I feel like this is one topic that has been discussed numerous times before in passing, but I still wonder whether I am perhaps… a dude? Evidence suggests that I, in fact, may be a 13-year old boy, what with the lack of chesticulars and fondness to playing with matches. But on some days I find myself slouched in the pink couch guzzling down some beer or strawberry cider or another, plotting the car I should decorate my mid-life crisis with and ask myself what AM I? A pastel-purple Jaguar (they’re going to have to mix a heck load of white, red and blue at the garage) is the answer so far, although the thought of a velvet-wrapped Porsche is also pretty enticing – solely for the reason of baffling/pissing off society. Sure, this probably is an age-old depiction of ‘man’, and my feminist assistant Simon, will weep silently in a corner in the office once he reads this (#genderequality, you guys) but hey – you tell me if these evidences say ‘lady’ anywhere.
I’m getting to the point, I promise.
Now, I had not known of Shinola (pronounced ‘shy-no-la’, originating from ‘shoe-shine’) until a few months back, during a routine stalking of fine gentlemen on Mr Porter , I came across the brand. A cursory session of digging later, decided it was ALL made for me: The leather footballs, stationery, watches with graphically sound (and when I say sound I mean HANDSOME) faces, and MY GOODNESS the bicycles, expertly assembled and shipped from Detroit, which is where the brand originates from. They boast a strong American heritage, in value and history, and all designs are inspired by the city’s industrial past.
iPad cover, notebook, watch – Shinola.
Bicycle – Shinola ‘Bixby’
LEFT: Top – Muji. Trousers – ASOS. RIGHT: Turtleneck – Lands’End. Trousers – ASOS. Watch – Shinola ‘Runwell’.
I wanted to be that silently brilliant man that took pride in his profession, who treated his possessions with firm-yet-unobsessive care, and owned a fine watch because his time was currency itself. I wanted to set the boob jokes/box of matches aside, change out of that beer-stained shirt and write stories in beautifully bound stationery; roll my sleeves up and take the bicycle to a neighbourhood uncharted before – Detroit, perhaps.
So, this is what a brand with solid value system does to a consumer: it makes a man out of a boy. Add a dose of expert craftsmanship and healthy influence to a socio-economically struggling city… how many times do I have to say, great stories are infectious?
Here is a digitorial, in efforts to emulate the Shinola ‘man’, a rite of sorts.