Mark McNairy, former designer at J. Press, and, under his own name, creator of a host of “Fuck Ivy” gear, including hooded sweatshirts, has a forthcoming book entitled “F**k Ivy… And Everything Else,” slated for release in February.
From the Amazon description:
The renowned designer’s views on dressing and behaving well: Ivy League meets street, sartorial rules are made and broken in this must-have style guide for traditionalists and hipsters alike, filled with Mark McNairy’s humorous, sometimes snarky, spot-on observations. With a Foreword by Nick Wooster.
Supported by a powerful cult following of dedicated, fashion-forward men around the globe, designer Mark McNairy has risen from an under-the-radar favorite to a driving force in contemporary style. His collection of menswear and footwear, Mark McNairy New Amsterdam, is defined by a strong sense of sartorial history with an eye fixed on the future; a unique style that reflects the designer’s vast knowledge of American and English tailoring tradition and complete dedication to craftsmanship and his insistence upon messing it up a bit.
With McNairy, irreverence rules, and in this definitive book, his fresh take on traditional menswear is displayed in full force. At once a style guide that provides invaluable tips for today’s men, it is also, like his clothing and accessories, a witty riff on the Ivy League look.
Showcasing a mix of vintage fashion and film images that reference traditional menswear and style icons like Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood; examples of streetwear and McNairy’s clothing; and advertising and pop culture references, F–k Ivy and Everything Else is a visual treat from spread to spread, packed with solid sartorial advice and cheeky humor.
We will reach out for a press copy post-haste. — CC
Yet another instance of a phenomenon we see almost daily on college campuses, in social settings, in national and international politics and events: the barbarians are inside the gates and nobody can or will repel them.
An ironic potty-mouthed postmodern rule-bending prep-twister? How 2009. What I took away from Mr. Marx’s “Ametora” is how truly uninspired these American “designers” are in their wholesale repackaging of Japanese Ivy/street wear. A photocopy of a photocopy.
Ironic or no, when he called Sid Mashburn a c*nt on the Internet, he showed what an unfunny troll he is.
By the way, careful what you say, he’s been known to pilfer negative comments and stencil them onto teeshirts. That’s some meta-trolling right there.
From the book’s back cover:
“Dress well, and don’t be an asshole.”— Mark McNairy
Coming from him? Now THAT is ironic.
His take on the Weejun was spot on. They didn’t last long.
I’m looking forward to read it. Don’t judge by a cover and all that
I used to just despise his lurid color schemes; now, I despise him.
Seems like just an angry Thom Browne.
I’ll read it with interest.. Also, was out with a Princeton girl the other day.
He actually once produced something nice:
An attention-seeking whore. Next?
The droll paradox of aiming camouflage at those whose last intention is to blend into their surroundings.
He has been f**king Ivy for a long time, but Ivy is very resilient and remains unscathed.
What is the general consensus of Sid Mashburn among the readers of this fair blog? I, for one, see him as a far less gimmicky modern Ivy enthusiast. But I’d like to hear from someone older than I am.
“Live your life and forget your age.” View of an older and wiser former retailer: Mashburn plays in the same ballpark as Mitchells/Richards/Marshs.
Seems to me as though this fellow is trying a bit too hard to be controversial. In an age when just about any abomination is a few key strokes away, one has to resort to using the F bomb and thus appeal to the lowest common denominator. Here is a good name for a book “F**K, Now That I Have Your Attention”
Oh well, I suppose I’m just one of the last of the southern gentlemen.
A high school somewhere has another sophomore whose absence is unexcused.
It’s not my blog, of course, but to me it’s better to run good content for a few days more than to punctuate it with hipster offense. I’m now merely a 99.9999% fan.
There’s an upcoming book called “Fuck Ivy.” That’s news.
We cover the news, “good” or “bad,” and have for seven years.
There’s no point in doing the math, but–and I invite corrections and amendments–it was around 2005/2006 that I noticed a change (okay, that’s a lazy and clumsy word, but what else works?) at J. Press. Insiders and (more) astute observers (than I) may have more to offer. Was that when certain longtime partners in the manufacturing trade gave up the ghost (Gordon of Philadelphia, for instance)? Not sure. The problem with the Southwick offerings at that time is they were all from the Southwick box–high supers Italian cloth that didn’t drape well. I’m not sure who’s been buying bolts for Southwick throughout the past decade, but here’s a fact: with the exception of Scotland’s Robert Noble, most of it has been sub par.
No one was holding down the fort–no one was insisting on trop drawer tailoring and good British cloth. Or maybe someone did and the higher-up’s didn’t want to hear the barking. It’s a tired, old yarn–that it doesn’t matter anymore because MTM is everywhere and good cloth can be purchased in 4 yard runs direct from the mill. (You can even buy silk repp directly from Vanners and Stephen Walters now; send it to a tie maker in Vermont for a custom tie–$35. really).
So: who cares that the once great J. Press has been reduced to humdrum “fabric”–much of which is made by Cohen? And yet: somebody ought to care. I guess.
It does seem as though the messianic arrival of the “designers” coincided with a rapid decline in quality. Seems as though Ivy was F’d. This is just one layperson’s perspective.
So, McNairy is the one who initiated the F**K up of J. Press?
S.E. I wholeheartedly agree with your R. Noble sentiment. Obstreperous marketing, stylings and personalities aside, the real uncorking of Ivy has been the defenestration of quality fabrics and craftsmanship. I can deal with all the nonsense, but vitiating these core tenents is the real profanity here. What’s killed the industry is prices going up and quality of fabric and manufacturing going down. No one wants to pay $600 for what they’re getting in return.
