Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Papa Collaborates.

There's a lot of discussion these days about country of origin, of the source of products and who makes them. I believe there's a fallacy emerging that suggests that unless a product is made in the USA or Japan then it is in some respects inferior. Now all arguments of nationalism aside I know for a fact that many of these perceptions are just not true.
Many many years ago before many of the current crop of Vintage aficionados had come to an age of consciousness, there were two young Thai guys that lived in Sydney. I used to see them every weekend at every flea market. They would travel from one market to the next with keen eyes fixed on buying vintage. They were so far ahead of the game it was ridiculous to watch. I would hold a stall stocked with Americana goodies from my personal collection that one clueless Rockabilly after another would walked aimlessly past, and yet these two Thai guys would zoom in turning denim legs inside out looking for selvedge and single stitches and buying up big to send back home. These goods no doubt were destined to be sold in the Bangkok vintage markets in Chatuchak.
Jumping ahead 30 years the appreciation for vintage in South East Asia is still as strong as ever and whilst the markets are still a draw card for the acquisition of original pieces there has also been a proliferation of original makers who have been inspired by their forbears and by the sharing of new technology and the web connecting the world.
The Papa, forever on his endless quest for great product stumbled onto two great resources lately, both markers and craftsman of a very high degree and both steeped in the necessary background to produce goods of a very high standard.

With pleasure the Papa introduces Saneer Lohvitee of Solomonmini and Ed of The White Hat Club. Both of these artisans were chosen by the Papa to produce a small range of bags for the men of the Beach Battalion. The selection criteria was simple, a rugged soul, an individual interpretation, a sense of history, a pride in craftsmanship, both makers passed with flying colours.
Having seen these two guys work its instantly apparent that its not so much about where you are from but how much integrity you have at heart. I have seen of late a denim industry assualted by the worst infiltrators of all, Jeanery's. Especially in Europe, the mainstream Jean store has become the new self claimed expert in denim goods, carrying exotic quality brands but sold without soul, sold without any interest other than the pursuit of a dollar. I take solice however in the fact that out there in the world be it the back streets of Bangkok or regional America or even the grimy streets of Ol' Blighty there are so many young enthusiasts carving out there own niche and a fresh take on a old industry and so there you have it, its not so much about the country of origin but the origin of the soul thats important in this day and in the integrity of product. This is the way the Papa thinks and these are the people that the Papa supports.

 Saneer Lohvitee of Solomonmini
 Solomonmini x Papa Nui Beach Bag.
 Solomonmini x Papa Nui I-Pad case.
Ed of the White Hat Club.
The White Hat Club x Papa Nui Battalion Bag.

Inspirational. The Papa's Ode to John Kelly.

   I have many inspirational figures in my life and often they fill a certain need or more likely they serve as an aspirational guide for me to follow, almost like a compass in some respects, I reach a certain point or come to a cross road and ask my myself what steps I would like to take and what path would my mentors choose. Their guidance although unspoken has clarity in my personal vision of how I want my future to manifest itself.
   One of my shining beacons is the late John Kelly (1919- 2007). John Kelly, surfer and artist, represents to me a lifetime commitment to the beach and the environment and embodies the art of ageless gracefulness.

Here is my favourite photo of him, taken by Art Brewer shortly before his passing several years ago. At 88 years old he stands straight and strong his shoulders pulled back revealing a life dedicated to pursuits in the ocean with skin caressed by the light of the sun and weathered by the salt and sand. Looking at this image I observe the contemplation and reflection, the appreciation of a moment, the strength and poise of conviction and a life spent in harmonious balance with the natural elements. My personal strength is drawn from aspiring to role models such as John Kelly who remind me daily of living in the moment and planting my feet firmly in the future. Rest well my brother and reflect in your endless sleep that many follow your path and your legacy is not quickly forgotten.