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Grin like a chimpanzee

To itchy-eyed menswear gawpers this might be old news. And to be honest, when I first saw this a few weeks back, I quickly dismissed it. Now however, my anticipation for Avengers: Infinity War is so childishly heated that I feel compelled to celebrate Marvel in a site-appropriate fashion. By musing on an unwearable denim jacket covered in super hero badges.

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Honesty is integral

Authenticity is all. The most meaningful component of digital content. The most effective scheme with which to engage Gen Y.  Content must be authentic. Which is why I’m diminishing the extravagance of my crumpled but expensive casual-wear by standing near some urban art works. See? Authenticity.

I could be a destitute painter, a slave to my vision, not my accountant. I could be a poet. No one’s buying poetry these days, but I simply must write, my meter is my lover. I could be threadbare historian. Spending my days writing a book nobody wants to read, about a forgotten empire no one has heard of. I could be. I’m not though. I’m just another impossible tosspile who works in digital media who spends his money on lavish clothing. Honesty is integral to authenticity after all.

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Non-existent, yet somehow vital

If you’re a blazerman and you don’t own an Engineered Garments Loiter you are not a blazerman. I don’t know how much stock you place in being able to refer to yourself as a blazerman? Probably little. I don’t really care. But if there’s a tiny sliver of you, a minuscule piece that takes some pleasure from occasionally being able to say something like, “yeah, well, I am something of a blazerman“, and you don’t own a Loiter, consider that pleasure gone. Finished. Absent. You are not a blazerman. You are just a man. And barely that.

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A walking wall tidy

As warmer weather threatens, a sweatshirt made of fleece with an attached waistcoat possibly isn’t top of your must haves. You may have clocked this season’s emergent pastel tones and are considering a pair of dusty lemon shorts. At the very least you’ve probably got the iron out, angrily trying to revitalise last summer’s purchases – seeing how many of them will make the cut this season. Dropping £368 on a fleece, that during sunny beer garden sessions will broil you alive, is understandably not that appealing. Beading up as you juggle a can of Red Stripe and fag, frantically picking at the stupid built-in vest, hoping it does actually come off – it’s not a strong look.

Having said all that, and ignoring the seasonal practicalities, this Mountain Research number is a pretty solid piece.

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Going full Popeye

Regular readers will recall this site championing the wider trouser. And this long-standing preference hasn’t changed. However I do have a vague amendment to the ‘big is best’ mantra. It specifically concerns wide trousers cut parallel from the knee, as apposed to wide trousers with a gentle taper to the ankle. I’ve concluded that having a taper is best. This is not a statement I make lightly, it stems from wearing a number of parallel cut purchases, for long periods of time. It comes from fidgeting awkwardly as, sitting with my legs crossed, giant folds of material dangle from my ankles like flags. It comes from catching my reflection while thrashing down the road and feeling like half-man half-yurt.

These trousers from Document are of the parallel variety. Frequently termed ‘painters pants’. But don’t let that put you off. I have a solution.

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Indifferent to the accepted rules

I saw this new Engineered Garments vest over at The Bureau a couple of days ago. I thought it looked okay. Then I saw the above image on the Nepenthes Hakata Instagram. Now I want this vest more than the ability to teleport into a bank vault, grab loads of cash and teleport out. And while I have been working on developing that ability for some years, I’m starting to think it’d be easier to find £221 for this.

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Carnivorous space maggots

I’ve got one of these. It’s an And Wander Stuffsack, made of Cuben Fiber, a tech material resistant to weather, wetness and tearing. In the ‘real’ world this high-performance non-woven fabric  is used for boat sails, airship hulls and kites. So don’t worry, it’ll keep your fags dry.

When they call it a Stuffsack they’re not messing around, you just stuff it with stuff and that’s it. Crammed to the chops with whatever you reasonably need, you basically just hoof it about. Yes it’s got handles and a badge on it, but it’s basically the most expensive bin liner you will ever buy.

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Free money

There’s a Comme des Garçons sample sale in Paris. 70% off everything. It runs from the 20-22 of April,  at 15 Rue du Cheval Blanc, 93500 Pantin. My girl and I were planning to go. Then we thought about the £200 we’d spend getting there and the £300 we’d spend on a hotel. We’d be spending £500 to save £500. We canceled the plan. So, from a certain perspective there’s now £500 waiting to be spent. Free money basically.

