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Monitaly by Meg Company - Tenacious for Quality

Long standing patrons of Pickings and Parry will already be familiar with the top notch footwear of California-based Yuketen. As well as recently receiving a batch of their luxe, Birkenstock-inspired sandals, we’re also proud to announce the arrival of a new brand to the roster; Monitaly. Yuki Matsuda is the man behind Meg Company, the parent company behind Yuketen, Monitaly, Epperson Mountaineering and Chamula. The eclecticism of their ranges is astounding, drawing inspiration from a full century of American design and dragging it kicking and screaming into the present. 

Yuki Matsuda - Founder and Designer of Meg Company

"I'm determined to make clothing that I would love to wear. My background is in vintage so I've seen so many great vintage clothing pieces, but vintage fit is usually two-dimensional or disproportionate, and it's not comfortable to wear in any practical manner. But I know how to fix these discrepancies, so I decided to overcome my frustration with ill-fitting clothing by making my own. My goals for Monitaly are great fit with impeccable attention to detail. Made in U.S.A. is very important to me too."

All Meg Company products are made in the USA and Mexico.

Monitaly (if you’re wondering; Monica (Yuki’s daughter + Military + Italy) is certainly not a purists heritage brand. Largely influenced by the brand’s Hermosa Beach headquarters, Monitaly see’s classic Americana silhouettes filtered through Yuki Matsuda’s wild imagination. 

Meg Company - Monitaly SS17 Look Book

Their artisanal approach sees formal and casual garments re-contextualised, details exaggerated and fabrics re-appropriated. The end results are well-considered, functional modern menswear. 

Despite a playful approach to design, quality and manufacture are treated with the highest respect at Meg Company;

"I like things made slowly with care and attention to detail. That's why I collect a lot of vintage shoes and clothing. As you know, back in the old days people cared and appreciated how to make things by hand and were therefore proud of the products they created with their own hands. I have the same feeling. I care about what we make and I'm always thinking of ways to improve our products, and in many respects, I think what we are doing is like fine art. But at the end of the day, the most important thing to consider is how much I care for each product we make."

To kick off we’ve selected a mid-40’s inspired Zoot Pant in mil-spec Vancloth, a heavy linen Vactation shirt and Vancloth Smock. 

Monitaly SS17 Vancloth Zoot Pant

Vancloth is a fairly incredible, high density cotton fabric specially developed by Monitaly to be both lightweight and tough as nails. It also happens to be water resistant. Nifty, huh? As a testament to it's powers I recently took a pretty impressive fall off my bike and grazed a fair chunk of my left side. My Vancloth pullover? Unscathed. Painful field testing of quality fabrics is just one of the many services we offer here at Pickings and Parry.

Shop the collection in-store and online. The weather outside is soon to turn dull and grey, but that certainly doesn't mean you have to as well.

Nigel Cabourn - SS17 Look Book Images

Our friends at Nigel Cabourn's Tokyo HQ have put together a very nice seasonal look book for SS17. This showcases a sample of the collection across all three menswear sections - Authentic, Lybro and Mainline - many pieces are available on our shelves and we thought it worth sharing for reference and inspirational purposes. Enjoy!

Nigel Cabourn Fishtail Cameraman SS17SS17 Fishtail Cameraman Parka with Lybro Mountain Div. Big Palm Tree Shirt, Rail Jacket and 4 Pocket Jeans

Nigel Cabourn Lybro Desert Rats Jacket and Camo Pants SS17Lybro SS17 Desert Rats Short Jacket with Camo Combat Pants 

Nigel Cabourn Wide Lapel Tibet Jacket and Bombay Bloomer Shorts Authentic SS17Wide Lapel Tibet Jacket and Bombay Bloomer Shorts. Nigel Cabourn Authentic SS17 

Nigel Cabourn SS17 Lybro Big Shirt Palm PrintLybro SS17 Mountain Div. Big Shirt Palm Tree Print with Bombay Bloomer Shorts 

Nigel Cabourn SS17 Mountain Div Lybro Big Shirt and Rail JacketSS17 Nigel Cabourn Lybro Rail Jacket in Natural Stripe 

Nigel Cabourn Lybro Dungarees and POH Shirt SS17Lybro Naval Dungarees for SS17 with POH Shirt 

