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  1. Recap
    The first Confirmed Stock, held on April 28, 2012 at the 2640 Space, was a huge success. Thanks to the 18 amazing brands that were part of it and the hundreds of folks who came out to shop and hang. Stay tuned for an update from us on Confirmed Stock #2.

  2. Brand Profile: Federal
    – A few months ago on a trip to DC, I had the chance to stop by the District's newest (and I'd say best) menswear store, Federal. Everything about Federal feels right from the moment you walk in the door.

  3. Brand Profile: Mister Crow
    — “I just want to keep creating good things for interesting people.” One of the best parts of organizing this first Confirmed Stock has been all of the great conversations I’ve had with the amazing people behind these brands. And even among all these interesting stories, the tale of Mister Crow stands out as truly different. Located [...]

  4. Brand Profile: CXXVI
    – Back in January when we first putting the lineup together, CXXVI was one of the very first brands to say yes. They had little more to go on than our teaser video and an email from me, but they almost immediately replied that they would "absolutely love to be part of this." And to be honest, that was the first time I knew that this thing was viable. If a brand like CXXVI wanted in, why couldn't this thing work?

  5. Brand Profile: Jack Robie
    — “Jack Robie embodies American cool and charisma with a sense of style that is classic and sophisticated.” Jack Robie shirts really stood out to us, not just for their classic style, but for their impeccable fit and attention to detail. Their latest collection, just released this week, continues to build Jack Robie’s reputation as [...]

  6. Brand Profile: Lumina Clothing
    – Way back in February of 2011 when Confirmed Stock was just an idea -- when it didn't even have a name -- Barton at Lumina Clothing was one of the first people to believe in it. In fact, having Lumina here in Baltimore was part of the reason I wanted to do this. I had recently purchased one of their ties and I loved it.

  7. Brand Profile: Almanac Industries
    — “We started Almanac Industries out of an urge to make things with our hands. And make them well.” Despite the focus of our recent brand profiles, Confirmed Stock isn’t just about menswear. It’s also about skilled craftspeople making things from hand. The duo behind Almanac Industries works with both bookbinding and letterpress to create [...]

  8. Brand Profile: Ruell and Ray
    — Dead stock is fabric that is no longer in production. We do this for two main reasons: to make our footprint on the environment smaller and to deliver a truly exclusive product to our clients. In recent months, we’ve been seeing Ruell and Ray pop up all over the place. And when we found out [...]

  9. Brand Profile: Two Inch Cuffs
    In the past month, Two Inch Cuffs has evolved from a lifestyle inspiration site to include a full online shopping experience. Who is Two Inch Cuffs? We'll let them tell you in their own words.

  10. Brand Profile: Randolph Engineering
    This year, Randolph Engineering celebrates its 40th anniversary. How does a brand remain relevant and successful over such a long period of time? If you're Randolph Engineering, you do it by producing the highest quality products possible while delivering stellar customer service each and every day. We had the pleasure of chatting with Mary Waszkiewicz for more on the history and future of this iconic American brand.

Entry No 20
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Recap
Chris Walbert

No.1

The first Confirmed Stock, held on April 28, 2012 at the 2640 Space, was a huge success. Thanks to the 18 amazing brands that were part of it and the hundreds of folks who came out to shop and hang. Stay tuned for an update from us on Confirmed Stock #2.

Confirmed Stock: Entrance & Setup
Confirmed Stock: Opening View, Federal
Confirmed Stock: Lumina Setup, Corter Station & Greenwich Vintage
Confirmed Stock: The Crowd, The Venue & Hellbrand Leatherworks
Confirmed Stock: CXXVI
Confirmed Stock: Two Inch Cuffs & Crowd, Shopping Almanac
Confirmed Stock: Greenwich Vintage, Ball and Buck, Lumina
Confirmed Stock: Corter Leather
Confirmed Stock: Cause & Effect aka Billy Belts, Ruell & Ray
Confirmed Stock: Almanac Industries
Confirmed Stock: Randolph Engineering
Photos Courtesy of Ben Hughes, Jess Norris and Julianne Hamilton

Posted: June 28, 2012 No Comments »

Entry No 19
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Brand Profile: Federal
Chris Walbert

Federal

Confirmed Stock: Federal

A few months ago on a trip to DC, I had the chance to stop by the District’s newest (and I’d say best) menswear store, Federal. Everything about Federal feels right from the moment you walk in the door. Helpful knowledgable staff, great design and of course, an amazing selection of men’s clothes and accessories. Federal owner Greg Grammen is a veteran of the DC/VA retail scene with two successful skate shops (one right next door to Federal). We sat down with Greg for some insight into why he opened Federal and what he’s trying to do with this shop.

Why did you open Federal? What has the reaction been like?

We opened Federal in mid-November and the reaction has been very positive. I had the idea for Federal a few years ago but didn’t think DC was ready for a store like it until recently.

Confirmed Stock: Federal

What excites you about what you do?

Just the fact that I love what I do makes it exciting. I love talking to customers and telling the story about Federal and what we’re trying to accomplish.

How do you decide what brands and products to carry?

I carry many brands that I personally wear and like. It makes it way easier to sell and explain to a customer when you have the brand on. It’s important to me to carry brands that we believe in.

What inspires you?

Seeing cool stuff! Traveling to small towns and big cities. I get lots of ideas from taking road trips and going into stores of all types, not just clothing.

 

Where do you see Federal going in the next year? The next 5 years?

I really want to grow and build the Federal brand. We’re planning to launch a full e-commerce site so people not in this area can see what we carry and what we’re doing. And for Fall 2012, we’ll be bringing in quite a few new brands. We’re also planning on opening another Federal location in Northern Virginia this fall.

Are there people or companies that you look up to?

Well, I’ve been a fan of Ralph Lauren since my mom made me wear his stuff in the late 70′s. He has a great take on Americana with his RRL product. I just wish more of the garments he produced were made in the USA. Tellason denim is another small company that is doing things the right way and making great jeans.

What can people expect to find when they visit your space at Confirmed Stock?

I hope to tell the story about our store and what we carry. We’ll be bringing some great denim, boots, Federal tees and more. I  hope people will be intrigued enough to drive down to the nation’s capital and check us out.

And believe us, a quick drive down to DC is more than worth it to experience what this great shop has to offer. Be sure to shake hands with Greg at Confirmed Stock and visit him again at Federal.

Confirmed Stock: Federal
Photos Courtesy of Federal

Posted: April 29, 2012 No Comments »

Entry No 18
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Brand Profile: Mister Crow
Chris Walbert

— “I just want to keep creating good things for interesting people.”

Confirmed Stock: Mister Crow

One of the best parts of organizing this first Confirmed Stock has been all of the great conversations I’ve had with the amazing people behind these brands. And even among all these interesting stories, the tale of Mister Crow stands out as truly different. Located on a farm in Virginia just a few hours to our south, Mister Crow will bring his unique shirts, scarves, belts and bags to Baltimore this Saturday.

Why did you start Mister Crow? What’s been the reaction so far?

We used to live in the desert but one day after our first son was born, my wife said, “I think your son needs a barn.” So we sold everything and hit the road to find a farm, four seasons, and a place where we could grow our own food and create. We wanted to tell our story and decided to express it by creating garments inspired by daily life on the farm; textiles grown in the field, dyes from the meadow, scarves to cover my face so I can feed chickens in the crisp morning air or to cover my head in the forest while I’m hunting the fox that keeps trying to steal the lambs who provide us wool.

Mister Crow

What excites and inspires you?

