A store for men of contrast and character
www.nomanwalksalone.com

BESPEAK EASY: PART 2
by David Isle
Your first meeting with a bespoke tailor might fill you with nervous excitement - you don’t know if you’re “ready” for bespoke. You’re worried the tailor will laugh at your body’s irregularities. You may be paralyzed by the abundance of cloth choices, and, like Buridan’s ass, end up lying naked between two hopsacks. To help you avoid this fate, I’ve prepared a short description of what will happen at your first meeting, and some suggestions to make sure it goes smoothly.
As with any initial encounter between strangers who met over the Internet, the first moments are the most awkward. It gets easier from there. Once you’ve found your tailor, trust him.

My advice on ordering is to start slow, and start simple. If you’re new to bespoke clothing, your preferences probably are not yet fully formed. If you order too much too fast, you may end up a few years later with a lot of expensive clothing that you no longer like. Ordering one item at a time also gives the tailor a chance to use what he has learned from earlier items to improve the later ones.
Also avoid trying to glue-gun every bell and whistle onto your first order. You’re new to the process, and new to this tailor. It would be like trying to redesign the wheel blindfolded. The main choices you’ll have on a jacket are pocket type (patch, flap, besom), lapel type (peak or notch), ticket pocket or no, number of vents (two is usually correct), number of buttons, and single or double breasted. When in doubt, take the tailor’s advice.
The most important, irrevocable decision you make at the ordering stage is which cloth to use. You can do some research before your meeting, but I highly recommend that you use a cloth that your tailor already knows and likes. Each cloth reacts differently to tailoring and ironing. How much a cloth shrinks, how much it wrinkles, and how it drapes, will affect how the tailor cuts it. 
Once you’ve chosen a cloth, the tailor will take your measurements. You will be tempted to stand up straight and suck in your gut. Resist this urge. It will only result in a jacket cut for someone who is skinnier and with better posture. 
Around this time the next client will be knocking on the door, and you will already be looking forward to your first fitting.

BESPEAK EASY: PART 2

by David Isle

Your first meeting with a bespoke tailor might fill you with nervous excitement - you don’t know if you’re “ready” for bespoke. You’re worried the tailor will laugh at your body’s irregularities. You may be paralyzed by the abundance of cloth choices, and, like Buridan’s ass, end up lying naked between two hopsacks. To help you avoid this fate, I’ve prepared a short description of what will happen at your first meeting, and some suggestions to make sure it goes smoothly.

As with any initial encounter between strangers who met over the Internet, the first moments are the most awkward. It gets easier from there. Once you’ve found your tailor, trust him.

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Solaro suit - hand tailored by Sartoria Formosa in Naples.  Caccioppoli cotton cloth, spalla manica a camicia, patch hip pockets, doppio impuntura.

Cotton/linen striped shirt - tailored by G. Inglese in Puglia. Albini Bruges fabric, hand-attached sleeves and buttons  ||  Shantung silk grenadine tie - handmade by Bigi in Milan. Hand-rolled tip  ||   Paisley silk pocket square - handmade by Drake’s in London.  Hand-rolled edges

