this material in its new line of sandal webbings as well as Uneek sneaker uppers and laces, Keen will keep over 1 million bottles out of waste.
The insoles are infused with probiotic technology that naturally breaks down odour in sweat without heavy metals or hazardous chemicals.
They come up small, so go for a size up.
Disclosure - TheChicGeek was sent a pair for review
A name dropper who was dropped, André Leon Talley’s latest memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, charts his life and career through the glittering war zone of fashion’s front row and his time at American Vogue. From his childhood in the southern states of America, raised by his grandmother, to New York, bouncing between there and Paris, depending on his roles at various magazines, it’s a who’s who (or who he knows) of fashion and society in one of the most exciting periods of 20th century fashion. Think the great 1970s period of Yves Saint Laurent.
Left - André Leon Talley - The Chiffon Trenches published by HarperCollins - £20
While I’ve never read Talley’s journalistic work, being pictured on the arm or by the side of American Vogue editor Anna Winter saw him enter fashion folklore. With his voluminous kaftans and capes he became a memorable fashion caricature alongside Wintour’s bob and dark sunglasses.
As a journalist, this is lite and while he thinks he’s describing things, throwing in a few French terms just feels a bit dated and doesn’t impress. Well, not this side of the pond anyway. It’s fluff.
The beef between YSL and Karl Lagerfeld is legendary and it’s interesting to hear about his dealings with John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, but apart from that there’s no great insight other than continually reminding you how he knows his fashion history and what a great dresser Lee Radziwill (Jackie O’s sister) was.
Clearly used to the golden years of magazines, when you could expense everything, had a car at your disposal and got put up in the Ritz, he glosses over his failings, like losing his job at Ebony, they couldn’t afford him, or so he says, and then messing up a huge opportunity writing YSL’s book because he took much on and didn’t have the time. Doesn’t look good, or sound professional.
Wintour and Lagerfeld dropped him a few years back, so the reason behind writing this book was probably the death of the latter. He knew that his friendship with Lagerfeld was the reason Wintour held him so close.
This, along with his documentary, The Gospel According To André, has a feeling of still trying to stay relevant and visible. But, what does he do exactly? He seems to mostly accompany rich women when they go shopping. He loves ‘a strictly private invitation funeral mass’ and has to drop in how he’s always frow or got a select invite to something or another.
He hates it when others don’t like his chosen gifts. It’s a lot of giving and receiving special stuff. All about the alligator. It has to be the best, most expensive and this attitude feels again dated. He moans about people treating him badly yet carries on doing things for them or going to their launches and dinners. He wants to feel important. Has to.
He compares Naomi Campbell to Elizabeth Taylor. Really? #eyeroll And addresses Edward Enninful as a Sir, which he’s not. He has an OBE, and, for a man who think he knows everything, this feels like a stupid thing not to know. I'm surprised the publisher didn't pick this up.
Sycophantic, he’s like one of those people who hears something new then acts like they invented it. It’s all Goyard luggage and blacked out cars. He’s sucked in by breeding and heritage and he's spoilt by a free and expensed lifestyle. Those days are over.
The book is quite repetitive; Met Gala, Anna Wintour Costume Center, Diana Vreeland, Lagerfeld, Chanel, Chanel, Chanel…
There’s a best dressed list at the end of the book and even a ‘picture section’.
Takeaway - He’s a self-professed ’elegant walker’ and, while bitter about his detachment from Wintour, Talley has kept all the receipts, literally, and they are all here to read. Burn.
I love Scottish knitwear, especially the folky kind, such as fair isle from the likes of Jamieson’s of Shetland, but there’s another label to know. Eribé, eponymously founded by Rosemary Eribé 33 years ago, is a knitwear design house and manufacturer based in Melrose, in the Scottish Borders. They’ve recently taken over the old Burberry mill and opened a new showroom on Tweedbank before Christmas.
Left - Eribé's knitwear is all proudly made in Scotland and its signature is the multi coloured and pattern yokes
I first saw Eribé at the Premium trade show in Berlin a few years ago, and loved their fair isle berets - which I can’t find on their website - and I had a reminder, this year, at Pitti Uomo, where their colourful knits oozed authenticity and quality.
Their designers are specialists in their field, especially in the heritage knitting technique, Fairisle (Fair Isle) all crafted from quality, natural yarns spun in Britain from lambswool and merino.
Proudly all made in Scotland, Eribé exports to 20 countries, and Rosemary continually pushes for innovation in her knitwear, together with her team.
Her vast knowledge has been garnered from working with premium knitwear factories in Scotland and beyond, leading knitting machine companies and consulting with global designer brands.
