Oi Polloi

Overalls Winner

Published: Mon Dec 05 2011

Time for another sneak-peek from the latest issue of Proper Magazine, this time with the chap behind ace workwear brand Post O’alls. To read the full interview, grab a copy of Proper 11 here.

Hi Takeshi, thanks for agreeing to answer these questions, lets kick  things off by asking where you and what are are you wearing today?

I was in NJ factory today, doing some pattern work. I was in: White V-neck T, Navy heather wool Post O’Alls shirt, Vintage Big Smith blue chambray shirt, Navy wool melton Post O’Alls vest, Vintage silk scarf in blue paisley, Navy wool Cavalry Twill Post O’Alls Cruzer jacket, Post O’Alls blue denim 5 pocket jean w/charcoal stitch, Taupe suede Birkenstock.

Post Overalls has been going since the early nineties, can you tell us how and what inspired you to set up the label and why the name?

I wanted to have some new clothes that can be worn with my favorite vintage clothes, in the style which I never get tired, or possibly able to come back from time to time– to me, that is Vintage American Workwear style mixed with whatever comes in my current mood. The name “POST” was my girlfriend’s idea, if my memory is correct.

You’ve been onto the American work-wear theme for a long time now  without following trends or ‘fashion’, how does it feel now that the industry seems to have caught up with you?

So far I have been wearing this stuff for a long time…at least over 20 years…sometimes slightly on and off, shallower or deeper. For some reason, I always feel happy or at home if there is at least one workwear item in my co-ordination.

I thought American vintage workwear was a good untouched theme since there was no limiting particular public image about it…or too many perceptions to be pinpointed.

They are just useful and tasteful- a good foundation in the wardrobe. They are the origin of many of today’s casual wear designs. Military, outdoor… you name it…any functional garments are all evolved from there. And they are easy to be mixed and matched with your stuff for that reason.

I feel a sort of trend but after I got into vintage stuff a little deeper, I didn’t feel comfortable just wearing fashion or catching up. I believe a man could express many things by HOW to wear WHAT. I tend to like wearing new stuff mixing with vintage ….or some exotic stuff or whatever from my history or whatever comes in my personal trend or mood at a time. It could be faster or slower, but it doesn’t really matter because that is me. I don’t see it is a matter of catching up or anything, just one of the ways of expressing one’s current status or mood.

Mr Patel wears Post O’alls Cruzer Jacket

Do you agree with the concept that the reason we all love wearing these authentic/practical clothes is because we’re subliminally living  out our childhood fantasies of being hunters or soldiers or cowboys etc?

It could hold true to some people, I guess. But in our case, there might be not much subliminal fantasy, more just a pursuit for well-made or rare or unusual old stuff…These clothes are the tools we use to express ourselves in a broader way.

As something of a denim expert, what do you look for in a pair of  jeans and why do you think it is that denim is such a special material?

When I was a young boy and happy wearing Levi’s XX jeans, not many people were aware of them. We wore them because they were and are simply far superior in their looks and quality than then current offerings. That allowed us to enjoy the beautiful subtle nuances more so than the guy in all-new clothes which are readily available.

These vintage Levi’s possess an accomplished aura of their own– beautiful blue fabric, enhanced by “fades to lemon yellow” cotton threads, perfect combination of threads count and stitching sizes, beautiful trims to go with them …and most notably, eternal fit pattern designed around human body – not just fashion- yet instinctive enough to be around for next 100 years or more.

Another thing that makes jeans special is, they are good from the start to the end. You can enjoy from the stiffness of raw denim to well-worn, tattered and faded-out status. They are always beautiful….not much stuff in our world is like that….one good example is industrial furniture and stuff. Most other stuff is always at its best when new. That is why mixing these different characters together causes some interesting friction in your co-ordination.

I believe the best jeans (to me) are whatever makes the wearer look good and comfortable. You might look un-cool with whatever people say the best jeans are, or you might go wrong with such a great vintage pair as well.

You’re still making the engineer’s jacket almost twenty years on, why do you think this piece has stood the test of time?

Difficult question….I wear and see many items-old or new, cheap or expensive. I also have seen and experienced designer and anonymous stuff in USED condition as much. Then, I sort of came to a conclusion…I want to make stuff which you can really wear and don’t want to part with even it’s not wearable condition anymore. Maybe that’s where that jacket was born.

Attention to detail and keeping the materials and fabrics true to the  original items they’re based on seems key to the Post Overalls look. Why is this?

When I started, I sort of redesigned all over…from the seam construction and their combinations, overall details and their balances and everything to the way I think Post O’Alls to be…except the stuff I really admire and never came up with better idea than the originals. If I were to copy a garment, I try to capture the overall essence of the garment, more than it’s designs and details. That’s where I can feel the original designer’s work. I believe the pattern and design layout and sewing construction design make the basic difference more than anything – factory set-up or fabrics and trims since these elements never have their will, they are important contributing factors.

I wanted Post O’Alls to look like it’s designed by one person, either back in the old days or today.

Take a closer look at what’s on offer from Post O’Alls at Oi Polloi here.