I notice that over at The Bureau, this dangerous Nicholas Daley jacket comes in at £475.00. I’m sure my girl would be happy with £25?

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Sway around to some space-rock and ponder the wisdom of another Appletini

You’re holding a social. A few like-minded friends and associates with a couple of oddball outliers to provide uncertainty. A good mix. It’ll happen in your living room, but mostly in the garden. The forecast is fine. Cocktail weather. You’ll be offering grilled vegetable quesadillas with kale pesto; you’ve been reading Modern Barbecue Magazine. You’ve got half a mind to buy a giant box-canvas and some oils, prop it in the garden and encourage your guests to daub away – communal art… so fucking lifestyle. You wanted to serve opium, but have had to settle for a furtive block of hash from a baseball cap outside Greggs. Your soundtrack is exclusively Turkish funk. It’s going to be amazing.

Course, you’re going to need a killer shirt.

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Lunacy you’d be mad not to want

Clothing that chooses to contravene the rules established for them are often the most interesting. Take the t-shirt. Originally derived from 19th century underwear, the basic tee has morphed into an item of light, airy outerwear. They’re often stamped with random words and phrases so those with no personality can publicise their existence. And they’re good for keeping cool as our planet slowly becomes a poisonous uninhabitable furnace. But, as you can see, the professionally foolish design team at Kapital ignore all this.

Rather than featherweight cotton, they’ve gone with denim. Rather than offer the ventilation of a billowing hem, they’ve gone with a deep, elasticated rib. Rather than a simple, dainty neck line, they’ve bolted on a hefty V, loaded-up with complex sashiko stitching. Lunacy of course. But lunacy you’d be mad not to want.

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Your wallet unzipping on its own

Tokyo based label KUON have a habit of creating pieces that appear too good for your existing wardrobe. As though when worn, mixed in with your other pieces, they’ll protrude, illuminated, making the rest of your fit look like Uniqlo. This terrifying sashiko coach jacket is perfect example; more detailed than strictly necessary, a miscellany of shades, dyes, stitching and texture. Up against this, even your crispiest cotton chinos will seem like a proctologist’s apron.

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A perfectly logical reason

Here’s a choice much closer to home than usual. Your proxy service can stand down, we’re in Her Majesty’s territory with these shoes. They’re by Danish brand Nature, but available at the none-more-geezery Oi Polloi.

As a consequence, there’s something of a problem for the unreasonably discerning menswearman. They’re simply too easy to get hold of. If you glance at Nature’s site, you’ll see they do ladies and kids versions too. Plus, at £120, without wishing to sound like a utter tosser (while doing exactly that) they’re not that expensive. Easy availability, plus family friendly, plus affordability? It’s not a theorem that frequently adds up to must cop. So what’s with these?

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Only you can say

The pursuit of difference can lead the sartorial traveller through rough terrain, missteps and frequently to cul-de-sacs. Made of shirts. With kilts on them. On such occasions, is it down to the individual explorer as to whether they can condone such a skirt-shirt. They must either about-face and head towards more conservative pastures, or embrace the challenge and potentially look like a dick.

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Dung-brained TV shows about hairdressers

This is what’s going on. This is what it’s about. Assuming your ‘it’s’ is the same as my ‘it’s’, you’ll be totally down with these wide, geometrically patterned trousers. Feel that lifestyle. There’s pleating on the front and back and according to the brand Yantor, “it brings a plump silhouette including air between the body and the fabric.” Now that is the kind of shit I feel like rolling with today; the sun’s out, the chills have backed off (in London at least) – it’s time for some air between the body and the fabric.

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That’s trainers dealt with

The insidious devotion to identical sneaker brands and styles exhibited by the attendees of international fashion weeks is remarkable. Particularly as these people position themselves at the pinnacle of individual style and creativity. Yeah, you’re wearing Balenciaga. And so is she. Yep, another pair of Off-White x Nike. Just like that other guy over there. I guess if the peak of your ambition is to drop a few ton on a pair of kicks and get street-snapped then job done. Congratulations, you’re an apostle of fleeting bullshit. If you give any fucks at all about taking the path less traveled, you might be interested in these.

