March 1, 2014 by Ville Raivio
VR: Your age and occupation?
EM: I’m 35 and run a few companies with a friend and business partner. We have a communications company (www.fyyr.se), a clothing brand (www.e-f-v.com) and our online vintage shop, En Förlorad Värld (www.enforloradvarld.se).
VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your style enthusiasm)?
EM: No children, but I have a fiancée and 2 dogs. My fiancée thinks my interest in classic menswear is “cute”, haha. She does like it that I’m passionate about things though.
VR:…and your parent’s and siblings’ reactions back in the days?
E: They’re extremely supportive. I have 2 brothers who are both very supportive. My parents have helped me out financially to be able to start up our clothing brand E-F-V. People generally tend to like it when they meet someone who’s really passionate about what he/she does.
VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides apparel?
EM: I play guitar & sing (schooled since the age of 5), build furniture, write and think out new business strategies. Sometimes I go skateboarding with a bunch of other old timers.
VR: How did you first become interested in clothes, and when did you turn your eyes towards the classics? Why these instead of fashion?
EM: I used to have an interest in fashion when I was younger. I have always loved the Mod look (influenced by ’60s bands), and found my way into classic menswear that way. I started collecting ties and suits, and soon started getting a more general interest in classic menswear. I bought all the literature I could get my hands on, I sought out online forums and learned all I could about what makes quality in shoes, suits, ties, shirts, etc. It’s an entirely different world from fashion. Classic menswear is made to last. There’s no need to get rid of last year’s clothes due to new trends. In fact, I still wear some of my dad’s Harris Tweed jackets he bought when he was my age. I also like the simplicity of only using variations of the same garments, but depending on how you combine them, you’re telling completely different things about yourself.
VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of clothing — from books, in-house training, workshops or somewhere else?
EM: As mentioned earlier, I have gathered knowledge from books, online forums, new friends I have met through my interest in classic menswear. I have also learned quite a few things by learning how to sew, and picking apart garments to review different kinds of constructions.
VR: What’s the story behind En Förlorad Värld and when was the webstore founded? How do you select the goods on offer?
EM: En Förlorad Värld is actually awaiting an update at the moment, we are now mainly focusing on getting our own brand E-F-V going. The stories are intertwined though. Me and my business partner and friend, Lars Holmberg, started a company called Fyyr in 2010. It’s a communications company, through which we have helped out numerous other companies with advertising, campaigns, online marketing, etc. We created En Förlorad Värld as a trial and error project to try out different SEO strategies. I had a big interest in classic menswear, so we thought it would be a good idea to start an online vintage shop. Initially we sold stuff from my own wardrobe to get things going.
The interest for this kind of business was bigger than we had expected though. We were very successful in the SEO work we did and got a great hit status on Google. Soon we expanded our initial idea of just selling a few items to participating in vintage fairs and acquiring contacts all over the world, from whom we sourced lots of vintage clothes. It was mainly my pet project, I bought all the goods that we sold. Since both me and Lars wanted to do something creative, we started playing with the idea of launching a brand of clothes of our own design. We have now designed a line of suits and coats that will be released F/W 2014/2015. En Förlorad Värld has been in hibernation for a while but is planned to be back as soon as we have time to do a total makeover of the site.
VR: Based on your observations, how would you say the average Swedish man dresses?
EM: I think Swedish men dress with consciousness. Swedish men are generally more into fashion than classic menswear. Things have definitely changed over the past 7-10 years though. The demand for long-lasting quality garments has increased immensely. Today you can walk through Stockholm and see a whole lot more quality suits with a good fit (not to mention quality shoes) than you did just 5 years ago. People are willing to spend more money on quality. When technology and an economically unstable world has put the rest of our lives into hyper drive, I guess we start appreciating genuine things, such as handmade quality garments made in a slow-moving process, so much more.
VR: How would you describe your own dress? Which RTW makers or tailors do you favour?
EM: I’d probably describe it as a work in progress. I favour clothes from classically British, American and Italian brands. Where the rest of the world of classic menswear seem to be mostly into Italian tailoring at the moment, I can still appreciate the virtues of a British-constructed jacket at times. I can also love the look of the classic American sack suits and Ivy style. Some of my favourite garments at the moment come from Kiton, RL Polo, Borrelli, Hackett and, of course, E-F-V.
VR: Who or what inspires you?
