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Tender Co. Denim

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Today wearing the mirror panel pullover, green lambswool version.

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^^Looks great on your snchz! Thank you :)

Now for something completely different.. Here's the latest collaboration with For Holding Up The Trousers, and one that I'm particularly excited about- I think it really nails the collaborative part of how Morten and I can work together. The Full Fold belt is is the first plain leather belt we've made, in lovely unstained Swedish vegetable-tanned leather, a simple 1¼” wide with a FHUTT branded sand-cast brass buckle.

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The interesting part is how it's put together. Usually a section of the belt is thinned at the buckle end, wrapped over the buckle, and fastened down behind the buckle, either with tacked stitches on the side (like mainline Tender belts) or with screws or rivets, or sewn all round the overlapping section. This means the leather is cut to pretty much the same length as the finished belt.

The Full Fold belt, by contrast, is cut to double the length of the finished piece:

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The entire length gets marked along the edges, and punched point by point with an awl:

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A long slot is punched out from the very centre of the strap (see where we're going with this?):

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The strap is folded in half, over the buckle, so there's no overlapping section but the entire belt is double thickness, hand sewn all the way round:

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To put that in numbers, that means a 35" belt has about 71" of stitching (each side and one end), and at about 7 stitches/inch that's 497 stitches, or around two hours of hand stitching alone, per belt (thanks Morten!)

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The section where the holes will be punched gets a few dabs of glue to hold the leather in place:

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and the holes are punched through:

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I'm so happy with how these have come out!

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^ Those look really great! Do you have a rough measure of how thick the double-layer leather is? It's hard to say from the photos whether they're more in the 3mm or the 5mm range

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1 hour ago, julian-wolf said:

^ Those look really great! Do you have a rough measure of how thick the double-layer leather is? It's hard to say from the photos whether they're more in the 3mm or the 5mm range

Thanks Julian! The total thickness is more like 3mm- the idea was to make something a little less heavy than the mainline Tender belts, so this is also a touch narrower, at 1¼” wide. You could definitely wear these with heavy denim, but they'd also work very nicely with slimmer/lighter jeans, or with other trousers. I hope this helps!

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Thanks! Those are just around the dimensions I'm searching for in a belt—I'll look forward to these showing up on the web shop.

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Always in Colour, in Exeter, just put up a lovely piece by Louise Honey based on an interview/visit over a day around Stroud a couple of weeks ago. Here if anyone fancies a read. Great photos by Jay Bing, too, shot on medium format film. 

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^thanks so much Merzbot! That jacket is actually a Sleeper BR-1 jacket, in green broken twill- it's a favourite personally, but I'm afraid I don't have stock of this exact version any more. The chlorophyll jacket in the picture above is a 970 Driver's Jacket, with overlapping shoulders, also long gone I'm afraid.

Here's something else from the same Always In Colour shoot, now in stock. These are a take on Breton pullovers, in stripes of indigo cotton denim weaving yarn and lambswool:

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As these are worn, they'll change differently- the indigo bleeds onto the ecru wool, which makes the edges fuzzy and tints the white to pale blue. The navy version, by contrast, starts off a very uniform colour but as the indigo fades will become more noticeably striped.

To wear, though, the first thing you notice is the lovely bumpy texture between the stripe sections- the cotton shrinks more than the wool when the garments are rinsed after knitting, so it dips in, while the soft wool stands out in ridges. I have a prototype of the ecru striped version for myself and I've really been enjoying it over the last few weeks. Worn updates to follow, but in the meantime here are some closeups:

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also did a talk celebrating 25th anniversary of morrissey's vauxhall and i in kios ojo keos, cool cafe bookshop in jakarta suburbia. white dude is steve lillywhite, the album's producer (also did the pogues, psychedelic furs, ubloody2), his day job now is selling cds for kfc indonesia:D didn't realise it at that time, but i was wearing all tender (including no viz belt):

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pic by muhammad asranur

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Anyone know where I could find the type 431 shirt in Prussian blue carding cloth? Looking for a size 4 or 5 most likely. 

