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"The Allen Associates team has cultivated working relationships with some of the top business minds in the United States. The firm's An American Story, leads us to brilliant little nuggets of creative capitalism and culture.."

- Benjamin Stephens, Top 10 Creative Blogs You May Have Missed 

An American Story

 

— Authentic American Inspiration —

Tuesday
Jan212014

Red Wing Shoes 

When Charles Beckman opened a small specialty store in 1905 in the town of Red Wing, Minnesota, his keen eye was fixated on the values of durability, quality hand strewn craftsmanship, and plain old hard work. From the factory floor warrior to the construction site champion, Beckman theorized that there might be a need for quality footwear for the workers that make America go. Bulls-eye.

On the feet of our brave soldiers in the two major wars, to its unexpected role in hip hop couture, Red Wing has been through it all. Like an unsung hero that is in the shadows yet always present on the grand stage, Red Wing and their triple stitched leather boots has been the vehicle for the heroes who have paved our roads, laid down railroad tracks, and erected the sturdy building in which you are currently reading this story. No frills, no trends, no gimmicks. No need.

“Work Is Our Work” is their credo, an apt statement that embodies the company’s not-so complex vantage on a product that truly has many layers. A breath of fresh air for over one hundred years, Red Wing endures as an anomaly; gritty, demanding manufacturers catering to clients with gritty, demanding jobs. Go with what you know.

Story, JMA

Wednesday
Nov132013

LL Bean Company 

Leon Leonwood Bean left,brothers Otto center, & Guy Bean right

Leon Leonwood Bean was an avid outdoorsman with a cool name who happened to develop a waterproof boot, out of necessity, for fellow nature enthusiasts in Greenwood, Maine, in 1912. So fast did the word travel, Bean constructed a four-page mail order catalogue to service non-resident clients. One hundred years later, LL Bean endures as a “folksy, down Maine” company-and an industry icon.

Durable and functional sportswear was never meant to be stylish in the days before LL Bean stepped its moccasin clad feet onto the scene. Hiking, fishing, snowshoeing…these undertakings were fueled by clothing, accessories and accoutrements that were commonly stored in garages and sheds. Upon LL Bean’s arrival, the outdoor couture trend has become a cultural sidebar, a do-it-yourself community that spans from the woods of Maine to the asphalt of Manhattan, the treacherous pools of the Everglades to the dry terrain of Hollywood. From children lugging around half of their bodyweight in school books, the graphic designer wearing a classic wool travel blazer, or the fly fisher plying his trade while strapped into Leon Bean’s original boots, the company has secured a global reach with its homey themed products.

On the cusp of its centennial, LL Bean continues to set the standard for fashionable outdoors wear. As Americans go greener, the possibilities of Earth’s sustainability grow. As long as we allow Mother Nature to thrive and maintain a hankering for flair, LL Bean can start planning for the next hundred years.

And to think it all started because Leon Leonwood Bean was catching his lunch.

Story, JMA

Tuesday
Oct222013

Nythan James & His Bespoke Trunk Series

Designer Nythan James & Michael Allen at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, NYC

Stereotypes are quite the affliction to one’s identity, and prove to be an exacting stain to remove. In recent years, courtesy of the unreal reality fed to us all by networks that formerly showcased music, anyone west of the Hudson River might be inclined to believe that New Jersey is little more than a haven of intricately gelled coifs and overly tanned beefcake physiques. No cameras or editing were needed to blow this unmerited generality out of the water. All we had to do was look in house at our talented roster to prove what we knew all along-inspired design is unbound of imaginary lines or zip codes. The Garden State produced the man who has recreated the classic art of American craftsmanship with a worldly vision. The aforementioned stereotype can hit the bricks.

When we first introduced you to our collaborator and friend NyThan James, we summarized his talents with a simple phrase; NyThan James is a creative-period. Our favorite Jersey boy once again is backing up our boastful proclamation with the unleashing of his Trunk Series. How he takes something that was once fiercely utilitarian and turns it into something that is downright pretty is beyond our comprehension, but he pulls off this feat and we ask no questions. Much like Houdini levitating through the atmosphere, we simply gaze in awe. And smile.

NyThan designs the rugged, street ready Trunks one piece at a time, sourcing all leathers, fabrics and hardware personally. Brass, chrome, choice of seven color hides, James approaches each work with an unrivaled flair of individuality, an alliance between the inspired purveyor and his client. The Trunks, available in the 24 or 72 hour variety, are proudly American made, hand crafted by artisans in NYC.

Bespoke only. Timeless always.

Thursday
Oct102013

Chris-Craft

"Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit." - Brooks Atkinson

To be of this mindset one would certainly have to have traveled the waters of the world in a luxury no- four wheeled land transportation could ever think to. With this in mind, Mr. Atkinson must have glided the sea in a Chris-Craft.

Perhaps destined for nautical excursions based on his first two names alone, it was in 1874 that Christopher Columbus Smith began building practical hunting boats at the age of 13. A turnabout boat venture was born, with an eye on mass production and affordable vessels. By 1927, Chris-Craft and their mahogany powerboats had ballooned into the world’s largest and premier fabricator of refined aquatic transport.

Over the century, Chris-Craft shared a heartbeat with America. The manufacturer became the source of wonderment for vacationing families, from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River. On their industry changing fiberglass yachts, harmless winks led to marriage, which led to divorce and the age old question (who keeps the boat?). When the Depression punched our nation in the gut, Chris Craft grunted too; when the second World War called for a team effort, the company put 12,000 vessels into the waters for our armed forces.

The trend continues today. In these trying economic times, a recreational boat is many things to many people. If the nautical adventurer is seeking a weekend fishing trip after a long and backbreaking week of clock punching, Chris Craft has him covered. If the Queen of England is looking for a shamelessly posh, customized yacht for a tea and cucumber sandwich affair, Chris Craft will provide the royal service. There are a countless stories in between- whichever way the wind blows, Chris Craft has the sails.

Just make sure to check in with the land dwellers from time to time.

Friday
Sep202013

Kickstand " The Original " Cold Brewed Coffee

The Luxe Concentrate

Remember the milk man? Probably not.

The theory lives on in Brooklyn though. Only instead of the creamy pasteurized daily source of calcium that does a body good, we are talking coffee. Cup of Joe. Jitter Juice. Java. The nectar of the God’s, our morning wakeup, our afternoon refresher, our midnight bad decision.

Kickstand Brooklyn is a startup that understood two things: Gotham is a mobile city, and Gothamites need their caffeine. So it began with a few rickshaws and a few million tired souls at the unending events that siege the city daily, and the once incongruent term “bike barista” was born. Growing with the mobile idea, Kickstand Brooklyn now offers Sunday and Monday iced coffee delivery service to the client’s brownstone stoop. No motor, sustainable and compact recyclable bottles ,and a gourmet flavor make for an evolving contingency of happy, green- conscious, and alert citizens who coincidentally reside in a city that never sleeps.

The worldly beverage is consumed in those NYC landmark paper cups, the famous blue and white trim with the Greek motif and the simple “We are happy to serve you” emblazoned on its side. One gets the feeling that at this rate, Kickstand Brooklyn might someday share the same lofty status in the realm of caffeine.