One-week between blog updates is bad form, but a trip to Nike’s WHQ for some Crooked Tongues and INVENTORY work got in the way of me and WordPress. In Portland I saw some interesting things – beyond the shoes that were being launched (and I can testify that Free Hyperfeel and full-length denim looks terrible, but the Flyknit Free is good to go with pretty much everything), I picked up some more trivia from wandering the campus and talking design out there. I learnt more about Kukinis (a shoe that reminds me of the earliest days of Spine and CT and the people I owe my career to) than ever before, I saw some Foamposite prototypes (presumable from a little later in the process than these and these), a display showcasing Tinker Hatfield’s first ever shoe design (a kid’s shoe for his own children from 1980, half a decade before he switched from architecture to shoe design), a prototype Nike shoe pre-swoosh with a bad-looking ‘N’ logo, an Inspector Gadget style experiment in Shox technology from 1984 that makes the Internationalist into something from Saw, Jordan’s injury editions of his first signature shoe. Thanks to Mr. Josh Rubin, I also visited the Portland outpost of Japan’s Snow Peak stores – one of those rare retailers that can make you want things you don’t need through beautiful packaging and dual purpose functionality. I never knew I needed a titanium coffee mug or spork until I set foot in the shop. Now I want all titanium everything.
The fruits of my few days away should manifest over the coming months, but in the meantime, there’s a Reebok Classic collaboration coming soon (late September?) that was the brainchild of some friends and I. Having a personal connection with that silhouette, it was fun to create something using it.
Southbank Centre Limited director (amendment: Nihal has informed me that this is wrong. He’s a governor of the board) Mr. Nihal Arthanyake’s wide-eyed and patronising plea for London’s skaters (video removed after this blog went live) to embrace their holy ground being redeveloped and relocated is excruciating. He’s keen to point out that the youth can visit the new facilities, “…not just to hang out, but to be actively engaged in the creative process – whether that be street dancing, whether that be theatre, whether that be circus skills…” While Mr. Arthanyake (usually a smart chap) purports to be a, “hip-hop guy” –after making skating sound like a supplement to street dance, he gives it an “urban” affiliation for extra faddishness – he fails to understand that sub-cultures need to defend their strongholds. The joy of the Southbank undercrofts is that they’re a piece of reappropriation. If Nihal understood hip-hop, he might grasp that. Some pre-graffed spot down the road defeats the object entirely.
He also sees skaters opposing the development as irrational. Those irrational kids taking an organised stand against their heritage being demolished eh, Nihal? It’s all about teaching the teens to get their big top skills up. Another suit who thinks a Supreme Being garment will act as a sign that they’re down – back when our man was presenting shitty Clothes Show segments on trainer hoarding, they weren’t above filming in the Southbank for credibility.
Cannon Films has been mentioned on here several times for both their schlock and their rare detours into quality like Barfly. After the 1986 BBC Omnibus episode on the Golan-Globus empire, Electric Boogaloo: the Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is coming soon from Mark Hartley (director of the excellent Not Quite Hollywood and the impending remake of onetime late-night BBC staple, Patrick) – this will almost certainly be excellent and shed light on some B-movie gems.
While we wait for Champion Europe to get it together, now Champion USA seems to have smelt the Nescafe and understood that they’ve got a powerful logo and realised that there’s mileage in fleecewear with a heavier pricepoint. Made in Canada, Todd Snyder + Champion has some interesting moments. The tees are a little too Euro for my liking, but a Reverse Weave crew that’s literally in reverse and the pocket sweats and cut-off shorts are interesting. That sleeve branding that unites the classic stitch-on ‘C’ with a 1950s Champion logo works well too.