Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The time out elk hunting

We returned last week from our time in the Sangre De Cristo Mountain range. We hunt with the Smith family, who from our count, has been going there for over 30 years. A group of men up to around 25 or so, had been with them over the years. Many have come and gone, and others have filled in their place.

I took a picture of our tent here...

I think why I love being in the tent is because it is old. And it has real dirt. Real dust. And real wear and tear. Its our cook tent over the trip. We come in and out in the early mornings, and the evenings for meals, and between hunting. It feels a bit like a holy of holy. Why? Well, because all these men, over all these years have been part of it. The age, and the brown color is proof. It is nice to be in something that is not aged, pre-ripped, or pre-torn, but just wears itself for its true age, and its character.

We have a little saying on each box we deliver that says something similar. that we aren't pre-fraying, pre-fading, no rips, tears, or holes made up. We wouldn't disrespect you like that. thats your job to wear it into that, not ours.

An aged wine, or aged scotch, is like an aged shirt. But you can't speed up the process. It has to happen naturally, and in time. much like growing into a man. I wish there was a one time event, or happening that could make us into that, but reality is, its going to take some time. much like the tent. but thats what makes it worth it. and why it means so much. it is honest, authentic, and an original. yes.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Into The Woods

A group of us at Training Ground are heading down south, and west into the mountains near the Sangre de Christo Range.

I think there are about 22 of us total. Young and old. Experience and unexperienced. A few men who have been hunting for 30 years at this one spot, that we have the great opportunity of being invited into. 6 days of hunting elk, campfires, chopping wood, huge canvas tents, and the brotherhood and community of it all. There is something beautiful about the old canvas tents that have seen many years of wear and tear.

Nothing pre-faded, or dirtied for a look. The stove is not a new stainless steel grill, it was made by Richard and Earl a long time ago from a stove top. So was the custom fireplace grill that hoists down onto the fire with a pulley system invented by Richard himself. Not a big deal to him. that is just what you do. what you make of what you got.

I love being around these men. something fresh. authentic. male, and honest.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Napkin Inspiration

I had a small musing last night in my sleep. I wrote it down here on this napkin. Its rather blurry, but I think its readable.

It seems for the last many years, we have thought that clothes and fashion for men was the smaller circle. All the companies competed for that version of the market. They made symbols and designed images that all kind of fit in the same circle while trying to be a little diverse and unique, separating themselves from the others.

But if you take a wide view, they all seem to speak to the same thing. I wonder if one of the problems is they are in to small a circle? What if the range of a man is larger in scope than they expected?

I feel as if Buffalo & Company is breaking away from the norms of icons, symbols, and traditions to re-think what a man needs in his clothes. We are in the exploring stages. But I have to ask, do we need more doileys on our jeans? One more tight shirt? Or another logo with a symbol of a boat? I think people are getting tired of being so cramped in a small circle of what a man is supposed to wear and be today.

I want to think the world of a man, like the world of clothes, needs to open up and catch some wide open air again. Take a breather. Or maybe a long walk somewhere in the outdoors. Not near a mall. Or a cramped city street.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

More than clothes.

It is an odd thing to be starting an apparel company, when months ago, that wasn't any great ambition or dream. It wasn't a 10 year goal. But what I have always been passionate about is with helping guys grow, spiritually, emotionally, and to help them become the men they are to be.

I needed that help in college, and beyond. I have had the fortunate experience of being around some great men, and had the experience of men teaching me in areas from business to the wilderness, and from that, have grown in a desire to build, and re-think ideas like clothes. Clothes for men. Clothes that represent something much beyond their colors or symbols. But we need that too.

I spent the evening branding buffalo leather on hang tags, and punching the holes for the leather string for the shirts with my wife watching the Yankees and now the Rockies. There is something honest about doing the ground work, and I am excited about these tags getting onto the clothes that I hope will make people think about what they wear. Maybe I can bless it like the pope does with some baptismal masculinity water or something. It is fun to anticipate what these shirts and this company and the young men that join in its vision, can help grow and do.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A new symbol, An Old Way of Life

I was watching the National Parks Series by Ken Burns tonight. Two great men, John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt, who had much to do with the preserving of our great monuments and national landmarks of today. I think what I loved about Teddy Roosevelt is that he was a political man, with refinement, class, and persuasion to the general public, but when he had the chance, he left it all to go out into the wilderness, or even after his presidency down the dangerous Amazon.

He is not a perfect man. But he went from a dandified city boy in the high society of New York to the badlands of South Dakota. He was in some ways, in search of himself, and his home. Was it in the city? In the wide open fields of the west? Or was it somewhere in between?

We are missing men like that today. It seems there are city boys, and metrosexual styles that speak to only one side of a man. As some might say, the feminine side. I don't discount it. I think we need it. But what about the other side? I think we have bought into too much of the marketers of the east coast. We need in some ways a symbol to bring us back. Back to our roots. To our heritage. And to the men who knew how to wake up in the morning, and go farm their land, like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and later that day sign a bill in the halls of Congress. Balanced men. Yeah, where did all that go?

I think that is my hope. Somehow in a clothing line we might wake up a group of people to re-think and explore their symbol, and in that, themselves.