Definitive Touch – Men's Contemporary Style.

2009 Wrap-Up . Top 10 Collaborations – Secret Forts

Posted by definitive touch, January 10th, 2010


It may be safely said that ’09 was a banner year in terms of design collaborations. Not a huge leap to state this and certainly not a new concept, but personally, all throughout ’09, I found myself more than once (and for the purposes of this assignment, ten) stoked on the combined efforts of talented people.

This list was compiled by Secret Forts.

Disclaimer: This is not, by any means, a definitive list and it should be noted that these are in no particular order.

1. Apolis Activism + Filson.

The Philanthropist Briefcase made its internet debut at Secret Forts and quickly, the word spread like wild fire. A sturdy, smart refashioning of Filson’s own 256 style, the Parton brothers use 17.5 oz. Ugandan canvas sourced through the non-profit organization Invisible Children. Manufactured by Filson in limited quantities, the Philanthropist briefcase will have you on your way with peace of mind.

2. Opening Ceremony + Pendleton

Opening Ceremony goes ape sh*t on classic Pendleton wools. Reversible Macs, patchwork shirts, heavy cardigans, shadow plaid wool motocross shirts…Humberto Leon and Carol Lim make bold renovations in the hundred year old house of Pendleton.

3.Moscot + Common Projects

Dropping back in May, The Type One was the perfectly understated reinterpretation of the classic shape worn by many a screen icon. Matte black and discretely branded, it was perfect summer shade.

4. The Breslin.

Take one part April Bloomfield, venerable chef over at the Spotted Pig, one part Roman + Williams, the esteemed design team responsible for the Royalton and Standard to name a few, wisk in a little Ace Hotel, Alex Calderwood’s latest hotel venture in the heart of NYC, and you get the Breslin. 16 w. 29th st. NYC.

5. Ronnie Fieg + Red Wing.

David Z is almost as ubiquitous in New York as the Red Wings they sell. And if you’re gonna snatch up a pair this winter, you may as well go with these. Although, they may be hard to come by now. Produced in limited numbers…

6. Mark McNairy + ACL & Co.

acl + mark mcnairy
Having recently launched his own line of US Made zip pouches, Michael Williams has also teamed up with the likes of Mark McNairy and their pebbled leather longwing brogue is a personal favorite of mine. Red brick sole, Goodyear welt, made in England, if you’re wondering what to get me, well…I’m a size 9.

7. Crescent Down Works + Freemans Sporting Club.


Started over thirty years ago in Seattle making custom down vests, it’s been a good year for CDW. This winter, the boys over at FSC have you covered with 11 oz of 650 goose down fill. 60/40 shell in either a navy or the classic tan with rust interior, it may be the last winter coat you buy.

8.Quoddy + Rogues Gallery, South Willard, 3Sixteen.


Quoddy has become almost synonymous with the term design collaboration.
Seems Rogues Gallery really got things going with them (both being Maine-based companies and all) and since then, well, I’m sure the sewers there have had their hands full. I love the brown suede w/ red brick sole from South Willard as well as the deck chukka with the lock-stitched toe from 3Sixteen.

9. Daiki Suzuki + Woolrich Woolen Mills.


It’s not his first year helming WWM, but Mr. Suzuki continues to take the the nearly 200 year old company’s legacy into new territory. While staying true to the tradition of the Woolrich name, Daiki has put his own unique stamp on his work there, bringing with him the subtle and quiet details and solid, intricate construction so recognizable in his own line, Engineered Garments.

10. Inventory.


I can appreciate what Ryan Willms and the rest of the guys up there in the Great White North are doing. Some may remember h(y)r collective, Inventory’s previous incarnation. They changed the name, published a magazine, continue to update the site and are currently working on a number of projects and co-branded products with good people such as Inverallan, Alex Olch, Duluth Pack and Mark McNairy.

Honorable Mentions

Thom Browne + Brooks Bros. / Moncler, Alden + J. Crew, Winn Perry, Context, Blackbird, etc. Spike Jonze + Kanye West, Junya Watanabe + pretty much everyone, and one of the biggest collaborative efforts, the election of Barack Obama.

This is what caught my attention this year. My memory may not be the greatest, so there’s surely many that I’ve omitted. But it’s a pretty solid starting point from which to add or subtract or debate or whatever…

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