We’re really inspired by the rhythms of daily life on the farm. I had an old harness strap that I was using to latch gates shut and carry hay bales and it had developed a beautiful patina on it. I thought I should just wear one so I always have it handy. That was the birth of the harness strap belt.

Where do you see Mister Crow going in the next year? The next 5 years?

I really just want to keep creating good things for interesting people. I don’t know where it will take us but I trust it’s somewhere good. Right now all of our goods are grown and sewn in the USA but we hope to move more of the manufacturing here to our early American bank barn so we can open up our process for customers to come visit and chat a while.

Are there people or companies that you look up to?

I like authenticity. Dagne is an artist that’s had a profound impact on my life as well as the architect Paolo Soleri. As for companies I think Mr. Natty is truly original and so is Zen the Cobbler over at Greenwich Vintage.

 

What can people expect to find when they visit your space at Confirmed Stock?

A good story. Shirts sourced straight from the cotton field, farm-to-town scarves, harness strap belts, and hunt bags. Even handmade brooms and fishing nets.

Can you tell us a bit about where the materials you use come from?

Everything we use down to the safety pins that attach our hang tags is from the U.S. Our cottons are grown in Arizona and our leather comes from an Amish farmer down the road.

How does being located in Virginia affect what you do and how you do it?

Our life in rural Virginia is simple but thoughtful and I think that translates into the garments. There are also people here concerned about history and preserving that knowledge which has been a benefit to developing goods of high standards.

What’s one thing people should know about Mister Crow?

Our philosophy is to source everything in the U.S. with the quality for daily use on a farm and enough understated edge to wear into the city.

Mister Crow

Be sure to stop by and talk with Walker to hear the story of Mister Crow.

Photos Courtesy of Mister Crow

Posted: April 24, 2012 No Comments »

Entry No 17
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Brand Profile: CXXVI
Chris Walbert

CXXVI

Confirmed Stock: CXXVI

Back in January when we first putting the lineup together, CXXVI was one of the very first brands to say yes. They had little more to go on than our teaser video and an email from me, but they almost immediately replied that they would “absolutely love to be part of this.” And to be honest, that was the first time I knew that this thing was viable. If a brand like CXXVI wanted in, why couldn’t this thing work?

I won’t go on about how much I love their style, how killer their spring collection is or how many of their knives I want to buy. I’ll just say that I have a ton of respect for this brand and am really excited to have them as part of this first Confirmed Stock.

Why did you start CXXVI?

Jon and I started CXXVI back in October of 2009 out of many of the frustrations of running a design firm for the previous 5 years. We were designing for a handful of clothing and graphic tee companies at the time and felt that if we just took the leap and went out on our own full-time with it, we could make it work.

What excites you about what you do?

The excitement of designing new graphics and accessories and putting them out and getting immediate feedback from such a wide range of customers.

CXXVI

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process and how you conceive new products?

Jon and I share a very similar sense of where we see the brand going and what aesthetics we like to keep between lines. We both compile large libraries of inspiration from so many different areas. We then sit together for a few weeks and just pass ideas back and forth and each work on designs swapping elements back and forth until we come up with what we think is a very organic product.

 

CXXVI

What inspires you?

Everything around us. We take a lot of inspiration from our upbringing. Both of us grew up in the suburbs of New York City, both less than 5 miles from the beach, port towns, and urban areas. We just mix all the pieces of what we know and what we see from day to day.

Why did you decide to set up shop in Brooklyn?

We actually have a shop in Brooklyn and one an hour east on Long Island, right on the water. Having the 2 offices makes for the perfect balance of the old world industrial NYC and the blue collar oysterman of the south shore long island. For practical reasons we use our Brooklyn office as more of a showroom and design studio and our Long Island office as more of a production facility.

Where do you see CXXVI going in the next year? The next 5 years?

We want to keep growing the company at a very steady yet manageable pace. We see it coming into its own more and more with each collection and finding and expanding our customer base in the years to come.

Are there people or companies that you look up to?

We really look up to some of the classic companies that still maintain a strong visual aesthetic from their start and only changing slightly to keep up with the times. Especially companies like Vans, Levis, and Ralph Lauren.

Do yourself a favor and be sure to visit the CXXVI booth on Saturday. You’re sure to find something well designed and thoughtfully made.

Photos Courtesy of CXXVI

Posted: April 23, 2012 No Comments »

Entry No 16
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Brand Profile: Jack Robie
Chris Walbert

— “Jack Robie embodies American cool and charisma with a sense of style that is classic and sophisticated.”

Confirmed Stock: Jack Robie

Jack Robie shirts really stood out to us, not just for their classic style, but for their impeccable fit and attention to detail. Their latest collection, just released this week, continues to build Jack Robie’s reputation as one of the top US shirt makers around.

Why did you start Jack Robie? What’s been the reaction so far?

Jack Robie started from an obsession with shirting and a desire to start our own company. From there, we saw an opportunity to make high-quality Made in America products, and offer them at reasonable prices by only selling directly to our customers. The response and support we’ve received has been amazing.

Confirmed Stock: Jack Robie

What makes a Jack Robie shirt different from other shirts out there?

We view our shirts as a long-term investment. Even though we have purposefully structured the company to offer reasonable prices, we still think that when you buy a Jack Robie shirt it should be in your closet for years and years. That means that it won’t fall apart and that you’ll always love its fit and style.

What excites and inspires you?

Besides everyday life in New York? One place that jumps to mind is Murray’s Warehouse outlet in Nantucket, MA. A few streets down from Main where the retail store is, there are no words for the hidden gems they have. So much inspiration from generations past.

Where do you see Jack Robie going in the next year? The next 5 years?

People always ask that, and right now all we care about is doing one thing and doing it well. Let the cards fall where they may.

 

Are there people or companies that you look up to?

Too many to name, we admire so much of what’s going on in menswear right now.

What can people expect to find when they visit your space at Confirmed Stock?

Tons of shirts and good conversation.

What’s one thing people should know about Jack Robie?

We love what we do and we hope that love is evident in every shirt we ship.

What’s the most frequent question you get from people about shirts?

We get a lot of questions regarding the sourcing of our fabric and where our shirts are made. We’ve found that guys want as much information as they can get about the shirt they’re buying.

What should every man know about choosing the right shirt?

When choosing the right shirt, make sure that first you love the fabric. You have to love the style and feel, otherwise it will go to the back of your closet never to be seen again. Then, make sure it fits. Not too big, not too small, comfortable to move around in and made with the right proportions throughout.

Confirmed Stock: Jack Robie

Be sure to visit Jack Robie’s space at Confirmed Stock to see and try on their latest collection. Get a sneak peek on their site.

Photos Courtesy of Jack Robie

Posted: April 11, 2012 No Comments »

Entry No 15
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Brand Profile: Lumina Clothing
Neal Shaffer

Lumina

Confirmed Stock: Lumina Clothing

Way back in February of 2011 when Confirmed Stock was just an idea — when it didn’t even have a name — Barton at Lumina Clothing was one of the first people to believe in it. In fact, having Lumina here in Baltimore was part of the reason I wanted to do this. I had recently purchased one of their ties and I loved it. Still do, in fact, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. It’s well-made, it’s designed to last, and I know I can believe in the company I bought it from. That’s what Confirmed Stock is all about right there. Read on and you’ll see that Lumina doesn’t just make great stuff, they’re truly kindred spirits.

Why did you start doing this? Why do you continue doing it?

