Tag Archives: kanye west

ROCK STAR FOOTWEAR

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Late last week, Twitter was awash with incredulous reactions to commentators who were mostly social media comedians claiming that Kanye West had put Macca on with his out-of-nowhere track, Only One. This is because click baiters picked up on the tweets in question minus the context of their timelines, and because many Paul McCartney fans are often fundamentalists who can’t fathom that anyone into hip-hop could utilise sarcasm or a deadpan joke. After scanning conversations, it became apparent a couple of people genuinely did seem to be oblivious to McCartney’s work. As somebody who’s barely interested in the Beatles (though in Paul’s defence I prefer Jet to most of his old band’s work) because of the preciousness around them, the silly horns and their influence on some right old shit, I envy them and respect them as the unsuspecting nemesis of the old order. I’m more likely to listen to Guess Who’s Back or Two Words than Yesterday and what I liked about one of my favourite Beatles recordings (Phil Spector’s production on Let It Be) was what McCartney hated about it. He’s undeniably talented though and, like many other rich white rock stars, his Nike game was ahead of its time.

You folks associating Beatles with Tretorns (Lennon wore the Stan Smith in black and white nicely though) are missing the stranger stuff — Paul rocked Footscapes several years ago too (as the image above, right-clicked from the glory days of the CT forum attests). I know that ol’ Slowhand, Enoch Powell-loving Eric Clapton, was on Footscapes early too — did Clapton introduce Paul to them? Was it during a Japanese tour? I’ve never fully known. Even Cliff Richard, renowned square, was on a bus full of honeys with a pair of Jordan IVs on his feet back in 1989, Steven Tyler wore all kinds of rare neoprene runners during the late 1980s and early 1990s, and we know that Mick Jagger has a pair of Kid Robot AM1s in his stash somewhere. I’m surprised that a McCartney Nike SMU hasn’t made an appearance (maybe it’s down to that 1987 Apple Records Revolution ad beef?) yet, seeing as Rod Stewart, Elton John, Frank Zappa, Devo and Jefferson Starship all had some shoes made for them. Even Clapton got a couple of Nikes — the Presto from 2001 and the mysterious Air Max 95 (check out that Nike plane’s markings too) with his logo on the tongue. All that was before Kanye got his 180s, and it was way ahead of the Yeezy. Beyond the mansions, the royalties and owning their masters, even when they’re not trying, these ageing rock stars have a better inadvertent trainer collection too.

SHOE CYCLES

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If anything’s going to make you feel old, it’s doddering around while a younger generation wears something you were obsessed with when you were even more youthful than them. When I was 12, I wanted an all-red pair of Nikes. All burgundy, navy or green suede Fila F13s had a moment (in fact, my friend Frank’s embroidered crest adidas Forums — which went over a lot of people’s heads — tapped into that era perfectly). We loved Travel Fox, Ewing and Champion shoes (word to Roberto Muller) in block coloured suedes and never feared mustard uppers — it was a pretty defining look between 1990 and 1991, because we still seemed locked into a world of black or white with neon accents. The only way to go further was to flood a shoe, but it seemed that a lot of British buyers didn’t want to take the risk, so most Nike offerings from that era, like the Ultra Force (above) in its 1991 incarnation or the ultra-elusive other Forces (bear in mind that this was an era when Neneh Cherry would sign and give away her Solo Flights on live TV one Saturday morning) in that all red makeup were strictly import only (shouts to Scat on Bedford High Street) for us young ‘ins to stare at before they seemed to vanish after the summer of 1991’s explosion of all things monotone (down to Vikings if you were tough enough). There’s little argument that Kanye’s Nike and Louis Vuitton work and endorsement of the Balenciaga Pleated Hi-Top and ‘Independence Day’ AM90 Hyperfuse has created the new market for red footwear, but for us old folks, it brings back memories of a look that aged well. All-red Nikes represent a time when I became aware of brands, prices and the power it commanded with my peers — it’s nice to see that the window-gazing might be done electronically nowadays, but the saga is definitely repeating itself.

