Gift Shopping with Michael Saiger of Miansai®

on the hunt for the perfect present? we asked one of our In Good Company
partners Michael Saiger of Miansai what he’s checking off his list
(and where he’ll catch his next wave) this holiday season.
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Shop our 101 Gift Ideas here.

Gift Shopping with Men’s Blogger Ryan Plett

on the hunt for the perfect present? we asked one men’s blogger,
Ryan Plett of StyleSeek, what he’s checking off his list
(and what’s topping his own) this holiday season.
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Shop our 101 Gift Ideas here.

In the Field: Our Made-in-New-York Ties

we went to Long Island City, New York—where 12 ties are handmade per hour—to dig
around the workspace of Mane, where they’ve been cutting, stitching, and
hand-finishing many of our ties for the last 10 years.
At Mane, ties are made just as they were more than 50 years ago, and we take our time doing so.
Here, about 12 ties are handmade per hour. (Versus 100 ties per hour produced by factories who
make their ties using a machine.) The secret to a tie falling perfectly flat is the weight of the interlining, which gives it shape.
Although we scour the globe to source fabrics from the finest mills across Italy and England,
each tie is still handmade in New York. A tie has to be cut on the bias at a perfect 45-degree
angle with a handsaw in order for it to drape properly.
“They would get together to talk about the industry and promote manufacturing in the U.S.,”
says Mane president Nick Sackett of the association members and his grandfather, who
is pictured in this old photograph that hangs on a wall in his office.
“It takes years of experience to wrap the fabric around the shell and sew it together as
beautifully as they do,” says Nick of the skilled craftspeople at Mane.
A tie is finished by hand and then inspected for quality before it’s sent out.
Shop our men’s ties here
Photography by Matt Hranek

A Moment with…Frank Muytjens

our head men’s designer and his bucolic weekend retreat in Hillsdale, New York,
are featured in Elle Décor magazine. we took a moment to find out how
he stays busy and inspired without Wi-Fi or cell phone service (gasp!).

Photo: William Waldron, courtesy of Elle Décor.

WEEKEND AGENDA

—1—

On the weekends, Frank loves to entertain friends. His signature homemade Dutch apple pie and cheeses from the renowned Bedford Cheese Shop in Williamsburg are entertaining staples. “Every cheese has a mouthwatering description that defies you not to buy it,” he says.

—2—

Frank isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He grows sea holly in his Hillsdale garden because “they’re spindly and look very masculine.” (He even uses them in our menswear presentations and office decor.) His faithful gardening companion? Dutch, his two-year-old vizsla. 

—3—

Frank is obsessed with old-fashioned American hardware stores and collects an assortment of timeworn objects. He’s particularly fond of a brand called Estwing that produces hammers that become “even more beautiful as you use them.”

—4—

Frank constantly collects books for his country and city houses. One of his favorites is a collection of books from the 1930s and 1940s called “La France Travaille,” which is about French workwear. “I’m inspired by garments that tell a story,” he says.

—5—

One of Frank’s favorite home furnishings stores, beloved for its selection of French industrial-style pieces—which he mixes in with Marcel Breuer armchairs and mementos such as turtle shells and antlersis Germain, located nearby in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

—6—

Frank’s weekend uniform usually consists of a white crewneck tee, a Stanton short or jean, a Barbour® jacket and New Balance® sneakers (or Red Wing® boots when he works in the garden).

Read more here.

In the Field: Billykirk®

brothers Chris and Kirk Bray are the founders of small leather goods label Billykirk,
one of our In Good Company partners. using domestic hardware, leather sourced
from stateside tanneries and the help of Amish artisans, they craft
classic American designs that get better with age.

—FAMILY AFFAIR—

The name Billykirk comes from Kirk’s full name: William Kirkland. “Our father called me Billykirk,” he says. “Southerners have a thing for melding together first and middle names.” In the workroom, Chris handles the finances and big-picture planning, while Kirk is more focused on each season’s designs, which include everything from wallets and belts to padded briefcases and carryalls.

