Sometimes it’s nice to break away from the WordPress logger look and wear something a little more progressive. The best work comes from those with a more nebulous approach to clobber than just remaking past triumphs and Mr. Dominic Stansfield is one of those chaps who knows clothing design inside out, displaying otaku levels of interest in military apparel, but grew bored of the fixation with all things waxy and quaint. As has been reinforced here and elsewhere, the best things come from the minds knowledgeable enough to get playful. They’re not the Muppets banging on about curating or tastemaking, but rather the ones quietly getting shit done in the background. Rushmore and Stansfield were doing the stuff that everyone’s into now a while ago and swiftly moved onto the next thing after suffering an attack of reverse nostalgia. Stansfield’s work was already playing with existing design rather than being some kind of repro-facilitator, so what would happen if he was given an almost limitless supply of manufacturing resources? You get UVU.
While we wait for Mr. Stansfield’s sweatshirt project (bearing in mind he appreciates a Reverse Weave or two), the UVU collection is shaping up nicely. Notions of everyday performance sound nice when they’re reeled off in a brainstorm for the easily impressed, but when they’ve got you looking like some kind of angular future cop from the waist up once they’re on your back, the novelty swiftly wears off. That’s why real performance needs to be the driving force of technical apparel somewhere down the line. That’s why I love Arc’teryx, ACG and Rapha. Bear in mind that even Hiroki Nakamura learnt his craft at Burton before he started emptying your pocket with those beautiful boots and jackets.
UVU is made by KTC, who know performance manufacture inside out and it shows in the samples. Just as there’s evidently room in the market for a hundred old Sierra Designs-alikes, there should be room for several technical contenders when that bubble bursts. Hopefully the explosion should usher in the next rather than some neo-heritage twattery. This interview with FreshBritain main man Bob Sheard on the KTC site, discussing breaking down costs, brand integrity and notions of authenticity is excellent, as is the piece on Chinese manufacture. Like most people, I feel the urge to kit myself out with gear that could perform. That’s not to say I’ll ever put my Lunar Eclipses or Arc’teryx Alpha SV through the paces that they’re built for, but it’s nice to know that in a pursuit situation, or should I find myself stranded on a hill somewhere, I might survive an extra quarter of an hour before I’m stabbed or eaten by a bear. That’s what made wearing the UVU North Pole Race Jacket to commute to work these last few weeks amusing.
I can’t say I put the jacket through its paces, but I enjoyed the experience, despite being a little thrown by the pockets zipping upwards. That’s the kind of thing I would probably appreciate if I was legging it in sub-zero conditions where time wasted equals fingertips. Intact fingers crossed, I’ll never find myself in that situation.
At an un-athletic, luddite level I appreciated the olive accents and reflective ‘U’ details, plus the way the hood protected my massive head from rain without sending me sprawling across a car bonnet when I was crossing Euston Road. There’s your performance review. Set to offer casual counterparts to each part of a hardcore, cold running layering system, you can expect water resistant fleece sweats and shirts (that’s shirting in bellend parlance) with bonded seams that don’t make you look like you’ve just fallen from space — again, to create wardrobe staples that can perform without getting tackily techy from a visual standpoint is quite an achievement. I’m interested in seeing where UVU goes in 2012.
I’m also interested in seeing what Mos Def, Chris Gibbs and Alyasha are cooking up collaboratively for 2012 too. Did they meet up as some secret society for the really fucking well dressed?
Other things on the internet that are far more interesting than this blog include the Martorialist interviewing Mob Style’s Fred Flak and Loomstate covering the opening of the London Ralph Lauren RRL store on Mount Street this week. Dapper looks abound in those photos and the Deadwood theme to some pieces reminded me of my regret at not bidding on the Deadwood wardrobe when the show was officially deaded (I think I blogged it here somewhere). Now Al Swearengen’s suit and underwear will set you back $7000, which is probably how much a similar RRL set would cost. Just as Très Bien have started stocking Alden’s Cordovan leather goods (the frequent object of my affections), RRL London has its own black, limited to 20 pair, take on the brand’s Cordovan Madison boot. Europe’s horse population should start panicking, but I imagine it’s the ones near Chicago’s Horween tannery that are really shitting themselves.
Rice-tranced rap god Riff Raff’s twitter antics are easily the best of any rapper doing social media (“TALKiNG ON MY iPHONE SMELLiNG LiKE A PiNE CONE”) and he’s also alluded that he’s selling a copy of his alien chain with an “Ain’t nothing important to me except …codeine over ice” cup. Riff-Raff is a good advert for codeine misuse, and his twitpic group shot of chains (sadly excluding his Slimer effort) is inspirational in its riced-out glory.
Searching for some old West Coast punk footage for one reason or another, I reacquainted myself with ‘Urban Struggle: The Battle of the Cuckoo’s Nest’ documentary, but I hadn’t seen this footage of Gary Panter and Penelope Spheeris being patronised by Stanley Siegel in 1981. The heavy metal kid in the Hawaiian shirt is a true boss.