Friday, October 15, 2010

Shop Chic!!

Growing up in a small farming town, I was surrounded by many men in work clothes.  Somewhere between farming clothes to machinist attire.  When I was young and rebellious, I wanted nothing to do with this look but now I have grown to appreciate not only the style but the hard working men who wear this everyday.  I remember seeing them going to work in the morning and returning home all dirty.  Many of them would hit the showers only to return in a fresh set of work clothes.  It had become their style.  

I think the most alluring thing about the style is that it came out of pure function and just so happens to look good.  These were men of great craft and integrity.  They lived in the moment and provided for their families

These are the guys that introduced us to denim! Gold Miners!

Lately, I have been loving the top button on shirts with no tie.  Not to look like a preppy or a conservative, more like a machinist who is protecting himself from flying shavings.

Got to have some old Red Wings

Safety Glasses, Andy Fletcher Style!

Earnest Sewn is my jean of choice.  Not only do they fit me well, they represent what "Cafe Epoque" is all about, hand made by passionate people.  

Shop rags are so hip!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Order of the Knights of St. Crispin & an ode to shoe polish....

Order of the Knights of St Crispin was an American Labor Union of shoeworkers in the Northeast. Founded in 1867 it claimed 50,000 members by 1870, by far the largest union in the country. But it was poorly organized and soon declined. They fought encroachments of machinery and unskilled labor on autonomy of skilled shoeworkers. One provision in the Crispin constitution explicitly sought to limit the entry of "green hands" into the trade. But that failed because the new machines could be operated by semi-skilled workers and produce more shoes than hand sewing.

Shoemaking is a traditional handicraft profession, which has now been largely superseded by industrial manufacture of footwear.   Ever wonder why we are so attracted to "vintage" items.  We feel like we have a piece of the authenticity of the past.  What is authenticity?  Truthfulness to ones origins, a sincere, devotion to ones craft.  The individual artisanship of an item is a paramount criterion, such items often have cultural and/or religious significance. Items made by mass production are not handicrafts.

For the past 10 years I have been attracted to these big clunkers, made me remember some special men from the past.  One thing I noticed was how bullet proof they were and how many new shoes in my collection have come and gone while these just remained.  Trends came and went but these were always there waiting for me to come to my senses.  I'm remembering shoe polish from my little league days.  Shane's mom would polish his shoes, pearly white before every game.  I could see him down the side lines now after I pitched him the ball and he raced for the touchdown.  Shoe polish is a nice reset button. I guess I've always been "green", recycling my shoes and keeping them on the road and keeping the shoemaker opened for business.