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Ali Shops Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Men’s Fashion’

Kuhlman Resurfaces as Scott James

Monday, March 7th, 2011

You just can’t stop Minneapolis resident Scott Kuhlman from making men’s clothes. He made a name for himself in 2006 with simple, fashion forward men’s shirt stores. The chain quickly spread across the country, and just as quickly, crumbled, having over-extended. Kuhlman dusted off his flat front khakis, and started again in 2009 with s.kuhlman. Similar concept: European-styled men’s dress clothes at affordable price points, but a different business model. He opened a store in the Warehouse District…and then we didn’t hear much more. Until now. Kuhlman sold the company to Hampshire Group last May. Because there is another Scott Kuhlman with a clothing store in Seattle (go figure), they decided to rebrand as scott james (Kulhman’s middle name). Kuhlman says the new company is selling to specialty stores in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and soon, overseas.  ”The brand still represents the core I have always stood for: A European aesthetic, with great quality, and a price that is attainable.” Shirts sell for $75-$95. Shop scott james online.

Men who shop

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

Baldwin Denim

Men can roll their skinny jeans, show some hairy ankle above shiny loafers, wear a tie on a Saturday without being told to and still look macho. I witnessed it over the weekend at the first ever NorthernGRADE Men’s Market at Architectural Antiques in Northeast Minneapolis. The event showcased American-made brands both modern and classic including Baldwin Denim and Taylor Stitch shirts and Duluth Pack and Fox River Socks.  It was like entering an alternative universe where the men were the best dressed and the primary shoppers. And lots of them were straight!

Walker Lamond, author and hopeless prep

Walker Lamond was there. The author of “Rules for My Unborn Son” wore cropped khakis, a navy blazer, blue button down, plaid tie and horn rimmed glasses. The husband and new dad copped to dressing that way even when not signing books. “I’ve been preppy since college,” he said. “Now it’s cool!”

Kramp on display

Friday, September 10th, 2010

The men’s rompers and 155-foot scarves knitwear designer Kevin Kramp sent down the runway at Voltage: Fashion Amplified earlier this year will be on display at the Textile Center today through Oct. 16. Kramp was recently awarded with a Jerome Grant for Fibert Arts at the Textile Center. Stop by an opening reception tonight, 6 to 8 p.m. and meet the designer. Go ahead, ask him about men taking to the streets in one-piece knitwear ensembles. He’s got plenty to say.

Ankles after dark

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Photo by Marion Curtis

Call me traditional: I just don’t want to see a man’s ankles on the red carpet – unless he’s in a kilt. Penn Badgley sported the oh-so-current look at the Target Kaleidoscopic Fashion Spectacular in New York this week. Love the bod, dig the pout, but I think he’s going to look back on those pants and the dress shoes without socks and shudder. 

Shirt dos and don’ts for men

Monday, June 21st, 2010

T-shirt or polo? Polo or t-shirt? While I envy men their simple, clear cut choices (no man is late for work because he swapped a blouse for a sleeveless dress at the last minute and then realized he hadn’t shaved his underarms for, um, a few days), men’s casual clothes for summer can get fairly boring. And still, men do manage to make mistakes. Like the tattoo-type graphic print t-shirt (no need to name names). I think Tom Julian, author of “Nordstrom Guide to Men’s Everyday Dressing,” is being kind when he says no guy over 35 should wear those shirts.” What men should add to their wardrobe this summer: a cotton slub polo (like this one from Diesel, $60 at Nordstrom). It’s got the polish of a collared shirt, but the ease and comfort of your best worn t-shirt. That’s casual cool.
What else should men buy this summer? Listen to my conversation with Tom on Shop Girls on myTalk 107.1 (click the podcast for Hour 1, June 19). And see what he had to say about Spanx for Men. My favorite line, which, unfortunately, I just couldn’t work into the newspaper article: “Men want to avoid the Simon Cowell problem: Man boobs.”

The concept of fashion

Friday, May 21st, 2010
Kevin Kramp Voltage 2010

Kevin Kramp Voltage 2010

The term “conceptual” gets tossed around a lot in fashion journalism. I tend to use it when writing about a collection that shows promise, raw talent, but little wearability beyond the runway. But then, I’ve never spent a mortgage payment on a piece of art, or a designer handbag. I’m hopelessly practical. So Kevin Kramp’s Voltage 2010 collection has been nagging at me. A designer for St. Croix Knits by day, his eponymous men’s knitwear collection showed enormous skill and flair. But really. Rompers? Parachute style pants in chunky sweater material with a crotch hanging below the knees?
I can hardly imagine Johnny Weir in one of these getups, let alone the average guy. Kramp’s collection was a big hit on the runway – due in no small part to the hot male models chained together with one fabulous knit scarf. It was dramatic. It was showy. It was weird. But I doubt anyone expected the pieces to show up in stores. Did Kramp? I had to know. Excerpts from our recent email conversation:

The Voltage collection. Do you consider it conceptual, or do you imagine a man who would wear these pieces on the street? Would you?
There is a globally nomadic tribe of intelligent, beautiful men who are part of a processional union ceremony of two of their brethren. Traveling alongside this tribe are guardsmen, serving as physical and spiritual protectors. My Voltage capsule collection is my offering to these stoic, elegant guardsmen.

