Click onto LA Gent and the e-door is opened to some very cool under-the-radar discoveries for men. The UK-based site is devoted to accessories and grooming products made by independent artisans around the world, from leather goods handcrafted in Wisconsin to aftershave balm (£44) mixed in the Bregenzer Forest in the Swiss Alps.
Alongside Alpine resident Susanne Kaufmann (whose other stocked products include Moisturising Gel Line M, £64, formulated for dry skin, and anti-ageing eye gel, £44, with primrose oil and witch hazel), cult names for the bathroom cabinet include Hudson Made, whose Face Oil (£42) is sourced from New York’s Catskill Mountains; Liha Idan, whose body, face, hair and beard oil (£16) is inspired by west Africa’s Yoruba people; and Triumph & Disaster, whose poppy-seed shearer soap (£9.50, second picture) is, somewhat curiously, “inspired by childhood memories of a New Zealand wool shed”.
Those who have a penchant for the Scandi-meets-boy-scout aesthetic of canvas and leather rucksacks and bags will find some stylish alternatives to familiar brands. Witness San Franciscan Joshu+Vela’s navy waxed twill and tanned hide backpack (£225, third picture) and olive duffle bag (£130), and Japanese brand Wonder Baggage’s black Bali nylon and leather backpack (£164). Smaller in scale are pared-back, robust-looking leather goods with an outdoor-adventurer aesthetic. Particularly smart are Wisconsin artisan Kenton Sorenson’s hand-stitched, made-to-order leather Dopp kits (£135, first picture) – aka wash-cum-tool bags – and iPhone pockets (£15) by Brit makers Alfie Douglas.
Colourful graphic-print swimming trunks (£85) by Timo, and Dom Vetro’s retro-chic tortoiseshell sunglasses (£175), handcrafted in the Italian Alps, tick the accessories for balmy climes box, while for indoor style there are New York-based Apparatus’s candlesticks (£500), whose modular waxed brass forms can be reconfigured.
Lastly, a dedicated section caters to coffee aficionados. The most stylish finds are a glass and brass pour-over stand (£120, fourth picture) by The Coffee Registry and an undulating pouring stove-top copper coffee pot (£120) by Hario, a Japanese company founded in 1921.
This site is a godsend discovery in the run-up to Christmas – and a handy find for men who value elegant, unusual, talking-point design.