EM: I’m inspired by everything I see around me. Not just things that are naturally connected to classic menswear, it can be through art and nature as well. Right now I’m very inspired by the DIY spirit that’s sweeping through the classic menswear crowd. The last couple of years we have seen lots of new tie makers, self learned tailors and menswear entrepreneurs spawn from the vast and very differentiated world of classic menswear.
VR: What is your definition of style?
EM: Something that is truly personal and yours. You can of course look to, and be influenced by, others but all men (and women) with great style do it with a sense of personality. This transcends (way beyond) the boundaries of classic menswear, you can see it in all kinds of fashion, music, art and life in general.
Get the basics:
- Navy suit + black oxford shoes + some repp ties with simple patterns or solid muted colours
- Grey suit
- Brown shoes of your own liking
- Navy sport coat, preferably in a non-worsted material
- Mid-grey flannel pants
- Khaki chinos
It goes without saying that all pieces must have a decent fit. Most people need to get clothes adjusted at a tailor’s to get them fit properly (if they don’t go bespoke at once, which I wouldn’t recommend as a start). When you’ve got these things down you can start increasing your wardrobe with all the things you find interesting. A good idea is to visit some of the clothing forums and get hands-on tips from experienced posters.
Some forums worth mentioning:
Some people posting on these forums are kind of harsh, so you’ve got to have thick skin when starting out.
Photos: Erik Mannby
March 1, 2014 by Ville Raivio
Interviewer: I guess you’re more than partially responsible for the preppy rage?
Ralph Lauren: Brooks Brothers was the foundation, and I revived it. I worked for them and wore all their clothes; I also left them as a consumer when they started making Dacron and polyester. They no longer had a style, and I was a traditional guy. So I saw the opening in the whole market and said, “Well, I want to look like this, and I don’t want to shop here anymore. They’re not moving.” They did change, but they became more ordinary, more mundane. I was not going to be high fashion, but I did believe in individual sophistication, a more customized look – what Brooks Brothers used to be when they were great. That was what I went after, what I love, which is a life-style. Men who had a lot of money would go into Brooks Brothers to buy shirts, and say, “Give me three white, three blue, and three pink,” and they’d walk out. They’d do it every year, year in and out. They weren’t interested in what was the latest this or the latest that. I recognized a certain mentality and security about them. Working there was like going to an Ivy League school; there was an “in-ness,” a quiet “in-ness” about that kind of place.
~ New York magazine, 1985
March 1, 2014 by Ville Raivio
GBB wrote about the ECHL on ASW in 2009, succesfully spread into the States through Brooks Brothers and later on by the house of Ralph Lauren. In eight pithy sections, Boyer lists the tenets of the very English country house look, which seem very preppy if one has first been reading about Stewardship, Authenticity and Belonging to The Society of the Descendants of the Founding Fathers of New England of the United States.
February 27, 2014 by Ville Raivio
”I’m 29 and my main gig is Newton Street Vintage, where I sell vintage menswear that I like. Mostly tailored stuff. I also write for and help edit Ivy-Style.com, and I help friends with their stores and small branding projects. I’ve worked in custom tailoring and retail menswear. I have a master’s in literature. I think my love of clothing is related to my earliest aspirations to tell stories. I went to the University of Edinburgh for grad school so I could look at tweed when I wasn’t reading books. Also, the whisky. I have a long-term domestic “spousal equivalent,” which is far more romantic than that term sounds. She responds very well to my love of clothes, and she gives me sewing projects, which is always fun. We have the same tailor. She wears navy blazers and gray cropped trousers.
I got into clothing because I wanted to look like my early rock’n’roll heroes. Somewhere out there is a photo of me at 18, imitating young Bob Dylan imitating old Woody Guthrie. I was into jeans at first. Vintage Levis. I went nuts for them. I remember seeing in the liner notes to the Bruce Springsteen Live 1975 box set that Bruce had an orange tab on his Levis, and it started a relentless hunt for that orange tab that opened up the world of vintage. I think getting into vintage trains the eye for the classics. It’s so much easier to accidentally stumble onto the classics when you’re into vintage. [For hobbies I’ve] reading, writing, cooking. I’ve been reading Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, and it’s a crime that it has taken me this long, seeing as I am from Pittsburgh and it was written 4 years after I was born.