GOOD MEASURE & SHOTS THROWN

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If you can’t find the sweatshirt you want, take matters into your own hands and make the damn thing yourself. I’ve been enjoying Concepts’ Canadian-made fleece creations lately in some seasonal colours and patterns, but it’s good when the UK represents and as the man behind The Original Store, Spiv Agency and as one half of the S London tradeshow squad, Carl Burnham knows his stuff. Seeing as The Original Store championed (pun unintended) Buzz Rickson and Champion Reverse Weaves, with their polar opposite fits — jock body or smedium, but undeniable merits, Burnham has taken his favourite parts of an everyday classic, from the loopback cotton to flat locked seams, ribbed side panels to the Dorito-like ‘V’ neck. Best of all, as the Good Measure name of his sweatshirt brand suggests, it’s cut fairly wide, slightly high and with a neck that doesn’t hang off the shoulders. It sounds like the man responsible has spec’d out the kind of crew sweat we’ve loved and lost over the years. As a bonus, they’re made in England too. The idea of a perfect fit is open to endless debate until a Gattaca style uniformity comes in to play, but Good Measure seems to be aimed at a sweet spot for those hunting sweats that can be worn to the death. Oi Polloi’s got them in right now and the Dirty Yellow is a strong look.

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That’s a GOOD segue to this very brief video (via Cameron McKirdy) of Tinker Hatfield, who very briefly addressed the Kanye West/Nike situation during a presentation a few days ago. Tinker doesn’t bite his tongue on certain matters and with either Air Yeezy being built on two platforms that are his babies (Air Jordan III/Revolution and Air Tech Challenge II) he’s entitled to respond — “…and then there’s this other side of the coin where we take retro sneakers and we allow people to just design their own versions and that’s really style and sometimes those lines, they blur — they cross — and that’s how you probably end up with this Kanye situation…” There’s probably a lengthy think piece to be written paralleling sampling to using Hatfield’s existing creations for a new form, but life’s too fucking short to write it and it probably exists somewhere anyway. Tinker jokily expresses concern regarding Kanye sending goons his way for his comment, but an Anchorman-style DONDA vs. Innovation Kitchen style lunchtime rumble could be an incredible thing.

OUTDOORS/INDOORS

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Recycle of an old piece — I wrote this for my friend Frank Rivera a couple of years ago for the old BTC site. It misses out on a ton of important stuff, but it was only ever intended as an overview.

1. EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE (1800s—1960s)

There’s an intrinsic joy in owning something that could perform. It’s that potential that amplifies appeal — nobody wants something that’s made to get by. from the apartment to the workplace and back again, perhaps created to withstand the rigours of public transport. We want product that’s built to last — should, god forbid, we end up on a mountain or in extreme wet weather (we’re talking a Noah’s Ark situation here), we want that thing that allows us to smirk in the face of adversity. Can’t have that super car? At least a bag or coat that performs at a peak is almost within our means.

After all, who isn’t drawn in by the notion of a lifetime guarantee? The appeal of the day-to-day baggage that was built to last is founded on multiple movements and technical breakthroughs, but ultimately it’s fueled by the love of the very best. Witness Eastpak’s pledge for eternal life for a rucksack or Filson’s “Might As Well Have the Best” tagline and testimonies. The holy trinity of working, fighting and climbing has taken product on a voyage from life-saving necessity to a must-have accessory. Three different routes based on occupation, but a final destination on the backs and shoulders of a casual wearer. Before records began — we’re talking B.C. era — baggage and functional apparel was being developed out of necessity and the back as a key spot for load-bearing had been noted and experiments in insulation had taken place using natural materials.

Centuries later, outerwear began its true development on the back of wealthy adventurers during the mid to late 1800s — some had already begun to experiment, often using inspiration from Inuit methods of survival. Those traditions even extended to include early experiments in taped seams, an application generally believed to be a quintessentially late 20th century outerwear breakthrough. Sheer existence in Nordic regions (with oils and skins providing natural solutions) fired imaginations too and when a preoccupation with polar exploration occurred among the wealthy by the end of the century, the seeds were well and truly sown.

In the early 1800s, the knapsack was part of the soldier’s uniform during the Napoleonic War. The French wore animal skin variations, and single strap haversacks were worn around this era to carry rations. Trotters of London made an uncomfortable wood and canvas backpack for British troops, but Napoleon is generally considered to be a godfather of the two-shoulder design as we know it, extolling its virtues as the perfect vessel to survive a week. John Merriam’s 1886 patent on a frame pack is significant, with that design’s inspiration reportedly harking back to Native American basket creations.

With the accessibility of the train and later, the plane. uncharted areas became a challenge for explorers and mountaineers. Today’s problem of breathable waterproofing was still posed back in the Victorian period, where Thomas Burberry’s (the man behind Burberry) Gaberdine, a tightly woven worsted/cotton offered a more comfortable wear that uncomfortable rubberized fabrics like Macintosh’s patented material. A combination of wealth and necessity continued to push forward the development of baggage with an emphasis on light weight. Alpine excursions became increasingly popular for pleasure and for the purpose of recognition as the first to conquer a perilous peak or region. The outcome? Business built on providing Alpine apparel and accessories.

