SECRET FORTS A COLLECTION OF GOOD THINGS Thu, 19 Feb 2015 17:23:46 +0000 en hourly 1 EPIC ROAD TRIP : BEHIND THE SCENES on THE HILL-SIDE’S WILD JOY RIDE. Mon, 18 Nov 2013 17:36:16 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
A Q+A with Emil Corsillo from The Hill-Side and a behind the scenes look at their recent 500 mile Volvo joy ride from old bob the weaver’s place in rural Virginia to Hickoree’s HQ in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Herringbone modified. Moonshine consumed. Hijinks ensue.

SFs: You were recently given the keys to a 2014 Volvo S60. How’d that all happen and why wasn’t I invited? Don’t they know I only drive Volvos?

TH-S: Volvo asked us to propose a cool road trip to them, as part of this “Volvo Joy Ride” marketing project they’re doing. We pitched the idea of visiting Old Bob, our friend in rural Virginia who weaves our Old Virginia Modified Herringbone fabric, watching him weave some new fabric, and then driving it back to our New York factory to see it transformed into a necktie. Next thing we knew we were flying down to Virginia to pick up a brand new whip. And, you WERE invited dude. Check your voicemail once in a while.

SFs: No seriously, why didn’t you invite me?

TH-S: You’re just so much more handsome than Sandy and me that we were afraid we’d look even more schlubby than usual if we had to be on camera next to you.

SFs: Moving on, how’d you guys connect with Old Bob initially?

TH-S: Mitch (long-time Hickoree’s store manager) is the one who got in touch with Bob originally. Mitch was looking for a domestic textile source who could weave fabric for us on old shuttle looms, with small minimums, and so he was making a bunch of phone calls and writing a bunch of emails. He contacted a few textile museums up and down the east coast, and one of them was like “there is this one guy down in Virginia . . .” and that was the beginning of a wonderful friendship.

SFs: Talk a little about the “modified herringbone” fabric itself? What makes it special? Given the name, was it something bob was doing already that he tweaked for you guys?
TH-S: To get a little technical, Bob’s fabric is made with yarn spun from 80% cotton and 20% polyester clip. “Clip” is the scrap fabric left over after a length of fabric is cut into pattern pieces to make clothes. Scraps of cotton and polyester fabric are shredded, fluffed, and blended into a fiber that can then be re-spun into yarns.
For this fabric, Bob used 8′s/2 size yarn, meaning each strand is made of two 8-count yarns plied together. This is pretty beefy yarn; denim is usually made with 6′s, 7′s, or 8′s/1 yarn and shirt fabric is a lot finer, like 20′s or 30′s/1.
Bob was already using this weaving pattern when we met him; it’s totally his invention. Every season we specify the color and set-up details that make the fabric seem new. In our current collection (Autumn/Winter 2013) we’ve got Bob’s modified herringbone fabric in five different colors: pewter grey, cardinal red, forest green, spice orange, and apple green. They all use the same multi-color warp, but with different weft yarns.

SFs: So, as I understand it, part of your friendship with Bob includes drinking moonshine together. How much was consumed on this trip and in what flavors?

TH-S: Bob’s neighbor has a source for some legit Virginia mountain man moonshine, which has kind of become a ritual every time we go down there. This time Bob’s neighbor brought over strawberry, pineapple (a first for me and Sandy), and the classic straight corn stuff. There were quite a few of us on hand for the festivities at Bob’s house that first night of the trip, including a film crew of six, two dudes from the marketing team, Bob and his wife, and two more of Bob’s friends. Everyone got a little taste of the ‘shine. I learned that the pieces of pineapple and strawberry that have been soaking in moonshine for god knows how long are really dangerous, and Sandy drove the Volvo back to the hotel that night.

SFs: What’s the top speed you reached in the Volvo?

TH-S: We had it up around 100 for a few sections of I-81 through northern Virginia, but the most fun we had was on the small country roads in Lancaster County, PA, with cameras suction-cupped all over the car. Something about knowing there’s a camera mounted on the rear wheel well makes you want to drive like a maniac. The whole time I was thinking of that “professional driver on a closed course” disclaimer they show in car commercials.

SFs: Do either of you even know how to change a flat?

TH-S: Change a who?

SFs: Never mind. Did anything bad happen to the car?

TH-S: We took a detour at one point in the trip to visit “Virginia’s only drive-thru safari” — which turned out to be way more intense than we anticipated. They gave us these big buckets of pellet food, like what you feed to the animals at a petting zoo, and they told us to hold them out the window with two hands. Well, about 30 seconds into the park, a dozen llamas and elk rushed the car from all sides, and I did the opposite of what I had been told. I held my bucket inside the car with one hand, and the first llama stuck his head in my window and ripped my bucket right out of my hand. Petting zoo pellets went everywhere: all over our laps, wedged in between the windshield and the dashboard, rattling around inside all of the AC vents, stuck in our seat belts, you name it.

SFs: Gross.

TH-S: Not as gross as your Volvo.

SFs: Nice one. Other than the Drive-Thru Safari, what other discoveries did you make along the way?

TH-S: Right in that same part of Virginia we also stopped to check out the famous Natural Bridge (which we nicknamed “Natty Briddlez”) and Foamhenge, which is a full scale replica of Stonehenge made of styrofoam.

SFs: Speaking of Foamhenge, what was the soundtrack for the road trip? Did you listen to Smell The Glove by Spinal Tap? Did you make a playlist on iTunes entitled “Sandy and Emil’s Epic Joyride”?

TH-S: We brought along your “SECRET FORTS SUMMER OF ’99 GOOD TIME GROOVEZ LOL” mix, but the Volvo didn’t have a tape deck. So we mostly listened to Indigo Girls bootlegs on Sandy’s iPhone.

SFs: Whats the most “road trip” thing you ate?

TH-S: We ate a bunch of classic rest stop convenience store food. Every time I ate a Slim Jim I thought of you…cuz that’s your nickname.

Home safe and sound. And below, the finished product.

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OUT/ABOUT/HERE/THERE Mon, 11 Nov 2013 14:11:49 +0000 mrforts

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THE FALL THREE : CHRIS BRAY, BILLYKIRK. Fri, 08 Nov 2013 16:35:07 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Chris Bray. Husband and father. Muscle car enthusiast. Along with brother Kirk, he of Billykirk leather goods. Damn good guy. Pleased to present Chris Bray’s Fall Three again this year.
photo x Josh Wool.

1) Nothing says fall like a light wool cap. We made a couple of these last fall with Ebbets Field Flannels and have a couple more in the works with them for this fall/winter.

2) Taylor Supply Waxed ShaWl Collar Jacket. This is from a few years ago and gift from my brother Kirk. It’s been a super all-around good jacket. I will likely re-wax it this fall. (FYI: Be on the look out for a number of leather and canvas care products on our web-site along with some how to videos.)

3) Fall Running - I look forward to seeing my breath on my runs and my Newton’s are with me every step of the way. I owe it to Brendon Babenzien, Supreme‘s Creative Director, for getting me into them and preserving my knees for years to come.

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THE FALL THREE : JAMES FOX, 10 ENGINES Wed, 06 Nov 2013 15:07:04 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Simply put; Family/food/library/rural/transatlantic/vintage. That’s 10 Engines. And this is James Fox and his Fall Three.

1) Kinco “lifty” gloves: Either for windy chilled stony beaches or wet cleanup duty at the farm… from now till April 1st pretty much I carry these Kinco workgloves with me. There is a little “be prepared” about that, but also a lot of nostalgia since I’d had a handful (see what I did there) of these type of gloves over the years. $16 from any good hardware store. Ski lift operators swear by them. Me too. Also handy (again!) if you need to pick nettles for pesto or thistles for a boutonniere.

2) Cullen Skink. Odd sounding name, but basically smoked haddock soup. A Scottish dish that can serve as a whole meal. If you can follow it with some whisky even better… Like diving into the sea with your mouth open.

3) The Uniform. Barbour. Heavy pants. LLBean “shoes”.
Completely converted on the Barbour… plus you can take an afternoon to yourself to rewax the thing every year. Again, tray of Talisker doesn’t hurt… Protip: have a look at British eBay ( and you can find some amazing deals.

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THE FALL THREE : CHRIS BROWN, REFUELED. Mon, 04 Nov 2013 14:35:44 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
The man behind the beard behind Refueled, Chris Brown, checks off his Fall Three again this year.
photo x Jay Carroll, Marfa, Texas / Sept. 2013.

1) West America X Woolrich Camp Blanket/Poncho : The West America boys, Jordan Hufnagel and James Crowe, collaborated with Woolrich on this amazing limited-edition item. Vintage wool in a rarely produced pattern and color way. Perfectly packs into bedroll style for road trip.

2) Fires : In a camp cabin, next to a slow brook or surrounded by mandolin & harmonica folk, a wood burning fire can soothe the soul and invoke thoughtful conversations.

