Oct 27, 2010

Great Shirts, Nigel Cabourn & The Rose Bowl

There was lots of interest in this great vintage 1940's era Par-Val chambray work shirt last month at the Rose Bowl Flea. One very nice gentleman with an obvious sense of style who liked it a lot and hung out for a while to discuss a few of it’s finer points was none other than Nigel Cabourn. As he convinced his friend Sam (who had a great pair of glasses hanging around his neck) to try it on I commented on how nice it must be to have someone pointing out great pieces and Nigel stated something to the effect that he was Sam’s personal dresser. I told Nigel that if the shirt fit a bit better that it would be a keeper and not for sale. Bet more than a few people out there would love to have Nigel Cabourn as their own personal dresser.

Flannel Time

1950’s & 1960’s era vintage flannel work shirts currently in stock at The San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co. Contact for price & availability.

Oct 25, 2010

Miles Davis In Concert - Isle of Wight Festival 1970

"Call It Anything" Recorded live at Isle of Wight Festival, Saturday August 29, 1970.
Miles Davis - Trumpet
Gary Bartz - Alto, Soprano saxes
Keith Jarrett - RMI ElectraPiano/organ
Chick Corea - Hohner Electra-Piano
Dave Holland - Bass
Jack DeJohnette - Drums
Airto Moreira - Percussion

Source :
Miles Electric - A Different Kind of Blue
(2004, Eagle Vision)
Director : Murray Lerner 

Miles Davis In Concert - Vienna 1973

Calypso Frelimo - Vienna Austria November 3, 1973
Miles Davis - Trumpet, Keyboards 

Dave Leibman - Saxophone 
Peter Cosey - Electric Guitar, Percussion 
Reggie Lucas - Electric Guitar 
Michael Henderson Electric Bass 
Al Foster - Drums 
James Mtume Forman - Percussion

Lightning Magazine Special Issue ALL ABOUT VINTAGE DENIM Vol.91

A week ago Sunday we had the pleasure of having Lighting Magazine editor Shogo Koike and photographer Tadashi Tawarayama over to our house to have a look at some of our vintage workwear, talk shop & take some photos. It was one of those last minute things, I wasn't sure if they were even gonna take any pictures. We had almost no time to prepare for the visit, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they got some good shots. 
I provided Shogo access to my closet, also a few bins filled with workwear along with assorted print & promotional material from the collection. After 3 hours of shooting & story telling they wrapped it up and left me with this current special issue ALL ABOUT VINTAGE DENIM which had yet to hit the US stands.

I highly recommend this issue as a great guide book & resource for the vintage workwear afficinado. It features many of the same brands & types of items featured on this blog & sold via The San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co. Contact us if you can't find a copy.

Above, our boy Zip Stevenson of Hollywood Trading Company, Denim Doctors & The Stevenson Overall Co.
This reminds me of something that Zip recently said to me. I recall it going something like "you don't need to breath all the air", or as we said at the drinking fountain back in grade school, "save some for the fishes".

If & when the photos appear in the upcoming Lightning Vintage Issue, I will post some pictures of some of the pieces featured.

Big thanks to Shogo & Tad from Lightning for their visit & the special issue and to Zip for the hook up.

George F. Johnson & The Endicott-Johnson Shoe Company

"The hope of the world lies in progress and constant improvement. We look with confidence into that future- rapidly approaching- when all may have a more equal share in the good things of life, when the rights of humans are more sacred than the rights of dollars, when ill will be the same vice -and the same crime- whether committed in broadcloth or in rags."--George F. Johnson, circa 1919

Suede tongue for better fit.

Nailed heel & cork sole

I recently discovered the history of this real American hero and the company he helped to build while researching this awesome pair of vintage Endicott Johnson work boots. It is sad to see the parallels of what became of this great company due to free trade and the continued outsourcing of American manufacturing & jobs. 

The Endicott-Johnson Shoe Company, headquartered in the Southern Tier of Upstate New York, was for decades the largest shoe manufacturer in America. Almost single-handedly, in fact, this former industrial giant equipped the U.S. armed forces in both World War I and World War 2. Its workers were well paid and well cared for even in the Great Depression. In fact, the thousands of workers employed by "E-J" were so well-treated--and the company’s owner and patriarch, George F. Johnson, was so well-loved by all--that company employees repeatedly rebuffed outside attempts to unionize them, even in the tough 1930's. 

Turn of the century promotional clicker

Workers pin

Old school workers recreation, just add smokes.
For over half a century, until George F. Johnson’s dream and his company were tragically destroyed by the crime of "free trade" and internationalism, the Endicott-Johnson Corporation (E-J) served as the model in how a major company should treat its workers: as equals of its owners, yet prosperous at the same time.
Today, empty E-J factories are scattered across a rolling area stretching roughly from Binghamton and Johnson City on the east, to Owego in the west. The facilities that once employed an entire sprawling community are mere ghosts.  
But for a time in this part of America, one man created an economic juggernaut that provided an opportunity for three generations to live the American Dream.
1905 letterhead / billhead
Vintage tin sign
Thanks to Chris Temple for REAL AMERICAN HEROS: The Story of George F. Johnson, and to Rivet Head for his great taste & knowing a nice pair of boots when he sees them.

