William Kroll’s Tender started up in 2009 as a tiny production of a pair of hand-dyed jeans, a denim jacket, an oak bark-tanned leather belt, and some T-shirts. Since then the line’s grown to cover everything from soap and knitwear to bandanas and bears. Earlier this year William launched the Trestle Shop, with his wife Deborah, but the main line remains a one-person operation. Everything’s made inEnglandwith an emphasis on understanding and developing traditional techniques and skills, while taking them somewhere new. Here’s five things that Will really digs right now..
Item of Clothing
These days I’m very lucky to mostly wear my own stuff. It’s really important for me to test out the things that go into production long enough to work out how they function, so I often seem to be wearing Frankenstein garments with various different ideas tacked onto them, or rejected prototypes which aren’t quite right in one way or another. This is the first denim jacket I ever owned- it belonged to my dad when he was a Chemistry undergraduate, and the holes in it are (perhaps apocryphally) acid burns. It’s marked ‘Campari’ which I think is an excellent name for a jeans brand, I’ve never come across it anywhere else though. It’s a pretty badly made garment, and the denim itself is full of flaws, but it’s beautifully worn, and I always enjoy putting it on. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to pass it on to my own kid….
As it gets chilly I’ve been really enjoying listening to Ann Peebles. I only have a compilation but she has such a warm rich voice, on one level it’s just lovely melodic music, but there’s a real edge in there too. She reminds me of James Carr, in a way, who’s another singer I love. On a slightly more nihilistic tip I’m also very much enjoying Kanye West’s latest. There’s a lot going on, and it repays repeated listening. My first musical love was the Velvet Underground though, and the other day I plugged myself in to the 38 minute version of Sister Ray on the 2nd disc of the Bob Quine live tapes Volume 1. It’s mesmerizing.
The Master and Margarita / Bone
I haven’t read it for a while, but if I had to recommend one book it’d be The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov. It’s a terrific book, the magical realist benchmark, and just like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (well maybe not quite) bears repeated attention. The cuts between Pontius Pilate sweating in the heat, and the Devil inMoscoware fantastic. I went toMoscowa few years ago, and found Patriarch’s Pond, where the book starts. My grandfather grew up nearby and used to sail boats on it when he was a little boy. I went at New Year and we slid around on the ice and drank vodka. It felt very Russian. Right now though, on the recommendation of a good friend I’m reading Bone, a graphic novel by Jeff Smith. It was originally published as a series, and I have the complete volume, so it gets a bit repetitive, but it’s got great characters and a nice way of looking at the world.
I teach fashion at a couple of the art schools inLondon, and it’s really nice seeing things just lying around. Often walking through the studios on the way to get a coffee you see something interesting, and not quite knowing whether it’s intentionally a piece of art adds to it, more often than not. An exhibition from years ago that sticks with me is of the still lifes of Giorgio Morandi- he only really painted the same picture over and over again, of a row of bottles, but the composition and textures are remarkable. I don’t remember where the show was, but it made a lasting impression.
My wife Deborah and I both work from home, and we spend most of our time in the kitchen. I love putting things together, and especially now it’s so cold I think the house needs to be filled up with baking or stewing. It’s extremely basic, but a good sweet potato baked really slowly until the sugars start to caramelise, eaten with ghee and pepper makes the whole house smell wonderful, and just hits the spot.