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THE SEARCH FOR A GRAIL
by Alan Cornett
There are few more enduring legends in Western literature than that of the Holy Grail. The Grail was the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper, then later by Joseph of Arimathea to catch the blood of Christ on the cross. Centuries later, the worthy Sir Galahad, son of Lancelot, was inspired by a vision to seek the Grail.
“Grail” has become synonymous with an object that is highly prized, rare, and acquired only after a great quest. Many of us have spent long hours searching for a clothing grail item. The original legend gives us some guidance on what a true Grail is.
First, it must be rare, or even unique. The Grail cannot simply be another item on the shopping list. A pair of captoes to complement your suede wingtips doesn’t count. Vintage spade soles or bespoke Vass Budapesters might.
Also, there should be a quest involved. The Grail journey may involve time, travel, or sacrifice. You need not go so far as to smite enemies and save damsels in distress as was required of Galahad, but your Grail needs to have its own story.
The Grail will fit the searcher. A Lo Head might be sifting thrift racks for an ‘80s Ralph Lauren teddy bear sweater. Another may quest for deadstock Scottish cashmere in dusty out of the way shops. Galahad was the only knight pure enough to find the Grail.
Ultimately your Grail should be satisfying. When Galahad finally found the Grail, he knew nothing else in life could compare to it. His sole request was to leave this life, a request that was granted. As his soul ascended, a heavenly hand took the Grail.
My own grail story involved a pair of just-right cufflinks. I went through a period of sometimes indiscriminate cufflink buying until I saw a picture of Hermès sterling rope knots. The twisted rope effect gave them a texture not found in other links. The knots were not a shaped lump, but a true interweaving of the silver rope. I fell in love, but they were out of production, eluding my most determined efforts. A couple of years later, I discovered that the links were again being made. I sold off some lesser items in my cufflink collection to fund my Grail, and there my cufflink purchasing effectively ended.
One must be willing to sacrifice to acquire the Grail.

THE SEARCH FOR A GRAIL

by Alan Cornett

There are few more enduring legends in Western literature than that of the Holy Grail. The Grail was the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper, then later by Joseph of Arimathea to catch the blood of Christ on the cross. Centuries later, the worthy Sir Galahad, son of Lancelot, was inspired by a vision to seek the Grail.

“Grail” has become synonymous with an object that is highly prized, rare, and acquired only after a great quest. Many of us have spent long hours searching for a clothing grail item. The original legend gives us some guidance on what a true Grail is.

First, it must be rare, or even unique.

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Niche Spring/Summer 2014

online

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Celebrating spring with 20% off all our Japanese makers for a limited time.  Use “BLOSSOM” at checkout 

https://www.nomanwalksalone.com/index.php/japanese-makers.html

Celebrating spring with 20% off all our Japanese makers for a limited time. Use “BLOSSOM” at checkout

https://www.nomanwalksalone.com/index.php/japanese-makers.html

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SARTORIA FORMOSA • Bespoke Trunk Show

APRIL 29-30th, 2014
New York City

We are very proud to host one of the most prestigious tailoring houses in Naples: Sartoria Formosa, for a bespoke trunk show in New York.   

Please email info@nomanwalksalone.com for more information and to secure an appointment.

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Some handsome luggage in the newly arrived shipment of Calabrese bags…@calabrese1924 (at No Man Walks Alone HQ)

Some handsome luggage in the newly arrived shipment of Calabrese bags…@calabrese1924 (at No Man Walks Alone HQ)

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AN INTERVIEW WITH STEPHAN SCHNEIDER, PART 2

by Jasper L

In Part 1, Stephan Schneider talked about Floating Inflations, his design process, and his design ethos. Today he discusses the new consumer, the role of the internet, and the crazy things he has in his own wardrobe. 

You strike me as a very pragmatic designer: you focus on the business of fashion - the sale of fashion - as much as it its creation. Do you think that attracts a similar sort of pragmatic customer?

I think so. I think my customer is a very…not fashionable customer, in a sense. It’s a customer that doesn’t read magazines, it’s a customer that takes a lot of care in his choice of garments, but not in a way of consuming, comparing. I have of course customers that one season buy a lot in the shop and they don’t come back, but my really loyal customers, they come every season and buy a trouser and a shirt – and they are not so interested in this fashion; it’s rather that they see the quality in the continuation of the design.

How do you see the role of shops - for example No Man Walks Alone - that focus solely on internet business? Is this a help to the industry as a whole? A hindrance to the final consumer?

