Rock-A-Upa-Upa-Baby. Featuring the “Malibu Sea Denim” and a pair of PF-Flyers (Center Hi model, made in USA)
The “Upa Upa” Shirt Reverse print bark cloth Skipper Spring 2016
Throughout History, public display of gyrating hips has often been frowned upon by the righteous pious elite.
In 1957, a 22 year-old Rock’n’Roll singer had to be filmed above the waist, to accommodate the Church Lady and her friends. Elvis’ third TV appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show was apparently a threat to morality and order at the time, and the cameras stayed away from questionable lower-body activity. It is not known whether Colonel Parker set it all up to boost record sales, or whether Ms Enid Strict‘s ancestors had actively participated in the banning of the Upa Upa dance some 150 years earlier in Tahiti, but this raises one question… Today, could a well-organized public twerking event suffice to inflict massive cardiac arrests in the ranks of isis?
Let’s leave this one to psywar specialists and stay on course, as we introduce the latest addition to our peaceful Skipper collection.
It is well documented that the Age of Discovery saw many a missionaries anxious to spread the Gospel in the New World. After concertation, a zealous bunch decided to go cruising in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, destination the pristine sandy beaches of the Society Islands. On March 05, 1797, upon arrival in Tahiti at Pointe Vénus, fine men of the cloth noticed a-hunka-hunka-burning-love type of dance, and concluded that the half-naked locals could definitely use some retenue in the entertainment department. The Upa Upa dance was 86’d, and the depraved suggestive moves that had originally lured whalers and mutineers were relegated to the rank of savage activities, unfit for civilized people. The pernicious concept of Sin, a powerful control tool introduced by early missionaries, did wonders with the islanders’ joie de vivre and frivolous traditions. Interestingly, the English word taboo is borrowed from the Tongan word tabū (or tapū), meaning sacred/forbiden…
With a bit of convincing, Mother Hubbard dresses eventually replaced tapa cloth skirts, and most of the estimated 40,000 heathen souls populating Tahiti at the time European invaders first landed, were saved. These desperate descendants of Taiwanese migrants had been trapped in a sun-drenched and turquoise-lagooned purgatory for generations, and those who had not succumbed to eighteenth century VD imported by colonizers could finally enjoy the bliss of salvation. Alleluia and Maururu.
If Elvis ultimately generated millions of dollars from the savant swiveling of his pelvis, the original Upa Upa dance has somewhat fallen into oblivion. Still, its modern legacy lives in the ‘ote’a, and other Heiva activities connecting Polynesians with their original ancestors’ culture.
For the anthropology-inclined, glimpses of Upa Upa influences can also be spotted on the occasional dance instruction video clips we share, concerned as we are in perpetuating the Art of both body expression and living-room rug-cutting.
Disclaimer:I trust that the acute reader accustomed to these posts, who has just wasted five minutes of an otherwise fine day reading the above, will assume that it is not my intent to make light of anyone’s religious inclination, nor to promote atheism or a specific faith. To me, everyone’s wild guess on what to spiritually believe in is respectable, but, at times, some might benefit from others’ conviction staying an altruistic yet private and intimate personal opinion.
Cook Islands ladies wearing Mother Hubbard dresses, 1910 (Photo George Crummer, courtesy Te Papa, Museum of New Zeland)
Another mellow evening at the Bar Lea, 1959
Gabilou taking a break from the Barefoot Boys
A fan making a suggestion during an EP concert, Philadelphia 1957 (Courtesy Getty Images?)
Debra Paget showing her Upa Upa moves. (Milton Berle Show, 1956) Photo Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Upa Upa is here to stay
Now, without any further ado, our chemise du jour, the Mister Freedom® Upa Upa shirt!
The vibe of this garment is clearly more related to a 1969 steamy New-Year’s eve at the Bar Léa in Papeete, than to a traditional 1788 wedding under Pōmare I. So, just like our Bora Bora shirt or MF Paréo, the Upa Upa Shirt won’t necessarily work for reenacting ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’, but will make you ridiculously handsome, successful in business and happy in love.
The general pattern is inspired by 1960’s-70’s lounge attire with a touch of dune buggy escapade. The Upa Upa shirt features five pockets with double button closure flaps, in a (surf) safari jacket detail with a definite sixties accent. Not that anyone does anymore, but this is a non tuck-in shirt.
The most striking part of our Upa Upa shirt however is the unconventional use of the printed fabric. Not a ground-breaking event in itself, but reverse prints are a first in our Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane decade-long collaboration.