Elsewhere, functional workwear was being developed for railroad workers, builders and miners, with the development of denim during the California gold rush around the 1850s, as well as duck canvas. Patented a couple of decades later, resilience took precedence over the performance that climbers required, but affordable pants, bibs and jackets built to last would inform later outerwear. In 1894 J. Barbour & Sons, located in the north of England set up shop, with their branded oilskins proving particularly popular. The later introduction of a poacher’s pocket across the rear of a field jacket offered a solution to carrying a separate bag altogether for those looking to stay grounded.

The quest to conquer Everest between the 1920s and 1950s would fuel global imaginations, with the high mortality rate necessitating some of the most advanced materials to date. here, experiments in moisture wicking, vapour barrier linings and stretch fabrics would birth the next wave of outdoors gear. Casual climbers and hikers with disposable income could treat themselves to a top-of-the-line Bergen rucksack from the Norwegian brand (those designs would ultimately inspire the contemporary Bergen British SAS Paratrooper rucksack), resulting in an early example of coveted baggage of this kind. Sir Wilfred Grenfell’s commission of Grenfell cloth — a material that debuted in 1923 — from a Burnley manufacturer, offered waterproof and breathable properties through a tightly woven Egyptian cotton to supersede Gaberdine.

On the American side, LL Bean’s 1921 patent of the duck boot design and Eddie Bauer’s 1940 patent of the down coat were key developments. Lloyd F. “Trapper” Nelson’s 1920s reinforced packboard creation was a notable patent too, inspired by a Native American sealskin and willow stick design emphasised ventilation for the back and was manufactured by George Trager. During the Everest preoccupation, two world wars (and subsequent conflicts) played their part too. The model 42 WW2 rectangular Swiss infantry haversack made from pony fur and calfskin set a precedent for natural materials and their performance benefits that evolved the style of militaristic creations from over a century earlier.

The U.S. Army’s 1941 Specification File No. 2971 was the first of their rucksacks, made from duck canvas, the J.Q.D. 88 design from 1942, made in line with arctic storage breakthroughs. U.S. manufacturers like Baker-Lockwood Manufacturing and Morrow & Douglass had the contracts to create these classic-looking designs. Duck canvas would be the regular material for these bags, until the introduction of lighter nylon takes on the canvas M-1956 Load Carrying Equipment (or which the field pack was just a component) in 1962. After further iterations, that led to the ALICE (All-Purpose Individual Carrying Equipment) system’s introduction in 1973 during the Vietnam War, a system only phased out fairly recently.

DuPont’s development of nylon in 1935 was significant, with the material adopted early as a replacement for hemp or silk in parachutes as WWII commenced. By twisting two threads together at quarter-inch intervals, a fabric was made that could take the blows without tearing and distribute stress over a large area while remaining relatively light — ripstop nylon. That developed, with the thicker Ballistic nylon made with a basket weave that minimized debris penetration, making it perfect for WWII flak jackets. It was never a bulletproof fabric — that was the job of unwieldy fiberglass laminated creations, but the development of Kevlar into clothing in the mid 1970s (though the compound was discovered a decade earlier) was a life-saving introduction.

The Shirley Institute in Manchester’s development of Ventile in the 1940s for pilot’s suits that kept out water and wind via a woven cotton method offered something quiet and hard-to-tear too, ensuring that it’s still a fan favourite to the present day, kitting out generations of explorers and saving the lives of countless servicemen unlucky enough to be downed at sea.

Cordura appeared in a silkier rayon form to aid pilots and soldiers during WWII. Though it was developed in 1929, it wasn’t until 1966 that the nylon version superseded that fabrication. After developing dying techniques for the soft-sided version of Cordura in 1977, it became a favourite of Eastpak and Jansport for daypack use, with higher denier variations still the protective fabric of choice elsewhere. Cordura’s texturized yarns offered a fuzzier, more natural feel than the smoother ballistic nylon yarn, making it a tougher cousin to canvas in terms of look and feel. Ballistic nylon doesn’t take to dyeing like Cordura, so it’s frequently only offered in black.

