GT Approved: Edwin ED-55 Selvage Jeans

When it comes to denim GT are particularly fussy. With this in mind we decided to write a post about our favourite brand of jean for quality, cut and denim.

When it comes to a consistent quality you can’t go wrong with Japanese label Edwin Jeans, their range beats stalwarts such as Levi’s for both style and quality and also features our favourite cut the tapered leg ED-55.

Edwin Jeans

Edwin ED-55 Rainbow Selvage Jeans

So that is the brand and the cut but what about the type of denim? Having owned several pairs of ED-55 jeans we find the best denim to be the rainbow selvage denim in 16oz weight.

Selvage denim often called Selvedge is traditionally a heavier cotton twill fabric woven on looms in which one yarn (the weft) passes under two or more lengthwise (warp) threads producing the familiar diagonal ribbing you often notice. GT like the 16oz (weight of a square yard of denim) denim because it is thick enough to hold the ED-55’s tapered leg shape without being too thick for warmer weather. To give you some idea of where our recommended weights sits; regular jeans are usually 8 to 12 ounce and really thick jeans can go up to 32 ounce.

Edwin Jeans

Selvage Denim

By nature Selvage denim is not typically supposed to be machine washed or tumble dried from new; this is to retain the integrity of the denim and prevent the blue indigo dye from fading for as long as possible.

Above all the main reason we recommend selvage is simply because the denim actually gets better and better with age becoming more comfortable and developing a natural fade which enhances the jeans in a far more appealing manner than stone washing.

Edwin have published an interesting guide to their denim you can view here which contains this handy guide to looking after selvedge denim:

How To Break In Your Raw Edwin jeans

1. Start with a pair of raw Edwin denim jeans.
2. Wear your jeans everyday for at least 6 months. Anything up to a year and they will continue to acquire the history and character you imbue with them, any more than that and you may start to notice disintegration.
3. If you need to remove any stains, dab with a damp cloth, remember no detergent.
4. To freshen up your jeans at any point, hang them outside for as long as is necessary, bu don’t leave them out in the rain as the indigo dye will bleed out.
5. When, at last you finally have to wash your (by now) well worn jeans, Edwin suggests turning them inside-out and running a 40˚C cycle without detergent. When they’re done and whilst still damp, stretch the inseam back to it’s normal length and line dry, never tumble.
6. Finally, wear your jeans for another 3 months then wash at 30˚C with your regular non-bio detergent as this will help prevent fading. Now you can wear and wash your jeans as needed.

You can visit Edwin’s London store which also has a free in-house alterations service or purchase online here from Edwin European.

A couple of interesting denim facts for you: Denim is originally from Nimes in France produced by a family called Andre; known then as Serge de Nimes later shortened to denim. The blue dye used in denim comes from a plant called the Indigofera plant hence the colour indigo.

A top GT tip is to place your jeans in a freezer overnight if they become particularly dirty, this helps to remove dirt and naturally kills any germs.

Dye

Indigo Dye

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GT Approved: Blok Knives

A good friend of mine who is also a chef once advised me that a really good set of knives can last a lifetime so I should look to invest in a good set rather than a typical mass produced product. Since then I have been keeping my eye out for a unique set.

Most of the knives I have seen have been Japanese so I was delighted to hear about Blok Knives; the creation of Ben a graphic designer turned artisan knife maker from Derbyshire UK.

Each knife he creates is hand made in his workshop using Carbon Steel hardened to 60 HRC (basically very hard indeed) which does’t contain any Chromium, this means it can both hold and maintain a very sharp edge. The real beauty of Ben’s knives however is their shape and the handles which have been crafted from a different piece of quality hard wood to reveal unique patterns in the wood as you can see from the pictures of the Chef Knives above and Pairing Knives below.

Knives

Pairing Knives

Being a graphic designer Ben is also happy to personalise each blade with an image or initialing which would make a Blok knife a truly unique present for any aspiring or practicing chef. Most of us use knives practically everyday in the kitchen so a present to oneself is not out of the question.

Workshop

The Blok Workshop

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GT Approved: Illesteva Sunglasses

Illesteva is an American accessories company founded in 2009 to fulfil a need for classic eyewear with a downtown New York aesthetic and since their launch Illesteva have expanded to include umbrellas and bags.

What we like about Illesteva products is that they have been handcrafted from the highest quality materials in family-run factories throughout Italy, France and Germany.

According to their website “Illesteva remains focused first and foremost on pushing traditional boundaries of design by exploring fresh shapes and unexpected motifs. A 2012 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist, Illesteva creates timeless pieces meant to inspire, captivate and last a lifetime.”

We love their impressive ‘Leonard’ sunglasses in tortoise with blue mirrored lenses that offer classic timeless frames with coloured on-trend lenses.

Sunglasses

Not widely available yet in the UK you will be able to purchase these fine frames from two of our favourite online retailers End Clothing and Oki-Ni.

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GT Approved: ROK Espresso Maker

My coffee drinking has recently been escalated to a finer level thanks to a new purchase.

The ROK Espresso Maker is a non-electric method of making amazing espresso; choose your coffee blend, play with the grind, apply the pressure.

It doesn’t quite produce the espresso that a professional machine with a steam boiler could however it comes mightily close. As a general rule it requires 8 – 10 bar of pressure to extract all the flavour when making coffee to produce a ‘full fat’ espresso. The ROK can achieve this through manual and variable pressure and this where others, mechanical or otherwise, fail.

The ROK is easy to use and clean and once you have experimented with grinds and pressure you can create lovely crema.  No more wasteful pods and coffee blends that are average at best. I don’t have a horrid plastic and faux chrome utensil cluttering the kitchen, instead, I have a piece of design that looks brilliant on my AGA.

After trying various pre-ground as well as full-bean blends I have recently found some amazing coffee from The Main Street Trading Company, St Boswells (pictured below). This discovery is just fantastic but unfortunately it’s a limited edition blend I am forced to constrain myself to a fresh grind when I welcome visitors.

After trying various pre-ground as well as full-bean blends I have recently found some amazing coffee from The Main Street Trading Company in St Boswells (pictured below) which is just fantastic but as it’s a limited edition blend I have constrained myself to a fresh grind only when I have visitors.

Espresso

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GT Approved: Le Chameau Boots

Style in the field is essential. You might have picked up some dashing tweed from Holland and Holland but it means nothing without the right footwear, you will only show yourself up as an absolute amateur of country style, think Black Tie event and clip on bow tie. Your countryside attire must not only look fantastic but it is essential that it is fit for purpose.

Le Chameau have been producing tiptop quality natural rubber boots for over eighty years and what a handsome set of boots they make. Like your finest pair of tweed breeks, master craftsmen use the best available materials to produce a product that is unmatched. Based in Pont-d’Ouilly in Normandy, Le Chameau use a 12 stage process using natural rubber to produce their wellingtons. You can choose from either neoprene or leather lined, a snap top buckle or a fully-zipped leg and all of these options in a variety of shoe and calf sizes.

Boots

My two pairs of Le Chameau boots 30 years apart and still in use!

My first pair were given to me by a family friend, they are now over thirty years old and only leak on one calf. I also have the Vierzonord (neoprene lined snap top buckle) and for the smartest of country occasions I take my Chasseur boots (Leather lined fully-zipped leg).

Whether enjoying field sports in the Scottish Highlands, boot hopping at the point to point or just a rainy day in Central London, Le Chameau will make the correct impression and are worth every penny.

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