Textual Conversations – Eric Musgrave

Each industry, no matter how obscure, has its experts, but It’s rare that you have the opportunity to chat to one of them. Today the subject of our Textual Conversations is definitely one of these. Raconteur, Eric Musgrave has been observing and writing about the fashion business for 40 years. His long career in “the trade press” saw him work at, among others, Drapers Record, Menswear, Fashion Weekly, International Textiles (in Amsterdam) and Sportswear International (in Milan). He has been editor of Drapers twice – with a seven year gap between the stints – and during each period Eric was named Business Media Editor of the Year by the Professional Publishers’ Association.

Way back in 1985 he was launch editor of For Him Magazine, the first modern style title for men in the UK, which later (after Eric’s time) was converted into FHM.

In recent years, Eric has been a prolific writer on menswear, textiles, British manufacturing, bespoke tailoring and the history of fashion retailing for titles as varied as the Financial Times, The Rake, Sportswear International and the Robb Report.

As well as writing Sharp Suits, a pictorial history of men’s tailoring that has just appeared in its third edition, Eric has contributed to various books including Menswear by Tom Phillips and Fashion The Whole Story. This year Eric’s photographic history of his home city was published under the title Leeds Then And Now.

 If you could give your teenage self advice, what would it be?

You know, you could really do well for yourself, Eric. You are far more able and talented than you think you are. Aim high, mate.

What would be the one piece of clothing you would rescue from your home in the event of a fire?

I can answer this with some certainty as I lost almost all my wardrobe in a fire at my house in London in 1999. I would save lots of other things before clothing because while I like clothes, I do not venerate them. They are just “stuff”. The only thing I was bothered about when I heard my unoccupied house was ablaze was rescuing photographs of my kids. Luckily, they escaped unscathed. But if you really push me, I’d want my 1960s-vintage Leeds United shirt with the old oval “owl” badge. It’s a replica one I bought about 15 years back and I don’t think anyone makes it now. I have never worn it. I am saving it to wear in my coffin. 

If you could only wear one brand for the rest of your life who would it be?

I have never had any particular loyalty to a brand, although I have had my temporary favourites along the way, and I have never “followed” a designer. I don’t think in the terms of your question, but if you insist, I’d probably go for Community Clothing as it comprises British-made basics, reasonably priced and I like the concept behind it. At the other extreme, I’d like everything I wore to be bespoke from a tailor I like such as Kathryn Sargent or Fred Nieddu, both of whom have made me some favourite pieces.  

Who is your style icon?

Again, I don’t really think about style icons. There have been so many well-dressed men in the world to admire and be inspired by. If pushed, I’d say Cary Grant for the consistency and sheer effortlessness of his dressing.

 Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given and by whom?

Don’t let the bastards grind you down, by Norman Stanley Fletcher.

Favourite hotel in the world?

I prefer being at home to being in an hotel. For its homely Italian charm, I used to very much like the Torre Guelfa hotel – more a slightly upmarket pensione, to be honest – in Florence during Pitti Uomo. It has what’s supposedly the highest privately-owned tower in the city and the views from up there are marvellous. It had only about 16 rooms and once it became well known it was hard to secure them during the busy fair week.

If you could collaborate with one brand, who would it be? 

It would have to be a brand that has a strong manufacturing base in the UK (or at a push Ireland), so that really narrows the field. I could fancy working up some outerwear pieces with the Harris Tweed Hebrides mill, but then we’d have the challenge of finding a British factory to make them into garments. I passionately believe in maintaining the manufacturing skills we have in these islands. It’s simple really – use them or lose them.

If you could have invented anything what would it be?

A cure for cancer, which is a filthy disease.

If you had one day to live, what would be your biggest regret?

Not taking the advice I gave in question 1.

Who’s the most famous person’s number in your phone?

Famous / notorious is probably Philip Green. Famous / funny is probably Ray Kelvin.

How did you get into the industry, what was your big break?