Nigel Cabourn SS17 British Army Desert Pant and Mountain Div. Sherpa JacketMountain Div. Sherpa Lybro Jacket and British Army Desert Pants with USMC Cap 

Nigel Cabourn SS17 Desert Overcoat, Mountain Div. Big Shirt and 4 Pocket JeansSS17 Lybro USMC Cap, Desert Overcoat and Mountain Div. Big Shirt in Black 

Nigel Cabourn SS17 Lybro Desert Overcoat, Mountain Division Big Shirt and Combat PantSS17 Nigel Cabourn Lybro Desert Overcoat and Mountain Div. Big Shirt in Army 

Cost/Wear and the Value of Buying Better

After our recent involvement in the 'Let's Talk About Denim' panel discussion at ACMI, following their screening of Weaving Shibusa (a very good documentary on Japanese Denim) we felt it worth delving a little deeper into the value of good clothing; what makes it valuable and why is it important?

At last count 1.2 million tons of clothing ends up in Australian landfill every year. Let’s take a moment to think about that. That’s the weight of over half a million cars, the weight of 15 million humans or 31,000 Boeing 747’s. Every year. And this is just the end result of a process involving production, water usage, transportation and labour. It’s easy to forget, when confronted with a airport hanger-sized building full of clothing the economic and human cost of each individual garment.

Clothes in Landfill

I do not doubt the good intention of generations preceding us, working towards a future in which we could have more of what we wanted, when we wanted it, and for less. But even in their wildest dreams I wonder if they could have imagined the mass market retail giants we have spawned. There was a time, so we are told, when the value of an item corresponded directly to its worth. Not only are these terms becoming ever-difficult to define, but the relationship between becomes ever-more tenuous. Somewhere along the way we lost touch with what we consume, which, in turn, is changing how we consume.

But 'it’s expensive’ I hear you cry. Well, yes and no. And stop interrupting. My partner introduced me to a wonderful concept she uses to justify purchasing things she can’t afford. It’s called ‘cost per wear’, this is where you divide the cost of an item by the amount of times you expect to wear it. I have done this with my Oliver Peoples spectacles and by my calculation, the company currently owes me $4,567 and counting; I am yet to hear back from their finance department.

Whether I, or our shared closet space, subscribe to her model is beside the point. I have found the idea useful in judging an item’s worth on the amount of solid wear I expect it to give me. Items such as jackets, jeans and boots are other prime examples of this principle and the old saying 'buy cheap, buy twice' springs to mind.

Shuttle looms slowly weaving high quality fabric in Japan

Let’s not forget that the cost of a well manufactured garment is relative. As a small company producing small runs, factory time is expensive. Cheap clothing is cheap due to an economy of scale. 10,000 t-shirts are cheaper to produce per unit than 1000, and more appealing to large factories looking to fill their production time. Not to put too fine a point on it, if you’re concerned about the cost of good quality clothing, the blame lies solely with mass-market, high street chains continually striving to make more for less to increase profit margin.

Current generations get a bad rap for a supposed complacency towards socio-economic issues, but look a little harder, at a company like Tanner Goods or Knickerbocker MFG for example, who are working tirelessly to cut out the middle man. At 21, Andrew Livingstone and co. purchased lease and vintage equipment at a New York factory to produce great quality clothing on their own terms. Alongside their own brand, they produce garments for a number of other brands who are trying to keep their manufacturing onshore. So when looking at that price tag it’s not simply an investment in clothing you’re contemplating, but a future of young, skilled workers, and a vote towards the progression of sustainable and ethical manufacturing. 

Knickerbocker Manufacturing Co. Brooklyn, NYC

The USA has felt the sting of offshore manufacture more than most, which is perhaps what fuels the fire of the ‘Made in USA’ tag. A new generation of quality USA-made goods, Kickerbocker MFG, Runabout Goods and Tanner Goods sit side by side with time-trusted giants Filson, Jacob Bromwell, PF Flyers, Wolverine and Red Wing on the shelves here at P&P.

Tanner Goods at Work

There was a time when the only way to make something was to make it well. Now that this is no longer the case, the responsibility lies with consumers to use our purchases to ‘vote' for the kind of sartorial future we want. It is a mentality which is infectious and conducive to a calmer, more efficient lifestyle. Investing in products you can rely on time and time again reduces the amount of time and money spent replacing items, instead allowing you to add to a growing collection of trusted pieces in a wardrobe that represents you.

