Last couple of days have been mega busy and mega sunny but it’s Thursday and you know what that means…
…no. Not that it’s Friday tomorrow although, technically, it is. It’s the latest instalment of ‘The Mens…’ 10@10 and tonight we focus on a brother of ours here @clobbercalm as @ruggedworkwear takes his, long awaited, turn in the hot-seat.
Dave is a tip-top guy who has a lot of really great stuff to say about all things denim, rugged, workwear etc so what better way for you all to hear it than to give him the floor via this feature. It’s also a big reason why he’s a firm member of team @clobbercalm who, only this past Saturday, penned an awesome feature about @goforthgoods HERE.
MEET THE MAN BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
NAME: Dave Mathias aka @ruggedworkwear
LOCATION: Marietta, GA
OCCUPATION: IT Audit Manager
1. So Why Instagram?
I originally started an IG account in mid-2016 when we bought my son and iPod. He wanted an IG account and at only the age of 10 (now 11) I wanted to monitor his account. At first I posted random family pictures. Later I realized between my main two social media outlets, I preferred IG for quality photography across various topics, the almost complete lack of political BS you see on Facebook, and finally really nice communities of people that share the same hobbies/interests. Now I only really use Facebook to post family pictures so my immediate family and friends can keep up to speed on my family activities. That’s about it. I like IG 10x more than Facebook outside the family picture posting.
My IG account has basically become my non-Facebook account for posting photos about my interests. And sharing these photos and discussions with other people that have the same interests and hobbies.
2. Why Denim, Boots, Workwear, Ruggedness?
I think this may have started inadvertently when I was younger. My father always wore rugged work wear. He grew up on a farm wearing tough and durable work wear. After that he worked on a railroad for 40 years. He served in Vietnam in the US Army 101st airborne. He also did construction work on the side while he worked on his railroad. In college, for one of my summer jobs, I worked with him doing the construction work. He wore, and taught me to wear, rugged denim, rugged canvas, and rugged leather boot work wear. It didn’t really grow on me until now later in life I truly appreciate the aging and quality craftsmanship of rugged work wear. Some of this stuff can literally last a lifetime or longer it is so durable. Typically things just aren’t commonly made that way anymore. And so now I appreciate that level of quality especially handcrafted goods. I also very much enjoy collaborating with small businesses, the person creating a product that I will use. Finally, the idea of supporting local (not in all cases, but in most cases with me) and helping USA small business grow by supporting them. That really resonates with me.
3. What are your thoughts on the rise in popularity of “Instafashion” and the community it is creating?
I LOVE it. There really is something for everybody on IG. In my case, my flavor of “Instafashion” is work wear. And honestly where can you find this many quality pictures and quality people in a community devoted to the hobby of work wear?? You simply cannot find that anywhere else. Sure you can go to forums and discuss fashion and style, and I’ve done that. But people tend to be rude on forums in my opinion (not everybody, but there are always at least a few, and sometimes a ton of rude people depending on the forum). On IG, the communities of interest are typically very polite in my experience. And just super enthusiastic about whatever their flavor of hobby is. In my opinion you can’t find that anywhere else at the scale you can for “Instafashion for work wear” that you can on IG.
4. Top 3 brands to shop and why?
This is a really tough one to pick. I would begin with Red Wing boots. To me that’s where it all started – wearing tough as hell Red Wings with my father working construction. I honestly have too many pairs of Red Wings to really wear them and age them like I would prefer, but it’s sort of an addiction of mine due to my experience with these boots in construction as well as the heritage of the Red Wing brand. In my opinion, it not only has the most heritage of any boot manufacturer, I would argue it has some of the most heritage of work wear (some might argue Levi’s and that’s a pretty good argument). Red Wing is #1 to me.
I am lucky enough to be participating in ‘Project Threads and Fades 2017’. While working the fades on Kojima denim I have come to appreciate the quality craftsmanship and durability of Shockoe Atelier denim products. Plus they offer free repairs for life! Just screams of great customer service and relationship management. I now own Japanese denim Collect Mills Kojima standard jeans, Italian denim Como military trousers, Japanese denim Kuroki Mills western shirt, and vintage army green canvas military trousers. Shockoe Atelier is my #2, just awesome denim, work wear products, craftsmanship, and customer service.
I recently had the privilege to purchase some Grease Point Workwear (GPW) work trousers which I collaborated with Amos to craft to my exact unique requirements and specifications. The Candiani Mills double indigo Italian denim is awesome and the details and craftsmanship in these work trousers are just completely bad ass. Completely. Oh and I also have a really cool USA sourced cotton work t-shirt from GPW as well. GPW is my #3.
