No Man Walks Alone A/W: Frank Leder, Monitaly, Soulive, Sage de Cret

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It’s been over a year since I last had the chance to browse the stock at No Man Walks Alone and write one of these pieces, for which I blame a lack of travel to New York.

It is possible to select a few favourites online, of course, particularly as I now know most of the brands that Greg and the team carry.

But a nice aspect of these articles is the ability to report on how pieces look and feel, how they wear and hang: all things that are difficult to assess online.

This time the process was made even more pleasant by NMWA’s expansion into a showroom next to the office and stockroom, with big windows out onto New York’s Garment District.

With sofas, coffee, and over a hundred possible pieces to try on, it would have been easy to stay there all day.

Fortunately, both Greg and I had other things to get to, and we managed to quickly cut it down to a selection of new brands, old favourites, and intriguing designs.

All pieces are currently in stock, and all titles are hyperlinked to the products on the NMWA site.

 

 

Monitaly Chamula roll neck

$365

Chamula is the sister company of Monitaly, and brings together artisans in Mexico that specialise in different traditional techniques. This rollneck is hand knitted, making it particularly stretchy, soft and malleable.

It’s also softer that it perhaps looks. It’s not cashmere, but the merino is lovely, and it feels very soft and cosy.

Style-wise, note that the neck is particularly large, so this must be a point you like.

 

Monitaly Tankers jacket

$545

My favourite piece from the Monitaly main line is this short jacket in the American version of Ventile - Vancloth. Just as closely woven as its better-known English equivalent, Vancloth is lightweight and water-resistant.

The jacket is cut particularly short, and will therefore be best with high-waisted trousers. It gathers nicely at the back, with an elasticated hem creating to a full, rounded back.

The nicest style point, however, is the overlapping asymmetric front, which can be worn a variety of ways thanks to its double-ended zip.

 

3 Merz B Schwanen henley

$125

Merz B Schwanen will be familiar to most readers, given its reputation for traditional cotton pieces made on German circular-knitting machines. (My background post here.)

This technique makes for very comfortable underwear and knitwear, without any side seams.

I’ve worn their 103 henley shirts for years, as layers underneath flannel or denim shirts, or shawl-collar cardigans.

The others I have are cream or grey-coloured with cream ribbing, however, and have a definite vintage look. I’m tempted this season therefore to add a plain white version, which NMWA stocks.

 

4 Inis Meain Storm jacket

$595

A nice piece over that Merz henley would be the Inis Meain Storm jacket – knitwear that’s chunky enough to be worn at home or as outerwear, given its reinforced shoulders and yoke.

Pieces like this are the kind of thing many men want to throw on at the weekend, especially if they find things like shawl-collar cardigans don’t hack it as outerwear.

The lack of ribbing on the cuff also makes it a little easier to wear over a shirt.

 

5 Frank Leder great coat

$845

It’s hard to appreciate how heavy and tough this coat is until you’ve tried it on.

Made with a thick, closely woven wool, it feels bulletproof – certainly a good defence against the wintry winds of Manhattan.

It is also slim in the shoulders and sleeves, however, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone that would want to wear it over a jacket. Over knitwear, great, but tailoring would struggle to fit underneath.

 

6 Blurhms silk/cotton T-shirt

$115

A new brand for NMWA, Blurhms makes fairly simple pieces with little fashion-touches in the design, or unusual materials.

The fashion touches (such as side zippers) aren’t for me, but I like the silk/cotton jersey of this T-shirt – combined with the straight cut, it makes the tee feel more like a refined piece to be worn on its own, rather than underwear.

 

Sage de Cret field jacket

$545

The thing I love most about the NMWA curation is how it makes me aware of small brands that – despite being more casual or workwear-orientated – have a lot of manufacturing principles in common with the classic menswear I focus on.

Sage de Cret is one of those, and the field jacket they offer this season is a particularly nice version of the style – in a cotton/linen mix and heavily garment washed.

