As always it’s a pleasure to address the blue blooded brothers of the world.
Guess what?! It’s our Birthday 🎈 We’re a year old! Yup, it’s been a full 12 months since we published the first 10@10. It only seems like yesterday when we got Paul aka @bothrops1 and Julien aka @julienlanda to set the bar and bare all on the flagship ‘…Men Behind The Menswear’.
Since that day we have interviewed a total of 52 guys and each feature has carried it’s own charm. That has allowed the 10@10 series to continue to flourish into a brands version that, if you don’t already know, we send live every Monday at 10pm UK GMT.
All that in mind, this week I wanted to write a little more than I usually would. This site is about to be ramped up throughout the month of June with more features, more denim and more blue blooded brothers baring all BUT before that happens I’m taking the opportunity to say thanks for reading brothers. It’s been loads of fun, to date, and with a topic that carries huge amounts of heritage and history I can safely say there is tonnes more to come from us regards everything indigo and leather and canvas and well, everything else that’s cool…AND tough of course.
Regards the 10@10, it’s been humbling to hear from a few guys who have reached out to say they look forward to me, one day, answering the feature. At first I avoided it like the plague, I thought I would look like a total “nob” answering my own questions on my own site! As the @clobbercalm cause has grown and more badass dudes have joined the team, who are starting to get involved and take small chunks of ownership over the content we publish, I don’t see it quite the same way as I used to. So here goes lads…
Sit back, relax, crack open a cold one (mine’s a Stella) 😉 and let’s rock the 10@10 together!
MEET THE MAN BEHIND THE (MEN BEHIND THE) MENSWEAR
1. So Why Instagram?
Good question (if I do say so myself).
Until I started on IG I wasn’t a big social media user, around 10 years back I would use Facebook when it was in it’s pomp to promote club/gig nights for a small promotions company I had at the time. I never really used it for anything personal, I didn’t get it, I couldn’t do it. I tried but just felt like a bellend so avoided it. I didn’t use Twitter and I couldn’t even work out how to get past the opening screen on Snapchat. I was pretty useless. Too laid back. That’s me. As work became more serious and I got married and had kids I did start to need a creative outlet, I wasn’t playing in my band anymore in-fact I rarely picked up a guitar back then and when I did try to get back jamming I couldn’t be arsed to carry my amp about all the time, I was tired, 2 babies just 15 months apart and a 9 year old, that would not sit still, I was a walking zombie. Yet I wanted a blog, just something I could work on, be passionate about and call my own. Creating a website was WAY out of my league as I like to try and be creative with the things I can physically touch. The technicalities of programming shit just sends me to sleep, seriously. If I tried to sit down and build a website I’d be distracted and be reading crap about crap via the Mail Online in no time OR watching something else that I best not mention.
Anyways, a small obsession with Amy Leverton’s book @denimdudes and some work-related tasks helped me find out a little more about the rugged fascination I had carried with me from childhood. I discovered Instagram and how it worked and after a few beers on the last night before I moved from my old house I thought “fuck it”, created an account, called it @clobbercalm and posted my first grid (sort of). If I remember rightly, I think I used around 4/5 hashtags and by the time I woke up the next morning I had around 8 likes from people I didn’t know. From that moment on I was hooked! IG was so easy and uncomplicated. The lighting on that picture was so shitty as well.
Not only that, I love creating things and a stirring IG feed is a form of art in many ways I think. Well it give me the same satisfaction as writing a tune on guitar or doodling some graffiti for example. I also love playing about and trying to invent hashtags that take off, my wins so far have to be #mocsandsocksmonday and #winnerswearwings so now I think I’m going to give #mocshot a good go! Why not? It’s a laugh innit??