Even if only by default, previous generations have left us vintage shops full of beautifully aged, well-crafted workwear, military wear and suiting. I often wonder what will remain of our legacy; a patina’ed pair of jeans awaiting a new owner or a polyester suit hanging precariously over a plastic bin bag? I sincerely hope the former. 

Anthill Workshop - Repair and Re-use

In the spirit of longevity we offer a full denim repair service in store through Anthill Workshop. His magic hands will darn your crotch blow outs, rips and tears back to their former glory - see his work over at his instagram

 

The Next Step: Heffernan & Haire

It's been a while now that we've been bringing you our particular curation of quality goods; in fact, it's been about five years since our journey to this point began. Even though we have been, up to now, very much dedicated to menswear, there was always a plan developing in the background and that plan has just started going into action.

It seems that it's not only men who appreciate British and American Heritage style, well made work wear and military inspired clothing. We are constantly asked in store 'where is the women's section?' or 'when are you opening a women's store?' - The number of well dressed women, at least in Melbourne, generally far outweighs that of men, and within that number is a burgeoning community of conscious individuals looking for more than just fast fashion. 

Enter (drum roll please) Heffernan & Haire, forthcoming sister store to Pickings & Parry!

Nigel Cabourn Woman SS17

For those that don't know, our men's store name originates from the two families that came together in the 1970's and created the founder. The two P's seemed to work well and convey the idea of tradition, family and the importance of the past in the progress of the future. Heffernan & Haire, conveniently enough, has the same origin on the side of our founder's partner who, with eye for style and far superior femininity, will be creative director and buyer for the new store as it develops over the next little while.

Leno & Co.

H&H will follow the same principles of the classic, and present a similarly storied product selection in similarly beautiful space. Alongside shared brands such as Blue Blue Japan, Nigel Cabourn, Merz b Schwanen, PF Flyers, Tanner Goods and Bleu de Chauffe, we'll bring you some exciting additions such as W'Menswear and Leno & Co., amongst many others.

W'menswear

This month on Thursday the 30th of March, we will be presenting a very small capsule collection of Nigel Cabourn Woman SS17 items in store at Pickings & Parry, to give you a very small taste of things to come. Whilst the bricks and mortar store for H&H is still in the planning stages, we're beginning to build the collections and will tease you with imagery and goodness at our shindig on the 30th.

In the mean time check out the new Heffernan & Haire Instagram Page to gain more of an insight.

Nigel Cabourn SS17 Collection - Desert Rats

It's fairly safe to say that Nigel Cabourn is a very important figure in the world of menswear today. Not only has he been involved in the design and production of quality clothing since the 1970's, he's also a committed collector and clothing historian; specifically in the areas of vintage military, workwear and the outdoors. His passion for history and collecting are forever evident in his collections - with SS17 being no exception.

Nigel Cabourn SS17 LCM - Desert Rats

Nigel Cabourn SS17 LCM - Desert Rats

The underlying theme to this new SS17 collection, particularly within the LYBRO section, is 'The Desert Rats' or, as they were officially known, the British Army's 7th Armoured Division, whose exploits in the Western Desert Campaign during WWII made them famous and earned them the deserved moniker. Personally, I have a fascination with this part of the war as my own Grandfather also fought in North Africa with the Durham Light Infantry.

British Army Desert Rats - North Africa WWII

British Army Desert Rats - North Africa WWII

The division fought in most major battles during the North African campaign; later it would land and fight in Europe, firstly during the early stages of the invasion of Italy before being withdrawn to the United Kingdom where it prepared to fight in North Western Europe. It began landing in Normandy during the afternoon of D-Day, 6 June 1944, and fought its way across Europe, ending the war in Kiel and Hamburg, Germany.

Desert Rats - 7th Armoured Division WWII

Desert Rats - 7th Armoured Division WWII

The 7th Armoured Brigade was detached from the division during early 1942 and fought the Japanese during the fighting in the early stages of the Burma Campaign. Nigel Cabourn's father actually fought in Burma during the war; we dare say the stories and images from Cabourn senior's war, passed on during Nigel's childhood, have certainly been an influence on his career and direction in clothing!

