30 April 2014

The Holborn is all about quality & craftsmanship

In this post I'm going to do something I normally wouldn't do, I will present another blog/magazine and promote the startup of a printed magazine. I don't often read printed magazines and actually buying one is an even rarer occurrence. Mostly because I've never really found one covering a topic of interest to me in a way that would make me be a regular reader. Now, however, I believe I've finally found one. The first issue of The Holborn is expected in July and is something I'm looking forward to.
To tell you more about what The Holborn is all about I have the pleasure of introducing Morgan Hamilton Griffin (editor-in-Chief). He has been so kind and written the following text. Read through it and learn more about The Holborn and the planned launch of one of the most exciting printed magazines to see the light of day in many years.
"The Holborn magazine is in essence about a well-made life. What we mean by this is we seek out and tell the stories of people from any walk of life that are dedicated to their craft. We search high and low for those hard working bartenders, tailors, food-stall holders, entrepreneurs and eccentrics who go the extra mile for their keep. We believe firmly in quality not luxury. That the enjoyment of well, made quality goods enhances life and should be celebrated. We believe that such a life should not have to cost the earth and can be enjoyed by all.

We started The Holborn partly to fuel our love of telling stories about the things we love and because we were frustrated that we often struggled to find those stories elsewhere. We were always committed to print as well, we have always felt it would be disingenuous of us to celebrate beautifully made things and their makers if we also didn't ourselves make something beautiful.

The Holborn as a very holistic experience. We are a lifestyle magazine in this sector at a time when you see a lot of magazines focusing with great success on many of the individual areas we cover. The Holborn has always been based around a physical idea, an egalitarian gentleman’s club as one reader once put it to me, and we shall guide you through the Bar, The Dressing Room, The Library, Our Workshop and then a midnight snack in The Pantry. At the heart of what we do is a principle, that of the Well-Made life, and that runs through all the rooms and the lifestyle we impart.

The Holborn has been on an exciting journey since we started the online magazine in 2012. We have seen readership as high as 5,000/month and have built a strong network of writers and artisans. Late last year we opened the The Holborn Workshop in East London, where we have hosted a number of events, workshops, and supper clubs, in addition to showcasing the products of some of our favourite brands.

The continual highlight of the project has been every time I get to go visit a designer/maker that we love in their own space and get invited into their world. It is always inspiring.

Now, we are very excited to announce our launch of the print version of the magazine. In order to make this happen, we are launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.com. Our goal is to raise 8,000 so we can cover the print and design costs of first issue of The Holborn.

We as a team have always been great lovers of print and the world of independent magazines. The Holborn started as an idea with conversations in the Princess Louise Pub on High Holborn, accompanied by piles of magazines acquired by trips to Charlotte Street News. We have always felt it would be disingenuous of us to celebrate beautifully made things and their makers if we also didn't ourselves make something beautiful.
We are offering a variety of rewards from Issue One with a dedication to all our backers in, to a The Holborn Magazine tote bag and a A2 illustrated map of our London Pub Stroll articles." By Morgan Hamilton Griffin.

This will be a magazine for all of us who know to appreciate quality, craftsmanship and love anything bespoke. If you find this as exciting as I do, help make this magazine a success by ordering your issue now.
Visit The Holborn kickstarter campaign here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/472730590/the-holborn-magazine
You'll find the online version here: http://theholbornmag.com

14 April 2014

Ready for spring/summer with this suit by New & Lingwood

If I had a choice I would like all my suits to be fully bespoke, made by the best tailors available. Unfortunately, money (or lack thereof) quickly puts an end to that dream, so I add to the wardrobe with ready-to-wear items as well. Luckily though, if you find the right off-the-rack suit and make a few alterations to it, it can look really good as I will show you with this New & Lingwood suit from House of Fraser.