After getting a history degree, the only job I fancied was being a journalist, which reveals my youthful lack of imagination. I had a false start in the Fleet Street office of D C Thomson, the Scottish publisher of papers and magazines, where my Humphrey Bogart / James Cagney-inspired wardrobe of the time was not well received. Happily, my second chance came on 28 January 1980 when I started work as a reporter on Drapers Record, which by that time was 93 years old and the No 1 trade title for the fashion business. I was given the opportunity by the editor Gerry Saunders, who had worked there for donkey’s years, and was “Mr Drapers”. I suspect he was impressed that my older sister Sue worked as a dress designer at the time. When, after many other jobs, I returned to Drapers Record as editor 20 years later in April 2000, the by-then-retired Gerry became a good friend and mentor to me. Funnily enough, my other job offer at the time I joined Drapers Record was from a trade paper called Newsagent, so I might have become an expert on papers and publications.   

Who would be your ideal diner guests?

For a very small and personal dinner, I’d like my paternal grandfather, Arthur Musgrave, who died three years before I was born in 1955, and my late father, Eric, who died in 1995. I know virtually nothing about Arthur, besides he was a medic in the First World War, and I know very little about what made my dad tick as we never once had a grown-up conversation.

On a lighter note, I’d love to have as celeb dinner guests: my favourite writer, American humourist S J Perelman, to learn about his use of the English language; songwriter Cole Porter, for the same reason; jazz legend Count Basie, to learn about how a black man became so successful in the mid-20th century; fashion innovator Nino Cerruti, who is an overlooked master of menswear; actress Sophia Loren, because she is stunningly beautiful, amusing and has had a fascinating life; actress Margaret Rutherford, a British eccentric of the sort you don’t see any more; and the Queen, just to see if she is good company when he takes her crown off

Something Spooky for the Weekend 👻🎃

Words by Cameron McLauchlan

#13 of #STFW is upon us! Conveniently numbered just in time for spooky season.. And with such spookiness lurking around the corner weve picked our favourite piece available to get involved this HALLLOOOOWEEEN.

SB DUNK LOW Mischief” 

Created especially for this years Halloween. This latest iteration of the SB dunk contains all the  colours we expect to see at this time of year. The slime green sole, the pumpkin leather Swoosh and toe-box of course not forgetting the purple embroidered spider and its accompanying web on the underlay.

The SB Dunk and Halloween have become the best of friends over the years with the first pairing of the two dating back to 2005 birthing an annual partnership. The history of the SB Dunk however is much richer than just a Halloween association. The silhouette is hugely responsible for the meteoric being that sneaker culture has become today.

1985 a monumental checkpoint on the timeline of sneaker history. The year both the Dunk and Jordan 1 first released. The Dunk, originally a high-top sneaker for basketball, was transformed over the coming years when Skateboarding began break into the limelight. Nike of course being company it is jumped on the wave pretty quickly. Fast recruiting skaters Richard Mulder, Reese Forbes, Danny Supa & Gino Ianucci to not only be the face of the early Nike SB, but to offer an inside look as to how to create the perfect skate shoe from those who were at the top of skating at the time. Whilst many things were altered and changed from the Dunk High to the create the SB Dunk the chunky tongue is easily the most iconic alteration and how we can recognise an SB Dunk today.

Since this early moulding of the SB Dunk, the shoe has created many unforgettable moments and of course as a sneaker these moments often came in the form of collaboration. And you cant talk about an SB Dunk without talking about the infamous 2005 “Pigeon SB Dunk Low. One of the first sneakers to force stores to close and police clear the area. Due to the sheer apocalypse created. Designed to emulate what summed up New York City the sneaker now fetches an average re-sale price of $15k and more. Ill leave a few links to some of the stores that I know they are available at. Ill also pop the link below for the “pigeons” to see what a $15K Nike shoe looks like!

“Pigeons:”

 

The SB Dunk Mischiefdrops today  at 8.00am BST. Ill leave a few links to some of the stores that they are available from.

Where you can buy the Mischiefs:

https://www.consortium.co.uk/

https://www.routeone.co.uk/

https://www.nativeskatestore.co.uk/

https://stockx.com/nike-dunk-sb-low-staple-nyc-pigeon?currencyCode=GBP&size=10&gclid=Cj0KCQjwl8XtBRDAARIsAKfwtxAe_UVfby92cIlf3e6nGSqA1ITm0HIrUhaZGOeVlCmwDJlgoItwEzcaAuDzEALw_wcB

Brandwatch: Chinatown Market – An insight into Mike Cherman’s rapidly growing streetwear brand

Words by Daniel Ramsdale-Harris

Chinatown Market has seen a meteoric rise in the last couple of years, with the brand now global and reaching 400k followers on Instagram last week. Started by Mike Cherman, the brand encapsulates the spirit of Canal Street New York, with its comedic aesthetic.

