Tag Archives: 2000

ZOO FOOTWEAR

nikezoo

Everyone’s talking up the animal prints like they’re something new, but in a world where men can walk the street in onesies and some cheetah patterning is considered the height of sophistication, people seem to forget that they’re just into kids’ clothing and footwear on a larger scale. Two years before Nike dropped the Safari, the 1984 release of the Nike Zoo model for kids in a pick of animal patterns including cheetah and some tiger stripes delivered some Velcro fastening playground credibility. No relation to the elite Zoo wing of the Innovation Kitchen, the brand was definitely playing with some casual and pre-teen market at this point in time to claw (pun intended) some market from rival brands. This TV commercial ties nicely in with the ‘Company of Wolves’ and ‘Teen Wolf’ era and couldn’t be much more 1980s if it street planted on a Vision Psycho Stick while downing a yard of Quatro to a Harold Faltermeyer synth soundtrack.



Had I seen this at the age of six I would have been obsessed. But we never had access to this model — we were more liable to end up with a pair of Nike Bongos on out feet. It’s hard to find much information on the mysterious Nike Bongo model, but because this blog is about talking about that rareness that’s not for the usual six-silhouette shoe dudes, it has to be mentioned here. I’m open to more info, but as I understand the Bongo (which I though was a figment of my imagination until somebody else mentioned it online) was a budget kids’ Nike model (much like the PUMA Jopper was a kids’ release) which had a sister shoe called the Nike Rascal and was on sale in 1986. I believe it was a child-size version of the budget Nike Bravo jogger which looks a lot like it and was similarly coloured. I’ve seen some people get excited about deadstock Bravos, but I don’t — it was budget at a time when you could have some Pegasus or a Windrunner. Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it was ever cool. The Bongo was better because those who had them were balling on a parental budget. I haven’t seen a pair of Nike Bongos since I was 8, but there’s a few B&W images floating around of my first ever Nikes.

nikebongo1

nikebongo2

On the subject of revisionist history, why are people pretending that retro Jordan XI ignorance is anything new? Misty eyed nostalgics talk of XIs on UK saleracks (which is because the majority of UK folks got into that model on the second (and even third) round of reissues because the internet told them to be into them (see also, Foamposites). In March 2001, the Cool Greys caused a mini-riot in a Sacramento shopping mall and even the December 2000 Space Jam release was frantic enough to fill several newspaper columns. Nothing’s changed — the 80 pairs to vast angry lines of people ratio, the token guy stumbling in late expecting them to be in stock…nothing. Even the fever for the Concords in December 1995 and Playoffs around Easter 1996 made the papers. The pandemonium is part of that shoe’s D.N.A. And did I imagine the stories back in the day about the NBA scheming to ban the Concords from the courts?

jordanxi1

xi2spacejam2

Things got too old-fashioned on this blog lately. I’ve mentioned it here before, but I love how brands exist that don’t seem to exist in the western word still function in Japan. From this year’s blog fetishism, I overlooked is-ness‘ patterned, technical lunacy. is-ness existential outerwear doesn’t fear weird and the thunder god or life force themes of past seasons and Papua New Guinea patterns of the current collection are brave, progressive and strange. There’s collaborations with the likes of Medicom’s Fabrick wing and SP.DESIGN that don’t seem to operate beyond the Far East, plus bizarro Dr. Martens projects. You don’t necessarily need to head to toe is-ness to get the look and you don’t need to go fully space-tribe to appreciate their work. A lot was said about the great asymmetric technical jacket look from a couple of years back and for A/W 2012 it goes a little further out there with the Pygmy Sea Blouson‘s asymmetric upward 3/4 zip fastening, classic performance colour combo and collar zip. The fishtail parka look of the Gokurakucho Coat with SP.DESIGN with the extending width of the zip arms and detachable fur collar that can be worn alone. If a brand like SASSAFRAS or FilMelange are doing simplicity perfectly, is-ness are doing the heavy detailing just as well, with interesting results — they might not be world’s best jacket competitors, but they’re always inspirationally oddball.

is-nessjacket3

is-nessjacket1

is-nessjacket2

is-nessjacket5

is-nessjacket10

is-nessjacket8

 

Images from here

pygmyseablouson1

pygmysea

PYGMYSEABLOUSON3Images from here 

 

FOOTWEAR

This one’s for the shoe weirdos only. When it comes to online retail, once a fearful domain where my bank details disappeared and I was left waiting for months for product to arrive (or not arrive in some instances), it’s curious that I should get nostalgic, but most men’s fashion retailers are fucking dull online. It’s the same stock as everybody else, a blog tagged on with brief features as an afterthought and I can’t get excited at all. Sports footwear’s even weaker — exactly the same options, pretty much globally, where once the US got some unexpected SC releases and co.jp was a mystery, now it’s all the same.

Staggered releases, but ultimately the same old stock. That’s why I pine for the grey retailers of old who actually had the untethered power to surprise a customer. Now we know what’s coming in advance and shocks are few and far between. If you lurked on the internet for Nikes between February 1998 and 2001 (though it started in 1996 and was online until 2010), you probably came across Shoetrends.com, with its mix of older and newer releases, import colourways and no-frills looks, plus the biggest amount of Air Max 95s, Dunks (a couple of years before their wider release and hype burnout) and Jordan retros the majority of us had ever seen in one place. It was riddled with some of the worst clip art ever, appalling fonts and other strange touches, like this:

…but the stock that passed through the store’s inventory was pretty spectacular. ACG and Terra fans were well served indeed, as was anyone with a thing for visible air. Sure, a ton of the good stuff was always sold out and while the secure server of the store with the Cerritos, CA P.O. Box address felt safe, the import taxes purchases incurred were often brutal. The basic looks and mind-boggling stock beats a million sites padding out mediocrity. To this day, Shoetrends is one of my favourite sites ever. After an early ’00s dalliance with consignment selling, those terrible looks remained until at least 2007. In early 2011 when i went to visit, stock had been liquidated and it sent me to DeadstockShoes.com — the new Shoetrends,com.

In honour of the greatness of this site and because I’m too lazy to write much this evening, I’m retroing http://www.shoetrends.com circa 1999 and 2000 as a reminder of the greatness it peddled. Note the ’99 Air Jordan IV Black/Reds sitting around. If this gets you hyped, you’re probably a likemind. Waaaay before Nike Sportswear, that SC abbreviation had retros on lock. Look at this and try to tell me colourways weren’t better in 2000. Women still got some amazing variations back then. In fact, I wouldn’t begrudge you if you find yourself sitting there, silently weeping, pretending to buy navy and orange 97 by clicking blankly on the screen.

This had to go up, because I get the feeling that pre 2004 footwear imagery is being slowly eroded (this content has been gone for nearly a decade) and the ’95 and Terra Humara fans might get a kick out of it. Those Uptempos are no joke either.



On the nostalgic wave, salutes to T-Shirt Party for celebrating that market knockoff era of Spliffy, adihash and the mysterious Naff Co 54 (Naf Naf for tramps, basically) brand with their latest releases. So widespread that they were, undisputedly, British streetwear for those without expendable dough, T-Shirt Party are shifting them as a three-pack. Those from the UK and of a certain age will get the reference — it was never good, but it sure is evocative.