I’m late to the party again, but I only just realised that two Read And Destroy tributes are on the market and both are excellent. After the RAD event a few months ago, there seemed to be a new wave of nostalgia for the legendary skate magazine (shouts to the team behind the recently launched Free Skateboard Magazine after Sidewalk’s recent demise — DIY efficiency in effect). Two shirts coincide and compliment that goodwill for the scene’s most iconic publication; Dear Skating is a love letter label that remakes the much-missed or impossible to find tees from a golden era of street skating, like Gonz’s Israel design from Video Days, with a vintage wash, and they’ve made an homage to the shirt that was advertised in the magazine that’s available now in stores like Flatspot and Native. if you’re looking for a tribute with a twist, Fergus Purcell and Sofia Maria’s male wing of the excellent Aries brand has created the RADER hybrid of RAD and Thrasher to take it one louder. It’s a fusion that works (was Skate Action the Transworld to RAD’s Thrasher, or is that bit of a reach?) and it unifies two of the greats. Slam Jam and Palace have got the Aries homage in stock. One of the forums created a DAD version for the skate fathers out there a few years back, but sadly, I couldn’t find a picture. Memories make for good gear.
Category Archives: Apparel
JERRY COHEN AT EBBETS TALKS SPORTSWEAR
Note: I conducted this interview over three years ago and it was up on the sadly departed (at time of writing, anyway) POST/NEW site. Jerry is a fascinating person to talk to regarding sportswear and its history — personally, I love discovering that I know next to nothing about a subject, and in discussing uniforms and baseball caps, I realised how little I knew. I’m still a rookie.
Can sportswear have a soul? Now we’re wowed by innovation, but everything’s an improvement of an existing improvement. Like a calm corner in a market that’s over saturated though movements that immediately supersede what went before, shining fabrics, concealed seams and clinically rendered branding won’t be around in a decade’s time, let alone a century. Seattle’s Ebbets Field Flannels were resurrecting sports apparel in 1988 — long before “throwback” entered the conversation — and through obsession and licensing limitations, lost leagues got their uniforms back.
This site might be about the new, but some things can’t be bettered. Bringing a sporting obsession for trivia to an ever increasing crowd preoccupied with stitches, finishes and a garment’s history, there’s a lot of truth in Ebbets’ founder Jerry Cohen’s vision of a world where synthetic fabrics barely belong. Ebbets runs deeper than just one game, with some proto technologies in the fabrics and the best baseball cap shapes on the market. Created to order, it’s all one big glorious sporting research project to match Setsumasa Kobayashi’s multiple self-imposed assignments with General Design Co.
I read the Sports Illustrated feature from July 1990 about Ebbets that changed everything for the brand.
Jerry Cohen: Right — that was the first thing that anybody saw. I used to have the whole company in the dining room of my apartment when that came out.
You’d been going for two years when that came out, right? It seemed perfect for the Sports Illustrated audience. When Ebbets came out, it must have been like nothing else — from my recollections, fits were like these odd late 1980s “jock” fits and fabrics were synthetic.
JC: Baseball jerseys were polyester. They went to polyester in 1971. When they made that change — which was a massive change because before that, 8 decades was of wool and a baggy look that I consider classic. So when they changed, they threw out the baby with the bathwater because sporting goods companies didn’t think like fashion companies. They thought, “This is our market and our market now wants this and they don’t want that anymore” and not only did styles change, but they threw out machines — machines that I need now!
You use vintage machines for the hockey shirts, right?
JC: That’s the hardest thing. That’s a circular knit machine — there’s only a few of them and they’re in California. We’re completely at the mercy of this knitter and they’ll call us up one day and say, “Sorry — no more wool yarn.”
And there’s nothing you can do about it.
JC: Right. And I found myself in Bradford, England this week trying to buy vintage cotton backed satin that used to be run-of-the-mill in the US in the 1950s.
It’s like a fossil fuel. Back in 1990 when you were using vintage fabric, you must have been on borrowed time.
