Music videos get mentioned here a lot as an inspiration and introduction to brands for a sheltered Bedfordian back in the day. With the M-O-B-B being the party house band of choice this year (with both Supreme and KITH drafting them in), Havoc and Prodigy (who, despite claiming he invented everything a few years back, is one of the original heavily tattooed east coast rappers, back when MCs were showing off a solitary piece on their shoulders) are getting some coin to compensate for their contribution to hard rock style. With the recent ACG relaunch (and the eventual arrival of some proper winter weather in the UK), the 1992 Peer Pressure video deserves some retrospect. Not only is it the track where P reveals his George “It’s called a T-square” Costanza style dream of becoming an architect, the gear being worn is notable too. In a discussion with Ronan from Nike, he pointed out that Puba isn’t the only Air Revaderchi king — Mobb Deep rocked matching pairs of the 1992 classic in this promo, back when they were on their sickle and teen thug rap wave. The Blink-and-miss Raids, that yellow Carhartt sweat and Air Force 1s with tucked in socks and faded denim were huge looks too. Now, hip-hop videos are cheap again, but this era of getting a crew into a couple of locations and doing a lot of walking towards the camera and behind fences is golden. The sickle (which, if my memory of the Prodigy autobiography is fully operational, was referring to his sickle-cell condition as well as their bleak outlook — though it may have been coincidence) and zip up Champion hoods to give them grim reaper looks is a nice, Queensbridge gothic touch.
I’m on holiday. That renders this blog unimaginative and hurled together for the time being unless you want a stack of filtered junk food Instagram images. Bar the guy working the airport taxi rank in Goadomes, what happened to any footwear point-of-difference? New York is awash with Jordan XIs, Foamposites and Roshe Runs — like every, single city in the fucking world. Curious to think that as a global fixation with sport footwear seems to escalate, it’s actually weaker than ever in terms of risk taking. More choice than ever but less free willingness to take risk is a strange paradox. The day shoes were designed for non-sporting purposes was the beginning of the end.
Sure, we always knew that, more often than not, they weren’t being worn for athletic purposes, but it was quaint that brands pretend that wasn’t the case. When you specifically target a shoe hoarding audience (several of whom are arguably pretty easily impressed, despite a propensity for getting angry on social media), the byproduct is destined to be mediocrity. When New Yorkers broke out the All Conditions Gear and Terra pieces, designed for tearing around hills, trails and mountains, it was one of the truly great moments of re appropriation. In 2013, nothing happens by accident.
Those swathes of colours and silhouettes are still unparalleled. Grand Puba busting out the OG Air Revaderchi on In Living Color is a classic moment. Alas, he never opted to wear the Nike Poobah cycling shoe (which, as I recall, was ACG affiliated), which is a another gem from the days of gaudy, glorious, rustic tech. But we’ve been through this topic before. Here’s a few low-res, undersized scans from 1987 (pre All Conditions) to 1995 for a quick reminder of why I never shut the fuck up about this line. The 1987 Traverse with the purple laces and the 1992 Air Traverse with the speckle and tribal print are two oft-forgotten moments that should be highlighted time and time again.
Last year if you were short of a blog post inspiration you could just go and plunder LIFE’s image archives or go steal something from A Continuous Lean or The Selvedge Yard and add your own half-baked commentary on it. You could also up a lookbook that had been posted several times already, again, with a sprinkling of pointless opinion. But Google Books – aka. the print industry’s nemesis (don’t worry print, techno-book won’t replace pulped trees in my affections any time soon) just made blogs even easier. I plead guilty to abusing this online resource. Vibe’s up there almost in its entirety (a few holes in the mid ’90s), as is Spin, but the crown jewel is New York Magazine’s back catalogue. Shouts to Sofarok for putting me onto some pieces from the magazine’s past pages last year. It still packs a kick, with some excellent writing – the KAWS cover last year and the Dash Snow piece a few years prior were good, but over the years its been in the proximity of some zeitgeist moments by mere blocks, while we wannabes were soaking it up from a distance.
GWARIZM relevant highlights of a casual browse? A Valentines issue from February 1986 with the romantic tale of Futura 2000 and then-wife Christine Carrie, a tiny piece on Supreme from May 1994, a couple of weeks after the store opened, some coverage of the Phillies Blunt phenomenon from August 1992, a lengthy Ralph Lauren interview that’s actually picked from a conversation from the out-of-print, but pretty good (get your Amazon Marketplace on and you’ll find it for a penny plus P&P) ‘Fashion: The Inside Story’ by Barberalee Diamonstein on Rizzoli from October 1985. Mark “Search all issues” and bookend your terms with speech marks to stumble across gem after gem. Considering the excellent Rolling Stone magazine archive cost around £40, that New York Magazine hands it over like this for nada is a major bonus. You want more? Hunt down Craig Unger’s ‘Attitude’ article from July 1982, Unger’s ‘The Lower East Side: There Goes the Neighborhood’ piece from May 1984, ‘Prep-School Gangsters’ by Nancy Jo Sales from December 1996 and ‘Hard-Core Kids’ by Peter Blauner from May 1986.
But the absolute best part of a trawl is Anna Wintour’s work as then-fashion editor of New York Magazine between 1981 and 1983. There’s a lot of reasons why she commands such respect, but look to the ‘New York, New York’ shoot from March 1982 to see Ali, Dondi White and Zephyr getting involved – also note the use of a bike courier in the same shoot – prescient of the current editorial clichés used in efforts to look edgy. Go article hunting right now, right here.
But I’m conscious I’m dwelling on the old, so here’s a new concept – retrospective offsetting. To counteract the old stuff revisited, here’s some newness that gets me hyped:
ARC’TERYX VEILANCE GORE-TEX ENVELOPE
I heard about this method of promoting the excellent Arc’teryx Veilance line at Capsule earlier this year. Conceptually a GORE-TEX envelope sounds like something Ghostface would mention in a lyric back when he spat lines like “Meet the black Boy George, dusted on my honeymoon/Bitch like my wife, she popped my Ghostface balloon.” As a result I needed to own this. Steve Mann kindly gave me one of these oddball promo artifacts. That the envelope inside it tough to remove is irrelevant – this is one of the best pieces of PR ephemera this year, and when the year is out, you’ll all be cock jocking Veilance. Trust me on that one.
Australia should, with that hazy, slightly sweaty atmosphere that comes built in with any motion picture shot in any of the country’s suburbs, churn out some brilliant crime films, but bar ‘Chopper’ and the deeply disturbing but necessary ‘The Boys’ (hunt it down if you can stomach it), the curse of the knockabout Guy Ritchie twattisms meant films like ‘Two Hands’ and ‘The Hard Word’ fell short despite their potential. Post ‘Underbelly’ there should have been a new breed of flicks. With good buzz after a Sundance showing last Summer, the Melbourne-based ‘Animal Kingdom’ looks intelligent, beautifully shot and deadly serious. This full-length trailer is slickly edited, culminates with a nice matter-of-fact typeface and uses Air Supply’s ‘I’m All Out Of Love’ to winning effect. do we have a potential classic on our hands?
NIKE SFB MID BOOT
Nike seem intent on getting you excited with their new releases if you got bored to tears with the Air Max 1 tsunami (Patta are the exception to that boredom) – the SFB Mid Boot is a more crowdpleasing use of the military technology the brand’s been pushing and it’s another Free soled classic in the making. Is it getting a UK release? Apparently not. This is to the Revaderchi what the Wildedge was to the Wildwood, even if, wisely, it steers clear of anything corny like ‘Air Revaderchi 2010’, it’s an update of both versions of the whimsically titled ACG release. Ace.