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Journal de Nîmes Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

WE SHARE A PASSION FOR THE GOOD THINGS IN LIFE WWW.TENUEDENIMES.COM -

IN THIS ISSUE:

THE JAPANESE TEXTILE WORKSHOP 10 QUESTIONS TO BRYAN WHITEHEAD

HANCOCK VULCANIZED JACKETS

BEST OF AMSTERDAM WITH LUIS MENDO'S CITY REPORT HANDCRAFTED MODERN BY TENUE DE NÎMES

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COLOPHON

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EDITOR IN CHIEF Menno van Meurs menno@tenuedenimes.com

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CREATIVE DIRECTION AND GRAPHIC DESIGN Joachim Baan joachim@tenuedenimes.com

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Myrthe van Meurs, Zuiderwijk myrthe@tenuedenimes.com COPY DIRECTOR Olivier van der Hagen

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SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR Rene Strolenberg rene@tenuedenimes.com

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SOME CONTRIBUTORS ANNEKE BEERKENS CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGIST Anneke Beerkens (1980) is a cultural anthropologist at the University of Amsterdam focusing on fashion and youth in post-industrial urban societies. As a Ph.D. candidate she recently works on a long-term project called "Fashionable Futures: Japanese Youth's Dreams in Precarious Times" and spends half of her time in at Bunka Gakuen, the oldest and most prestigious fashion school in Tokyo, Japan. In this project Anneke examines the ways in which Japan's new generation of fashion designers searches for alternative life paths and new senses of belonging and self-esteem within the contemporary structure of crisis and precarity. Anneke is also working as a university teacher and has published a book, Modegoden, about her former research project in the Tokyo underground street fashion scene. — JOE CRUZ ARTIST Joe Cruz is a freelance artist. He was born in London in 1988 with multi-cultural roots: his family are from French, Spanish, Austrian and Moroccan descent. This eclectic background shows in his artistic style. He graduated from Norwich University of the Arts in 2010 with a BA in Graphic Design, specialising in Illustration and has since worked for clients such as Mary Portas, Stussy and Nokia.

OLIVIER VAN DER HAGEN COPY WRITER While initially looking to continue his corporate career, Olivier did some soul searching and left the bank he had been working for. During his self-imposed sabbatical, he met his neighbors, Tenue de Nîmes and a friendship was quickly struck up as he finally found people who were passionate about their jobs. Before long, he was editing the Journal de Nîmes no 3, 4, 6 and this issue, as well as writing several articles, his own passion. He is now a freelance writer, contributing written pieces to at least one other magazine besides this one at the time of going to press.

DIRK KIKSTRA PHOTOGRAPHER Kikstra was born in the Netherlands and raised in the United States. He studied photography in California but for seven years now, he has lived in Amsterdam. After graduating Kikstra worked as an assistant to the famous portrait photographer Richard Avedon. Dirk did a lot of great photoshoots for magazines such as LINDA, Red, JFK, as well as some renowned international brands. He loves LA and New York. Especially the rough, raw streets and the juxtaposition of a gorgeous model in her fancy clothes, walking along such run down streets appeals to him.

— www.dirkkikstra.com LUIS MENDO GRAPHIC DESIGNER / ILLUSTRATOR Born in Salamanca in 1969, Luis has been a graphic designer for 14 years, mainly in The Netherlands. While in Spain, he designed newspapers for Argentina, Uruguay and Greece. In June 2005 he opened his own studio, GOOD Inc. and was chosen among the "Top 10 best Art Directors in The Netherlands". In March 2009 he took a sabbatical break in Tokyo which changed his view on design and life forever. He writes regularly in blogs & magazines, is part of juries, teaches editorial design and gives lectures and workshops all over the world. www.goodinc.nl www.thecityreporter.com

— ANAT DYCHTWALD STYLIST Anat was born in Amsterdam. At the age of ten, she moved to Israel, where she eventually enrolled in Art School. This was followed by a stint in London, where she continued her studies and got a job at Tempereley London. After that Anat moved to Los Angeles. Anat was invited to work for publications as Vanity Fair and GQ. Anat herself says she has been dressing people for photo shoots and films since she was sixteen years old and always incorporated lifestyle and fashion into her work. A few years ago she returned to Amsterdam.

www.jcruz.co.uk 2

JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


FEATURES

INTERVIEW

MISTER FREEDOM

LOS ANGELES MESDAMES P 14

P 28

MONALITY P 23

PREVIEW

TENUE DE NÎMES JEANS

GRENSON GIRLS P 26

P 32

1970S ALL STARS P 36

CITY MAP

AMSTERDAM

P 38

DESIGN

HANDCRAFTED MODERN

P 44

CULTURE

SCULPTURE

P 52

BRAND FEATURE

HANCOCK

P 56

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ARMOR LUX P 48

RED WING SHOES P 50

LEVI'S VINTAGE CLOTHING P 58

— CULTURE

DENIM ANONYMOUS P 40

— INTERVIEW

10 QUESTIONS TO BRYAN WHITEHEAD P6

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF BRAY WHITEHEAD P 10

HISTORY

5 YEAR TENUE DE NÎMES P 66

ESSENTIALS P 65

— MUSIC

TENUE DE NÎMES PLAYLIST P 74

JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

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LIMITED EDITION OF 100 EXCLUSIVELY AVAILABLE AT TENUE DE NÎMES


NOTE FROM THE EDITORS

Introducing 5 Years of Tenue de Nîmes WRITTEN BY MENNO VAN MEURS PHOTOGRAPHY BY BENJAMIN VAN WITSEN

It wasn't until I started looking back at pictures we took that I realized how much has happened in the past five years. When we started Tenue de Nîmes in 2008 we could not possibly have imagined where our lovely journey would take us in the following years. Our first Journal de Nîmes presented our Tenue de Nîmes philosophy to the world. And now this tenth issue celebrates our five year anniversary. I have to admit that we have had our doubts whether there would be another Journal de Nîmes after the international success of the last issues. The journal started to look like an official magazine and people from around the world asked us what it would cost them to sell the Journals in their stores. Never mind the fact that our Journal de Nimes was meant to be for free. We started the magazine on the basic assumption that it would be a natural extension of the things we like best about being in the store: storytelling. It gives us great joy to share our passion for the good things in life with a like-minded network of people. The magazine allow us to speak to a larger audience though. On top of that it provides more in-depth information, interviews and background stories on the fascinating brands, concepts and people that we are so fortunate to have come across on a daily basis. It took us a year to decide we need another Journal de Nîmes in our lives. We had a lot of people ask us why we decided to put our magazine on hold. We usually responded by saying we did not want to become a magazine at all, that things got out of hand, though all in a very good way. Well, sometimes you need to miss something before you can acknowledge how much you really love it. As the Tenue de Nimes five year anniversary drew closer we thought a 'Best of Journal de Nimes' issue would honor both our tenth release as well as our fifth birthday. But no sooner had we gotten used to the idea of realizing another self-created monster that we realised there was so much 'new' stuff

JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

we had to tell you about that we just decided to go for it. And just for the record, we decided to never step away from it ever again. This tenth edition introduces you to a variety of people and stories that we came across over the last five years. This journal covers a key-note on the blue world of Mister Freedom's Christophe Loiron. On top of that we introduce you to some of the latest additions to our Tenue de Nîmes brand portfolio such as Hancock, Les Prairies de Paris and Mr. Yuki Matsuda, founding father of Yuketen, who was kind enough to introduce us to his new 'casual up' baby Monitaly. And, also in this issue, a new episode of our 'Essentials' in which we ask Nana Murbandono, marketing Manager at Levi's XX, about his favorites. This five year Anniversary issue would not be 'Tenue de Nîmes' if it did not include a report on some of our latest adventures abroad. We therefore decided to give you a unique insight into the indigo paradise of mr. Bryan Whitehead, the Canadian indigo professor who we met up with at his silk farm, two hours outside Tokyo, in the mountains of Fujino this April. Lastly, and so that Rene Joachim and I never forget all those amazing moments we spent together, we published an image timeline covering some of the many highlights of this five year journey. Please note that this is a slightly censored compilation as some of the images will not be revealed until we need some serious blackmail material. At this moment I can only say thank you for all the great moments we have spent with you guys so far and let's hope many more may follow in the next five years.

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INTERVIEW / Bryan Whitehead

The Japanese Textile Workshop in Fujino — 10 QUESTIONS TO BRYAN WHITEHEAD INTERVIEW BY MENNO VAN MEURS PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOACHIM BAAN

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JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


INTERVIEW / Bryan Whitehead

1.

Would you please introduce yourself and tell us about your background? I was born in 1964. What do you do as a kid in the 70s living just outside Vancouver on the border of farmland, nature and suburbia? There weren’t many people around and not even a lot of television then. Time was spent walking the trails in the forests, around rivers and lakes; I fished and listened to a lot of music, drawing pictures of dinosaurs and then cars. I skied in the winter and went camping in the summer. I played the guitar and smoked and drank a lot. I started working at a local cedar lumber mill when I was sixteen years old. I worked in the maintenance department with welders and machinists doing menial, tough work. The lumber mill was made of massive timbers. It was a bit like an Orc mine in Mordor: ancient, with dripping salt water everywhere and some distantly controlled evil purpose. It ruthlessly sliced Canadian west coast ancient growth forest trees, with hundreds of workers clambering over clanking metal machinery or standing around mindlessly feeding saws and blades day in day out, year in year out. Occasionally the machinery took a chunk out of the sleepy and careless. It was a beautiful place and a kind of hell at the same time. The smell of the ocean and the sight of the surrounding mountains and being outdoors made it bearable. I worked there for nine years. The union wages also made it bearable. During my last two years of high school and throughout college I worked the graveyard shift full time and went to school during the day. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. The lumber mill allowed me to pay for my schooling and travel part of each year. I used my paychecks to buy old 1960’s cars, pull out the engines and rebuild them. When I finished studying advertising and marketing at school and was offered a job at an advertising agency, I was distressed to realize that the starting salary was one third of what I was making stacking lumber outside in the stiff frigid Canadian winters. To work in a creative department at an advertising agency had been a dream for years. After finishing school and having a foot in the door it seemed to be farther off than ever. What to do? I went to India. Loafed on a houseboat in the Himalayas and distracted myself with books and bus rides to muddy villages. It takes time to make sense of life back in Vancouver after six months in India. I didn’t give it much time to start making sense again. I wanted out of there. The choice of

JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

Japan was almost random. The sole condition for a new home country was that it was not western.

2.

Please share with us your recollections from your journey to Japan with us. How exactly did you end up in Fujino? I returned to Canada from India, quit the lumber mill, sold my house and car and bought a one-way plane ticket to Japan. I figured that somehow life would work out. I moved to the center of Tokyo. Tokyo is chaos when you first arrive. A jungle of people, power lines and expressionless trains. After some time you start to see some system in the chaos and, after that, only a dreary system and you crave the chaos. I made enough money to travel in Indonesia, India, Nepal and China several months of the year. At the time I couldn’t escape the feeling that I should be living in one of those fast disappearing exotic corners of Asia instead of Blade Runner style, semidystopian Tokyo. Someone I knew at the time told me of a small town of Fujino just outside of Tokyo in the mountains where a lot of artists lived. I went out to see Butoh performances and music concerts in the mountains on weekends and quickly found a weekend getaway. I spent some years getting to know the locals there - some profoundly talented and creative people. I was in the right place at the right time. I had only been in Japan a few months and spoke almost no Japanese. I had been invited by that Fujino friend to a friend of a friend of a friend’s cabin in the mountains on the Izu peninsula for a weekend in May. The owner of the cabin was some wellknown architect and the cabin reportedly had no electricity except a generator hidden out of earshot in a bamboo forest that powered his turntable and amp. The cabin was said to have hundreds of jazz albums. We turned off the road and bumped along a dirt road in the forest until we could go no further. There were a few other cars parked amongst the tree roots and mud. We made our way through the forest until we came to a cabin. Usually, such a place has walls that withstand the winds. This was no cabin but a cobwebbed, foggy, cracked windowed rotten shack with moss on the roof and cedar saplings growing in the gutters. Once inside I was glad to see the familiar face of my friend and

his girlfriend. The promised turntable and John Coltrane were there. The room was lit with gas lamps and candles on a table made from one single huge slab of Zelkova wood. The table was covered with bowls and plates and cups that were obviously hand made. I had never seen anything like those before. Each piece was a work of art. There was a serious aesthetic happening and we had no idea what it was that was running through the food, the table, the pottery, the people and the broken down house. It was sort of like reading Dostoevsky for the first time. Whooooooooa…. We three Neanderthals spent the weekend closely observing our hosts and the rest of the group. Who were these people, why were they together and how did they know each other? There were a couple of old guys, missing some teeth and looking pretty scruffy. After a while I could see that they were being deferred to and were actually the honored guests. The next morning we visited the studio that belonged to one of the scruffy old guys. Overgrown grass walkway, an old farmhouse and as I ducked through a low door to get inside the architect must have read my puzzled expression and whispered knowingly, “He is a master potter.” His work was sublime. Afraid that I would never find work of this level again I found a corner and counted the contents of my wallet. An hour later I left with a box of pottery and an empty wallet. I still have some of that pottery and it is still amazing. This was my first glimpse of Japanese craftsmanship.