Although the 7th Armoured Division was disbanded during the 1950s, the history, name and the famous 'Desert Rat' flash is still carried on by the 7th Armoured Brigade.

7th Armoured Division Insignia from 1944 7th Armoured Division Insignia from 1944

For our own P&P SS17 (Melbourne AW17) Nigel Cabourn collection, we have curated a nice selection of pieces from the Authentic, Lybro and Mainline offerings. Most of our order has now landed and is online and in store from today, with Authentic following in the next couple of weeks from the UK.

From Lybro we have the excellent Mountain Div. Sherpa Jacket and British Army Desert Pant in washed stone HBT. For this season the fits and fabrics have had an upgrade and small details such as the broad arrow rivets add a little something extra to the Lybro range. Also we have the SS17 Naval Dungarees in Lybro blue washed HBT which, as anyone following Nigel will know, are his daily wear favourite item!

Nigel Cabourn in the Lybro Naval Dungarees

Nigel Cabourn in the Lybro Naval Dungarees

A few more Lybro items such as the Palm Tree Print Big Shirt, USMC and Nuclear Hats and the POH shirt are present at P&P, and from mainline we have the new Hospital Suit in tight weave cotton weather cloth. This is an awesome set of semi-formal unlined garments available in two colours and capable of being worn individually, or together as three piece. 

Nigel Cabourn SS17 LCM - London

Nigel Cabourn SS17 LCM - London

On top of all this we have a few very special fishtail Cameraman Jackets from the Made in England, Authentic range. These will be in very, very limited numbers so don't waste time if you'd like to reserve one. Drop in to see us this weekend, check out the collection and let us know that you're interested.

 

Weaving Shibusa - Japanese Denim at ACMI

Last week the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival began (VMAFF) to much fanfare and, whilst what we do is generally far removed from the realm of catwalk shows, it is still a very important part of the fashion world. In fact, you could argue that in terms of one particular fabric, it might just be the most important.

Since we opened our doors over three and half years ago, there have been three Melbourne fashion festivals. None have shown much recognition for the side of the industry based around manufacture, quality and heritage style...until now!

The amazing forward thinking folks at ACMI have done something very special this year as part of their VMAFF screenings; they're screening a film about Japanese Denim. Now, we'd be the first people to tell you that there is much more to style and menswear than denim; however, there is no denying that this fabric is supremely important. Not just in the history of clothing, but also for the future of it.

The very important and inspiring documentary Weaving Shibusa, directed by Devin Leisher, is focused on Japanese Denim and how it rose to become the most revered in the world. 

Weaving Shibusa, Official Trailer #1 from Weaving Shibusa on Vimeo.

From the post war origins of Japan's textile industry to the Osaka 5, the film touches on the manufacture, passion, ideas and individuals involved in making a fabric that has captured the hearts of so many people around the globe.

Amongst the experts and industry folks featured is our good friend Atsu from Stevenson Overall Co. Not only does he make some amazing and individual jeans; this man is a character to say the least. He's an avid vintage collector, knowledgable designer and expert on the details that go into making clothing 'like they used to'.

Weaving Shibusa at ACMI

There are two more screenings remaining for the festival, with the last screening on Saturday the 11th of March, so get in quick if you don't want to miss out on the most important Japanese Denim film produced to date.

Following the final screening there will also be a Japanese Denim panel discussion on Saturday evening featuring some of Melbourne's resident industry experts - they even have someone from P&P representing! This is something not be missed and will feature vintage machines, memorabilia and denim pieces as well as more short films and a Q&A session. Tickets are available now - click the image below for more!

We need to talk about Denim ACMI Tickets

Denim is important to us. Denim is important to the future growth of quality manufacturing around the world and to the history and future of style; it has influenced virtually everyone's lives in some way. A fabric born in France, popularised in the USA and perfected in Japan, it can be worn by everyone and becomes more individual to the owner with every wear and wash. Go and see this film!

 

Rebel Rebel; The Leather Jacket

What do James Dean, Albert Einstein and a WW1 German Fighter Pilot have in common?

The beginnings of a bad joke? Or just three names from an infinitely long list of iconic leather jacket wearers. Is there a club quite so eclectic as that of the Leather Jacket?

