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Why is it so difficult to get good recommendations for things to watch? During the length of this pandemic i’ve only found a handful of interesting things to stream. Obviously The Last Dance was amazing and highly touted, but it’s been thin for me otherwise. David Coggins recommended ZeroZeroZero (Amazon Prime) to me and it is cinematic and excellent. It can be gruesome at times, but generally great. Fear City on Netflix about how the FBI used the RICO statute to take down the NYC mafia was terrific. I rented the war film The Outpost and watched it two days in a row. It’s put together in an unexpected way and tells a pretty amazing battle story. Lastly, I watched Father Soldier Son on Netflix and it’s a truly depressing tale of how America’s war in Afghanistan has affected American families. If you have any recommendations for good streaming, please comment and share below.
I was thinking about who I could interview who would be honest and forthcoming. Part of the brand culture now seems to be that everyone only talks about wins and never discusses anything negative — even when the challenging moments are the ones that shape us the most. Not everything I read, but most things, seem like they are fully processed and canned. It reminds me of locker room interviews with athletes who are so proficient at saying things but also just saying nothing. The GOATs —LeBron, Tiger, Federer— are often the best at this. (Not overlooking the fact that LeBron has always been outspoken on social issues which is admirable and important.) The one exception of a major athlete who has increasingly spoken with candor is Rory McIlroy. This podcast from a few months ago is especially wonderful. Rors is just so down to earth and sensible. I find the realness especially encouraging. I also love an honest admission of failure and wish more people would be open about that sort of thing. I’m far from perfect but I feel like I have always been self aware of my shortcomings and know that if I share honestly with people it will make it easier to work with them. Being honest also helps me keep tabs on problem areas. I saw someone talking about Instagram being everyone’s “highlight reel” and that really rings true. Not keep beating a dead horse on this matter, but this is something I keep thinking about.
After the NWKC story someone emailed and asked what are all of the things I have worn most over the past ten years. Here’s a list and there’s no affiliate f/ckery here so click with impunity.
Levi’s Made & Crafted Tack Slim selvedge jeans. This style got dropped but I have 2 or 3 pairs left.
Muji canvas sneakers. I buy 4 pairs of these every spring. They are absurdly good and $33.
Kamakura dress shirts. Everything from Kamakura is good quality and good value.
Crockett & Jones Pembroke Country Derby. If I only could have one pair of shoes these would be it. So perfect in every way. Every time I am on Jermyn Street I have to actively work against my own instincts to buy another pair of Pembrokes.
Montbell jackets — mostly from Japan but you can buy most of it in the US now, which is cool.
Gitman Bros casual button-down shirts. I like the fit. I like the story and appreciate the brand.
Los Angeles Apparel 50/50 tee shirts and the 6.5oz tees from LAA too.
Uniqlo socks, underwear, tee shirts and khakis.
Red Wing Heritage Work Chukka in suede. These got phased out. They are similar to the 3141.
J.Crew tech shorts (for golf).
Patagonia Houdini pullovers, workout shorts and fleece pullovers. I hate jackets with hoods.
Reyn Spooner Aloha shirts (only in Hawaii, or sometimes San Diego).
Lardini suits and Southwick suits from Freemans Sporting Club.
The good people at Analog Shift teamed up with Wolf to make the best watch cases I have ever seen. Wolf itself has serious heritage and makes some of the finest watch winders, jewelry cases and accessories you can find anywhere. I like this collaboration a lot because the materials are exactly in line for what would want from a watch case. The 5 piece watch box specifically is made from solid maple wood and is lined with a texturized green khaki cotton canvas that just looks so great. These cases made me really think about how much quality matters with things. Wolf is so good with the design and construction details that illustrate what true quality means. It’s really the details that matter. Each case is designed not to bang or snap back when you let go of the lid. The bottom has felt knobs to product the surfaces it sits on. The wood feels solid and smooth. All around it is just easy to see how well made the Wolf stuff is. I’m sure you can buy a less expensive place to put your watches, but I can’t imagine it would look as nice or last as long as one of these. I’d rather buy one nice thing that will last. This is definitely one of those things. Wolf x Analog Shift
Houston, we have a problem. This is my favorite intersection of Twitter and sport for 2020.
Foraging the Oregon Timber Trail. (Pictured via The Radivist / The Morning News)
This is the first true luxury cannabis company that I have come across. Even people who aren’t into the weed scene have to admit that this presentation is just stunning. Over the years I’ve become friendly with Pierre who owns Devambez and every iteration of this company has been incredible. That said, I prefer Sunday Goods for my THC related exploits. But you have to give Devambez a ton of credit for this execution.
Speaking of good design. This stamp company Wms & Co Ink (no relation btw) has some of the most well curated selection of desktop related things you will find anywhere. It’s always my go-to for gifts.
Finding clarity: A reader recommended this story which is fantastic and this book which I haven’t read yet but want to — I’m still working on The Splendid and the Vile. (Intentional links to Powell’s in Portland and Warwick’s in La Jolla.)
Danish cycling brand Pas Normal Studios collaborated with Porter Yoshida Co and i’m into it. Related, I just bought a custom top tube bag from Kaiventure Bags and they are great and made in the USA.
I was telling David Coggins (who’s on SubStack now too — hey now!) yesterday that I feel so much better writing now that I ever did in the “heyday” of ACL. Going from being hyper relevant to then being quasi (or fully) irrelevant was an interesting experience. It took me full circle —from nobody to somebody and back to nobody. It wasn’t easy to come to terms with that process. The way I dealt with it was to step away and not participate. I love to avoid problems and hope that they will go away — not exactly a healthy approach. That whole experience was a humbling and mentally tough on me. I may have mentioned this previously, but not participating was my form of protest for what was happening in menswear universe. Being away gave me a lot of perspective about how and what I care about. It’s helped me be more open and honest. It helped me not care what people think about what I do. It helped me understand that there are hills beyond the valleys. Things can get better. It’s strange but this pandemic has been one of the best times in my life in certain ways. I have a clarity I haven’t had in years. I don’t feel pressure to be in NY every week. (Just thinking of the cab from JFK to Manhattan gives me anxiety.) My productivity is off the charts now. I’m in full build mode. Don’t take this the wrong way, I am cognizant of all of the insane things going on a lot of people suffering and out of work. But the way the world has stopped has helped me tremendously. I hope that maybe some of my good mental energy is rubbing off to all of you via my writing. I hope you all are feeling less distracted and empowered. And for those of you in a valley know that there are still hills to come.
It’s rare for me to ever do surveys because who knows if it’s actually being read or considered. That’s not the case here because I really want to hear from everyone so I put this together to try and make newsletter the best it can be. If you have 10 minutes please take this anonymous survey here.