3.

Do you remember the moment you realized it was indigo (and not painting) that would become your life mission? Please tell us all about it. I was living in Tokyo and studying ink painting on the weekends. This was the first time I had managed to get my hands on Japanese culture. The beauty of the Japanese paper that absorbed light rather than reflect it, the mysterious black ink stones, the hand made brushes, the meditative motions and smells of the ink that you grind on the ink stones yourself. The pictures you painted left out white spaces. The Japanese sense of space and subtlety had my mind reeling. The classes themselves were a sort of white space in an escape from work and the madness of Tokyo. I loved them. Something unexpected happened. An architect/interior designer would regularly order my paintings for the buildings and interiors he was making. I was making a living as a painter but I wasn't a

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INTERVIEW / Bryan Whitehead

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JOURNAL DE NรŽMES / Nยบ 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


INTERVIEW / Bryan Whitehead

painter at heart. I felt like an impostor. I knew much more talented painters than myself and wasn't comfortable being one. Around this time I read a book, The Unknown Craftsman, by Yanagi Soetsu, the founder of the Japanese Folk craft movement. He wrote that in pre-industrial societies ugly design was unheard of. The bamboo and tanuki haired brushes and antique ceramic water droppers, and all the other painting tools I used in painting class were a testament to this. He said that the reason why contemporary designers create ugly things is because we have too many choices in materials. We do not deeply understand the essence of the materials we use because we can easily find and purchase them. Ok, these points are simplistic notions. But surviving in the Japanese urban landscape, severely blighted by commercialism and seeing traces of a haunting beauty of an older culture underneath, his awkwardly thought out and worded essays stuck with me for some time. Just about every book on Japanese art and culture goes on about the influence of Zen Buddhism on Japanese culture. It takes time to even partially wrap your head around even the most obvious ideas of Zen. And to think that Zen is strictly against the idea of having ideas. Soetsu wrote of the deep connection between, and almost inseparability of, Buddhism and Japanese design and folk crafts. He wrote that a piece of pottery could be enlightened in the Buddhist sense. It could have no ego, no elaborate decorations and a quiet refined simplicity. He stated that these everyday items made by illiterate craftsmen embodied the essence of Japanese Buddhism. It is here that I still feel the roots of the sublime qualities of Japanese design and craftsmanship. I was in a bookstore in Tokyo on a sweltering hot summer day. I came to read an article in a book about a Japanese woman who grew her own indigo. The article covered a typical year’s work. She spoke about the shiny black indigo seeds, getting them in the ground after the danger of a late frost had subsided. In the summer the indigo was knee high. As soon as the weather had been good for a few days and the pigment content of the leaves was high, she would cut her first harvest, leaving a few centimeters of stubble to grow back into the second crop in the late summer. She would leave part of a row to flower and turn to seed for next years crop. After harvesting the indigo she would tie small bundles of the stems with leaves together and hang them up, letting the air and sun get in and dry these bundles in the sun. The green leaves would turn into crisp deep blue ones in one full day of hot sun. JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

Then she would store the leaves under her roof to keep them dry. In the middle of the cold winter she would strip the blue leaves off the stems. She would prepare a bed of rice bran on the floor of her barn. On top of this she would place a thick layer of straw. She would wet the leaves and stuff them into a woven straw bag. This would be placed on the bed she had prepared and covered with a second layer of straw. Then some heavy stones would be placed on top. The wet leaves would slowly start to ferment. Every few weeks she would open the bags and stir the composting leaves ensuring that they were wet and equally fermenting. After three months the indigo would be fully fermented and she removed the blackish ammonia smelling indigo paste. She would mix it with pine ash and shape the resulting mix into balls. Later in the year when the temperature rose, she would mix these balls with lye water and ferment the indigo into a dye bath. Not only did she grow indigo but she also grew hemp. As I had experimented with growing hemp as a teenager I took a keen interest in her process. She grew the hemp, stripped off the leaves and threw those away. She retted the stocks, removed the outer bark and plied the fibers into thread. She wove this thread into kimono rolls for herself and her family. She would dye these rolls in the indigo she had produced. I was in the bookstore reading this and like the indigo leaves in the sun there was some chemical reaction going on in my body as I was reading it. I shut the book in the bookstore and carried it to the cashier. After paying I got on the elevator and realized my face was hurting from smiling. I knew in that instant what I was going to do until the end of my life. I was going to be an indigo craftsman. I was volunteering as a cook at a Japanese restaurant in Tokyo at that time. A few days later I was with the owner of the restaurant at a local farm buying vegetables for the next few days. Whether it was serendipity or grace I still don't know, but at that farm I noticed two long rows of leafy vegetables. I asked the farmer what they were. He replied indigo. My entire being expanded into a large ball of greed. I had to have that indigo. I casually asked him how he had come about growing the indigo. He replied that someone had given him the seeds and he was trying to see if they would grow. I asked him if I could buy the plants and he hesitated in answering me. He said he didn't know how to harvest them or what to do with them. I quickly explained to him to cut the indigo on a sunny day and tie it into small bundles and hang them to dry in the sun. This is how I got my start as an indigo dyer over 20 years ago.

4.

It is not only indigo dyeing you do here. You run a complete silk farm and you weave fabrics too. How are all these things connected? I dyed cloth for a designer and we put on exhibitions together. There was a hole in the process. I wasn't satisfied with the cloth I was dyeing and wanted to make the cloth I was dyeing as well. I visited a few weaving schools in Tokyo. Looms crammed into small spaces and fluorescent lighting and some package ticket study system that seemed rigged against the student and unpleasant student projects turned me off. It was a natural step to want to produce my own material. Silk farming was almost extinct in my area but one day my town’s councilwoman visited me at home and told me about an old woman in a village on the other side of the valley who was raising silkworms. She reeled the cocoons to thread and wove kimono. The very next day I went to find this woman and knocked on her front door. In broken Japanese I asked her to show me her work. She walked towards a clay storehouse in her yard. (These storehouses are made of clay not made to store clay.) They are fireproof and inside the family treasures are kept. Hundreds of years worth of old things that couldn't be thrown away. She opened a drawer in an old wooden chest and took out several rolls of silk. I was simply dumbstruck by the beauty of them. Here was the essence of the unknown craftsman. Looking at Minako’s rolls of hand-woven silk that she had made from scratch, Yanagi’s words resonated in my mind. She understood the essence of the materials she was working with. They were enlightened rolls of silk and the maker by extension. I knew that there would never ever be a second chance for me to learn like this. I knew it would take time to learn how to weave, how to make thread and how to find or grow dyestuffs. I would also learn how to breed silk moths, hatch the eggs, raise silkworms, and make the best cocoons possible. I figured at the moment it would take me may be five years. It took me seven years. I've run into a few stories of ‘wannabe whatevers’ camping outside the master’s gate to prove their potential devotion. Do you know the story of the one wannabe Zen monk? He went to the gate of the temple one day. He told the high priest that he was looking to reach enlightenment and wanted to study at this particular temple. The priest ignored him and shut the gates of the temple. The next day the man was still there when the priest 9


INTERVIEW / Bryan Whitehead

opened the gate and stepped over him, went and did his business. He came back, stepped over him again and shut the gate behind him. The next day it snowed. The next day it rained. The man did not give up and when he was about to starve to death he was allowed into the temple. At first he was allowed to do only menial jobs. And after some time he began his study with the priest. This is how I felt when I went back to Minako’s house and asked her to teach me silk farming and weaving. She flat out told me she had nothing to teach me. I didn't give up and decided I needed to ‘steal’ the techniques from her one by one until I had proven to her that I was serious. At first, she taught me how to melt cocoons in a rice straw ash alkaline solution to make silk hankies and then how to spin the thread from silk floss. Several weeks later I went back to see her with a large bag of silk thread I had spun. I asked her other things like what plants made which color. I gained her trust. Thirty years before that, most houses in the village had somebody weaving in them. There are none left now. The old looms have been packed away in barn corners and some of the more precious items of weaving like shuttles and reeds have been more carefully tucked away in dresser drawers. Minako took me to several neighbors’ houses in the village and slowly we collected enough parts to make a functioning loom and many of the tools needed to go along with it. So over those following years I raised a billion silkworms. Learned many ways to make thread. Learned to use plants to dye thread. I heard hundreds of anecdotes of life in the old days when the entire village was involved in the same cottage industry. How the technology advanced and how it came to an end as Japan developed and people no longer wore kimonos and life became easier. You could buy anything now and modern technologies took the place of making things for life.

5.

We were fortunate enough to visit your indigo paradise. What can you tell us about the history of your beautiful old home? The very first time I entered an old Japanese farmhouse I shook my head in disbelief at the beauty. Twenty five years later I never pass a single old house that I don’t want to go into and take a look. Even the most broken down, dilapidated ones. It is hard 10

to comprehend the change in Japanese culture in the past one hundred years. Of course they can’t go back in time but does contemporary life need to be so lacking in architectural poetry and subtlety? The constructions with huge smoked pillars and beams. The delicacy of the paper doors with the earthiness of the dirt entrance floors. They are just perfect. I’ve never been in any kind of house that compares. Of course the ceilings are too low for me and they are impossible to heat in the winter. My village has a dozen of them left. It is heartbreaking to know that when the old folks pass away their children will tear them down and replace them with some airtight carbuncle on the landscape box. These old houses were made for a family to be living in them. Someone was always home to keep the fire going so that the smoke would drift up and keep the thatched roof dry and well...smoked. These old farmhouses cannot be closed up for any length of time. The tatami mats will go bad and the house in general will get wet and moldy. You need to be constantly aware of the weather and keep the sides of the house open. You have snow and freezing temperatures in the winter, sweltering heat in the summer, typhoons and a rainy season. It is hard to build a house that can cover that spectrum. There are many design variations found all over Japan. Mine is a typical silk farmhouse of the area that is one hundred and seventy years old. It is more of a barn than a house. The people in the area lived with the silkworms under the same roof. It is hard work to keep the house alive and healthy. But I love how it is open to the outdoors most of the year. People and the dogs and insects and birds just move in and out as they please.

6.

Could you introduce us to the Japanese craft of 'Aizome'? The indigo plant has grown in Japan since ancient times. You walk in the mountains in the winter and you can see dried blue leaves on the stems. It didn’t take our ancient ancestors that long to figure out how to get the blue pigment onto our clothes. Japan had a huge rural population and each village would have had someone who had mastered the fickle ins and outs of growing and processing indigo into a dye. They would have dyed their own clothes and bedding and for a fee dyed the textiles of the other villagers. For the most part it was at this level that indigo dyeing

caught my imagination. The huge urban populations required a more complex chain of supply for the only blue dye, indigo. Different areas in Japan would specialize in indigo production and some specific dyeing craft to accompany it, for example Shibori near Nagoya or Katazome in Ise. For several interconnected political, economic and social reasons the Japanese have an extraordinarily high level of traditional craftsmanship. Indigo cultivation, processing and its end usages are no different than other sophisticated Japanese crafts. I should add that Japanese do not differentiate between fine arts and crafts - or even growing vegetables for that matter. They are all arts.