It seems futile to dissect the casual allure of the Leather Jacket; perhaps some questions are best left unanswered, but that won’t stop us taking a brief look at how the cultural icon came to be. 

A1 Bomber Jackets 

It’s hard not to be struck by the overwhelming influence military uniforms have had on modern style. Whilst, of course, man has been donning the tanned hides of animals since time immemorial, the leather coat is first attributed to the fighter pilots of WW1. The hard wearing benefits of the fabric are obvious and early incarnations feature button and belt closures and a longer fit. At much the same time, British and American fighter pilots were sporting their own versions, the shorter and instantly recognisable A1 Bomber, shortly followed by it’s zip-up counter-part the A-2.

A2 and B3 Flight Jackets

1928 was the turning point for the jacket in civilian use, solidifying the garments’ place in history. Enter Irving Schott, a raincoat maker. Designing for Harley Davidson, Schott produced the first leather motorcycle jacket with a zipper. He named it the ‘Perfecto’, after his favourite cigar brand. This important new silver feature, with its asymmetric positioning, also allowed motorcyclists to lean over their bikes without cutting into the body. The original jacket featured a cropped, snug fit, with a D-pocket and lapels designed to snap down or fold over each other and zip all the way up. Perhaps there is no finer meeting of function and fashion. The jacket was an instant hit.

James Dean

Come WW2 the jacket was a staple for both military and civilian purposes. Manufacturers experimented with various hides and linings both for aesthetic and functional purposes. It is here we start to see some of the most iconic military styles evolve - think Maverick’s G-1 jacket in Top Gun. But war had had it’s fun and in it’s wake an anti-war creative freedom ruled. The first on screen ‘Perfecto’ sighting came from Marlon Brando in The Wild One. James Dean quickly followed suit in Rebel Without A Cause and by the time Steve McQueen was involved, the trinity was complete and the world was powerless to resist.

Marlon Brando - The Wild One

From the 60’s onwards, Rock N Roll took the casual, rebellious spirit of the leather jacket by the horns. The Beatles, Duran Duran, The Ramones, Blondie - it’s difficult to imagine many of history’s sub-culture tribes without a leather jacket slung casually over their shoulders. 

“When you look at the jacket, you can register emotions about the person wearing it. Whether you are trying it on yourself or looking at somebody trying it on, you look like a badass. It’s something that has been reinforced over generations. It’s so identifiably tough a jacket.” - Jason Schott

The Ramones

As is so unfortunately often the way, the true craftsmanship of the leather jacket is all but lost, but store favourites Aero Leather are still flying the flag with arguably the most impressive collection of vintage originals out there. We offer a full made to measure service at the store. You’ll have access to Aero’s full collection of silhouettes, leathers, zippers and linings. Having stocked them for close to 4 years we have plenty of experience to guide you on your way whether you’re feeling classic, rebellious… or just cold! Aero Leathers’ production process means your jacket will be created, from start to finish, by one machinist. The end results are astonishing - a true testament to the skills and passions of the company. Turn around time ranges from 4 - 8 weeks so with Winter just around the corner, now would be a sensible time to get your order in!

Swing past for a coffee and come talk leather with us!

Aero Leathers Shackleton Vest

FILSON - A Story of Stubbornness

Alaska Outfitters - Klondike Gold Rush 1897
"To our customers: if a man is going North, he should come to us for his outfit, because we have obtained our ideas of what is best to wear in that country from the experience of the man from the North -- not merely one -- but hundreds of them. Our materials are the very best obtainable, for we know that the best is none too good and that quality is of vital importance. You can depend absolutely upon our goods both as to material and workmanship."

These were the words of C. C. Filson in his 1914 catalogue and they pretty much sum up the brand as it still remains today. 

In 1897, Filson opened C.C. Filson's Pioneer Alaska Clothing and Blanket Manufacturers, specialising in goods to outfit the stampeders to the Klondike Gold Rush. His timing couldn't have been better as thousands of men headed North to search for their share of the riches buried in the frigid landscape. Staying close to his customers and catering for their specialist needs, he provided clothing and equipment at a time when it was not just a matter of choice, but of survival.

This reputation for quality, fit for purpose products continued long after the gold rush ended, as Filson began focussing on other outdoorsmen such as hunters and loggers, to bring them rugged products that would stand up to the environments in which they were used. Items such as the Cruiser Shirt and Tin Cloth Jacket were patented in 1914 and are still produced today, having also influenced the style in many of Filson's best selling garments.

Filson Catalogue Images

For us, as you can imagine, this commitment to quality resonates rather well. Not only using the best materials, but also providing a guarantee for every piece of merchandise, shows great pride and honesty in the products produced. The fact that they have remained in Seattle for the last 120 years and still make 90% of their products there shows that they've stubbornly stuck to their guns and stayed true to the founders words. Speaking of which, here's a few more from 1914:

"The goods we quote must not be confounded with the cheap and vastly inferior grade with which the market is over-run. Such goods are not only useless for the purpose for which they are intended, but the person wearing them would be better off without them."

Clearly he saw the onset of mass production and cost cutting in manufacture quite early in the piece!

Filson Bag

In our opinion, you can't go past a Filson bag for a good example of their ruggedness and good quality. Most are produced in 22oz heavy drill cotton, with strong bridle leather straps and handles; the construction is solid and the hardware is strong and functional. Simply put, they get better with age and last a long time. Actually, the famous slogan used for these pieces of hard wearing luggage is this: "Two or three years to break in, three or four decades to wear out". Having owned one myself for almost 9 years, I can wholeheartedly attest to the accuracy of this statement.

Our range of Filson bags is now available online for the first time and there'll be a garment delivery heading our way in time for the cooler weather - take a look - you won't be disappointed....

 

John Lofgren Engineer Boots - Uncompromising Quality

John Lofgren

If I had to describe John Lofgren in one word it would be “uncompromising”. I’ve never designed and manufactured a shoe (although I did once knit a child’s boot from coloured wool) but it doesn’t take much to imagine the countless production pitfalls, complications and unforeseen costs that would drive one to adapt seemingly small details in favour of ease or affordability. John Lofgren laughs in the face of adversity and has spent the majority of his life back and forth between Japan and the States, carving out relationships, sourcing materials and honing his trade, all with a view to create the finest possible end product. Mr Lofgren is one of a handful of remaining auteurs of the shoe world. 

A California native, Lofgren now resides in Japan; a heralded figure amongst those in the know. As well as manufacturing footwear and owning his own shop, he also operates the Nigel Cabourn Army Gym store in Sendai. And to think…Sometimes I can’t even find time to make my own dinner…

John Lofgren Engineer Boots - Natural CXLJohn Lofgren Engineer Boots - Natural CXL

To borrow some words from the man himself; “My interest in “Made in Japan” is not born out of some notion of superiority — although there are cases, such as Japanese denim, where such assertions would carry weight — but rather from a simple, basic wish to keep craftspeople employed at doing what they do best.

Sprinkled around the countryside of Japan are factories employing local artisans, technicians and labourers, all of whom are fortunate enough to be making a living wage while taking pride in their work. This is important and beneficial on every level”

Originally designed for railroad workers, the Engineer Boot first rears it’s head during the Great Depression in mid-thirties America. By 1940 the boots were a staple for the working man, the stove pipe calf offering ample protection from rocks of coal and the sharp edge of a shovel. The silhouette is a hybrid - somewhere between a logger boot and an English riding boot. It is instantly recognisable from it’s high calf, buckled ankle and often a buckled calf. Traditionalists will tell you the only colour to mess with is the blackest black, but Lofgren’s Natural Chromexcel leather versions make a pretty strong case for themselves, too.

Marlon Brando - Engineer Boots - the Wild One 1953Marlon Brando - Engineer Boots - the Wild One 1953

Despite a brief hiatus during WWII, when manufacturing companies predominantly churned out lace-up combat boots, the Engineer Boot remains ‘as Americana as the 5 pocket jean.’ Post-war the boot was adopted by motorcycle counter culture. Aside from it’s obvious practical benefits and protection, it helped, no doubt, that the boots looked 100% badass. As with so many classic American pieces, the Engineer Boot’s place in history was solidified by the likes of Marlon Brando and James Dean.

