You may have one – one of those special ones. If you should be so lucky, you know the ordinary will not do for such an extraordinary kind of guy. The Live Box Magazine is here to help with the 2014 Gift Guide for The Extraordinary Man.
Otis James made his way to Nashville in 2009 after an epic 4000 mile bicycle trek across the US. His stint in a tuxedo shop ended when he was asked to make ties for Father’s Day gifts and their success changed his life.
EXTRAORDINARY FACTOR: From Otis James: “Each item is handcrafted in my Nashville studio with love and care. Every detail is hand finished, from the stamps and painting on the labels to the buttonholes and slip-stitches on each tie. Sure, it takes longer this way, but quality and character are the ideals, not mass-production. I suppose I’m old-fashioned that way. I just truly believe there is something to be said for knowing exactly where something was made, and by whom.”
In 1897, C.C. Filson opened C.C. Filson’s Pioneer Alaska Clothing and Blanket Manufacturers, specializing in goods to outfit the stampeders to the Klondike Gold Rush. For 100 years Filson has been providing quality clothing for the outdoor enthusiast and everything is proudly Made in The USA.
EXTRAORDINARY FACTOR: From Clinton C. Filson 1914 Catalog: “The goods we quote must not be confounded with the cheap and vastly inferior grade with which the market is over-run. Such goods are not only useless for the purpose for which they are intended, but the person wearing them would be better off without them.”
Ed Novinsky is THE guy. He is known as THE watercolor artist of the beautiful salmon of Alaska, and he is the definition of extraordinary. Ed’s reverence for these beautiful fish is captured in every piece he produces. When he is not teaching art, he is living art with his perfect garden, in his perfect home with his perfectly incredible wife, in Sacramento, CA.
EXTRAORDINARY FACTOR: This image of a King Salmon taken from Edward’s original watercolor is printed on heavy acid free watercolor rag paper using the finest inks. Only 10 prints were produced with 5 prints being auctioned for trout stream conservation. There is only 1 print available. Their large size (34” x 44”) and extremely limited numbers make this a unique print.
Books will always have a place on a gift guide such as this one, but this particular book is something special. Strong Inside is the untold story of Perry Wallace, who in 1966 enrolled at Vanderbilt University and became the first African-American basketball player in the Southeastern Conference. Strong Inside is not just the story of a trailblazing athlete, but of civil rights, race in America, a campus in transition during the tumultuous 1960s, the mental toll of pioneering, decades of ostracism, and eventual reconciliation and healing.
EXTRAORDINARY FACTOR: The courage of Perry Wallace, of course. But also, the unrelenting passion of Strong Inside author, Andrew Maraniss, that kept him on a long road to seeing this book become a reality. Read more about Andrew at www.andrewmaraniss.com.
MIANSAI, the Miami-based handmade accessories brand that began with a single bracelet in 2008, has made great strides since its inception. Over the past five years, Founder + Creative Director Michael Saiger has turned his vision into a timeless and tasteful multi-category lifestyle label that is sought after across the globe by fashionable men and women alike.
EXTRAORDINARY FACTOR: Craftsmanship. “At MIANSAI, when we say handmade, we mean it. We’ve invested in all of our own machinery and tools which allow us to produce on a consistent basis with care and craftsmanship. From drawing sketches to creating molds, melting metals and final assembly, every piece of jewelry the brand releases is conceptualized and created in-house. The brand has over 30 skilled craftsman and artisans on staff who are fixated on quality and perfection, and genuinely love what they do.”
What’s not to love about this brand? From Jack Erwin: “We Believe: All guys should have access to great shoes; shoes that go everywhere and get better with age; shoes that don’t cost a fortune. Buying shoes should be fun; and the experience should be as memorable as the products.”
EXTRAORDINARY FACTOR: Every component is hand selected, from the Italian Leather to the French Laces. Jack Erwin only works with family-run companies. Each shoe is handcrafted by artisans with a 100-step process.
Portland Beckel Canvas has been at the forefront of the canvas industry for 50 years. The company was started in 1964 by Bob Beckel who made canvas tents. The “Eena” portion of Beckel’s branding comes from the Chinook name for beaver.
EXTRAORDINARY FACTOR: Craftsmanship, History and Durability.
Of course, this watch is called “The Re-Run.” Just one look at this watch can transport you back to the 70s. Nixon is a Southern California based watch company whose motto is: “team-designed, custom-built accessories for a life well lived.”
