Friday, February 26, 2010

Los Angeles, Himel Brothers and Twitter

So the world stopped while I journeyed the globe. I've been hunting down the best materials for my jackets, meeting with my suppliers and discussing possible sales with , reps and store owners. Along the way I visited some of my vintage clients in Japan, looked at fashion trends and participated in some very very important fashion shows. While on the Mekong River I read a book by Gary Vaynerchuk Called "Crush It". I normally avoid the obnoxious American phenomena known as "self help", however my brother recommended it. I read it mostly because it was a sunny day and the book was short anyway. While Gary is clearly a maniac of self promotion, the book got me I share enough of "me" in my blogging. I started researching what you readers say regarding my posting and realize that I have not really shared what I do and who I am enough...thankyou Gary there is genius in between the lines. As a result I am now embarking on some new adventures in sharing. I linked my facebook status to my twitter account and I have joined twitter. I still have not quite figured out the relevance of it, but my voyeuristic enthusiasm is secretly hoping to follow and be followed.

I finished my month long journey in Los Angeles. After arriving in sunny California, Nance and I made a time honoured journey straight to Canter's Delicatessen; one of the last oldies around and ordered a tongue and pastrami sandwich. Anybody who is anybody in L.A. including every great Jewish jacket makers would have sat down and had a sandwich at Canters over the last 70 years. We started planning for the next big day. The next big day was really big! I set up my booth for my leather jacket company Himel Bros. Leather at Rin Tanaka's Inspiration Show at Barker Hanger, L.A. It was an inspirational experience! I met up with my old vintage friends...met some new friends, hung with the biggest names in vintage and fashion design and we all talked Schmata. Anybody who was anybody in what I consider real fashion was there. Im going to post pictures of Nancy and I setting up our booth that we shared with my old old friend Rob Medellin (Robvintage). If you look in Rin Tanaka's Motorcycle Jackets book you will see jackets from Rob! I own a few in the books myself and even sold many of the pieces pictured.

Robert has started a new boot label Ace Boots that will be appearing on my upcoming website and in select stores in Japan. Rob is well respected, understated and a brilliant fashion genius. I will gradually share all my friends booths and more photos over the month so that you can experience the same amazement that I had being in such an awesome event.

Monday, February 22, 2010

One Month: Adventures in Laos and Moto Culture

I've been gone for one month. Nancy and I were on a whirlwind tour of suppliers, potential suppliers, fabrics, tanneries, zipper makers and potential buyers. Traveling from Laos and Thailand, Japan and Los Angeles..we have been following the trail of vintage clothing. From the used markets of Luang Prabang to the chic stores of Harijuku. Guiltily, I've not posted for a while and of course am now fearing and loathing my first post back.

I've always marvelled at the early culture that lead to the boom of products associated with motorcycling. The earliest steam powered motorcycles were invented in the 1860s. Not very functional, early companies were offshoots of bicycle companies. The simple technologies of bicycles combined with new fangled engine inventions exploded into competing companies like Indian motorcycles and Excelsior. Motorized bicycles did not exactly take off but pretty soon they were seen, used and adapted as fast and adventurist replacements for horse and buggy. Races and national promotions combined with the development and paving of roads across Europe and North America helped fuel a boom of Motorbikes, until the bigger, and cheap Model T Ford came along. I've often tried to imagine what that early period must have been like! Laos is probably very similar to that early period of motorcycling in America. Few paved roads and hard to find expensive gas make zooming around economical for men, women and children. Bikes are converted into almost every configuration imaginable; like the early days of Harley taxis. Scooters are familiy transport, sort of motorized donkeys, bikes are used for every purpose from transport to farming. I can just almost imagine all the leather jacket makers poping up here if it were not 38 degrees outside!