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Gazette 2013

common kin PA P E S T R A AT 2 2 t h e h ag u e W W W.c o m m o n k i n .c o m


TH E COMMON K I N STORY As they say; born and raised in The Hague, a stone’s throw away from the town centre, I grew up in the Schilderswijk.

My mother, who grew up during the Rock & Roll era of the late 50’s and early 60’s, had to make her own clothes due to a lack of cash. She didn’t want me going through the same thing and as a result of that I was spoilt rotten with clothes from the better boutiques. I think this is where the rather heavy interest for everything nice is stemming from. Once I had finally managed to finish school I started working at 19 in a jeans and casual clothes shop in the Vlamingstraat, in the centre of The Hague. After several earlier attempts, I opened my own shop Common Kin in 2011, at the age of 37. The starting point was and is to search for connections through sharing and most of all by enjoying and staying true to oneself. If the current times indicate the only certainty is that nothing is certain, you may just as well do something you truly believe in and that makes you smile. Through Common Kin I create a chance for myself to share experiences and a sense of style. A shop as a platform and a place to gather and share. I’d rather approach Common Kin as a brand that stands for a way of life or a cheerful approach towards life. The very words from which the name of the shop is comprised, contain the core values of the brand.

Graphic Design Het Echte Werk www.ditishetechtewerk.nl

Illustration Studio Iedman www.iedman.nl

‘Common’ means belonging equally to an entire community. The aim is to have each individual who comes in contact with the store, become a part of the brand. They will become a member of the community, therefore helping create the brand. This will be felt both in the physical store and online. That’s where we gather, sharing the same values and finding a place to inspire one another. A place to identify with the brickwork Common Kin was built of. This feeling of belonging continues in the word ‘Kin’. A word referring to a group of people from common ancestors or belonging to the same tribe. In the case of Common Kin, it is important that everyone who connects with the brand feels the common appeal for the brands choice in collection, interior, design and way of life. Choices that are inspired by tradition and translated to a contemporary spirit. Showing old classics next to new ones and making seriousness more relaxed. In the end, the choices are meant to show a characteristic story via real products.

Johan Stork. Owner of Common Kin

Photography by Bart Zwanenburg

The Value of Tradition words by Alex Roest


U PDATED FISH ER MAN ’ S COAT by Alexander Stutterheim

Existing through the ambition to create the only raincoat you’ll ever need. Whether you are about town or in the country. Whether it’s a drizzle or a downpour. Whether you are battling the forces of nature or just your own inner demons.


Alexander Stutterheim’s granddad often went out fishing from Arholma, (an island in the Stockholm archipelago) during stormy weather and then later in the evening he wrote poems as well as managed a big theater in Stockholm. He scared him to the bone every time he set off to sea to catch fish (or life, as he said), defying the worst of weather, the heaviest rain and the loudest of thunderstorms.

It was just recently that Alexander discovered his old rain coat in an abandoned barn. In that moment, old memories struck him and he instantly wanted to wear his coat. It was both stunningly cool and very practical too (although big as a tent). Carefully, he brought it back home to his kitchen and imagened it in an updated, contemporary version. A homage to his granddad, and the quest for life.


If you’re asking for the perfect bag, QWSTION has the answer. The story started in 2006, searching for a classic but less serious bag, that could close the gap between functional sports- and formal bags. Whether you are going to a business meeting, riding your bike or on a city trip, QWSTION can get you there.


Th e Valu e of TradItion clothes-wise A popular thought among people with a more than average interest in clothes is that fashion and style are very different things as in the former is volatile whereas the latter is timeless. Just exactly wherein lies the power of the very thought, though?


