Friday 28 June 2013


This week we visited Sprayway UK's HQ between our native Cheshire and Manchester. I've always had that thing for Goretex coats, no matter where I get too  and whatever trends come and go, they always pull me back in.

It's probably a given that we love our outerwear here at CC, old mountaineers are genuine heroes of ours and of course living in such close proximity to the rainiest city in the world, a nice coat has always been an essential wardrobe item. I'm a big fan of pioneering outdoor brands, those from across the Atlantic have been covered an then some, but closer to home there's a real penchant for old Goretex coats in this house. That lovely musty smell they all stench of, regardless of the brand, takes me straight to a hillside, the Lakes, the Roaches, Edale. Reminds me of camping out and fending for oneself against whatever nature throws at you, you know what I mean, the sun setting on a late summer's eve, the sound of raindrops against a tents top, campfires with overly cooked sausages and a Thermos of lip burning Vimto, I'm being romantic, please stop me there. 

From humble beginnings out of a garage in Chorlton, Manchester; to kitting out arctic explorers and National Park rangers. Sprayway has been keeping the British public warm, dry and comfortable since 1974. 
John Hunt and Simon Wright initially began making sailing clothing as a natural extension of their passion for competitive dinghy sailing. They were also keen mountaineers and recognised a lack of solid, durable and waterproof climbing clothing at the time. Driven on by the famous Manchester climate surrounding them, the two began manufacturing coated waterproof jackets…”
And the rest as they say, is history.

Of course once upon a time these old coats and brands we love weren't old, they were new and advancing in technological clothing as we knew it. The eighties and nineties were a golden era for this stuff, bright jackets, roomy pockets wired hood, map pocket, wonderful colours, seen on hillwalkers, hikers, country paths and city streets alike, something for everyone from a climber to a casual, ravers to a trendy pensioner and fully fledged explorers. Take me back to school and around '95 a Sprayway Goretex was a must have amongst the cool kids. Bright, garish colours, pulled in dead tight at the waist and folded at the hem. I remember that well, whilst scally chic was in full motion, the real important people were wearing this same kit whilst scaling some of the highest and deadliest mountains this world has to offer such as Kongur and Changabang. 

And that's what has always driven my interest in these brands, they are made with the most treacherous weather conditions in mind, built to last, made for specialist climbing expeditions. We're not going up Everest any time soon, Everton away, maybe. That's the appeal, great well made jackets, lasting appeal,  a perfect layer come rain or shine. Beg, steal and borrow, adopt and adapt, like certain Royal approved wax jackets, if it's good enough for them, then it's good enough for us. My interest in climbing and mountaineers is fairly keen, I find the likes of Bonington, Whillans et al, total heroes, what they did, what they went through, risked and lived to tell the tale is remarkable, totally inspiring. Without being corny these people also became unlikely style icons to me and many too. Of course not everyone who went on these far flung expeditions lived to tell the tale, they were often tragic, often fatal, the risks were always there. Looking into this subject it sometimes reads like real horror stories, we all know about Captain Scott's fateful expedition and many years on, technology has changed, clothing has advanced, but that unforgiving, unwelcoming icy terrain remains the same terrifying, yet alluring wilderness - where people willingly risk life and limb in the ultimate adrenaline rush. So it was interesting to see the above letters, hand typed and signed off by both Joe Tasker and Stockport's own Peter Boardman, a local lad done good. Both of these had an impressive pedigree in climbing and had joined Chris Bonington's expedition to attempt the likes of Kongur and K2. In 1982 tragedy struck, along with Tasker, Boardman vanished on the North East ridge of Everest. Ten years later his body was discovered but Tasker remains missing amongst the many who didn't return, who still sit in this wilderness.

So, what is this about? why did we go and have a look I hear you ask? grab a seat and I'll tell you. Aside from a keen interest in those old coats, it's long been a dream of ours to make our very own Goretex coat, anyone cannot just go and buy this, it was, is and remains some serious kit with Goretex ensuring only the right people endorse their product. With this in mind I wondered what the chances were of perhaps doing something with someone, someone established who knows the score. 
Step forward Sprayway, this brand enjoyed a real buzz in the aforementioned golden era, and that's exactly what we wanted to achieve for today. Everything had to be about the original, original style, original fit, original branding, this was of paramount importance for us. Whilst any modern day stuff is probably just as good, just as technical, better arguably. I've always said the older stuff is cooler, certainly cooler looking that's for sure. 
Sprayway are embarking on their 40th Anniversary year, it's a great family brand with amazing heritage and history and that local North West connection we are so very proud of. So, early days right now but if we can work together it's right for us on many levels, we would promise a classic outerwear piece to last for years, the coolest Connoisseur release yet? let's see. All we can say right now is the wheels are in motion, watch this space for developments, stay tuned for a meeting of minds. DC

Sprayway on Facebook., Sprayway 40th site. The Boardman and Tasker Prize.

Wednesday 26 June 2013


The coolest t-shirt of the year is back! The ultimate tribute to the God like genius of casual sportswear and innovation Massimo Osti. The 'Il Pioniere' design is an original commission by renowned Manchester based illustrator Ben Lamb (Oi Polloi, Levis, Piccadilly Records) this comes on a heat-reactive t-shirt imported from the USA, which harks back to the age of Osti's innovation of sying techniques and the 'Ice' technology we now know today. One of our favourite releases ever, available again at 7pm. Don't sleep! CD

Thursday 20 June 2013


Hearing the shattering news of the abrupt and untimely passing of James Gandolfini at just 51 is genuinely devastating news. In this day and age it can be difficult to look at people from the world of celebrity as heroes and icons but he definitely fell into that category for us. Forget being reactionary or sycophantic, this was huge news, this guy was the face of our generation, our Brando, our Elvis, now we know what it feels like. An immense presence on screen as the star, the anchor of what is the arguably the greatest series of all time. As Tony Soprano he rightly got his bigger break after first coming to mainstream attention as Virgil in True Romance - a role largely credited as being the one that landed him the big one. It's not on reflection of his sudden death that we give him the plaudits though, I have him tattooed on my forearm and pictures framed on the wall such was his impact.
A true master of an actor and humble with it, off screen uncomfortable with his fame and said he didn't feel he was that interesting, describing himself as a 270 pound Woody Allen. Whilst it should also be remembered he was a gifted talent with a range of roles on his CV, indeed he started his career on Broadway to critical acclaim, it was as the brutish, murderous, troubled crime boss and father played so well and with the vulnerability that meant we all rooted for and will remember him by and which leaves many of us genuinely gutted by this news. Whilst it's already been said and probably a dozen times his sudden fade to black like the series is far too soon, but he leaves something amazing behind. Salut!
RIP James Joseph Gandolfini, Jr. (September 1961 – June 2013) TC

Monday 17 June 2013


Our next two t-shirt releases are our 'Chicks in Kicks' tees, paying homage to two pin ups of yore. First up a reworking of an image that made a sex-symbol. Raquel Welch's iconic portrait for the 1966 film One Million Years BC made her the dream girl for millions in the Sixties when it became a best selling pin-up poster, that's right kids - long before the days of internet porn and Brazzers, posters of scantily clad women gave men their kicks. Here we've updated it with new accessories for the outdoor enthusiast and of course she's wearing some nice footwear, in this instance a suitable pair of hiking boots.

Next up 'Nubian Princess' Pam Grier, an original pioneer of girl power as one of the first female action stars. Inspired by the lasting cool of her very own cult 1970's Blaxploitation films such as Coffy and Foxy Brown. Pimps, gangsters, Cadillacs and damn fine dames in Nike Air, what's not to like? 

Both designs will be released this Wednesday (7pm) on Grey Marl and White tees, featuring back of neck signature print. Models not included. DC

Thursday 13 June 2013

REPPIN'. Смоки Мо.


So, that's two music videos we've featured in now. Thanks to our good friends from Proudheart Moscow for sharing this, Russian Rapper Smoky Mo [ Смоки Мо ] Hip-Hop All Stars 2013. He's only wearing the Connoisseur x Tuktuk Regency shirt, one of our faves yet that! And there's still actually a handful of them left too. 
The second video is another one of his, which is certainly worth a watch too! Whilst we're not too clued up on the Cyrillic tongue, this looks and sounds good to us. Nice one Smoky! DC

Tuesday 11 June 2013

tuktuk Bespoke Shirt Service...

Did you know you can order bespoke shirts from tuktuk?
Yes, they offer a service where by you can design your own unique bespoke shirt.
Split over three stages, the service allows you to choose your own fabric, stage two you get to choose your own preferred fit and all important details, will it be a classic collar or a penny one? Do you fancy a double button cuff and button down collar? Then you get to choose your buttons and with over 20 odd to mull over there's a nice variety! Finally the most important stage: The measurements, now at this point you need to add in your details. Using a favourite fitting shirt you already own is a handy tip offered, but don't forget to download the measuring guide, this makes things a lot easier!

Then you're done, sit back relax and wait for your one off shirt to arrive and within 7-14 days to boot! Here's one I made earlier....TC