2. Why Denim, Boots, Workwear, Ruggedness?
I dunno why but, I have always been drawn to things that are worn or wear. Denim, leather and even wood. I really do not know why. My earliest memory of this is of watching a cartoon back when I must have been 6(?), it was a Robinson Crusoe cartoon about the guy that gets stranded on a desert island. You know how it is, he gets washed up all clean cut but then years later…BAM it cuts to that shot where he’s got long hair and a big fucking beard! Best of all in my opinion though was the ridiculously raw hemmed trousers converted into shorts with the big over-accented V cuts around the knee area. They always got my attention. I was 6 and that was just a cartoon! From then on I got into wearing indoor soccer trainers all the time just so I could mentally document the wears to the rubber studs as I used them daily. I was so proud to wear a pair out.
As I got older this fascination evolved and then one day I saw Kurt Cobain on the inside of the Nevermind album sleeve wearing that battered lapelled brown leather jacket, the one from Reading Festival 1991 I believe it was, where he had the ‘sounds’ tee on underneath and from that point on I had matured, I had moved on and vintage shops were where I began to head for the good stuff! Just for the record, I never quite found a brown jacket that fitted quite like Kurt’s, back then, but I did find a blue one that I fucking loved! I wore the back out of that thing. It was a close friend.
3. What are your thoughts on the rise in popularity of “Instafashion” and the community it is creating?
Just 12 months on I think this question can be answered very differently to how it was back when we started this feature, for me personally at the start I really enjoyed the rise in popularity and benefited from it with my feed. Quickly the feed then led to friendships and well here we are now. I think as a team us oldies had a good 18 month run at IG where daily we connected, chatted and enjoyed what each other had to say from day-to-day. It was great fun. Very cool!
Now, I think Instagram is changing. The simplicity I mentioned previously is slowly dissolving and there seems to be changes every-other-month that dictate the way you are able to connect with the gang. Luckily I managed to strike up a few decent Whatsapp groups/one-to-one chats with most of the dudes I enjoy keeping in touch with which is awesome but there are plenty I haven’t been able to. Engagement I think is certainly down which is confusing also. However, on a plus note there are so many more dudes posting pics of their denim and footage daily that I get suggestions on follows of feeds that look cool. Maybe that’s why engagement is down though? Having twice as many feeds to scroll I suppose means you only get to read half of the book each day. Hmmmm…
4. Top 3 brands to shop and why?
Red Wing – Just fucking love them. They represent everything I have spoken about above. Perfect.
Levi’s – I’ve grown up with this brand. They are the father of denim. Plus, “vintage” Levi’s were also the most common form of denim that I would find when hunting vintage shops growing up. These days I don’t consider Levi’s to have the best “stand out” pieces anymore as they are so commercial BUT they are the perfect go-to brand if you need something quick and simple.
Tellason – I don’t own a lot of Tellason pieces but out of all the garments I have ever tried on the Coverall jacket is the one that fitted perfectly for me personally. There was no questions I was buying it that day!
A side note. Although it’s not really a brand I’m super lucky as I get to work surrounded by vintage clothing each and every day at @glassonionhq. The amount of amazing pieces I get to see and try on is uncountable. The majority of my clothing is from some sort of vintage source without doubt.
5. Where’s your favourite place to shop these brands?
When it comes to shopping the normal way, I like to mix it up by visiting @sonofastag in East London, and charity shops anywhere I can! Online it’s @cultizm and Ebay for me! As a guy with a mortgage and 3 kids, buying raw can sometimes be a little too expensive for me so Ebay is perfect for a good bargain hunt!
6. When did you decide to voice and share your love for your threads on social media?
My IG account was the first time I had the balls to put it out there back on the last day of March 2015.
(I have read the answers to this question so many times and always thought, this question is a bit shit and covers old ground. Well now I’m answering this for myself I can confirm NUMBER 6 needs a facelift)
7. What’s the secret behind your great images; Who takes them? When are they taken? How do you capture the magic your followers enjoy so much?
Haha, Ok so answering this one feels a little strange…
When it comes to the grids I post, I use my little boys room. The light’s decent and I think the photos look decent enough and they get the point across, coincidently the pale, off-white carpet helps fetch out the colours and every time I do a grid of that day’s kit (with a young family, finding the time each day is difficult) I like to do a close up of all the clothing squashed together. This is a good way to get a couple of pics from one setup with very little extra work! Is that an IG life hack or basic common sense?