I think in America, most men have a vague sense of the Ivy League style, even if they don’t have the term for it. Button-down shirts, khakis, and penny loafers are pretty ubiquitous here, even if they’re worn in a banal way. I gravitated toward it before I knew the term. It was an offshoot of a youthful fascination with the ‘60s, but I’ve definitely moved past that now. I think it started with a feeling. I liked the way the soft shoulders felt. There was something imperceptibly different about it, and I couldn’t put my finger on it at first. I was big into Godard films at the time, and without understanding the subtle differences I thought my Ivy suit made me look like Godard. The premature baldness also helped.
Big plaid three-piece suit by J.Press, 1970s, with cloth from John G. Hardy Alsport
I gained my knowledge by working with the clothing, handling a lot of it. For me it is a tactile pursuit. The internet is obviously a major factor, but I would use it to research something that I found, something that I had in my hands and could touch. You learn about clothes by handling clothes in the same way that you learn about cooking by working with food. Years ago I was also desperate to learn how to sew and construct, so I paid a local tailor/patternmaker for private lessons. She was great and really helped me get a firm foundation in construction methods.
Brown tweed suit with crows foot weave by Bernard Weatherill of London, circa 1980
I’m constantly experimenting with clothes. I know this isn’t what I’m supposed to be saying. I’m supposed to describe my “uniform” and how I’ve edited my wardrobe to reflect my unique self. Truthfully, I like trying new things, and working with vintage and second-hand gives me room to experiment. I tend not to dismiss things unless I’ve taken them for a spin to see how I feel. I love old Brooks and J.Press obviously, but I also love the cut of Ralph Lauren’s Italian-made tailoring. I’d definitely spend a ton of money in Sid Mashburn if I had it. I love the Andover Shop, and I had a blast working there. That place has the best colors and fabrics of any store on Earth. If I had to describe how I’ve been dressing lately, I would say it is “soft tailoring with lots of color and pattern.” I definitely haven’t been on a minimalist kick lately, and I think the idea that Ivy precludes color is an internet myth. The Andover Shop has always been a testament to color. Which tailors do I favor? I don’t have very much MTM clothing, although I have a gorgeous windowpane suit from Martin Greenfield which I had made for me back when I worked at a shop that contracted to the Greenfield workshop. It is beautifully made. I think if I had the money, my tailored wardrobe would be equal parts Anderson and Sheppard, Paul Winston, and Cesare Attolini.
Cambridge, MA. inspires me. The old guys that you see around here. Sometimes it is the more typical idea of the old Ivy Leaguer, with a blazer or a Shetland, but other times it is a really interesting hodgepodge — a Kiton jacket with J.Press chinos, or a double-breasted blazer with blucher mocs. Again, lots of color, more than you would expect. The guys used to come into the Andover Shop and I would just be amazed at the style. Authentic, individual dressing. Not an Apparel Arts facsimile, not a Take Ivy facsimile either. Guys who knew their way around Jermyn Street as well as J.Press. I am also continually inspired by estate sales. You go into this guy’s house and his whole life is in the closet. It’s a hard thing to do at first, rifle through other people’s belongings, but you learn to do it with a certain amount of reverence. You see the evolution of personal taste, and the changing of details with the passing decades. What ties he wore in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. I’m definitely a postmodernist and I like eclectica. From what I have seen, well-dressed men have eclectic wardrobes.
I could talk about personal style, or use the Gore Vidal quote, but my favorite quote about style is from Jean Genet:
‘To achieve harmony in bad taste is the height of elegance’
I started Newton Street after many years of collecting this stuff. I had a friend who sold objects and small furniture on Etsy, which was still pretty new at that point. She talked me into it. At first I was using a camera phone to take pictures of clothes in my kitchen, but I sort of built it up and refined it from there. I had no goals in the beginning other than to get rid of some clothes. But once the demand became apparent, I started hunting specifically to sell, instead of just for myself. I think it has been pretty well-received. I got a nice mention in the retailers section of Hollywood and the Ivy Look, I’ve sold clothes to TV shows like Mad Men and Vegas, and to the design teams from major brands which shall remain nameless. Mostly though I love it because it gave me the opportunity to have fun for a living and leave an office job that wasn’t going anywhere. It also helped me talk my way into working in tailored menswear, which was my initial goal.
Herringbone tweed with red windowpane by Hogg and Son of London, circa 1960
I think, ultimately, that when it comes to vintage clothing, people who know what they want will get it where ever they can find it. I’d like to think that I present my items well, describe them in a way that makes people think about them as independent goods, and not just a cheaper means to an end, or something that is at the end of its life cycle. There are people out there who would rather have old clothes than new, and I try to speak to them. I think I also have a pretty good eye for this stuff, so I try to balance the staple gray herringbone with the crazy plaid tweed, and the occasional piece of workwear.
