Like it or not, it is hard not to be influenced by that which was born and grew around you. Like the piers of your school days, the art, politics, fashions, music, architecture and designs of your time, shape the person you become, positively or negatively.
Interestingly, I recently read that the Natiional Trust are organising a tour of London’s Brutalist architectural sites. Brutalism was a solidly 70s agenda that was intended to ushered in the idea of community and utility and strength. By forming huge public buildings from highly maliable concrete, the architects of the day believed that new communial utopias could be formed that would show a new way to live. In some cases like the Barbican, much of the Southbank and Trellick Tower, that dream was realised.
Where it failed was when that logic was cheaply and with ill design, executed in the doomed housing estates such as Stockwell Park Estate, Alexandra Road in Camden, Park Hill in Sheffield and on to Southwyck House in Brixtons Coldharbour Lane.
I spent all of my childhood in and around council estates in South London and although I am proud of the place I came from and the people I grew up with I don’t praise the architectural experimentation that forced that way of life and environment on those people. Through the rose tinted glasses of gentrification, every corner of London looks idylic now. ‘Right to buy’ has certainly fixed all the windows, coralled the graffiti and washed away the smell of piss.
Despite the sadness and sense of dark forboding doom 70s brutalism instilled in me at the time, I know look back at it with awe, and praise the bravery and high ideals of the early protagonists. Having grown a deep appreciation of modernism, I can now appreciate the challenges that the brutalists set themselves. And even as a human being who is most happy in a natural environment, out in the elements, thrilling the senses, I can see the beauty in a building that goes against most of what I believe.
At the heart of every great band is a great drummer who forms the basis of any great groove. At the heart of Jazz there was a great drummer by the name of Art Blakey.
As a shoe man I believe that at the heart of every great wardrobe there is a great derby that forms the basis of any great outfit. When I decided to make such a derby I felt compelled to name it after Mr. Blakey.
I once had the privilege of catching Art Blakey live at Ronnie Scotts in London in his later years and despite being some 45years after the film above, he was just as smooth, in control and most importantly, on time, as ever !!
I made the necks high because all t-shirt necks tend to stretch out and flop eventually, so I front loaded the process. You will thank me when the neck is just perfect for the majority of the T-shirts life.
I also made the shoulder seams short for no other reason than making the wearer look buffer than they are.
I made the short sleeves long enough to reach your elbows because I am from London where it isn’t exactly tropical. You can always role the sleeves up in the tropics.
Thirdly I made all my T-shirts a bit oversize because I always buy a T-shirt at the right size, wash it, and end up with a T-shirt that is too small.
I used 190grm Cotton because these are Man T-shirts after all. Although my girlfriend has one and I can vouch they make quite good summer dresses (especially because of all the details mentioned above and below).
On the back I removed the side seams and just made one seam down the centre back. This gives it a nice shape and stops the T-shirt from twisting.
I also gave it a shoulder yoke to make the whole thing sit perfectly as if slightly tailored.
All the models are wearing size M. On average they were about 6’2 tall. I am 6’2 as well but prefer an XL because I am just a normal guy
You can read about the origin of all the prints or even buy them here !!
I hope you like them as much as I do.
For AW15 the entire Mr. Hare Sneaker line is made from Vegetable tanned Vachetta leather.
I have always been a big fan of vachetta not just for it’s ecological qualities, but also because of the way it looks, handles and ages. I have always been of the opinion that there are no shortcuts in life. Everything worth having is worth striving and waiting for. Vachetta is the same. It is tanned without the use of Chromium Sulfate, a chemical used in 80% of the worlds leather tanning which speeds up the process and makes the leather more maliable to further processes. With Vegetable tanning, at the end of the process, we don’t have a deadened uniform leather, we have a natural, honest leather where every piece has it’s own unique characteristics. That leather then goes on to age and patina in it’s own unique way.
There are many times I have opened a box of vachetta shoes and found the left shoe a slightly different shade to the right shoe. Over time the Patina evens out and their idiosyncrasies become a huge part of the charm of those shoes. I have many customers who will vouch for this process.
Vachetta requires a bit of care, because it needs to be waxed to protect it from water. There are many products on the market to care for Vachetta, but I recommend a pot of Mr. Hare PLAN BEE Neutral bees wax polish (on any colour) and a regular polishing. If you give them a quick polish every week you would have little to worry about. The wax will keep the water out, but will also remoisturise the leather should they get wet. If it does get wet, it is imperitave that you let it dry naturally.
DO NOT DRY ON A RADIATOR OR IN HEAT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES !!
Here is what Wikipedia says about Vegetable tanned leather.
- Vegetable-tanned leather is tanned using tannins and other ingredients found in different vegetable matter, such as tree bark prepared in bark mills, wood, leaves, fruits, and roots. It is supple and brown in color, with the exact shade depending on the mix of chemicals and the color of the skin. It is the only form of leather suitable for use in leather carving or stamping. Vegetable-tanned leather is not stable in water; it tends to discolor, so if left to soak and then dried it shrinks and becomes harder. In hot water, it shrinks drastically and partly congeals—becoming rigid, and eventually brittle. Boiled Leather is an example of this, where the leather has been hardened by being immersed in hot water, or in boiled wax or similar substances. Historically, it was occasionally used as armour after hardening, and it has also been used for book binding.
We work with the Concieria Pellami Tempesti who are a member of the Pelle Conciata al Vegetale In Toscana which is a consortium set up to promote and ensure the quality of the traditional vegetable tanning carried out by its members in Tuscany. They state that…
Vegetable-tanned leather does not contain any toxic substance harmful to man and is highly tolerable for those who suffer from metal related allergies.
Vegetable-tanned leather productive cycle is strictly monitored to ensure a low impact on the environment:
No animal is killed for its skin. On the contrary, the raw hides used by our tanneries are the discarded by-products of the food industry producing meat for human consumption.
Being tanned with natural tannins, a vegetable-tanned leather object can be easily disposed of at the end of its life, thanks to its chemical-biological characteristics.
Our tanneries have made huge investments in depuration systems and waste recycling that make them work in full respect of man and the environment.
Many of the substances used during the tanning process are recovered, recycled and reused in different fields. Hair removed from raw hides is transformed into agricultural fertilizer; sludge produced by the depuration plants is reused in the construction field to make bricks.
Vegetable-tanned leather, recognizable from its trademark, does not contain any toxic substance such as azo-dyes, nickel, PCP or chrome VI
So choosing Vachetta is clearly a responsible choice which comes with further responsibilities, but it is undoubtedly the best choice you can make leatherwise !!