A popular island fashion in the mid 1960’s, reverse-print fabrics gradually became the cloth of choice for both Kamaʻāina and long-established haole folks. It appears that contemporary islanders have a more subtle approach to sporting printed motifs than continental visitors have. Preferring their outfits a bit toned-down, they seem to leave the louder prints to sunburned tourists. Rumor has it that reverse prints were a way to emulate the faded shirts worn by legit surfers. If Reyn Spooner® allegedly pioneered the technique, surf-related brands such as Ocean Pacific® or Lightning Bolt® widely used the reverse print gimmick on their gear in the 1970’s and early 1980’s.
In the Hawaiian islands today, reverse prints are considered proper business attire, a thought that suddenly makes corporate board meetings almost sound appealing.
The base fabric we chose for our Upa Upa Shirt is a handsome slubby bark cloth-type woven textile, with more slub than our Saigon Cowboy“Tahiti” Shirt, but from a similar weave family. Here is a quote about that fabric, dug out from our original post, which you might want to double-check the historical accuracy of, before engaging on reddit:
“The base textile (…) is reminiscent, in texture, of those vintage kitschy 1960’s/70’s cotton Hawaiian shirts sometimes referred to as ‘bark cloth’. In the 1940’s/50’s, a thick and heavy version of that dobby weave cotton cloth had become a standard feature in most American households, in the form of printed curtains and upholstery fabric. All those vintage iterations were modern renditions of the ancient Hawaiian kapa (or tapa in Tahitian, meaning ‘the beaten thing’), the natural wood pulp bark cloth of early traditional Polynesian attire that so impressed Captain James Cook back in 1769. “This stuff is awesome! Where to cop?” he reportedly said on his final voyage to the Pacific Islands, before being clubbed on the beach.”
Anyhow, the chest horizontal band graphic of our Upa Upa Shirt is typical of Tahitian vibe shirts and T-shirts popular in the beach communities in the mid sixties, swinging their hips to the ocean swell during the day, and to Dick Dale at night. Many ads in vintage issues of Surfer Magazine corroborate. This traditional Polynesian Art-inspired graphic we used is similar to that on the MF® Paréo, a mighty garment that has quickly taken over beaches around the World!
We know because social media don’t lie.
(Instagram action shots courtesy of our friends Markues, and Jay & Amber. Thanks for being good sports and for showing us how it’s done on location! Please note that this is by no means an endorsement on their part of the above ramblings.)
So, if you ran out of fishing wire after busting all your ukulélé strings, spin a Barefoot Boys record (this one), slap on three coats of monoï, tie-up your paréo, slip on the Upa Upa… Time to show the world your best tamouré moves.
And once your partner has hopelessly implored you not to share a clip of that on Instagram, do tag us (#MisterFreedom) for a chance to win a gallon of warm yak milk, or a limited edition printed “Skipper” bandana.
The Upa Upa Shirt is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.
SPECS: Inspired by traditional Tahitian culture, 1960’s-70’s Polynesian attire, lounge wear for the marina playboy, and vintage beachcomber accoutrement.
FABRIC: 100% cotton slubby weave bark cloth-type textile, displaying the reverse side of the print due to partial bleed-through of the ink, for a subtle motif effect. Woven and printed in Japan.
Two attractive color options: A)Upa Upa Aqua: Aqua blue base fabric with coral pink printed chest band graphic. B)Upa Upa Lava: Black base fabric with aqua blue chest band printed graphic.
DETAILS: * 1960’s surf safari type shirt pattern. * Five-pocket style: Four large patch pockets with flaps with extra small arm pocket.
* Sixties-style double button flap closure. * Genuine coconut shell buttons. * Side slits. * 100% cotton thread. * Narrow caballo chainstitch construction. * Made and printed in Japan.
SIZING/FIT: The Mister Freedom® Upa Upa Shirt comes raw/unrinsed. We recommend the usual initial 30mn cold soak/occasional hand agitation/spin dry/hang dry process. The shirt in both options will shrink to tagged size. The Mister Freedom® Upa Upa Shirt is true-to-size. I opted for a medium, my usual size in mfsc shirting. For general instructions on how we size Mister Freedom® garments, see here. Please refer to sizing chart to figure out what works for you, depending on your own body requirements and silhouette preferences.
The fit pix are featuring the MF® Malibu Sea Denim, and a pair of PF-Flyers (Center Hi model, made in USA).
Launder when hygiene dictates and common sense prevails, like after a particularly competitive beach twerking contest.
Machine wash. Cold water, gentle cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry.
Photo courtesy of Ninamu Island Resort (www.motuninamu.com)
The Bora-Bora Shirt-Jac, cotton-linen. Monstera indigo print, Day and Night. Skipper Spring 2016
If you too happen to have fallen under the spell of seafaring tales of Her Majesty’s Ship Bounty and her charismatic Master’s mate Fletcher Christian, and pondered about the fate of her rogue crew on Pitcairn Island in the late 1700’s, then you’ll relate to one of the gem of French Polynesia, the island of Bora-Bora.