It’s funny, when we started Lumina, we were one of the very few who were making cotton skinny neckties. It really wasn’t popular yet, but we were doing it because we thought it was different and cool. This concept is what really launched the company. Since then it just doesn’t seem like we can give it up. We want to do something where we can help the state of NC, particularly the industries that have faded over the years such as textiles. Clothing seems like a good way to do that and we hope we can continue to build the brand and do more for our state.

What excites you about what you do?

I think it is the possibilities that reside in clothing. There are very few things that people use everyday and want so much variety within. You can pretty much do your own thing and if you do it well, someone will appreciate it.

Tell us a bit about your creative process.

Some days it feels like we are just throwing darts at a dart board. Other days it is a little more consolidated. Really, I just start with a sketch, figuring out exactly what we should add to our line. From there, we look for other brands that have or are doing something similar and analyze what we like and dislike about all of those brands. Finally we to back to the drawing board and really work to get the details just right so when we sample things out, we have a good idea of what the final product will be like.

Why Confirmed Stock? What does this event mean to you?

We like supporting other start-ups, so we were extremely excited when we were invited to Confirmed Stock. It is a pretty important event for us because we have recently restructured how we are going to do business, so it will really be the first time we are out in public with the brand after this big transition.

What inspires you?

We get a lot of inspiration from the traditional industries that were once in NC. We look at textiles, agriculture, and manufacturing and try to pull ques from all of them. You really see this in the fabrics and the details of our product. We try to keep the overall image very clean cut. It can be tough because we are battling two very contradictory looks, but we hope we can continue to successfully merge them because we think it provides the best product.

 

Why do what you do in North Carolina? Why make things in America?

All of us founders are from North Carolina, so we really want to see something happen here. As far as production in the USA, we all just see the benefit in the quality we get here and the support we can provide to the economy. We feel like it is only fair to support other USA companies when we are hoping people will support us.

Where do you see your company going in the next year? 5 years?

In the next year we are hoping for more expansion. We are looking towards a Kickstarter launch for several new items including pants, a blazer, and two styles of women’s dresses. In the next five years, we hope to continue to build our product portfolio with the potential launch of a Lumina flagship store here in Raleigh, NC.

Are there companies that you look up to, or anyone you want to give a shout out to?

We love Billy Reid and respect his desire to keep the brand rooted in southern tradition. We also like Gitman Bros. and their tie production here in NC. Honestly, we love any brand who is striving to make made in the USA viable again.


Photos Courtesy of Lumina Clothing

Posted: April 10, 2012 No Comments »

Entry No 14
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Brand Profile: Almanac Industries
Chris Walbert

— “We started Almanac Industries out of an urge to make things with our hands. And make them well.”

Almanac Industries Brand Profile

Despite the focus of our recent brand profiles, Confirmed Stock isn’t just about menswear. It’s also about skilled craftspeople making things from hand. The duo behind Almanac Industries works with both bookbinding and letterpress to create well-crafted goods that any man (or woman) can feel good about using. Read on for more from Whitney and Jacob Cecil who collectively make up Baltimore-based Alamanac Industries.

Why did you start Almanac Industries? What has the reaction been like so far?

We started Almanac Industries out of an urge to make things with our hands. And make them well. The most remarkable reaction we’ve seen so far is at craft shows. A woman walks into our booth, her husband – trailing along – usually waits in the aisle. She peruses and quickly convinces him to join her. And he’s enamored — something at a craft show for a guy. We love this reaction. And our dedication to creating great paper goods for guys is fueled by it.

Why Bookbinding? Why Letterpress?

Bookbinding

Whitney: I’ve been known to write out all my to-do lists, sometimes even taping them to my iPhone. Sounds silly but I’m just a tactile person. Books and bookmaking fulfill my undeniable stubbornness when it comes to change.

Jacob: Indiana Jones. As a child I was always fascinated by his sketchbook, its contents and its structure, and taught myself all the traditional techniques necessary so I could be just like him.

Letterpress

We have found that we not only enjoy making things with our hands but also being part of an old-world industry practice. Letterpress became our practice of choice ever since we learned to set lead type six years ago. We worked very hard to master it and feel confident that our end result is worth every bit of work. Because nothing feels as good to hold in your hands.

Letterpress

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process and how you conceive new products?

Our process is very organic, we’ll bounce ideas off each other, or find something we love and if it comes up again and again we usually know it’s time to make it. After that it’s usually about the materials–finding, choosing and figuring out their functionality so were not forcing them to do something they aren’t meant to.

What has been the best part of setting up shop in Baltimore?

The sense of community. The population of Baltimore that grew up here and is still here have faith in it and have stayed because of it. We came to Baltimore to go to MICA and instantly became part of a network of some very talented people and like to be near them.

What’s one thing people should know about Almanac?

We are the creative brains but we are also the manufacturers, and we don’t want that to change.

Books

What inspires you?

Americana, military surplus, classic menswear patterns, old office supplies, traditional crafts. So many things. We enjoy looking everywhere.

What’s next for Almanac?

We are currently collaborating with some local photographers to come up with a handsome line of wedding albums and guestbooks. After that, come what may, Almanac Industries has an “s” on the end for a reason.

What can people expect to find when they visit your space at Confirmed Stock?

You will walk up to what feels like an old fashioned store counter and find a bunch of things that will look handsome on your desk and feel great in your hands. Screenprinted leather blank books, letterpress nautical notepads and hand-lettered prints for your wall.

Almanac Industries’ books and letterpress work truly has to be seen and felt to be fully experienced. Be sure to visit their space on April 28th.

Photos Courtesy of Almanac Industries

 

Posted: April 06, 2012 No Comments »

Entry No 13
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Brand Profile: Ruell and Ray
Chris Walbert

— Dead stock is fabric that is no longer in production. We do this for two main reasons: to make our footprint on the environment smaller and to deliver a truly exclusive product to our clients.

In recent months, we’ve been seeing Ruell and Ray pop up all over the place. And when we found out they’re from our neighbor to the south, we knew they were a must for Confirmed Stock. Founder Ashley James was kind enough to give us some insight into what makes a pair of Ruell and Ray denim “one of a kind and forever.”

Why did you start Ruell and Ray? What’s been the reaction so far?

I wanted to make my own women’s selvage jean, since not many people were doing it at the time. I wanted to do all the cool stuff that the men’s brands were doing for women. Our Men’s denim happened to fall into place first because there’s a bigger market for it right now. The reaction has been great, lots of positive feedback. People really love the small details.

For anyone who doesn’t know, can you explain what deadstock denim is?

Dead stock is fabric that is no longer in production. We do this for two main reasons: to make our footprint on the environment smaller and to deliver a truly exclusive product to our clients. We are in the business of making denim, but producing the fabric is terrible on the environment. By selecting deadstock/oldstock fabrics, we aren’t adding to the orders for pollution. Dead stock also means exclusivity and limited quantities. Each pair is stamped (by me) “1 of 17″ or “1 of 185″. Flamed by my Patagonia background, doing things right where the environment is concerned is important to me.

What excites and inspires you?

I am inspired by everyday life, every day is a new day to start over and improve. I am excited to see where Ruell and Ray is headed and I look forward to doing some really cool and unexpected things with my brand.

Where do you see Ruell and Ray going in the next year? The next 5 years?

Right now I am taking it day by day. My goal is to make a good living at what I love doing. If I can do that, I will be happy.

 

We’ve noticed you popping up in some of our favorite online shops (Need Supply and Two Inch Cuffs to name a few). How did this come about? Do you plan on expanding this part of your business?