When it comes to the body shots, the ol’ iPhone SELF TIMER is Judge, Jury and Executioner. Fuck! The amount of ‘bursts’ I have on my phone is incredible. I mess up almost every time. The iPhone is on the floor, usually lent against a brick or mug of English breakfast tea and I resume position. I’m usually stationery however I do like to make it look as if I’m supposed to be heading somewhere. I have no idea why? I just think the images look better that way! It’s all bollocks really, I’m usually just grabbing a quick 2 minutes before the next daily task in the normal world commences!
I have a great admiration for the guys that post what I like to think of as ‘Pro’ pics and I think this practice goes a long way when it comes to gaining momentum. You only have to look at the stellar feeds of Micky aka @raw.denim and Jens aka @sel.vage. Two Germany-based buddies whose pics are always on point and pound-for-pound kill it when it comes to the amount of followers they have achieved from the amount of posting they do. The figures are incredible and deservedly so. But my way is just…like it – snap it – post it. My bro @clobbercalm.cal is arranging a pro-shoot with a buddy of his (@jamzcore) sometime soon so, who knows(?), maybe I will convert to the SLR side! Nah, probs not though eh.
8. What feeds do you like to follow and check in on? Who should we check out?
This is pretty easy for me as all my faves I have asked to be part of the 10@10, which of course you can see right HERE 😉 Although if I had to mention a couple they would, without doubt, be @aegishandcraft, @corymahlke and my bro @bvo_66. All 3 accounts carry creativity for days, each one different but inspiring all the same. Real art, real innovation. Tip-top feeds.
9. What tips would you give new starters on Instagram to help them get there feed off the ground and successful?
Honestly? It depends what you want from IG? Followers? To discover new places to shop? To witness fades on a day-by-day basis? To simply be part of a community you dig? To be fair, the IG recommendations kind of cover all the above so there is no sweat there, apart from the followers bit. The followers bit is a funny one. In my opinion so long as you post regular (decent images), use at least 20 decent hashtags and generally socialise you will find yourself absorbed in the IG denim world bubble!
10. And Lucky Last, You’re going to be stranded on a desert island, you can take 1 outfit (4 items) and 1 drink ONLY with you.
What would they be? Who made them? Why are you taking them?
1 – Red Wing 875’s – Simple!
2 – You know what? I’m gunna leave the denim here in favour of my Slim Dickies Cargo/Chino hybrid trouser. These are super comfy and the practicality of the subtle leg pockets are bound to come in handy I’m sure!
3 – Heavy Tee by Champion – Fucking love Champion, rarely do sportswear but could do Champion for decades. As a heritage brand these guys set the bar!
4 – Tellason Coverall – You seen the pockets on this thing? It’s perfect for such situations. It will be travelling to Amsterdam with me this weekend, 20+ degrees or not! It’s “a” happening.
5 – The drink is gunna take a little more thought, its either Budweiser or Bourbon. BUT seeing as it’s one drink only and I only enjoy bourbon with a mixer I’m going to have to settle on Bud! Needs to be cold though. I suppose technically it’s my island though and if I say it comes equipped with a fridge then by God this island has a way of cooling beer! 😉
Woah! Well that was fun. I actually enjoyed it which, all things considered, can only be a good thing right??
Now here’s the fun bit (I know the rule’s that if you have to call it fun then it probably isn’t that fun at all BUT humour us here…it’s our birthday haha). We have been asking dudes and dudettes, for a full year, what they would take to a desert island if they were ever actually stranded, heaven forbid! Meaning, we have a full year’s worth of advice on what might be a good idea to pack should you ever believe this could happen to you.
