Recently we sat down with Rob Forester and Jeremy Blume, the brains behind Bearings, an online lifestyle magazine that highlights the best products, food and music coming out of the South today. The guys gave us an inside look into brands to buy, music to hear and places to visit down South and some thoughts on the future of their wildly popular weekly newsletter (to sign up, click here).
“Tell us a little about you both and how Bearings came to pass.”
In the beginning it started with the fact that there wasn’t anything out there that achieved what we wanted for ourselves. We wanted unique, valuable content, written specifically for men, from a modern Southern perspective, but something that was curated, not just clogging up our inbox. We wanted to answer the question: in a society overloaded with information and choices, how do we make everything we do count?
As we started Bearings it was a work in progress, but at its core we wanted to highlight three things: the heritage of the South; the values of being a gentleman; and interesting or meaningful elements of culture that make life richer. Whether it’s a shirt we wear, a book we read, an album we listen to or any investment of our time – we aim to appeal to the best in men and to challenge ourselves to live deliberately and to take a holistic view of life.
“Through bearings you are exposed to a lot of up and coming brands. Can you name three that you have been most impressed with and why?”
It really is a fun process finding these rising artisans that are passionate about their craft, and in large and small ways, making an impact on culture. It’s hard to select just three but here are a few:
-We respect how much Raleigh Denim is doing to support, and in some ways, bring back pride in the North Carolina textile industry. Sarah and Victor – the husband and wife couple that started the brand gave us a tour of their shop and it’s easy to see their passion for trying to make their jeans with everything from within the state.
–Peter Nappi just launched in Nashville combining an Italian family boot-making heritage with their Southern sensibility. There is a lot of detail and care that goes into everything they do and based on how cool their shop is, we have a feeling it will become a good hang-spot in the city.
-Leather belt maker Billy Moore handcrafts each one of his tough Cause and Effect straps in the mountains of Tennessee resulting in a one-of-a-kind product. He soaks the leather in a mountain stream, beats the hide against a rock to give it an imprint and then lays it in his yard for 5 to 14 days for the sun to give it a rich color.
“Out of all the stories that have run, any personal favorites?”
Personally, we’ve really loved watching the evolution of the ATL Collective, which we tracked since its inception and featured in 2010. It started with a few musicians in Atlanta coming together to develop a stronger community of local artists, celebrate the album as an art form and give live music fans a good show each month or two – so it’s rewarding to see it grow and develop into a local treasure. These guys are talented and put a lot of work and creativity into something they believe in. It’s fitting that it now takes place at Eddie’s Attic since that venue has a strong musical heritage in Atlanta.
“You all started Bearings in Atlanta, but there has always been a greater regional focus on the South. You now have Bearings Nashville and Bearings Southeast. What’s next?”
There are so many great Southern cities where we’d like to take Bearings. There is a lot worth uncovering and celebrating out there and each city has its own identity and individual contribution to the collective South. We are working on Austin right now and are honored by all the requests we’ve received to launch in other cities, so we will see how it all unfolds.
“Ledbury’s headed to Atlanta and Nashville later this year. What are a few things in both cites that we shouldn’t miss?”
When exploring a new city, we are believers in experiencing local culture through food and drink so let’s start with that. In Atlanta, grab a pre-dinner Pig Pik Sour drink at Holeman & Finch then head to Miller Union for some incredible modern Southern food. End the evening at the Brick Store for a neighborhood pub experience.