2. CHECK DA BACK PACK (1960s—the present day)

The explosion of popularity in backpacking during the 1960s and 1970s, via a certain hippie idealism as well as a baby boomer generation who would fuel the industry for years to come, created some iconic brands and equipment. The UK’s Karrimor and Berghaus (whose Cyclops internal frame rucksack broke new ground) competed in developing baggage for serious climbers. Stateside, Gerry Cunningham’s GERRY brand created a controlled weight distribution backpack in 1968 as well as several pioneering down experiments in the years that followed, Skip Yowell, Murray Pletz and Jan Lewis’s Jansport debuted in 1967, bringing us the external frame D3 rucksack, Greg, Jeff and Mike Lowe’s Lowe Alpine produced the Lowe Alpine Expedition rucksack in 1967 — the first with an internal frame and length-adjustable back, and they changed the game again by debuting plastic buckles the following decade.

The breathable and waterproof 60/40 cotton/nylon mix was popularized by the underrated Holubar (also pioneers in their use of Vibram soles and goose down) with their Everest-type nylon pima around 1961, but more commonly associated with Sierra Designs and their 60/40 parka that first appeared in 1968, offering a new resilient fabric option to rival Ventile. GORE-TEX’s debut on outerwear around 1977 provided a costly take on the breathability conundrum that was immediately adopted by Berghaus (the Mistral is a classic), Sierra Designs and the North Face.

Into the 1980s, sport footwear designs like the adidas SL 72 and the Nike LD-1000 had a significant impact on a lighter approach to rugged footwear — the former was the inspiration for a new kind of boot from Karrimor, and the latter on John Roskelley’s feet on K2 helped birth All Conditions Gear. Long distance running inspired targeted designs for vertical distances. In the GORE-TEX era, colors became more lurid for visibility, but in the era of the yuppie, the boom in skiwear as both the Aspen holiday apparel choice and style statement of the day, it was inevitable that outdoor gear would explode in popularity..

Sierra Designs cameoed in 1978’s The Deer Hunter and the North Face packs in 1984’s Red Dawn were interesting product placement. In Europe, the UK’s casuals fetishised the costly coats, Italy’s young, monied Paninaro broke out the Monclers and in New York, boosting crews like the Lo-Lifes terrorized Paragon Sports and, beyond Ralphy’s world, popularized ultra-tech creations like the North Face’s Steep-Tech ski collection, designed alongside Scott Schmidt. Thus new aesthetics were born and the day pack’s popularity soared too as an everyday essential. The New York, Chicago and Boston winters fueled a certain sartorial, goose-down, GORE-TEX one-upmanship. Jake Burton Carpenter founding Burton in 1977 set a precedent for a new wave of winter sports enthusiast. Helly Hansen and Patagonia‘s breakthroughs with the lightweight fleece created an effective but more affordable wing of performance outerwear that became part of the everyman and woman uniform. Outdoor-wear spilled into every street in the western world.

It would be remiss to omit the wave of “everyday performance” lines, designed for city living but made with absolute function in mind — the Mandarina Duck Utility line from 1977, Stone Island’s 1982 debut and Kosuke Tsumara’s Final Home collection that commenced in 1992. All three took that pure spirit of innovation to the streets and catwalks. In terms of real mountain performance, Arc’teryx’s seven-bag collection in 1995 was a serious statement of intent.

While we took the vintage 1970s creations for granted at this point, Japanese collectors — monied and hungry for Americana — were snapping up iconic pieces. The eventuality was their own lines with the North Face, Gregory and Sierra Designs. Hip-hop’s early 1990s camo-clad notions of urban warfare blended with Hardy Blechman’s maharishi and his dedication to army aesthetics and DPM, Japanese takes on east coast streetwear styles evolved far beyond cotton to bring back the archive outdoor wear looks with Otaku-style lines like Setsumasa Kobayashi’s General Research and Mountain Research, Tetsu Nishiyama’s miltaristic WTAPS and Hiroki Nakamara’s visvim. Were these costly pieces ever going to ascend a steeper gradient than slight angle in an urban environment? Unlikely.

The rucksack’s use for nefarious reasons — be it weapons, stashed ill-gotten gains or paint and markers — made it an unobtrusive carrier that entered hip-hop lore. Black Moon’s Buckshot might have had one strapped to his back to accompany the talk of being strapped, but in interviews he insisted his back pack wielding was all in the name of goonery. Key rap folk who watched what they wore like Grand Puba, Erick Sermon and MC Serch (watch the Yo! MTV Raps finale freestyle cypher for proof) rocked them too. A rise in camo-clad MCs in the early 1990s wearing fatigues as well as workwear brands like Carhartt meant the neutral coloured army issue bags became a common sight — Roughhouse Survivors released Check Da Backpack in 1992, with the titular bags depicted as rhyme receptacles.