 

8 G Inglese polo shirt

$175

G Inglese combines a fine southern-Italian make with great, understated taste – something not common among Italian brands.

The colours of his polo shirts are often extremely sophisticated, with creams as well as white, petrol green and lilac, and subtle shades like beige or oatmeal.

I liked this pale grey, which would be light enough to wear with mid- or dark-grey trousers (always helpful in the male wardrobe) but even nicer with green or navy.

 

9 Rota cavalry-twill trousers

$445

This is just a lovely colour.

Rota needs little introduction, being now widely known as one of Italy’s best trouser specialists. And cavalry twill is a great modern trouser cloth: hard wearing and smart without being as formal as normal suit trousers.

But this deep, black-tinged brown colour is what makes the trouser. Wear with a white shirt, black loafers, and perhaps pale-grey knitwear.

 

10 Soulive patchwork scarf

$255

I have a real weakness for Japanese fabrics, something only exacerbated by visiting the country and seeing both products and mills.

Soulive makes particularly great variations, with founder Masato Tanaka largely responsible for making Okayama mill Collect one of the leading names of Japan’s home of denim.

This scarf is a mix of navy and indigo prints, and has light wadding along its (long) length, making it as practical as wool.

 

Photography: Elliot Hammer

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G

It feels like your writing style has changed since going full-time with this blog. A certain amount of objectivity appears to have been discarded.

Daniel

I agree. Reads far more like an ad than objective copy.

Simon promoting what is essentially the exact same grey polo as the LA version sold on PS is the icing on the cake. Baffling.

S.

Dear Simon,

Thanks a lot for that comment. I wish you would write a more precise assessment of these products right into your article. If so, I guess the whole thing wouldn‘t have the taste of an ad.

Trevor K

Good analysis Simon – I’m curious why you don’t include this sort of text in the main piece? Do readers really have such short attention spans?

Anonymous

I suppose we come here for the detail though…
Also, I would say products being recommended are a bit more fashioney…A silk t shirt for over $100??

James Gomis

Simon – you have beautiful illustrated why your site stands above the rest. Well informed, analyzed and yet easy to digest content on the finer points menswear. I fell that similar articles going forward would be greatly enhanced by the same touch even if it means reducing it to 5 or 3 items.

Philip Park

Hi Simon,

I would love to see similar articles covering the likes of Drake’s, Trunk, A&S Haberdashery etc (separately as you have done for NNWA here) in London.

Thanks

Phil

H

I get what people mean with their reservations that this looks like an ad etc – but to be honest I’ve been reading PS long enough to know that’s not true and as such I’d find this useful too.

I don’t buy all the things on your buying guides but I do tend to find I’ll end up buying 1 or 2 and it helps with the confidence I’ll have in those purchases.

The specific stores I’d be interested in probably being something along the lines of Drake’s, Trunk, A&S, The Armoury, Mr. Porter, and the Rake’s online store.

RDH

I visited with Greg recently too – he was very patient(!). Very helpful to get a first hand look/feel on some of the range.

One point, when I looked online at the Merz B Shwanen 103 henley you mention above it is a cotton/rayon mix which surprised me. I was not expecting to see a man made fibre in one of your recommendations for underwear

Anonymous

What do you think of the Rota navy Calvary twill they carry? Is the texture sufficient to differentiate it from the bottom half of a suit?

Bobby The Moaner

Didn’t Richard Burton star in a film about Calvary twill? It was called The Robe or something.

RDH

I was told recently that cavalry twill was used for wool cloths but not cotton. Is that true and if so why?

Dan

I love PS and find most of the posts interesting. I know there has already been a lenghty discussion on others posts as to the way PS makes revenue and the objectiveness of the blog. I believe that there is no hidden payment from NMWA in this case and that the pieces are something that you genuenly would recomend Simon. Making 3 posts a week and having a great relationship with shops and people in the business surely would prompt anybody to write posts like this. Afterall new bespoke pieces cant be the only source of inspiration for posts. I do however wish that you would reconsider doing these kind of posts. Even if they are objective, they blur the line, a line that you probably are very aware of. I come back to PS every week because i enjoy your objectiveness, insights, personal style and writing ability. This post might not be a paid add, but it feels like one. And that is a shame. Oh and NMWA are great and do stock some amazing brands. Regards

T-dogg

Would it make a difference if you just didn’t even mention the name of the particular shop? You were merely in a shop in NYC that had some great stuff and here is a list of things I liked… ?

Direct links to the products themselves also make it seem a bit “addy”

I love this site but would hate for it to turn in to one of the many sites full of “top ten items you need for your whisky tour through Scotland” type articles.

Greg

This was one of the first questions we asked Peter Plotnicki when we met him 6 years ago and saw his products. The feel of the Maco Imit fabric is quite unique and pleasant, but we were surprised that he’d use a viscose mix for their lighter knits instead of simply cotton.

The reason they do is to be as faithful as possible to the original vintage shirts they’re reproducing. One of the original vintage shirts they used as a reference when they started making shirts on original loopwheel machines had great soft hand that they wanted to reproduce. Peter found out the composition and it was 67% cotton and 33% viscose. The shirt was from between 1910 and 1920. (viscose/rayon was invented in the late 19th century and started being used in the early 20th)

At the time, they called the fabric “Maco Imit” which means that they imitated the Maco (Egyptian long staple cotton) which has the same softness but much more expensive.

For Peter, it made the most sense to reproduce this yarn rather than replace it with another soft cotton – both because of its history and because he liked the fabric very much.

PS: I assume that most readers here know this, but it’s worth pointing out that viscose/rayon is a fabric that is made from natural cellulose fibers (wood pulp, bamboo or other). It is a bit different from man-made fibers generated from petroleum products.

RDH

Thanks Greg. Very helpful

Oliver

Would like to have heard a bit about the lovely tan suede jacket that is featured in the pictures at the top of this article. Not that unusual perhaps, but does look lovely!

Matt Spaiser

That greatcoat is impressive. When I get a coat, I want it to feel bulletproof. I certainly need it for Manhattan winters, when lightweight cashmere or camelhair coats don’t cut it. But if I can’t wear it over tailoring, it doesn’t sound like something that I would care to get. The colour is a bit too army for me as well. Navy is my preference, which will help it look more like a regular overcoat without disregarding the military heritage.

Daniel

I do not mind this article or consider it too ad like. While Simon does discuss several items, it is up to the reader to decide if these products warrant a closer look or not. Besides, I appreciate that Simon occasionally publishes articles on ready to wear clothing brands rather than bespoke.

Anonymous

Hi Simon, some critical posts here – reasonably you ask for feedback. This aspect of PS, one I am concerned about, is the slow tilt towards what seem to be ‘advertorial’ pieces. The issues are thus: firstly there is no real critical approach in the article, all seems positive. This is set against PS’ approach to bespoke wherein an honest appraisal is given – indeed it has become your trademark. Secondly the images are limited and thus the hyperlink has to be followed to see or learn more – it thus has a feel of a commercially driven piece. I am not against hyperlinks – they are useful but need to be used wisely against a well informed context. Next is the lack of comparison to what might also be available- so no real review – hence the criticism as a ‘puff piece’. Suggested approaches are to therefore review fewer garments, via a contrast and compare approach, or to show pieces as collections (for example Drake’s winter 2018 ties) or capsule wardrobes – a more curatorial approach is thus required. There is then a theme to the piece other than ‘show and tell’. Having said this I would welcome more on what Drake’s, A&S etc. might offer – but the ‘lense’ Simon must be your own: the honest, intelligent, informative PS view point. Hope you don’t mind the suggestions.

Gidi

Regarding the lack of comparison, I must admit that this has bothered me in the past as well. There are plenty of brands, tailors etc.. that make fantastic products but never make it onto Simon’s radar or are mentioned in the posts. However, I came to realise, he can’t be expected to try every product and buy a bunch of merchandise just for review purposes. He’s done well to create a network of manufacturers that represent some of the best in the industry. This, for me at least, is why some of the comments are very helpful.

I do miss those posts reviewing various products that people sent in hoping they’d receive a positive review and a boost in their website traffic!

Mike

The hyper link for the Rota trousers takes me to belted trousers while the photo in the article shows side adjusters. Are these the same trousers? Thanks for clarifying.

Phil

Hi Simon,
I’m baffled by these comments questioning your objectivity. I see no evidence for that whatsoever. NMWA has an extensive range of high quality menswear and it’s perfectly natural for you find a number of pieces to recommend. I find the range of such sites quite intimidating, and often have the feeling I’m missing something somewhere, so I welcome a list of suggestions from a discerning and knowledgeable party. Keep doing what you’re doing as far as I’m concerned.

Anonymous

As a long term reader I trust that PS/Simon’s articles remain objective but considering this article from the perspective of someone coming to the site for the first time I think its totally reasonable to assume it a sponsored/fluff piece with a whole review dedicated the postive news only of an amazing retailor and its fantastic products.

I too value peices that review RTW items but I do feel more comfort when they are constrained to a city, season or item type rather than a single retailor… I’m not so interested in the best Drake’s jumper but much more interested in the best jumper I can buy in London.

Anonymous

I feel like these negative comments are entirely unwarranted. If this post is advertisement in disguise, so are the season’s best 10, and so are the sartorial guides for various cities (they also include hyperlinks, and do not justify the choices by comparing them with what was left out). But it would be a great loss to not have these pieces in the future. As Phil and Daniel note, some readers welcome Simon’s views on ready-to-wear (even when they are not backed up by an exhaustive comparison with other RTW items). Not everybody has the money (or the need) to spend on bespoke suits. Personally, the only reason I know of NMWA is because of this site.

Also, it seems a little premature to judge the ‘new direction’ of the site less than a month after SC started doing this full-time.

WES WP

I’m put-off by the trolls who are inhabiting this comment page all of a sudden.

I love menswear. I love seeing pictures of shops and boutiques that I can’t get to.

I spend $10 a month to buy the Rake (magazine) to PAY FOR content that is (often) clearly an advertisement. The Rake has entire sections that promote its own products, the products of smaller artisans, and larger luxury brands (and bespoke tailors).

The Rake changed directions over the past year. Each issue is exactly the same – I mean EXACTLY the same – as the previous one. I won’t be renewing my subscription.

Simon’s website – his advice – his personal responses to our posts – is FREE. We are not paying him a monthly subscription rate.

I never get the sense that he’s pushing anything on me – his reader. I DO however, get the sense that internet readers – who don’t pay a dime for content – have expectations that are way too high.

First off – Simon has created a site that (if you’re here) you must like it.

When he visits a shop, an e-tailer, a custom tailor, a luxury house…that does not mean he is trying to sell you something.

You may end up buying a Cifonelli suit because you saw it here – but you’d need $10,000 USD to even make that happen anyway.

How many times has Simon given a negative review to a business? A TON of times.

If you like his site, don’t you enjoy going “inside” a business? Does every piece he writes and present have to meet YOUR standards? Why? Who are you to dictate the direction of anyone else’s website. It’s perverse.

If you haven’t been convinced, yet, of Simon’s authenticity and integrity – by virtue of years of great service and advice, then you never will.

Your trolling is just sad. You’re not the content police. You, yourself, don’t have a successful blog or website about men’s fashion (not at Simon’s level).

You aren’t coming from a place of compassion – the man just left his career to do this full time.

Let’s support him for God’s sakes.

He’s not asking us for anything.

Nigel C

Thank you Wes. Well said. It’s quite disappointing reading some of the comments, it kind of makes you want to stay away from what is usually an interesting discussion forum.

Andrew S-L

I think your even handed tone is highly admirable & I second Wes’s opinions. The positive interpretation of the negative feedback is simply that you created something so unique people are getting into a hissy fit merely at the possibility of change. I cannot explain how much I have learned about tailoring from this site and am sure I will continue to do so. So, many thanks and good luck.