Which is why, WFBjr, some of us prefer thrifting and eBay. I’m not an Ivy purist, but I have found lots of quality vintage clothing in both venues. Giuseppe Timore of the no-longer-active blog An Affordable Wardrobe, though, couldn’t swing a cat without hitting 15 vintage Ivy treasures. Of course, it takes knowing what’s good and what’s not; for an example of the latter, just go to a Brooks Brothers outlet store. On the other hand, I have some very nice 1980s-vintage woven-in-Scotland woolen ties that were originally sold by Mervyn’s, of all places.
I don’t have the wardrobe I would have had if I had bought all new—and my wardrobe is the better off for it.
The cost of goods and manufacturing is a related but significant issue. If Southwick intends to charge a mom-and-pop men’s store between $400 and $500 for an MTM (stock cloth) blazer, the owner has little or no choice–the price tag will read $750 or likely higher. Remaining in the clothing business to keep a style alive is east of ridiculous. Business is business, which means profit. The high end, traditional clothing market is tiny, and it makes sense that a handful of businesses occupy the corner–O’ Connell’s, Ben Silver, The Andover Shop, Cable Car, and so on.
A minority of consumers are philosophically predisposed toward made-in-America goods, and an even smaller minority are into Irish Poplin, brushed shetland crewnecks, beefy cotton oxford, and English flannel sack suits. We’re a small and odd lot, we.
I can offer my opinion on Sid Mashburn. I am a devoted customer. I know both Sid and his wife Ann, as friendly acquaintances. They are both extremely friendly, kind, and knowledgeable. A cliché as it sounds, Sid is a perfect Southern gentleman, and it is always a pleasure being in his company. In 2007, I was visiting Atlanta right after he opened his store on the Westside and just stumbled upon him. I had never heard of him or known of any hype of his store opening in Atlanta. I picked up 3 button down shirts, with flapped front pockets a la J. Press, on that visit, and still wear them today-I’m actually wearing a navy gingham one as I sit here. Over the years, I’ve purchased additional shirts, trousers, shoes, ties, and a few other accessories, but never had the means to purchase one of his sportcoats or suits. The quality of his merchandise is top notch–and those shirts I purchased in 2007 still look great. At this point in my life, mid-40s, I don’t really buy clothes very often at all, just replacing items when needed, and rely on those classic pieces I acquired over the last 2 decades of living in Atlanta and DC. While I still have some lovely tweed sportcoats from Brooks Brothers purchased over the years–usually on sale, I have become totally disillusioned with that company. I was pulled into the ease of the non-iron cotton shirts about 10 years ago, but realized those shirts maybe last a year at best before they show signs of sever fraying and deterioration. And not in the cool way that true OCB show fraying and aging. At their price points, it simply makes more financial sense to pay more for shirts that can last 5-10 years, and have them gently laundered monthly. Now I only wear button downs from J. Press and Sid Mashburn. It is investment dressing, with only classic pieces. Whether SId Mashburn is the savior of the Ivy Look, I don’t really care. But, what I do care is that he offers classically inspired wardrobe items that are of superb quality, often affordable, and mesh completely with older items from J. Press and Brooks. Perhaps, most importantly, Sid is a good man, who has a solid background and knowledge of men’s classic or traditional clothing. He appreciates the fashion world, but appreciates his customers and clients even more. In my annual visits to the Atlanta store, I have never felt pressured to make a purchase. His stores are truly old-school in making you feel welcomed. More retailers should take cues from the Mashburns!
@S.E. I don’t disagree with you about Press in general. But I do have a Press flannel blazer that’s “colaballed” with Southwick. I guess that just means the Southwick label sits alongside the Press label inside the jacket, unlike other stuff Southwick does for Press. Anyway, the cloth is wonderful and the lapel roll is superb. So there’s one example, in my opinion, of them doing something right. Also, they have a trio of herringbone tweeds made by Empire that have wonderful shoulders compared to the Cohen stuff.
Oh, also, I’m wearing an old Gordon of Philadelphia hopsack 3/2 blazer as I’m typing this. The quality, even at about 40 years old, is fantastic.
Sorry, I meant “co-labelled.” Clunky word, but it makes sense.
JDD – I think that Sid is probably the best modern menswear company out there. If I had more means I would have more Sid in my life. Also, his tie is selection is on-point and while 3.25″ is the perfect width for me, 3.125″ is pretty good.
Alex – Thanks for sharing your experience. It is good to hear good things.
Firstly, you’re a blessed man to own one of the old Gordon jackets.
Many, many years ago, the Southwick cloth box was a peaty brew of Scottish tweed, melange woolen flannels, and Irish Donegals. Then…a change (oh, dreaded word!). More of the Italian stuff– a lot of it super 120’s and higher. Many a frail yarn in the annual batch. Anybody seen the Southwick ad for “Dobson’s tweed.” The good old days.
I’d welcome a thorough review of the Empire jackets. Do tell.
@S.E. – Thanks. I’m definitely grateful to have found that old GoP jacket. Made for Mark, Fore & Strike.
As for the Empire jacket. I really like it. It’s a blue/green herringbone tweed. It has a MUCH more natural shoulder than any of the Cohen stuff. The lapels have a very nice roll as well. The cloth isn’t up to boom era Press standards, but it’s relatively nice. It’s definitely not bulletproof, but it’s a damn nice jacket, I think. If anything, it’s about the same standard of quality as the Cohen stuff, but with a better look, i.e. natural shoulders, nice lapel, etc.
Oh and the Empire jackets are half-canvassed, whereas the Southwick stuff is fully-canvassed. I don’t know if the Cohen jackets are full or half. I’m going to assume they’re half-canvassed, but maybe someone can confirm that. I don’t mind half-canvas jackets, honestly, as long as the jacket isn’t totally fused. Canvas in the chest and lapel seems to be the most important. The more discerning gentleman might only want a fully canvassed sport coat, though.