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The quantum fluctuations at the birth of our universe

Here’s a sort of camo pattern. It appears designed specifically for camouflaging under no circumstances currently available to man. You’d probably blend right in during the quantum fluctuations at the birth of our universe.

As you can see, we’re talking trousers. Statement trousers. They’re from Bru Na Boinne, the Japanese imprint from designers Masahiro Tsuji and Ms. Naoko Tokuda. If you look closely at the some of the later pictures you’ll see, hidden in the pattern, the word, ‘something’. Which after after some research I can confirm is a word.

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A simultaneous laugh, wee, poo, ejaculation

Coming on like a mash-up of a 90’s Jessica Tandy movie and Jim Morrison’s Instagram, this jacket is next-next-level shit. It’s by Bode of NYC. They make one-of-a-kind pieces from vintage fabrics. It’s sheer force is difficult to describe. It’s somewhere between a Vulcan mind meld and a simultaneous laugh, wee, poo, ejaculation. This is death and rebirth. This jacket isn’t something you wear, it’s something you is. If you’ve caught the new Alex Garland film Annihilation, this is the Shimmer.

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Stay the fuck in when it snows

Feit shoes are distinctive. The brand’s policy of one-piece uppers results in a collection of uncannily smooth looking footwear. They’re like newborns. As though they’ve just slithered into existence, unblemished. They’re like Bowie in The Man Who Fell To Earth when he’s all bald with weird eyes. But more shoe-like.

For the ultimate expression of this persuasive uniformity look no further than Feit’s ‘Hand Sewn Slipper’.

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Could be a game changer

For spring/summer, Japanese imprint Naissance have gone big on pastels. Blazers, tees, outerwear, even a softly muted camo; all in a diluted palette of yellows, blues and greens. Basically, the uniform of a Miami blow lord. But standing out from the dusty hued collection are these kaleidoscopic belts. Not something Sonny Crocket would have worn, but if you can tolerate the Buddha cuddling, crystal-rubbing connotations of these fringy numbers, I think they could be a game changer.

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That’s the end of the story

Hold tight for a gripping tale. I once bought a blazer from b-Store, online, while living in the US. The jacket turned up after a few weeks and the sleeves were really slim. Like triangles, tapering to the wrist. Fine on the body and the shoulders, just with absurdly thin sleeves. So I wore it. I felt a proper dick, but I persevered, assuming I was bringing edgy London style to San Francisco. Years later the guys at OTHER/Shop (formerly b-Store) told me that the jackets in question had in fact returned from the factory a little faulty, the sleeves were too slim. So I was a proper dick. And that’s the end of the story.

The only thing to add is that my jacket was made of exactly the same fabric as this brand new Kaptain Sunshine one. Totally identical. It’s a really great fabric; unusual to get such a darkly toned seersucker. I also note the sleeves on this one look about the right width.

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Man’s highest calling

Check this new Eastlogue popover shirt. You’re probably thinking, ‘orange?’ But if, after a second’s consideration, you think ‘maybe?’, then you are almost certainly a gentleman of rare wisdom. Typically many of us gravitate to pieces like this in navy. Navy goes with everything. In navy, this shirt would work as a basic under-layer, but it’s also interesting enough to work as a grand-standing outer. That’s in navy. In orange the wheels come off the plan. In orange it’s every man for himself. Under no circumstances is this not an orange shirt; there’s no hiding, no playing it down. But buying this orange shirt might be your smartest decision of the season.

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Not all Comme des Garçons shirting is created equal

With decades leading the avant-garde, it’s no surprise that wearing a Comme des Garçons shirt can encourage in the wearer a sense of supremacy, a feeling of advantage. That said, not all Comme des Garçons shirting is created equal. Any cachet once associated with the PLAY line, for instance, has long since dissolved – ceaseless drops of kaleidoscopic, heart-splashed tees, shirts and knitwear did for it. Then there’s Comme des Garçons SHIRT. Still a reliable source of playful experimentation, but the reliance on giant cut-out holes and see-through panelling seems to have grown along with the price points. Even if you could afford them, could you wear them? Would you even want to try?