Below - Eribé -Clootie Yoke Sweater Mirage - £399 - Hand knitted in 100% Superfine Lambswool
BUY TheChicGeek's new book - FASHIONWANKERS - HERE
Tie-dye is a trend that's always bubbling under, quite literally. At every price point, there's a bleed of colour for every fashion wanker. It's guaranteed to make you smile, and we could do with anything that does that right now. Darker tie-dye is more evening and formal, while full blown rainbow is more holiday and festival. Why don't you buy a kit online and have a go on some old white T-shirts? It's the perfect lockdown fashion activity.
For those who aren't sure - just yet! - go for a pair of tie-dye sports socks and rock with a pair of summer shorts and trainers.
See MORE - Tie Dye - Special TheChicGeek Meets Stain Shade - Read more HERE
BUY TheChicGeek's new book - FASHIONWANKERS - HERE
Left - Levi's - Tie Dye Trucker Jacket - £88 from Topman
Left - By Walid - Marek Tie-Dye Raw Silk Trousers - £560, Ally Tie Dye-Effect Silk Shirt - £555 from Matchesfashion.com
Left - FabLab FL004 Toy £9.99 from Amazon
Left - Crocs - £27.99
Left - Maison Scotch - £104.95
Below - iets frans - Yellow Tie-Dye Sweatshirt - £46 Urban Outfitters
London, Tolworth, Gypsy Hill; not exactly a roll call of the world’s fashion capitals, but a glimpse into a brand’s proud roots. ‘Stain Shade’ is leading the charge of tie-dye returning to our wardrobes. Also know as, James Brackenbury, 31, Stain Shade was mobbed at the recent CIFF AW20 fashion trade show in Copenhagen with people who couldn’t get enough of his hand tie-dyed T-shirts and hoodies. I thought I’d find out more from the UK's new king of tie-dye. Will the real Stain Shade please stand up?:
:eft - James from Stain Shade at CIFF, Copenhagen, 2020
CG: Where are you based? From originally?
SS: I live with my wife in Gipsy Hill, but I grew up in Surbiton/Tolworth in South West London. This is where my mum still lives and her house is the base of the Stain Shade operations.
CG: What is your background?
SS:I studied contemporary art in Leeds then moved to London and worked for Vivienne Westwood on the wholesale side of things. I continued to work in the fashion wholesale world after that, and continue to do so, along side running Stain Shade.
CG: Are you doing this full time?
SS: Yes, amongst other things, some consultancy etc.
CG: Tell me more about Stain Shade. Where is the name from? When did it all start?
SS: I was always interested in hand dyeing, tie dyeing and was always on the lookout for good vintage tie dye stuff. One day I ordered a kid’s tie dye kit off amazon and did a few bits, some tees and a pair of jeans if I remember correctly. I posted a picture of the tee on my personal Instagram and a few people were asking me where it was from.
This lead to discussions with the guys at LN-CC and the subsequent launch of Stain Shade. We did a few tees and some hoodies for them. I didn't have a name for it and basically tried to think of synonyms for 'dye' or 'dyeing' and Stain Shade was the result. I drew the logo and then got some woven neck labels ordered, set up an Instagram etc and we were good to go.
Left - James' mum's house in Tolwroth is the production centre
CG: Where does Tolworth come into all this?
SS: Like I mentioned before, this where everything gets dyed, in my mum’s back garden in Tolworth. It's where I grew up, and, fortunately, my mum has a space there which I can use, she's involved as well and helps me on all the dyeing side of things.
CG: Where are the base clothing items from?
SS: It varies, depends on what the store/brand/client wants really. I can do organic ethically sourced blanks or can do more price sensitive mass produced options.
CG: Where can you buy it? What type of pieces do you produce?
SS: We have worked with retailers like Selfridges, Browns, LN-CC, Liberty, Bloomingdales, Lantiki etc. There are plans to work with all of these guys again some sooner than others. Some retailers do still have Stain Shade in stock but you can always contact us directly for custom items.
CG: How can you tell the difference between good and bad tie-dye?
SS: I think it's down to personal taste. One thing you do see a lot of though is printed tie dye, where the manufacturer was just printed the pattern all over the item and not dyed it. You can normally tell if this is the case if the reverse of the garment is still the original colour.
Right - Stain Shade in Selfridges
CG: Why do you think tie-dye has/is becoming such a big trend atm?
SS: I think its always bubbling in the background and I think that good tie dye/hand dyeing will always have a place in popular fashion. It just so happens that it's having a moment these past few seasons and I think there will be at least another summer where it's at the forefront.
Left - The Stain Shade production line
CG: What are your future plans?