Besides turning into one of Uncle Sam’s outpost and set of eyes on Axis Powers activities in the Pacific during WW2, with thousands of American GIs deployed to its dreamy shores, Bora-Bora locals experienced another island invasion in 1961, by way of an agitated filming crew from Hollywood.
Although it appears that behind-the-camera events turned “Mutiny on the Bounty” into “Mutiny of Marlon Brando” for MGM at the time, Bounty ’62 is one of my go-to movies when I need an exotic visual escape. South Sea tales, unlike World news and fashion-related discussions, tend to relax me. I take it all, Jack London’s prose, De Bougainville‘s accounts, massive Hollywood hurricanes, Barefoot Boys tunes, ancient migration theories of Oceania…
Just as Fletcher Christian had happily indulged in island life under the disapproving watch of Captain Bligh, Brando apparently enjoyed the temporary insular pace very much, ultimately taking mental notes while fathoming the depth of his future Polynesian homeland. While at it, he met the beautiful Tarita Teriipaia on set. She could only fight him off briefly, and eventually became the second cast member of Mutiny of the Bounty that Brando got legally hitched to! His first catch-without-release had been actress Movita Castaneda, who had stared in the original 1935 version of Mutiny on the Bounty. He had married Movita in 1960, but divorce her in 1962 to switch to a bonafide islander, Bounty co-star Tarita.
Yes, it’s complicated, but Brando was a complicated genius. If you already have a headache, take a break and watch him bust out some Upa-Upa moves in 1967…
Back to Bora-Bora.
If witnessing Brando allegedly binge-eating his way through 52 pairs of tight XVIII century breeches during the 1961 filming of Bounty sounds quite entertaining, another treat would have been to share French skipper and writer Alain Gerbaud‘s bliss as he sighted the pristine Bora-Bora shores for the first time in 1924, while on his solo circumnavigating voyage. “Oh p*tain, Terre! Terre!” the voice still echoes around the motus. The island was to become Gerbaud’s heart anchorage for the rest of his life, taking on Polynesia’s cause as his warhorse, and leaving behind a controversial trail of allegations.
Not sure what was actually left from those days when I hopped on a small rattling cargo ferry on route from Papeete to Bora-Bora in 1995. But the tiny island can still spell its magic, from the moment you first spot the indigo blue hues of Bora-Bora’s lagoon on the horizon, to the last sip of warm coconut water on the Vaitape docks…
Alain Gerbault 1929
Alain Gerbault Firecrest 1929
Movita Castaneda & Charles Laughton on set (1935, Mutiny on the Bounty) Courtesy MGM
Before digging too deep into these tropical island blues, let’s pay a little bit of attention to the Mister Freedom® shirt du jour…
The style of the our Bora-Bora Shirt-jac is inspired by 1950’s-60’s Shirt-Jac type garments. Casual hybrids between shirts and jackets, these are known in the tropics as the visitor’s attire of choice for luau, clambake and other beach BBQ festivities.
A bit about our shirt’s graphic… The printing technique of the old-school monstera leaf wrapping body and arms is not your average silkscreening type method. An actual indigo-dyeing process was used to have the blue colors applied. Technically, the fabric is ‘indigo-printed’, and not indigo vat-dyed or indigo discharge-printed. I unfortunately know more about Brando matrimonial ventures than about the actual printing process, so i’ll leave it at that before I start making things up again. Pencilling might be an interesting topic to research for the indigo otaku.
Both color options of the Mister Freedom® Bora-Bora Shirt are using indigo blue for the coloring process. The “Day” version (the white shirt-looking thingy) features a single dark indigo print on a natural background, and the “Night” version (the navy blue shirt-looking thingy) features two shades of indigo blues printed on a natural background.
Textile-wise, the base fabric we opted for, after a lengthy and confusing R&D test period, is a fancy criss-cross basket-weave blend of 20% linen and 80% cotton, unbleached natural white color. The partial bleed-thru effect of the indigo printing, and the particular texture of the fabric, leave the reverse side of the textile with a toned-down negative of the motif.
The back yoke is a floating half-lining, made of contrasting indigo-dyed poplin, an mfsc staple we often use.
The ‘shark fin’ collar shape, typical of 1950’s shirting, is a wearable reminder to please leave sharks out of your soup bowl. Thanks.
Of interest also, our Bora-Bora Shirt-Jac proudly boasts being the first indigo-printed garment in the World to feature two concealed single toothpick pockets. They are located under the collar, and are not to be used for collar-stays.
The Bora-Bora Shirt-Jac is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.
Rig photos are featuring a Pyrate-inspired Vintaglio skull cuff (handcrafted in Dallas, Texas, and gifted by my dear and talented friend and IG foe Kenny “Kato” Thomas), a vintage Penney’s hat, and other old things…
SPECS: Inspired by 1950’s-60’s tropical island garb, vintage Shirt-Jac type shirts, Fletcher Cristian and French Polynesia.