Oct 21, 2010

H. D. Lee Timeline Video

Lee Timeline video from Street Etiquette on Vimeo. Thanks to imogene & wille.

Free & Easy #10 Oct 2010 Part 2 Julian "Boots" Imrie

Local  boot craftsman & fellow Free & Easy Blue Worker Julian Imrie of Julian Boots.
The sight of Julian building up boots right there in front of our eyes was one of the many highlights of Rin Tanaka’s great 2010 Inspiration event. If you ever have a chance to watch this man work or wear a pair of his boots, do it.
Julian is also the man behind the new RRL Bowery boots. 

A nice piece on Julian and his fine work can be found on the website of fellow hand crafter of quality goods and one of the leaders in this new movement, Mike Hodis of Rising Sun & Co. here.

Just added these to my gotta have list.

Free & Easy #10 October 2010

It was privilege to grace page 078 in the October 2010 issue #10 of the seminal Japanese fashion and culture magazine Free & Easy.  As part of the Blue Worker feature, I was in good company along with local custom boot craftsman Julian Imrie. More on Julian in the post to follow. 

Photo outake courtesy of Akilla Kojima

Photo outake courtesy of Akilla Kojima
I thought I would provide a few details on what I was wearing, the process & such.
I was contacted by F&E and asked if I had carpenter jeans, coverall jacket & overalls to be used for the next issue which would focus on Denim. I replied that I did and that carpenter jeans were part of my daily wardrobe. They then asked for engineer jackets of which I told them I had many. Finally, I was asked for overalls with real wear & character, which I just happened to have though not currently part of my weekly rotation. I have owned this particular pair of Lee Jelt denim overalls for about 6 years. I used to wear them on the job once or twice a week before either they shrank or I grew, so now they only get broken out once or twice a year while painting. I would have preferred to wear some carpenter jeans and a great jacket but hopefully another chance will present itself in the future. Not wanting to miss this golden opportunity, I gladly squeezed into the overalls and headed off to work.
I was working on some drip irrigation in Burbank, California the morning the photos were taken. I remember it being about 11:00 AM and the temp already hitting 98 degrees, oh man, that pool was looking good.
After the shoot I changed into my carpenter jeans, handed the overalls and a few of my tools off to Akilla to take and photograph under better conditions and finished up my work on the drip system.

This is what I was wearing.

Ghost tag (stitching that held the original flasher)
Lee long L snap & original  brass laundry tag 
1950’s Lee Jelt denim 91-SB overalls

1950’s Washington Dee Cee convert cloth salt & pepper work shirt

Backside label
Loomed inside tag, note Made in the USA.

1996 RRL Made in USA salt & pepper work cap. This salt & pepper work cap is the first piece of Double RL that I purchased back around 1996 and to this day is still a favorite. I was the beginning of my love for the iconic label and all things salt & pepper fabric related.

1950’s era OshKosh promotional bandanna. I have become a big time fan of bandannas these past few years for both wiping my brow & for soaking in cold water for instant cool down on hot days. This Osh Kosh version was picked up a few years ago as deadstock and had recently been added to the rotation.

All Valley Handyman Service tee shirt. The All Valley Handyman Service tees are American Apparel hand screened here in Southern California and feature the backside inspirational quote by Carhartt clothing founder Hamilton Carhartt, with who I share the same basic concept of how to run my business. 
Big thanks to Jonathan & crew of Fresh Pressed for all their great work.

Red Wing Iron Ranger 8112 boots. These have been my daily work boot for the past year give or take and are holding up great. The smooth cork sole is ideal for not trapping dirt or rocks like a lug sole and wears much better than the crepe soles. I also like these boots for their wide toe box that provides plenty of room. Some of my Irish Setter type Moc-Toe boots are a bit cramped & claustrophobic.

 THORLOs are the best socks I have ever worn. They make a huge difference when standing on your feet for a good part of the day. A great example of value for your dollar & quality that lasts, not to mention still proudly made in the U.S.A. They also have the nicest customer service ever and free shipping with purchase of 3 pair or more. I even seem to recall them having a yearly sale. Support their good work! 

I have worn Persol sunglasses for over 10 years, so last year when the time came to get prescription glasses these Persols with transition lenses were my first choice.
I recently converted this pair of new old stock Persol sunglasses to prescription lenses so now I’m covered both inside & out.
 Leather tool bag. My alternative to the conventional tool belt to hold the basics.

Big thanks to Zip Stevenson for the hook up, Akilla Kojima for the nice photos & the folks at Free & Easy for the great magazine.