—MEN AT WORK—

Chris and Kirk started Billykirk while they were both living in Los Angeles. They learned the art of leather making by apprenticing with a third-generation craftsman named Arnold in downtown LA for three years before moving back to the East Coast. They now have a workspace in Jersey City, where they do much of the hand-stitching and -finishing. 

—TOOLS OF THE TRADE—

After standing over Arnold’s shoulder and watching him work with leather all day, Chris and Kirk started to buy jack shears, cutting tables, belt strippers and cutting dies from Arnold on layaway. Many of the old-fashioned machines had been previously owned by Arnold’s grandfather. 

—AMERICAN ORIGINAL—

Chris and Kirk sketch the original designs in their Jersey City studio and source their leather from U.S.-based tanneries such as Wickett & Craig, which specializes in vegetable tanning. They’ve enlisted the help of Amish craftsmen to work on many of their leather goods, and all of the designs are cut, oiled and edged by hand in their studio. 

—MATERIAL GOODS—

“We’ve always been intrigued by leather and how it changes over time,” says Chris, who points out that often something as simple as a hook or a buckle will inspire a design.

—CARRY ON—

“We work with an heirloom mentality, where you pass things down,” says Chris. “Our products last. They’re not throwaway items.

Photography by Alan Gastelum.
 
Shop our full collection of Billykirk accessories here

Detail by Design: The Mayfair Topcoat

crafted from our sturdy yet soft English wool from the legendary Marling & Evans
mill in West of England. we updated this old world-style topcoat with a slimmer
fit and an extra ticket pocket. mother nature, bring on the cold.


—1—

FABRIC WITH HISTORY

Oxfordshire-based mill Marling & Evans’s fine woolen cloth is renowned for its refinement—it was first established as a hand-weaving shop in the 16th century in the West of England.


—2—

READ BETWEEN THE LINING

The inside of our topcoat has a luxurious Bemberg lining, a bespoke-inspired detail you’ll recognize from our Ludlow suit. We like the Bemberg lining because it has an extra-silky hand and is favored by suit makers for its breathability and moisture absorption.


—3—

MARK OF DISTINCTION

The red design on the logo is the merchant’s mark, which hundreds of years ago would have been stenciled onto the cloth bales before they left the mill to be exported across Europe.


—4—

TRADITIONAL DETAIL

Ours features an exterior ticket pocket, a detail borrowed from traditional topcoats. Nowadays it’s handy for storing modern equivalents, like MetroCards, your iPhone or tickets to the Giants game.


Shop all our men’s outerwear

In the Field: Red Wing Shoes

we sent Matthew Hranek, author of the men’s style blog William Brown Project, to the
Minnesota headquarters of Red Wing Shoes® for a closer look at the handcrafted details
that make their boots so special
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
Red Wing founder Charles Beckman began making workboots in 1905 after he
couldn’t find an existing style he liked. His design combined leather, buckles and
laces for a snug fit.
HIDE AND SEEK
Each Red Wing boot is crafted from leather sourced directly from the S.B. Foot
Tanning Company, a local tannery that’s been around since 1872 and is still
considered one of the best tanneries in the United States. (They’ve been
Red Wing’s sole supplier from day one.)
HEAVY METAL
The process of die-cutting originated in the mid-19th century, and craftsmen at S.B.
Foot Tanning still cut all their leather by hand (using metal dies such
as these) to this day.
STITCH IN TIME
A Red Wing boot can be identified by the signature triple stitching, which is done by
hand using original Puritan sewing machines that date back to 1905.
Every single stitch and grommet of each boot is eyeballed by a team of skilled
sewers with robotic-like accuracy.
WELL WORN
Red Wing boots are constructed with a rugged Goodyear welt for durability, but should
you need to, you can send them back to the factory to have them resoled. (The small
charge is totally worth it—they’ll come back good as new.)
DETAIL BY DESIGN
J.Crew’s design team has been collaborating with Red Wing since 2007,
creating custom styles (like the Wabasha and the Beckman) that
you won’t find anywhere else.

© 2014 by J.Crew. All Images and materials are copyrighted by J.Crew unless otherwise noted.

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