FABRIC OPTIONS: 1) “Day” Monstera Indigo print: Criss-cross basket-weave blend of unbleached 20% linen and 80% cotton, featuring a dark indigo blue print applied on a natural-color background. 2) “Night” Monstera Indigo print: Criss-cross basket-weave blend of unbleached 20% linen and 80% cotton, featuring a dark indigo blue and aqua indigo blue motif applied on a natural-color background.
Fabric woven and printed in Japan.
DETAILS: * 1950’s-60’s long sleeve Shirt-Jac type pattern.
* Actual indigo color print, with bleed-thru effect on the reverse.
* Body wrap pattern design with continuous arm wrap band.
* Two hip pocket, matching monstera leaf pattern.
* Side slits.
* Shark fin shape collar.
* Two concealed single toothpick pockets.
* Indigo-dyed poplin back yoke floating lining, 100% cotton.
* Coconut shell buttons.
* Caballo chainstitch construction, 100% cotton stitching, no overlock.
* Made in Japan.
SIZING/FIT: The Mister Freedom® Bora-Bora Shirt-Jac comes raw/unrinsed. We recommend the usual initial 30mn cold soak/occasional hand agitation/spin dry/hang dry process. The shirt in both options will shrink to tagged size. The Bora-Bora Shirt-Jac is true-to-size. I opted for a medium, my usual size in mfsc top garments. The shirt length is purposely on the short side, typical of period Shirt-Jak garments, a bit accentuated visually by the body/armband wrap graphic.
For general instructions on how we size Mister Freedom® garments, see here. Please refer to sizing chart to figure out what works for you, depending on your own body requirements and silhouette preferences.
Launder when hygiene dictates and common sense prevails, like after a particularly messy clambake.
Machine wash. Cold water, gentle cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry.
“Ou es-tu Manurevaaaaaaaaaaaa?”…This haunting disco-beat song, penned by the versatile musical genius Serge Gainsbourg and made famous by pop singer Alain Chamfort, took over the French Hit Parade in 1979.
“But where are you Manureva”, Alain asked… A few adolescents sweating it out on the Macumba dance floor at the time probably wondered if Manureva was the name of Chamfort’s uncooperative girlfriend, but in Tahitian language, Manureva means ‘bird of voyage’, aka albatros, and the song was actually an homage to a French skipper…
Manureva is how the mighty Pen Duick IV was renamed in 1972 by its new owner. The famed aluminum trimaran sailboat originally belonged to Eric Tabarly, and disappeared at sea one day of 1978, never to be seen again…
The skipper on board on that fateful November 5th, 1978 was Alain Colas, school teacher turned skillful navigator, bushy side-burned and media-friendly. He had dreamed ofone day surpassing the sea exploits of his childhood hero, the taciturn Tabarly. After a two-year hiatus due to an anchor rope accident that almost severed-off his foot, Colas succeeded in his claim for eternity at age 35, entering the lost-at-sea legends Hall of Fame while competing for the lead in the 1978 edition of the Route du Rhum race.
Today, the 68ft Manureva lays somewhere at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean, Alain Colas is recorded in sailing History, and the Macumba still spins the scratchy 45rpm.
Alain Colas & Eric Tabarly, Toulon, 1976 (photo JC Barrault/SYGMA/CORBIS)
Back at the marina.
With these Mister Freedom® Manureva Deck Shorts, the 4th installment of our “Skipper” Spring 2016 collection, we are following in the wake of the colorful theme of the Gabier Jacket.
The nautical reference to 1970’s Hobie Cat® sails is still there. The 70’s vibe is also pretty obvious in the pattern of these short pants. Owing less in design to the British Army bermuda shorts than to funky-fresh flare “Bush Pants” popular some four decades ago, our Manureva’s come in ga-bazillions options. We’re cray-cray like that.
Yes, we outdid ourselves in the available combo department. Originally aiming for even more variations, we sadly eliminated about 3,267 assorted Rubik’s Cube color-ways arrangements to settle on six indispensable fruity winners, for the visual gourmet.
So here’s the Skipper’s dessert menu: A) Solid “Banana” canvas, featuring ox-blood red contrast stitching & snaps. B) Solid “Orange” canvas, featuring ivory contrast stitching & snaps. C) “Tutti Frutti Orange Flamer” canvas, tasty mix of banana and cerise on a bed of orange, enhanced by ivory contrast stitching & snaps. D) Solid “Cerise” canvas. E) “Tutti Frutti Cerise Flamer” canvas, tasty mix of orange and banana on a bed of cerise, adorned by ivory contrast stitching & snaps. F) Solid nep denim: a lighter hue indigo-dyed selvedge 12 oz. “neppy” denim, featuring orange contrast stitching & snaps.
We are also introducing, oh-heritage-sacrilege, our FIRST plastic zipper this season! To make sure everyone notices, it’s white, with contrasting color tape, a reference to French 70’s-80’s big-teeth Riri-type zip fasteners, popular with ski wear and other fashion sportswear gear of the time. Plastic being pretty much rust-proof last time we tested, it also makes sense as a way of keeping cuckoo hidden and dry during our nautical journey.
Swag-wise, if all fabrics were previously introduced with the Gabier Jacket, only to the boldest do we recommend pairing top flamer and bottom tutti frutti. However, you know we’re capable of anything, so classy fit pics are a-coming in the very near future…
Regarding the bermuda above-knee length, there’s always the custom route. To further alienate yourself from family and coworkers, crop the Manureva’s into hot pants, and tag us on Instagram. Have mercy, sans crotch-zooms, thanks.
All skits aside, the Manureva Deck Shorts look very cool on, with a nice 70’s Playboy of the Marina nautical vibe. And if anyone thinks less of you because you’re wearing yellow shorts, let their shrink deal with their own insecurity and hang ups. This is a redneck-free zone.
The Manureva Deck Shorts are designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.
SPECS: Inspired by 1970’s sailing gear and old Playboy® magazine ads.
FABRIC OPTIONS: All canvases are selvedge 9.5 oz. 100% cotton, milled and dyed to our specs in Japan. The nep denim is a lighter hue indigo-dyed selvedge 12 oz. “neppy” denim, milled in Japan.
Options are as follows: A) Banana. B) Orange. C)Tutti frutti Orange Flamer. D) Cerise. E)Tutti frutti Cerise Flamer. F) Indigo nep denim.
DETAILS: * “Bush Pants” type top block pattern.
* Bermuda length, right above knee.
* White 70’s style plastic YKK zippers.
* Double snap waist closure.
* Inventive belt loops.
* Six convenient pockets.
* Painted metal snaps.
* Contrast 100% cotton stitching, caballo chainstitch construction.
* Made in Japan.
SIZING/FIT: For general instructions on how we size Mister Freedom® garments, see here.
The Mister Freedom® Manureva Deck Shorts come raw/unwashed. We recommend the usual initial 30mn cold soak/occasional hand agitation/spin dry/hang dry process. After the initial soak, all canvas options will shrink to approximately the same (tagged) size. These shorts have a generous waist and slimmer thigh section.
They are pretty much true-to-size, and I opted for a waist 32 and relaxed fit, judging the waist 30 a bit too ‘Angus Young’ on me.
Please refer to sizing chart to figure out what works for you, depending on your own body requirements and silhouette preferences.
CARE: Wash when hygiene dictates and common sense prevails. We recommend turning the shorts inside out to avoid marbling of the fabric, although the canvas will overtime age nicely and marbling should not be a concern. Machine wash with cold water, gentle cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry.
Sizes (W stands for Waist)
W 38 Retail: Canvas combos:$189.95 Nep Denim: $199.95
French pop singer Antoine showing us how it’s done, circumnavigating solo circa 1975. Oh yeah. (Courtesy www.antoine.tv)
Bosco Nep Denim
Bosco Hydrone Blue
Bosco Pants Hydrone Blue and Nep Denim Skipper Spring 2016
In its French maritime acception, the term bosco refers to a seamanship speciality. I don’t exactly recall what those we called bosco did on board… but definitely more than I did. Technically there is only one bosco on board in the Marine Nationale, but I remember the name being applied to a few people, all of them at their busiest during the ship maneuvers. In English, the ‘top’ bosco might translate to boatswain, senior crewman, a ‘buffer’ between sailors and the Captain. Anyways, I’m no Patrick O’Brian, you’re better off referring to a Bluejacket’s manual.
In our case, the term bosco is a stretched-out reference to mighty navigator Eric Tabarly…
With a stint in Indochine in 1954 and a subsequent career as a French Naval Officer, Tabarly won instant fame by showing-up unexpectedly early at the finish line of the 1964 edition of the Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race. Aboard his custom built wooden ketch Pen-Duick II, a game-changing revolutionary vessel in the world of yacht racing, he had crossed the Atlantic in 27 days, 3 hours and 56 minutes. The victory of this 32 year-old unknown sailor astounded a previously mildly-interested French audience, giving Tabarly hero status and providing the French with a new ‘favorite’ national sport overnight.
For those interested to know about this larger than life character, I recommend this documentary.
Tabarly and Marine Nationale mates, CFM Hourtin (1953)
If the taciturn navigator probably had men’s fashion as the last of his concerns or interests, in par with his notorious reluctance to grant interviews due to incompetent questioning, several old photos show him denimed-out, often sporting patch-pocket Seafarer-style denim work pants.
This type of dungarees had been favored by deck hands for generations, apparently since an Italian fella by the name of Tony ‘Seagoing’ Anzalone came up with the famous bell-bottom design one fine day of 1896… Tony started supplying his trademark denim bells to local workers and sailors frequenting his custom tailor shop by the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
The legend of Seafarers® was born.
The style was to become a 1970’s fashion staple, with mass-produced stocks of bell-shape legged jeans with patch pockets eventually filling-up Army-Navy surplus stores around the world.
Well a-played a-Tony.
Our Bosco pants are inspired by several naval trousers, and feature a combination of details revisited from vintage naval dungarees and military-issued whites (70’s German Navy, I believe).
If we opted-out of the de rigueur traditional navy flared bottoms for our Bosco, and stayed away from the skin-tight top block Tom Jones fit, there is nothing wrong in my book with 70’s menswear fashion… We all know there is way more to that decade than tie-dyed hippies, double-knit acrylic jersey jump suits, and the invention of roller-disco.
In classic 1970’s men’s fashion, I have spotted at times more elegance, more manliness, more badassness, more individuality, more timelessness, more humor with less self-conscienceless than most of today’s street styles hope to be remembered for.
Just flip through vintage 60’s-70’s Playboy® or Esquire mags. Don’t light up that Lark but check out those ads… If anything, you’ll get a good laugh.
Yes, that is Nick Nolte at 12:00 (H.I.S. 1972)
No, this is not Benetton (H.I.S. 1970’s)
Here’s some nautical fashion for ya (Esquire 1972)
As always, our suggestion is not to take everything literally and look today like a dated caricature, although that’s a subjective notion. We just believe it’s not a bad idea to mix it all up, keeping it fun. Whatever your vintage era of predilection, moderation in the mullet-of-the-day seems to always work better a posteriori.
The bosco is offered in two fabric options, introduced recently via our smashing Gabier jacket. No flamer this time, just Hydrone Blue and Nep denim. a) “Hydrone Blue”: Hydrones are a type of vat-dye colorants, a ‘competitor’ to indigo in the usual workwear fabric family. Hydrone blues are known for their colorfastness and are very commun in European workwear. “Bleus de chauffe” or “Bleus de Travail” (work blues) are typically associated with blue-collar workers in France, and largely still in use today, although polycotton has taken over 100% cotton. Faded and patched-up specimen have been in high demand by fashionistas for some years.
For our version of this Hydrone Blue, we have sent a vintage French jacket to our expert friends at Toyo Enterprises. They picked apart and studied the fabric under microscopes and milled a handsome 9 oz. selvedge blue twill with ‘reddish eggplant’ hues which should reward the wearer with a nice patina overtime.
The keen eye will notice that we are using the reverse side as the face of the fabric, leaving the more ‘stripey’ twill side on the inside. This gives the Hydrone Blue bosco pants more of a ‘moleskine’ than a twill appearance, reminiscent of 1960’s USN N-4(?) popeline deck jackets and work trousers. b)“Nep Denim”: A denim in the style of our “Malibu” denim, a lighter hue indigo-dyed selvedge 12 oz. “neppy” denim, milled in Japan.
Hydrone Gabier and vintage hydrone blue work jacket.
MF® Hydrone Gabier and vintage hydrone blue work jacket.
Vintage Hydrone fabric paper label
Vintage German Navy whites
The Bosco pants are designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.
SPECS: An mfsc original, inspired by classic naval trousers, blues and whites, and 1970’s seafarer-type jeans.
FABRIC OPTIONS: a) Hydrone Blue: Hydrone blue vat-dyed twill, 9 oz., selvedge, milled in Japan. b) Nep Denim: a lighter hue indigo-dyed selvedge 12 oz. “neppy” denim, milled in Japan.
DETAILS: * Patch pockets Seafarer-style
* Single rear pocket. * Inside reinforcement patches for pocket opening strength. * Thin belt loops. * Rear adjustment tabs, button cinch. * Full flat-felled seams construction, chainstitch. * Button fly, corrozo wood buttons. * Selvedge ID displayed in button fly placket. * Contrast 100% cotton stitching. * Designed in USA.
* Made in Japan.
SIZING/FIT: The Mister Freedom® Bosco Pants come raw/unwashed. We recommend the usual initial 30mn cold soak/occasional hand agitation/spin dry/hang dry process. Both fabrics are supposed to shrink to similar measurements, but the Nep Denim version ended-up roomier than its Hydrone Blue companion.
We recommend sizing down on both, as the waist is pretty generous. I sized down to a Waist 30, from my usual Waist 32 in mfsc trousers and jeans. Please note that we have tested rinsing the Nep Denim in hot water + tumble dry, without much noticeable extra shrinkage.
Please refer to sizing chart for approximate raw/soaked measurements to see what works for you. Soaked = 30mn cold soak, spin dry and line dry.
Hydrone Blue Sizing
Nep Denim Sizing
Bosco Hydrone Waist 30, Gabier Flamer Size 38
Everybody was KFF
CARE: Subsequent cleaning should be done with the trousers flipped inside/out (to avoid marbling), gentle cycle, cold water, with minimal environmentally friendly detergent and line dry. Natural fading of both Nep Denim and Hydrone Blue fabrics is to be expected with normal repeat wash/wear cycles.
Sizes (W stands for Waist)
W 38 Retail $299.95
Paul Gauguin “Te aa no areois”, 1892 (Courtesy NY Museum of Modern Art)
Hobie Cat 1978 “Cat Fever” (Photo courtesy Steve Wilkins)
‘ia ora na!
The Gabier Jacket
Flamer, Hydrone Blue, Nep Denim “SKIPPER” mfsc Spring 2016
“I am a citizen of the most beautiful nation on earth, a nation whose laws are harsh yet simple, a nation that never cheats, which is immense and without borders, where life is lived in the present. In this limitless nation, this nation of wind, light, and peace, there is no other ruler besides the sea.“ Bernard Moitessier, Indochina-born French navigator, minimalist, ecologist, free-spirit sea mystic who in 1968 showed the World how to win a race by losing it, opting for La Longue Route in this Voyage for Mad Men…
Well, I don’t know about you, but sometimes the idea of atoll-hoping in Polynesia sounds much better than whatever I happen to have lined up for the day.
So tell the landlord we’ll be sailing our merry way in turquoise waters through coral reefs and sandy motus for Spring 2016. Looking forward to war fever contained. The Skipper escapes to tranquil shores this season.
The catalyst of the Mister Freedom® SS2016 Skipper collection was mostly the need to take a break from boobytrapped jungles and shrapnel, avoid depressing World news and discouraging reads in general. We also felt like venturing away from ‘heritage’ Dust Bowl salt & pepper grey for a while.
So, as a refreshing breather, we indulged in several fascinating seafaring yarns, from various inspiring eras and parts of the World. And as far as uplifting bedside reading is concerned, tales of adventurous sea escapades and whiffs of tiaré from Tetiaroa sure beat the morning scent of napalm.
This pleasant research took us on a circumnavigating mental journey in the wake of an international cast of salty sea wolves, nautical legends, brass-b*lled adventurers and even Hollywood cast-aways.
Story-wise, our Skipper collection found substance in several real-life accounts from various wanderers of the World, such as Captain Joshua Slocum (1898, first man to sail solo around the World after a three-year voyage), James Wharram (famed boat-designer and Lapita voyage initiator), Eric Tabarly (responsible for providing the French with a new national sport in 1964)…
Back home in California, besides frequent trips to the beach and around the marina, several eclectic writings and deeds from the likes of Louis-Antoine De Bougainville, Jack London, Robert Dean Frisbie, cast-away Tom Neale … also helped to get in the mood.
The documentary Deep Water was a moving insight into the world of yacht racing and an enjoyable watch.
Thomas Fleming Day (1861-1927) Courtesy Mystic Seaport Museum
Captain Joshua Slocum (circa 1906)
James Wharram (1955) Courtesy James Wharram Designs
‘Wanderer’ Sterling Hayden (1950’s)
Bernard Moitessier (1968)
Fashion on Suwarrow by Tom Neale
How does all that translate into clothing? Well, although we’ve been into vintage rags for some time now we are not ‘period snobs’, so style influences for this collection are a bit all over the place this season. Stylistic references will basically be spanning from the earliest hominoid sea voyages known to anthropologists (some 130,000 years ago, and maybe not 12,000 as previously commonly speculated), all the way to the days of Eric Tabarly…
There is, admittedly, more of a noticeable 1960’s to late 1970’s vibe to our 2016 Spring concept, rather than, say, a Stone Age caveman wardrobe emphasis. And, OMG, we even threw in a dash of early 80’s!
Mister Freedom®, more than ever catering to the International He-Man of Action, mixing bold colors and patterns.
On a quick serious note, and after some ten years designing wares for the shmata racket under the Mister Freedom® name, we’re actually very grateful to be addressing a mature audience with discerning tastes today, catering to thinking adults rather than having to comply with passing trends and fit fashionable molds. Cheers Gents, much obliged for the support and wit.
So anyways, slap on that Tom Selleck ‘stache and let your Burt Reynolds chops grow, look-up men’s fashion style spreads on old Playboy® zines, turn the volume up on the Motogodille, consider getting lei’d, hop on a Hobie 16, … or just go sit on the beach and watch sails go by for a while.