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Here are some bonuses of normal (non molleton) denim jeans, showing the selvage pocket bag, and again the difference in tone between inside and out:IMG_7196.thumb.JPG.8ae9fff51dfaf2e79460b00b242a6c3a.JPGIMG_7197.thumb.JPG.0357ef662bd97fa26e57de2f4e724d50.JPG

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Posted (edited)

@oomslokop

Very nice! Pretty cool that the stitching is still holding strong.

Mine is bursting on the left & right yoke. :unsure2:

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Edited by redragon
Add photo.

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18 hours ago, oomslokop said:

also did a talk celebrating 25th anniversary of morrissey's vauxhall and i in kios ojo keos, cool cafe bookshop in jakarta suburbia. white dude is steve lillywhite, the album's producer (also did the pogues, psychedelic furs, ubloody2), his day job now is selling cds for kfc indonesia:D didn't realise it at that time, but i was wearing all tender (including no viz belt):

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pic by muhammad asranur

Umm the man on the right is the vocalist from straightanswerjkt? Btw, nice shirt! Lovely jobriath shirt! Mine has gone a year ago :(

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Posted (edited)

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Recently got the chance to dye the Tender shirt in Ebizome-iro (courtesy of Tezomeya) to change things up abit. (Originally undyed white)

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Surprised to see that the buttons also gone through Pleasant discoloration. Feels like plastic when I wear it, or is it not? @rodeo bill

Edited by redragon
Add another photo, closer look at the button.

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On 4/4/2019 at 6:07 PM, redragon said:

Feels like plastic when I wear it, or is it not?

Wow! This looks fantastic, and lovely to see this shirt again. The buttons are melamine (similar to bakelite) which is organic compound set as a resin, widely used before oil-based plastics took over. I prefer how hard it feels (try tapping a button against your tooth) compared to most plastic buttons (usually nylon or polyester) which feel slightly duller.

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Posted (edited)

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Super excited to wear those for the first time. Tender 136 jeans in a special cotton x wool denim, then dyed a dull, mineral orange with red ochre. I bought those from @rodeo bill a few weeks ago but I had to travel and only got them hemmed today.

They’re awesome. The fabric has more character than pretty much anything else I own. The dye bleeds like crazy.

 

 

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anyone in Vancouver, the excellent Neighbour store is doing a pop Trestle Shop installation and SS19 preview, which I couldn't be more excited about. Here are some photos:

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Special mention to the cyanotype photograms in the last picture!

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William I see a painted barge blue jacket. Are more of those releasing?

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Wish I had a Tender stockist in Texas. :( Looks like a great pop up. 

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Posted (edited)
On 2/21/2019 at 9:42 AM, snchz said:

Today wearing the mirror panel pullover, green lambswool version.

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Is this still available? Can I get it shipped to China?

edit: no worries, found it on tender stores. is there any sizing chart available? absolutely nutter, this pullover.

Edited by dilemmaworker

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On 5/2/2019 at 4:30 AM, dilemmaworker said:

Is this still available? Can I get it shipped to China?

edit: no worries, found it on tender stores. is there any sizing chart available? absolutely nutter, this pullover.

Hi, sorry for my late reply. We have the size chart here: https://redcastheritage.com/collections/tender-co/products/tender-mirror-panel-double-pullover-blackberry-stitch-bottle-green-lambswool

It´s still available and we ship to China for free and we have also the Ryeland Wool version.

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On 4/13/2019 at 5:04 PM, heyson said:

William I see a painted barge blue jacket. Are more of those releasing?

Thank you for this! It's a one-off piece, from Spring/Summer 2015, hand painted by a canal-boat painter and sign writer. This jacket is currently on display at Neighbour, but will be coming back to Tender Stores at the end of their popup, unless they decide to keep it. Please email me if you'd like more information- it's a size 3. Here are a couple of photos:

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On 4/13/2019 at 6:09 PM, Broark said:

Wish I had a Tender stockist in Texas. :( Looks like a great pop up. 

