SECRET FORTS » 2013 A COLLECTION OF GOOD THINGS Thu, 19 Feb 2015 17:23:46 +0000 en hourly 1 Mon, 23 Dec 2013 15:32:50 +0000 mrforts

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SNAKE OIL SALESMEN. Thu, 12 Dec 2013 14:53:59 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Something’s afoot in Long Beach CA. Established by Ben Neuhaus and Josh Eck, the recently-opened online (for now) shop Snake Oil Provisions is the result of two friends coming together over a genuine and earnest appreciation of hard-wearing, long-lasting American made goods. Having put together a solid initial roster, SOP takes a straight forward approach in the choosing and stocking of quality brands, among them Tennessee’s own Pointer Brand, the SF-based Taylor Stitch, boots by Chippewa, bags from Filson and denim by Rogue Territory. And in keeping with the wouldn’t sell it if we wouldn’t wear it ethos, all brands the two wear daily and back 100%. Along with simply stocking Rogue Territory (on a tear as of late with the extremely dope, already sold out Rogue Territory x Need Supply Co. 2013 Supply II Jacket), SOP have teamed up with their friend Karl Thoennessen in the creation of their own (and first of what I assume to be many) collaboration, the extremely limited RGT x SOP Washed Pure Indigo Work Shirt.

According to Josh, “The shirt is made from 10oz Japanese indigo-dyed canvas that has been rinse washed, meaning no two shirts will be alike. The threading is brown and is triple chain-stitched with run-off, similar to the current RgT Maker shirts. The buttons are brown imitation horn, all for the bottom one, which is blue cat-eye. There will be co-branded artwork screened onto the inside of the front left panel of the shirt, and there will also be a small second detail that we’re keeping mum on for the moment, leaving it as a sort of fun Easter egg hunt for buyers. There will only be 30 made, total…ever.”
As if that’s all not enough for the two friends to take on, in addition to opening the shop online, the collaboration and coinciding with the release of the resulting work shirt, SOP has a pop up event planned for this coming weekend. Again Josh, “We wanted to give people a chance to get a glimpse into our vision for the shop; to be able to see and feel the goods we have in our store, hang out with us, and maybe get some cool stuff for Christmas. We wanted the work shirt release to coincide with the pop up to commemorate a special moment for us, and to reward some of the people who come out to support us.”

So if you’re in the area, stop in and say hello to the fellas. “We want people to know who’s behind it, that we actually love and wear all the brands we carry, that we are the ones packing and shipping the things they buy from us, etc. That’s really important to us. This isn’t a scheme for us to get rich—we’re not in it for the money, or else we’d be working on the next big app or something—it’s an outlet for a huge passion that we both share, and that we want to share with anyone who will let us.” Well put Josh. And if you can’t make it this weekend, don’t worry, a brick & mortar SOP is in the works for Spring of next year.

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THE FALL THREE : CHRIS GRODZKI, STANLEY & SONS APRON and BAG CO. Tue, 03 Dec 2013 14:08:31 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Chris Grodzki. Stanley & Sons apron and bag maker. Surfer. True craftsman. Brooklynite-turned-East Ender. My #farout dude. His Fall Three.

1) Warm meals: Romertopf Clay Baker. We got this German chicken roaster recently and love it. Really looking forward to all things chicken. CHICKEN CHICKEN CHICKEN! It cooks really well and we have been making all sorts of things with it.

2) )Music: Psyched on this Robbie Bashow record that was recenlty re-issued by Gnome Life Records. Also looking forward to the first solo record from Kevin Morby coming out on Woodsist later this month. Fall is a great time to be indoors listening to music.

3) Wheel Ceramic: Incense Huts – Lindsay has been making these huts. Burn some little incense bricks in these jams and let the music guide you. Feel it brother.

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THE BOARD, F/W ’13, pt. I. Thu, 28 Nov 2013 16:08:17 +0000 mrforts

Your pictorial guide to a proper, stylish, adventurous and perhaps dangerous Winter. Happy Thanksgiving.

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THE FALL THREE : STEVEN KIMURA, OWNER OPERATOR. Tue, 26 Nov 2013 15:19:05 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Steven Kimura (here with other Owner Operator, Pete Sieper). Mountain-ready, US Made outdoor gear. Mt. Chiller ambassador. Solid dude. (Both of em actually.) What follows is Steven’s Fall Three.

1) Seeing friends getting first tracks of the season in our gear is as rewarding as it is torturous. Where’s the powder in NYC?

2) Making a couple of one-off powder boards with Jesse Loomis over at Powderjet. Handmade snowboards remind me of better days in snowboarding.

3) Fall is prime time for road trippin. Too hot in the summer, and this thing won’t even start in the winter.

