@almostvintagestyle answers the 10@10

Good evening folks

So, I’ve just been on the other end of the mic for tonight’s clobber-cast…bet you all can’t wait to hear my dulcid Yorkshire drawl wax lyrical about all things raw??

I’m sat with a cup of Yorkshire, creating a West Coast surf/garage/punk playlist on Spotify and penning this intro for tonight’s top geezer! It was my birthday on Tuesday so I’m in a decent mood (for a change aha) and Arsenal don’t seem to be ruining that vibe…just yet! Anyway, onto tonight’s guest…

…tonight, we have the pleasure of welcoming Jake to the party as @almostvintagestyle gives insight into his love for Western films, his rather meticulously planned desert island outfit and everything in-between. Jake is a denim blogger/reviewer (denim blogging?? It’ll never catch on 😜) and an aspiring novelist so I’ll stop jabbering on. Let’s let the pro flow, shall we?

So sit back, relax, crack open a cold one and enjoy the thoughts of Jake as @almostvintagestyle answers the clobbercalm 10@10.

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MEET THE MAN BEHIND THE MENSWEAR

NAME: Jake Rodriguez aka @almostvintagestyle
AGE: 26
LOCATION: Orange County, CA
OCCUPATION: Sales, Part-time musician, Denim blogger/reviewer at almostvintagestyle.com, Aspiring novelist

1. So Why Instagram?

Perhaps the most obvious reason that I use Instagram is the same reason that most people who post daily do: I’m a narcissist who believes I have great taste in clothing and I want to show that to others. The fact that it is so image based is fun because it differentiates the platform from the forums such as Denimbro and Superdenim that I frequent and has allowed me to practice photography more and it is a great way to promote my blog where I do denim and workwear clothing reviews. It has been instrumental in promoting my work as well as in receiving feedback from readers.

2. Why Denim, Boots, Workwear, Ruggedness?

The Western has been my favorite genre of live action film ever since I can remember, to the point that I took a class on Western films in college. The laceless boots, rugged trousers, hats, and jackets along with the filming locations have had a profound effect on me. I loved that style of clothing back when I was so uneducated that I was wearing oversized skateboarding shoes, baggy pants, and spiking my hair with LA Looks gel. After I started dating my fiance as a Sophomore in high school, I realized that I desperately needed to up my style game to compete with her. After a lot of growing pains throughout my later high school and early college years that involved me looking like I was trying to join the 2005 version of Green Day, I stumbled across The Fedora Lounge in search of knowledge of leather jackets when I was 20-21 years old. Around a year later, I owned a couple pairs of Naked and Famous jeans, some decent boots, and my first high quality leather jacket and I have not looked back since.

My perpetual love of this type of clothing is threefold. As you can see from my Instagram feed as well as my online handle, my style is more classic and vintage-inspired than that of most other denim heads. My love of the past (I majored in history in college) as well as classic clothing and Western films means that I love the style of denim, work wear, and rugged clothing. The second reason I love this type of clothing is due to the quality and passion behind the pieces themselves. Mainstream fashion felt disingenuous to me. With the exception of shoes, I felt that it was extremely difficult to discern if the clothing was actually high quality or not. Even expensive pieces felt cheaply made. In the world of denim and work wear, quality construction is often the primary focus and I adore that. The time, expertise, and passion that is put into the clothes that I wear is something that I appreciate and therefore have passion for these clothes myself. The final reason that I love this type of clothing is due to the fact that it is classic. Some items may have moments of revival in mainstream fashion, but none of it is ever out of style. As Yves Saint Laurent correctly stated, “Fashions fade, style is eternal.”

3. What are your thoughts on the rise in popularity of “Instafashion” and the community it is creating?

There are definitely plusses and minuses to this. The community is fantastic. When I started posting on Instagram, I never thought I would meet so many amazing people that I truly enjoy talking to. Even better, I have met people who have now become real life friends thanks to the incredibly awesome @ladenimhangs crew.