5. Where’s your favourite place to shop these brands?
In my household we are a single income family. We are always on a budget. So I actually don’t do a ton of online shopping at the typical online work wear stores you see people mention in the 10@10. If I had to pick, I would say American Trench and Huckberry, but it is rare I look and buy things from outlets such as that. Not that I have anything against those stores, I just typically look directly at the manufacturing vendor versus the online stores. So in my case, related to my top 3 brands, I would shop directly on the Shockoe Atelier and GPW sites. For Red Wings, I basically look for deals wherever I can find them. That means mega-outlets like Amazon as well as believe it or not buying both new and used on eBay (the best deals I’ve ever found are on eBay if you are patient and willing to wait to find quality/prices you desire). Also, not mentioned in my favorite brands, I do a lot of shopping at thrift stores. While the niche small business high quality hand craft work wear goods typically are not found at thrift stores, name brands are there and I really love finding something that has great character, has aged well, and that I can breathe new life into shopping at thrift stores.
6. When did you decide to voice and share your love for your threads on social media?
For me it was shortly after getting on IG in mid-2016. It wasn’t long before I started sharing pictures of my shoes and boots. That slowly evolved into pictures of full attire. Since then, IG has become my outlet for showing my work wear taste which is typically a mix of rugged work wear as well as business casual office attire. Heavy emphasis on boots, shoes, denim, and leather products.
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?
I’m overly critical of my images. I don’t post TONS of photos I take, they are simply discarded. I only post a pic if I think it is half way decent. Even then, I honestly do not feel I have great photography skills. I do get a lot of positive feedback about my pictures, but again, I’m overly critical! My pictures are taken from a variety of options, but all pictures are taken on my Galaxy S7 android phone. My first choice is if I can take the picture myself from some angle while holding my Galaxy S7 I do that. Second choice is to ask a family member to take the picture if I cannot hold it or the angle is far away. Family members that take my pictures in these scenarios are my wife and my oldest son. Last option, I use the phone timer, but again being honest, I absolutely hate the phone timer. It’s difficult to get just the right angle and I often spend way too much time taking 100 pics and sifting through those and editing those if I use the timer. So that’s my very last option and I rarely use that option. My pictures are taken whenever I have a spare moment which is not very much. With a 40 hour a week office job, a wife and three kids (each kid with activities) my life is damn busy (understatement). So there isn’t much time for elaborate photo ops and setup. Whenever I can steal a quick moment in work wear is when the photos are taken. Random times, morning, day, night. As far as followers, I don’t understand the IG follower patterns I see. It is constantly up and down for no rhyme or reason. I don’t know if that’s due to IG robots, ebb and flow of the quality of my pics, or why that is. But luckily I don’t care that much about my follower count. Circling back, to answer the question due to the randomness of my followers I honestly cannot tell what my followers crave or what they consider “magic”. I’ve posted pictures I think are absolutely awesome. And had very few likes. I’ve posted other pictures I thought were not that great, to the point I didn’t want to post them, and they will be some of my most popular pictures from a like perspective. So I honestly don’t know what “magic” is to my followers!!
8. What feeds do you like to follow and check in on? Who should we check out?
Of all the questions in this list, this one is dreadful. I have tons of feeds I really enjoy, but I don’t want anybody I forget to mention to feel neglected, so if I don’t mention you, there are so many, don’t think I don’t appreciate your account. Some accounts I enjoy include @inn8chiro / @boothunter / @clobbercalm / @bothrops1 / @sel.vage / @johanmalik80 / @raw.denim.ocd / @ericmunson / @whoisjohnnn_dough / @jaesungxlee / @jmietzel / @scwaudby_33 / @aegishandcraft / @indigonanner
9. What tips would you give new starters on Instagram to help them get there feed off the ground and successful?
That depends what your goal is on IG. For me the, the goal is posting interesting images of work wear, sharing my work wear style with like-minded enthusiasts so I can compare styles and discuss styles with the community. With my goal in mind, to keep in touch with the community I typically post at least one picture a day. Success to me is seeing all the cool styles of pictures from the other people on IG that share your same hobby and enthusiasm. I’m on IG as much or more to view their pictures than I am to boost my account followers.
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?
Is the island cold or hot? Let’s compromise and say the temperatures is mild…Easy. #1 Red Wing boots, and I love all kind of RWs, but I would probably pick my 8115 Copper Rough and Tough Iron Rangers. My favorite RWs are actually Brogue Rangers, but those are more of a dress boot. So on a deserted island, I would choose the Iron Rangers, just a rugged, durable badass boot to hike around the island. #2 I would want some good denim jeans, so I would go with my Candiani Mills double indigo denim Grease Point Workwear work trousers. Medium weight with a comfortable fit to go about the work needed to survive. Next, I would choose a comfy tshirt, any brand (this one doesn’t count). #3 My Aegis Handcraft denim backpack, to carry around supplies. #4 My Shockoe Atelier denim western shirt. It’s heavy enough it’s almost like a shacket. This would help keep me warm if it gets cooler. My drink of choice would be water, but that’s boring. So assuming there is a natural spring to drink from and I don’t need water, I would choose a good beer. Let’s say some Lagunitas Brown Shugga.
So, so, great Dave! Appreciate you always taking the time out through the various @clobbercalm threads you’re involved with these days…
I’m sure you’ll all agree that was great insight from Dave and an awesome feature. Go check out his feed to see, among other things, those cracking Kojima fades.
Stay close people, much love.
P.S. If any of you are up for entering into #teamdenimworldwide make sure you let me know! LETS DO THIS PEOPLE.