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AN INTERVIEW WITH STEPHAN SCHNEIDER, PART 1
by Jasper L
Antwerp-based Stephan Schneider’s quiet, sophisticated collections are a No Man favorite. I talked to him about Floating Inflations, his collection for Spring/Summer 2014, and many other things, ranging from fabric design to his place in the fashion industry. It’s a two-parter, so don’t worry - there’s more to come.
Can you tell me about this collection, Floating Inflations?
For this season, what I liked a lot is that I could concentrate on what, to me, Stephan Schneider is like. And that’s, on one hand, a certain casualness, but still sophisticated, nothing ‘streetwear’ point-of view.
So if you ask me, ‘What are you the most happy about?’ That it’s a very, very typical collection for me. And it’s the essence of what, to me, really is Stephan Schneider in Spring-Summer.
One of the things that people who shop at No Man Walks Alone appreciate is most is the thought that goes into the fabric selection. How do you balance the production and hands-on side of your process with the silhouette and clothing design?
I think, on one hand, the most difficult point of my collections is that I never really work on a silhouette. I never draw silhouettes. In the Atelier, we never ever fit a trouser, even with a jacket. I tell you my secret - I shouldn’t! - we only work on single pieces, which means that for the look, a typical look, an outfit, perhaps Stephan Schneider is not really the strongest collection. 
On the other hand we can say it’s also the strongest part of the collection, because how many people these days really wear a whole outfit? And me, personally, if I see somebody wearing a whole outfit head-to-toe, in the same season, it looks a bit too…forced, a bit too made, it has not this spontaneous attitude. We wear separates these days, and I think to wear separates is also very charming and interesting. 
[[MORE]]
I have only one month for the garment itself. So, there is more time spent on the fabric design than on the garment design. Which on one hand again you can say “Ah! That’s a pity,” but on the other hand, I have to say the more time you spend on the garment design, the more likely you are going to change this, you are going to change that, you start to work on this detail or that – and the garments become sometimes a bit over-designed. When you have a stronger deadline, the garments get more pure, clean, and useful in a way.
When I graduated from the Academy, I was applying for a job at Sama Sport - they were the producer for Helmut Lang at that time - 1994. And the lady of this producer said:
“Well, Helmut always comes like a week before the catwalk show, and then we start the collection.” And I said “But what do you mean a week, you can’t make a whole collec-” “Oh, ja, ja, we always do it in just a concentrated week.” A good deadline also forces you to focus. And I think when you ask me what’s a good designer, it’s one that focuses. 
So much of fashion is about loud, in-your-face design. How difficult is it to stay “quiet?”
It’s very difficult, very difficult. Also difficult for the customer demands, of course. When you think the customer – the shop owner – sees for six months my garments in the store, and the next season – ‘Ah! There is again a jacket with a hood! It is again asymmetric!’ - my collection is a strong continuation. There are changes there, there are differences – but it’s a strong continuation. 
In the end, the shop customer is very happy to have this continuation. It’s very difficult to stay quiet, and not to make a fuss and a bit of wah-wah-wah, which in a way the fashion world requests. But if you ask me, ‘How much do you see yourself in the fashion world?’ It’s a difficult question. I don’t know. I see myself as a garment designer, not so much in this fashion context. 
When I did catwalk shows – I did catwalk shows from 2000 until 2007, and then you see people are ‘Ahh’ for the catwalks and something that stands out, also something you can describe in three words, like ‘Rock and Roll’ or ‘Sex’ or…and then I was tempted, and there were garments that were just a bit like…those sort of catwalk pieces, but I didn’t feel very comfortable with them, and in the end they didn’t sell. I’m very proud when garments are sold. I’m not proud when garments are just on a picture or in a magazine. For me, they have to be sold, they have to be worn, that’s for me the biggest compliment. And to make those catwalk pieces felt very fake, and I didn’t feel comfortable with it.
Part 2 will follow on Thursday.

AN INTERVIEW WITH STEPHAN SCHNEIDER, PART 1

by Jasper L

Antwerp-based Stephan Schneider’s quiet, sophisticated collections are a No Man favorite. I talked to him about Floating Inflations, his collection for Spring/Summer 2014, and many other things, ranging from fabric design to his place in the fashion industry. It’s a two-parter, so don’t worry - there’s more to come.

Can you tell me about this collection, Floating Inflations?

