On Chicago’s Oak Street, in an unassuming third-floor office space nestled in amongst the usual-suspect brands, you’ll find Chris Despos. There are no racks or cases of “luxury” products. Just bolts of cloth, spools of thread, and drawers of buttons. And with these building blocks, Despos is making some of the finest tailored clothing in the country.
Real cottage craft is a tough thing to find these days. Even most small brands are being forced by technology, the economy, and customers’ demands to mechanize and expand these days. But Chester Jefferies, a small custom glove maker if Britain is keeping things close to home.
I wrote a few weeks ago about the fantastic Ben Silver catalogs. I’ll admit that I also get giddy waiting for the new Paul Stuart catalogs to drop. This year’s Holiday catalog leans towards the fanciful, but it’s still full of those eminently-wearable superlatives we all expect.
When talking about shoes, the first two things that usual come up are styling and materials. A double monkstrap in brown scotch grain leather, or a Norwegian split toe in snuff suede for example. But let’s not forget what might be the most important aspect of a shoe: the last.
Not all wools are created equal. Such is the, um, nature, of natural materials. Different sheep give different wool and people have been trying for centuries to get the best off our fuzzy little friends. Interbreeding and dietary changes are commonplace. But the Escorial flocks have remained nearly untouched for hundreds of years.