Wednesday, December 31, 2008

George Smith Patton III

"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

Recently, I have been reading up on infamous general, George S Patton (a fellow dyslexic). Patton's maverick style and over the top personality has been the topic of multiple biographies and one award winning film. The 1970 film, Patton staring George C Scott, portrays the accomplishments of the career military man from 1942-1945.

Note the Ivory handled six shooter.

Here are some more links,
Patton Quotes,
Life Photo Archive,
George S. Patton Biography (Wikipedia),

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Douglas Kent Hall

In his fifty year career, Douglas Kent Hall photographed, cowboys, rock stars, prison inmates, dancers, body builders and the American West. Here are some books that he made and photos.

Working Cowboys

Prison Tattoos

Arnold: Education of a Bodybuilder

In New Mexico Light

Sunday, December 28, 2008

BB Guns

At the age of six, I saved up and bought a used Crossman 760 pump bb gun from a neighbor up the street. Like in A Christmas Story, my mother was opposed to the bb gun from the start. She maintained that I would, "Shoot My Eye out!" in proper Mrs. Parker fashion.

Growing up in the Columbia River Gorge forced me to find ways to entertain myself. My Crossman and I were inseparable.

Here are some photo's and advertisements that touch on the appeal that consumed me fifteen years ago. (Thanks to Branded in the 80's for some of the scans)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tim's wool

I claim to like wool. Sure I wear wool coats, wool shirts (with cotton undershirts), merino wool socks, and even merino wool underwear. But I am a fair weather wool wearer.

Yesterday when we went outside to play in the snow, I bundled up in the latest outdoor gear; Holden Jacket (Gortex), Airblaster Pants (Gortex), Smartwool leather gloves, and Vans snowboarding boots. Tim on the other hand, threw on some Pendleton virgin wool pants (discontinued), a Pendleton virgin wool shirt, an Icebraker merino wool sweater, virgin wool gloves, a Woolrich wool coat, and a pair of Danner boots with gators.

Needless to say he had just as much fun as I did. Here are some pics from the day.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Chat With Filson Store Manager and their Strategy

American heritage brands' lack of extravagant ad campaigns or the perception of a complicated marketing strategy is a major part of their appeal. The idealized heritage brand marches on unaware and unconcerned with fashion trends, instead focusing on core customers and quality products. Filson is now trying to expand their business while staying loyal to their brand image. The Portland store exemplifies these efforts.

I met Nathan Gray, Filson Store Manager, a couple days ago on my visit to the store and chatted a little about the possibility of Goldwin Inc, Filson's Japanese Distributor, opening a store in Tokyo. Yesterday I exchanged a few emails with Nathan and continued our conversation about the heritage movement and Filson's retail strategy. Here are a few questions with Nathan.

Foster: How much business do you get from people buying Filson due to the recent interest in American heritage brands?

Nathan: So far, the vast majority of our sales have been from our loyal Oregon customers who are delighted that we've opened a store closer than Seattle. I hope that our great location in the Pearl will turn a lot of new customers on to our brand. I believe that Portland will be an ideal location for us due to the interest in American heritage brands and the strong attraction this community has for natural products.

Foster: So Filson is using the Portland store as concept store to test the waters of expanding Filson to a new market? Interesting.

Nathan: I don't know that I would describe us as a "concept test store." One of the goals of any retailer is to increase their customer base, and hopefully the amount of exposure we will get here in the Pearl District will help in that aim.
Filson's apparent marketing strategy differs from that of other American heritage brands like Woolrich and Red Wing, who have launched sub-brands to capture on the resurgence movement. These sub-brands, Woolrich Woolen Mills and Red Wing Heritage, have their own websites, sales distribution, and collections. Filson has instead tried to overhaul their own brand by putting up vintage ads on their website (as attached in the article), and launching stores in strategic locations, Portland and potentially Tokyo, to capitalize on the resurgence movement.

My conversation with Nathan accentuated the differences between Filson and Woolrich and Red Wing's approach to capitalizing on the resurgence movement. It will be interesting to see how these two different approaches will weather the economic crisis and the current heritage fashion trend.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My New Canon 17-55mm f2.8

Recently I upgraded from my from my 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens to a 17-55mm f2.8 on my Canon Rebel XSI. Here are some photos with it. Merry Christmas.

Swisslink Surplus finds

A recent visit to an Army/Navy surplus store in Augusta Maine rekindled my interest surplus stores. My brother turned me on turned me onto Swisslink, a military surplus store selling goods from around the world. Here are some products that I would love to have.

Swiss Salt & Pepper Canvas Backpack
An automatic German Sextant Watch
German WWII M36 Wool Tunic
Garrison Saddle Leather 1 1/4inch Belt Available in Tan, Walnut, or Black
And my Favorite, An Original Swiss Army Blanket.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pendleton rocking Horse

Growing up I wanted to be A cowboy. I played with six shooter cap guns, cowboy boots and dressed up in chaps. On the second floor of the Portland Outdoor Store, nestled in the back corner, I found this Pendleton rocking horse and immediately fell in love. The craftsmanship and detail is amazing. I couldn't think of a better gift for a young boy or girl.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Portland Outdoor Store

The Portland Outdoor Store opened for business on the corner of 3rd and Oak in downtown Portland in 1919. Over the last seventy-nine years the store has changed hands once. It continues to carry the same traditional American western brands like Levi's, Stetson, Tony Lama, Georgia Boot, Woolrich, Pendleton, Filson and British brands like Barbour and Clarks.

In addition to these core brands, the Portland Outdoor Store offers a bunch of English and American horse tack and equipment and a full range of men's wool suits from companies like Pendleton. The Portland Outdoor Store staff knows the equipment inside and out and is very helpful in offering advice.

For added income, the store rents out expensive goods like saddles, jackets and bridles for 10% of an item's retail price for using in movies, plays and photo shoots.

I can't say enough about this store. It is an institution. Walking through its doors, one travels back in time. I can't think of a more authentic experience. The store resembles a real life Free & Easy magazine with a large collection of western memorabilia and merchandising. A number of stores, such as the RRL on Bleaker Street, have tried to recreate the same atmosphere, but they fall dramatically short. With their classic selection of American and English heritage brands, as well as their long standing tradition as a provider of outdoor equipment, the Portland Outdoor Store represents the best of the resurgence movement.

Come to Portland, stay in the nearby Ace Hotel, and shop at the Portland Outdoor Store.
Here is a typical Portland Outdoor Store shopper.

Filson Mackinaw Jackets and Filson Tin Cloth in the foreground.Filson Doulbe Mackinaw Hats and Pendleton Shirts
Stetson Hats.
This is where I got my Filson Alaskan Guide Shirt.
Second Floor: Woman's Clothing and Equestrian equipment and me with my new canon 17-55mm f2.8 lens.
The Third Floor: Saddles, Stirrups, and a Gun Holster (pictured below).
The Portland Outdoor Store offers no-commission sales of used saddles(pictured below).
The In-house expert will find the right boot for you from their 3000 pair inventory.
The Popick family has run the store since 1929 when Brad's grandfather, Abe Popick, and his cousin, Nate Director, bought the store.