Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
We went to check out new British import De Rien at Feal Mor over the weekend. Upon meeting the line's chief architect, Cosmo Wise -- with his moppish curls, jaunty cap, saucer eyes and scruffy-on-purpose air -- it is impossible not to be stricken by the impression that he leapt from the pages of a Dickens novel, a street urchin, incarnate. A really, really tall street urchin. On Portobello Road. Though self described as shy, once he starts talking about the unique history of any one of the De Rien jackets, he practically glows.
De Rien has an older-than-old school rock aesthetic. Everything is rough and tumble with the right blend of craftsmanship and carelessness. While the jackets look a little shapeless on the hangars, they are actually very well tailored and conform nicely to the wearer's body. (And we say this in an observational way, as opposed to be judgmental: the jackets do better on sleeker physiques. They're supposedly unisex, and while they look rad on girls, there is the whole bosom problem.)
There's obviously a lot of thought put into every piece: selecting buttons, picking an interesting lining, (mis)matching the stitching, and finishing the material. Those jackets that look leather? Are actually a waxed canvas. So in addition to being vegetarian-friendly, the fabric has a subtle iridescent effect. Another nice feature is the up-the-side buttoning, which takes a little bit of practice, but makes for a good excuse to ask someone to help you in and out of your clothing.
We had mixed emotions about the other pieces -- ho hum on the chambray jackets and shirts, and the patchwork pants and overall were not so much our thing (owing to no fault of De Rien, but rather, bad memories of a fake ex-hippie English teacher we had in high school who wore similar patchwork apparel). But the cropped corduroy trousers with the zippered ankle were pretty fantastic. Another star of the show was a jacket supposedly made out of 19th century corduroy -- you look at it and you can easily see either Noel Gallagher or Richard Ashcroft having worn it in their prime.
You don't necessarily need to be rock royalty to afford the pieces, but at $600 - $1,000 a pop, it's well out of the price range of most musicians. On second thought, rock 'n' roll isn't supposed to be about practicality, and wearing De Rien seems like a pretty good shortcut to luring groupies on board your tourbus.
· Feal Mor [Official Site]