JC: At that time I was. Because we had a little bit of success we were able to go to the woolen mills and have them make that fabric again. But the problem was that the woolen mills started to go out of business. I mean, in the US there’s probably only two compared to when we started. We have to have a custom build and we have to buy — it’s funny because sometimes a customer will email and say, “I want to make a custom baseball jersey with a black pinstripe!” and I say, “Well, you can start by buying 1000 yards of black pinstripe fabric.”
It makes my mind boggle that you build to order.
JC: Unfortunately we’re in the age of instant gratification and people assume — and I don’t blame them — that because they can order something from Amazon and get it in 3-4 days, a company like us, who offer over 450 wool baseball shirts, will have their shirt on the shelf in medium. The one thing we have to give up to do what we do is expediency or free shipping. We say it takes 6 weeks to get a baseball shirt and somebody might order on Wednesday and call us on Monday like, “I haven’t got my baseball shirt yet!”
Do you think sportswear lost its soul? With flannel, it breathes, ages and works with the wearer.
JC: We claim timelessness and if someone buys a jacket from us which is from 1935, we want them to be able to take that jacket out in 10 years and enjoy it the same way. It’s not made to be disposed of. Sports graphics now is a giant industry with a planned obsolescence to rejuvenate sales that throws out the thing you bought.
It isn’t future proofed.
JC: That’s right. The way you designed something in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s was that a team needed uniforms and let’s get some graphics — “What have we got round the back?” There’s a serendipity and an elegance to it. That’s been lost. Even when they try to recapture that, they can’t because they’re on Adobe Illustrator.
I love the logos.
JC: We actually have the old catalogues with the fonts that were used. They were not type fonts that were purchasable. They were separate fonts that they had to punch out. Graphically they’re different to anything you’d find in a letterpress and even when we design a custom order we refer to those fonts. What people see in our product is that.
This feels like a research venture.
JC: That’s it for me. It’s the most important and pleasurable part of this — it’s the discovery.
It also seems that you keep a lot of teams alive. There must be former players for these teams with no idea that you’re making these things.
JC: There are. And that’s the fascinating thing for me — not the top level of the game but all of the dozens of hundreds of teams that small towns had. US professional baseball used to go down to a D league. You had AA, A, B, C and D and a small mining town might have a team.
Colours for teams like that must be very difficult. Going back to 1906, you must hit a point where there’s no photography.
JC: Or there’s photography but it’s all black and white. I’ll confess that in the early days I wasn’t afraid to make mistakes — there’s a certain amount of guesswork and it’s an art, not a science. We don’t have a machine that can take black and white photography and spit it out at the other end as colour. I wish that existed. I would read newspaper accounts and hope that the writer would refer to the colours. Very often you’ll see things on auction from a team, but you have to wonder — all those years earlier, was it the same?
Does wool lose its colour?
JC: That’s an interesting thing too. One story I like to tell is that when the National Hockey League were doing their so-called heritage program, they went to the Hockey Hall of Fame to do research and looked at the original hockey sweaters. Well, any team with green, they made an official spec of a mint green — a very light green — and years before I worked with them to do a collection and my Toronto St. Pats was a kelly green! They’d gone and looked at faded sweaters and based a Pantone colour on it. Dark blue wool fades to violet. The dye in the wool fades. There’s a lot of tricks you need to know.
Do you still use the same dyes?
JC: It’s close enough. But there are some things that are near enough impossible because those things don’t exist.
One thing that intrigued me was the baseball undershirts with a Merino and nylon mix. That was a proto technical fabric — now we get Dri-FIT and things like that, but this was back in the day.
JC: Yeah. It had an aerated cotton on the inside and a Merino wool on the outside. It was introduced in the ‘40s.
Between that and say, Ventile, a lot of ground was covered a long time ago in terms of performance and technical fabric.
JC: This thing about performance fabric being new is really a myth. In those days they did some stuff — they really worked on these things at a time when people assume they didn’t do anything.
The notion is of a quaint kind of dark age.
JC: Like, for example, even the wool they used for basketball or football was very, very fine — not a blanket fabric. They started blending synthetics after World War II. The wool we use for our baseball jerseys is not the 1910 wool really — it’s a 1950s one that’s lighter, it washes and is a better garment.
Then there was this switch in the ‘70s to a polyester.