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THE FALL THREE : TODD BARKET, UNIONMADE. Wed, 20 Nov 2013 14:03:06 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
I met Todd a few years back on the opening day of a little shop on Sanchez street in San Francisco called UNIONMADE. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Since then, Todd and co. have been busy steadily growing from their original address on Sanchez south to Brentwood Country Mart in LA as well as opening the excellent women’s shop Mill Mercantile closer to home in SF. Happy to count Todd a friend and happy to present his Fall Three again this year.

1) 1. The Riems Marron Loafer from Paraboot : I haven’t worn a pair of Paraboots since the 1980′s. We started carrying them again. I got a pair and I love them. We just got the loafer in and I think it’s the perfect shoe for Fall. It looks great with everything and it’s a cool take on the loafer.

2) The Sea Ranch Lodge : We just shot our Fall indigo campaign in this modernist coastal retreat. It’s 165 miles from San Francisco, and is a 10 mile stretch of land on the coast that has an amazing collection of modern houses that blend into the scenery. It’s the perfect place to spend the last of the warm Fall days.

3) 45 RPM Cord Blazer : I always love everything at 45 RPM. The quality is always amazing and I always think of their pieces as a keepsakes. I love cord and it’s the perfect piece for a West Coast Fall. You can wear it as a jacket all winter long.

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EPIC ROAD TRIP : BEHIND THE SCENES on THE HILL-SIDE’S WILD JOY RIDE. Mon, 18 Nov 2013 17:36:16 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
A Q+A with Emil Corsillo from The Hill-Side and a behind the scenes look at their recent 500 mile Volvo joy ride from old bob the weaver’s place in rural Virginia to Hickoree’s HQ in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Herringbone modified. Moonshine consumed. Hijinks ensue.

SFs: You were recently given the keys to a 2014 Volvo S60. How’d that all happen and why wasn’t I invited? Don’t they know I only drive Volvos?

TH-S: Volvo asked us to propose a cool road trip to them, as part of this “Volvo Joy Ride” marketing project they’re doing. We pitched the idea of visiting Old Bob, our friend in rural Virginia who weaves our Old Virginia Modified Herringbone fabric, watching him weave some new fabric, and then driving it back to our New York factory to see it transformed into a necktie. Next thing we knew we were flying down to Virginia to pick up a brand new whip. And, you WERE invited dude. Check your voicemail once in a while.

SFs: No seriously, why didn’t you invite me?

TH-S: You’re just so much more handsome than Sandy and me that we were afraid we’d look even more schlubby than usual if we had to be on camera next to you.

SFs: Moving on, how’d you guys connect with Old Bob initially?

TH-S: Mitch (long-time Hickoree’s store manager) is the one who got in touch with Bob originally. Mitch was looking for a domestic textile source who could weave fabric for us on old shuttle looms, with small minimums, and so he was making a bunch of phone calls and writing a bunch of emails. He contacted a few textile museums up and down the east coast, and one of them was like “there is this one guy down in Virginia . . .” and that was the beginning of a wonderful friendship.

SFs: Talk a little about the “modified herringbone” fabric itself? What makes it special? Given the name, was it something bob was doing already that he tweaked for you guys?
TH-S: To get a little technical, Bob’s fabric is made with yarn spun from 80% cotton and 20% polyester clip. “Clip” is the scrap fabric left over after a length of fabric is cut into pattern pieces to make clothes. Scraps of cotton and polyester fabric are shredded, fluffed, and blended into a fiber that can then be re-spun into yarns.
For this fabric, Bob used 8′s/2 size yarn, meaning each strand is made of two 8-count yarns plied together. This is pretty beefy yarn; denim is usually made with 6′s, 7′s, or 8′s/1 yarn and shirt fabric is a lot finer, like 20′s or 30′s/1.
Bob was already using this weaving pattern when we met him; it’s totally his invention. Every season we specify the color and set-up details that make the fabric seem new. In our current collection (Autumn/Winter 2013) we’ve got Bob’s modified herringbone fabric in five different colors: pewter grey, cardinal red, forest green, spice orange, and apple green. They all use the same multi-color warp, but with different weft yarns.

SFs: So, as I understand it, part of your friendship with Bob includes drinking moonshine together. How much was consumed on this trip and in what flavors?

TH-S: Bob’s neighbor has a source for some legit Virginia mountain man moonshine, which has kind of become a ritual every time we go down there. This time Bob’s neighbor brought over strawberry, pineapple (a first for me and Sandy), and the classic straight corn stuff. There were quite a few of us on hand for the festivities at Bob’s house that first night of the trip, including a film crew of six, two dudes from the marketing team, Bob and his wife, and two more of Bob’s friends. Everyone got a little taste of the ‘shine. I learned that the pieces of pineapple and strawberry that have been soaking in moonshine for god knows how long are really dangerous, and Sandy drove the Volvo back to the hotel that night.