I’d say it is actually important to learn about traditional style while keeping one eye on fashion. Even if it is only so that you know what to reject. Experiment; it’s all too easy to find some sort of ‘manual’ and paint by numbers. Be playful. Humor invigorates style. I think the internet has created a judgmental culture of ‘face palms’ and ‘fails.’ I’m a total disaster most of the time. But, to quote Samuel Beckett: ‘Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’”
Photos: Zachary Deluca
February 25, 2014 by Ville Raivio
February 24, 2014 by Ville Raivio
Brioni made history in 1952 by holding the first ever runway show for men’s clothing in Palazzo Pitti’s Sala Bianca. By this time models did habitually make that terrifying journey down the catwalk, but these shows were only held for women. Tailor Nazareno Fonticoli and entrepreneur Gaetano Savini made history with the help of employee-slash-model Angelo Vittucci, who left the firm in 1963 to found his own emporium in Angelo Roma.
February 23, 2014 by Ville Raivio
“A suit from me, Mickie, it’s not a drunken scream. It’s line, it’s form, it’s rock of eye, it’s silhouette. It’s the understatement that tells the world what it needs to know about you and no more. Old Braithwaite called it discretion. If somebody notices a suit of mine, I’m embarrassed because there must be something wrong with it. My suits aren’t about improving your appearance or making you the prettiest boy in the room. My suits are not confrontational. They hint. They imply. They encourage people to come to you. They help you improve your life, pay your debts, be an influence in the world.”
~ Harry Pendel in The Tailor of Panama
February 23, 2014 by Ville Raivio
Hilditch&Key has been making very British shirts since 1899, and represents the old guard of Jermyn Street. They offer 10 shirt collections, ties, formal wear, knitwear, nightwear, accessories and other wear for men, with a smaller offering for the ladies. A basic shirt from them is priced at three digits, costing around 120 pounds in England, and sales offer no relief for the frugal man as H&K’s sales percentages are miniscule. The company uses woven Italian and English 2-ply fabrics, mother of pearl buttons and has production in Scotland. All collars and cuffs are unfused, sewn instead of glued. A small leaflet comes with every shirt, espousing the quality and details as follows: removable collar bones, two-piece yoke cut on the bias, pattern-matching throughout, reinforced gauntlet with extra fabric, gussets, two-piece collar turned by hand, MoP buttons, longer tails, very nice fabrics, dense single needle stitching, shirts pressed by hand. With all these nice details, a closer look at a H&K shirt was in order.
The example shirt is a checked one from the firm’s Chatsworth range, a button cuff model with chest pocket and classic collar. All collar shirts rise and fall with their collars, so this variable must be taken care of first. I want to be clear: Hilditch&Key’s classic collar is the dullest, most sad thing called a classic collar on Jermyn Street. While the back height is a reassuring 4.3 cm, the points end at 7.7 cms with an 8 cm spread, which makes for a maximally understated miniscule collar. When buttoned, the collar demands a tiny tie knot lest the points rise from the body of the shirt. A look most odd for any chap with broad shoulders or wider face. What’s good and proper: the single needle stitching is neat and even all around, the purl buttonholes are tight and clean, the MoP buttons are pleasant and have not broken in three years.
Pattern matching is very careful, placket is sturdy and pleasantly wide at 3 cms. The long tails do stay tucked in no matter what, seams are tidy and armholes have been cut high, if not small, to allow great range of movement. The overall cut is average, not for the corpulent or wisp-thin but normal. While I’d prefer a stiffer lining on the collar and cuffs, these H&K’s unfused models do stay presentable after ironing. They’re also pleasant on the wrist and neck. The shirt fabric is very smooth, soft and enjoyable. It hasn’t really aged in three years. The button cuffs are okay, not interesting but not poor either. A last surprise: after removing the chest pocket, which has no real use for any trouser-wearing man, I noticed that the pocket came with lining. Something to guarantee a somewhat stronger pocket. I’ve never seen a similar detail from other shirt makers.
