The Lure of Canvas

closeup of canvas fabric

The world has moved on from Canvas.

(And I do understand that Canvas is still the appropriate backing for an oil painting.)

Huckberry is a mostly-for-men retailer that often features cool retro clothing and objects of desire, targeted at males of my age and demographic.

Rarely am I willing to pay the premium for such luxury items, but it’s fun to look and sometimes dream.

This week,  Huckberry tried to sell me a $268 waxed canvas jacket. I love how the jacket changes with age to become even more desirable.

Alas, that price is not in my budget. Furthermore, Gore-Tex entered the clothing market 40-ish years ago and revolutionized outdoor clothing fabrics. A typical waterproof and breathable shell parka these days weighs about a third of what the Flint and Tender waxed canvas jacket does – and allows you to sweat less if you’re doing the required wood chopping exercises.

But there’s no Gore-Tex parka made that looks anything like a waxed canvas jacket!

The photo is courtesy of Larry George II and used under a Creative Commons license.


What once held value

Adobe Creative Suite, circa 2004In 2004, I bought this Adobe suite of software. At the time, it was the full complement of software that the world’s best graphic designers would use to create their artwork.

(The current cloud-based version still fills that role.)

I paid something like $700 – and at the time, the regular full price was north of $1,000.

Today? That software is useless. It’s not worth a penny.

The computers it would run on have long since been retired.

And even though the core functionality of that suite of software hasn’t changed, no one would buy that old version.

At least we still hold value when we get older. Our core functionality isn’t that much different, though there are newer faster versions.


The good side of the Goodwill

old-receiverThe past has value. The current often undervalues the past.

One change during the last fifty years is that youth is worshipped and age is scorned. This is true for people – but also for things.

Thankfully, this is reversing a bit. We saw the movie The Intern over the weekend. Robert De Niro plays a retired executive who joins a young CEO, played by Anne Hathaway. By the end of the movie, she comes to appreciate all that he can offer her startup company. (Yes, the transformation is a bit unbelievable, but this is a movie.)

In much the same way, charity shops sell a boatload of cast-off items that once held value. The audio receiver pictured here was once state-of-the-art. You can buy one like it for a song – if you visit the Goodwill store near you often enough.

Sometimes it takes a person from a past era to shine value on the items from that era to someone of a younger era. It’s a form of translation.

Maybe a translation bureau will open up. (Venture capitalists apply here. I’ll sign on to represent the 70s.)


An ode to some wonderful Simple Shoes

Simple ShoesI will miss these Simple Shoes. I bought them back in the mid-1990’s. They have lasted quite a long time. They’ve been comfortable and durable. They pushed the style of Converse All Stars in a new direction, back when they came out. (The Simple Shoes brand was launched in 1991.)

My friend Gary Cowman introduced me to this quintessential Californian brand. (Gary is a quintessential Californian, though he has lived in Africa for more than 20 years.) So after we left Africa for the first time, back in 1994, I had to pick up a pair. I think I even bought them at a mall in California.

I have had them re-heeled twice. My favorite shoe repairman (who I’ve never met, as his wife is the shop’s gatekeeper, and I think his command if English is lacking) even added some reinforcement around the inside achilles heel area.

But I finally had to say goodbye. They had become my junk shoes – what I would wear to mow the lawn. But the heel area became so worn out that my weak ankles couldn’t stand the lack of support. They’re on the way to the Goodwill. At least I took some pictures to be part of my digital memory.

Interestingly, the brand “Simple Shoes” has been dead for the last four years. They have had a very successful Kickstarter campaign to get back in business. (It ended just after I wrote this post. And they got more than four times what they requested!)

Look for Simple again – coming soon to a shoe store near you, I hope.