Monday, 28 February 2011

A Stitch & Knit With A Bit Of Sole...... by Shaun Dangerfield.

As my Sinister Delicious partner Saul is still off sunning himself in disco sun, living the dream in disco biscuit sunglasses armed with a grin and a pic'n'mix he has left me to keep up the serious business end of...... The Internet.
Well OK then maybe not so serious business more monkey business and the sharing of a fine thread.
Next up to add into the wardrobe is a trio of goodness in Calabrese, Common People & Albam.

Calabrese Lipari overnight bag in red and beige canvas with tan leather trim and stunning cream leather lining, smells as good as it looks and will see me through a few year's which in comparison price wise is worth every penny.

Common People 2 eyelet shoe next up in 'triffic' ginger suede and red sole.
Lightweight with tan full leather lining, perfect for coming months though not so sure about grimy club's, still....... worry about that later eh.

Albam's 3 pocket knit waistcoat up last, Fancied this for ages but I just never got round to taking the plunge, crafted in England and will see me good for crisper summer day's layering.


Sunday, 27 February 2011

Yuketen 2011 Footwear..... by Shaun Dangerfield.

I don't need any more navy footwear, I don't need any more footwear period....... but when it comes as good as this it's hard to say no.

Investing in Yuketen is a no brainer, for me with Trickers they are the finest footwear available in term's of style, quality and comfort.
In Yuketen's various form's of style or rugged boot's there is a pair in their collection's for everyone, hunting boot's, casual boat shoe's, moc's, walking shoe's, outdoor sports boot's, they are not all to my taste, some look a bit too old for my liking but I can see where they are going.
Yuki Matsuda founded the shoe brand in the mid 90's and is part of other label's including the awesome Monitaly label, Santo Domingo Boots Co and Canada Goose under the banner of Meg Company "Every Stitch Has A Sole".
My pick's of the bunch for 2011 are the peanut hunting sports boot in tan suede pictured above, and below the Maine guide ox db shoe in navy hand stitched leather uppers and Vibram christy sole, right up my street.
And below that are their interpretation of the classic boat shoe seeing a much chunkier crepe sole than classic boat shoe's, hand stitched moc toe's and leather lace.


Saturday, 26 February 2011

What Was Worn Today...... by Shaun Dangerfield.

Mark Mcnairy saddle shoe's
Albam Japanese denim chino's
Folk tee
Woolrich Woolen Mills seersucker jacket
PS seersucker scarf.......


6 Year Old Denim....... by Shaun Dangerfield.

They look like they have been transferred numerous time's from the Starship Enterprise up through Scotty's beam me up porthole and back down to a rocky planet to be ground by a denim bull dozer..... or they have just come to the end of a 6 year relationship with myself.
They literally just fell apart at the crotch, knee and pocket within 7 day's, continuously weakened by just walking up the stair's by day 5 of it's countdown death I soon realised that not even the Denim Doctor in Manchester could save these.
I bought these at the time purely for pub day's, lounging and gig's, they've saw Kasabian, Arctic Monkey's, Happy Monday's, done a few all nighters in Birmingham's Grimy Subway City and held their own throughout a very wet and muddy Global Gathering 2007.
It's a sad week, I may bury them in the back garden..... or just throw them in the bin. Either way these cinch back loose fit denim deserve a little write up for time spent with owner, People's pet's have lasted less time and I'm just as attached to them as a family pet.
If you sniff them (first come first served basis - sent 1st class recorded) just a little sniff will take you into a 30 second euphoric state, a good old grasp of the crotch and plunge to the nose for a minute or 2 will see you on a magical journey, a twisted tour of the mind spent in the yellow submarine taking you on your travel's with soft mushroom grass and lollipop path's.
Obviously this is all tongue in cheek and I'm not bothered at all.......... Probably.

Feel free to double click the pictures to see it's full grimed glory


Wednesday, 23 February 2011

A summertime ensemble...

I've been thinking - as I do most of time - about possible purchases over the next few months and how I'll be wearing them... Starting with the eyes, down to the feet. It's sometimes tricky getting it right when the sun's high in the sky but perhaps you'll be taking proceedings into the evening?

What follows is my interpretation of a cool, day to evening look put together with one thing in mind - Looking good in the sunshine and even better when the sun sets...

