Vol. 

2.4

2.4

March 2015

Letter from the Editor

“What has surprised you over the past few years?”

Whether I’m speaking about Need, fashion, media, or design, this has become one of the most pervasive questions of my career.

Last week, for instance — during Dallas Startup Week — thousands of people descended upon Downtown Dallas. Whether curious about the process or eager to learn about the vibrant undercurrent of local activity, there was a diverse swarm of people at each and every event I visited.

For many of these people, the motivation of their attendance was simple. It was not to learn about the nuances of digital marketing or excessive hashtag usage, but, rather, to weigh the perceived risks of creating something.

In many respects, life is an ongoing tension between risks and decisions. From the moment you wake to the moment you sleep, your life is comprised of a series of decisions, all of which revolve around the assessment of risk.

(That’s probably one of the least romantic things I’ve ever written.)

So, for these people who are intrigued by the prospect of building something of their own, they want to know what surprised people. In other words, after those founders made that initial, irrational decision, what surprised them along the ensuing path?

The easiest answer is that, after you make your decision, you suddenly realize that there’s so much more to realizing an idea than you would’ve otherwise considered. In my case, I had the idea for Need and all I could envision was how great it would be to publish these well-considered collections each month.

I never sat awake at night envisioning myself running a human resources department or getting disproportionately excited about a new payroll solution.

The longer, less tangible answer is that you come to look at things much differently. I’m more self-aware of my shortcomings than ever, I understand that I derive the greatest sense of fulfillment from the act of building rather than sustaining, and so on.

If it’s not already obvious, I’ve found myself in a rather pensive, introspective mood. After answering the question innumerable times — both the short and long versions — and launching Foremost last month, I realize that the surprises continue apace.

Two years into Need, we’ve ushered Foremost into the world, whilst also launching The Society to bridge the gap between both sites. And, in direct correlation with these movements, I find my answer to the question evolving.

I no longer look at Need as the sum total of its parts. Rather, Need is a part of a much larger sum.

It’s an expression of transition, growth, and altered plans. And, perhaps, that’s the greatest lesson to be gleaned from all of this.

Regardless of the plans you can make and the risks you can convince yourself you’ve mitigated, life and business are volatile and fluid. The moment you try to convince yourself you know what will happen next is the very instant you’ll endanger yourself from making good decisions.

Why the lengthy treatise? Simply put, I encourage you to think of life as something transitional and moving. It’s not a stagnant thing you can build blueprints around, but, rather, a living organism prone to rapid irrational decision-making.

With that in mind, it’s a pleasure to introduce Volume 2.4: Transition. Although its moniker is derived from the weather, it dovetails nicely into the sentiment I’ve come across on this cold, grey morning.

Shot in San Francisco with Cory Maryott (and good friend of the company, Mason Allen) and in Dallas with our very own Jordan Laessig, Vol. 2.4 encourages you to wear clothing that exists between seasons, trends, and so on.

I’m tremendously proud of what we’ve got on offer.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Alexander / Founder + CEO

  • Daypack
  • Francis Tortoise and Ebony
  • Bacton Artisan Rifle Jacket
  • Classic Raglan
  • Freeport Pocket Polo
  • Classic Sheffield
  • Dot Chambray Scarf
  • Thin Finn
  • Leather Lace-Up
  • Commando Hat
  • Leather Wallet Sleeve

Daypack

Amos

For years, the Messenger Bag Industrial Complex has sought to instill a belief in the American public that backpacks are the harbinger of the apocalypse.

The internet is filled with screed indicting the backpack for its seemingly juvenile appearance and lack of contemporary relevance.

And, shamefully, I must admit that I’d (marginally) bought into this ideology for much of the past year. Rather than packing my typical backpack when traveling, for instance, I’d carry something more akin to a briefcase.

Several weeks ago, this all changed rather abruptly. I was hurriedly packing for a flight to San Francisco and, in doing so, I forewent my typical hand-held carry-on in favor of a backpack.

And it was goddamn delightful.

Rather than hand-carrying my 15-inch behemoth of a laptop along with my iPad, cables, and so forth, I slung the bag on my back and remembered what it was like to be able to lock my apartment door behind me.

So, when Hannah approached me with the prospect of having a well-designed and exceptionally well-made backpack as part of Vol. 2.4, I could not resist. (Plus, amazingly, it’s called a Daypack. Be still my heart.)

Beyond my pro-backpack agenda, Amos’ Daypack utterly won me over anyway. Sporting a durable wool felt body, adjustable leather straps, magnetic clasps, and minimalistic brass fixtures, the Daypack is an objectively beautiful item to behold.