JC: The myth is that wool was hotter to wear than polyester. If you’ve ever worn a polyester top on a hot day, it’s about as hot as it gets because it doesn’t breathe. The reason they changed was because of care for the garment — woven fabric would rip and I’ve got all these old jerseys with stitching on. It wasn’t as washable. They thought, “This polyester’s a miracle fabric — we can throw it in the wash and throw it in the dryer!” Owners loved that. It had nothing to do with comfort.
You haven’t done basketball yet. Any plans?
JC: Not yet. We’re gonna be doing some things.
You have the same 16 oz fabric for the hockey and football jerseys…
JC: Yes. That knit, which then changed to a Rayon with a cotton backing — which had a trade name of Durene — and that’s not so easy to find nowadays. It’s technically possible to make. But like I said, what’s not technically possible to make is fabric with stripes. People sometimes ask for say, a 1965 era football jersey, and it’s not possible to make it because the machines don’t exist.
How helpful has the internet been for research?
JC: I use it all the time, believe me! My eyes used to get tired spending hours and hours looking for one picture of a baseball cap at the right angle to see the lettering. I’d done that for years and years.
With the throwback thing, Starter and New Era got on it and so did Mitchell & Ness. Did you see any of that early ‘00s boom for throwback jerseys and hats? You seemed to be way ahead of the curve with the Negro League repros.
JC: We had a different consumer. In a way it hurt us — we were first. Some of the stuff was a direct knockoff of what we were doing. I would do my research pre-internet, but as soon as you publish that it’s open season. It’s difficult to police or enforce our creative ideas.
And if you’re reproducing it gets very complex legally.
The hat side fascinates me.
JC: Originally they used horse hair which we can periodically get, so we use goat hair and then satin. (holding a hat up) This is an ugly hat in a lot of ways — it was for the Dublin Irish — that’s Dublin in Georgia. They had the name so they decided they’d be the Irish and the font is very blockish and not particularly elegant. That’s what I like about it though.
A good cap comes to life when someone’s in it.
We’re used to seeing a wool mix thing with a huge front panel.
JC: Yeah, like a helmet. We don’t do that. Sometimes people say to us, “I like your hats but can your crown like New Era?” and we say, “No, we won’t do that — go to New Era then.”
There’s a lot of variations on a hat.
JC: If you look at the Spalding books from the turn of the last century, there was always a page of the latest hat styles and they were named after cities, so there was a Boston style and a Philadelphia style and a Brooklyn style and a Chicago style. That denoted different bills, visor lengths and shapes.
Now that city difference is just a colour. Philly is a city with a real character too. It seems to have its own version of everything.
JC: And interestingly, Philadelphia used to be a manufacturing hub for this stuff — the sports clothing industry. They’re all gone now, but when I started, some of them were around. In fact, the man who owned one of the last factories died just a few days ago — he was a friend and real mentor to me.
Have a lot of the guys who impart knowledge passed away in recent years?
JC: Yeah. They die out — literally.
In terms of audience, there seems to be a new wave who want well-made goods.
JC: Yes, and that’s been good for us because before we were up against people who had things that were cheaper and their pursuit was more fashionable.
The prices of Ebbets are pretty reasonable though.
JC: We’re under a lot of pressure in our industry because the price of wool has gone way up. We had to raise the prices a little bit.
So your baseball collection runs until the 1970s, but why does football and hockey only run to the 1960s?
JC: Yeah, because again, they went to polyester around the same time.
And Ebbets Park closed in the late 1950s?
JC: Yeah, ’57.
Do you feel that was the end of an era?
JC: Yeah, because of the different fabrics and because of the elegance of a design.
As a business do you feel something was lost in the sports themselves then?
JC: Yes, I do. If you look at sport in 1975 or so there’s a distinct look.
It’s all very lurid and shiny — was that for TV cameras?
JC: Yeah, television became important and licensing became very important. That put pressure to “update” their looks all the time. That disposability didn’t seem to exist before 1960.
People really went to town on logos and mascots back then, but it seems more cynical now.
JC: Yep, there was a timelessness and that’s what we try to do.