Sunglasses - Persol 'Steve Mcqueen' 714

Jacket - Woolrich Woolen Mills (Gold Poplin)

Tee - Oliver Spencer (Navy stripe)

Trousers - Dockers D Zero Extra Slim Fit (Blue)

Footwear - YMC Canvas Deck Shoes (Cream)

Oh wait, did I just rip off Oi Polloi's 'deck out' section..?

More to follow...

Saul Wilks.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Stars on 45...... by Shaun Dangerfield.

I posted up about Cut Chemist on Sinister not so long ago, an amazingly talented individual who knows music inside out, going through his various genres of Funk, Soul, Latin and Hip Hop it's a pleasure to listen to his mixes, it's not for everyone of course and his style is not how I DJ now but again I can appreciate it from my own root's of music.
This mix was made purely from his 45's on one record deck and with a loop pedal, so when you hear it if your into your music I'm sure you will appreciate what he has done here.
I love my music and what I'm into right now, nothing is better than what is current with yourself but I still like to sit back and soak up what deserves to be listened to..... Northern, Funk, Breaks, Latin & Soul, it's good to go back to go forwards.

Hope you enjoy, cheers Shaun.

The Soft Sell by Cut Chemist

Monday, 21 February 2011

An Interview With Albam : Crafted Clothing........ by Shaun Dangerfield.

Albam clothing. A name that runs from the tongues of Casuals, Dressers, Business men and Fashionistas alike.
There was a bit of chit chat on an internet forum I use regarding a new breed of British labels that have graced us within the past few year's.
Obvious choices from Heritage Research and Universal Works made the grade but to stand the test of time Albam were the first thought in my head with a continuous crafted line of clothing that seems to get better each year.
A good grip on the market and on what certain individuals want from their clothing they never fail in impressing me with various stand out pieces that will see the test of time unlike those who have jumped onto various wagon's and made things "Fashion" in what feels like one big cross over mash up from various labels who seem to be lost in the game.

Albam's bi-fold wallet's and various canvas tote bag's in the making.....

Albam was born in 2006 and has continued in reaching out to various soul's of good taste. With some great outerwear of recent time's they excelled in the releasing of the Fisherman cagoule's, Hillwalker parkas, and Alpine ventile jackets. Obviously everyone will have their own personal highlight's of a label but for me their shirting and Japanese denim is sublime, from their workwear denim to the selvedge denim chino's they are items you can add to your wardrobe and will wear continuously and age beautifully.
Without wanting to sound biased of a certain area Albam's knitwear is again outstanding in craftsmanship and quality from fine knit to waffle cardigans and heavy shawl collar effort's.

Albam's Alpine ventile jacket inner showing the taped seam's and their iconic Fisherman cagoule sketch's.....

Being quite passionate about their clothing I caught up with James from Albam who has kindly taken time out for a short interview with me.

Q. Firstly thank you for taking time out for us it's nice to get an insight into the things we love.
As labels and trends come and go in various forms it's refreshing to see a label still making clothing that they believe in and have not lost focus of their market or try to cash in on the way fashion has gone and tied itself in with a host of other label's who seem happy to cash in on the current trends of work and outdoor wear.
We were discussing Albam on one of the clothing forums I post on and everyone was in agreement on how Albam worked, you don't seem to bring out collection's as such but individual pieces that stand the test of time as there does not seem to be a shelf life with your clothing. Do you concentrate more on getting certain pieces right before you move on to the next and hence only bring out a handful of items at a time ?

A: Not a problem at all, the questions are all good to answer! The way we do things has evolved since we started in 2006 but we are always trying to stick to our principles of designing and producing a garment that is simple, timeless, from great fabrics and at a price that is reassuring rather than highly priced to give it a cache. The latter is very difficult when prices of the raw materials is increasing, but we are committed to using great ingredients (materials, manufacturing) in our products so it stands the test of time.

In terms of design the whole team and our customers influence what we do and as a result the Albam influences are diverse from workwear, technical outerwear (which is something I can wear personally when out climbing) tailoring, bench made shoes, wardrobe basics, modernism, crafted products etc etc. I think this allows us to touch on items that might be on trend without going the whole hog into a look. I was in our Beak Street store today and customers are varied but they seem to have one shared obsession which is for buying a well made garment but wearing this in their own style. It can take us a long time to get something right and often it takes longer than planned, but we are a small team and want to get things as right as we can before getting it into stores. Our newly delivered Japanese made shirts have taken about 6 months longer than originally planned but we are really pleased with the result.