Two Inch Cuffs contacted me in the very beginning stages of our brand. I was new, they where new, so it just worked and I am glad it did. They have a great online shop and they are all great guys. Need Supply was a dream store for me to be in and a good friend of mine introduced me to the buyers. I hope to continue a great relationship with them. I do plan on expanding to different shops but I really want to keep it edited on where we end up. I plan on only a handful of stores in the US and a few internationally.

Are there people or companies that you look up to?

Supreme – They have a crazy following and sell out of their product quickly. They could make more but they don’t and I respect that. They stay true to their roots and they don’t sell out.

Union LA – They are THE front runner.

Need Supply Co – They take chances on new small brands and I really admire that.

What can people expect to find when they visit your space at Confirmed Stock?

They can expect to find the Spence Slim and our newest cut the Handyside Straight. I am really excited for the Handyside because anyone can wear them, it’s a go-to jean.

What’s one thing people should know about Ruell and Ray?

We are members of 1% for the Planet, an organization that Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard started. We give 1% of our revenues to an environmental group of our choice who is affiliated with 1%. One more thing I would like to add, everything on our jeans is made in the Southeast of the United States (buttons, rivets, thread, labor).  The only thing that is often not is the fabric.

We’re really excited to see what happens with this exciting brand in the coming years. Do yourself a favor and grab a pair April 28.

Photos Courtesy of Ruell and Ray

Posted: April 05, 2012 2 Comments »

Entry No 12
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Brand Profile: Two Inch Cuffs
Chris Walbert

Cuffs

Confirmed Stock: Two Inch Cuffs

In the past month, Two Inch Cuffs has evolved from a lifestyle inspiration site to include a full online shopping experience. Who is Two Inch Cuffs? We’ll let them tell you in their own words.

“The advent of the twenty-first century witnessed the death of the traditional American catalog. Gone are the days when one needn’t search hard for the perfect workwear jacket with which to go hunting—the latest Sears, Roebuck & Co. mailing contained the most dependable, highest-quality version of anything a gentleman or lady could want. Two Inch Cuffs can be thought of as a modern version of the reliable catalog, making products of classic brilliance as easily accessible as in previous generations. Through original content and photography, our catalog and journal are meant to inspire those as passionate about distinction in clothing, design, food and travel as we are.”

“The Cuff Shop is a continuation of the principles that have guided Two Inch Cuffs thus far. Our handpicked product selection is not constrained by a definable aesthetic, though it draws upon the principles of American heritage clothing–namely, that inherent quality defines and characterizes style. And like the catalogs of old, the Cuff Shop allows shoppers to rest assured that the products they are buying are, simply put, the best. Iconic, authentic and beautiful, our collection has been handpicked from suppliers who are truly dedicated to their craft. In addition, by maintaining a close collaborative relationship with our suppliers, many products are made expressly for Two Inch Cuffs. Crafted with input from the many creative folks who have lent their passion to this project, our signature items embody the lifestyle that we’ve embraced. We invite you to turn the page.”

Why did you decide to open an online shop? What’s been the reaction so far?

For the last two+ years, we’ve searched for true-to-name brands that really take the initiative in quality, craftsmanship and style. From our catalog to journal, there’s a lengthy list of who we’ve featured. And for us, the next step was curating a collection where our visitors could have the opportunity to purchase items. The reaction has been awesome. The word is spreading and that’s all we could really ask for.

What excites you about what you do?

It’s that first draft of concepts for each season that excites me. Seeing an idea go from composition to reality can be so reassuring. There isn’t a barrier that we won’t find a way to overturn.

How do you decide what brands and products to carry?

Working with a string of men’s merchants combined with people who have years of experience in retail, we handpick items that answer to our theme of the current season and our aesthetic.

What inspires you?

Mainly, we’re inspired by seasonal color palettes and natural materials that brands have recently brought back. From garment dyes to seeded slub yarned products, we can find so many uses for materials like those and the wide range of ideas you can come up with, especially in spring.

 

Where do you see Two Inch Cuffs going in the next year? The next 5 years?

Next year, we wouldn’t mind stepping into more trade shows and continuing our collaboration program with ‘The Cuff Shop’. We have progressed rapidly and want to keep the momentum going, but with a realistic pace now that we’re in the market. 5 years from now, a brick-and-mortar shop would be a focus of ours and perhaps doing some pop-up shops overseas.

Are there people or companies that you look up to?

We don’t really think of any companies like a big brother, but we do appreciate brands like Todd Snyder, Farm Tactics, Gitman Vintage, Tender Co. and Alden. We’re all about putting quality first.

What can people expect to find when they visit your space at Confirmed Stock?

People can expect to find a comfortable and modern Cuff Shop space at Confirmed Stock. We’ll be pulling plenty of our California coastline inspiration from our workshop and embedding it into our space for visitors to experience.

What’s one thing every man should know about buying clothing and related goods?

Good things don’t come cheap. We pride ourselves on quality goods and the story that comes with them. Every man should buy items that will give him more wear and diversity within his wardrobe.

What’s your favorite article of clothing that you own?

Ruben H., Creative Director: I just picked up a pair of Jack Spade selvedge jeans and they really wear nicely. Whether I throw on some brown wingtips or oiled leather chukkas, they look great. Denim is one item that I’m very particular about.

The images seen here are part of Two Inch Cuffs’ fantastic new lookbook. See the rest at twoinchcuffs.com and in-person on April 28th.

Photos Courtesy of Two Inch Cuffs and Aysia Steib

Posted: April 04, 2012 No Comments »

Entry No 11
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Brand Profile: Randolph Engineering
Chris Walbert

— “We’ve been nicknamed ‘the tank’ of sunglasses. They’re built to military spec, making them incredibly durable.”

Confirmed Stock: Randolph Engineering

This year, Randolph Engineering celebrates its 40th anniversary. How does a brand remain relevant and successful over such a long period of time? If you’re Randolph Engineering, you do it by producing the highest quality products possible while delivering stellar customer service each and every day. We had the pleasure of chatting with Mary Waszkiewicz for more on the history and future of this iconic American brand.

How did Randolph Engineering get its start?

Randolph was started by two engineers who left another eyewear company to start their own business. They made tools and dies for the optical industry for 7 years before they started manufacturing glasses for the military and other eyewear brands. Now we still use many of the same machines they built in the 70s.

How does the company’s heritage affect what you do and how you do it?

We’ve always been a military supplier, so it’s ingrained in us to put function first. It has to be practical, not just pretty.

What makes a pair of Randolph Engineering sunglasses different from others out there?

We’ve been nicknamed “the tank” of sunglasses. They’re built to military spec (which is a 57-page document), and this makes them incredibly durable. We guarantee all the solder joints for life which is extremely rare in the optical industry.

What advice would you give to other established companies for keeping themselves fresh and relevant as Randolph Engineering has done?

I think the most important thing is to know what’s going on in your market and to stay involved. Talk to your retailers and consumers, get to know the people with other brands, and listen more than you talk. Then selectively take what’s trending and create something new like only you can.

 

Where do you see Randolph Engineering going in the next year? The next 5 years?

Our priority this year is to grow our brand recognition in the US, Europe, and Japan. Once people are aware of us they develop a love affair with the product and the story. Five years from now we’d like to be unavoidable, but never oversaturated.

What can people expect to find when they visit your space at Confirmed Stock?

At Confirmed Stock we’ll personally fit people into their own custom frame style, color, lens tint, size, and temple. The number of options can be overwhelming, but we’ll be there to guide them.

What’s one thing people should know about Randolph Engineering?

We stand by our product. We have an amazing warranty and knowledgeable Customer Service staff to help consumers with absolutely anything Randolph related. And if you ask for Terry, she’ll probably talk you through any personal problems you may have as well!

What’s the most frequent question you get from people about sunglasses?

“Which size should I get?” While this is a personal preference, we do have guidelines to follow on our website. Our medium sizes fit about 80% of men.

What should every man know about choosing the right pair of sunglasses?

Know what you’re wearing. Know the brand, the materials used, and where and how they were made. It shows you’re a man of distinction, and it’s just good sense. Plus, it impresses us ladies.

Not only are Randolph Engineering sunglasses great looking and made in the US to the highest standards, but they’re also surprisingly affordable. Get your custom-fitted pair on April 28 at Confirmed Stock.

Photos Courtesy of Randolph Engineering

Posted: April 02, 2012 No Comments »

Entry No 10
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Brand Profile: Hellbrand Leatherworks
Chris Walbert

Hellbrand

Hellbrand Leatherworks

Hellbrand Leatherworks was introduced to us on a personal recommendation from Adam at Blue Claw Co. One look at their offerings, and you’ll know why another brand would vouch for them. In recent months, Ed and his business partner Kevin have developed an impressive collection of well-made leather goods. We asked Ed about what it took to get Hellbrand started and what it will take to keep it going for the long-term.

Why did you start Hellbrand? What motivates you to keep it going?

Hellbrand Leatherworks was formed in late 2011 with my business partner because we both saw an opportunity to fill a need in the marketplace that hadn’t been met and to showcase some of the designs and ideas I had been working on.

I come from an investments and finance background, and my business partner is in aviation. Though we have had successful careers in those areas, we absolutely love seeing a concept on paper go from an idea to an actual tangible product that someone will use and enjoy for years to come.

I really enjoy being at my workbench, creating something, rather than under fluorescent light in an office somewhere. Seeing my designs come to life gives me much more satisfaction than bagging the next Gordon Gekko as a client!

Hellbrand Leatherworks

How did you start working with leather and master that art?

I started working with leather about 5 or 6 years ago. I found that a fancy brand wallet I paid a stupid amount of money for was actually made of pvc! It was also around that time that I was shopping for a custom strap for my Panerai watch. I was fascinated by all the choices that were available. I looked at one and thought to myself, “Hey, I can do that.”  I had recently met a leatherworker locally, who took me under his wing and taught me the fundamentals. Hellbrand Leatherworks is an homage to Mr. Hellbrand.

Long story, short, I replaced my wallet with something that was ugly as sin, but I was proud of what I made with my own hands. Back then my watch straps weren’t perfect either but it felt good to create something. When did I master the art? I haven’t even come close. There are leather workers out there that have decades of experience. I don’t think there is ever a point where something is completely mastered. There is always more to learn.

What excites you about what you do?

Seeing an idea or concept in my head, putting it down on paper, planning it out, and then creating the end product. Then knowing that the end product is hopefully one day going to be something that’s passed on and used for decades or generations down the road. I think it’s the coolest thing to see someone using a briefcase, wallet or a bag that was owned by his father or grandfather.

What inspires you?

Too many to list, but I’d have to say number one on the list are my parents. They came here with $500 between the both of them back in the early 70′s and are two of the most successful and hardest working people I’ve ever known.

 

Where do you see Hellbrand going in the next year? The next 5 years?

We’ve been really blessed by the amount of growth we’ve experienced. Both customers and our colleagues in this industry have responded so favorably to what we are doing. If we can continue to grow on this path, I’m happy. Of course, we would love to move our operations to a larger design and manufacturing facility. We need more room!

Are there people or companies that you look up to?

Anyone that does what they love for a living and does so on their own terms.

What can people expect to find when they visit your space at Confirmed Stock?

We will have some new products making their debut at Confirmed Stock.  It’ll be a good mix of leather, waxed canvas, duck cloth, and maybe even some selvedge denim items. Of course we’ll have some of our small leather goods, but look forward to some of our new, larger items as well. All of our goods are made in house, right here in the USA.

Hellbrand Leatherworks

What’s one thing people should know about Hellbrand?

Hellbrand Leatherworks is dedicated to producing the highest quality, made in the USA products. We are not a huge company. We are a couple guys with a passion for extraordinary workmanship, attention to detail, and a genuine enjoyment of seeing our products bring customers a lifetime of enjoyment and utility.

Officially the southernmost brand participating in Confirmed Stock, we look forward to welcoming Florida-based Hellbrand Leatherworks to Charm City. We know you’ll dig their work as much as we do.

 

Photos Courtesy of Hellbrand Leatherworks

Posted: March 28, 2012 1 Comment »

Entry No 9
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Brand Profile: Blue Claw Co.
Chris Walbert

— “When deciding where we would produce, it took less than a second to decide. Why produce anywhere else? We are able to be involved in the entire process from cut to sew.”

Blue Claw Co.

When beginning to organize the inaugural Confirmed Stock, Blue Claw Co. was one of the first companies we reached out to. Not only do they make high-quality, great-looking bags in the USA, but they’re headquartered in the great state of Maryland. What’s not to like?

Why did you start Blue Claw? What drives you to keep going?

I started Blue Claw Co. out of necessity. As an avid traveler, I need luggage that has a classic, sophisticated and simple style yet is also durable enough to keep up with my excursions. After a trip to Argentina my bag had finally had it and fell apart mid-trip. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. While in Buenos Aires, I began to dream of my ideal bag. A few months later the first iteration of the Worton Weekender was born.

While developing the Worton Weekender, I thought long and hard about what I wanted this new luggage company to represent–what our mission was. I came up with this: Make the best bags in the world and offer legendary customer service to our clients. This mantra is what keeps us going at Blue Claw. Through this simple mantra, our customers have stayed in contact long after their transaction is complete. Our fan base will send us notes and offer feedback for new bags they would like to see. They will even send us pictures of their Blue Claw product in action. This customer appreciation is what motivates the Blue Claw team to put in long hours.

Blue Claw Co.

What excites you about what you do?

Blue Claw is bringing it back to the Red, White and Blue. We make products in our own country, we can inspect each bag before it leaves the warehouse, and we put smiles on people’s faces. Our Deckhands not only help our customers order bags, monitor shipments, but have also been known to make dinner reservations and offer suggestions of things to do in a new city–the responses that we receive from our customers is pretty exciting. I can honestly say I don’t think there is a company that rivals our personalized customer service.

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process and how you conceive new products?

We take our creative process very seriously. Our first bag took over a year to develop. We now have our creative process down to a “science”–a six month science. Each bag is created on paper, then sampled and is then either approved or rejected by our team. If approved, we do a small run and give the bags out to our team and a few strategic customers. The bags are used for 6 months and are put through tests, mainly checking them under airplanes where bags tend to find the staircase to heaven, to ensure durability. We look for wear points, product flaws, and design flaws. After that, the product is ready for market. When creating new bags we remain committed to timeless style and everlasting durability. We enjoy clean lines and simple design. We also create bags where we see a need or void in the marketplace.

What inspires you?

My inspiration comes first and foremost from the customers we help serve. I truly believe that at Blue Claw, we are offering a product that is one of a kind in the marketplace. While our bags may appear pricey to some, the attention to detail, high quality materials and expert craftsmanship make buying a Blue Claw bag a real investment. To date, we have not had a customer return a bag.

Secondly, I love being able to see tangible output. Since I was 12-years-old, I’ve been selling stock. While it is a great passion of mine, besides a stock certificate there really is no sense of hard, tangible accomplishment. Seeing Blue Claw bags go through the entire manufacturing process, all of the different machines and craftsmen that are involved, is a truly rewarding experience. The fact that I can do it all in America, where I can not only oversee production but, albeit slightly, help the greater good of this country by offering work and labor.

Why did you decide to set up shop in Maryland? Why make products in America?

My co-founder and I spent years on the Eastern Shore and have some of our most fond memories there: oyster parties, a bushel of crabs on the deck, walking the beaches, and attempting to sail. Maryland is beautiful and if we can bring some additional attention to the Blue Claw Crab, all the better. When deciding where we would produce, it took less than a second to decide. Why produce anywhere else? We are able to be involved in the entire process from cut to sew.

Where do you see Blue Claw going in the next year? The next 5 years?

In the next year we will be rolling out new products. Many are already in the works and we are excited about their prospects. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook – its where we announce the launches of bags. In the next 5 years we are interested in expanding as global brand; we currently have customers in 10+ countries and we would like to see that number grow 5x. We are also committed to our Deckhand service team and will provide our customers the best customer service regardless of our size–something many companies fail to do.

Blue Claw Co.

Are there people or companies that you look up to?

The list is long, but we truly look up to our competitors who are bringing production back to the USA. It is much more fun and interesting to compete with companies who are also producing in the states. Many of the owners are friends outside of the business and we are all after a common goal. It’s pretty amazing the network of Made in America brands we find ourselves in the middle of. I really admire those iconic Made in America brands–the Red Wing Shoes, J.W. Hulme’s, Gitman Bros. All of those brands make products that they stand by 100% of the time. People are proud to represent those brands. We believe in time, Blue Claw Co. will be in the same class.

Whether you’re an avid traveler or just need a great overnight bag, we highly recommend taking a close look at Blue Claw Co.
Photos Courtesy of Blue Claw Co.

Posted: March 26, 2012 1 Comment »

Entry No 8
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Brand Profile: Greenwich Vintage
Chris Walbert

Vintage

As soon as you start talking to the midwestern gentlemen from Greenwich Vintage, you know they’re in this for the right reasons. It’s not a trend or fashion for them, it’s a fundamental belief in doing things the right way. On April 28, Greenwich Vintage will bring their fine vintage goods and amazing shoes to Baltimore. Read on for a more formal introduction.

Why did you start Greenwich Vintage?

We at Greenwich Vintage wanted to restore the true style of the American male, which recently has been lost. People forget that for years the look and attitude of the American male was the envy of consumers both in the US, as well as around the world. James Dean, Carey Grant, Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart, Steve McQueen, these were American gentlemen that acted with class and dressed with courage. Simply put, Greenwich Vintage is focused on purveying clothing and offering guidance, which unearths these qualities within today’s American man.

What motivates you to keep it going?

For Zen: When we style a customer and literally change his life.

For Mike: The hunt for and discovery of hard-to-find items. I eat, sleep and live for vintage goods. However, these pieces are becoming even more rare than ever before so preserving these goods and purveying them properly allows others to enjoy them as the original owner once did.

For Max: Building a business that our customers appreciation and enjoy, as well as one that is sustainable for the long-term.

How did you get into cobbling and master that art?

In the 2003 to 2004 timeframe, I was focused on customizing sneakers. During that period I really started getting into the deconstruction and reconstruction of sneakers and shoes, simply the art of cobbling. From there, it was a natural progression for me to move in into “Grown Man” shoes as represented by our unbelievable inventory of vintage wingtips and colored soles.

What excites and inspires you?

Curating and purveying the clothes of your father and grandfather and restoring them for current and future generations. Greenwich Vintage prides itself on innovation and exceeding expectations. We are the first to manufacture US-made colored soles and one of the few companies offering deadstock vintage.

 

Where do you see Greenwich Vintage going in the next year? The next 5 years?

Greenwich Vintage is focused on its mission to restore the style of the American male and continuing its current growth through hard work and innovation. Over the next five years Greenwich Vintage’s goal includes being the premier provider of US-made vintage menswear, as well as US-made colored soles. In addition, the Company is focused on establishing an old time barbershop in the Twin Cities under the stewardship of our own master barber Mustache Mike.

Are there people or companies that you look up to?

Pendelton, Woolrich, Filson, Red Wing, Gokey.

What can people expect to find when they visit your space at Confirmed Stock?

Our showroom at Confirmed Stock is focused on creating an environment where a man can be a man, a chap can be a chap. With that being said customers will get to peruse vintage items that their father or grandfather may have worn in their day.

What’s one thing people should know about Greenwich Vintage?

We are hard working midwest gentlemen that want to provide our clients with a great product and a quality experience.

If you’re not already, we recommend following these guys on Instagram where you’ll get a preview of all the amazing work they’re doing. Check out greenwichvintage.us for even more.
Photos Courtesy of Greenwich Vintage Co.

Posted: March 22, 2012 1 Comment »

Entry No 7
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Brand Profile: Corter Leather
Neal Shaffer

— “Do what works, do what makes sense, and by all means do what makes you happy.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

We’re stoked about having Eric Heins, aka Corter Leather, at the inaugural Confirmed Stock for two reasons. First, because he makes great stuff. Take a look at the “gallery” page on his site and you’ll see what we mean. Second, he was one of the first vendors to sign on with us, and that meant a lot. Read on to learn more about the man and his work, then join us on April 28 to meet him and check out his wares.

Why did you start doing this? Why do you continue doing it?

I started making wallets when I was in college because I needed one, then graduated and kept at it full time because other people needed them. I just turned 25 and it’s been the same story for every single product I’ve designed and made in the past 5 years. I continue to do it because it’s me now — I’ve been working with leather for so long in such a transitional part of my life that I basically don’t really know what to do without it. I take a break from working by making something, and I relax by making something else. If I didn’t have an outlet to get the things I make to people that use them, I’d have rooms and rooms filled with thousands of pieces of product, because I don’t know that I could stop at this point.

What excites you about what you do?

It’s fun, and it’s exactly what I want to do with my life. I don’t have any partners and I let the business grow organically, so the only stress I have is making sure my customers enjoy their products and that I make exactly what they need.

Tell us a bit about your creative process.

First, I need to need something. Then it’s basically a game of “If you could have the ultimate _______, what would it be?” in the back of my mind until the sketches start coming, which could be minutes or months. From there it’s as simple as making a prototype, using it, and revising it. Some products have taken a year, some take a couple weeks — again, I let it all develop organically. I never make templates though, I cut every piece by hand and usually throw out my sketches. As Lil’ Wayne says, leave no evidence.

Why Confirmed Stock? What does this event mean to you?

I think it’s just very rare to deal with such genuine and fair dudes as the Confirmed Stock guys. I immediately wanted to come down and participate, and it’ll be the first event I’ve done with Corter. Miss Corter pressured me a little bit too, I think she saw an expenses-paid opportunity to stalk Duff Goldman.

What inspires you?

First and foremost, I love what I do; that gets me out of bed every morning. I’ve always been inspired by everything from reality tv shows to antique shops to sail boats. I found out very early on that if you shut yourself off and only look to specific things for inspiration at specific times or get too serious about it, you’ll miss the best stuff. One of the new things I’ll have with me at Confirmed Stock was inspired by a combination of bumping into a towel rack and an aloe plant named Roger I have in my shop. It was so random, but ultimately exactly what I needed to see to get the ball rolling with sketches, develop a concept, and end up with a final product I’m insanely psyched on.

 

Why do what you do in New England? Why make things in America?

I’m afraid of flying in airplanes, so that’s probably the #1 reason I make things in America — I almost literally have a phobia of leaving! In all seriousness, I grew up in New England with an old yankee grandma that instilled many of those values in my mom, which trickled down to me. Do what works, do what makes sense, and by all means do what makes you happy. Keep things simple and functional and you’ll be just fine.