Have you shown anybody these and reunited them with a flannel they wore?
JC: A fellow who wrote the book named Ball Four named Jim Bouton — which was the first expose from the player side to expose the game and took the hero-worship out — which I read when I was a kid. It was the first time I saw the f-word and found out players liked to chase women. He blew the lid off that. He played for the Yankees and he played for Amarillo in the minor leagues. I talked to him the other day and I sent him the cap he wore for the Amarillo Gold Sox he wore in 1961. He was thrilled and had no idea anybody would do that.
What’s the strangest request you’ve had?
JC: They want pants sometimes and we tell them that we’re not costumers. We have a fella that wants to dress like Babe Ruth and does talks so he had us making an entire Babe Ruth uniform.
How have fits changed? Flannels seemed to fit big.
JC: They are big. Ironically, the fashion thing is pushing us to do some slimmer fits. The market here and Japan prefers a narrower fit instead of a bulkier one. But Americans have become so much bigger.
Players seem a lot bigger now.
JC: That’s right. Also, a lot of the modern exercise machines they use make a difference. If you look at Mickey Mantle’s actual baseball uniform, he was the biggest home run hitter in baseball of all time, it’s like a men’s medium. They were ordinary looking guys.
I can’t imagine much nostalgia for the new skintight kind of shirt in certain sports. With regards to Major League Baseball spurning you because of licence costs back in the day, did that adversity help you?
JC: That adversity was really a godsend because it allowed us to tell stories than nobody had done. To this day, we’re still first, because of our research. They still deny us a licence to this day.
Would you like one?
JC: Only because people ask us for those teams and Mitchell & Ness, who hold the license, only make certain ones from certain eras. It’s not worth them making 300 of something and of course, Reebok owns them. If someone wants one 1935 Boston Braves shirt, there’s no place for them to get it. We don’t have the right to do it and we’ve contacted them about doing it for them, but as of yet they haven’t seen the wisdom in doing it.
Baseball seems so history and data driven…
JC: Unfortunately it’s driven by some other things too.
How about working with non-sports brands?
JC: We’ve done non-sports but it’s always on existing sports silhouettes — never on a new shape.
On the jackets, is there a difference between baseball jackets and the more commonplace varsity jacket?
JC: Absolutely. Nobody asks me that because they assume they’re the same. The big difference is length. Varsity jackets went up on the waist but baseball jackets went longer. They were meant to be worn to warm up in, so the shoulders were cut different too. They used to make them tailored and varsity jackets were more bulky — Wilson made the best ones and I have a few originals.
Was that in the 1950s?
JC: Yep, the 1950s. The Wilson jackets were beautiful, with a zipper or buttoned front and they just had a certain drape to them that was just gorgeous. That’s what we try to replicate. The wool isn’t as heavy. A varsity jacket used a Melton wool, but baseball jackets used an 18 or 19 oz wool rather than the 24 oz.
Are you looking to make reproduction fleecewear?
JC: It’s something we’re looking into.
It’s something that got bastardised.
JC: I know, that’s why we haven’t done it yet. There’s little that we can do that’s different. And we want to do vintage satin. But basketball and American soccer are other things we want to do.
When we talk about soccer in America, I think of that late ‘70s superstar era.
JC: I know, but we’re talking 1920s soccer when working men played in the shipyard and everything. For a brief period the professional level was very successful on the east side. Workers from England and Scotland would be lured to the yards in the US and of course they formed football clubs. They were successful and then they’d lure people to work with them, but really it was to play for the club. There was a league called the American Soccer League that was very successful — what killed it was the depression.
What were their shirts made from?
JC: Wool and cotton.
NEARLY 20 YEARS AGO
What’s all the fussing and feuding for these days? I’ll never understand the people pretending that they emerged from the womb fully clued up, nodding sagely. Life is about discovery and evolving tastes. Got into something a year ago? Feel free to comment, regardless of what some old misanthrope who hopped on it five years prior tells you. Those who were really there at the start of anything, don’t sit and waste their time typing, blogging and dissecting them, unless they made a bad business decision and ended up on the outside. If something makes a few thousand kids YouTube Ninjaman or New Order, even if it’s just to get bragging rights over their online peers, then it can only be a good thing. then A brand like Supreme might not have been as widely discussed 20 years ago, but it was still fêted enough by the style press to warrant a page in The Face around Christmas 1995 — a magazine that was on the shelf of my local newsagent, with a then-circulation of around 113,000, back when mentioning anything in relation to Stüssy had us interested. Supreme was even on the shelf relatively locally at Dogfish in Cambridge for a bit earlier that year. It wasn’t necessarily a secret society then either — just a good brand, carefully distributed.
When you’re strapped for inspiration, YouTube is an easy way out for blog entries. Spending 30 minutes there puts you through multiple rabbit holes. Film trailers lead to documentary snippets that lead to lectures, before taking a sharp turn into timeworn VHS uploads of unsettling oddness. I always emerge enlightened but unsettled. Takedowns are so frequent that upping them here is destined to lead to black boxes and dead links, but having spotted the creepiest commercial I’ve ever seen, a manic Japanese commercial for the Goonies II NES game, the bloke from Limp Bizkit hosting a 1991 skate jam and a background reminder that Chicago team coloured Air Jordan 1s hit the sale racks with a vengeance in 1986 due to overproduction in the quest to find something I spotted a few weeks back and wanted to share here, I felt they all warranted a mention too. That video I was hunting was a 1989 commercial for Sports Fanatics, a store in Watertown, Massachusetts that specialised in sporting merchandise. This volume of team jerseys, sweats and hats deserved bars, and Sports Fanatics seemed to get the Saturday boy who owned an Eric B & Rakim tape in to spit half-arsed bars about replica hockey shirts long before Fabolous put out Throw Backs as a bonus track. Erie, Pennsylvania’s Play It Again Sports would try to play the goofy white rapper card five years later with Dr. Jimbo spitting about second-hand athletic equipment (with a Special Ed nod in there too), but it loses points for being too deliberately wacky.
My friend Steve Bryden is one of the folks who helped give me my “career” 11 years ago, and he and Ted’s Know Dibi Dibi show is one of my favourites from Know Wave’s UK division. Because they were strapped for guests, they let me appear and talk rap and shoes — in fact, there’s plenty of alienating trainer talk — with lots of points that just trail off in caffeinated streams of consciousness. There’s also loads of Lil Wayne, plus a Bone Thugs and Phil Collins finale. Shouts to Professor Bryden for the invite.
If you’re looking for inspiration, Douglas Gunn and Roy Luckett’s first Vintage Showroom book is a goldmine — all the joys of a combined Lightning, Free & Easy and Mono on a good month, but with the bonus of informative texts in English. This London institution has a spectacular archive, and one volume wasn’t enough, so Vintage Menswear 2 releases this November. Hopefully this will be another trove of eccentric but brilliantly functional attire that’s rarely spotlighted. I’m intrigued by the early 2016 release of a book by Mark McNairy entitled F____ Ivy and Everything Else on the Harper Design imprint too, but I need to see more information on that one.
If you’re in London with an hour to spare between now and July 19th, you need to go and check out the Shout Out! UK Pirate Radio in the 1980s exhibition at the ICA. It’s a compact collection of artifacts, documents and imagery that charts the pre-legal days of Kiss in its five years as a pirate station, as well as several other seminal DIY broadcasters that never went straight. This was the second London exhibition with a snapshot of Groove Records in just over a month (the great little gathering of London record shop history that popped up on the rapidly perishing Berwick Street was the other one), and from a style perspective there’s nuggets there in the browsable (as in aper format and not some iPad simulation) fanzines with their 1989 ads for the seminal Soul II Soul store in Camden. This is isn’t just a showcase of radio culture — given the connection between music and the streets, its was an important chapter in helping define what wear too. Don’t let my abysmal iPhone photos put you off paying it a visit.