What it means for the stores is that our style evolves continuously and for our customers they can dip in and out which we really like. But when it is gone then it is usually gone!

Q. Going back to my original point the majority of your clothing seems timeless, what I love about your clothing is that I can pull on one of your carpenter shirts from a couple of seasons ago and it looks like I have just bought it and is part of a continuous line, unlike other labels fashion collections your vision seems to be very focused on great modern clothing and I have noticed a few copying your designs. The Fisherman's cagoule for starters, does this flatter you that other's seem to be copying some of the style's what you have put out there ?

A: Personally I think clothes get better the more you wear them. Great fabrics just get better with age, denim, wax cotton, shirting cloth, shoes. And that gives the garments a timelessness for your wardrobe. One of our benchmarks is that we don't want someone to look like they are wearing head to toe Albam from the standpoint of how the garments are made. That is why we use specific factories for specific garments and play to their strengths rather than dictating and removing this handwriting. We were sorting out our archive in the studio and it is really interesting to see garments that we first produced and those now. Sure, we have learnt and are still learning a massive amount but the garments ring true to this benchmark. Simply put, if the garments get better and better then you will want to wear them more and more!

Albam is a young brand, we are 4 years old and our influences as mentioned in the last question are diverse so we want to put this out there. We are always looking into the past at military, outdoor gear etc but we are not a reproduction brand or want to put out a single look that has a time limit on it. How we design is all we know and a reason that we have our studio in Nottingham so we don't just walk around the stores in London and get ideas that way. Trends are a funny thing as they are felt so of course they cross over with other brands. The cagoule is something that crops up every now and again but we are looking forward and just keeping moving.

Q. What goods have you got planned for us due out this spring and summer ? I am personally waiting for the Ventile jacket and ripstop nylon windcheater, I like that about you though, your pictures and words keep us guessing until something is released.

A: The windcheater is the next piece out, something that has taken a bit longer than planned and then hit the snow etc so we held it back. Lovely piece, some simple details and great for layering. There is a new Ventile piece which again we took a bit longer to get right, it is a longer parka style which I am really looking forward to.

Spring/Summer is a strange season for us because people want shorts and T Shirts which takes away the excitement sometimes, but we have got some new jersey silhouettes coming out and are working away on washes and details on these to give some other great pieces. There are a few lightweight outerwear styles influenced by the Ivy League colleges but can be made a bit sportier or classic depending on how you put them together. We have some brilliant developments on our footwear which give our footwear a new line. Bench made in England but we have pushed a technical side.

And I keep forgetting about the SS trail parka, based on the AW10 version but in a new lightweight beeswax cloth that we have developed the base fabric on and in some reminiscent colours!

Q. Something else we like about Albam is the short runs of clothing you do, it's very much a case of when it's gone it's gone, even now your Fisherman cagoules and Hillwalkers go for as much as your original r.r.p or more in some cases.
As others keep re-releasing their own classics or bringing them back out season after season we love your approach and new ideas, do you have plan's to make sure you release new pieces instead of regurgitating older design's and keeping thing's fresh each season ?

A: The short runs! The most flattering thing and I say this in all honesty is that our customers work 5 days or more a week and then want to buy and wear the styles that we design and produce. I just think that if this happens then why do you want to see everyone wearing something that you have bought. A few people maybe but not a whole army. We owe that to our customers. It is crazy to think that people buy and sell what we do amongst themselves. Crazy in a good way!

We have our core styles, jeans, sweatshirts, T shirts that we produce consistently because these are basics and we have a number of shirt blocks that we use throughout the year to give consistency to fits etc for customers. Then we get stuck into new ideas, from a business point of view we should just make more of the same garments but we have more ideas than time in the day so lets bring these out. Of course if customers keep asking for a particular garment then we do remake although in an evolutionary way updating certain details. The Fisherman, Hillwalker and Trail Parka are examples of these but they have allowed us to develop the Ventile styles so it is a bit of give and take. We are not bankrolled by a big corporate (and with no intention to be).