And this is what really provides the unique selling point for the brand, not taking itself too seriously, hence the ‘bootleg’ name, which in turn offers comedic connection with consumers, creating an authentic and strong community.

Comedic fashion that’s disrupts, perhaps this is a new way in which brands can be distinctive, in an industry which is now undeniably not the niche likeonce before. It also further provides more evidence that streetwear is proving that avant-garde designs and high price points are no longer the sole drivers of desirability.

The comedic narrative is portrayed across all aspects of the brand, from product, to messaging and alignments. All good brands have distinctive assets. The Supreme box logo, the Palace Tri-Ferg logo, Chanel’s interlocking C’s. For China Town Market, it’s the smiley face.

Yes, I know what your thinking, we’ve seen it before. But the brand has the ability to tell strong narratives around symbols that people can relate too. A lot of product is almost a parody of the fashion industry, with bootleg inspired designs, designs that mock society and an abundance of culturally filled references.

Their armoury isn’t limited, however. It would be disrespectful to dismiss the design quality and attention to detail, with expertly executed reflective and UV designs, which again demonstrate the jovial nature of the company.

As with all streetwear brands that hit the mainstream, a wave of backlash arrives almost immediately. Mike Cherman came out and publicly criticised this, claiming that it’s small problem in the streetwear industry that people just don’t want brands to hit new heights.

Chinatown Market can be found in Urban Outfitters, BTSN, Slam Jam and most recently came over to the UK through END and ASOS. Without a doubt, this has been a key factor in increasing awareness and accessibility for fans outside the U.S and away from its regular drop production model.

production model that’s unique, with China Town producing all of their garments in their own design studio, a reason for their ability to drop new designs on a daily basis, which is also something that allows them to keep up with the speed of Instagram demands and Gen Z’s appetite for newness.

There’s currently no denying that China Town Market are one of the hottest brands right now. Recent collaborations with Puma and Converse continue to add more weight to the name, and that is something that I can only see growing.

I know where it’s at – All Saints Watches

Words by Isaac Perry

So much has recently been going on that it’s been hard to summarise what some of our favourites have been. So now we feel like it’s the right time to share some interesting news with you all! Allsaints have recently moved into the wrist wear business offering a

diverse collection of 20-piece range, which combines style, precision, performance, and attitude. From clothes to bags to fragrances and now watches, AllSaints offers a uniform without uniformity

Allsaints was founded in 1994 by Stuart Trevor and Kait Bolongaro, they began through the wholesale game selling to exclusive stores such as Harvey Nichols & Harrods but soon realised that they had their own identity and a brand which could go much further.

Allsaints aesthetic is totally rock n roll and this vibe gets people hooked onto the brand. They are known for their beautiful leather jackets as well as having the perfect layering pieces each winter. Though this year they have offered something different releasing a range of watches called The Untitled and Subtitled Collection.

This new avenue led Allsaints to the underground culture exploring subcultures using each watch to explore Urban landscapes around the world.

A Love Letter to its home City – Private White VC

Private White VC, as a brand, is incredibly proud of, not only, their British roots but the city they call home and where all of their beautiful pieces are produced. To celebrate this heraldic relationship and showcase some of their collection, amongst other Great British brands including Globetrotter, Bamford Watch Department, and Johnson’s of Elgin, Private White VC  have produced a short film created by Visionarism .  It was shot on location across central Manchester, along the canals of Ancoats, in Albert Square in view of the iconic Town Hall build in 1868, from within the Private White V.C. factory where all the brands garments are lovingly handmade.

Private White V.C. CEO James Eden, tell of;

“What’s the last thing that you truly cared about?  Looking back, I think about the city and our industry and how much it has changed, yet I find myself right back to where it all started… and that’s with the people. 

They’re the thinkers, the dreamers but most of they are the doers that work tirelessly to master every inch, angle and possibility regardless of the time and effort required to realise the vision; just at should be; authentic, traditional, progressive.

Yet still some will say it’s the slow way round but for us it’s the right way round. It’s all we’ve ever known. 

We’re the last remaining clothing factory in the world’s first industrial city. Over 100 years old embedded into the fabric of this great city. This is dedication. This is us”A celebration of the best of British design.