For this season, what I liked a lot is that I could concentrate on what, to me, Stephan Schneider is like. And that’s, on one hand, a certain casualness, but still sophisticated, nothing ‘streetwear’ point-of view.

So if you ask me, ‘What are you the most happy about?’ That it’s a very, very typical collection for me. And it’s the essence of what, to me, really is Stephan Schneider in Spring-Summer.

One of the things that people who shop at No Man Walks Alone appreciate is most is the thought that goes into the fabric selection. How do you balance the production and hands-on side of your process with the silhouette and clothing design?

I think, on one hand, the most difficult point of my collections is that I never really work on a silhouette. I never draw silhouettes. In the Atelier, we never ever fit a trouser, even with a jacket. I tell you my secret - I shouldn’t! - we only work on single pieces, which means that for the look, a typical look, an outfit, perhaps Stephan Schneider is not really the strongest collection. 

On the other hand we can say it’s also the strongest part of the collection, because how many people these days really wear a whole outfit? And me, personally, if I see somebody wearing a whole outfit head-to-toe, in the same season, it looks a bit too…forced, a bit too made, it has not this spontaneous attitude. We wear separates these days, and I think to wear separates is also very charming and interesting. 

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Even if male garments always start as sports clothes, they gradually become smarter, and the same thing is likely to happen to some of the strange garments worn by young men today. There will always be a place for elegance in the clothes men choose to wear.
- James Laver, 1965.
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You can burn my house, steal my car
Drink my liquor from an old fruit-jar
Do anything that you want to do
But uh-uh baby, lay off of my shoes
- Carl Perkins
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Quarter-lined suit made up with Minnis Fresco wool cloth, handmade in Naples by #sartoriaformosa.   A pretty unique ready-to-wear offering from No Man Walks Alone… (at No Man Walks Alone HQ)

Quarter-lined suit made up with Minnis Fresco wool cloth, handmade in Naples by #sartoriaformosa. A pretty unique ready-to-wear offering from No Man Walks Alone… (at No Man Walks Alone HQ)

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FOUR SCULPTURES IN FLORENCE

by David Isle

I have Florence (not the one in Georgia) on my mind, having just bought my plane tickets for Pitti Uomo 86 this summer. Florence has produced not just the 85 previous Pitti menswear shows, but also two of the greatest sculptors ever: Donatello and Michelangelo. Donatello predated Michelangelo, but in some ways they followed similar paths as artists – at first defiantly virtuosic, at last sagely humble. The four sculptures above, all of them now in Florence, tell this story.

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ESPADRILLES: A SUMMER LEISURE SHOE

by S. Charlie Weyman

Brush the dust off any menswear history book, and inside you’ll find that much of what we wear today can be traced back to either military or work uniforms. Sport coats, for example, originate with hunting in England, neckties with the kerchiefs that Croatian soldiers used to tie around their necks, and jeans from the canvas overalls made for Gold Rush miners in California. Some may be surprised to learn that espadrilles – those casual summer slip-ons that we associate with an easy life on the Riviera – also originate from war and work. Well, sort of. Men have been wearing jute soles for thousands of years, but early versions of the modern espadrille can be found in Spain during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Some say they debuted on the feet of infantrymen in the King of Aragon’s army. Others say they start with peasants in the mountainous regions of Catalonia. Regardless, the originals were not meant for easy living. 

Today, however, espadrilles are worn for leisure.

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OLIVER SPENCER: BRITISH HISTORIAN AND INNOVATOR

by William Phips

As an American living in London, there are a few things you quickly get used to: Any mention of the 13th element will lead to, at least, a five minute discussion. You can eat for months only in pubs that are older than America without ever repeating. And the not-infrequent jokes about ‘colonials’ will quickly come to feel about as old as those pubs.

When I feel like returning the favor of all the ‘seppo’ comments, I’ll point out that the nation that built a far-flung empire a few generations ago, can’t manage to run trains from Waterloo station when the temperature spikes to a withering 88 degrees.

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