len O’Brien, the New York writer, man of style, class, finesse and many lives writes in his latest book How to be a Man: “…the ‘casualisation’ of dress has made men question previously unassailable standards. It has become increasingly possible for men to dress like boys or adolescents for life. We see these fellows around us everyday…
“These men dress not for success, but for existence. For them, clothing’s function is to prevent nudity and therefore embarrassment and to ensure they blend in and not appear discernibly different from their buddies. They dress for homely invisibility.”
Not flash is it? If this is you, then welcome. If not and you know what Mr O’Brien is talking about, disappointing isn’t it? And they’re not a minority, but it leads me to my point, which is the disintegration of quality and our notion of it.
Do you think you can identify quality? That’s pretty smug isn’t it. I apologise, but if presented with two, apparently the same products, do you think you could identify the better of the two?
There are a lot of brands out there banking on you not knowing, but they also rely on you not caring. If you don’t care and you’re the reason the phrase “the poor man pays twice” exists then this isn’t for you and I’m not your guy. See you later.
But if you do care, if you believe that well made products with good design, backed up by good service and knowledgeable people is a good thing and should be the norm, then here we go.
The boys at Up There have been spruiking this very philosophy since they opened just over a year ago. Their collection of collectible collections from Japan, America and Scandinavia is researched and selected with these very concerns in mind. Desirability is key (their fans are fanatical) and quality essential (they don’t buy rubbish) if it’s going to make the Up There shelves.
Now you can add local-boy-made-good label Noir to the mix. Something of a house brand, the Noir collections are designed here, but produced under the obsessive eyes of Japanese makers. Their shirts have become local classics for those in the know, but the jeans and denim are fast becoming their stock and trade.
Selvedge (or self-edge) denim is standard of course, the indigo cloth sourced at great lengths to be the absolute best available today. Now, just in time for summer, are the new lighter, 10.5oz beige with green selvedge and grey with blue. It comes in a little slubby which breaks up the flat, woven perfection into a more real, lived in feel and accordingly the cloths are naturally dyed. This is seriously good stuff that measures up to any of ‘Big Denim’s’ offerings, just minus the ludicrous pricing one might expect on the high street or ultra-hip, bunker boutiques.
The cut is also appropriately old school, reminiscent of vintage Levis or turn of the century dungarees, providing a welcome alternative to the paint by numbers skinny cuts abundant in the market place.
These jeans, along with a kick-arse pair of Yuketen moccasins, maybe a Deluxe Hanes t-shirt will make your summer – quality that lasts and won’t need replacing.
So it’s kind of a no-brainer, if you have a thing for absurdly good quality, devastatingly uncompromised products and you’re looking to apply it to the casual end of your wardrobe, Up There is your go-to. You’ll be doing more than blending in, but you’ll be far from a chav too.