We have spent a good few hours pulling all this information together (well Cal has whilst I type this) so let’s see what you guys have decided is the perfect island set in year 1! Callum ~ it was really interesting/straining-on-the-eyes going through and seeing what brands + products were taken to the island. I think it’s something we’ll delve into deeper at a later date but know this; 50% of ‘The Men…’ decided to take some form of Red Wings with them to the island, I can already envisage being blinded by that amount of patina…WOW! The next highest choices brand-wise were our old pals Rogue Territory (28%) and 3sixteen (20%) which is no surprise and it always seemed that they managed to get a ticket on the flight. The ‘most popular’ item was, the trusty staple, a plain white tee in some semblance…thus, again proving that simple slays! And that’s that. See below to see ‘the ram’ modelling the “perfect island set” as decided by ‘The Men Behind The Menswear’ (well the first 52 anyways).
SEE, that was fun.
I suppose I will draw this week’s feature to a close BUT before I do I wanted to say thank you to some of the guys that have made clobbercalm.com tick over for the past 12 months.
Firstly, there is my brother and partner in denim crime @clobbercalm.cal who has helped me build clobbercalm.com from the very start. He was here 1 year back and is still here now. He’s the only guy I know that would have the patience to check THEN double check my shitty English grammar & spelling on a weekly basis but most of all without his technical/design skills clobbercalm wouldn’t be half as aesthetically pleasing as it is.
Then of course, I have to say thanks to all the dudes and brands that have taken the time out to answer the 10@10. I have now been asked 3 times to do similar articles for other denim dudes that are all fighting to keep the * to quote Ruedi* “raw denim spirit alive” and THAT alone I think is a testament to this world and community. I will be getting these answered in the next few weeks, just wanted to get this one out of the way first.
Also, a big thanks goes out to the Project @…threadsnfades2017 guys and gals @sel.vage, @johanmalik80, @aegishandcraft, @drmmathias, @bothrops1 and (of course) @shockoe_atelier for donating their badass Kojima jeans to the process. Also, for giving us a leg up when it comes to supporting the site’s maintenance costs by allowing us to offer YOU a 15% discount online AND in-store if you use the code clobbercalm15 at the point of purchase. See our SHOP link here for more info!
Big shout-outs to Evan aka @tannerysouth, Isaac aka @pigeontreecrafting, Jess aka @aegishandcraft and Christian aka @howlandhidesupply for being part of the awesome clobbercalm collaborations that we ran for 6 months starting in November of last year. That was super fun and also a massive learning curve.
Finally, and more recently, a big thanks goes to @scwaudby_33, @denimhound, @swissjeansfreak, @bvo_66, @shadows_of_indigo, @partial2denim, @fadedblueeyes, @jmietzel and @sennah0j (basically) because I know I pester you guys from time-to-time but all your help is VERY much appreciated so thanks guys! It’s going to be great hearing more from some of you next month! *hint hint*
Now, one last thing (realise the last paragraph started “Finally” but hey-ho it’s OUR FREAKIN’ BIRTHDAY) as I have previously mentioned I am no technical wizard and do not spend any time figuring out algorithms but one thing I have noticed is a substantial drop in engagement recently on IG. I know a few other guys that have reached out to me for advice on the topic so I wanted to put it out there. Is this the same for everybody? Has something changed? Is there a new digital trend that I don’t know about? Let us know if so, save me a job looking into it as I have shit loads of denim related content to get published 😉
Right, I’m off to Amsterdam now on a stag do (I have a cousin getting married this month) which is, more than likely, going to be a heavy one but I’m back Monday ready to get our 10@10 from @heddels_ out there, published! So happy to have these guys on the site and Nick Coe (Founder of Heddels) is such a good bloke and a real testament to the denim community.
Whilst I’m away we will be introducing our new feature…’Ruedi’s Top 10 Fave Fades’. Yup, we are handing the mic over to the @swissjeansfreak himself and letting him do whatever the hell he likes so make sure you stay close for that one also! Cooking on gas here at clobbsy HQ ✌️
Have a top weekend peeps! Much love.