Thank you, and sorry not to be able to help. I haven't been able to visit Neighbour yet (I've never been to Vancouver) but would really love to- they're a fantastic shop to work with and I'm really excited with what they've done at this popup.

On 5/1/2019 at 10:41 AM, bartlebyyphonics said:

xposting from waywt

a 132 and a 921 fit for the thread...

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thank you! I love seeing the 921 jacket, looking forward to more down the line- it's one of my favourites, for its simplicity.

On 5/2/2019 at 3:30 AM, dilemmaworker said:

Is this still available? Can I get it shipped to China?

edit: no worries, found it on tender stores. is there any sizing chart available? absolutely nutter, this pullover.

thank you for this, and I'm so sorry for the delay getting back to you (I think we may have emailed though?). Very glad @snchz was able to help though!

----

More generally, I'm so sorry for the lack of updates over the last few weeks- it's a very busy time. More depth soon, but in the meantime here's a link to a really lovely (very flattering!) piece that Daniel Jenkins put up on Purposeful Activity, which is well worth a click-around in general, for a slightly different perspective on clothes and other good things. https://www.purposeful-activity.com/posts/2019/5/3/william-kroll

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The best creative work is a product of worldwide influences filtered through personal experience.

A mix of the old and the new, hand made and cutting edge. World influenced and local. 

That is one of the reasons why the UK, a melting pot of world culture, is arguably pound for pound the most creative country. At our very best, we embrace culture from across the world and create something new with it.

One of the best at this is William Kroll, who runs Tender Co, otherwise known as the most emailed about brand I’ve ever retailed. 

Tender is much more than simply a clothing company, making ceramics, furniture, clocks, glassware etc etc, in fact anything Will has an interest in.

Alongside this, Will also runs a number of other clothing projects, sold here in the UK and in Japan.

Prodigious, talented and well, Will is one of the nicest people you could hope to meet. 

So earlier this week, I hopped in my car and made the hour or so journey from my house to Will’s, partly to catch up, chat about life, discuss the industry and weirdly take some photos for Purposeful Activity. 

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Towards the end of our afternoon together, I mentioned that it’s nearly 10 years since Tender launched, something to be cherished in any industry but particularly one which is ever changing like the clothing game.

The funny thing is, I think you can tell if a ‘brand’ is going to last, sometimes there are circumstances beyond anyone’s control which skew that, on the whole though it’s fairly clear from first interaction. 

I knew the first time Will emailed me, prior to his first season, that Tender was around for the long haul. Something which has been confirmed in each meeting since. 

There is an artful intelligence coursing through Tender’s clothing, it’s been there from day one. That mixed with business sense, a willingness to communicate plus exceptionally good customer service, is a winning combination.

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Lots of new brands contact me each season, and many of them would benefit from analysing what Will does. I don’t mean his design ethos, there can only be one Tender, but how he engages with the industry and his customers. How the story and world of Tender grows with each season, without losing integrity and what made it special to start with.  

So what does make Tender special? It’s just workwear? It is, and then it’s not. People speak of a link to antique workwear and machinery and I see that, just look at those buttons. At same time, that’s far too easy a description and one which does the product a disservice. 

Tender to me, is a collection of well thought out items, beautiful solutions to problems in cloth, glass and leather. 

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A perfect example of this is a blue brushed cotton ‘Type 915’ coat I’ve had since 2012. A coat which has been admired and tried on by more fashion industry heavy hitters than I care to embarrass. A piece of simple, elegant design, in a beautiful cloth, far removed from the usual design expectations of boxy workwear, but like the best workwear it happens to be utterly indestructible. 

That’s Tender. The same strand which runs through everything. A desire to simplify and elevate any item they produce. But these aren’t simple products. This isn’t of the moment cliché minimalism. These are items where the bells and whistles are removed, allowing the shape and make to triumph. 

From beautiful hand blown tumblers, simple but heavyweight jeans, washed cotton shirts and knitwear, through to hand thrown and painted red clay espresso cups. Each item is texture and colour rich. Each item exists to be a showcase of the best.