The suit I will show you is the Arthur stripe suit by New & Lingwood. New & Lingwood is a renowned menswear brand, established in Eton in 1865 to serve the scholars of Eton College. Today it remains a traditional English gentleman's outfitters, offering a bespoke service as well as a ready-to-wear collection available at House of Fraser. The suit being navy, the most versatile of colours, this Arthur stripe suit can be used for most occasions but for me it's intended for a special purpose, it will be a spring/summer suit which I think works very well with a Panama hat (I will, of course, wear it at other times as well but for the purpose of this article, let's stick with the spring/summer theme). The suit is made from 100% wool but it's relatively light weight and will work perfectly during slightly warmer periods of the year. The suit has a nice lining in red, navy and light blue which I quite like. I always find a nice lining satisfying as it gives the suit that little extra. The jacket has notched lapels and three pockets with flaps. I always prefer a suit jacket with a ticket pocket. The trousers are bootcut and flat fronted which is just what you would expect from a modern suit.   

As always when I get an off-the-rack suit, the fit isn't perfect, the trousers and sleeves usually need to be hemmed and this time was no different. Having these small alterations done is, however, a minor investment well worth it. I'm not a fan of an ill fitting suit, especially when it can very easily be fixed.
Below are some photos of the suit in combination with a Panama hat from Panama Hats Direct and spectator shoes from Barker. Any comments appreciated!  


For this and many more suits, visit House of Fraser. It is definitely time to start thinking about the coming spring/summer season and if you don't have your outfits ready, take advantage of some of the many great offers at House of Fraser.

11 April 2014

Bow ties galore at The Bow Tie Club

Bow ties have a tendency to play second fiddle to the tie when it comes to the modern gentleman's neckwear and both online shops and shops on the high street usually stock a very limited selection of bow ties. Bow ties are generally reserved for special occasions and is usually worn as an accompaniment to a tuxedo. 
Regular bow tie wearers are relatively few and far between but they all have one thing in common, their stylish appearance. You hardly ever see sloppy dresser wearing a bow tie. On the other hand, it is, unfortunately, not uncommon to see people looking like they fell out of the closet sporting a mismatching tie. The reason for this can probably be put down to the aforementioned availability and I also think there is a higher threshold for putting on a bow tie rather than a regular tie. There is, however, no reason why this should be so and a lot more people could, with great success, wear bow ties on a more regular basis. I am no regular bow tie wearer myself, but I am so pleased with my new bow tie from the Bow Tie Club that I think that may change somewhat. I don't think there's anything wrong alternating between ties and bow ties and that is likely to be my approach.
Kirk Hinckley has been trying to improve the situation for the bow tie for the last twenty years. After having worked at Brooks Brothers, Nordstroms and Joseph Bank Clothiers, he realised that the bow tie market was being ignored and that the bow tie wearer deserved and desperately needed a better selection of quality bow ties. Thus, in 1994, Hinckley founded the Bow Tie Club as a mail order company with the intention of providing the biggest collection of high quality bow ties available. I'm sure the business has developed a fair bit over the last twenty years but as it appears today I think you'll be hard pressed to find a company with a better selection of bow ties.

Kirk's wife Corinne designs all the bow ties, her 20 years experience in graphic design and her work as an artist help inspire the designs. Having had a good look at the different designs available at the Bow Tie Club it is clear Corinne is doing a brilliant and inspired job. There are bow ties for any occasion or any mood. The silk the bow ties are made from is also custom made for the Bow Tie Club and has the highest weight for any printed silk bow ties available, with a weight of 22 momme (the unit of measure for the weight of silk). Weight is important for two reasons. Firstly, it allows more dye to be absorbed into the silk creating brighter and more vivid colours and, secondly, the heavier cloth wears better which is so important in a bow tie.

The Bow Tie Club offers over 400 unique bow ties and they are available in 48 variations including pre-tied, clip-on, tie your own, longer neck, shorter neck, larger and smaller neck, diamond point, straight edge etc. In other words, no matter what your preferences are, I'm sure you'll find something at the Bow Tie Club
My new bow tie from the Bow Tie Club. I think the patterned and colourful
bow tie goes very well with the plain shirt and jacket. It brightens up the
outfit very nicely.
Photo: AGL
Below are a few examples of what's available from the Bow Tie Club. Visit their website for plenty more exquisite designs. The below photos are take from the Bow Tie Club website and face book page.