Where do you see your company going in the next year? 5 years?

Oh gosh, I’m so busy I’ve never had time to plan. I kind of just let Corter go where it wants and hold on for the ride. I need a new shop again, grown out of 2 in the last 9 months. I’m finally doing some fun-but-not-leather stuff that I’ve wanted to do for a long time now. I’ll always do the leather stuff, but I’m happy to bring other people in to do things out of materials that I don’t have the expertise in.

Are there companies that you look up to, or anyone you want to give a shout out to?

Redmoon, 100%. They inspired me to start for sure, and are the type of company that live their product. Thankfully they’re back at it and doing great after the natural disasters last year. Thanks to everyone behind Confirmed Stock as well, I’m very gracious for the invite!

“Do what works, do what makes sense, and by all means do what makes you happy.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Thanks, Eric. See you soon.
Photos Courtesy of Corter Leather

Posted: March 21, 2012 No Comments »

Entry No 6
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Brand Profile: Fischer Clothing
Chris Walbert

Fischer

Fischer Clothing

We first came across Fischer Clothing in our journeys through the internet. They immediately stood out from other menswear makers for their thoughtful, modern take on classic pieces. Fischer creates the kind of clothing you can build a lasting wardrobe around. We had a chance to chat with Fischer owner, designer and Baltimore-native, Kristina Angelozzi about the history and future of Fischer.

Why did you start Fischer Clothing? What drives you to keep it going?

I love making clothes. That’s the reason I started and what keeps me going. Each season, I get to learn more, do better and try new things.

What excites you about what you do?

Fabrics, colors, and I love the act of finishing (like dyeing, washing, printing, etc.). The fabric is kind of the most important aspect of the garment. Also, construction is more interesting than you would think, like exploring new details, working through ideas. It’s all a fun learning process.

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process and how you conceive new products?

My first step is usually pulling together a fabric story. Then I let the fabrics kind of decide which styles they should be.

Fischer Clothing

What inspires you?

This is a tough question. I think learning inspires me to do more and keep exploring. And I think the culture I live in kind of refines the product.

Why did you decide to set up shop in NYC? Why make products in America?

I moved to NYC for school and when I graduated (go figure) this was where most of the fashion jobs existed. I’ve lived in Brooklyn for 10 years now, so I’m getting a little attached. I prefer to manufacture here for a huge list of reasons, but the main reason is really to support the economy. I launched in the early stages of the recession and feel like it’s my duty to invest in my own neighbors and surroundings. There are thousands of reasons to produce locally and only one reason to do it overseas, and we all know what that is.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your men’s collection for spring/summer 2012?

While working on the collection, my boyfriend gave me an amazing book called “Cuba before Castro” which served as the launching point for the whole collection. I incorporated hints of 40′s styling, muted tropical colors and light, breezy cottons. For the prints and patterns I used strong florals that were designed with a loose, organic hand and beachy stripes and plaids.

Fischer 2012 Inspiration

What should people expect when they see your collection at Confirmed Stock?

I plan to bring a good assortment of tailored shirts and trousers, some casual shirts, shorts and jackets with a healthy dose of sartorial accessories. A lot of is is not available online or really anywhere but a few select stockists.

What do you feel makes Fischer stand out from other menswear makers?

For the clothes, I tend to focus on subtle details and high-quality fabrics. Noting is overstated, so it has longevity. Also, it’s all made here in the US of A, which is still a teeny tiny piece of the industry. It’s more expensive to manufacture that way, but I believe it’s catching on. Since the economic shifts of the past 5 years, people are starting to think more about their purchases, where stuff is coming from and where their money is going.

Where do you see Fischer Clothing going in the future?

Over the next year, I’m pushing to layer in new categories, like accessories, outerwear, knits etc. In the longer term, I’m looking into creating a retail space to serve as a studio/ showroom.

You’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more about Fischer Clothing in the coming months and years. They’ve built a firm foundation that will serve them well into the future. Get your hands on a fine pair of trousers or one of their fantastic shirts April 28 at Confirmed Stock. In the meantime, you can see more at FischerClothing.com.
Photos Courtesy of Fischer Clothing
 

Posted: March 19, 2012 No Comments »

Entry No 5
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Brand Profile: Sandtown Millworks
Chris Walbert

– People say American manufacturing is dead and it isn’t coming back. That’s bullshit. Great products are still made here and we hope we’re an example of that.

Sandtown Millworks

Sandtown Millworks is one of those companies that just does things the right way. From the way they source materials to their construction methods and finishing touches, everything is done with intent and care. Sandtown Millworks has quickly gained a reputation in and around Baltimore for building superior coffee tables, dining tables, consoles, beds, desks, mirrors, and bookshelves that celebrate the history behind each and every piece. We were fortunate enough to sit down with co-founder Will Phillips to learn even more about Sandtown Millworks.

Why did you start Sandtown Millworks?

We started Sandtown Millworks because Baltimore has an amazing “natural resource” – the old-growth structural lumber that most of our rowhomes and buildings are made of – that too often gets trashed. The thought of that beautiful lumber rotting in a landfill makes us sick.

Where does the name Sandtown Millworks come from?

The idea for Sandtown Millworks was born on a Habitat for Humanity job site in a West Baltimore neighborhood called Sandtown. The wood for the company’s first collections came from homes that Sandtown Habitat had rehabbed and wood from Sandtown homes is still used in our pieces.

What drives you to keep it going?

Every day in Baltimore there’s a building being demolished, and there’s a dumpster out front waiting to haul the old lumber to the dump. That structural wood is a precious resource and it won’t be around forever; we want to make the most of it while it’s still around.

Sandtown Millworks

What excites you about what you do?

Every new batch of wood we get has different qualities. Some have the original saw marks from when they were first milled, some have really intricate wood grain, some have old notches and mortise holes, some have beautiful natural edges that follow the wood grain. Every batch has its own character which we try to highlight in a finished piece of furniture.

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process and how you conceive new products?

John (Bolster) is the creative leader of Sandtown Millworks. He’s an architect from Catholic University who wanted to build his own designs. He’s spent 17 years designing and building stunning, one-of-a-kind rowhomes in Baltimore. John spends very little time drawing, most of the creative process happens while canvassing the boards in the wood shop and during the actual construction of a prototype.

What inspires you?

We draw inspiration from Baltimore. We naturally gravitated toward a style that fits with Baltimore’s heritage and personality: industrial, imperfect and proud to be that way.

 

Why did you decide to make your products in America?

People say American manufacturing is dead and it isn’t coming back. That’s bullshit. Great products are still made here and we hope we’re an example of that. But it’s true that a lot furniture is made overseas where labor’s cheap. Customers are mainly paying for virgin materials, packaging, transportation and the cost to operate a big retail store where it’s sold. We don’t have most of those costs. But every piece of Sandtown Millworks furniture is carefully handmade to order. Our customers pay for the many hours of highly skilled labor that go into each piece. Dollar for dollar, that results in a better piece of furniture.

Where do you see Sandtown Millworks going in the next year?

Sandtown Millworks has a lot more room to grow in Baltimore. We’ve had a 2-3 month backlog of orders since we launched, and we’re just starting to get the word out. We’re focused on growing our business locally and making the best-designed, highest quality furniture on the market.

Another signature element of Sandtown Millworks furniture is the weathered metal plugs which are inset into the tops and legs to cover the joinery. These metal discs not only lend perfectly to the look of the piece, but they are a waste product from a local metal worker that Sandtown often partners with.