As a brand or art project, Tender is a product of the world as much as the UK, made here in Great Britain and particularly respectful of this nation’s ancient crafts.

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Never revisionist though, this season includes a jumper which will over time flip, what is dark will become light and vice versa. It’s a play on colour, on texture, on what can be done with fabric and how anything we own ought to improve with use.

It’s very much an image of the future. Outward looking but understanding of the beauty of home. 

Which in many respects is the whole point. When I first met Will he was a single man living in West London, now a father in Stroud. Those fundamental life changes can be viewed as a progression, one which is mirrored in his design work. There is a confidence which comes from contentment mixed with a desire to provide for your kin and further your artistic reach.

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Visiting the houses of the creative is always interesting, as it offers a proper insight into their creativity. Is the work from the heart or just a carefully choreographed illusion? Because the objects with which we surround ourselves at home, the things we keep close, they cannot lie.

Is your work an extension of you? In Will’s case, entirely. 

Those cleverly thought out details? that’s Will. The use of intriguing fabrics? that’s Will too. It’s all borne out of a desire to solve problems and a life filled with natural curiosity.

There is always a depth, to our conversations, but this isn’t mere artistic posturing, nor theorising with hot air. More an understanding of what surrounds us but a willingness to see more, to keep on learning. To in some ways seek perfection. 

First we had coffee, beans from Colona & Smalls, ground and then made using apparatus I don’t want to talk about as, well I don’t need any more coffee kit, but, I want it.

Then, we broke bread, bread Will had recently baked, bread I would happily have bought in some of London’s trendier bakeries, bread which Will talked with passion and knowledge about almost as if it were a new Tender product. 

Kombucha was taken, it is Stroud and well don’t knock it, all the while talking about books, coffee roasted carrots, vegetable gardens, Cotswold cafés, price of a pint (£6 somewhere last week…), local characters, local chancers, costume jewellery which isn’t paste, knife sharpening, that weird hook knife thing they use to open wheels of Parmesan. 

Then we rooted round his studio talking some more, discussing packaging, lack of packaging, perfume packaging, perfume, the future of retail – not as bad as we all think, new season buttons and fabrics. All the good stuff.

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More coffee. That Colonna & Smalls, the one that’s not the espresso but used as such. It’s good, the berries were ripe and some. 

Photos and then home. Cross country as Bath Road was shut. Invigorated, possibly the caffeine, but also the conversation, the clothes, life.

Below we have Will’s answers to our set people questions, along with his choice of 4 British things he loves.

As ever, much thought was given to the selection, one ‘thing’ dry stone walls, struck a chord as I grew up in Wales surrounded by them, as you might guess by the photos. Wiltshire and London aren’t a hotbed of dry stone wall building so I’ve substituted with a photo of an ‘orse looking over a dry-ish stone wall and a painting by Elizabeth Thomas of “West Wales Walls”, 1/3 of a triptych which lives on my walls at home. 


Hello.

Why do you do what you do?
The opportunity to understand how things are made, and to dip into lots of different disciplines.

Where’s home?
Stroud, Gloucestershire.

What do you collect?
Food, books and walks.

Any heroes?
Patience Gray.

Favourite dish?
Paula Wolfert’s Armenian cauliflower with raisins and pine nuts.

Hidden Gem?
Stroud, Gloucestershire!

What’s underrated?

Keeping a business small.

What’s next?

Exploring products away from known brands- in a larger context I think people are (or perhaps just should be) more open to trying something that doesn’t have a big name on it, being able to judge something on its own merits. I think the same goes for seasonality in clothing. You probably won’t wear a heavy coat much in summer, but a cotton shirt doesn’t need to only be relevant for half the year just because the fashion industry tells you it’s Spring/Summer. From a personal perspective this means making sure that the things I produce can be enjoyed in different climates and at different times, and selling in a way which places less emphasis on constant reinvention.

Four items which sum up the UK….

Milk bottles

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Garden snails

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Dry stone walls

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Railway nails

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