With its internal padded laptop sleeve — fitting up to a 15-inch laptop — Amos’ bag is the ultimate expression of what a backpack ought to be for so many people.

And, indeed, it was the subject of dozens of compliments as we wandered through San Francisco last week.

  • $179.00

Francis Tortoise and Ebony

Shwood

It’s rather difficult to write about the merit of sunglasses when we’ve just emerged from a weather system comprised of “thunder sleet,” but Shwood’s Francis Fifty Fifty sunglasses are a thing of beauty.

Sporting a rounded silhouette and keyhole bridge, these tortoise shell sunglasses are well-suited to a variety of faces, they’re affordably-priced, and they’ll be sure to stand apart from the sea of Wayfarers at your local park over the coming months.

Whether it’s the grey Carl Zeiss lenses, the real ebony wooden inlays, or the renewable acetate frame, Shwood’s Francis sunglasses will certainly not go amiss as the sun begins to creep through the clouds.

  • $109.00

Bacton Artisan Rifle Jacket

Realm & Empire

Several months ago, whilst visiting the team at Realm & Empire, I came across their Artisan Rifle Jacket. And, for the six or seven months since, I have not stopped talking about it.

So, when it arrived at the office, I was naturally bowled over with excitement.

My affection for Real & Empire is well-documented. From their story-telling to their refinement in design, I simply cannot get enough of their work.

And, in true form, the Rifle Jacket continues this tradition of remarkable story-telling. Inspired by Civilian Clothing Order CC41 — passed in England in 1942 — the government forbade embellished clothing, encouraging men and women to “make do and mend,” the Rifle Jacket is a minimalistic, yet stylistically nuanced piece.

If it’s not clear, it’s become an instant favorite for me. From its iconic, simplistic design to its lightweight construction, touches of corduroy, asymmetric pockets, and scooped hemline, there’s simply nothing that can be criticized.

In its deep navy hue, the Rifle Jacket is an ideal companion for all manner of outfits, whilst also serving as an ideal in-between outer-layer for the Spring months.

  • $184.00
  • Select Size

    S M L XL

Classic Raglan

Realm & Empire

Sweatshirts are still on-trend and well-received, which may or may not be evidence of divine intervention in the world of sartorial expectations.

Regardless, minimalistic, well-made sweatshirts are versatile items that all men should own. (Particularly while they’re so acceptable.)

Whether you’re relaxing at home or your working from your laptop at your local coffee shop, decent sweatshirts will never go amiss.

With that in mind, we’ve got a deep green (officially “chive”) option from Realm & Empire for these colder months.

At this stage, it’s no secret that we love Realm & Empire’s Classic Raglan sweatshirt. It’s exceptionally well-designed, comfortable, and fits extraordinarily well.

Skip the cheap, poorly made sweatshirt from the mall and invest in a lasting design.

  • $120.00
  • Select Size

    S M L XL

Freeport Pocket Polo

General Assembly

During a speech at a university several weeks ago, students were given the opportunity to submit questions. The top voted question, as I recall, asked how I felt about “fraternity fashion.”

Eschewing the expletives of the true response, I responded — from a high-level — that I’d strongly recommend against it. That, for as much as these gentlemen would like you to believe they’re not following any sort of sartorial code, they’re all clearly abiding by a firm rule-set.

And, generally speaking, it’s an embarrassing rule-set.

As an extension of this belief, you’d think I’d be rather against polo shirts. (And, in most cases, you’d be right.) Recently, though, we stumbled across General Assembly’s Freeport polo.

Sporting a thicker polyester fabric, it’s a nuanced, interesting, and aesthetically unique design. Most importantly, for the first time in years, I felt a distinct pang of desire to wear a polo.

It’s an item bereft of the cultural weight that “fraternity fashion” has built upon its brethren. Instead, it’s a refreshing, comfortable, and incredibly attractive option for the modern gentleman.

  • $55.00
  • Select Size

    S M L XL

Classic Sheffield

Daniel Wellington

The Apple Watch is coming in April. And, for the sake of honesty, I’m planning to buy one for myself.

It’s an interesting experiment. And it’s something I could make great use of in my daily life.

There’s a great deal of hand-wringing surrounding this topic, though. Much like when the iPhone and iPad were, respectively, unveiled, people responded with knee-jerk dismissals. And the same holds true for the Watch.

The reality of the situation is that it’s going to sell tens of millions of units this year. And deservedly so, really.

What it will not do this year, though, is obviate the traditional watch. Much the same as how the Kindle has not obviated the tactile delight of a physical book, the Apple Watch does not seek to dismantle the likes of Rolex, Omega, and so forth.