Kevin Kramp Voltage 2010

Kevin Kramp Voltage 2010

“Conceptual” is not the opposite of “wearable”‘ The wearability of a garment is determined by the individual, not by the degree of concept. Any good creative work begins with a concept, though most “creative” work we see in this world begins (and ends) with copying. Men do wear my work in their lives, on the streets, after hours in clubs, for Sunday coffee, and other special moments. I do not wear my work because I do not create for myself, I create for those inspiring and courageous individuals that have passed through my life and left me thinking and longing.
Is it difficult to go from designing St, Croix’s classics sweaters to your own edgier work?
I’m a schizophrenic moody freak, and a Gemini to boot. My life has consisted of nothing but extremes, opposites, contradictory coexistence, and brutal transition.
What will become of your Voltage collection?
I am at the moment focused on cultivating the Kevin Kramp brand. I have recently been invited to show collections at fashion weeks in Paris, London, Berlin, Vienna and Lithuania. I had a wonderful time at Voltage, realizing a fun and light-hearted project with many kind and enthusiastic people. I have been approached by a couple of local retailers to carry some of my items, though I am very selective as to where my work appears, it must be the right situation and context.
What fashion risks, improvements, changes would you like to see men make?
This isn’t about fashion; this is about life. I always encourage individuals, men and women, to thoroughly and severely examine their personal history, ignorant preconceptions, and bizarre rules of right, wrong, should and shouldn’t. Discover beauty, understand joy, turn off the hating and turn on the being. If one cannot fathom the smallest feat of wearing a garment of a different color, how can one possibly hope to live life?

Kevin Kramp London 2009

Kevin Kramp London 2009

Men without socks

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Outside Colorado and retirement communities, the grief guys get for wearing socks with sandals is universal. So I wondered whether people would have such clearly defined thoughts about the opposite: a man in a suit and loafers with no socks. I got to pondering the look last week during “Oprah” – for her “Radio City” show to celebrate the 10th anniversary of “O” magazine, resident designer Nate Berkus and the fashion editor of “O” magazine suited up and went sock-less. They pulled it off, with a just-back-from-St. Barts panache. This image is courtesy of The Sartorialist, who wrote, “A well-cut blue suit, crisp white shirt and some type of loafer (in brown) can create a look that is just dressy enough and just casual enough for almost any occasion.” Any occasion, maybe. But not any guy. I tried to imagine my husband in the same look, but I just don’t think it is possible for a guy to both wear a cell phone case on his belt and skip socks with a suit. I took a poll on Facebook and was surprised to find public opinion divided. Answers ranged from “Love it” (always with the caveat “on a well dressed man”) to “Yuck.” My friend Margot aligned herself squarely in the “Yuck” camp. But she deserves the final word on the matter with this observation: “I do like a man just in socks and no suit.”

Straub’s runway surprise

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Straubshow1 More surprising than the foil as fabric, silver pants and layers of ruffles and feathers at Christopher Straub's premiere fashion show at the St. Paul Hotel Sunday was the menswear he sprinkled in. A slim leather jacket with stripes on the sleeve (shown on a female model as well), hooded sweatshirt, tailored pants and black high tops. In short, Straub's style. And it looked cool. Kudos to Straub for taking risks, hustling and making the most of the spotlight he is currently enjoying.

Why did the chicken cross the shirt?

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

 Chickenshirt Chuckshirt

Can Minneapolis-based men's brand s.kulhman make chickens look cool? Give 'em props for attempting to modernize the dreaded novelty shirt. Their new collection also features a Chuck Taylor print and grasshoppers. More interesting than a Hawaiian floral, anyway – and more fitted. The shirts sell for $95. Check them out online, or at the s.kulhman store in the Warehouse District.

No more excuses, men

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Blackblue Men are having a moment. I'm in the midst of pulling men's accessories for a Spaces magazine article and the biggest challenge is choosing which men's stores and which amazing pieces to include. A year ago, I might have been hard pressed to come up with a handful of cool, local boutiques even catering to men. Suddenly, it's an explosion: Kuhlman is back in business, martinpatrick3 gets better each season, StyledLife finally has the space to expand on accessories and gifts for men, Heimie's Haberdashery is thriving in St. Paul and the latest, exciting addition: BlackBlue (pictured, and see more of the shop's enviable aesthetic here). Time to step it up a notch, men. There's no excuse not to. | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine © 2008 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved