A collection of Vintage Items from freelance journalist and vintage archivist - Will Varnam.
You can follow Will on Instagram @rugged_style. Will talks to Marrkt:
"For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to things from the past. Whether that was clothing, furniture or seemingly random objects. They told a story of another time and were full of character, giving them a uniqueness and making them stand out. When I was younger this fascination transplanted itself in buying old Levi’s jeans from thrift stores, shopping for old records and collecting military uniforms. At the time, the Second World War was within living memory and whilst I don’t agree with and wouldn’t want to glorify war, there was a certain nostalgia within popular culture for the heroic exploits of those who served.
Later in life as my fascination with clothes grew, I came to realize that these age old garments from the battlefield weren’t just historically significant but they were also incredibly well designed pieces of clothing. They were functional, practical and built to last. Take the humble chore coat for example or its military equivalent in the US Marine Corps’ 1941 Utility Shirt (or ‘P41’ as it’s known to collectors). Its three pocket configuration, simple button front and mid-weight fabric makes it the ideal overshirt, perfect for summer days as a jacket or a layering piece in winter (as well as basking in the sun of South Pacific islands n the 40’s).
Post-2008 recession, the menswear world saw the creation of the ‘denim head’ and fascination with heritage product. The consumer now wanted garments which were built to last and would stand the test of time, just like those old military uniforms of the past. This resulted in a meteoric rise to fame for brands like Red Wing, Levi’s Vintage Clothing and Double RL. Sure, these brands existed and were successful before, but the heritage movement brought them to another level.
Many men were no longer drawn to fast fashion (or fashion at all) and instead wanted timeless, classic and unwavering garments which would look good year round. The uniform became raw selvedge denim, moc toe boots and that humble chore coat. This trend turned into more than just a passing fad with this new found substance becoming a constant fixture in the modern menswear world moving forward. But, there were those in menswear who had been quietly working in the shadows for decades prior to 2008, perfecting garment dyeing, weaving denim and producing the finest fabrics on the planet.
Names like Nigel Cabourn, Yuki Matsuda, Hiroki Nakamura, Takeshi Ohfuchi, and Daiki Suzuki have become synonymous with well made, highly considered and beautifully engineered garments (pun intended). And one thing all these designers and their brands have in common is an affinity for the past and an admiration for vintage clothing. From Cabourn to VisVim it is easy to see the influence of the Fishtail Parka, M65 Jacket or OG107 Fatigue Shirt.
In an interview with Inventory Magaine, Yuki Matsuda recounts his years spent traveling through the American Southwest for Native American jewelry and hours spent at the Rosebowl Flea Market hunting for vintage inspiration. Similarly, Nigel Cabourn took to Instagram live this week to talk about his 4,000 piece vintage collection and how it inspires the brand’s product. And it’s clear to see the early workwear influences in each Post Overalls drop.
With this renewed focus on well made wardrobe staples, consumer habits and purchasing principles have changed dramatically. Combined with a vintage ‘boom’ - and the likes of Kanye wearing worn and paint splattered Carhartt - second hand is no longer second best. With ‘thrifting’ and vintage shopping now a commonplace occurrence for the discerning gent, it allows us to find items which have already stood the test of time and saves a few quid along the way.
Just as importantly is the uniqueness of second hand and vintage; we all want a garment that everyone else isn’t wearing. While it’s great to buy some fresh from a new season drop, it’s just as good (if not better) to find that Cabourn Cameraman from FW18 which you thought you’d never be able to find again. For me, that’s the allure of Marrkt, I can pick up past season items which I haven’t seen before or regretted not buying at the time, for a great price. I know the condition is going to be good and the guys will dispatch them quickly. I regularly browse the site to keep up-to-date with new additions so I don’t miss anything, although I did miss something last week and I’m still kicking myself for not turning on Instagram ‘post notifications’!
I’ve recently started selling through Marrkt and it sure beats the hassle and hard work of eBay. It’s great to have a wardrobe spring clean and know the pieces are going to end up in another with someone who appreciates them. For my Guest Seller edit, I’ve pulled together 20+ pieces from my vintage archive to share with Marrkt. I wanted to go back to basics in order to highlight the original garments that have paved the way for some of the brands we know and the iconic pieces we’ve come to love.