SFs: What’s the top speed you reached in the Volvo?

TH-S: We had it up around 100 for a few sections of I-81 through northern Virginia, but the most fun we had was on the small country roads in Lancaster County, PA, with cameras suction-cupped all over the car. Something about knowing there’s a camera mounted on the rear wheel well makes you want to drive like a maniac. The whole time I was thinking of that “professional driver on a closed course” disclaimer they show in car commercials.

SFs: Do either of you even know how to change a flat?

TH-S: Change a who?

SFs: Never mind. Did anything bad happen to the car?

TH-S: We took a detour at one point in the trip to visit “Virginia’s only drive-thru safari” — which turned out to be way more intense than we anticipated. They gave us these big buckets of pellet food, like what you feed to the animals at a petting zoo, and they told us to hold them out the window with two hands. Well, about 30 seconds into the park, a dozen llamas and elk rushed the car from all sides, and I did the opposite of what I had been told. I held my bucket inside the car with one hand, and the first llama stuck his head in my window and ripped my bucket right out of my hand. Petting zoo pellets went everywhere: all over our laps, wedged in between the windshield and the dashboard, rattling around inside all of the AC vents, stuck in our seat belts, you name it.

SFs: Gross.

TH-S: Not as gross as your Volvo.

SFs: Nice one. Other than the Drive-Thru Safari, what other discoveries did you make along the way?

TH-S: Right in that same part of Virginia we also stopped to check out the famous Natural Bridge (which we nicknamed “Natty Briddlez”) and Foamhenge, which is a full scale replica of Stonehenge made of styrofoam.

SFs: Speaking of Foamhenge, what was the soundtrack for the road trip? Did you listen to Smell The Glove by Spinal Tap? Did you make a playlist on iTunes entitled “Sandy and Emil’s Epic Joyride”?

TH-S: We brought along your “SECRET FORTS SUMMER OF ’99 GOOD TIME GROOVEZ LOL” mix, but the Volvo didn’t have a tape deck. So we mostly listened to Indigo Girls bootlegs on Sandy’s iPhone.

SFs: Whats the most “road trip” thing you ate?

TH-S: We ate a bunch of classic rest stop convenience store food. Every time I ate a Slim Jim I thought of you…cuz that’s your nickname.

Home safe and sound. And below, the finished product.

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OUT/ABOUT/HERE/THERE Mon, 11 Nov 2013 14:11:49 +0000 mrforts

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THE FALL THREE : CHRIS BRAY, BILLYKIRK. Fri, 08 Nov 2013 16:35:07 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Chris Bray. Husband and father. Muscle car enthusiast. Along with brother Kirk, he of Billykirk leather goods. Damn good guy. Pleased to present Chris Bray’s Fall Three again this year.
photo x Josh Wool.

1) Nothing says fall like a light wool cap. We made a couple of these last fall with Ebbets Field Flannels and have a couple more in the works with them for this fall/winter.

2) Taylor Supply Waxed ShaWl Collar Jacket. This is from a few years ago and gift from my brother Kirk. It’s been a super all-around good jacket. I will likely re-wax it this fall. (FYI: Be on the look out for a number of leather and canvas care products on our web-site along with some how to videos.)

3) Fall Running – I look forward to seeing my breath on my runs and my Newton’s are with me every step of the way. I owe it to Brendon Babenzien, Supreme‘s Creative Director, for getting me into them and preserving my knees for years to come.

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THE FALL THREE : JAMES FOX, 10 ENGINES Wed, 06 Nov 2013 15:07:04 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Simply put; Family/food/library/rural/transatlantic/vintage. That’s 10 Engines. And this is James Fox and his Fall Three.

1) Kinco “lifty” gloves: Either for windy chilled stony beaches or wet cleanup duty at the farm… from now till April 1st pretty much I carry these Kinco workgloves with me. There is a little “be prepared” about that, but also a lot of nostalgia since I’d had a handful (see what I did there) of these type of gloves over the years. $16 from any good hardware store. Ski lift operators swear by them. Me too. Also handy (again!) if you need to pick nettles for pesto or thistles for a boutonniere.

2) Cullen Skink. Odd sounding name, but basically smoked haddock soup. A Scottish dish that can serve as a whole meal. If you can follow it with some whisky even better… Like diving into the sea with your mouth open.

3) The Uniform. Barbour. Heavy pants. LLBean “shoes”.
Completely converted on the Barbour… plus you can take an afternoon to yourself to rewax the thing every year. Again, tray of Talisker doesn’t hurt… Protip: have a look at British eBay ( and you can find some amazing deals.

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