7.

How do you see your kind of expertise fit into our rapidly changing world? To tell you the truth I don’t know how this experience I have fits in this world. I have people contacting me from all over the world, asking if they may study at my place in Japan. They want to learn skills related to indigo dyeing or silk farming and silk thread making and weaving and using natural dyes. I am actually swamped with requests. So people out there do want to learn about textiles in a deeper, more meaningful way. Some are designers and others are hobbyists and some artists. They want to see the quality of Japanese traditional textiles and unfortunately there aren’t many places or people in Japan that share the knowledge in any accessible way. People want to connect with a slower, more meaningful life. They want to produce and not simply consume. In many ways my life is just reactionary to what I saw as a kid. The quality of music declined, car design declined, the quality of architecture and literature declined. The poetry of the items around us is basically gone. More and more foreign made mass-produced junk is flooding our lives and concepts that are stretched so far they lose any meaning, surround us. Hippie and hand made are depressing alternatives. My expertise came from trying to keep my head above rising water. I suppose cultural water traders have an antenna for each other. You found me. Perhaps I should wear a blinking red light on my head?

JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


INTERVIEW / Bryan Whitehead

8.

Is this kind craftsmanship only possible in Japan? In other words: what is it about Japan and the ability to connect with the actual soul of a craft? Some Japanese paid taxes with goods as well as rice and money. There was such fierce competition between levels in a feudal, vertically structured society. There was always pressure on the person below to perform better so that the person above could curry favors with their immediate superiors. So here we find one important reason for high quality goods. They were used to procure favors. A better lacquered bowl or a finer woven kimono or a lighter and stronger sword were all sought for more complex reasons than simple survival. Society ran on carefully channeled pressure. The Japanese standardized their land and houses into tatami mat units. Kimono was standardized. Men and women’s clothing were essentially the same cut for hundreds of years. Sumptuary laws controlled minute aspects of everyday life. Everything was standardized. Working in the framework of such standardized goods it seems likely that growth in pure essence quality took precedence over creativity and novelty of design. The physical beauty of the land itself in Japan must also have played a role. And the sublimity of Buddhism set a sophisticated aesthetic that was reflected in all garments: from imperial clothing to a farmer’s jacket. Plenty has been written about the austerity and refinement of Japanese tastes and from where they arose. Perhaps these elements pushed the craftsmen to get closer to the soul of their craft? There are Japanese who deeply respect and cherish their rich cultural heritage and understand its uniqueness and value. I am teaching some very specific skills to both Japanese and nonJapanese. There are aspects of Japanese craft that are specific to this country. No, I don’t think I could do what I do in any other country. I could try but the expression and countenance of the work I would create and the way I would teach would be different. Something would be missing.

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9.

Is there another place in the world where you could see your self living? Can you explain why? I leased an acre of land in a very isolated part of Laos for 60 years some years back. I had planned to build a house and work with local weavers to develop hand woven material to sell in Japan. It was starting to be a constant battle with bureaucracy and the area was politically unstable. I had seen people set up their lives in Laos only to be ruined by unforeseen circumstances. I get excited at the thought of learning a new language and jumping into a new culture. A non-developed place on the planet is attractive. A slow and quiet life sounds very nice. The place would have to have some textile culture to explore. Some dyeing and spinning and weaving. I am not certain where I will spend the later years of my life. My life in Japan is good but I can’t imagine having the energy to keep living this way twenty years from now. I want to work until my last breath. What is important when you are older and in the later years of your life? I can’t see it clearly yet. Is it focusing on bringing all you have acquired together and being selfish and working on creative projects simply for oneself? Or is it better to be selfless and dedicate oneself to passing on skills to younger people?

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Please describe a day in the life of Bryan Whitehead. Unfortunately, I have to get back to work and stop answering interview questions. I have a dozen things that need finishing before bedtime. Ask Anneke.

Continue reading A day in the life of Bryan on page 62. 11


BRAND FEATURE / Filson

Made at Filson Seattle USA

WRITTEN BY KATE DULIN PHOTOGRAPHY BY FILSON

“ Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is necessity… ” — JOHN MUIR, 1901

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BRAND FEATURE / Filson

Demand for American-made products, especially authentic “maker” goods, has been driving the need for increased production at one of America’s oldest companies–Filson of Seattle, Washington. In June 2013, Filson opened a new factory and world headquarters a few short blocks from where Clinton C. Filson first founded the brand in 1897. Since the Klondike Gold Rush, Filson has been woven into the fabric of Seattle’s history. Their ingeniously functional and high quality products remain a top choice for hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts from America’s Pacific Northwest and among adventurers worldwide.

On the upper floors, Filson’s headquarters have an open, airy floor plan with high ceilings and lots of natural light. The second floor houses five showrooms with product displays, including one devoted to archival vintage editions of many of Filson’s iconic designs. There are offices for the business and customer service center that handles calls and queries from customers worldwide. The design and product development team is also situated on this floor, providing seamless access to the workshop. Everything at Filson is localized to allow for efficient movement and ease of communication.

The new world headquarters and main manufacturing facility are now housed in a four-story, 57,400 square-foot factory building on First Avenue in Seattle’s industrial SoDo neighborhood, near the port. The first floor houses the new manufacturing facility, which produces Filson’s bags and luggage. When visitors enter, they are greeted with a view of the workshop floor. Through a huge glass window, the sewing and handwork can be witnessed first hand.

Filson’s CEO Alan Kirk explained, “This expansion furthers our 116-year commitment to our customers. We provide unfailing goods that allow them to do what they love in the outdoors. We are proud to be part of the renaissance of American manufacturing and have plans to increase our commitment to the community in the future. Thanks to the increasing demand for our products, we have been able to stay true to our values of local manufacturing without compromising quality.”

This state-of-the-art factory was a significant investment for the company, but it provided the opportunity for Filson to update its manufacturing line with a much more efficient layout designed to handle current production demand. The facility is roughly 12,000 square-feet larger than the original factory, which continues to be used to produce apparel. The new facility is organized into three departments of 32 workstations each. Workstations were engineered to create an efficient production process and reduce time spent moving between stations. As every piece of Filson luggage is made by hand, this greatly impacts not only the manufacturing time, but creates an improved environment for the workers themselves.

Integral to Filson’s success is continuous evolution. Expanding manufacturing capability means that Filson can innovate in response to the needs and experiences of customers. From explorers of the great outdoors to urban adventurers, Filson’s American-made products deliver an unmatched experience; high-quality, suburb craftsmanship and functional design. Next time you’re in Seattle, be sure to visit the store. Filson, 1555 4th Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98134, United States. —

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FEATURE / Tenue de Nîmes Mesdames Los Angeles

Tenue de Nîmes Los Angeles PHOTOGRAPHY BY DIRK KIKSTRA STYLING BY ANAT DYTCHWALD

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FEATURE / Tenue de Nîmes Mesdames Los Angeles

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FEATURE / Tenue de Nîmes Mesdames Los Angeles

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FEATURE / Tenue de Nîmes Mesdames Los Angeles

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FEATURE / Tenue de Nîmes Mesdames Los Angeles

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FEATURE / Tenue de Nîmes Mesdames Los Angeles

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FEATURE / Tenue de Nîmes Mesdames Los Angeles

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FEATURE / Tenue de Nîmes Mesdames Los Angeles

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FEATURE / Tenue de Nîmes Mesdames Los Angeles

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INTERVIEW / Monitaly

Monitaly AN INTERVIEW WITH YUKI MATSUDA Yuki Matsuda, the man behind brands Yuketen and Monitaly, is a grand example of someone who is becoming great by thinking small. While that sounds suspiciously like a slogan for a grocer’s: bear with us - all will become clearer soon. What makes that philosophy so pure and special is that becoming famous, or a legend, is not at all something this man is trying to achieve. At best these qualifications are a side-effect. Progress or success does not have to be solely about that. Rather, it can be about getting yet another step closer to one’s own idea of perfection, regardless of what others around you are doing. It is about keeping your vision clear, undiluted by external influences. That is exactly what Mr. Matsuda does to this every day. As soon as he graduated from high school, rather than spending years buried in books and exams, he cut his teeth by going to work in factories among some of the finest craftspeople in the country. Read more about this remarkable man and his thoughts and ideas below.

INTERVIEW BY OLIVIER VAN DER HAGEN PHOTOGRAPHY BY MONITALY

Mr. Matsuda, you are a self-confessed shoe fanatic. Can you put into words what about shoes you love so much and what you seek to do yourself? When one owns a great pair of shoes they should get better every time they are worn and the owner should feel a deep appreciation for this constant improvement. Likewise, when I take care of my shoes, my shoes will smile at me with appreciation. It’s about reciprocation and how much caring we invest in what we love. How did that, or your interests and fascinations when you were younger push you into doing what you do today? I always have and always will strive to make clothing or shoes that I would like to wear myself and I want to feel a strong sense of pride to make something great by my own exacting standards. Back in the early 1980’s, when I was teenager, not many nice quality items were available where I lived in Japan. For this reason, I spent my spare time visiting vintage stores to seek and buy better quality items from the past. During my quest for vintage rarities I learned more details about clothing and shoes which I would compare to new clothing and footwear that I sold while working at a retail shop in Osaka, Japan. I realized there was a big difference between the quality and construction of vintage and new clothing and shoes. My biggest complaint with vintage clothing was that I couldn’t find the best size for me. So, I wished that one day I could make clothing with vintage details that would fit me and make me feel proud to wear.

And, does excluding external influences not limit yourself, as you also said in that same interview? Yes, absolutely. I’m satisfied with limitations. Only fools ignore limitations. The most important thing for me is to persistently try the best that I can to continue to achieve to make great clothing and shoes to share with others so they can share my pride and appreciation for what is truly great style. Your brands attract interest from individuals and other brands by their focus on, and dedication to, quality, heritage, craftsmanship and integrity. It seems like the blueprint for any store or brand aspiring to success and recognition. Tenue de Nimes certainly loves this and aims to do the same. It is surprising, and may be even shocking that so few others actually pursue this road. Why do you think that is? It’s not for everyone. Only a person that pursues great passion and love for their work will survive. I think you are one of them. Do you believe economic down turn plays a role in it? If so, in what way? Yes, for some people, economics changes their focus. Business always has its ups and downs, which is normal. I’m glad to let bankers worry about cyclical trends in economics while we keep doing the same thing that we love, sticking to what we know, which is making great products that inspire our customers with an insatiable obsession to own the styles for themselves!

What gives you the thrill of a new, perfectly constructed shoe or garment? For the moment I’m obsessed with Yuketen’s Sneaker Moc. It’s a new style invented completely by us to look like a sneaker, but with true moccasin construction. I also love Monitaly’s jeans which are made with hand-loomed and hand-dipped real indigo yarn-dyed 100% hand-made denim. These jeans are real beauties. They fit like vintage 501XX from the 1950’s which is my favorite fit. Some of the understated details are hidden rivets on the back pocket and single needle stitch construction for overall better fitting like a truly tailored garment.

Please explain the brand Monitaly a bit more. What drove you to found it? What ideas lie at the core of this brand? It is well known you like a proper fit extraordinary finishings but what did you decide would be the element(s) and ideas that would set Monitaly in particular apart from other brands that pursue similar goals? Monitaly’s concept of “casual up” is unique. This is our catch phrase and our original concept. Our approach is to improve upon a casual garment to achieve elegance and sophistication. It would be accurate to say that we are the antithesis of “dress down”.

We really appreciated what you said in an interview with Hypebeast not too long ago about avoiding external influences that might go against your own ideas. But all inspiration comes from experience, bearing witness to something, or making connections that others have not seen before, which are all triggered by something outside ourselves. How do you view this? As much as I can I try not to be influenced with ideas or designs from others. This is especially the case when considering my peers and is why my clothing and shoes are visually and physically different from others. Granted, I sometimes make an exception after considerable research and study of items, fitting, and construction to work with one specific idea of a particular design; but never a blatant copy. It’s a strong principle of mine to avoid copying at all costs. Ideas must be improved continually and I’m a firm believer that’s where passion is distilled. However, I also feel compelled to say that I draw great inspiration for happiness and clarity from my wife and daughter who are very close to me and I learn from them constantly.

