Today I find myself wandering with a kind of dazed, blissful grin on my face around the website for Norfolk-based atelier Old Town. Although I doubt they'd appreciate being called that. The focus is on solid workwear and tough utility clothing, with a styling direction firmly pointed at the first half of the 20th century. Lots of twill, canvas and tweed. Clothes that are designed to perform and to last.
Old Town are aware that they are open to accusations of being nothing more than an exercise in nostalgia. To which they respond, with typical humility and good humour:
...we hope that the discerning might notice that the garments are essentially useful items with reference points and influences from past costume. In much the same way as today’s townscape is made of elements from different periods, we attempt in a simple way, to play with the notion of Now and Then.This is an interesting point. Good design has an awareness of history, of ideas that have worked well and that were perhaps needlessly abandoned. If an item makes you feel good when you wear it, then why should it matter that it doesn't fit in with current trends? Will we look back at the onesie in a couple of years with a sense of bemusement--or will we all be wearing them? Bear in mind of course, that the boiler suit has been around for a while. That's nothing more than a onesie in slightly better fabric.
Old Town clothes are made to order, and take between six to eight weeks to arrive at your door. I think that's fair enough. If you have to think hard about what you want to buy, rater than just yank out your credit card on a whim, then you're ascribing to the mantra that's increasingly quoted in this blog: Buy Less. Spend More. Choose Well.
Old Town are based in Holt in North Norfolk, one of my favourite spots in the country. The town is worth a visit if you're ever in the area, and I'd say Old Town is definitely worth the trip all by itself.
For more, check out the website, and I urge you to nose through their News Extra archive--plenty to see and read.