John Lofgren Engineer Boots John Lofgren Engineer Boots

There are a number of companies offering their own iteration of the classic Engineer style, but these tend to feel like watered down versions against the pure goodness Mr Lofgren is cooking up. Where others fill space amongst a vast line up of footwear, John’s repertoire is reserved and necessary; allowing each style the time and attention it deserves. On average each shoe is sampled up to 5 times and field tested for up to a year before reaching the shelves. No detail is too fine. Feast your eyes on this impressive and extensive features list;

*inhale* Built on original John Lofgren lasts, American Horween Chromexcel leather, Oak bark tanned leather stacks with woodsman's heels, American made Vibram 705 soles & 700 heels, Australian made pressed steel buckles, Japanese made steel shanks, British made Goodyear storm welting, Triple stitched on heavy stress areas, Double stitched arched straps, Keystone stitches shaft straps, All straps are unskived and functional, Hand-stitched shaft seam, Made in Japan.

Not convinced? No problem. Come and see the real things in store. Just make sure you bring your wallet…

Passion France Knives- Historic Hand Made Companions

Phone? Check. Wallet? Check. Keys? Check. Knife?…..
A good knife is the sign of a life well lived; each handle, each blade telling the story of the owner. Since the first edge of stone was sharpened over two million years ago, the blade has become the true companion of civilisation, predated only by the fist. Of course, we’ve come a long way since then and so have our knives, each generation adapting and refining their knowledge of metals and construction techniques. None serve as finer examples of such expertise than the cutting tools produced in regional foundries across France during the early 1800’s. 
Thankfully, Passion France agree. The small German-based team of enthusiasts have spent the last decade ensuring these exquisite knives can be enjoyed by new generations. At present they offer an astounding array of traditional pocket knives, each model reconstructed and specific to the region from which they were born, produced to the exact specifications and, where possible, in the same foundries as they would have been over 200 years ago. 
Wolfgang Lantelme - Passion France
Here at Pickings and Parry we have a great admiration for those who aren’t afraid of doing things the long way, the hard way, and ultimately the right way. In this case the ends certainly justify the means. Needless to say we’re thrilled to have PassionFrance pocket-knives adorning our shelves once again.
From the middle ages onwards, pocket knives begin developing in great diversity in Europe, each knife developed in accordance with the activities and available, natural resources of its region. Not only an indispensable tool in daily life, the knife became something of a regional passport, or “passeport”. In the mid-nineteenth century, grape phylloxera lay waste to many of the vineyards across rural France forcing a mass exodus to the cities in search of employment. For many the only possession they retained from home was their knife; a reminder of the history and tradition of their region. Wherever they met an owner of the same knife, they knew they were amongst friends, and, as was the custom, would share bread, cheese and wine. In fact, such tradition led to the addition of a corkscrew to many knives produced after 1880. 
Laguiole - Passion France
The intended uses of each knife vary wildly from region to region. From fishermen, shepherds and farmers to veterinarians, doctors and aristocrats, each knife comes with it’s own peculiar idiosyncrasies and adornments. Perhaps the most recognisable and replicated model is the Laguiole knife from the French-region of Auvergne (there is literally a whole book dedicated to the Laguiole!). Once the knife of farmers and cattle breeders, this knife takes it’s name from a small village located on the volcanic high plateau of the Massif Central. There are numerous myths surrounding the Laguiole knife’s details (one in particular involving Emperor Napoleon) but arguably it’s beauty lays in it’s humility. You can tell a Laguiole knife by the inlaid cross made with small metal nails. It is said that shepherds, when opening the night outside with their flock, would place the knife in the ground, thus providing a focus for their prayer. Another emblem of the Laguiole is the “mouche” which translates as “fly”. This can be found atop the locking mechanism of the knife. Although some would argue it represents a bee, if you ever find yourself in the Aubrac region of France, look into the eyes of one of the Aubrac cows and you’re sure to see a couple of Aubrac flies. 
Poisson Culot - Passion France
Following the First World War much of the handmade knife production in France moved to Thiers and manufacture in Laguiole almost ceased to exist. Thankfully, in 1987 the knife returned to it’s birthplace in Aubrac where it is still made to this day.
“The Laguiole knife has traditionally been given as a gift, preciously held on to or handed down. From generation to generation, and from friend to friend - in exchange for a coin so as not to break the friendship. In the process a whole series of memories are passed from pocket to pocket, and from imagination to imagination.”
A truly practical object, steeped in tradition, a good knife is soon to become a trusty companion. Come visit us in store to view the full collection and enjoy the knives in person.
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