For a bit over one hundred pounds, Hilditch&Key offers a well and carefully-made shirt with many fine details. It fails to offer an interesting collar, one with shape and presence like Turnbull&Asser’s, its closest competitor in both make and pricing. The selection is wide enough, with excellent fabrics, and the very British unfused construction is a huge bonus in my strange books. With an hour or two spent in collar design, H&K might offer the best British shirt on the market. What’s available now is a nosedive in collars, when all other details are in order. Coming so close and failing in the one variable that lends its name to a garment is ironic if not moronic. Still, make no mistake, these are some good shirts.
First published in Finnish 8.9.2011.
February 23, 2014 by Ville Raivio
VR: Your age and occupation?
HY: I am 49 years old and a bespoke shoemaker.
VR: Your educational background?
HY: I have studied Industrial Design at ChibaUniversity and graduated in 1990, with a master’s degree in Industrial Design. I had learned shoemaking at London Cordwainers’ College, graduated with honors in 1996, and got a Higher National Diploma.
VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your shoe enthusiasm)?
HY: I have a wife but no children. She always supports me a lot and gives a good mental condition for me to be able to concentrate to shoemaking.
VR:…and your parent’s and siblings’ reactions back in the days?
HY: They might worry about me when I decided to go to London to study shoemaking. But now they understand my job and way of my life.
VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides shoemaking?
HY: I don’t have any hobbies in particular.
VR: How did you first become interested in footwear, and when did you turn your eyes towards classic models? Why classics instead of fashion?
HY: I have been interested in footwear as a part of fashion since my youth. When I was an industrial designer, one day I saw a magazine that introduced English classic leather shoes. Beautiful shoes, attractive leather materials, craftsmanship and its traditional culture, all of them made a deep impression on me. Maybe that was the first time I had a strong interest in classic footwear and turned my eyes towards it. Fashion changes time with time and this change itself is the essence of fashion. Classics do not mean old, it includes knowledge, technique and style that has succeeded predecessors beyond the times. That is the reason why I chose the classics.
VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of shoemaking — from books, in-house training, workshops or somewhere else?
HY: I studied basic footwear design and technology at Cordwainers’ College in London. During this period I learned hand-sewn shoemaking which was just experience to understand the traditional way of shoemaking. I made two pairs of shoes only. I also had an opportunity to learn last making at bespoke shoemaker John Lobb Ltd. I had learned how to make a bespoke last there, but for a very short period only, I merely made two pairs of last. So, almost all of my knowledge and techniques of bespoke shoemaking have been self-learned at the workshop. I have developed my shoemaking skills by trial and error through my daily works. My shoemaker friends and old books or documents help me understand shoemaking knowledge very much, of course.
VR: Please tell us how your company was born and what goals you set for yourself in the beginning. How have you been received so far?
HY: I started my workshop at a different place in 1999. My workshop was in the shoe retail shop “World Footwear Gallery” (located very close to the present workshop). At this time there was almost nothing that could be called bespoke shoe workshops or culture itself in Japan. So, it was a new trial in collaboration between shoe retailers and shoemakers to introduce and to spread the hand made shoe or bespoke shoe culture within the Japanese shoe market. We wanted to tell the consumer that you could get shoe bespoken as an alternative to readymade purchases. I have built up my bespoke shoemaking service step by step by thinking of the customer’s needs.
VR: Do you have a favourite shoe model (eg. monk, derby, oxford, balmoral boot) and leather type?
HY: I love all types of shoe models. But if I had to choose one, I’d choose the ghillie model that has loops on the face instead of eyelets. There are some ghillie models in our collection that some people might see as the icon of HIRO YANAGIMACHI. My favorite leather materials are box calf and pure aniline finished smooth calf leather. They are very elegant and also very durable materials, which are essential features required for a classic shoe.
VR: How would you describe the ‘house style’ of the shoes you make?
HY: I consider that our “house style” is not visible but invisible. I believe that our customer can feel it in our shoes and regards that it is the HIRO YANAGIMACHI style. I attached a part of “A Message from Us” from our English web site below that expresses our shoemaking philosophy very well. I could call it “my/house style”.
HIRO YANAGIMACHI shoes are based on traditional shoemaking knowledge and techniques, but this does not mean returning to, or remaining in, the past. In a time of continuous change, we look to the present and future in order to respond to customers’ modern lifestyles and needs. While carrying on the essence of shoemaking tradition and bearing in mind our responsibility to preserve it, we continually challenge ourselves and always aim to innovate.
VR: I understand you’ve just launched an international website. Should my readers look for new ventures or trunk shows from you anytime soon?