And similarly, how did (and does) the country of Italy influence you enough to incorporate its name in your brand's name? Italian food is awesome. I visit Italy for business a few times each year and I always miss Italian food after I return home. I’m always on the lookout for a great porcini restaurant!

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What about military gear and American lifestyle source inspires you so much? What sets it apart from other countries and their styles/ history? Military style is primarily founded on study and research for wartime. Military fabric is the best material for the worst conditions a soldier will experience in battle: the beauty of it is that this fabric is very sturdy and durable with numerous details for maximum utility. It’s made for the kind of man who can stand up for himself to make the story of his life. Every man has a story.

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INTERVIEW / Monitaly

As for American lifestyle, it has so many different styles and I love every different style such as 1940’s California modern, 1930’s New England lifestyle, 1950’s Ivy style, 1960’s surf culture in South Bay California, 1920’s NYC jazz lifestyle, 1930-1950’s Hawaiiana, 1920-1950’s western lifestyle, 1950’s rockabilly lifestyle and many, many more! America is so big and has so many different lifestyles that inspire me very much. Some influences of mine from outside America include indigenous people’s lifestyles from all over the world, such as Tyrolean lifestyle, shepherds’ and fishermen lifestyle from all over the world, Laplanders, WWII German military gear and clothing and WWII Japanese military gear and clothing. In terms of history, I believe any people that cleave to a great tradition without outside interference -no distractions from internet and cell phones- is the best place to find pure inspiration. So, even though these various lifestyles are completely different, they all share a pure vision that can be interpreted as style. Around Europe, it has often been said that America did not have much in the way of a national history yet, being only around 240 years old. While this is neither fair nor accurate, it could be argued that 240 years is quite young compared to countries that were trading and prospering in the middle Ages. Would you say that your focus on American craftsmanship and standards of production is also like a reminder or even a statement, that this nation has introduced some seriously amazing skills and traditions in fashion and other industries? Yes, I think so. I think we’re responsible for passing on our greatest hand-crafted goods to the next generation just as our predecessors have done for us. Moreover, I’d like to clarify that I have admirable respect for more than just American craftsmanship. I respect any county that protects its great craftsmanship. For example, I love hand finished Italian shoes. French Norwegian-welted Tyrolean shoes, German underwear, and so much more. We are fortunate that America has a great respect for skilled people. Our talents are meant to be shared with the world.

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Do you have a vision for Monitaly/ Meg Company as to where it should stand in 20 years time? It’s my challenge to keep improving Monitaly so we can outlast 20 more years! If I can be a great leader for my company, Meg Company, Monitaly and Meg Company will survive 20 years and more. One thing I’m sure of is that Monitaly garments will survive 20 years from now. That’s just how they’re constructed. By the way, I love duffle coats from the Netherlands. Please let me know if you know anyone who makes great wool blanket fabric in the Netherlands. As you know, Dutch fisherman’s clothing from 1920’s – 1950’s is awesome! What can you tell us about upcoming plans and projects that you are getting excited about? I’m in the middle of making new samples for 2014FW season and can’t share anything about that yet. I hope we’re able to impress you and your customers with our newest creations from Monitaly and Yuketen! You've quite quietly created quite an emporium. What if any,further ambitions do you have? Any beyond clothing? Watches. I know you share my passion for watches so that’s another thing we have in common. But we’ll save that conversation for another time and place. —

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INTERVIEW / Monitaly

"Our approach is to improve upon a casual garment to achieve elegance and sophistication"

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BRAND FEATURE / Grenson

The Grenson Girls

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BRAND FEATURE / Grenson

At Tenue de Nîmes

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INTERVIEW /Mister Freedom

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INTERVIEW /Mister Freedom

Mister Freedom An interview with Christophe Loiron The brick building on 7161 Beverly Boulevard that houses Mr Freedom is not only the most unusual store we ever came across in the United States, but a space that we would actually love to live in. I will always remember our first visit to the store, not long after we'd landed in Los Angeles, setting foot in his enormous garage. The space is overwhelming to say the least. It is the kind of room that you keep discovering things in. It took us nearly an hour to find the proprietor himself, mister Christophe Loiron. He was smoking French cigarettes in the middle of his latest collection on the first floor, where he has his workspace. We ended up talking to him for two hours, about denim, (custom) vintage and vintage markets among other things, such as whether there was any truth to the story that he would go to The Rose Bowl Flea Market with a flashlight on his head (not to see something in the dark, but to daze his competitors). We decided then and there to buy our first Mister Freedom collection for the Tenue de Nîmes store We are proud to introduce you to Mister Freedom, Christophe Loiron. Please tell us all about yourself and your background. I was born in France, but raised mostly in Africa. I moved around a lot growing up. There wasn't really any place I could call 'home' until I moved to California in 1990 at the age of 24, after completing my two years in the French Navy. No scholarly background on anything in particular, just figured out some things as I went. I was never able to focus for too long, so I learned a little bit about a lot of things. To my dismay though, I am expert at nothing! How did you end up in the United States more specifically in Hollywood, CA? Looking back at my 1970's-80's, I was blessed with unusual day to day routines, traveling a lot because of my Dad's assignments. But whether in Zaire, Tchad or France, I still had an urge to escape the present. I loved old movies and roots music. Everything I seemed to dig originated from American culture, so, as a young adult, I decided to go check out if the grass was really greener in the USA. The name 'Hollywood' just sounded good to me. I soon realized the Boulevard could be of 'Broken Dreams' for some, but California is an amazing state. You are never really a foreigner here, since most Californians are travelers from other states or countries. I have felt at home here for the better part of the past 23 years. What's the story behind the Mister Freedom brand? Mister Freedom, today, is a vintage clothing store and a small brand under one roof. After turning rag picker in the early 1990s I got involved with several companies but went solo around 1999, escaping a sour partnership. Selling vintage clothing from my garage and flea markets, I was happy to be independent, until I found a brick and mortar spot in Hollywood. I started customizing vintage clothing, bags, belts, printing T-shirts. I built up a small clientele of Japanese buyers, designers and local cool people and met a team from Toyo Enterprises in 2005. We organically started a collaboration on a handshake. They asked me if I could design a pair of jeans. I had no idea where to start but I knew I didn't want to make yet another five pocket jeans. I came up with a short fictitious Merchant Navy story, made a proto pair of (weird) jeans from scratch. Toyo thought those jeans were 'strange', but took care of manufacturing and selling them in Japan. We are still doing that to this day, under an MFSC collaboration, but Mister Freedom is more involved in the manufacturing, with larger collections and not limited to denim. The store now houses a rough mix of 50% vintage clothing and 50% Mister Freedom originals. It seems most of your inspiration comes from the past. In your opinion, which era most closely exhibited the perfect style? I can find inspiration anywhere from the 1870's to the 1970's, according to what books I'm reading, movies or documentaries I'm watching, stories I hear on the radio. There are style specifics in each decade that I find appealing, although some period elements are better left to museums or reenactment. I personally strived to look like an old b/w photo as a kid, but now find it more fun to mix eras and do my own thing. Perfect style is only what looks good on you, however subjective a view this is. Flash trends are not for everyone, not for all ages and body types. Turtlenecks looked cool on Steve McQueen, and baggy gabardine suits elegant on Cary Grant. Whatever style works for you, the key is not trying too hard, that's style killer, anti-cool. JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

INTERVIEW BY MENNO VAN MEURS PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOACHIM BAAN

What are your thoughts and sentiments on the whole 'vintage revival' in fashion of the last couple of years? There is indeed an abundance of small artisan brands, vintage 'experts' everywhere, specialized blogs, a boom in facial hair, pomade and tattoo culture. And let's not forget the benefits of a life at sea. As long as everything is taken with a grain of salt and a sense of humor, I'm happy for everyone. I got into clothing through Rock 'n' Roll. I just wanted to look like the guys on 1950's LP covers, because the disco look was definitely not for me. Specific dress styles used to be associated with specific music types when I was young. Today I see a disconnection there. A 'greaser' looking dude could be listening to Justin Bieber (no offense, I have no idea what he sounds like). Dressing a specific way is less of a statement or commitment today and maybe it's for the better. I'd much rather see a revival in vintage fashion than a revival in rhinestone T-shirts or acid-wash jeans anyways. What are the vital ingredients of a Mister Freedom collection? Not sure what goes in every time, as I navigate a lot from concepts, influences and eras. I know what's not going in, though: skinnies, low waist denim tights, obnoxious branding, fake distressing with dreadful environmentally damaging 'vintage wash' processes. I tap into fabrics that are interesting to me, beyond the denim/chambray thing and I am lucky enough that I can get fabrics milled in Japan from a small vintage 1920's textile swatch. An old French 1900's plaid linen apron fabric can turn into a shirt, as we did for our Fall 2013 'Ranchero' shirt of 'Viva la Revolucion' collection. Clothes have to make sense to me, and not purely exist because of a fad or pressure of having to drop a new season. There is a certain classic balance in proportions that I am visually used to and stick to. I'm trying to not regret anything I design, or at least not be embarrassed by it years later. You state on your website that: "..(the ongoing MFCS collaboration MvM) creates historically plausible original clothes that never existed but could have". Would you please explain this some more? Just a matter of personal preferences, I've always preferred history over science fiction. I do believe in nothing new under the sun, and that the wheel has already been invented. However, who decided that a pair of pants made for cowboys should have rear pockets? This seems to be the most unpractical position for pockets. You know what I mean if you've ever been on a saddle with your wallet. Some older leather chaps had large pockets on the front of the thighs. So, designing a pair of work pants with thigh pockets would be 'historically plausible' and somewhat make sense, should one work on a late 1800's mining/cowboy story today. I do not do replicas, but I do like the idea of clothing that could have existed, but didn't for whatever reasons, whether those be patent issues or a manufacturer's bankruptcy. Sticking to this idea is not limiting to me, as looking at vintage photographs proves that reality was often stranger than fiction. I am sure there are quite a few examples of military jackets that didn't pass the Test Laboratory level. Finding that 'plausibility' when/if designing a military inspired jacket is interesting to me.

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INTERVIEW /Mister Freedom

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INTERVIEW /Mister Freedom

Japan seems to be a second home to your brand. Please tell us more about this connection and how that came about? In my 1990's rag picking days, most of my competitors and clients were from Japan. I was able to make an interesting living thanks to the vintage craze in Japan. I befriended some good people and learned a lot from buyers and store owners. The power of knowledge (a pair of jeans could pay your rent), passion for details, fascination with authenticity and American culture, topped by work commitment were some inspiring things for me. Back then I was so surrounded by vintage clothing that I had zero interest in what new clothing looked like. One day around 1995, I walked into a Kyoto store and saw some of the many replica Japanese brands on racks and shelves. Sugar Cane was one of them. I had seen the light! If it were not for Japan, a lot of the small artisan brands of today, some riding on the 'Made in USA' wave, would not exist. This includes Mister Freedom. Where do you see Mister Freedom in today's retail landscape? MF® is a very small brand, within a niche. The vast majority of people out there have no idea/interest in what the brand does or stands for. We don't advertise and let things happen organically instead. I'm lucky that, with the support of those who like what we make, how and why we make it, Mister Freedom keeps growing, both as a brand and as a store. I am also happy that our recently launched redesigned web store was well received. Your store is one of the most unusual places we have had the pleasure of visiting, so far. Why did you choose to be both a store and a brand? What else am I gonna do with my time? (laughs) Unusual is a nice way to put it! That's what happens when you are the worst planner ever, now we're just trying to keep that chaos organized and under control! What I keep referring to as the 'old pile of rags' is actually where all the new collections start, they both feed off each other. Everything under one roof: atelier, archives, vintage, mfsc, new and used books.