Q. You seem to be getting bigger as each year passes, can you see the variety of people who buy into your clothing ? I was in Cardiff a few month's ago at a Backroom night (house/techno) and got talking to a good fella who co-runs the night, purely by chance as I noticed he was wearing your jude check shirt, he was amazed I knew what it was and it definitely got me thinking on what a wide background of individuals you have buying into your clothing, obviously you know your clientele and from business men and lads at the football, ravers, fashionistas and rich kid's it's quite a big click don't you think ? there are not many label's in my opinion that scan over those very varied walks of life, that must make you happy ?

A: We are working hard and we need to grow steadily to be able to develop the range and brand. When we look back it is very strange for us as it has happened organically and we are pleased although see all the areas that we want to improve all the time!

Customer wise we have a very diverse base. I think it is great but again as a brand we are diverse in our outlook. What we try and do is remain consistent in our quality, attention to detail and design ethic irrespective of what the garment is that we are designing. Guys are attracted by the details of a garment, the authenticity and we aim to do this but with a design base that attracts customers from all the backgrounds you mention and more.

Q. Can you give me an insight on where you are going to take Albam ? it must be very exciting having 3 shop's open, is the world your oyster ?

A: There are many plans for Albam but only a few happen. At the moment we are learning and I would like to think getting better with each season. We are working on a way to explain our diversity but in a way that makes sense. No diffusion ranges, or watered down versions of Albam, just a way that brings together all the elements and facets of what we do. That might mean our stores have varying product or an emphasis on certain items more than others but it is most definitely Albam.

This will sound a cliche but times are exciting within Albam and in general. Of course we would like to have more stores but we are not going to rush, just take our time, keep improving and we will find our natural size over time.

Q. What outerwear do you have planned for the future ? it's something I wait for each year, I look forward to seeing what your bringing out in the hope that some time in the future you reveal this amazing apple green waxed hooded fishtail full length parka with chambray inner, there is definitely room in my humble opinion in this big bad world for such a jacket, hint hint, but what outerwear do you have in the pipeline ?

A: There are lots of styles, some of which will tick your requirements! Tailoring, technical, casual. Jackets we could just go to town on if the business would allow!

Q. I enjoyed the Factories publication, do you have anything new due for release ? with all the fantastic colour's and texture's of various item's you have produced like the waffle knitwear, tight knits, striped sweater's, Japanese denim, waxed cotton and the like I would love to see a photo or picture collection collating your past clothing, something showing where you have come from and to where you are at now, there is definitely an increase in people buying back into publication's, fanzines and book's, with all the filtering through of various niche clothing publication's like The Inventory, Lightning, Free & Easy and Oi Polloi's Rig Out is it something you see yourselves branching out into but with more insight into Albam, like an upmarket fanzine ?

A: Factories was a long term project with John. Something slightly more art based. But for Albam it set the stall out as to the top level of the brand. From this we have a huge photo collection that we are wanting to collate and get out to our customers but we are working on the medium. Our archive is also being catalogued and we are sorting through styles that we want to capture and include our customers who have those items, be it outerwear, denim, footwear etc. So there are some things that we have planned for 2011. In terms of fanzines, the publications that you mention are fantastic, all of which are on the coffee table at home. We are a single brand and if we were to do a fanzine on us then it is a bit more of a vanity project unless it has substance like rig Out, Inventory. Never say never but these guys a doing a great job and we wouldn't want to put something out that looks a bit wanky and not as good!

Q. The last thing I have to say is not so much a question but a compliment, I love how you keep thing's quite personal, you keep in touch through email and your blog and it's the little thing's that count certainly for me and others who I speak to, from day one when I started buying your item's you have always sent a handwritten note in each parcel no matter how big or small the order is, we like this as it makes Albam as a whole feel grounded and is one of the reason's why the likes of myself keep coming back to you so thank you and good luck with everything in the future.

A: A handwritten note is the least we can do if you guys are supporting us. We thank you and everyone that likes what we do and shops with us. It is a two way thing and we enjoy it. Thanks for the questions and thinking about us!

James, Albam Clothing.

Hope you enjoyed that, Shaun.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Flavor of the week...