Rather, I think the Apple Watch might instill greater awareness of the world of discernment that lies beneath the timepiece industry. That, beyond this useful device, there’s another sphere of refinement and sophistication to be gleaned from wearing a well-designed watch.

In light of that belief, we decided to re-order a new batch of the Classic Sheffield watch. It’s an affordable, minimalistic, and exceptionally attractive item. And, although it won’t tell you when you have a text, it’ll faithfully tell you the time and garner compliments for years to come.

  • $190.00

Dot Chambray Scarf

Realm & Empire

Scarves are woefully misunderstood creatures.

People often see them as unnecessary flourishes, focusing instead upon their utility. If it’s cold, for instance, a man could wear a scarf. If it’s not freezing, though, why would a man wear one?

The reality is that there are innumerable reasons to do so.

From a purely aesthetic juncture, they add a great deal of sophistication to even the most spartan of outfits. You could be wearing a white t-shirt and jeans and, with the addition of a scarf, you’d utterly change your appearance.

This chambray scarf is lightweight, sports a rich set of tones, and has a light dot pattern. In other words, it’s an attractive, unique, and versatile scarf.

You’d do well to own one.

  • $40.00
  • Out Of Stock

Thin Finn

Nudie Jeans Co.

Dark denim is a wonderful thing. It’s versatile, easy to wear, and pairs with all manner of clothing.

At the same time, it’s pervasive. Walk into any non-Starbucks coffee shop around the country and you’ll hit a wall of dark denim.

If you’re invested in the prospect of standing apart from the crowd, look no further than Nudie’s pre-washed Thin Finn.

There’s no need to worry about washing and wearing them in perfectly. The work’s already done for you.

Concerned about skewing more towards your father’s look? Well, Nudie’s Thin Finn have a slim fit — slightly slimmer than the Grim Tim we typically offer — that lends itself exceptionally well to a more contemporary appearance.

All gentlemen should own some raw denim, some black denim, and some well-worn denim. Here’s the latter pre-made for you.

Leather Lace-Up

BucketFeet

As someone known for wearing brogues and formal shoes more often than not, I’ve found myself looking for a good pair of brown leather casual shoes for quite some time.

So, wandering into the office earlier this month, I was pleased to stumble across a shipment of brown leather BucketFeet.

BucketFeet are exceptionally well-made, they’re each designed by independent artists, and they have an extraordinary attention to detail.

So, naturally, their brown leather lace-ups continue this tradition. They’re comfortable, they fit perfectly, and their “comfort bubble” insole is surprisingly welcome.

Paired with denim, chinos, or otherwise, these are stylistically versatile shoes that you ought to consider.

Commando Hat

Realm & Empire

Walking through San Francisco last week, I was wearing a Filson jacket, Buck Mason t-shirt, and Realm & Empire beanie. (I’m a shameless Need promoter these days.)

And, commenting on a photograph from the day, someone commented that I looked ready to audition for Deadliest Catch.

First, I don’t know what that is, but I assume it’s a reality show about fishing. And, honestly, I can’t imagine watching anything worse.

Second, I love that look.

It’s casual, laid-back, and easy to pull-off.

Unlike so many of these men wearing over-sized beanies in blistering sunlight in August, we’re in the middle of cold, wet, and quickly-changing weather. And if there’s a useful item to have with you in that environment, it’s a good beanie.

Realm & Empire’s Commando beanie is a beautiful shade of navy, made with wool for warmth, and cuffs to avoid the Stereotypical Look Of 2003.

It’s easily worn with all manner of outfits and, if it’s not needed, it can be stuffed in a pocket.

Easy.

  • $60.00

Leather Wallet Sleeve

Mujjo

The iPhone is a triumph in industrial engineering. Whether seen as an object or a device, it’s irrefutably beautiful to behold.

And, yet, we’ve all grown accustomed to keeping these devices within unattractive shells.

People frequently interject that they do not wish to damage their expensive device. I respond that they don’t wear a helmet whilst walking around everyday, so why should they put a helmet on their phone. Just be a little more careful.

Of course, many are unwilling to do so. And, for those people, we have a more dignified solution.

Mujjo’s leather sleeve is made with soft, vegetable-tanned leather. It provides sufficient cushion for your phone, whilst also serving as an interesting conversation piece.

Featuring a card sleeve, you could even use this as a basic wallet.

The moral is that this is an objectively well-designed sleeve that does not seek to detract from your iPhone’s thinness and design, but rather bolster it.