What other brands or designers inspire you or deserve your appreciation? I have honestly no idea what others do, as I mostly live in a cave, within my own bubble. There are amazing talents out there, no doubt. Today, one-man artisanal brands are able to surface, because the internet allows them to be seen and heard. The ethos of companies are actually more important than whether or not they have buckle backs on their trousers, or an anchor in their logo. Humility is also a very big factor. Anyone boasting about being the best, and actually meaning it, sure doesn't qualify you. Brands that offer fake 'vintage washes' for their garments and supply an artificially created demand, lose all credibility in my book. They should instead use their time and energy eradicating this absurd modern plague of a trend started in the 1980's. I do respect when brands cite their sources and inspiration, bygone or contemporary. What does the future hold for Mister Freedom, or what would you like it to hold? The future of Mister Freedom will be secured by a drastic shift in consumers' behavior. "Own less, pay more" is my motto (along with "We're not the best, but I've seen worse" or "Third to none"). I am not an advocate of consumerism, and this message is not music to the ears of the Fashion Industry. I would like to see more responsible behavior in the garment manufacturing industry. Major brands that are mainly driven by profit have no remorse overlooking the fact that clothes are made by people, not machines. No one needs to die while making your clothes. Consumers need to act smarter than ad campaigns think they are. This would make for a refreshing future for many, I believe. —

You stock a fine collection of vintage and antiques. Can you still find enough nice things these days? I tend to lose interest for the cake when there are too many spoons on it. When everyone was looking for crispy and clean vintage stuff in the 1990's, I started digging for sun faded and repaired pieces in rejected piles. When dealers and designers went crazy over vintage graphic T-shirts, I started looking for old paper goods and did my own graphics, cut my own stencils. Not for the sake of wanting to be ahead of the game, but just because I can't stand arm wrestling for things. I have seen people elbowing each other in flea markets. Not cool. As long as you keep seeing beauty that not everyone sees, you find plenty of inspiration in antiques and vintage clothing.

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PREVIEW / Tenue de Nîmes Jeans

Tenue de Nîmes Jeans —

Ever since we started selling jeans in our first Tenue de Nîmes store back in 2008 we dreamed of creating our own Tenue de Nîmes jean one day. Those jeans should fulfill one simple desire: they should become a life long friend. Over the past couple of years many people have asked us why brands insist on changing the models of their jeans every once in a while. These clients come in to our store with a hardly visible 'wash and care' tag, hoping we can determine what jean they were wearing for the past few months to instantly purchase another one or two for the next round. Our basic assumption in regard to our first Tenue de Nîmes jean is that we hope it never needs replacing – especially for those friends and customers of ours. It took us five years with some of the most amazing people in the game to get to our first pair. It has been a long journey so far. We feel blessed to have worked with suppliers from all over the world, who advised us to get the right pattern, who helped us select a 'Tenue de Nîmes' fabric and all the other ingredients that will result in our first jean in the spring of 2014. As Rene shared with me a long time ago: We just created these jeans - we can only wish you will be the one to finish them for us. Here's a little preview. Stay tuned. —

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WRITTEN BY MENNO VAN MEURS ILLUSTRATIONS BY LUIS MENDO

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PREVIEW / Tenue de Nîmes Jeans

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PREVIEW / Tenue de Nîmes Jeans

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PREVIEW / Tenue de Nîmes Jeans

The Colony of Nemausus —

WRITTEN BY JOACHIM BAAN / CHRISTOPH VAN VEGHEL

When we started with Tenue de Nîmes, we started with one simple quote by Winston Churchill: "The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” It inspired us to look back into the history of jeans, of indigo and cotton, and it gave us wide views on this rich heritage. A densely packed culture starting in a vague and uncertain moment probably somewhere around the 17th century in the south of France. The village of Nîmes produced the famous Serge de Nîmes, a wool indigo dyed fabric which later -probably- turned into Denim. But Nîmes wasn't only famous for its fabric. The history of this town, surrounded by hills in the Languedoc- Roussillon region goes back to early Roman times. It is here we found the inspiration for the Tenue de Nîmes doughnut button. Legend has it the city of Nemausus, which would become known as Nimes centuries later, was founded around a well sacred to the divine Nemausus, a son of Heracles. This name was preserved through history and was later used by Roman colonists. The spring’s well, however, had already been known in the pre-Celtic period of the area. Originally, the city had been the centre of a Celtic tribe, which came under the influence of Roman civilisation and adopted it. Nemausus especially grew under M. Vipsanius Agrippa, son in law to Augustus Caesar, and got the status of “Colonia” or colony in the year 27 BC. In this period between the years 20 BC and 20 AC the Romans used their own currency in their Colony of Nemausus. Beautiful simple coins, made from bronze, with Augustus (founder of the Roman Empire) and Agrippa (Roman statesman and general) together on one side, and the weapon of Col Nem, the crocodile chained to the palmtree on the other side. The crocodile was used to symbolize Egypt - chained to a palm tree to indicate its defeat and occupation by Rome. After Egypt's overthrow, a great many veterans from various Legions were as a matter of necessity, sent to defend different colonies. And those who where passed over to Nemausus, having perhaps been themselves present in the Alexandrine war, were pleased to commemorate that occurrence by stamping the coins with that symbol of Egypt vanquished too. We used this little scene to create the a beautiful doughnut button to share this little far fetched start of the history of Jeans. We hope you’ll pass it through. —

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BRAND FEATURE / All Star

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BRAND FEATURE / All Star

CHUCK TAYLOR ALL STAR

JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

In Spring 2013 Converse re-issued the All Star Chuck 70. The brand has incorporated subtle touches and finishes that pay homage to 1970s legends in sports and music. A lot of the people who started wearing Converse in those days are now considered icons in their respective areas of excellence. By wearing Converse they not only helped this brand become globally acknowledged, they helped define the look of an emerging scene. What makes this re-issue quite special is that it has added features that signal both modern improvements (like added cushioning and a higher rubber foxing along the midsole, to name but two) and more vintage details such as extra stitching on the sidewall and premium heavy canvas uppers. Of course, at first glance, this Converse All Star Chuck ’70 may look like another Converse sneaker. Only the true connoisseurs and die hard fans will spot the newly added details right away. The original sneakers were available in black and off white and throughout the year Converse has released the other original colors that were introduced in 1972, that include sunflower yellow, crimson, navy and heritage blue. Varsity green and red will be added to the range come December. 37


City Reports by Luis Mendo — 2nd Amsterdam edition, nov 2010 www.thecityreporter.com www.goodinc.nl

Book

THE SOFT ATLAS OF AMSTERDAM Jan Rothuizen is an artist I really like. He very much loves to go around town and describe, write, and draw about the city he visits. He did a great job on Amsterdam and if you read a bit of Dutch, you should get this book. In just a color or two, with just drawings and texts, he describes the whole city in amazing detail. janrothuizen.nl

AMSTERDAM IS A FAN —

Whenever I have visitors and want to explain to them how the city works, I try to make them think of it as if it were a fan upside down. Central Station in the north is the hinge, and the edge is the south of the city.

Size does matter

GETTING LOST Honestly, for those of you used to big cities, Amsterdam might feel like a joke. It’s really small and manageable. You will easily and quickly find your way through it and getting lost is actually difficult. Still, Amsterdam is more than the center. There’s an interesting office district around the Arena Stadium and the World Trade Center, as well as a north part just the other side of the water behind CS that you must see, preferably by bike.

The essentials

Restaurant (Chic French-style cuisine)

LE HOLLANDAIS It’s wonderful to have neighbours like Le Hollandais. You can eat very well here and for a great price, since they are a bit off the center of town. Not suitable for vegetarians. Amsteldijk 42 » lehollandais.com

FILM — Cult Videotheek

Those cult films you want to see while it’s cold outside: from erotic to horror, from unknown Japanese to the latest (imported) season of Dexter.. Amstel 47 (near Stopera) » cultvideotheek.nl

ANOTHER LUIS MENDO ×

{ With the invalu

Gallery

GABRIEL ROLT A couple of meters away from the Tenue de Nîmes shop you have this great gallery. Nothing better than nourishing your soul after having dressed your body. Elandsgracht 34 » gabrielrolt.com Photography Museum

FOAM As a photography lover you cannot miss this place for the best exhibitions, the well assorted bookshop, and yes, the café downstairs. From documentary to fashion, from contemporary to historic, you will find your love here. Keizersgracht 609 » foam.nl

Tattoo parlor

BOOKS — Athenaeum & American Book Center

The Spui is probably the nicest square in town. Along with these two great book (and magazine!) shops and the wonderful flower stall (see right), there’s the Binnenhof hidden gardens, and dangerously placed street art by Lawrence Weiner on the ground — “Translation from one language into another”. Watch out for the Waterstone’s shop for cheap pockets too. Spui » athenaeum.nl and abc.nl

SCHIFFMACHER & VELDHOEN MODERN TATTOO Home to legendary ‘Hanky Panky’ (Henk Schiffmacher), his partner and tattoo artist Tycho Veldhoen. This is not an ordinary tattoo parlor but see it more as an artist atelier. Ceintuurbaan 416 tattooing.nl

COMICS — Lambiek

Lambiek was the very first comic book shop in Europe and if it weren’t for the fire that caught sometime in the 00’s, it would still be in the same place. At least they didn’t change streets. Lambiek is next to Hans Brinker Hotel (where you should never ever sleep). Get the best comic books and comics related knowledge of the city here. The workers are great: the older the clerk, the more fun you will have if you talk with them. 38 Kerkstraat 132 » www.lambiek.net

When the sun shines

AMSTELVELD If you come south from the Rembrandtplein, do it walking off the Thorbeckeplein and keep walking until you get to the last place in the city where you can play a soccer match with friends and enjoy a beer afterwards. Between the Kerkstraat and the Prinsengracht


Hotel and monument

Vintage furniture & more

AMRÂTH HOTEL AMSTERDAM Although I have never slept here, I recommend you drop by the Amrath hotel even for just a little visit to enjoy the iron works, the glassworks, and the atmosphere of this old building that feels as if it came out of a Batman movie. Prins Hendrikkade 108 » amrathamsterdam.com

HARVEST & CO. A new addition to the Amsterdam vintage offer, Harvest & Co is a collective by friends Denise van Gastel and Jeroen Woltman. Anyone interested in industrial and vintage furniture should pay this place a visit, you will feel like a kid in a candy store.

Hotel

CONSERVATORIUM Located on the site of Amsterdam’s former Sweelinck Conservatory of Music, the Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam was originally built at the end of the 19th century. In its new incarnation, it has become a contemporary luxury five star hotel with reminiscences of the old building lurking around every corner. It is located right in front of the city's major museums you will like to visit Van Baerlestraat 27 conservatoriumhotel.com

Tweede Helmersstraat 90-96 » harvestandcompany.com

Perfume and soap

SKINS Go here to fetch that perfume or cosmetic you can’t find elsewhere. walking around this store is an experience of cleanliness and a treat for your sense of smell. Runstraat 11 » skins.nl

Restaurant

TOSCANINI Your Italian food needs are very well covered in this institution. Lindengracht 75 » toscanini.nu

Coffee

DE KOFFIE SALON When you want a perfect capuccino, and I mean PERFECT, you must avoid the Coffee Companies, Starbucks, and any Dutch “bruin” café as they serve nothing like what you will get at De Koffie Salon. Flavia or Denise will make you the best of the best. Utrechtsestraat 130 » dekoffiesalon.nl

Cocktail bar

HARRY’S BAR Expect the real thing behind the bar: waiters dressed in uniform (a rarity in Amsterdam!) who know how to make a cocktail correctly. Spuistraat 285 » harrysbaramsterdam.com

Coffee

× TENUE DE NÎMES CITY REPORT

uable help of Angela Shetler }

Croissants from Maroc

MEDITERRANÉE If leaving CS on the west side, you must walk through the lovely shopping street Haarlemmerstraat. At the very end, you can find the cinema The Movies (where you can have a dinner + film arrangement every day) and at the other side is Bakkerij Mediterranée, with the best croissants in the city. Haarlemmerdijk 184

LOT SIXTY ONE COFFEE Meet Adam, an Aussie who used to live in New York. Back then, he was a coffee professor for a living and decided to sell his two coffee bars in the Big Apple to pursue a Dutch coffee adventure. Get to know all about countries, flavors and the craft of coffee roasting with help from Adam and his fine crew-members Onno and Florian. Kinkerstraat 112 lotsixtyonecoffee.com Japan in Amsterdam

Spectacles

NES OPTIEK For those of us with sight problems. The most exclusive glasses are in this shop. Nes Optiek » Grimburgwal 3 Sandwiches and traiteur

LOEKIE The best sandwiches. With the nicest staff. Period. Utrechtsestraat 57 » loekie.net

SENPACHI & ZEN Senpachi is the place you visit for their handmade ramen (only at lunchtime) and their perfect Japanese atmosphere. Wielingenstraat 16 » hakatasenpachi.net Zen is a family-run small restaurant (eetcafé) where the sushi and the donburi make me come back every month. Frans Halsstraat 38

Hats

THE ENGLISH HATTER One of Amsterdam’s best kept secrets. An accomplishment in itself, considering they have been around since 1935. The store specializes in hats and classical English menswear. Heiligeweg 40 » english-hatter.nl

Breakfast & lunch

VINNIES DELI Vinnie serves such great organic breakfasts, lunches and coffee that I wished they served dinner too. Enjoy their lovely food surrounded by vintage design in an interior that looks and feels just like a nice living room. Haarlemmerstraat 46 vinniesdeli.nl

The real Dutch café

CAFÉ KROM A bar as a bar used to be: waiters wearing white shirts and ties, and able to pour the perfect beer for you. We call it “the David Lynch” place. Go see why and take some coins for the jukebox. Utrechtsestraat 76

Clothes and gear for the rough ones

Relax — This is amsterdam.