By 1997’s indie rap boom, stern-faced kids of all races with a Jansport full of markers, blackbooks soon-to-be-deceased ‘zines and vinyl filled Mike Zoot shows, fixating on Guesswyld, Fondle ‘Em and Rawkus. As the bigger-budget rap took hold as 2000 approached, “backpacker” became a dirty word. Rappers themselves were keen to publicly distance themselves of the nerdish limitations the expression evoked. But using Kanye’s post-2002 ascent as an example, his initial PR dwelled on a backpacker-with-a-Benz everyman appeal, rocking a Louis Vuitton backpack with a Polo rugby, helping to create a hip-hop atmosphere of total consumerism with a nod to the forefathers who raised artists sonically.

By the time Lupe Fiasco broke out the maharishi gear and ballistic nylon visvim baggage with elk skin (harking back to the design’s origins) trims in 2006 a convergence was even more visible. 2007’s Duffel Bag Boy by Playaz Circle proved that even the waviest individuals can benefit from a durable holdall.

Beyond the boom-bap pensioners, a boom in all things digital created a new middle class who took to the bikes and the hills that surrounded their liberal stronghold cities, making those brands built on ideals and innovation into powerhouses held under vast corporations. Even onetime rivals sit beneath the same hefty organizations. Things done changed, but that quest to own the absolute best in its field remains, whether you’re heading up a mountain or not.

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BLUE BLOOD ON COTTON

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Completing a week of being on the campaign trail, here’s a quick conversation between me and Hypebeast about a shoe. That’s the promo bit over and thank you to everybody who wrote nice things about that project. Now it’s done, we’re onto the next thing.

My dude Maxime Buchi has had the aesthetic of Sang Bleu jacked a few times in the last couple of years and nobody else is as qualified to peddle a curiously gothic, hip-hop, high-end clusterfuck as amicably as he can. Everyone’s on the skulls, Caravaggio, Jordans and black-on-black, but Mr. Buchi remains one of the few who manages to pull off the look without looking awkward. This is because that look is a perfect manifestation of his life’s work thus far. What he puts on paper and skin works just as well on cotton and after some dips into tees earlier this year, the SB London sweats and tees tie in with the London studio. If you’re gonna buy apparel with gothic typefaces and moody graphic design, go Sang Bleu rather than any toy post-Givenchy hype startups — Maxime contributed to Damir Doma, Balenciaga, Mugler and Rick Owens’ branding, plus he put Rick Genest on. You might have seen Kanye West clutching a copy of Sang Bleu recently too, so when Mr. West breaks out some SB clothing, all you Damir-come-lately types are going to hop on board. Plus it’s tattoo-related clothing that doesn’t look like Afflication and that’s something to celebrate — I’m glad to see one of the architects of a look is putting something out there.

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Following on from the recent love letter to Oshman’s on here, Mr. Glenn Kitson kindly grabbed me the greatest socks ever on a holiday to Tokyo. Unnecessary, excellent packaging and all the details that make things from Japan inexplicably desirable makes these the antithesis of those three-packs for £5 they used to shift at Sports Direct.

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SNAKE

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A few months back I wrote some things about the Nike Air Python, oblivious to the fact a retro was on its way. The resurrection of this shoe seems to have split friends’ opinions — some can’t fathom why this shoe was brought back when there’s more significant shoes in the archive and others, like me, were pleased it made a return, just because they wanted a pair in the stash. I can understand the former opinion because some things are best left as aspiration — while the original intent was hardly one of pure performance (it seems more like an excuse to use some 1987 lasts and tooling), there’s an aura to the rarely seen and now a Google Image Search is going to spit out PR pics rather than a scattering of yellowed pairs. The spell is officially broken.

But you know what? This shoe still delivers — the swooshless oddness, the proto-Troop Cobra flamboyance, the way Nike added those tongue and heel labels as if the shoe was a big deal. As a Jordan II fan (a shoe that’s soon to get its aura bruised by reissues and hype), it’s a solid partner piece and (contrary to the myth of them having real python on them 26 years ago, which I fell for, it was always snake-effect leather) the retroed Air Python’s quality is good. Many’s the memory obliterated by a cheap looking resurrection, but the leather here is appropriately soft, rather than a plastic toy mockery of the original. Having only ever handled a pair under cellophane I can only presume that they felt like this (Edit: I am very reliably informed that the original Air Python was made from decidedly non-luxury leathers and far cheaper materials than the Air Python Lux seen here, which makes it a rare case of a reissue that’s better quality than the source material). Ignore the faintly Liberace steez that my amateur photography gives the snakeskin texture on the silvers (brown drops next month), because it’s undeniably flossy but not as sparkly in the flesh.