SS: I am looking at different ways of working that don't necessarily exist in the conventional fashion wholesale environment. I am trying to do more collaborations and special project work on shorter lead times rather than the traditional order it and receive it 6 months later system. As a set up, we are designed to be very reactive and can get stuff done quickly so we can be more responsive to customer or retailer needs.
CG: What would you say to those who think tie-dye is just for hippies or ravers?
SS: I’d say if there isn't a part of you that is a bit 'hippie' or 'raver' then something is wrong.
See TheChicGeek's picks of SS20 menswear tie-dye - HERE
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How redundant is the handbag if you don’t leave the house? Same goes for shoes. This sounds like a surrealist-type manifesto of some ancient and useless items of dress or culture, yet perfectly sums up how quickly something can go from essential to unused. Fashion has always had a intertwined relationship with ‘want’ and ‘need’, they coexist; one propels the other, and, the other way around, it justifies it.
We’ve suddenly lost a lot of the need and therefore the want has waned. For many, clothing is a need only option and, apart from a new pair of joggers or PJs, all those prom outfits, wedding outfits, birthday outfits and all the other fashion treats that keeps the wheels of fashion turning have lost all momentum and become a missed sale.
The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers, saw online retail sales growth was down -2.2% year-on-year in the first week of the Government’s lockdown guidance, but the clothing sector saw growth plummeting -26.7% year-on-year, and -22% week-on-week. Those result were even more stark across footwear, with growth tumbling -38.2% year-on-year, and -22.9% week-on-week.
Online sales too will grind to a halt with some large retailers closing their websites.
But, there has been an online boom, it's just that it doesn't include fashion. Adobe Analytics analysed data from trillions of visits to retail websites and from millions of product SKUs, finding that online grocery purchases are leading the eCommerce boom. Among the most popular items in people's internet shopping carts: Health products, gym equipment, toilet paper and canned foods. Online orders for fitness equipment like kettlebells, dumbbells and treadmills a saw 55% boost.
People too have begun spending money on board games, puzzles and video games. Notebooks are flying off the shelves and Mike Norris, chief exec at Computacenter - one of Europe's largest resellers said he has been signing "500, 1,000 or 2,000 laptop deals" with business customers that are equipping employees for remote working. He noted similar spikes in sales of monitors, virtual private network services and wireless LANs.
Fashion may not be fully redundant, just yet, temporarily and creatively furloughed, you could say, but with so many things cancelled in the future, even months after lockdown finishes, fingers crossed, those occasion spending needs will take even longer to turn into wants.
BUY TheChicGeek's new book - FASHIONWANKERS - HERE
The brainchild of British duo, hair stylist and owner of the ‘Lockonego’ hair salon in Chelsea, Jonny Long, and business partner, creative film producer Nick Saunders, Saunders & Long includes the expertise of chemist Steve Musumeci, whose pedigree spans former chief chemist roles at Kiehl’s and Bumble & Bumble and perfumer Francois Robert to ensure Saunders & Long’s signature scent is woven throughout the product range. The 9 product range includes hair, body and face products.
Left - Saunders & Long - Moisturising Body Wash - 250ml - £19, Facial Moisturiser - 50ml - £56, Eye Cream - 15ml - £52
TheChicGeek says, “Saunders & Long launched last summer, I went to the launch at Fortnum & Mason. There was no products to takeaway to try, and when I asked to try some later, they still didn’t materialise. I can’t write about products I haven’t tried, so I just forgot about it.
Here they are, finally. I really like the deco-luxe packaging and the signature scent - amber and bilberry - has a really boozy, gentleman’s club feeling that works well with the packaging. It was particularly nice in the Moisturising Body Wash.
Their most original product has to be ‘The Long Weekender’. ‘A traveller's dream - though it only comes in a 250ml size - it is a 5-in-1 masterpiece for decluttering your washbag’. It includes a low-foaming conditioning shampoo, body wash and shaving cream and, finally, a grooming cream to tame fly-always and add control on dry hair. Just add the bathroom sink!
It is enriched with Pro Vitamin B5 to soothe and nourish the hair and scalp, whilst humectant polymers condition, nourishing the hair and body, leaving it soft and smooth. I’ve never been a fan of conditioner/shampoos together, but this does turn into a light shaving cream easily. Not sure about using it as a leave in hair product, but that could just be me.
The facial moisturiser and eye cream are light lotion consistencies, but it’s lacking some of the science. When you’ve name checked the chemist, you’d think the ingredients would have more of a selling point, especially on the back of the products. This sits in the Tom Ford Grooming type arena; where the brand is put at the forefront before the science."
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Saunders & Long for review
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Read more ChicGeek Grooming Reviews - HERE