HY: I am very sorry to say that I have no idea about overseas trunk shows at the moment. I just wanted to introduce us to the non-Japanese speaker as a first step to the next trial that has not been decided exactly yet. So, it is one of the possibilities that we might set up overseas trunk shows in the near future. But to realize it, I have to find collaborators.
VR: How would you describe your own dress? Which tailors or RTW makers do you favour?
HY: Sorry, I don’t have any particular answer for this question. I am a shoemaker, so the ordinary style I choose has to be appropriate wear to work.
VR: There are hundreds of cordwainers in Japan alone — why should my readers visit you?
HY: I have been making bespoke shoes for customers since 1999, so I can say that HIRO YANAGIMACHI is one of the pioneers of bespoke shoemaking in Japan. I have shoemaking skills, especially in lastmaking, through my experience. Lastmaking is the key to bespoke shoemaking. I believe skill in lastmaking and understanding the relation between the foot and the shoe’s fit are gained by experience only. We have developed lots of footwear styles and made each samples for many years. Now customers can find and order all types of footwear at our workshop. We also offer the other ways to make a shoe, that is MTO and MTM besides bespoke. We can suggest the correct way of making an order according to the customer’s foot and budget. We can also offer original shoe bags, shoe trees, shoe horns, leather belts and so on, that have been developed by ourselves. Of course, we have just launched an international website that explains our services completely. I never say HIRO YANAGIMACHI is the best in Japan, I can only say that we have the skills, knowledge, experience, styles, samples, products and services so that any customer can be satisfied. And I understand that customers decide the shoemaker or brand according to his or her taste. We just do our best for the customer who entrust us with shoemaking.
VR: Who or what inspires you?
HY: I respect all kinds of artists and artisans, such as painters; photographers, craftsmen and designers who have a strong will, and make efforts to create something new. When I see antiques or vintage products that were made in the no-machine era, I really wonder at the beauty of them, most of all the wisdom of the makers. I feel a strong passion with them, which is never felt from the mass products of the present age. I am very impressed when I meet the possibility of handwork.
VR: What is your definition of style?
HY: It is very hard to say my definition of style. We are still on our way to become better shoemakers. I just want to make the shoe, which fits both of the customer’s foot and his mind that has elegance.
VR: Over the years you must have learned quite a bit about shoes. Is there something you wish more men would know about Japanese shoemaking? This is an extremely useful chance to have a lasting effect on many young men.
HY: I quote my words from “A Message from Us” in our English website for this question. Please see below.
In Japan, there is a belief from ancient times that spirits dwell in all things, like mountains, water, wind and fire. Furthermore, it is believed that the true essence of something is not found in what you see, but rather in what you cannot see, such as in the feelings or spirituality present in an object. These ideas are also reflected in HIRO YANAGIMACHI shoes. Our shoes are not just products. They are what we submit from ourselves to the world, containing our sense of purpose and pride. We put our soul into our shoes so that our customers will be satisfied.
For me, making shoes is my profession, my life, and who I am. I believe that shoemaking, more than being the work of “making an object” that is visible to the eye, is really the work of “instilling the thoughts and feelings” from ourselves and our customers into an object. If the shoes that we make, containing these mutual thoughts and feelings, can be even a little bit helpful to the lives of our customers, that is the greatest satisfaction for us at HIRO YANAGIMACHI.
February 22, 2014 by Ville Raivio
“And it came to pass that a man who sold shirts was smitten by hard times. Neither did any of his merchandise move nor did he prosper. And he prayed and said, ‘Lord, why hast thou left me to suffer thus? All mine enemies sell their goods except I. And it’s the height of the season. My shirts are good shirts. Take a look at this rayon. I’ve got button-downs, flare collars, nothing sells. Yet I have kept thy commandments. Why can I not earn a living when mine younger brother cleans up in children’s ready-to-wear?’
And the Lord heard the man and said, ‘About thy shirts…’
‘Yes, Lord,’ the man said, falling to his knees.
‘Put an alligator over the pocket.’
‘Pardon me, Lord?’
‘Just do what I’m telling you. You won’t be sorry.’
And the man sewed on to all his shirts a small alligator symbol and lo and behold, suddenly his merchandise moved like gangbusters and there was much rejoicing while amongst his enemies there was wailing and gnashing of teeth…”
~ Woody Allen, Without Feathers, “The Scrolls”, 1975
Copyright © 2013 Ville Raivio