Bench & Loom Background

October 20, 2014

10 QUESTIONS: REINHOLD MESSNER

The greatest climber in history.
The only introduction needed for Reinhold Messner is to say he is the greatest mountaineer of all time .

A living legend, it’s a true privilege to have him participate in our exclusive “10 Questions” interview, complete with characteristic answers that are direct and succinct.

Where are you from and where do you now call home? Home is Juval Castle. (Editor: Perched above the Vinschgau Valley in South Tyrol in German-speaking northern Italy.)

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June 22, 2014

BEAUTY OF THE BEAST

Fastest race car in the world in 1954.
In 1954 the Ferrari 375-Plus was the fastest factory team projectile in World Championship contention bar none. 

This is the car that in 1954 led the pack in the legendary Mille Miglia, helped Ferrari dominate the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans, and obliterated the competition at the Silverstone Grand Prix.

Spellbound by its awesome power, the British, whose own Jaguar team – represented by human and mechanical legends Stirling Moss in a D-Type – was eaten alive by Ferrari, called the ferocious 4.9-liter car the “Fearsome Four-Nine.” The French press called it “Le Monstre” while everyone else just called it amazing!

Despite sophisticated technological advancements early that year by firms such as Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari decided to focus instead on raw, brute power and the resulting 375-Plus did not disappoint. It astounded the motoring...

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May 12, 2014

SONS OF THUNDER

This story appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of Ralph Lauren Magazine.

Picture the scene: On a lonely English country lane in the early 1920s, a motorcycle is speeding along at 100mph, at that time a shocking velocity associated with science fiction rather than reality. The gleaming bike slows to a stop in front of its creator, George Brough. Brough (rhymes with “rough”) is pleased. He shakes the rider’s hand and both turn to admire what could be called the world’s first super bike: the Brough Superior flagship model SS-100 ("SS" for Super Sports and 100 for the speed it was guaranteed to reach).

George Brough, the son of William Brough, a respected English motorcycle manufacturer who himself produced...

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April 9, 2014

PERFECTION OF JAPANESE AMERICANA

This post is preaching to the converted, I know. If you already weren’t aware of the exquisite workmanship coming out of Japan and the hyper attention to detail the Japanese dedicate to their craft, you wouldn't be interested in the Japanese brands we carry at Bench & Loom, like Stevenson Overall Co., The Real McCoys, Rocky Mountain Featherbed, John Lofgren, Barns, Sugar Cane and Buzz Rickson.

The fact is while the Japanese have been at this for some time, the West – at large – is only now just realizing it. Call it recreating, replicating, resurrecting, reengineering or whatever you like, whether it’s selvedge blue jeans, aged whisky, horsehide motorcycle jackets or gourmet burgers, the Japanese are surpassing even the traditional “experts”.

Some say this eternal pursuit of excellence is ingrained in their...

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March 22, 2014

DISCOVERING JAMES DEAN'S "GIANT" BOOTS

The clothes worn by James Dean have been the subject of countless “inspired by” features, forum discussions, blog posts, magazine articles, and speculation for decades. Basically, everyone wants to know how to accurately replicate his iconic style but it’s always been somewhat of a guess.

So imagine our excitement when we hit the jackpot. It came in the form of James Dean’s amiable cousin Marcus, who runs the Fairmount Historical Museum in James’ hometown of Fairmount, Indiana.

Marcus and James were raised together in the same household so he’s a wealth of firsthand knowledge and just happens to have many of his cousin’s original clothes and shoes on hand. Because of Marcus, we confirmed the existence of a single hidden chest pocket and the true color of stripes in the Quarter Stripe Camera Shirt (red), and we were able to...

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