5 April 2014

Christian Giftshop, subtle and meaningful products

A while ago I was contacted by the founders of Christian Giftshop asking if I could be interested in doing presentation of their relatively new business. As I always do in these situations I had a look at their website and tried figure out their business/products were appropriate for a feature on the blog. I don't think religion is a topic appropriate for a blog like this but I also know religion is important to many and religious values are the basis for many a gentleman's life. I also like the products they have for sale. Firstly, their products are properly crafted items of the highest quality and secondly, the products of interest for the gentleman reading this blog (cufflinks, crosses...) are subtle and elegant in their design and perfect for your personal expression of your beliefs without being intrusive. They also have excellent gifts for Christenings and other occasions, as well as some lovely children's toys. My own son was very fascinated with the story of Noah and I'm sure he would have loved the wooden Noah's Ark.  
But who knows the business better than the owners themselves and I have the pleasure of giving the word to Christina from the Christian Giftshop. Christina has written a very nice presentation of the business and products. Thank you for your contribution! 

Online Christian Giftshop started nearly a year ago selling attractive presents that are Christian-themed in a tasteful, subtle way. There are ideas there for every room in the house and for every member of the family.  It is a unique source of presents for Christenings or Confirmations, birthdays, weddings, for Easter or Christmas. We started by attempting to source stock at trade fairs but ended up as manufacturers, designing and making almost everything here in the UK.
In our Jewellery Section we stock some lovely jewellery which is made by master craftsmen in Liverpool, Birmingham, London and Suffolk.  ChristianGiftshop are also rather exacting about packaging – the cufflinks, which come in chic presentation boxes, are packed with lashings of turquoise tissue paper in smart, black, ribbed presentation bags. Tiffany could do no better!

Our best-selling Fine Oval cufflinks, which come in a “classic” box, are not only a beautiful product, but are really very good value. They measure 20 x 11mm and weigh 12.5 grams with a lovely Maltese Cross hand-engraved on one side, leaving the other for personalisation. There is a choice of 15 designs from Gothic English to Art Deco, hand-engraved at cost – but remember that personalisation takes up to a fortnight.  There is an Orthodox Cross option available also. In silver these lovely cufflinks cost £96.00 and in 9ct gold, £425.00.

The Fine Oval cufflinks.
Our Grand Oval cufflinks are very heavy and luxurious. In  silver they measure 19x15mm and weigh a whopping 19.6 grams costing £150, and in 9ct gold  20x15mm, weighing 16.6 grams, costing £847. Incidentally, they are available in 18 carat gold to order. The range of Grand Oval cufflinks come in a very elegant gold-tooled “Victorian” presentation box shown here. It is worth noting that these are thick enough to engrave with a family Coat of Arms which can be selected from the drop down options list, and are really exquisitely done in Bond Street. 

The Grand Oval cufflinks.
ChristianGiftshop.co.uk, as you might imagine, also stock crosses with designs ranging from classic to bling! The Katharine Cross, in size and style resembles, almost identically, one which Prince Michael of Kent was wearing in photographs taken before the Christening of his beautiful baby granddaughter, in America. It is an exceptionally fine hand-made cross of the highest quality.
The Katharine Cross, one of many crosses available
at the Christian Giftshop.

1 April 2014

Discount offer from The Dark Knot

Having been in contact with Mr Chullani, founder of The Dark Knot, I've been given the opportunity to give my readers a discount on the ties I wrote about in this previous post.

When ordering any two ties from The Dark Knot you will get a 15% discount by applying this code at checkout: LNG015BKSCHG (the offer is available to a limited number of customers only).

Visit The Dark Knot now and take advantage of this offer if you find something you like.