Madison, Wi-based men's shop Context recently released their look book for their Fall/Winter 2011 products. The well-shot editorial depicts a variety of garments made to fight the cold—from Fair Isle sweaters to Harris Tweed duffel coats with buckle closures, there's definitely a varied look, but it's undoubtedly classic and masculine. Valet. caught up with co-owner and creative director Ryan Huber to talk shop about new brands, layering tips and the benefits of going techy when it comes to outerwear.
Our creative team meets once a week to talk inspiration. We pull ideas from everywhere. Some recent examples include everything from the Jean-luc Godard film Breathless and HBO's Boardwalk Empire to the Ken Burns documentary on National Parks, as well as the things we absorb within our immediate environment. Madison is full of active people: bicycle commuters, farmer's market attendees (largest 100% locally sourced market in the country, by the way) and last but not least, Wisconsin weather.
They're great guys. Nearly all were friends of the shop prior to modeling and all are very close friends now. We treat everyone like family. Models are as much a part of the family as any of us. One is a champion Ultimate Frisbee player nicknamed Bonesaw, another a beat maker and mechanic, another a Milan runway model and former Baraboo High hockey player, another a heavy metal drummer and youth pastor.
White Mountaineering, Sierra Designs 60/40, and Manastash are all new.
Fall is, no question, the best time to layer. We really approach it from a practical standpoint. The ultimate goal is to stay warm and dry here in Wisconsin. Wool is our friend. It's hard to beat Sunny Sports and Engineered Garments on vests and mid-layer pieces. I recommend a bold pattern vest or wool over-shirt to compliment your monotone jacket or coat. We're all about pattern, texture and color.
This is our first season carrying garments made of innovative tech fabrics like pertex, primaloft and gore-tex. Not all garments are intended for all climates and activities. We can provide advice on performance just as easily as style. Fjallraven's G1000 and the Sierra Designs 60/40 are amazing old school tech fabrics. G1000 is not waterproof, but it dries crazy fast. White Mountaineering and Manastash tech shells are built to withstand harsh environments with wind, rain, snow, ice, etc. My favorite deep cold weather gear is made by Nigel Cabourn. His pieces can compete with the legendary Canada Goose for warmth while scoring big on style points. Our goal is to keep you looking sharp while staying comfortable in any climate.