EXTRAORDINARY FACTOR: Social Responsibility. “Nixon Inc’s Supplier Code of Conduct clearly outlines the expectations we have of our suppliers and lays out the minimum standards we expect each factory to meet. It is designed to ensure all of our suppliers are adhering to socially responsible business practices under the standards of SA8000, and that all products made for Nixon Inc are produced under lawful, humane and ethical conditions.”
In the fall of 2010, a then 25-year-old Michael Preysman left his job in venture capital to start his own business. He never expected to work in fashion, but a passion for great design and frustration with the lack of innovation in the retail space, led him to build Everlane. He hasn’t looked back.
EXTRAORDINARY FACTOR: The Everlane moto is “Know your factories. Know your cost. Always ask why.” This company is all about transparency. Everlane finds the best factories, works closely with them and insures workplace compliance. In traditional retail a designer shirt is marked up 8x by the time it reaches the customer. By being online only, they eliminate brick-and-mortar expenses and pass these savings on to you.
Emil Erwin is a leather and canvas carrygoods company in Nashville, Tennessee, owned and operated by Emil and Leslie Congdon. The business is named for its chief designer and craftsman and in honor of the small Appalachian town where he learned to love the art of his trade. When a collaboration with J. Crew and Imogene + Willie sold out, Emil Erwin became a brand and not just a hobby.
EXTRAORDINARY FACTOR: From Emil Erwin, “All Emil Erwin products are made from leather sourced at Chicago’s Horween Leather Company and waxed canvas from New Jersey’s Fairfield Textiles. The entire Emil Erwin collection is patterned, cut, sewn and assembled in the company’s Nashville design studio, where a devotion to quality, function and impeccable attention to detail defines the company’s product.”
Cutler and Gross was founded by Graham Cutler and Tony Gross who met in optometry school at Northampton College. In 1969 the pair bought the Cutler and Gross flagship store at 16 Knightsbridge Green where they started creating handcrafted frames above the shop. Clients met in the atelier for a true bespoke consultation. Everything from the milling of the lens groove to the fitting of the hinges was done by hand.
EXTRAORDINARY FACTOR: Commitment to Handmade. “Over the years many companies have opted for mass production, manufacturing their frames from moulds. The Cutler and Gross customer has always been an individual, craving the handcrafted feel of a bespoke pair of glasses, the tiny inaccuracies that give them character and make them unique to the wearer. Cutler and Gross has remained true to its tradition of handcrafting frames, producing in their own factory in Cadore, Italy.”
Why Shinola? Why Detroit? They say it best. “Because we don’t think American manufacturing ever failed for being too good. Our worst didn’t come when we were at our best. It happened when we thought good was good enough. It’s a tall order to return to form, but we’re up for it. We’re starting with the reinvigoration of a storied American brand, and a storied American city. Because we believe in the beauty of industry. The glory of manufacturing. We know there’s not just history in Detroit, there is a future.It’s why we are here. Making an investment in skill, at scale. Creating a community that will thrive through excellence of craft and pride of work. Where we will reclaim the making of things that are made well. And define American luxury through American quality.”
Growing up in Massachusetts, siblings Steve and Sarah always dreamed about working together. Steve was perpetually in search for the perfect fitting baseball cap (something he could never seem to find), one that didn’t have brand names or team logos on it. Sarah had grown up needlepointing belts and pillows for family and friends, and they thought about how cool it would be to put needlepoint stitching on a baseball hat (something we had never seen before) and to give profits back to environmental organizations. In 2010, Harding – Lane was born.EXTRAORDINARY FACTOR: From Harding- Lane: “You can’t make a responsible product without a responsible work environment. To us quality means not only the material by which the product is made, but also where and by whom it’s made. The manufacturer which produces Harding-Lane products is FLA (Fair Labor), WRAP (Worker’s Rights), and SA8000 (Social Accountability) certified, and is also known for meeting the goals of eco-friendly brands around the world.” A portion of sales is given back to a Massachusetts non-profit committed to the preservation of land and cultural sites in the state.
Penfield was established in Hudson, Massachusetts, in 1975, by Harvey Gross. A pioneering figure in the American outerwear industry since the early 1960s. Gross recognized and championed the strength of down insulated outerwear for its unique and unrivalled ability to provide durable warmth and protection. It was this stylish New England aesthetic that helped to introduce the American outerwear look to an international market and Penfield began exporting in 1979.
EXTRAORDINARY FACTOR: Today, Penfield is still made in the same factory in Hudson, Massachusetts, where it got its start.