I've been playing one record more than any lately. I really can't get enough of it. It's without doubt a favourite of mine. It's got so much funk I can't keep still when I hear it, which can cause for some awkward scenes on tube trains and the like.

But you know what, I don't really care, I'll let you in on it and you can see for yourselfs - I can't say any more really so I guess I'll leave you with the lyrics...

'The music makes me happy, I feel it from my head down to my feet... And I can't stop dancing, No, so I may as well get on the floor until my body can't take no more'

Couldn't have said it better myself.


Saul Wilks.

If UPS turned up at my door in...

This ace courier jacket then I'd more than likely jack my job in and deliver parcels just for the cool workwear options.

On second thoughts, probably not. Still, this Universal Works 'Courier' jacket in Orange is rather delightful eh? Business as usual then...

Saul Wilks.

A blast from the past...

While visiting my mum yesterday she gave me this brilliant photo from 1976. It was taken at Wigan Casino at the height of Northern Soul's Golden era. In the photo are both my parents, My Dad (right) sports a knitted Fair Isle Tank top with the staple Ben Sherman underneath and a pair of Oxford bags... His hair looks suspiciously like my own. My mum (Who's obviously in the middle) is in denim blouse and long pleated skirt - she ensures me that a pair of 'Faith platforms' adorn her feet, purchased while with my dad on a shopping expo to Birmingham's Oasis center.

All nighters, shopping trips and an undying love for music... Sounds familiar that.

I don't know where I get it from ?

Saul Wilks.

Fresh and minty... Like a polo.

My wardrobe is chockablock with tee's... I've got more stripes than a herd of Zebras having a gang bang and they're all ready and waiting to be busted out in the coming summer months. From festivals to all day sessions, all night soiree's and sea-side frolics, it's an area of wear that I've pretty much got sewn up, but what about Polo's? I'm afraid to say It's an area I've somewhat neglected over time, usually opting for tee's and shirts during the warmer months. Don't ask me why because I do love a classic looking polo shirt - with the right accompaniments they look diamond, don't they?

With all this in mind I've decided to pluck up some readies and have a splurge ready for those longed for summer antics and adventures. For what it's worth, here's whats caught my wandering eyes over the past month or so.

Have you ever been in that arena where you think you may look a little camp? You have? Shame on you... Man up! With all joking aside a lot of chaps fear anything that comes in pastel or 'girl friendly' colourways.Thankfully I'm not one of that persuation and that's why I love this Salmon pink number from Ralph Lauren. It's not bubble-gum pink, so I'm not going to end up looking like a tool from Essex. It comes in the Custom fit cut which I prefer, meaning it's a nice slim fit and perfect for dropping with some shorts while swaggering around the beer gardens of blighty. Chuck in some sunglasses, some sun and you've got more dapperness that a Primary school PE lesson... First up on the summer hit list. Thanks Ralph, you never fail to deliver the goods.

Next up is a garment I've already blogged about, The Oliver Spencer multi-stripe button down polo. Would you just look at it... I mean really look at it, It's flawless! A Button down color on a slim cut polo is always going to be a winner in my book and Oliver Spencer takes all my well deserved plaudits with the fine use of varied coloured stripes. I've been waiting for this to become available since seeing a few glimpses of it a little while back and now it's going to get well and truly bagged up. To me this is without doubt a key piece of summer wear... it's Killer! Oliver Spencer's just too cool for school these days.

Norse Projects was one of, if not my favorite label from this past A/W. From the rain jacket collaborations with Elka to rugby-shirt swaggage with Barbarian and The Hideout, the Danish label turned out some quality garments. I've not really seen that much of their forth coming summer collections, they seem to have re-issued the Yellow Elka Rain coat and stuck a few five-panel caps out but nothing has really caught my eye as of yet apart from this partly striped effort. I'm never keen on navy woven cotton polo shirts, they always have the tendency to fade after a few washes, rendering them no use unless you want to wash your car in them so I'll more than likely hold off on this one but I'll still check it out in the flesh when I've got the time, I pretty much dig the nautical vibe going on (No surprise there then, I hear you say)

When I first clapped eyes on this Moncler effort I couldn't really make up my mind whether you'd have to be a Christiano Ronaldo lookalike or a Gay Italian skier to pull it off (Like most Moncler stuff) but I really like the colour and the way the moncler insignia looks against it. It's available in limited numbers so I guess I'd have to get my act together if I wanted to bag one before the UK based Milano set snap them all up... Then again, perhaps I was right first time around, Moncler should be left to people with ridiculously Orange Tango tans and shiny white teeth, Gucci Sunglasses optional.

