I’ve got technical jackets on the mind right now, but I’ll up more on that here another day. Let’s cast our mind back to a time when the raised collar and extra visibility of a HH design was the stuff of dreams. I think the sheer nostalgia a Helly-Hansen jacket instigates makes folks forget how hardcore they were in the face of inclement weather. I imagine that they were pretty good for sailing in too, but anyone who remembers their reign in hip-hop and jungle, just after Nautica and Tommy seemed to boom, will get all emotional at memories of cigarette/spliff burns and un-fixable synthetic materials. Helly Hansen’s popularity wasn’t just down to aspirational cost and a degree of inner-city functionality — Loud-founder Steve Rifkind was paid to promote the brand and its sales boomed as a result, with the jackets defining the late 1994 to late 1996 rap video. It never fails to amuse me what difference a decade made — from the whitest ad of all time in 1984 to a former member of Brand Nubian as the frontman for a 1996 campaign (here’s another image from the Wild Cowboys and Hansen ads). After we all moved on, I don’t recall returning to Helly for more and I’ve always wondered whether the mansion and a yacht (rap nerds will clock the connection) brigade were alienated by the company’s courtship of hip-hop. I’m sure I recall it being sold in JD Sports for a minute, but I spotted it on a recent episode of The Deadliest Catch too, and I’m fairly certain that those guys weren’t wearing it because they paid close attention to Flex’s 60 Minutes of Funk.
One thought on “WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DECADE MAKES”
Slutty Boyz and DC fux with Helly Hansen in 2014