My friends at 032c have moved into creating their own garments. If you grew up reading i-D and The Face, you’ll remember the occasional apparel offerings towards the back of the magazine. The ever-thorough 032c’s clothing brand starts with a short-sleeve sweatshirt (a challenging format that reminds me of the Jordan VII-era thick-tees that gave you heat stroke) with a long, slim unisex cut. Joerg and the squad aren’t basic enough to set things off with a print tee, and the Portuguese-made Stealth Varsity Logo Sweatshirt’s flock tonal lettering and anti-pill polyfibre and cotton construction is some wilfully contradictory summer wear. It’s in their online store right now and they’re promising further projects over the coming months.
I’m interested in a few different things, and the graphic above from Goods by Goodhood’s Manifetstee sums up the best bits. Reading like the classic “you’re gonna wake up one morning and know what side of the bed you’ve been lying on” shirt (or the memorable Fuct list ad in Thrasher) without the negative stuff, and being on Goodhood’s own super soft Portugese-made custom-made blank makes it doubly excellent. Any tee that unites Cliff Burton with Patricia Arquette’s teeth, Insane Strawberries and a tribute to the defunct Dr. Jives is my kind of garment.
I could sit and watch bargains being sold and bought on Discovery Channel shows and YouTube thrifting videos all day, and I find the same spirit in Richmond VA’s Round Two and their homemade creation, Round Two: The Show. There’s something compelling about watching people get their shoes priced up, and this crew-owned spot seems to be more interesting than anywhere else. Official accounts are overrated. I don’t visit shoe-centric stores too often because I know exactly what’s on their shelves, and I can safely assume that everyone else with legit accounts has the same stuff too. I’d visit a store like Round Two to see if anything unexpected appeared, and the quality of their regular video production beats anyone else’s online content. While the popularity of the Air Huarache NM leaves me confused, there’s some good footage in Round Two’s GaLlery space, which basically replicates the shoe stores of old and seems to have replicated the complete wall of a shop back in 1997. The kind of space that has an Air Zoom GP on the wall is my type of thing. Crazy that a second-hand store has managed to create the best videos of any retailer, as well as holding down a substantial showcase space with a tremendous collection stashed in it, but that’s the power of a passion project.
It’s been a minute since I bought a regular rap magazine, but I’m still buying hip-hop related books like a fiend. Scarface’s recent autobiography was an ultra-downbeat read, but a worthy one (I was pleased to see that have hated the cover art to Geto Boys’ Da Good da Bad & da Ugly as much as I did) that’s a fine accompaniment to Prodigy’s book (still the ultimate hip-hop bio) and the Q-Tip, Lil’ Kim and Benzino memoirs seem to have vanished from the release schedules after a on-off wait of almost Rawkus Kool G or Heltah Skeltah-like levels. The one that I’m ultra hyped for is the Nas autobiography, It Ain’t Hard to Tell: A Memoir, which, according to Amazon and the publisher, Simon and Schuster, drops later this year, on November 10th — four years after its announcement caused some brief blog fuss. Rap books get delayed even harder than the damn albums, but if Nasir Jones opts to make like P and pull no punches, it’s going to be a classic. In the interim, I’ll probably pick up the Luther Campbell, Buck 65 and Kevin Powell books in coming months, but there’s one extra volume with some serious potential — Rap Tees: A Collection of Hip Hop T-Shirts 1980-2000 by collector and connoisseur DJ Ross One, which drops on Powerhouse in October. Promising hundreds of promo, bootleg and concert shirts representing Sugarhill, EPMD, the Wu, BDP, 2Pac and everyone else, the Screen Stars style cover art has me sold on it already. This kind of archive is my idea of heaven — if somebody gathers the rap promo sticker collection of an OG like Jules Gayton and publishes it, I’ll be in heaven. On the Scarface front, the impending existence of a 33 1/3 book completely dedicated to The Geto Boys, thanks to travel writer and New Yorker contributor Rolf Potts, is something to celebrate too.
My updates here have been sporadic due to work distractions. For that, I apologise (I actually need to get this basic blog template redesigned at some point soon too). A couple of pieces I wrote are in the new 032c. It’s easy to become jaded in a world where much of what you love has become cyclical cultural mass, but that’s how you become so embittered that you render yourself unemployable. I still manage to get hyped about things like this. As somebody who’s an admirer of ACG, 032c and ACRONYM’s work, I was excited to see the All Conditions Gear article we put together in the new issue, plus an extract from a conversation I had with Toby and Sk8thing from Cav Empt. There are longer versions of the interviews that might find their way online too. Shouts to Joerg for letting me get involved. Go pick up issue #28, because it’s still the best magazine of its kind on the market — the What We Believe piece is bold and brilliant, plus there’s a rare spot of Supreme print advertising in there too. There’s an 032c clothing line coming soon that, going on the strength of some brief IG previews (and knowing that they don’t do anything by half), will be good.
On the magazine front, upping the seminal Ruder than the Rest article from an early 1991 issue of The Face half a decade ago amassed a lot of interest at the time, with this period of real London streetwear barely documented or celebrated. The logical follow-up to it was Norman Watson’s Karl and Derick styled New Skool shoot (mentioned on this blog a couple of times before) from later that year (which includes Mr. Charlie Dark as a young ‘un). That piece united skatewear, streetwear and sportswear perfectly — Nike Air Max and Huaraches worn with Pervert, Poizone, Fresh Jive, Anarchic Adjustment and Insane, plus haircuts by Conrad of Cuts and Rollin’ Stock. It was incredible — the look that dwells in the Basement and gets hectic in Wavey Garms now, but back when it really seemed to take form for a wider audience to watch from far, far away.
6:77FlyCreative have put together an exhibition called Ruffnecks, Rudeboys and Rollups that gathers imagery from this pivotal era of style in the country’s capital, with submissions from the likes of Normski. It runs from a private view on Friday, May 22nd to Sunday, May 24th at 5th Base Gallery at 23 Heneage Street in east London, with some very appropriate sponsorship from Supermalt. I’m looking forward to seeing it, and I hope it’s the start of something even bigger.
Linking every topic above again, something interesting is happening with The Face archives by the looks of things — Maxwell Logan and Nick Logan have started an Instagram account called THE____ARCHIVE that showcases me gems from the magazine’s vaults for its 35th anniversary, like these logo prototypes from Steve Bush. This outlet, plus Paul Gorman’s book, should provide some extra insight beyond the fancy design and memorable features. It’s the 35th anniversary of the very much alive i-D this year too.
FRIENDS & LEGENDS
With it being the three-year (which has flown by, as if to remind me how much I’m wasting my life) anniversary of the legendary MCA’s passing early last week, it seemed relevant to have a hunt for something with a Beastie connection. The House of Style interview with Adrock and Mike-D from June 1992 is fairly well documented, but I hadn’t seen the full version of the interview before. I’ve mentioned it here before at some point, but the Porkys1982 YouTube account is one of the very best channels dedicated to a band, and they upped a near 10-minute long version of a Check Your Head era chat about X-Large (in which nobody seems to have told the boys that the Gazelle preempts the Campus) and a certain era of clothing that resonates with them. It’s a great accompaniment to the MTV Sports appearance from the same year, Adrock’s 1995 Valentine’s shopping trip, the 1994 X-Girl fashion show segment, or the 1995 X-Girl film that Nowness unearthed back in 2013 (Kim Gordon’s Girl in a Band has some good background on X-Girl too). This Pump It Up interview is also something I hadn’t stumbled upon before. It’s important that the whole Beastie movement’s subcultural role is reiterated time and time again, but it’s also worth underlining how important they were in defining streetwear as we know it now.
On that mid 1990s note, a shoe I saw then completely lost track of has made a reappearance on shoe-selling site, Klekt. I’m not down with blowing up eBay auctions because it’s ungentlemanly, but I’m not sure what the unspoken rules are with Klekt. The Friends SMU of the Air Edge completes the trinity (I know there’s actually more — like the gear created for the Martin cast — but trinity just sounds nice) of Nike TV specials that Nike created in the mid 1990s. The Nike Binford for Home Improvement cast and crew and the Air Seinfeld version of the GTS for Seinfeld cast and crew aren’t as nice as the 2nd Season edition of the Edge specifically for friends of Friends in 1995, even if Friends and Home Improvement are trash compared to Jerry and company’s antics. This is extraordinarily rare. A gentleman by the name of Joe is currently taking offers for these.