RED WING - AMSTERDAM STORE Displayed together with steel, antique glass, coal, and dark concrete walls, the garments made for the rough life feel at home here. Reestraat 15-hs » redwingamsterdam.com

I’ve lived here for many years and have never heard of someone near me being mugged or attacked. Nothing bad will happen to you here. Just make sure your bike is well locked when you leave it behind.

Flower stall

‘T LIEVERTJE Get the most beautiful flowers here. Do not even think of going in the Kalverstraat. Nothing to find there. Spui in the corner with the Kalverstraat

Design books

MENDO Half design agency, half bookshop. Very well stocked. The name comes from adding ‘men’ to ‘do’: nothing to do with me. Berenstraat 11 » www.mendo.nl

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CULTURE / Denim Anonymous

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CULTURE / Denim Anonymous

Denim Anonymous We asked the British artist Joe Cruz to give his take on our collection of vintage photographs. Joe Cruz on his work: "Over the last couple of years I have been developing a distinctive way of working. It comes from an interest in political posters and advertising campaigns. I want the work to be bold and unforgettable, to make sure it has a lasting impact. My work is intended to reflect society's craving for convenience and immediacy. I have tried to echo this throughout my work. Instant gratification, social media, fast food, entertainment, shopping are all words and concepts that spring to mind. I gather imagery from many different sources and then combine it with my primitive chalk pastel mark making, which creates a new 'instant' artwork. This process is quick and organic. I would say my work imitates the 'throw away' mind-set of pop culture."

ILLUSTRATION BY JOE CRUZ VINTAGE IMAGES PRIVATE COLLECTION TENUE DE NÎMES

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CULTURE / Denim Anonymous

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CULTURE / Denim Anonymous

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DESIGN / Handcrafted Modern

Handcrafted Modern We will always remember the first time we met with our good friend Leander during an opening at Gabriel Rolt's Elandsgracht gallery. Whenever he starts talking you can only listen and enjoy all his bold theories on business, arts and vintage design. Leander explained that in his opinion Wharton esherick's staircase and a Hickoree Stripe overall by Lee have more in common than you would believe at first sight.

WRITTEN BY MENNO VAN MEURS PHOTOGRAPHY BY BLOOMBERRY

Architectural arts and crafts chair by Albert Haberer GERMANY A published architectural arts and crafts chair by Albert Haberer for Hermann Fleiner, Stuttgart, ca 1950. A published architectural arts and crafts chair by Albert Haberer for Hermann Fleiner, Stuttgart, ca 1950. The leather details on the top provide extra comfort as well as the movable bars provide unexpected comfort.

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DESIGN / Handcrafted Modern

David Rosen Berga Stool SWEDEN A 1940s pine ‘Berga’ stool by Swedish designer David Rosén. The organically shaped, quatrefoil seating rests on a cruciform base. Marked ‘43356’ underneath, indicating it is an original and first edition piece from 1940. During its auction this piece was presented as Axel Einar Hjort. Due to extensive research our friend Leander found it was in fact Nordiska Kompaniet, for David Rosen while David Rosén was head of the company.

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DESIGN / Handcrafted Modern

Kerstin Holmquist 3 seater Paradiset sofa SWEDEN Kerstin Holmquist 3 seater Paradiset sofa newly upholstered in blue Fanny Arenden balder fabric. Kerstin Holmquist is one of a few remarkable Swedish designers amongst others like Greta Grossman (who moved to the United States) and Lisa Johanson Pape who only recently became as well known as they deserve.

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DESIGN / Handcrafted Modern

Pair Arne Jacobsen Swan Chairs with Sidetable, 1969 Edition Set DENMARK A set of two Swan chairs and a model A222 table by Arne Jacobsen, produced by Fritz Hansen, Denmark. The chairs were designed in 1958 and the table in 1968 and were meant to be used as a set in the lounge of the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, also designed by Jacobsen. The table still has the original Fritz Hansen label. The set has always been a party of three and was acquired ca 1969.

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BRANDSPECIAL / Armor Lux


BRANDSPECIAL / Armor Lux

Tenue de Nîmes loves Armor Lux


BRANDSPECIAL / Red Wing Shoes

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BRANDSPECIAL / Red Wing Shoes

The Red Wing Shoes Ice Cutter WRITTEN BY MITCH DE VRIES PHOTOGRAPHY BY BENJAMIN VAN WITSEN AND RED WING SHOES ARCHIVE

The Ice Cutter is there to battle the harshest of weather conditions. In the northern part of the United States, the rugged, weather-beaten laborers preferred wearing boots that properly insulated their feet and kept their grip on the frozen surfaces these men walked day after day. The Otter Tail leather is made exclusively as an outdoor leather for the footwear by Red Wing Shoe Co. The Ice Cutter is insulated with a natural 100% wool felt fabric, that guarantees warmth, comfort and ventilation. The robust look of the archetypal Red Wing shoe is present, partially due to the Norwegian Welt that connects the sole to the upper. The lug sole underneath was developed by Vibram so losing grip is out of the question. This winter-ready boot comes with three speed hooks to quickly do up the laces. —

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CULTURE / Paula Rubenstein

Paula — SCULPTURE, NOT STORY — Rubenstein TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOACHIM BAAN

When we visited New York this October I did my homework beforehand. I tried to source new and unknown places, new retail concepts, the best restaurants, the galleries we could not miss - the usual. But I did not find that much. Just more of the same. Don’t get me wrong, that was still super good because we’re in New York, but I wasn’t blown away. Until, between two appointments, after a quick espresso at La Colombe and a spare five minutes, I was making my way down Bond Street and stopped as soon as I saw a shop window. It wasn’t even particularly fancy but it did catch my eye for some reason: it was a nice little shop front with some old ceramic bowls on display and a huge old 'Black Cat' ad behind the window, yet it didn’t feel like any other vintage or antique store. The moment I entered the place, I was sold. An old lady welcomed me kindly and slowly the objects around me came to life as she walked and told me about them. The old lady introduced herself as Paula Rubenstein, shop owner for the past twenty five years and longtime collector of everything beautiful - from North American vintage textiles, rare objects and industrial furniture to amazing quilts and blankets. I lost myself in the beautiful antique indigo quilts, a patchwork made from old award ribbons, vintage rag balls and more, much more. For me a big part of the joy of collecting is the story behind each object. In our studio I know almost every single story behind every object in all the collections. Most bizarre is probably my collection of photographs people holding human skulls. This one started with one single image I found of a girl sitting with two skulls on an island in the Black Sea. Before the fall of the Soviet Union, this island was used as a USSR prison camp. This idea was so peculiar and freakish that it became the starting point of a whole new collection. At Tenue de Nîmes we source special collections to accompany a story we want to share. Think of the boxing and sports theme in the men's section in the basement of the Haarlemmerstraat store or the antique pressed flowers and plants on the women’s side, or the vintage photographs of working men wearing beautifully faded denim. They all have their own unique stories. Of almost all these objects I know their stories.

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Back to New York. In Paula Rubenstein’s lovely store, she and I discussed this idea. Rubenstein told me her take on collecting, that she based on the concept of sculpture over story. It is not about the story behind an object. That is no longer relevant: the objects became sculptures and we need to see them in this light. These objects became so much more than they used to be. A collection of taped balls in a beautifully hand carved bowl is so far removed from what they were originally used for, that their story of origin doesn't matter anymore. Yes, it is important to know a little about age and origin of objects, but it is so much more about where it is now, and about the space around them. The objects in Rubenstein’s store are displayed in harmony with each other, they balance out the overall look and feel of the place, and I could really feel what she said. The objects got a new life as sculptures, next to other objects that once served completely different purposes. They were put together not because they come from the same region or era, but because they match in their sculptural aesthetic at this moment, in this particular place. It's form over function. Or: sculpture over story. All that counts is the object in its whole sculptural presence. It's an inspiring and contrasting opinion to the idea we had with building the Tenue de Nîmes collections of vintage denim pictures, antique denim aprons, old pressed flowers or sports memorabilia. It goes against my own ideas and the way I started my collections at Another Something & Co too, but the idea somehow stuck and we can really see how this idea will shift our beliefs and strategies, and how it will eventually change the way we collect in some way. One thing is for sure, Paula Rubenstein got at least one new, and hopefully many more, returning clients to her beautifully curated and well balanced store on Bond Street, NY and it inspired us all to look beyond the roots of an object and really see it in a pure form and context. —

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CULTURE / Paula Rubenstein

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CULTURE / Paula Rubenstein

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CULTURE / Paula Rubenstein

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BRAND FEATURE / Hancock

Hancock 1843

Hancock is a British label that draws inspiration from Thomas Hancock, the English inventor who founded the British rubber industry. On 21 November 1843, this man took out a patent for the vulcanization of rubber using sulphur. In doing so, he preceded Charles Goodyear by a mere eight weeks. Hancock came up with several ideas, which he all had patented. Hancock and HVA (Hancock Vulcanised Articles) still look to these patents for initial design concepts, with a view towards building a similar catalogue of products for the present and future lifestyles. At present, this brand has already expanded their range beyond clothing, producing and manufacturing products designed for sporting and mechanical purposes and nautical and domestic lifestyles. Each seasonal collection of Hancock outerwear articles is handmade at their factory in Scotland. Two generations of expert coat makers work with the vulcanised rubber cloths such as wool flannels, cashmeres, silks and cottons, that are bonded using a traditional manufacturing process at an original Victorian factory in England. The typical Hancock silhouette features clean, minimal lines with luxury detailing in cashmere, mohair and silk. A focus on bright ‘pop’ colors transforms their handmade articles from merely functional to vibrant, welcome additions to anyone's wardrobe - or interior. —

TEXT AND IMAGES BY HANCOCK

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BRAND FEATURE / Hancock

“ I have subjoined a list of the articles we at present commonly manufacture, and a few engravings to illustrate some of them. I do so for the information of such of my readers who might not know the extent to which this manufacture has been carried, and also a record of what has been done in our time for the amusement of those who are to succeed us.” THOMAS HANCOCK, 1856. JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

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BRAND FEATURE / Levi's Vintage Clothing

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BRAND FEATURE / Levi's Vintage Clothing

Levi's Vintage Clothing Orange Tab

The Levi’s brand first used the Orange Tab on a line of affordable, slim-fitting jeans, jackets and shirts designed for the Young Americans of the 1960s and 70s. To this day, the Orange Tab is synonymous with simple and clean design as well as the free and easy spirit of the times. Made in the USA, exactly as it was when it was first introduced, the Levi’s Vintage Clothing Orange Tab collection revives this family of true American classics and offers it up to a new generation of rebels and revolutionaries. —

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Written by Menno van Meurs Photography by Levi's XX