Sea air does wonders, enjoy it before my Homo Sapiens Sapiens peers mess it all up.
Now, our jacket.
The French moniker gabier is an old maritime term referring to a boatsman specialized in mast rigging and sails. But the MF® Gabier Jacket is by no mean an attempt at a sea-worthy garment by 2016 nautical pro-gear standards. It merely carries a bit of salty air nostalgia.
As a kid living ocean-side in Africa in the early 80’s (Djibouti), I remember bright-colored catamaran sails taking over the horizon at some point. I also remember learning how to maneuver one of those old-school windsurfing boards the size of a large schooner, with giant triangular colorful sails…
The original idea for our Gabier Jacket came from those wonderful vintage sails, with colors spliced together for easy ID at sea, and probably to entertain seagulls. The term “Flamer” is a nod to a specific color combo sail pattern introduced by boat-builder Hobie Cat® in 1975.
Popularized in the 1960’s by the likes of Verner Panton, crazy color juxtapositions had impacted everything from curtains to popular wearables by the late 1970’s. In 1976, although a good year for red white and blue graphics in the USA, an upcoming little venture even opted for a rainbow-colored fruit as their logo.
Sail patterns, courtesy of Hobie Cat
Where are they now?
Not exactly part of the Skipper, I just lost a bet
On a side note, I actually clicked the “BUY IT NOW” button on a boat early last year, a vintage pristine 1976 “Flamer” Hobie 16 (BIN auctioned for $300.00!). I owned it for an evening, until I realized in the morning that I had to hand-deliver the cash, bring the proper trailer to haul it out, and pick up the prize from a remote location on the East Coast… Yes, I too have joined the numb nuts of the Can’t Properly Read eBay Listings Before Bidding Club.
Well, that is my big sailing adventure.
Our Gabier Jacket comes in three fabric options.
a) “Flamer”: The fiery option, a combination of three 9.5 oz. 100% cotton canvas, milled and dyed to our specs in Japan.
b) “Hydrone Blue”: Inspired by vintage French workwear, this 9 oz. selvedge 100% cotton twill fabric was milled and dyed in Japan according to a vintage 1960’s specimen from our archives. The specific color is typical of ’bleus de travail’ (work blues) often sported by French workers and fishermen. It differs from traditional indigo and has characteristic attractive fading properties.
c) “Nep Denim”: In the style of our “Malibu” denim, a lighter hue indigo-dyed selvedge 12 oz. “neppy” denim, milled in Japan.
MF® Hydrone Gabier and vintage hydrone blue work jacket.
Hydrone Gabier and vintage hydrone blue work jacket.
The Gabier Jacket is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that the Nep Denim Gabier Jacket featured on the photos shows a vintage ‘Pied-Noir’ patch. This is a personal addition. The Mister Freedom® Gabier jacket originally comes without any patches, and is left up to you to customize or not.
SPECS: Inspired by the 1960’s and 1970’s world of sailing.
FABRIC OPTIONS: a) Flamer, three color canvas combo.
b) Hydrone Blue, solid.
c) Nep Denim, solid.
DETAILS: * Sail-inspired horizontal spliced panel construction.
* Raglan sleeves.
* Unlined, no open seams, caballo-type chainstitch construction.
* Painted metal snaps.
* Arm pocket featuring an oh-so hi-tech concealed button-hole opening for your iPhone® headphone cable, which you will never use.
* Cinchable waist with pull cord.
* Metal mesh eyelets for underarm ventilation and pocket water drainage.
* Designed in USA.
* Made in Japan.
SIZING/FIT: We recommend an original cold soak and line dry.
All three fabric options will shrink to approximate similar measurements. We suggest our usual method for raw cotton garments: * 30-40mn cold soak with intermittent hand agitation, in minimally-filled washing machine or bath tub. * Spin dry cycle (if using a machine). * Hang dry. * As an optional step, wear the garment briefly when still not fully dry, in order to slightly shape it to your body and set creases. Hang and let fully dry.
As often with mfsc jackets, I am in-between two sizes with the Gabier. I opted for a Size 38 in the Flamer, and for Size 36 for both the Hydrone Blue and Nep Denim. The canvas fabric will not stretch or give so I have to go for a 38 Flamer, but I can pull-off the 36 in the denim and hydrone twill without the underarm being uncomfortable.
What works for you will depend on your own body requirements. Please check the sizing chart or email firstname.lastname@example.org for sizing advices.
Gabier Nep Denim 36
Gabier Flamer 38
Another satisfied customer
CARE: Wash when hygiene dictates and common sense prevails.
We recommend turning the jacket inside out to avoid marbling of the fabric.
Hand washing can be a good option for those concerned with specific wear patterns and high-contrast colors fades. Otherwise, machine wash inside out with cold water, gentle cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry.