Since i started this blog i’ve posted 1,209 photo’s, 99% being a visual retrospective of pro-cycling and racing bikes from doing research into the great sport.
For a little over 4 years i have been working alongside two Japanese gentlemen, helping them source British made garments for their shop in Tokyo. A little over 5 months ago, we put our heads together to create a brand that is essentially ‘Made in England’ for a Japanese market.
There has been very little stock coming through my sources that fit the spring/summer period. I have honestly been up to my eyeballs in outwear and other clothing for the colder times of the year. So, initially MAMNICK was started to make clothing for this lack of Spring/Summer stock. But since then, we have pushed on to design a full range of clothing from summer shirts and shorts, through to gilets and outwear.
The reason i am telling you this is because, from now on Believe-Belong will act as the blog for the MAMNICK project and although tumblr doesn’t lend itself to ‘networking’ directly, i trust that, if my followers share my taste for all things bike related, then possibly, you might well share my taste in clothing.
MAMNICK is one of of the largest/toughest climbs in Derbyshire, UK. It was important for me to create a brand that has meaning to me, a passionate cyclist. Even though MAMNICK is not an exclusive brand of cycling clothing, I’m sure there will be some cycling ‘functionally’ appearing through our products.
Stay tuned for more info and I hope you can join us on this journey.
It’s a cold monday morning and I’m boarding the 1027 Sheffield to London destined to visit the much talked about Jacket Required trade-show at Blomsbury Place. On route I was wondering what i was to expect from a show that has been hyped as bringing together the prime of mens clothing and footwear to the UK. I already knew a bit about many of the brands showing at Jacket Required, i was still anxious about what really i had signed myself up for? If nothing else, you would think that for anyone with a passion for clothing this would be a great day out. Although the logistics for a day in London, if you live in the North, is never easy. The cheaper train fares mean your usually up at the crack of dawn to catch the train, 2 and half hours and three coffee’s later your at your destination already tired and ready for another nap but was it just my tiredness that was putting me off?
On arrival i was given a plan of the ground floor where the event was taking place and has i scanned the A4 sheet that was handed to me, i cast my eyes over a few brands i was a little shocked to see but from my knowledge there was a healthy weight of established brands as well as some projects that we’re completely new to me. The venue was a nice backdrop for an exhibition of this type. A clean-cut white space. Due to my visit being the afternoon of the final day it seemed as though there was a little bit of an hangover in the air? I can’t deny I did feel as though i had walked into an empty shop. You know the feeling when an unexperienced shop keeper asks “if your alright there?”, and you receive the question as more of a pressure to buy statement? Maybe I was just having one of those types of days? Unfortunately, I found myself questioning my current capitalist attitude. That then turned into a feeling of self-awareness, “what the fuck am i wearing here?” looking down at my bright adidas LA trainers and burberry anorak, wondering weather these ‘industry’ people were seeing me as some type of casual throw-back chav who had lost the plot or took a wrong turn from the high-street?!!
You see, i believe style and fashion are obviously two sides of the same coin, you don’t get one without the other but i did realize how unfashionable i actually was (although knowing full-well how stylish i actually am) until i went to Jacket Required. I started to think about how different things are up north. The question arose in me as to whether fashion and style become altogether different concepts, depending on what part of the country your in? The context of wearing certain clothing in different cities suddenly fell on me, obviously i’m letting myself get carried away but the sight of lots of middle-aged men wearing brogues with vibram soles and beards(!?!) wearing various takes on mountain parka’s was also making me feel a bit queezy. The realization of a fashion market that relies purely on the marketing of trends and certain looks was right there smashing me in the face with a haversack full of selvage denim! And thats not a dig at the actually show itself, i’d take my hats off to the organizers Mark Batista and Co, it really was a impressive display of organization and it did obviously take a great deal of time and management to bring this together, but i honestly found the atmosphere so oppressive. “Who the hell is this guy?” everyones eyes were telling me and my questions of ethics within the fashion sector we’re quickly trapped within myself - and let me tell you, I’m usually a very confident chap. This was no place to ask the question of “when did jacket become worth £1000???” (thanks Rob). Jacket Required honestly struck me has a yuppie heaven. There was without a doubt a great deal of love for the ‘product’ but i myself was retreating back to the comfort of the London sidewalk for a twenty minute breather (and it’s not the best place for some time-out busy London).
After knocking back a quick flapjack i over came my initial ‘fear of interaction’ and gave the show a good going over in hope of finding something of interest and excitement for next years autumn-winter collections. I can’t lie, i found it sad and disappointing to see regurgitation of the now ever present ‘mountaineering look’ doing the re-cycles again and fair enough, you may be reading this thinking “what do you want? pvc jackets and see-thru shirts?” and it’s not that i am seeking or wanting any extreme-makeover of the market (and i’ll take on board the fact that it is obviously so easy to sit back and criticize whilst sat comfortably observing from the safety of the sofa) but it felt to me that there was no real identity to much of these brands. That hurts to say because these are peoples so-called passions that I’m criticizing but I’m more than happy to stick my neck on the chopping block. It’s this passion to imitate one another thats putting me off. It’s not all bad news, there were bit and bobs from many of the collections that jumped out at my aesthetic tastes but by finding out the price-point again, left too much to be desired (and i yes, i know its all relative to the “cost of production”) It certainly did seem like much of the design work running through a large majority of the brands at JR are all playing it a little too safe.
Afterwards, on return to the safety of my retreat in the North, the word ‘entrepreneur’ was niggling at me. “Risk taker / Decision maker” and although i could see directors of brands we’re obviously making decisions, i can honestly say, i can’t see that many creative or design risks are actually being took and that may just be a sign of the times, a time where you can’t talk consumer capitalism without mentioning the word ‘recession’. Overall, an interesting but rather shallow experience that left me thinking, are we, the audience, the garmentos, the followers and consumers of this industry the butt of a joke? and if indeed we are, I’m not laughing.