Will & John of Sandtown Millworks

Join us on April 28 to meet the gentlemen behind Sandtown Millworks and see their creations in person. That’s really the best way to experience these pieces. You can also learn more on their Facebook page.

Photos Courtesy of Sandtown Millworks

Posted: March 14, 2012 No Comments »

Entry No 4
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The (first) Confirmed Nine
Chris Walbert

Confirmed

We here at Confirmed Stock have been working hard to not only make this event a reality, but to make it an awesome day for Baltimore, the brands, and everyone who comes out. To that end, we’re extremely excited to share two huge announcements with you today. First, the inaugural Confirmed Stock will happen April 28, 2012 at the 2640 Space from 11 am–5 pm. If you’ve ever been to 2640, you know how amazing this place is. We feel very fortunate to be able to hold the event there. Second, we are beyond excited to announce our first nine confirmed brands.

Almanac Industries / Ball and Buck / Blue Claw Co. / Corter Leather / CXXVI / Federal Store / Fischer Clothing / Lumina Clothing / Sandtown Millworks

Click on each of their links to get a better view of what it is they do. We also hope to profile each brand before the event so you can fully understand what makes these companies so great. For those of us in Baltimore, these brands are really only available online. Confirmed Stock will be a time to see first-hand the craftsmanship that goes into creating their amazing products, to meet the men and women behind these brands, and to hang out with like-minded folks. We truly cannot thank you all enough for your enthusiasm and support in helping us promote this event. We want April 28 to be an amazing day in Baltimore, and we’ll need your help to make that happen. So bring your friends, your significant other (there’ll be fun stuff for them, too), your co-workers, your dad, and anyone else who appreciates quality American craftsmanship. We can’t wait to see you on April 28.
Posted: February 21, 2012 1 Comment »

Entry No 3
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Style vs. Fashion
Chris Walbert

Style is how you write, how you paint, how you throw a curveball. Style is innate. It’s part of who you are.

Confirmed Stock: Style vs. Fashion

When we started talking about this site, we wanted to make the point that it would never be about “fashion.” We’re not fashion guys, per say, and the idea of talking about trends, what’s hot for the season and things fashion blogs talk about was never what we wanted to do. Instead, one of our overarching themes here will be something much more lasting: style. That may seem like arguing over semantics, but we think it’s an important distinction. Fashion is something that changes with the seasons. It’s controlled and directed by some outside force that tells people what to wear and how to wear it. Style, on the other hand, is much more personal. Style is how you write, how you paint, how you throw a curveball. Style is innate. It’s part of who you are. And just like writing, painting or pitching, your style can grow and improve if you put the work in.
So when you see us talking about things like clothing, shoes and ties, don’t be alarmed. The goal is never to break the latest fashion trends. Instead, our goal will always be to highlight goods and makers that are creating timeless, lasting things. These are the things that would have made sense for our fathers and grandfathers to own and will still make sense for our sons and grandsons. And we ask you to hold us accountable here. If you see us talking about something that you don’t think fits this criteria, call us out. We are by no means experts that are above reproach. We’re hoping to gain as much from our collective readers as you gain from us.
Posted: February 20, 2012 2 Comments »

Entry No 2
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Thoughtful, not Conspicuous, Consumption
Chris Walbert

Consumption

I want to set something straight from the outset, because it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Confirmed Stock is not about conspicuous consumption. It’s not about buying stuff you don’t need. What it is about, at least in part, is being thoughtful and mindful of what you’re purchasing, where it comes from, and who’s behind it. We’re all constantly bombarded by marketing messages pushing us to buy low-quality, largely-disposable, things we don’t need. And acting on these messages is now easier than ever. Confirmed Stock is not about converting quick sales. We’re here to make the case for why, if these brands sell something you need, you should consider patronizing them. Even if you find something you really want or need to buy, consider it carefully. Purchasing one thing always means going without something else. In the age of credit cards, debit cards and direct deposit, we sometimes forget this. We’ve been detached from our money, so we feel frivolous spending less than we used to. And that makes this idea of mindful spending even more important and necessary.
Confirmed Stock: ConsumptionWe’ll shortly be rolling out a series of profiles on brands we feel are deserving of your consideration. We’re not spending the time to do this because we have any agenda or ulterior motive. We’re doing this because it’s important to us and we want to help others spend more thoughtfully.
Posted: February 19, 2012 No Comments »

Entry No 1
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Why Confirmed Stock?
Neal Shaffer

— More and more merchants & entrepreneurs were starting to make names for themselves by offering well-made items designed to last not simply for one season or trend cycle but for years, even lifetimes of faithful service.

(Sidebar: for anyone interested in a longer discussion of my personal reasons for preferring to buy American when I can, click here)
This is an ambitious undertaking. All of us involved in putting it together (myself and the guys from Drexler) know that. But we’re not only excited as hell to be moving forward with it, we’re optimistic that it’s going to succeed. The reasons for that go to the roots of why we’re doing it in the first place. It started somewhere in late 2010. For me, that was the year I decided I needed to both start dressing myself with a little bit more purpose and also be more purposeful with my spending. I always disliked buying cheap clothes/accessories just because they were cheap, but I had also become disillusioned with spending more on a “good” brand that ended up being barely better than the cheap stuff I thought I was replacing. I was also getting incredibly tired of seeing “Made in China” on virtually everything I bought. There’s nothing automatically wrong with imported goods but there’s something about a once-in-a-lifetime economic crisis that refocuses your ideas about where discretionary money is actually going. Luckily for me, 2010 was also a great year for men when it comes to clothing. The so-called “heritage” trend (a term I don’t like, but it’s functional in this context) meant it was suddenly possible to find a lot of well-designed menswear that didn’t look or feel like “fashion” and wouldn’t make one look like a dandy or, worse, a dilettante. That in itself was a revelation. It was also around that time that I started sensing another trend, one I’ll call thoughtful retail. More and more merchants and/or entrepreneurs were starting to make names for themselves by offering well-made items designed to last not simply for one season or trend cycle but for years, even lifetimes of faithful service.These two things – an uptick in relevant menswear style and more thoughtful retailing – came together in the form of events like NorthernGRADE in Minnesota and the Pop-Up Flea in New York, and in emerging brands like Taylor Stitch, Pierrepont Hicks, Raleigh Denim and a host of others.

Something was brewing, but it hadn’t hit Baltimore yet, at least not in terms of menswear. The logical thing to do, then, was help bring it here. The preliminary steps toward what would become Confirmed Stock started in February 2011 but I quickly realized it wasn’t something I could pull off on my own. So I partnered with the Drexler guys and we got to work planning something for the fall. Scheduling conflicts put the screws to that but we’re full speed ahead now for spring and couldn’t be happier.

– What we’re trying to accomplish here is twofold.

First, we want to bring some really great brands/retailers together in Baltimore under one roof in a way that’s never happened before. In fact, most of the stuff we’ll have on offer isn’t available anywhere else in the area. We believe the market is here. Confirmed Stock bridges the gap.

Second, we’re hoping to establish a more long-term presence in the city and the region as purveyors of this kind of thinking, through both our pop-up events and the content we create here on the site. The ultimate form that takes is as-yet undefined but filled with possibility. To some extent, we’re going where it takes us.

But first thing’s first and that’s the inaugural Confirmed Stock at the 2640 Space on April 28, 2012. Menswear, vintage, dry goods. Quality stuff all around and a good time to be had by all. We hope to see you there.

Posted: February 18, 2012 No Comments »