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
On Monday night I was invited by the brand Boast to spectate at the squash Tournament of Champions, currently underway in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal.
Coming from a Cali-plebian background, I’d never seen the sport played before. I was very intrigued, though, as for a few years I nursed an intense badminton obsession, playing up to five days per week at a full-time club and training under a coach from the Chinese national team. Badminton is little understood and derided here in the US (the “Official Preppy Handbook” extolls squash as the preppiest of sports while taking a crack at badminton) and of course carries no social prestige. I ended up writing a piece for the LA Times Magazine that tried to correct some of the misconceptions, and if you’ve never seen it played at an elite level before, have a look.
I’d heard that squash and badminton were similar, not only for the intensity, but also the footwork and all the lunging. Boast had a box in the front row, and after a couple of hours, with help from company president John Dowling, I went from being totally bewildered by what was happening to the ball to following every shot with anticipation. It was fascinating and the athletes are absolute ironmen.
The sport is not just preppy by chance. It was actually invented at the English boarding school Harrow and first appeared in the US in 1884 at St. Paul’s in New Hampshire. (Continue)
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.
Update: The final hours of J. Press at Madison and 47th were rather subdued, which allowed Richard Press to have a long chat with Onward Kashiyama management.
The company says it is very actively looking for suitable locations both in New York and New Haven, and is acutely aware of the tremendous value of the brand’s heritage, as well as the need to “move forward.”
A longtime salesman also intimated that he planned to be back on the floor just as soon as the new store opens. — CC
Today J. Press sent out the above in an email blast.
On Saturday at 5 pm, join myself and Ivy-Style.com columnist and Press family royalty Richard Press as Madison Avenue and 47th Street de-Press themselves of this historic American retailer.
We’ll count down the final hours together. Come by to snatch up the last remaining items, rub natural shoulders with fellow trads, pay your respects to the current location, and wish the company a speedy return to the streets of Manhattan. — CC
Even an item as banal and unstylish as the hoodie can be elevated by its wearer. Case in point, that handsome old gent from Polo ad campaigns from the late ’80s and early ’90s.
I remember these ads — including the hoodie shot above, taken alongside a tennis court— from when they first came out, which was right when I became interested in style. I’d stare at the guy and, as with all narrative Polo ads of the time, couldn’t help but imagine the character’s backstory.
If anyone knows who the model was, please let us know.
In the meantime, here’s a small tribute to this unnamed gent. In addition to looking distinguished, he holds the distinction of being one of the few elderly beaux to ever have a starring role in a fashion ad campaign. And who else has ever made you want to stock up on yellow? — CC (Continue)
This morning I received some spring shopping email blasts. One suggesting that if I buy shorts spring will come sooner I found a little crass. It’s January 15. That’s just a few weeks since Christmas, when we were bombarded by calls to spend, not to mention all the hoopla over the end-of-year sales.
But that’s evidently the retail landscape these days, as all the usual suspects are unveiling spring clothing even though we’re all financially tapped from Christmas and have a long winter ahead.
Among the new items to show up were some hooded sweatshirts, that great sartorial equalizer that go by the nickname “hoodie.” (I used to have one I really loved; I think I was wearing it the day “Star Wars” opened.)
So let’s have a little battle of the hoodies. (Continue)