A YEAR IN REVIEW | THE BEST OF 2011
2011 has been a huge year for The Sig Other, readership has grown, and I’ve had amazing opporunities to spend time with some of the best people, companies and brands out there. As 2011 comes to a close, I felt the need to recognize the great work that’s been done by everyone in the business, and to share with all of you readers my recommendations for who I think is raising the bar in menswear, from blogging to product production to styling. It was an incredibly difficult task (if I could I’d write several volumes), so for the sake of (moderate) brevity I’ve included honorable mentions – don’t over look them! Thank you everyone for such an exceptional year – your support means more than you know. All the best to you and yours as we head into the New Year. – M
– The Best of Twenty Eleven –
click to jump to category
Product Focused Blog // Story Focused Blog // Online Magazine
Most Knowledgeable // Writer // Photographer // New Blog // Designer
// Vintage Retailers // Stylist // Products Of The Year
Online Brand Experience // Boutique, Over all // Boutique, New
Product Focused Blog: Well-Spent
This was a big year for Well-Spent not least of all because it went through a re-naming, re-barnding (it was formerly known as Commerce With A Consicence). Founder and Editor, Brad Bennett unfailingly finds incredible products and often at incredible prices. Every week I think “how does he do it?” and every week he raises the bar.
Honorable Mention: James Mcnally
Story Focused Blog: The 189
The 189, also known as OEN, has been around since 2007 and it gets exponentially better each year. Founder Mark Robinson and team have an exceptional eye for design, style and craft. Not a day goes by that I don’t admire what they do, if you don’t know it already, The 189 is a weekly must read.
Online Magazine: Valet.
Consistent coverage, thorough reporting, great writing and an incredibly nice staff. What more can you ask? Thanks Valet, for raising showing us what an online publication should be.
Writer: Jonathan Evans, GiltMANual
Every single time you read GiltMANual there is a 99.89% chance you are reading Jonathan Evans. He’s done an incredible job covering everything from Tuxedos to Houndstooth and back. His range is as huge as his talent – simply put, the guy knows how to write better than anyone out there.
Most Knowledgable: CB Rucker
Not a day goes by that CB isn’t dropping some incredibly sartorial knowledge on Tumblr or Guyism, where he is a contributing style writer. Ask him anything and if he doesn’t give you the exact answer he’ll get you 50 steps closer to it. Besides being smarter than everyone else, he’s also a dapper dresser and nice guy. Tripple threat, people, tripple threat.
Honorable Mention: Derek, Die Workwear!
New Blog: Wax Wane
Jake Gallagher moved to NYC with a Tumblr. 4 months later, he’s grown into a wordpress, publishing about 3 times a week and has amassed an impressive backlog. The blog takes a researched approach – looking into the history behind fabrics, trends and garments – and will seriously teach you something, which is refreshing. Each week is dedicated to researching design inspired by a theme. So far we’ve seen Southwest, Nautical, and Expedition week – heres to many more weeks to come.
Photographer: Justin Chung, Justin Chung Photography
Let’s put it this way: A year ago Justin moved to NYC hoping to find some work. Next month he’ll be travelling to the world’s most renowned men’s trade show, Pitti Uomo, in Florence Italy to shoot some of the world’s most renowned men of fashion, along side some of the world’s most renowned photographers, like, ahem, Tommy Ton. Justin, sir, hats off to you.
Ariel and Shimon come from an NYC family with generations of history in the garment industry. This year, they emerged with two forward thinking, traditionally inspired lines that are literally some of the most beautiful clothing I’ve ever touched. Its been a joy to watch this brand grow, I can’t wait to see what they’re up to in 2011.
Honorable Mention: Christopher Bastin, Gant Rugger
Vintage Retailers: BKLYN Dry Goods
This year, BKLYN Dry Goods went from an idea to a full fledged business and an exceptionally loyal fan base. Co-founded by Jahn Hall and Kurt Uhlendorf, BKLYN Dry Goods have hosted pop up shops in NYC, Austin, Texas and already has three collaborations under their belts. They’re already planning to launch a fragrance and if next year is anything like this one they might make it to the moon, too.
Stylist: Josh Peskowitz of Park & Bond
I know what you’re thinking. “Seriously? Pesko? Does that guy really need any more press?” But honestly, I think he does. Because while street style photos of him have gone to all corners of the internet, it’s his actual styling talent that has gone over looked and it’s deserving of true props. Look at the Park & Bond features, 80% of which are styled by him, and tell me I’m wrong.
Honorable Mention: Lawrence Schlossman
Products of The Year
It’s been a great year so it was difficult to pick favorites but these products above all impressed me for their quality, design, and fit.
(Also, yes, you’ll see the Zupan Tie in there, a collaboration I did with Graham Withers. Sure, you could call it shameless self promotion but honestly, if I didn’t make a tie I wouldn’t highly recommend then I shouldn’t have made one in the first place. All in all, I’m glad I did)
Shirting: ROTM Oxford Shirts // Shoe: Wolverine 1000 Mile Boot // Blazer: LBM Deconstructed Blazer // Trouser: Epaulet, Tapered Rudy Trouser // Bag: Mismo, M/S Soft Work Bag // Accessory: Graham Withers x The Sig Other, Zupan Tie // Outerwear: Nigel Cabourn for Eddie Bauer
Online Brand Experience: SEH Kelly
It cannot be denied, S.E.H Kelly creates incredibly beautiful garments. But they’ve also developed an online presence to match. Their blog is consistently updated and features the makers they work with to produce their products. Their update emails are informative and friendly (I actually want to read them!) and every time I visit the shop I can’t get over how pleasant an experience it is. Well done, very well done.
Honorable Mention: IWC
Boutique, Overall: Epaulet
The Epaulet name is becoming synonymous with perfection. And I don’t mean that lightly. Their selection of brands is iron clad, the Epaulet in house brand is *exceptional* and the owners, Mike and Adle, are two of the kindest and most knowledgeable people I know. 110% satisfaction guaranteed – exactly what every good store should be.
Boutique, New: C’H'C’M
C’H'C’M gained a reputation first online and this year owner, Sweetu, opened the doors to the brand’s Bond St. boutique. It is a beautifully situated store filled with some of best made garments available on the planet. The shopping experience is enjoyable online and off, but if you’re in the NYC area, make it a point to stop in and shake Sweetu’s hand for creating one of the best stores out there.
Honorable Mention: Goose Barnacle