On the other hand, the whole “Instafashion” scene is quite stale and rewards not only repitition, but also a very specific style and way of running your feed and taking pictures. For example, my Red Wing boots are my least favorite boots that I own and flat lays are my least favorite type of picture to take, but what are by far my two most liked pictures? You guessed it- a picture of me wearing Red Wings and Chup socks and a terrible flat lay picture that I took. As much as I love boots, there are only so many ways that you can take a picture of them, yet people eat that up like Kardashian drama.

The downgrades to the algorithm that Instagram continues to implement only exacerbate the situation and this is affecting people who are massively more popular than me which if anything, is even more disappointing. Some of these guys have been on Instagram for years building their communities and putting out fantastic content and with a little math and the push of a button, much of that work is washed away. While I am slightly frustrated with my own situation, at least I have only been in the game for a relatively short period of time and have therefore lost less than others have. The fact that denim heads with 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 followers and more are not considered ‘big enough’ by the people upstairs and are being affected by these changes really grinds my gears.

With all of that said, I would say that the positives absolutely outweigh the negatives. The actual people in the Instagram denim community are shockingly friendly and wonderful people that I have an amazing time interacting with. Despite being seriously involved in the platform for only a few months, I already feel like I am a part of the family and that feels amazing. Even if the algorithm manages to get even worse and there are only 100 of us all following each other, I’ll still stick around because I know those 100 people will be worth interacting with.

4. Top 3 brands to shop and why?

1. Conner’s Sewing Factory. This is a one man brand from Japan that makes the most accurate reproduction Levi’s jeans from the late 1930’s through the 1940’s in the entire world. The skill and dedication that Yoshiaki Konaka brings to the table is unparalleled in the denim world and there is no brand on the market like his. In terms of denim and only denim, this is by far my favorite brand.

2. The Flat Head. In my opinion, The Flat Head and their sister brand, Real Japan Blues make the most beautifully fading jeans in the world. However, what truly sets them apart is the fact that you can where nothing but there products from head to toe and be covered in absolute design and construction perfection. Their shirts have the most intricate and beautiful patterns on the market. Their wallets are completely hand made in a small workshop by master leather workers, and they make one of, if not the only pair of sneakers that can be re-soled. My wallet, keychain, and silver rings are all made by The Flat Head/RJB and there are days when I wear nothing but clothing made by this brand.

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3. I’m going to cheat here and put two brand here because I cannot decide between them. The first is Brass Tokyo/Clinch boots. In my experience, they make boots that are only topped by White Kloud. However, White Kloud does not make engineer boots and therefore, Clinch is my favorite boot brand overall. Their design is a perfect balance of sleek and rugged, their construction is flawless, and the leathers they offer are stunning. The second brand in third place is Himel Brothers Leather. Dave Himel is a master of jacket design and no other brand offers as many models that I wish I could own, and I already own two! From the best jacket leather in the world (Shinki Hikaku vegetable tanned horsehide) to 100% cotton thread, perfectly tight stitching, custom sizing, beautiful liners, and new old stock buttons, every aspect of these jackets is the best that can possibly be made and sourced. My absolute favorite physical item that I have ever owned is my Himel Brothers Wolverine grizzly leather jacket.

I am going to cheat again and list some honorable mentions as well: Role Club boots are on par with Clinch and are not in the top three only because I personally do not love the leathers as much. Stevenson Overall co. makes my favorite pair of non-denim trousers as well as my favorite t shirts in the world. John Lofgren makes some of the best boots and sneakers around. The Real McCoys makes a wide range of incredible items as well as my only leather jacket that is not a Himel. Freewheelers makes a large percentage of the shirts I own as well as incredible jeans, trousers, leather jackets, and more. Michael Masterson makes my favorite custom shirts, Nine Lives makes the best denim pimp clothes around. White Kloud makes the best boots in the world.

5. Where’s your favourite place to shop these brands?

Most of my favorite brands are purchased directly from the makers themselves, but I have purchased quite a few items from Standard and Strange, Self Edge, Corlection, Rivet and Hide, and Okayama Denim. All of these stores have excellent customer service with Standard and Strange being a real standout in that department.

