Monday, December 7, 2009

Attn: ACL Shop Adds New Shoes

Say what you want about Mr. Williams, his blog or his shop, but at the end of the day his products speak for themselves.  The blogosphere (part of me wants to start calling it "the style cartel") was kinda split on the shop's initial offerings and I can understand that.  When things went live people had good things to say, but nothing particularly glowing.  The stuff was good, but with Michael people usually expect out of this world.  It now appears as if things may be headed in the direction folks initially expected.

What has always interested me the most about the shop and, kinda Mr. Williams for that matter, is his relationships to industry folk, such as Mark McNairy (designer extrodaniare and creative director at J. Press).  Well, new shoes have launched and I am pretty impressed.  More red brick sole, but this time on some unconventional styles to feature such a detail ala longwings and cap toe boots.  Both shoes are made in England (like all of McNairy's shoes) and feature goodyear welts.  I'm ridiculously feeling the brown, pebbled leather longwing.  Cool stuff, but pricey.  Check 'em out.

Update: Must have also missed the Pendelton x Property Of... messenger bag when I typed this up originally.  I'm not a fan of messenger bags to begin with so this isn't as big of a deal as the new kicks mentioned above.  Apparently this is the first ever callaboration Property Of... (who makes fantastic stuff, got my brother one of their wallets recently) has ever done, so that's pretty noteworthy.  There are a bunch of different colorways available, so check out the store.



  1. ACL has hurt his rep by trying to make money from the blogosphere. Haters will hate him more and those who were on the fence will now feel like their hobbies are being marketed to and then, possibly, have disdain for him and the site. My hopes are that he handles it as well as the guys over at INVENTORY; only marketing their own products when they hit the shelves. I think the collection is an ideal. He's been around the block and knows what works for him and for others. I personally wouldn't buy any of these, money is always an issue, but they are definitely understated cool.

  2. Enthusiast- Inventory really are the gold standard on how to market products without alientating their audience. Somehow they do it in a way that feels incredibly honest and not in the least self-serving. Ryan Williams has his shit together like none other. We could all learn a lesson from him.

  3. I tried on these shoes at the pop up flea and i was very disappointed in the quality. They may be made in england but the leather quality was terrible and the brick sole has started to wear really fast on my friends pair. I will never buy any of these shoes. For someone who cares about "quality" and "longevity" of products if I was Michael Williams I would be banging my head against the wall.

  4. startwithtypewriters- First off, thanks for commenting. I'm a big fan of your blog and I'm pumped to see you over here taking part in this discussion. Moving on...

    I have a pair fo McNairy's Red Brick Soles, but have yet to break 'em out. I was fine with the quality of the material (mine are suede), but I can see what you mean about the sole. Whatever material the r.b.s is made out of seemed a bit "pedestrian". I'm hoping mine last, but I wouldn't be suprised if what happened to your buddy happens to me too.

  5. Not a fan of the pebble but can't deny those are some smart ass shoe's.

    Not sure how I feel about ACL's direction as of late. Maybe they are doing things a little bit too fast too soon but as was quoted in a piece from the new Inventory mag." Scared money don't make no money".

  6. so here's whats up. my opinion on acl has been going south for quite some time. ive felt that his aesthetic and blog have grown tired for awhile now, and then recently on styleforum i read his ridiculous and childish rants aimed at those who said anything negative about the pop up flea. ive been taught to handle myself with grace and restraint in the face of adversity and haters, but it seemed mr. williams missed that memo. not everyone is going to love what you do, and his behavior definitely helped to hammer another nail into his coffin for me. im sure in retrospect he probably cringes at the way he embarrassed himself whenever he revisits that thread.

    i saw on flickr a few months ago that he was working with various brands that i admire (and some i don't) on collaborations and i was intrugiued what he would come up with. when the acl shop finally dropped, i was completely underwhelmed, and gave the initial offerings a collective thumbs down since i was expecting much more from him.

    nothing really stuck out for me (positively) with his items. maybe it's that my and his aesthetics are different, but it just seemed like all of the items i had seen multiple times before. again, collectively it just seemed tired (and what the hell was up with those little bags he made?). if what you guys have stated about the mcnairy shoes is true, then for an individual who has pumped into the blogosphere a mantra of "high quality, american made, and long lasting" it seems as though mr. williams is willing to compromise the foundation of his very own platform that made him popular to cash in his chips. i could be wrong, but i also wouldnt be surprised. there just seems to be a disconnect there. speak, lawrence!


  7. Junctioned- Love the quote. I dont think its a too fast too soon issue as much as it is a hypocritical/exploitation issue with some (I am not referring to myself, but others). But that's just my opinion.

    Paul-I have not read any of the style forum banter/arguing over PUF. I don't participate in forums for that very reason. I see both sides to the PUF arguements we have all hears 100 times already. Since we are only talking about CLOTHES, I refuse to support negative behavior on anyone's behalf.

    As far as the shop, I like some things, love others and am disapointed in a few. That's to be expected with any selection. I love the McNairy shoes, though, and while I haven't tried on any of MW's, I do own a pair from Epaulet x McNairy that is boss as hell and of great quality overall. Soles wear out, I get it and to be honest, I wanted them solely for the red brick sole detail anyhow. The reason the prices are pretty high is simple: Goodyear welt shoes, made in England, exclusively co-branded and in a limited run. Anyone who is expecting to pay under $300 for that needs to get with the program.

    While I can see people going at MW for the whole "practice what you preach" arguement, we need some hands on time with the shoes before we jump to conclusions. I would even tell startwithtypewriters that a few minutes with the shoe isn't enough. Lots of great shoes need breaking in and cannot even begin to be appreciated until after a month or so.

    I emailed with MW earlier today regarding a guest post for The Bean Boot project and we talkd briefly about some of this "drama". While I'll let Michael come on here and speak for himself if he sees fit, I will paraphrase something he mentioned. He started the store as a way to pursue some stuff he dreamed up long before ACL. As someone who has some dreams myself, some lofty, I can respect that.

  8. I must admit, having a banter as such about one man's dreams seams a little fruitless. What are we getting out of this? Nevertheless I was underwhelmed with the quality of the launch of the ACL Shop, but with time I am positive Mr. Williams will step up to the plate with some great merchandise. His aesthetic on his site will never transfer over to his shop 100%, but he will slowly take it as close as possible within time. I mean to say, look at how long he has been blogging for on ACL. In 19 days he will have been blogging for two years, and in those two years his aesthetic has evolved to what we know ACL as today and so will his shop.

    Now as to the quality of the product, a BRS is infamous for wearing down quite fast and you will have that same problem any shoe company you encounter.

    His small carrying bags are in no doubt in my mind a lame idea -- relative to the first bag produced by formerly h(y)r collective -- and will like his site and shop evolve into something more substantial. But he can't take away from the collaborations he is currently doing with Billykirk which are in my own eyes absolutely beautiful and totally to the aesthetic of ACL.

    I must say that I had a ton of fun at the Pop Up Flea and if people really expected the brands that he advertised to really sell products at flea market prices they are out of their minds. The idea of the Pop Up Flea was to bring brands together which normally would not be housed under the same roof and I feel that Mr Williams succeeded at doing so. I congratulate him on such a success.

    Otherwise, I will bid adieu and end with this..

    "Most successful men have not achieved their distinction by having some new talent or opportunity presented to them. They have developed the opportunity that was at hand."
    –– Bruce Fairchild Barton

  9. Shaun- Fruitless? I'm not so sure. Problematic? Yes.

    As to what we are getting out of this? I would hope a discussion of product that is available to us as customers. Your comments on RBS hopefully have educated a consumer and aided them in their purchase. Hopefully all these comments have.

    My goal for this banter was not to discuss a man, so much as it was to discuss a pair of shoes. Once that is realized, I believe it can be fruitful for all those invovled.