3) Forestbound X Refueled Camp Tote Collaboration. About five years ago I started collecting 1950′s Boy Scout backpacks and various vintage US flags. Both items remind me of camping as a boy. I asked Alice Saunders of Forestbound to combine the two into a tote. Now I can always Be Prepared.

+1) “Big Sur” movie : Big Sur has always been one of my favorite Jack Kerouac novels. I believe many of us would like to find respite in the Big Sur wilderness, once or twice in our lives. This adaptation, directed by Michael Polish, debuted at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and opens in theaters November 1, 2013. “And when the fog’s over and the stars and the moon come out at night it’ll be a beautiful sight.”

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THE FALL THREE : MATT HRANEK, THE WILLIAM BROWN PROJECT. Sun, 20 Oct 2013 18:33:54 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Matt Hranek. Photographer and the man behind the William Brown Project. Now add to his resume, creator, host and adventurer taking the Alternate Route premiering November 20th on the recently launched Esquire Network. Go set your DVR. Short and sweet, my friend Matt’s Fall Three.

What I am looking forward to this fall:
1) Hunting these.

2) Eating this.

3) Wearing this.

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USUAL SUSPECTS : THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL. Fri, 18 Oct 2013 17:18:02 +0000 mrforts
Above, the poster announcing yesterday’s release of The Grand Budapest Hotel Trailer.

Above, said trailer. Release date: March 7, 2014.

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THE FALL THREE : MIKAEL KENNEDY, PHOTOGRAPHER. Fri, 18 Oct 2013 13:48:43 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Mikael Kennedy. Photographer. Traveler. Trespasser. Long time good friend, collaborator and true compatriot. It’s such a trip to think of having long ago coffees at Five Leaves talking about wanting to do exactly what it is he’s doing now. A great thing to see a friend set out their path and stick to it. So happy to have him along for the ride again this year. Mikael’s Fall Three.
photo x Matt Blodgett

1) It’s fucking fall, it’s the best time of year. Period. Nothing makes me happier then the cold air starting to roll in and being able to dig all my warm clothes out of the back of my closet. I happened to be in Vermont last week shooting a music video for my wife just as the colors changed, it was stunning, I grew up there so I’ve seen it my whole life but it never ceases to amaze me. I got myself intentionally lost trying to cross as many mountains as I could on the way home without looking at a map, good times.

2) The Apolis Standard Issue Service Blazer : Apolis gave me this jacket awhile back when I joined their Nomad team. I love what those guys put out, part of the goal on the road is always to travel as light as possible, the functionality of this jacket is great, it works at dinner as much as it does out in the field, . Only problem was it was a lighter shade of blue that I had a hard time getting down with (sorry guys, don’t be offended it just wasn’t my thing) Well not anymore, a bucket of RIT dye and some blue stains in my tub it’s a whole new coat, I’ve been wearing it everyday. I know they make one that’s dark blue that I could’ve just ordered but I’m a big fan of waste not/want not, making due with what you have and making it work. It’s a New England thing. Now I love this jacket.

3) I’m rarely in NYC it seems, but when I am, I camp out at this little French cafe down the street from my house called Le Gamin; french onion soup and a glass of wine, it’s perfect.

Blaine Davis
Isle Royale, MI 2013

+1) 2 years running now Wolverine has asked me to do a show in their NYC store of my favorite shots from my adventures with them. This year took me to Isle Royal in the boundary waters of Michigan. Come by the shop Nov. 14th and you can see some of my favorite shots from that trip like the one above.

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OUT/ABOUT/HERE/THERE. Wed, 16 Oct 2013 12:38:44 +0000 mrforts

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THE FALL THREE : FOSTER HUNTINGTON, MOBILE HOMESTEADER. Mon, 14 Oct 2013 12:58:12 +0000 mrforts Continue reading ]]>
Speaking of Foster Huntington… A Restless transplant. Living the dream. Home is Where You Park it. #vanlife. Traveling the country for the past two or so years documenting his nomadic ways and making your IG feed look pretty darn unexciting by comparison. Perhaps dispatched deep from a remote location near Big Sur, Foster’s Fall Three.

1) Goruck GR1: I’ve had this pack for almost three years and it hasn’t skipped a beat. Well worth every penny i spent on and i’m sure i’ll be using it for years.

2) Contax G2 with a 45mm F2.0: I don’t have one of these but i’ve been eyeing them for years and think i’ll finally pull the trig this fall.

3) Toyota Chinook Late 70′s. These campers are amazing. They have the famous Toyota 22r engine that goes for ever and the campers are still pretty reasonable at around 4 to 5K. And oh yeah, they get 25 MPG’s.

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