6. When did you decide to voice and share your love for your threads on social media?

My fiance started sharing her own love of clothing and style on Instagram in early 2017 so I started doing so around the same time. However, I posted fairly infrequently and did not start to take this seriously until I started my own denim and clothing review blog and purchased my first real camera, a Fujifilm X-T2. Both of these events occured around September of 2017, so that is when I truly got into Instagram. Because both of us post daily, we have a great system where we go to the same locations and take each others’ pictures with the same camera. It has become a fun project for both of us to work on together.

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?

It certainly helps that I have an excellent camera. My Fuji X-T2 along with the 16mm F 1.4 and 56 F 1.2 lenses are true standouts and really help me look less like an awkward nerd in my pictures. My wonderful fiance takes most of my pictures as I mentioned above, but my mom is an amateur photographer who takes some of them as well while I take the flat lay and product shots.

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8. What feeds do you like to follow and check in on? Who should we check out?

This is the most difficult question. I apologize to anyone I forget as there are far too many amazing feeds to follow.

I have to give a shoutout to my fiance, @atthealee. She’s worth a follow not only because she is gorgeous and is the only reason I have any sense of style (I looked like Blink-182 in 1999 before I met her), but also because I take most of her pictures 😀

Definitely go follow @ladenimhangs as well as literally everyone who is a part of that crew. These guys are the best and have welcomed me and my pompous, argumentative self into their group with open, denim-clad arms and I love them for it.

@yonagrinberg, @ericmunson, @johanmalik80, @illcutz, @sel.vage, @ruggedworkwear, @vinyl66, @newenglandmenswear, @sirjoms, @partial2denim, all have amazing content while being great people to interact with.

@johnbbrooklyn and @davitosworld do not have the highest quality photography, but they are both awesome guys and have been my two biggest style idols in the raw denim world.

9. What tips would you give new starters on Instagram to help them get there feed off the ground and successful?

Make sure to put some sort of thought into your photos, even if you aren’t going to drop money on a camera. However, the most important part of this community is interacting with everyone in it. Follow people with great content, comment on it, feel free to message people, even if they have a lot more followers than you, and reply to stories. What I have actually gained from Instagram has been through meeting new friends and like-minded people through picturesof jeans and boots.

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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?

I apologize in advance for being painfully pedantic, but here it goes:

Because a desert island refers to a deserted island and not to the climate, coupled with the fact that are almost no islands in the world with a desert climate, I am going to have to choose a fairly versatile wardrobe because I could be stuck anywhere from the tropics to what basically amounts to a block of ice.

1. I really hope that I am not stranded on a tropical island, because I hate humidity, but I will take my Stevenson Overall co. loopwheeled henley t shirt. The ecru color is beautiful and will hide sweat stains in the unfortunate chance that I am stuck on my own personal sweatbox.

2. My Himel Brothers Wolverine Grizzly leather jacket. This is my favorite piece of clothing that I have ever owned and should keep me fairly warm at night if need be with its flannel lining. If I’m actually stuck on an arctic island, I’m probably dead anyway.

3. My Conners Sewing Factory 1937 jeans. These are my favorite jeans and are extremely comfortable. The lighter than average fabric would be nice and versatile as well.

4. My Clinch horsebutt engineer boots. These are my favorite boots right now (though they may be dethroned when my White Kloud boots arrive). They are well made, tough, and should be able to handle anything thrown at them.

The drink is very tough to choose. I love soda, whiskey, and red wine a lot, but I think I would choose a coconut smoothie made by Cascada Refrascante. This is simultaneously my favorite drink and dessert in the world. Smooth, slightly sweet, and refreshing, it would at least give me something to be happy about on the island and would be refreshing if I am stuck in the tropics.

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Cheers Jake, mate. Top words from a tip-top bloke! Thanks for the swift turnaround on this write-up and we’ll be sure to check in on your site man. Appreciate the review on the M-59 too 🙏 Ta, bro.

All the rest of you, keep those peepers peeled for further updates on the clobber-casts, the new website and the plethora of blogs that are coming your way!

Peace ✌️
Cal @clobbercalm.cal

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