The new year is shaping up to be a good one for those in search of affordable, well-made, traditional neckwear. Following on the heels of December’s announcement of Paul Winston’s webstore for Chipp2 comes new source for handmade ties in conservative widths and patterns as staid as anything found on the racks of traditional clothiers.
New York City-based Conrad Wu announced the opening of his eponymous brand in October of last year, but since much of the hubbub is happening over at Style Forum, Wu’s ties have likely stayed below the radar of Tradsville. While not an overtly Ivy or preppy brand, Conrad Wu is poised to have appeal across the spectrum of menswear, and for lovers of matte-finished repps and regimental stripes there is obviously much to like. What’s more, the ties are currently on sale in Celebration of Chinese New Year.
Each Conrad Wu necktie is handmade in New York City and features three-fold construction. The blades are untipped with hand-rolled edges. Widths vary from 8-8.5cm, well within the traditional sweet spot.
In addition to regimental rep stripes, hearty woolens, and small-print foulards, Wu offers a selection of stripes in shantung silk (such as the tie pictured above), that rare, nubby textured silk made popular a couple of years ago by luxury makers such as Drake’s of London.
Wu tells Ivy Style his plans for the brand are modest and focused on value. “My goal for my brand isn’t to make it big,” he says. “I draw personal satisfaction knowing that others are happy with my products. Quality and customer service will forever be what I strive for.”
With prices ranging from $87 for a wool tie to $93 for a shantung, Wu seems well-positioned to capitalize on the resurging interest in artisanal neckwear while offering a price below his competitors. — ZACHARY DELUCA
Ralph Lauren’s fall collection just went up online and is full of the very items we’ve been discussing lately. OK, we haven’t been discussing three-piece suits lately, but we’ve got a piece on vests coming up soon. (Continue)
We received a message from Beckett Simonon, a shoe company that launched in 2012, touting its new collection of shoes atimed at the budget-conscious guy who still wants quality. The shoes, which are made in India, feature Goodyear-welt construction, a durable manufacturing process associated with shoes priced much higher.
Here’s an extract from the company’s press release:
“We see a huge gap in the men’s footwear market. It’s outrageous that well-made leather shoes retail above $300. We operate without the complex layers of big businesses (no middlemen, no distributors, no expensive physical stores, etc.) so we can offer the same quality products for a much more affordable price,” says Andres Niño, CEO and co-founder of Beckett Simonon. “By selling directly to consumers we bypass the traditional retail markup, around 2.5X, so we are technically selling to consumers at wholesale prices.” Beckett Simonon is the only online footwear company to sell Goodyear Welted construction shoes under $139, setting them apart from competitors with equivalent craftsmanship and materials but retailing above $300.
As the American gold-standard in quality shoe construction, Goodyear Welt construction holds together the sole, insole and upper sole with one thick stitch and a leather welt. Between the insole and outsole is a cork layer that creates a custom-like footbed, which makes the shoe breathable and flexible.
Beckett Simonon’s longwings, pictured above, are just $139. The color is too light for me personally (and I’m not a longwing fan anyway), and I’d recommend swapping out the laces, but they certainly seem to fill an opening in the shoe market. Not every new grad or frugal trad can follow the “Official Preppy Handbook’s” advice and invest a week’s salary in a pair of Church’s shoes. — CC
We’re finally catching up with some news items of the past few weeks.
First up is Grailed.com, “a marketplace for buying and selling preowned high-end menswear.” It was recently launched by class of 2013 Yale grad Arun Gupta, who tells us he spent much time at J. Press.
In an email Gupta explained the business model:
There are many similar sites that cater towards women and I thought that the menswear community deserved one as well. Our goal is to provide a secondary market for exclusive brands like Visvim and Epaulet. It’s free to use and I’m hoping it will become a positive resource for the male fashion community. There’s a lot of great stuff up there already; a lot of the clothes are new or barely used, so it’s basically just high end fashion at a lower price.
Why are they called loafers? Obviously because they’re for loafing. It’s not exactly a shoe that screams ruthless ambition, is it?
No wonder they were embraced so wholeheartedly by college students in the days before meritocracy. This is a shoe for guys so lazy they can’t be bothered to tie laces.
The cartoon was recently posted on our Facebook page. To put it in context, below is a 1962 Bass Weejuns ad extolling the virtues of elegant leisure. Sort of brings up that whole issue of business approriateness again, doesn’t it? — CC
Onward Kashiyama, owner of the J. Press brand, has informed Ivy-Style.com that it has been unable to find a new Manhattan location for the store currently located at Madison Avenue and 47th Street, and will be closing New York retail operations on January 18.
J. Press will be forced to lay off the sales staff, which includes several veterans, the source told us. Ecommerce will continue from out of the company’s Long Island City warehouse, and Onward Kashiyama will maintain its corporate offices in the Fashion District.
Although it has not lost its current lease, J. Press has been forced to vacate the premises as the building’s owner is planning major renovations.
Although J. Press would reopen sooner if it finds a suitable location, it could be as late as spring 2015 until the company reestablishes a retail presence in Manhattan. “The corporate office has not decided the new location yet,” the source said, “so we will be closed a while. They said we will maybe reopen in spring 2015.”
Founded in New Haven in 1902, the company has operated continuously in New York since 1912.
“I am very saddened at the news and regret the situation,” said Richard Press, former president of J. Press and grandson of the company’s founder. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
Photo via MuffyAldrich.com