Crossing the alps from Italy into France, this classic looking polo from Paris based uber - label Kitsune is pretty fetching. Perhaps pushing the limits of what one would like to spend on a Polo shirt, I personally think It's one of the nicest examples of a well cut, modern styled polo about at the moment. Although it has a steep price tag attached, the overall look doesn't really hint at it. I like the simplicity of the design and the eye catching smoke blue colour. This is definitely something I'd wear under a nice waffle cardigan for an evening stroll in the sunshine while breaking in the Mark McNairy / Bass Weejuns loafers... Cool and sophisticated for some Ivy League styling.

Last up I've chosen this sky blue / white polka dot Fred Perry. I couldn't do a piece on polo's and not include old Fred, could I? Quite a peculiar design with the small polka dot detailing, definitely harking back to the labels cultural heritage and the mod look... I reckon this is something best sported while legging a bird down a Brighton alley-way. After all, If it was good enough for Jimmy, then it's good enough for me, right?

Anyway, that brings me to an end of my Polo shirt shopping options for now but with so much new stuff coming out all the time I'm sure they'll have changed by next week. The Oliver Spencer and Ralph Lauren are definites however, I'm looking forward to seeing Our Legacy's jersey polo in the flesh (If they're anything like the sweats in terms of quality I'll be copping for one) which just about bring's me to my final thought on the matter... How many Polo shirts is acceptable in the modern day wardrobe? If it's anything like jackets, then this could be an expensive month.

Take it easy...

Saul Wilks.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Ilija Rudman Unbelievable Soul...... by Shaun Dangerfield.

On the back of his new electronica soul album "The Reveal" Ilija Rudman takes time out and pour's his heart and soul out into this guest mix for SlothBoogie, It's one of those if you have the time to sit there and appreciate it with a drink or 2 it's nothing short of extraordinary, lap it up and soak it in from not just a DJ or Producer but someone who's so far into his music he could mix from another galaxy, you can feel his passion for music in his mixes and some of his edit's and remixes are nothing short of electrifying, this is a bit more played down but as I said just soak it up.


Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Gingham and Beeswax Cotton - A perfect combination...

Do I need say more? Without doubt my favourite version of Mr Cabourns Aircraft jacket, for me a stand out head turner for the coming months... very, very cool!

Saul Wilks.

Monday, 7 February 2011

It's been a full 7 days since the last post on Sinister, which must be a new record as I'm usually on the ball and can't keep my fingers from tap tap tapping away. However, various commitments have kept me away from the computer so time has been an issue with regards pumping the Internet with pictures of clobber and music.

I've thankfully got a bit of time to myself after some really good weekends away - Horse Meat Disco two weekends back was quality and this weekend just passed was spent in the North West where Kim Ann Foxman played at Liverpool's Shipping Forecast and Saturday was spent getting deep housed at Sankeys.

All in all a couple of expensive and messy weekends - my head and feet need a well earned break.

Speaking of feet one of my latest pick ups came in the form of a pair of Clarks Originals Ashcott. These are a fine looking shoe almost in the form of their cousins, The famous Wallabies. I copped these from Number 6 in London and was rather pleased to acquire them as they've taken my fancy for quite a while.

Together with the Clarks I picked up this smart little number from Folk. I've been after something with vertical stripes shirt wise for a while, nothing too garish or formal but something smart. This has some really good details which sold it to me as soon as I gave it a closer inspection - the neck has a cool strap button and the cut is quite slim. I also notched it in the continuing sales so the reduced price was very much welcome!

Rounding off my mini shopping expo I added this to the summer wardrobe... Again coming from Folk and again nice and stripey to feed my addiction. Lovely colours though and perfect for Sunshine. If only we could get some and soon!

Once again, apologies for the lack of posting lately, all we be back to normal during the next few days with plenty of new stuff to come!

Take it easy...

Saul Wilks.