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A bourgeois S&M introductory pack

Given the grotesque behaviour of the NRA and the current US political incumbency, spotlighting a “holster bag” is arguably a little insensitive. Indeed, with its lightweight cotton make up and selection of contemporary colour-ways, this is ideal TJ Hooker beachwear. But moving past the six-shooting, rug-headed cop stuff, what we’ve got here is a piece easily dismissed. But give it a little consideration and it starts to suggest a pleasingly specific, distinctive utility.

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With a heart in the foam

Casual with a twist of the poetic, this new piece from Japanese makers *A VONTADE is the perfect accompaniment to a life of a visionary. Your creative ambition might be to write, paint, sculpt or photograph the next vital expression of human existence, or it might begin and end with an Instagram filter. Whatever your chosen medium, subject, or indeed, level of natural talent, this robe coat will make you look like you know what you’re doing. Which is, looking at certain prominent influencers, evidently half the battle.

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Beyond their Japanese context

There are a host of indigenous Japanese brands seemingly unconcerned with marketing themselves outside their home country. Bohemians is one such brand. With no retailer in the UK, or the US, or in Europe as far as I can make out, its weirdo, print and embellishment-heavy output is tough to get hold of. Which leaves us gawping at websites, scanning writing we don’t understand, wondering if (outside the digital realm, and beyond their Japanese context) such garments would work on a British street? Just because something’s really difficult to get hold of, is its coolness automatically elevated? Or would this jungle print cagoule just make you look like a fun gran?

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Ploughing into the back of a Megabus

Motorbikes were cool when you were young. Then at some point you discover they’re involved in a large percentage of road traffic accidents. And you imagine it’d be difficult to get to the disco with both legs in traction and your brain in a sling.  So you forget about motorbikes and eventually buy a Prius. Then, many years later, Engineered Garments release a new ‘Moto’ trouser. And while you’re still terrified of ploughing into the back of a Megabus on the M6, you do start to wonder if a pair of cotton motorbike trousers might protect your shins from baby strollers in your local cafe?

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Juggling for pennies

The block colour pant. You see it frequently, at Junya of course, Kapital and Engineered Garments Workaday. If we define office-boy, entry level ‘flair’ is as wacky socks and ties. And then define the next level of boldness as patterned parkas, Hawaiian shirting – power top halves basically. Then at the apex (alongside ridiculous headwear) has to be statement trousers. It takes a special kind of fearlessness to take on a pair of Eastlogue trousers like this. That’s why I’m doing it from behind the safety of my keyboard.

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A pointless balance between the practicality of this piece and the impracticality of actually buying it

Taking a breather from the power-patterning and incarceration chic of the last few of days, let’s look at something more practical. This unlined shirt-jacket from Blurhms is bang-on what you need for the UK climate. Something that’s easy to layer, a piece that’ll roll over a knit as easily as a tee, a piece that’s thin but warm. If you haven’t yet dabbled in the shirt-jacket lifestyle don’t go running to some high-street shitbox. Use a proxy service like J-goods, go through the rigmarole of account set up, form filling, the inevitable long wait for your goods and high likelihood of getting stung for more coins from Mr Customs. It’s about creating symmetry yeah? It’s about creating a pointless balance between the practicality of this piece and the impracticality of actually buying it.

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A tip of the cap to classic Alcatraz leisure wear

Leaning on the prowess of Google Translate we can learn that Japanese brand Unfil‘s clothing is, “carefully made from the fabric of insistence is a reputation for simple and comfortable goodness.” Which, to be fair, is exactly what first came to mind when I saw this striped jacket and trouser combo. ‘Insistence‘ is the key word here. In that I can imagine my girl’s insistence that I never leave the house in this get up. It is, I grant you, a bold look. But one, I think, which recalls the intoxicating glamorama of the New Romantic movement. With perhaps a tip of the cap to classic Alcatraz leisure wear. Surely there isn’t a lady who wouldn’t find herself thoroughly enchanted by a chap in this?

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The life of the recherché lunatic

This is the jacket for SS18. Yes, it’s a blazer, and if you don’t roll with such things, there’s little for you here. Similarly, if you’re not drawn to the stylings of 1970s kitchenware, you might want to bow out at this point. Still here? Then I assume you’re the kind of recherché lunatic, who, like myself, can sometimes feel a little underdressed without a lapelled coat, and who digs the idea of looking like car-boot pottery.

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A reasonably mundane meteorological phenomenon

Contrary to the elemental inclemency, today we’re in Miami Vice territory. Discerning retailers of international mens apparel are getting summer’s linens and cottons in – irrespective of the fact that, in the UK at least, the streets are shat heavy with blizzard. So let’s follow suit. Let’s ignore the social feeds seemingly astonished by a reasonably mundane meteorological phenomenon. Let’s forget that treading in salty slush will rot your leather. Instead, let’s look at some shirting that will make you look like a Floridaian ne’er-do-well arguing over 13.5 a ki.

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Did someone actually think this through?

I do enjoy the idea of a jacket with a big pouch on the back. Indeed, I already enjoy the idea of a jacket with a big pouch on the back so much, I’ve never actually felt the need to buy a jacket with a big pouch on the back. In honesty, that probably won’t change with this Garbstore release. But for the sake of artificially stoking up a sense of drama, so you feel that reading this is a thrilling use of your time, let’s all pretend it might.

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The past is best left there

A little Ivy League, a bit posh golf course, a lot Marty McFly; this time machine of cloth and thread will usher you back to a time when you could smoke in offices, people ate meatloaf and being sexually inappropriate to your secretary was simply good manners. This new wind-cheater from Japanese US obsessives Kaptain Sunshine will make you look like a bloke from the 50s. I’m not entirely sure how desirable looking like a bloke from the 50s is mind you? Let’s consider this pointless conundrum.

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Closer to a religious denomination

How I managed to dodge this astonishing coat throughout the entire AW17 season is a matter deserving both shame and self-flagellation. Water repellent, padded with poly/cotton, cut like a robe, with an oversized hood and featuring both snap button closure and a thick, built-in, tie-belt… this is what the person who invented the word ‘coat’ originally had in mind. We’re not looking at a garment here, this is closer to a religious denomination. People have self-immolated for less.

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Beige me up

The chicanery at the core of fashion, that it perpetuates notions of individualism and ideas, all the while producing myriad versions of the same thing, is fascinating. That the Normcore trend has been widely derided as everything from a satirical construct to non-existent, isn’t stopping a large number of supposedly premium and principled brands ripping off Balenciaga sneakers for example. And you only have to look at, apparently arch creatives, Aries, Our Legacy, YMC and even women’s brand LF Markey, to see a very similar line of thinking – washed out denim, sloppy sweatshirts, slovenly graphics. It’s highly likely that none of these brands would actively embrace the term ‘fashion’, much preferring to suggest they produce ‘style’ – non-time-sensitive items with which to craft a wardrobe. I suggest such hokum doesn’t withstand the evidence of one’s eyes.

Whatever Norecore was or wasn’t, the original notion was anti-fashion clothing – outfits so mundane and routine as to render the wearer virtually invisible. Somewhere along the way this morphed into kaleidoscopic 90s platform sneakers and titanic washed jeans. If you really don’t want to be noticed, may I suggest the traditional stalwart of the socially irrelevant, head-to-toe beige.

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Un-ridiculousness

Accusations could be levelled at these pages that they’re too keen to cover ridiculousness. Hence today’s choice. Wearable, but still niche. Difficult to get hold of, but unlikely to provoke ridicule. It’s a green jacket. It’s got velcro and pockets. It’s from Nonnative. Now try not to doze off.

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Jamiroquai via Blossom

Still waiting for The Bureau to launch its new site and accompanying Engineered Garments stock? I’ve been refreshing their site for weeks. No joy. I am writing this on Sunday 18th, what’s the betting it goes live before I’ve even finished this post?

Anyway, (at time of writing) the vast majority of EG’s SS18 offering is not directly available on these shores. So I’m looking to Japan’s Reggie Shop, and this entirely irresponsible hat.