Richard T

I’m inclined to agree with pretty much everything Wes says -including the disenchantment with The Rake!

I don’t feel the need to sychophantically agree with all of Simon’s opinions, but nor do I feel the need to express any disagreement, particularly with any degree of vehemence. After all, it’s just clothing…..(am I allowed to say that on PS?!)

The article on NMWA is of little relevance to me as a UK reader, but may well be of great interest to others. I’m not at all opposed to articles on decent quality RTW retail. Not everything I buy is (or could be) bespoke and through PS I’ve discovered retailers like Trunk and Luca Faloni from whom I’ve bought a number of great items of casual clothing.

I’m also particularly appreciative of the informed, experienced, though openly personal views in Simon’s posts (and those of fellow readers) which have given me a much greater understanding of bespoke tailoring and introduced me to some great tailors from whom I have commissioned my first bespoke items this year, with very pleasing results so far. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it’s had quite a transformational effect on my approach to clothing (and this from someone who has long been an enthusiast and worked in high end RTW retail in the past). The shop is interesting too. Just made my first purchases of shirt cloth, though frustrated to have missed the restock of the raincoat.

For me, personally, I like the breadth of PS and I hope it continues. I’m sure that it will evolve with time as most things do (to avoid extinction!), but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Should PS go the way of The Rake I shall simply stop reading it. Should it ever come to that, I doubt that I will feel the need for melodrama. Though you never know…..

Anonymous

I agree with the above… Especially appreciate the trend towards RTW recently….
Speaking of which Simon… If I wanted a work suit for under a grand, where should I look in London (RTW)? RL is the only place that springs to mind!! Trunk are a bit too casual if you know what I mean, but I dropped into RL the other day on Bond street and couldn’t see a single item (bar the astronomically expensive purple label) that had working button holes, which one should be able to get for a 800 quid suit…
Also see that the Merchant Fox have a pop up in your pop up space – dreadfully nice chaps they are

G T

Drat was hoping for a reply on this one!

Anonymous

?

Nick

I was happy with the suits I got from Gieves RTW and (gasp!) Suit Supply before I upgraded to Graham Browne (thank to Simon/PS).

You might consider waiting for the Graham Browne Christmas sale if you don’t need something urgently…

Peter O

I think Simon’s critics confuse enthusiasm with advertising and
anybody who has lived in New York knows the English language changes!

Egon

I think some are a going a bit far in their criticism of the advertorial feel of this piece. This is not a review of a service or a bespoke house, where your money is wasted if you weren’t happy with your product or experience. If you order something you can send it back if it’s not your thing. I find it hard to believe that somebody would buy and keep something solely because Simon said he liked it. Of course, a blog consisting only of this type of lighter content would not very interesting in the long term, but I imagine that Simon is well aware of this.

It’s also worth noting that all these smaller, independent shops like NMWA which deal in the niche products that many of us love need effective exposure and marketing toward their relatively small customer base in order to stay in business.

Just trying to provide som perspective.

Evan

Simon,

Great write up, NMWA has introduced me to some great brands. My question is more directed towards the Calvary twill pants. Where would you rate these on the spectrum of casual to formal?

Gordon

Hello Simon,

Thank you for the great article.
May I know what size are you wearing for the Merz B Schwanen henley and the Monitaly Tankers jacket?

Gordon

May I know if 4 is an M or an L?
NMWA website doesn’t have got any numeral number for the sizing.

Greg

Simon, are you sure you got a 4? I thought you tried 4, 5 and 6 and settled on either 5 or 6. Merz’s sizing (not our interpretation, this is what is printed on the boxes) is: 4/Small, 5/Medium, 6/Large, etc…

We typically recommend one size up from your normal letter size for a good fit.

Gordon

Hi Simon,

May I know if you had checked your size on this?

Best,
Gordon

PaulS

‘No man walks alone’ – possibly not the best brand name during the current Covid 19 outbreak. We are all walking alone now! They will need to rebrand.