Men’s

Women’s

1970s Denim Shirt: An Orange Tab denim shirt in the iconic Sawtooth silhouette with orange thread stitching and a small ‘e’ Orange Tab

1970s Trucker Jacket: The classic Orange Tab Trucker Jacket downsized, cropped, and with a small ‘e’ Orange Tab

1960s 606 Jean: The original skinny-fitting jean—Big ‘E’ Orange Tab and all one thread color

1970s 684 Bell Bottom: An extreme bell bottom with a square top-block for a flattering fit, big back pockets and a small ‘e’ Orange Tab

1970s Trucker Jacket: The classic Orange Tab Trucker Jacket, slim, short, and with an open-end denim cut

1960s Chambray Shirt: Regular-fitting chambray shirt with orange thread stitching and a small ‘e’ Orange Tab

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BRAND FEATURE / Levi's Vintage Clothing

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BRAND FEATURE / Levi's Vintage Clothing

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FEATURE / A Day in the Life of Brayn

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FEATURE / A Day in the Life of Bryan

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF BRYAN Impossible. Just not possible. A day in the life of Bryan Whitehead? It may sound cliché, but no day in the life of Bryan is ever the same. In 2012 and 2013, I had the privilege of staying at his heavenly place through all Japanese seasons - any time I needed a break from my hectic Tokyo life I went to Fujino. Only an hour away by train, yet a world of difference. I first met Bryan in November 2012. One of my Tokyo friends told me about this “crazy indigo Jesus” in the mountains and I got curious. A few emails later (very short and cryptic ones because “if I write more than two lines it’s a novel”) Bryan picked up my visiting Amsterdam-based friend Roxanne and me from the train station. The autumn sun was stunning, leaves were on the verge of turning orange and red, the air an explosion of freshness. Bryan’s car appeared and he opened the window. Blue eyes, red cheeks, a big smile. A fluffy, grayish body warmer, denim shirt, old jeans, indigo scarf and blue, deep blue hands and fingernails. “Get in the car!” As soon as we closed the door of the little jeep, a new world opened up to us: Bryan's world. He started talking about his morning walk with the dogs, about the guests he had the day before, about his plans for the future. He even told us about village people we had, clearly, never met. The higher up we drove into the mountains, the more excited we got. This environment is magical! The ramp to Bryan’s wooden silk farm was steep and curvy, a perfect dramatic entry into his enchanting world. Fukushima refugee dogs Momo (peach in Japanese) and Geiger (what's in a name) welcomed us at the doorway, enthusiastically wagging their tails. During our stay, every now and then we would see little blue spots of indigo on their fur and feet, as they happily sleep and play around the vats. After a little one-on-one with the furry troopers we entered the house. The large genkan, a traditional Japanese entryway, was full of shoes, implying the house was full of people. As we took off our shoes, we could already peek into the living room and the hallway. The warmth of the little kerosene heaters around the house, the scent of tatami mats (woven straw mats) and freshly made coffee gave us a homey feeling. Bryan got us both a coffee with cinnamon and walked outside to help one of his students at the indigo vat. “Just take a look around,” he urged us. The antique looms and textiles, the indigo vats, traditional Japanese paper walls, and old books everywhere – we could have spent hours just wandering around the three-story house as every room, every wall, every corner and even the stairs contained little craft-details. Glass, wood, iron, steel, paper and flowers: all the handmade elements were

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created by fellow craftsmen and served as symbols of solidarity between Bryan and his artistic friends. Over the next few months at Bryan’s place I met potters, basket weavers, textile designers, furniture makers and ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) artists who all lived in and around the little village of Fujino – a real Japanese crafts-hub. Overwhelmed by the beauty of the place Roxanne and I were quite literally left speechless, which hardly ever happens when the two of us are together. “You two! Here, a bowl. Go up that mountain please and pluck the mushrooms from the tree trunks, we’ll have them for lunch. Only the good ones.” These words, directed at us, dragged us back to reality. Taking part in Bryan’s household – even for the shortest amount of time - leaves little time for contemplation. “Eh, which ones are the good ones? Where exactly did you say the trunks were? And how do we pluck them?”, the clumsy urban me asks, slightly intimidated by Bryan’s firmness. “The slimy ones,” he mumbles as he points outside and continues what he’s doing. From the corner of my eyes I see Bryan’s smirk, as he knew his assignment was still pretty unclear to us. This, I found out, was his playful way of sizing up new guests in a split second, while at the same time making you part of his life. For Bryan, a Japanese textile workshop or an indigo master class is a total experience. Like in the Japanese tradition of craft education you’re part of the family and help the master as much as he helps you. And so our indigo workshop started with our hands in slimy dirt instead of treasured blue; plucking, washing and preparing mushrooms for what turned out to be one of the most extraordinary Japanese lunches I've ever had. Every single moment I was able to escape the city I spent in the mountains of Fujino, simply addicted to the house, the scenery, the people I met - and Bryan of course. My days generally started with an early dog walk, watching the stunning views over green tea terraces and catching glimpses of Mount Fuji on crisp clear days. Reminiscing on the times I spent there, I remember cutting huge bamboo trees on Christmas day to let more rays of winter sun inside the house, spending evenings firing the wood, plowing the indigo field and planting lotus roots in the ice cold pond to watch them in full bloom the next summer. Oh, that fragrance! I recall feeding the silk worms freshly plucked mulberry leaves, watching them grow bigger and bigger every day and listening to their “krr krr krr” chewing sounds. I witnessed one of the most fascinating metamorphoses Mother Nature has to offer: their transformation into silk cocoons. I went to sakura viewings in April, helped plucking and sorting tea in May and watched fireflies during hot summer nights. I sat around the table with people from South Africa, Australia, Argentina, and Denmark, listening to their stories for hours, drank, ate, and

WRITTEN BY ANNEKE BEERKENS PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOACHIM BAAN

worked. Every time new visitors came, we got extremely excited as they opened their suitcases. No matter how fragmented and short Bryan’s emails, he always made sure to mention his deep love for cheese and chocolate (an emotion I could fully relate to as even for me – a “short term resident" in Japan – the need for chocolate and cheese became rather obsessive after a while). Far, far away from the world as I know it, surrounded by wild boars and monkeys, his 170-year-old silk farming house felt like the very core that the rest of the world revolved around. Early spring. The weather was absolutely beautiful and the trees were happy to start a new cycle of life. Crickets were slowly awakening. It was a Saturday morning and the preparations for one of Bryan’s ten-day workshops were in full swing. One special visit, however, could be crammed into our busy schedule: Tenue des Nîmes’ René, Menno, Joachim and Paul were about to arrive straight from Narita airport. As one of Bryan’s friends went down to pick them up from the station, he called asking for another car: one car was not big enough to take the boys – well, them and all their suitcases. Bryan’s old silver van got seriously tortured as it needed all its power to carry the boys and luggage up that final hill. “Hold your breath, guys!” After a welcome coffee and a little chat, a look around the house, the indigo vats and the looms, a bottle of Dutch corn brandy appeared as did the Dutch cheese and chocolate. As a counter attack Bryan took a big bottle of nihonshuu and everything was set for a feast. But pleasure and work are never separated at Bryan’s so the Tenue de Nîmes crew was put straight to work. Bryan took his favorite teaching books and started to lecture on indigo, Japanese craftsmanship, textiles and traditional dyeing techniques. The boys’ eyes grew bigger and bigger, trying to soak up every single bit of information Bryan offered. The moment he showed his own ‘home grown’ silk, hand-woven and naturally dyed linen, knits-turned-into-scarfs and other works, these tattooed, bearded men transformed into studious and keen puppies, like boys in a toy store. The ambiance changed a bit when, by the time the sun set, the boys realized that the process of indigo involved a skill that requires a delicate touch: sewing and stitching. After some decent drinks they had to cut and fold white pieces of cotton and fully concentrate on stitching the right pattern so as to end up with proper masterpieces the morning after. Of course Master Bryan would not settle for second-best designs. “Why didn't you tell us before the drinks that we had to sew,” René asked Bryan, making every effort to cling to his masculine self, while holding a needle in his mouth at the same time. These men worked their needle and thread like their lives depended on it! The real stuff. Some time later, L’équipe de Nîmes went to bed red-cheeked, jet lagged but satisfied - in a state of happy indigo delirium.

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FEATURE / A Day in the Life of Bryan

Early morning, early rise. A lot of work had to be done that Sunday as the boys needed to leave Fujino by the end of the day to continue their denim journey to Kojima, Japan’s ‘jeans town’. Joachim opted to hike up the hill for a rendezvous with the monkeys inhabiting the trees around the house while the others preferred espresso and more of Bryan’s stories. After breakfast, just as the gang was really losing patience around the indigo vat, Bryan showed up with rags, paper and soap and sent them around the house to clean all the windows. Remember Roxanne and I with our hands in the dirt? As a proper apprentice you start off doing nothing but menial jobs. “Come on men, get on that ladder! One hour of tedious cleaning during a 24 hour stay gives you a brief but very real feeling of being on a craftsman’s journey.” Then finally the magic at the vat could start. Excitement and fun, dippin’ and dyein’, eight hands in blue, a dream come true. It was only a matter of minutes until I heard Menno: “You know what, fuck these gloves, my hands need to be blue too.” For the same reason the aprons Bryan offered were considered highly overrated – get some evidence on our jeans. After dyeing the self-stitched pieces of cotton (excellent work guys!), old shirts, baby bodysuits and bed linen, we walked up to Studio Fujino, a gallery and atelier run by friends of Bryan. The young couple, furniture maker Kinchan and graphic designer Yuko, had organized a cherry blossom lunch party in their traditional wooden house and exhibited their art work. The guest of honor, Ogata-san, a 95-year old student of Bryan’s, treated us by wearing a beautiful kimono for the occasion. As Bryan had told me before, the young-at-heart-lady had an indomitable passion for tattoos – extremely rare in a country where tattoos are stigmatized for being associated with the Yakuza, the Japanese organized crime. The least he boys from l’équipe could do for her was taking off their shirts to show 64

what was happening underneath! Ogata-san ran straight for the hunky tattoos and was beaming with joy: “sugei, sugei – or: so cool, so cool. This lady knows what she likes. Sigh. A day in the life of Bryan Whitehead. The only thing I was able do here was take you with me down memory lane, to Fujino. I didn’t even have the chance to mention the quiet hours we spent in the ice-cold empty house in mid-winter when hardly anyone visited, the countless trips to the station together, the wisdom he shared with me and all the others, his curiosity about the world, his passion to connect people from all four wind directions, the crazy dance moves he spontaneously revealed (you are a good dancer, B.). How lucky I am that “my boys” visited the place and cherish some of Fujino’s treasures at Tenue de Nîmes: a five minute bike-ride away from home I can get a bit of comfort, a sniff of that magical place. Bryan and I, we never stopped talking. I may be biased, I am biased. Let me be, it’s worth it. —

JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


INTERVIEW / Essentials

Essentials

ACCORDING TO NANA MURBANDONO Marketing Manager Levi's XX INTERVIEW BY MENNO VAN MEURS PHOTOGRAPHY BY BENJAMIN VAN WITSEN

We at Tenue de Nîmes do not believe anyone needs particular brands and logo's to define him or herself, or to have them make statements on their behalf. That does not mean we do not acknowledge that we all have particular brands with which we identify, or even feel a kinship with. In particular specific items of clothing that we will always pack, whether we're off to Paris for a day or two, or taking a longer break in Bali. We like to characterize these as Tenue de Nîmes essentials. Think of my favorite slup-yarn 1930s T shirt by Levi's Vintage, or a pair of rigid Double RL jeans, and Red Wing 877 boots. I could not imagine taking a trip anywhere without these simple treasures. For Journal de Nîmes we are writing a recurring column about our friends' essentials, people who inspire us. JEANS Levi's Vintage Clothing 1933 501 Cut Offs TOP Henrik Vibskov Tunic – multiple ways to wear it, that's why it's my fave top. JUMPSUIT Opening Ceremony DRESS Carven Lace Dress – I love this dress, because this could've been my wedding dress if my boyfriend ever decided to make an honest woman out of me. Instead, I bought it for my colleague's wedding. TEE Levi's Vintage Clothing 30's Bay Meadow tee – this is my #1 Bali essential, my daily holiday wear together with my Cut Offs. JACKET Levi's Made & Crafted Off Road Jacket JEWELLERY My grandmother's trinity yellow/ rose/white golden ring, my aunt's jade bracelet and hand painted name bracelet from Camden Market – priceless memories. SHOES Surface to Air – I love Surface to Air for its quirky shoes and love for people with tiny feet. I'm a EU 34/35, so finding nice shoes is always a challenge. SOCKS Henrik Vibskov, Kapital, Chup, Paul Smith, Folk – I wear quite a lot of my boyfriend's clothes, including his socks. Sharing is caring. A pair can really make that difference: dressing a look up or down.

JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

SUNGLASSES Thierry Lasry PERFUME Comme des Garçons 2; Acqua di Colonia Tabacco Toscano (Santa Maria Novella) - if you ever find yourself in Florence and get a chance to visit Officina ProfumoFarmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, do it! Besides the amazing aromatic products, the building is stunning. HAND BAG Chanel 2.55 – classic treasure, my children's inheritance. TRAVEL BAG North Face – invincible. STATIONERY Everything at Liberty's in London, they have the best stationery. I always go there to treat myself to a new notebook and a stack of random greetings cards. And, of course: Muji! Great pens too. HAND BALM Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm – I'm addicted to the mandarin/cedar wood smell. CAR FRESHENER I've saved the best for last. I bet no one has ever added a car tag to his/her essentials, but I'm dying to share this with you as I think it's a genius product. Besides headacheinducing scents in Christmas tree shapes, I've never succeeded in finding a nice smelling and nice looking car freshener, up until a few months ago: retaW. It is also very cedar wood-ish, I'm very into that. This Japanese scent designer also makes really great candles.

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TIMELINE / 5 Years Tenue de Nîmes

2008

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5 JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

TIMELINE / 5 Years Tenue de Nîmes

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TIMELINE / 5 Years Tenue de Nîmes

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5 JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

TIMELINE / 5 Years Tenue de Nîmes

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TIMELINE / 5 Years Tenue de Nîmes

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TIMELINE / 5 Years Tenue de Nîmes

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5 JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

TIMELINE / 5 Years Tenue de Nîmes

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CULTURE / Music

Tenue de Nîmes Playlist BY RUDY ROSS

WILLIAM ELLIOT WHITMORE This is the guy I listen to when it gets to be that time again. When life is just too much. When it's dark and cold outside, when I'm tired from a hard day's work and I just want to be alone. His words "When life throws a punch, my son, you better take it on the chin" couldn't be more real. William Elliott Whitmore is an American blues singer and farmer from Lee County, Iowa. America's Midwest, where he lives on an old farm he inherited from his parents. It is here that he writes his songs on a five-string banjo or folk guitar. When I saw him perform for the first time he really blew my mind by starting off the show a cappella in front of a crowd of one thousand. He silenced the entire room while doing it. I couldn't believe the power he possessed. This man is the blues.

CAT POWER I was quite shocked when I found out this beautiful voice had not yet been added to the Tenue de Nîmes playlist, so that was one of the first things I did. Chan Marshall's father, Charlie, was a blues musician and pianist and clearly made an impression on her. As a kid, the Marshall family moved throughout the southern United States to places such as Greensboro, Memphis, and lived in various places throughout Georgia and South Carolina. This moving around later reflected in her work, since she developed a sound that is far removed from her earlier singersongwriter days, seemingly casually adding touches of Memphis soul and Delta Blues as she went. One of my favorite shows was wen I saw her live in Amsterdam’s' own Paradiso, backed-up by some of Al Greens' soul veterans. Her cover album ‘Jukebox’ showcases her diversity. With songs ranging from Sinatra to Hank Williams and Joni Mitchell this album is one to seek out from her grand discography. Favourite song: ‘Lived in Bars’ (album: The Greatest)

Favourite song: ‘When Push Comes to Love’ (album: Ashes To Dust)

FATHER JOHN MISTY Either you get this guy or you don't. His very black humor and narcissistic way of songwriting isn't the easiest to digest. But what an incredible performer and songwriter he is. You may know him from his drum duties and vocal harmonies for retro-folk group Fleet Foxes but Josh Tillman is reborn as the psychedelic shaman Father John Misty. And, in my opinion, that makes him the world’s last real troubadour. No major corporate-made hot air balloon 'artist' but a man writing a conceptual album that was largely inspired by his time spent on mindexpanding mushrooms. He has one of the best live voices I've had the honor of experiencing. Either live or in the studio, this dude is righteous. Favourite song: ‘Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings’ (album: Fear Fun) GOAT How can I explain this occult-like feverish dream of a band. When I first heard and saw about GOAT it was a video of theirs with vintage footage of African Tribes performing their drug fuelled rituals. Nobody knew who they were or where they where from. Africa? It clearly was Nigerian Afro-Beat from the late 60's! No? Swedish! They claim to hail from Korpilombolo in Sweden which, according to the bands own publicity, has a history of voodoo worship after a witch doctor came and lived there. Legend has it that when Christian crusaders came and destroyed the village the surviving people fled and placed a curse on the town. Anyway, I've experienced nothing like this before, seeing about three hundred doom-fanatics dance like they were possessed by something much bigger than us humans. Favourite song: ‘Disco Fever’ (album: World Music) JASON ISBELL This is what brokenhearted sounds like. Jason Isbell, former member of the Drive-By Truckers, is one voice I secretly slipped into the TdN playlist. It's not particularly uplifting music he writes: his songs are pretty much all crying-inyour-beer songs. Still, this man tells you the truth. We've all been cast with the same spell: women leaving us. It doesn't get more southern rock, Americana and whiskey-drenched than this and Isbell delivers in spades. I'm about to see him live in a few weeks. I'll probably be a changed man afterwards. Favourite song: ‘Stockholm’ (album: Southeastern) HOT CHIP Yes! It’s Saturday. The day we work towards to all week. It's that special day for the TdN crew. everybody's there: all your co-workers, all the regular customers. It's also the busiest day of the week. And what do you need when the (good) shit hits the fan? Hot Chip! It's that locomotive that keeps on running. And boy, do I love to see Menno (van Meurs) dance his way through the store and creating the biggest whirlwind of clothes I've ever seen.. Over and over! Favourite song: ‘Night And Day’ (album: In Our Heads)

DEVENDRA BANHART Full time weirdo and freak-folk boy wonder, Devendra Banhart stole my heart but took his sweet time doing so. He has a long list of happy or melancholic folk songs sung, or rather: mumbled, in either English or Spanish. His bilingual repertoire stems from the fact he was born in Venezuela but raised in L.A. . When I heard "Seahorse" for the first time, I knew I had to dig into the rest of his music. Clearly inspired by Dave Brubeck’s "Take Five" and its unusual quintuple (5/4) time swing ,this nine minute psych-folk trip through a musical wonderland emerges into a 70's glam rock mind-bending guitar solo. That exact same album "Cripple Crow" also boasts songs like "Santa Maria de la Feira", an acoustic homage to a Portuguese village he loves so much. Play his music every time you need some sunshine in your life. Favourite song: ‘Seahorse’ (album: Cripple Crow) 74

JOURNAL DE NÎMES / Nº 9 THE 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


CULTURE / Music

FLEET FOXES Ok listen: I will always maintain that Fleet Foxes is a beginner's guide to Folk Music. But somehow they got to me. Not in small part thanks to Rene (Strolenberg), who played their records over and over again, every Saturday morning, for a year. It got to be nearly unbearable but was never less than funny and uplifting as anything. Well known for their vocal harmonies and twelve string guitars in the vein of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, there's no way around it: Fleet Foxes are good. They're very good. So if hipster folk is your cup of tea, you like bearded men and have more than five flannel shirts in your wardrobe, this is your band. Damn you Fleet Foxes! Damn you! Favourite song: ‘Mykonos’ (album: Sun Giant)

MARK LANEGAN AND ISOBELL CAMPBELL You may know her as the cello playing ex-Belle and Sebastian singer. He on the other hand, is the weary blues junkie with his deep dark voice. Lanegan, most famous for his prior career in nineties grunge band Screaming Trees and hired gun at QOTSA recordings, became something of a cult icon since his band's foray into country music. His dark-toned crooner voice layers in perfect harmony with the sultry siren Isobell Campbell. The contrast couldn't be clearer: the lady sings in translucent harmonies with her long blond hair and pearly white skin, while the beast growls forever in the shade. Favourite song: ‘The False Husband’ (album: Ballad Of The Broken Seas)

JONATHAN WILSON Pure. That's the word that comes to mind when I play Wilson's music. In the press he's been touted as the updated version of the Laurel Canyon sound, one of L.A.'s mythical neighborhoods where you can feel the presence of Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, James Taylor and Frank Zappa. This album is full of Van Dyke Parks arrangements, Bob Dylan-esque pop and David Crosby's sadness. But there's more than that. Wilson finds himself surrounded by 70's-inspired production but which breaks new boundaries at the same time. Holding on to traditions but looking for possibilities, clearly showing his influences yet creating his own sound all the while. “I was going for this sort of ‘widescreen’ sound, a blown out vista. I wanted strings, horns, bells, vibes, voices, solos, improvisation and a full orchestra on some of the tunes," Wilson says. When I listen to his new record "Fanfare" I get lost in his world, want to lie down in the desert on an Aztec-pattern rug and look at the stars. This happy hippie is the future of this old music - or as I’d like to call that: real music. Favourite song: ‘Cecil Taylor’ (album: Fanfare)

WHITE DENIM Like most bands from Austin, Texas, it seems almost inevitable to not have some degree of psychedelic or progressive influences shine through in the music they make there. White Denim is no exception but these guys do take their music where few, if any, bands, went before. Influences range from Jamaican dub to sixties psych to heavy, Led Zeppelin inspired, riffs. This is one of those groups that can't really be described or pigeonholed. It’s the creativity, the control, the subtlety and the never-ending energy that gives birth to this generosity of creative spirit. It’s not that they want to stuff as many notes as possible into a song but the songs are nevertheless filled with unexpected tempo shifts and different types of music. Really each musician in this musical four-way is writing his own piece of the puzzle. Start with the song “Handwriting”, it is pure poetry. Favourite song: ‘Handwriting’ (album: Take Place In Your Work Space) MICHAEL KIWANUKA Of course there will never be another Otis Redding or Bill Withers. Of course. But.. 'Tell Me A Tale' by Michael Kiwanuka shows there's more to listen to these days. His roots are in Uganda and his musical inspirations come from UK and American soul. With this kind of background you can feel a clear spiritual side to his music: it’s powerful yet soothing, especially when his songs turn into improvisations and Kiwanuka stares off into the powerful spotlights at the far end of the room. It looks as though he has worked himself into a trance-like state. Tell Me A Tale is the start of many of my autumn mornings when I need a gentle nudge to get moving. This guy could be sitting on the dock of the bay, right next to Otis. Favourite song: ‘Tell Me A Tale’ (album: Home Again)

KURT VILE Dream pop with a guitar slinger attitude. Almost like a tuned-down, more relaxed version of Tom Petty. Kurt Vile brings a wonderland of sounds and can make a three chord song last forever. "Waking On A Pretty Daze" is one of those. It shows him returning to his uplifting state of mind while his earlier records "Smoke Ring For My Halo" ranks among his most bitter, paranoid, and personal songs. Vile does see the importance in humor in songwriting: "Everyone’s funny. Bob Dylan can be funny. Townes van Zandt can be funny, but he can also break your fucking heart." In the end though, he's clearly a loving family man, as you can see in his video "Never Run Away" where you see his daughter dancing to his music while he sits back and enjoys his coffee. Favourite song: ‘Smoke Ring For My Halo’ (album: S/T)

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A limited edition indigo dyed Red Wing Shoe 6" Moc Toe Exclusively available at Tenue de NĂŽmes www.tenuedenimes.com

Journal de Nîmes Nº 9  

The 5 Year Anniversary Issue - We share a passion for the good things in life - www.tenuedenimes.com

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