The Garmsman Dozen #20: Bryan from USA/Taiwan

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Welcome to the anniversary 20th instalment of the “Garmsman Dozen” question and answer session.  Did you miss earlier ones? There are links at the end of the page.

This week we extend a warm welcome to Garmsman Bryan Shettig (Aka The Rite Stuff) from the USA/Taiwan!

 

Bio:

My name is Bryan Shettig, I’m 34 years old, my Instagram handles are @ritestuff_bryan and @the_rite_stuff, I’m from the US but I live in Taiwan, I’m the owner of The Rite Stuff repro workwear clothing brand and an editor at Heddels.com. In my spare time, I enjoy finding and collecting vintage workwear, catalogues, and antiques, walks on the beach and candlelit dinners.

Thinking back to your childhood, what were your most memorable or favourite clothes?

The first piece of clothing I can distinctly remember wanting was a pair of checkered slip-on sneakers (Vans style) when I was about 6 years old. I never got that pair. I also had a prized Mickey Mouse tee around that time. Mostly I didn’t mind what I wore though. When I was about 12 my friend introduced me to heavy metal (specifically Metallica’s ‘And Justice For All’) and I got into metal clothing.

How would you describe your style today, and what are your influences?

These days my style is what I would call mature 1930s, but not of the streetwear variety that has become popular in recent years (you know the style: pleated chinos, deck shoes, sailor hats, spearpoint chambrays with novelty western belts.) My main influence to move over to this style was John Lofgren’s store Speedway in Japan and the way they would coordinate Lofgren, Freewheelers, Anatomica, Cabourn, etc. This actually happened before I started working with John Lofgren, so I started off as a fan. And of course, nowadays I look at tons and tons of old photos of workers from the 1910s-1930s and get inspiration from their looks.

How do you think others would describe your style and garments, do you get any reaction from friends and random strangers?

People have told me for years that they noticed I liked button-ups and dressed in a classic style. I’m not sure what the average person thinks of my style, though. It’s certainly not in vogue with the average person on the street!

When putting together an outfit combination, do you spend a lot of time considering it?

I’d like to be cool and say no, but I do, yeah. I’m generally very slow to make a purchase. I’ll look at the item many times over the course of months before pulling the trigger. I have to consider: does this item require me to buy other pieces to assemble an outfit around it? Is it ‘me’? Could it become ‘me’? Is this something that I’ll keep wearing? Even in our heritage scene we can fall prey to trends. Some of the stuff people wore in 2012 isn’t hip anymore, right? On a daily basis, though, no I don’t put much thought into an outfit. I’ll usually select a pair of shoes/boots or a shirt I want to wear that day and everything else falls into place. It’s building the outfit initially that I put a lot of thought into. I may or may not have asked my wife’s opinion too.

Most garmsmen will have a few “grail items” in their collection. Not to out you, but if your house is burning, which garments do you grab?

Obviously, the clothes I’ve produced under my own brand, like my Atlas work shirts, the Heracles, the Harvester henley, tees and scarves (shameless enough of a plug?). Also, my Lofgren boots, Freewheelers jeans, and my Allen Leathers jacket.

What would you never wear?

Zubaz pants, jeans with elastic hems, day-glo and other bright, neon colors, polo shirts, anything made with baka pile. Seriously though, hats. I love hats and want to wear them so much, but they just never look right on me. They make my small head look even smaller. I want to make hats, but I’m afraid I can’t be the model! Also, sweatshirts never look right on me either, and I also tend to feel trapped and smothered in them.

What are your best tips for buying?

Know your measurements (in centimetres and inches) and measure your feet on a Brannock device. The latter is really important. I see so much discussion online along the likes of “I wear 9 in the TruBalance, and 9.5 in the Barrie, and 9 in Converse, what should I buy in this shoe?” Generally speaking, it’s hard to compare shoes like that because every brand uses different lasts. The width, height, and length all differ. The Brannock measurement is your baselines. As a kid, they used to always use one on me when my mom took me to get shoes at the department store. Some stores like Red Wing will use one every time, even if you know your Brannock measurements!

Do you have a dream garment you’d love to own?

Easy: A deadstock Milton F. Goodman chambray pullover work shirt from the 1910s. These are one of the first examples of the scalloped yoke, ventilation hole work shirts around. They were made by Reliance Mfg Co (later the makers of Big Yank), which up until the 1930s is my favorite brand.

Anyone that buys clothes will have made mistakes, what is your most memorable bad buy?

In college, I wanted to dress better but wasn’t sure how. I went into a western store and walked out with a couple of pairs of ’70s-style polyester pants, one grey, the other brown. I thought those were so cool. They felt horrible to the touch and were too small. Also, every time I’ve tried to buy a hat and failed.

Who are your favourite Instagram profiles?

There are lots; not all are clothing-related (some are more based around antiques) and I don’t want to leave anyone out, but here goes:

How do you think trends such as denim and heritage style will evolve and survive? What will be the next big thing?

I think this heritage/classic style will continue to evolve some, yes. For example, I’m not sure how much longer the slim-tapered look will continue to dominate the scene. Though perhaps it’s just wishful thinking on my part, but I’m enjoying the few glimpses here and there of straighter cuts outside of Japan. I think the next big thing is that the scene will mature more. More trousers, more derby shoes, more vests, more off-white work shirts, dressier watches, more sack coats. Yet, all with a workwear flavor. Looking at photos of workers/farmers from the 1910s-1930s and copying what they wear. This has been going on in Japan for almost 10 years now and it’s slowly seeping out into the west. I used to wear the urban lumberjack look too and didn’t think I could pull off a pair of derbies, engineer boots, or straight cut trousers, but now I can’t go back!

Thank you, Bryan!

You can find Bryan and The Rite Stuff on Instagram as @ritestuff_bryan and @the_rite_stuff,

1 Comment

  • Roland Novak 01/09/2019 at 14:05

    Again a great interview! This time I really appreciate that the interviewee is at the same time involved in production and in research! Great Nick!

    Reply

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