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The next worst thing that could happen, could happen

Torn between mumbling upstarts and traditional lyrical dexterity, hip-hop is undergoing a period of upheaval. On one side you’ve got the grammatically challenged, but fresher Cardi Bs, Lil Yachtys and Migoses. On the other, thesaurus-troubling, boom bap surfing duffers like J Cole and Moss Def. Hip-hop is going into melt down. Everyone’s, like, arguing and shit. The world won’t actually explode because of it. But, whatever is the next worst thing that could happen, could happen. We need something to heal the rifts. Something to make both sides realise that, hey, this is hip-hop, we’re just talking over a beat and people pay us for it, this is aces!

My suggestion is the return of robot dancing. Everyone loves it. Everyone can have a bash at it. The Robot is, might I suggest, completely dope. And Japanese brand Meanswhile clearly agree. The last time I saw someone wearing one of these, he was standing behind Turbo and Ozone in Breakdance: The Movie, twitching like a giant excitable penis.

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Torpedo your stylistic instincts

Does this sound familiar? You get togged up for a jaunt down the cafe, shops, bar… You take a final mirror check, then you realise you look too put together?  You’ve got the brown shoes, the blue trousers, the top with a bit of brown and blue in it and a blue jacket. Dude, you’re styled. You’re J Crew man. You’re all considered and shit. You look like you’ve been thinking far too deep. Mr Sympathetic Palette is not the fire.

Emergencies like that, call for a bag like this.

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When vests go Nashville

On the face of it, what we’ve got here is a solid, utilitarian, cotton canvas vest. A couple of chest pockets, a couple of hip pockets with dangly detail, a concealed button placket. But then, on the sides, you clock the lace detail. Youcha! I mean, all of a sudden this piece goes from cool urban to Keith Urban. We’re in Nashville. This is Rayna James stagewear y’all.

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Hosed with pizzazz

Broadly, in sneaker terms, you’ve got: sportwear giant offerings (straight up Adidas, Nike etc…) you’ve got your sportswear giant x designer brand colabs (Adidas Y3, Reebok x Opening Ceremony, Adidas x Raf Simons etc…) and you’ve got pure offerings from the designer brand themselves. These undiluted designer visions frequently result in the diabolical. Overwrought and hosed with pizzazz, you only have to take a look at the relentless paint flicking over at Maison Margiela, the eurotrash branding at Givenchy and anything Giuseppe Zanotti has ever done to get the idea. This shit has Love Island contestant written all over it.

Here’s a style from Japanese enigmas Kolor that manages to break the mould.

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The pleats alone look like they need their own database

Prone to stocking and creating only the most forward-prodding cuts, you can usually spot something at London’s OTHER/Shop that at first glance appears mildly ominous. You’ll find garments that are ostensibly too short, too long, too tight or too loose. But deliberately (and brilliantly) so. Such is the journey towards progressing menswear. Waists are high. You presume a jacket to curve, yet it’s abruptly rectilinear. Long pleats are plentiful.

It’s in the landscape of the trouser where OTHER/Shop and its hosted brands excel at this stylistic flabbergastery. You simply won’t find an average pair of slacks in the mix. Let me draw your attention to Exhibit A: the Studio Nicholson ‘Bunch trousers’.

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Akin to the work of Comme, RANDT, Kapital…

New to London’s Present and to this site, Japanese brand Enharmonic Tavern look like an interesting find. Streetwear and heritage references coalesce, there’s patchworking, boxy fits, sympathetic but surprising colour mashes, and even the odd use of shiny fabric trim. Viewed in totality the line has a bold visual signature, so maybe it’s a shame to spotlight this relatively sombre shirt. Thing is, they do this insane biker jacket too – but it’s Graham Norton as Marlon Brando at a Halloween party. Fun to see, but do you really want to drop a grand on that?

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Something of a political novice

A regular font of street-wisdom, LA’s Union store is fully onside with label Bianca Chandon. “…Great fits and top quality”, they say. “With a perfect, subtle involvement in the political world.” Interesting stuff. And certainly, a quick look at the Bianca Chandon website, does suggest that the brand’s involvement in the political world is fairly subtle. Their policies appear to be represented by t-shirts with Bianca Chandon on them. While their constitutional views appear to involve a picture of an elephant on a tee and some Arabic writing, again on a tee. Still, I am something of a political novice.

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