h i sto ry It is probably wise to start with a tiny piece of history and go back to the early 19th century to clarify a thing or two and take a look at the founder of the modern suit, Beau Brummell. The key word here was and is simplicity; contrary to the flashy image of the dandy the outfit the Beau established was all about understatement and the rejection of an overly showy way of dressing, an innovation that was reached through perfectly fitted and tailored clothing. The look was based on dark coats, full-length trousers rather than knee breeches and stockings, and above all immaculate shirt linen and a painstakingly knotted cravat. The aim was to stand out through attention to detail and let subtlety speak for itself. If all of this appeals to you the following may prove to be an interesting read. S ty l i sts The attitude as described above has more or less remained within what I have always called ‘Stylist’ circles. What is celebrated within these circles, basically, is the use of traditional clothing styles and updating those ever so slightly. When it comes to adding the proverbial ‘personal touch’ it is considered most important to restrain oneself a bit i.e. the slow acceptance of new garments to the genre prevails. So one could say there’s definitely a conservative attitude towards clothes. That’s conservative as it should be understood mind you, as in respect for tradition yet keeping an open mind. The Stylist attitude is not against change as such but usually every purchase is carefully considered. Stylists have existed in all kinds of variations (think of e.g. the original British Mods, the French ‘Minets’, or even the Japanese Miyuki-zoku during the early ‘60’s) but avoiding fashion clichés through the clever use of sartorial knowledge sums up the general approach very well. The traditional Italian style which inspires the Stylist is arguably the most elegant one and I’d like to mention the stylish footwear as well as the colourful knitwear in particular. Just to name a few more things, pretty much at random, that are worth investigating more closely just think of the term ‘Sprezzatura’ (‘studied carelessness’) and the Neapolitan suit and its soft shouldered jacket. The mixing-

and-matching of Italian style and the American Ivy League Look by (mainly working-class) British kids remains fascinating for those who want to see the very genius of it, though. Despite their somewhat ill reputation both the original Skinheads (the Mods’ younger brothers) as well as the early Casuals deserve a mention here also. What is especially noteworthy is that both Skinheads and Casuals, in their ‘true’ form, succeeded nicely when it came to mixing and matching traditional styles with streetwear. If one has an eye for that kind of thing of course.

“How to ‘rock’ your contemporary clothes in that traditional manner remains the challenge” T h e I vy Leag u e The Ivy League style is another one of those traditional clothing styles which is hardly recognised as the ‘cultural constant’ it really is but has nevertheless been used by many a Stylist as the foundation of their personal look. When dressed in IL clothes the ‘message’ is looking casual when dressing formal and looking (slightly) formal when dressing casual. So in a nutshell one could say simplicity is the key word here once again. The IL style peaked roughly between 1950 and 1967; the college look consisted of penny loafers, argyle socks, slim khakis, button-down shirts (the ‘right’ ones with that nice collar roll), Shetland sweaters, loose ‘natural shoulder’ jackets (tweed was the most popular material by far) etc. It may be hard to image that trends were once set at campuses but in those days young people from Paris to Tokyo admired the US college style greatly. Dressing down yet still looking smart for any given occasion became an art form in itself. The ‘country to town’ approach worked very well in this context and I guess it still does when it comes to that. The choice of rougher materials and sportswear for an outfit being worn within the then still rather stiff city environment was considered pretty groundbreaking at the time

anyway. The (American) town look consisted of a conservative grey ‘sack’ suit, rep tie, pinned-collar shirt and lace up shoes. The sack jacket has soft ‘natural’ shoulders and is ‘undarted’, so it is a pretty loose number really and the pairing with straight, flat fronted trousers should remind you of the Neapolitan style mentioned earlier. H ow to ‘ r o c k ’ The later ‘preppy’ version of this look, with its far-fetched combinations, is probably better known to the public although it should be stressed that the attitude in this case is a tad ‘over the top’. There’s no denying some people are into that ‘go-to-hell’ look but loudness merely weakens a sartorial statement in the eyes of the Stylist. Obviously nowadays things are less suit-oriented but the desire to look smart lingers on. It still makes a lot of sense to strive for that relatively understated look we have just learned about I reckon. How to ‘rock’ your contemporary clothes in that traditional manner remains the ‘challenge’, for want of a better word, for the current ‘Stylist’ or ‘Individualist’. To conclude this short essay it’s pretty safe to state that (without claiming a direct link to any of the styles described above) Common Kin certainly feels inspired by the strength of sartorial tradition.


common kin PA P E S T R A AT 2 2 t h e h ag u e W W W.c o m m o n k i n .c o m

Common Kin Gazette  

A paper where we share the best our shop has to offer; www.commonkin.com

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