Few relationships are as intimate as those we share with our loved ones but that extends a little further for men. A tailor, preferred cigar shop, favorite men's store or even a dry-cleaner can become sanctuaries for men. The key lies in the relationships we look to establish and develop, at places which cater to our needs. We are creatures of comfort after all and the need to be cared for and looked after is inherently in our nature. All that time we invest in finding our go-to places for goods and services needs to pay off, and the moment we feel otherwise, it's over. I find relationships with a dry-cleaner to be rocky at best, as the looming threat of your garments being ruined by their negligence is far too real - even with trust. I've always followed the care label on garments to a T, especially those calling out for "dry-clean only" but then I noticed that my shirts developed a sheen and didn't seem to feel as soft or fit as well. The whole premise behind my dry cleaning routine was for longevity and to reduce any work I had to do at home, especially ironing. That all stopped when I realized how harsh dry-cleaning could be and what is was doing to my clothing. The washing machine can clean your shirts just as well, if not better in my opinion. And once you get a hang of ironing, it's actually therapeutic. But what of suits? You definitely can't throw them in a washing machine, unless you're in a mood to destroy them.
Searching for alternatives, I stumbled upon garment brushes made by a well established company in the UK (in 1777) named GB Kent and Sons. Their name seemed to come up time and time again and they also held a royal warrant of appointment, to her majesty the queen. If you haven't come across this terminology before, it is a coat of arms of the royal personage who issued the warrant and is stamped right on the product. British suppliers of services and goods who've gained this recognition are generally well respected and have a reputation for providing the best in quality. In the case of Kent, her majesty the queen makes good use of their products so that speaks volumes!
Kent Brushes can be made in as little as a few hours to those spanning several days, with most brushes undergoing 12 processes. Others go through as many as 20 processes before inspection, including cutting, shaping, bristling, finishing and buffing. Each of the brushes are partly machine made and then finished and inspected by hand at Kent's family-run factory in Hertfordshire. There are some brushes that are completely hand-made, for those looking for an homage to the craft of old. Among the most important things one can look for in a brush are the bristles, which are pure and natural in all Kent brushes and selected by expert artisans to fit their intended purpose. Natural bristles are actually quite long, with the tip being the softest and most flexible part while the bottom is firm and much coarser. The correct part of the bristle needs to be selected depending on the use of the brush, which also reduces waste. For a shoe brush, you would want a coarser bristle than a hair brush to buff your shoes clean. When choosing a clothes brush, remember to look for one suitable for the fabric of your garment. A double-sided one such as the CC2o in Cherry Wood is best as it is made with natural bristles. One side has stiff bristles to deal with muddy trouser hems (flicked up when walking in the rain), while the other side is filled with softer bristles to make it gentler and suitable for jackets. Using your garment brush is quite simple, just brush in the direction of the fabric using short and gentle strokes to get the best results. Longevity and good care for your wardrobe staples is key, and these brushes are built with this purpose in mind. GB Kent & Sons produce them to such a high quality they require little in the way of care, but a Kent cleaning brush can be used to remove any hair or lint that may build up.
The ergonomically shaped handle is made of a stiff and durable wood, easily gripped by the hand for comfort when cleaning large batches of clothing. Built with a minimalist design, there is purpose behind this aesthetic that one can appreciate. Simple yet effective, honed over centuries and based on a simple stroke of a hand. The creation of a masterful product through a marriage of materials in the right proportions. Form, fit and function all taken into account for the small investment you will make - only to be returned in a few of the countless dry-cleaning sessions you'll cut down on, over the life of your brush. I've had mine for a couple of years now and have been to the cleaners only a handful of times, often for tough stains only. Happiness from just a simple stroke of a brush.