Wednesday, January 26

A-Z Best Of Brands for Spring/Summer '11: C

is for Crescent Down Works

While this is not strictly new season product, here at The Gospel we're feeling the cold this morning as snow is once again forecast for London.

Only the finest goose down is used to fill these premium American made outerwear products.

While Puffa themselves have made little progress in moving on, Anne Michelson's company (founded in 1974) have found ways to bring the concept up-to-date from their excellently situated factory in the lively neighbourhood of Capitol Hill, Seattle.

Warm up in style!

Tuesday, January 25

A-Z Best Of Brands for Spring/Summer '11: B

b is for Birdwell Beach Britches

Yes the Winter weather is still threatening to remind you that Spring is in fact still months off but thanks to our chums that sit in the seats of power at department stores the World over, we are all now supposed to go out and start buying Summer togs like they were going out of fashion.

While we may get looked at like proverbial penises when stood in the local drinking a pint of Australia's finest export, wrapped in layers of wool and denim and showing off our newly purchased board shorts - they'll all be wanting a pair of Birdwell Beach Britches all too late come the true Summer. Mark our words.

Founded by Grandma Birdwell half a century ago, her ethic of only using the best American made materials is still adhered to till this day at their home in Orange County, Southern California.

Garments are adorned with the coolest of labels too...

Saturday, January 8

A-Z Best Of Brands for Spring/Summer '11: A

a is for Albam

The Nottingham-founded English duo prefer to keep their produce locally made and organically introduced so while we're unlikely to see a full switch around from AW10 sale goods to SS11 freshness we have already noticed a few new lines popping up in the stores like green shoots through a landscape covered in brown leaves...

Images aren't yet up on their website but if you're around Old London Town then go check out their range of fine gauge crew neck and v-neck knits in a range of colours that won't shout 'Summer's here!' even though the bulk of real Winter still lays ahead.

Cords now adorn hangers which previously held chinos, they're not heavy and baggy mind - think trendy son of a wealthy farmer rather than fat old teacher! The lush burgundy will frighten the lightweights into purchasing the rich navy option...

Just to add a single ray of sunshine you can't miss the canary yellow day pack - no 'seatbelt style' straps in sight, these bad boys are padded for comfort and you'll find plenty of space for your laptop and spare a jumper.


Thursday, January 6

Harold Briercliffe

As those of you who haven't yet faltered in your New Years Resolution to get fit, here's a story to keep you safe in the knowledge that great things can come of persistence in exercise...

The current trend for taking your bike on a weekend break can be attributed to only one man - the late, great Harold Briercliffe (1904-1994).

Over 60 years ago Briercliffe decided to set off on his own steam, tour the country and write the much overlooked collection entitled 'The Cycling Touring Guides'.

Prior to Harold's country wide adventures, cycling clubs would regularly meet up to go on impressive local tours - often spanning 100 miles, yet this was simply not enough for Mr B.

The Rochdale born enthusiast split the country into six regions: The Scottish Highlands, Northern England, The Midlands, Wales, Southern England and South-West England. Oddly leaving out the flat lands of Eastern England.

The series itself was a spin off from Cycling magazine (now published as Cycling Weekly), they were made to be affordable and to sized to fit into pocket of a saddlebag. The brightly coloured cover pages increased their appeal.

Harold's choice of bike was a Dawes Super Galaxy. Produced by UK firm Dawes, the Galaxy range was preferred by touring cyclists for its long wheel base and slightly heavier yet stiffer frame - ideal for carrying the extra weight required for longer journeys.

Monday, January 3


In less than 24 hours Value Added Tax (VAT) will be increased to 20% in the UK - now, more than ever, is the time to support the Indies!

Large retailers have already pushed back to their suppliers (brands and factories of all sizes) and nigh on demanded that the suppliers take a hit on their profit margins so that the multiple, national and international retailers can maintain current retail prices and continue their battles with one another for market share, but how will this tax hike effect the Indie Retailers & Brands? And why should we support them?

First up lets take the case of the Indie Retailers:

Independent stores remain the very foundation of our retail industry, indeed without them we'd have no retail heritage.

They offer Added Value through:
  • High Standards in Service
  • Location
  • Boosting the Local Economy
  • Being Personable
  • After Sales Service
  • Promoting Independent Brands
Yet it's these small pillars of the community that stand to lose the most from this Tax rise.

VAT is collected for the Government, end consumers understand this, yet large retailers are using it as a tool to increase size and further damage the Independent Retailer; by forcing brands to offer deals which enable the larger stores and chains to maintain current RRPs (Recommended Retail Prices) they're effectively reducing prices - Indie stores don't have the same clout with their suppliers and so they will have to increase their RRPs to accommodate the extra monies the Government requires them to collect on their behalf.

It's not just Retailers though, Independent Brands are also suffering...

Independent Brands rely on Independent Retailers to get a starting foothold in the market - larger retailers can afford to wait on a brand to prove successful before sparing them any budget or space in their stores. Meaning new brands are best focusing their efforts on gaining entry into *Key Indie Retailers to prove their worth, often trading at a loss until they're able to grow in size.

*Key Indies - the small network of influential independent stores that even the nationals, multiples and chains look to for fresh brands.

Due to the nature of their development Indie Brands will simply be unable to cut the stores deals to allow their RRPs to remain the same, hence their prices will increase and in doing so could swing the decisions made by the end consumer in favour of the larger, lower-priced brand alternatives.

So here at The Gospel we're calling for you to put your pennies where the Indies are!

Saturday, January 1

Day One

Big Ben has once again signalled the end of one year and chimed in another, what drama.

While doom mongers may already have you wanting to pull the duvet up and sleep out 2011 we believe that this year will be another corker.

Winter 2009/10 fashion for chaps undoubtedly had an air of Mountaineers meet Farmers, this Winter sees the Mountaineers making fresh pals with Landed Gentry - think of folk music rattling around snowy peaks as wealthy explorers compare their finery while warming themselves by a fire.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes of the 1900's would just about cover it...till the Summer that is (but we'll get to that later).

Happy New Year!