That bulbous toebox makes them fit roomy (at least half a size bigger than usual) and they’re surprisingly chunky, but it’s good to tick a box and get these in the teetering pile I’ve amassed since I decided to slow down on the footwear acquisitions. They make more sense releasing in the current climate than they did when they were swamped by 1987’s slew of more heavily publicised classics. Know what else ruins a rerelease? A generic packaging. That spot varnish scale pattern on the box for these is a nice touch. Shouts to Nike for these ones.

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After the talk of Kukinis on Sunday and these 1987 oddities reappearing, I’m keen to level things a little by including the LeBron XI — I’m blatantly in mid-life crisis mode, but that swoosh and Hyperposite combo makes them the logical successor to the Alpha Project lunacy of 2000. This is exactly what a basketball shoe should look like in 2013.

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On that Nike topic, this chat with Chris Bevans, creative director of Billionaire Boys Club on Salehe Bembury’s blog indicates that he’s one of those industry guys who seems to have had a hand in plenty of significant projects. A lot of talented people have passed through Rocawear over the years — while we’re in danger of assuming that Instagram represents the world at large’s tastes, Bevans and company seemed make far more of a splash on a grander scale. There’s a spot of insight here on the genesis of the Kanye West Nike Air 180 that occasionally surfaces during talk of rarity among nerds.

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The new issue of Fantastic Man has a lot of content to recommend, but Jeremy Lewis’ exploration of the mystery of the ‘Dorito’ (that triangular panel) on the neck of sweatshirts, complete with an answer from vintage master Bob Melet. This is still the best men’s fashion magazine out there.

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Seeing my friend Edson of the mighty Patta crew sold these Rockwell sweat pants to me. Edson has significantly more swagger than my disheveled, pallid self, but that print is at its greatest in this context. On sweats and rucksacks this design works, but here, it’s leisure wear done very right.

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TALL TEES

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And lo, Kanye dropped an A.P.C. collection and for a few brief minutes, my Twitter timeline forgot about the legalisation of homicide toward young black males who’ve committed the crime of sauntering. Where’s the inflammatory raps (shouts to Jeezy though)? People love the 1992 shoes, but they seem less keen on retroing the righteousness that drew me to hip-hop in the first place. No compilation mixtures? No 15 minute coast-unifying posse tracks? Not a solitary Zimmerman threat on MP3? Wow. I guess those headphone deals get nulled if anyone starts calling for destruction. Rappers can hop on an instrumental and add a fake-freestyle verse to a hit in a couple of hours but can’t react to that case? These are strange days. Maybe hip-hop needs to spawn a reactionary sub-culture against itself.

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On the A.P.C. front that collection brings back the plain white tee as the Hip-Hop t-shirt and it’s a borderline tall tee too. That’s not to say the tall tee ever went away. Under Rick Owens, it blacked out and scooped, but now the tall tee has gone white on us again – Storm Shadow to previous seasons’ Snake Eyes in the urban ninjitsu stakes. Tall tees were always a big look, so I look forward to the legions of clone brands and individuals pushing that look hard this summer. Kanye makes this stuff look good and I respect the commitment to fleece and cotton basics as well as the indulgences in fit that will make it a troubling wear if you’re not Kanye West. After ‘Ye pointed out that J-Kwon’s Tipsy was good, will that reappraisal of fun club music reach the finger-snapping lows of seven years ago when Dem Franchize Boyz had hits? When Dem Franchise Boyz – qualified to be reviewing plain t-shirts on the strength of 2004’s White Tee – reviewed white tees in Vibe magazine all those summers ago it was one of the last great fashion features in a hip-hop magazine, dismissing transparent shirts, luxurious fabrics and packets in favour of Finish Line talls in 5XL. I once tried a white shirt roundup on here, but this feature was always far better…

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I forgot to include these 1989 New York Subway ads in my Guardian Angels blog from last week. I like the whole “Come back on the trains! You won’t get murdered!” sentiment of it, plus the amusing approach to graffiti in the copy.

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