Tag Archives: slam kicks



To commemorate 140 years of the Levi’s 501 jean, there was a visit to London from archivist Lynn Downey. But nobody invited me to see her talk about the history of the 501, so I’m not going to write about the video and other assorted PR stuff here. That doesn’t stop me loving the 501 though. Back before forums came up with wild theories on how to maintain denim to get the fabled fades, LIFE ran a feature on denim’s style status as of November 1972, accompanied by some amusing images — retired cattle rancher Ben Cambron’s custom Levi’s denim car seats are the ultimate in mobile denim bleed proto swag and there’s plenty of talk of a Gallic love for denim and the de Nîmes connection – images of Johnny Hallyday in double denim, cool kids in Paris and a flea market stand shifting jeans. Paris’ first real Levi’s fashion show was apparently at the Crazy Horse Saloon and there’s pictures here to prove it. Peter Haas, Levi Strauss — HNIC for several years and an employee of the company from 1945-2005 — makes an appearance in front of a San Francisco factory workforce too. The piece also talks about a Russian denim line called Super Rifle, which sounds like the kind of brand that’s still lurking in the denim hall at a Euro trade show. Happy 140th to a shape shifting design classic and kudos to LVC and Levi’s for creating lookbooks and video content that’s actually worth a few minutes of your time.






The Hermès’ Festival des Métiers is also worth the energy you need to commute against a swathe of old money haired people in colourful corduroys as you brave Sloane Square to visit the Saatchi Gallery. I couldn’t give too much of a shit about factory tour videos (in fact, sometimes, that plexiglass aura of transparency makes me like a brand less), but I’m interested in the Hermès’ brand’s legacy of craftsmanship and it’s one of the few brands that emerged unsullied from Dana Thomas’ Deluxe. To watch someone set precious stones, make a neck tie, create a leather bag or put a watch together from close range is absorbing and goes some length to justifying at least some of the costs. I took (along with everyone else who was in the vicinity) the opportunity to take some obtrusive iPhone pictures to prove I visited. It’s curious to know very little about a brand’s workings and then see it in this context, so I recommend visiting before it leaves London early next week. The Hermès’ showcase’s gallery proximity to an exhibition that showcases Boris Mikhailoiv’s explicit depictions of Ukranian poverty was probably a coincidence, but it created a disorienting microcosm of a colossal gulf between rich and poor.





Finally, a cover for the Slam Kicks book has appeared. With Scoop Jackson on board, I’m hoping for something akin to Sole Provider, but there’s few details out there (the book isn’t published until early 2014) right now. I guarantee that none of the 2013 Jordans will age like a pair of 1985 AJ1s.




I generally don’t take product for paragraphs on this blog, but if anyone wants to send me books or magazines that are good it’ll save me some cash and I might up them here. I spend way too much money on reading matter and there’s some prospective greatness in the pipeline — Enjoy the Experience about private press vinyl covers drops on Record Store Day via Sinecure and it’s clearly necessary, with a limited edition version available on the publisher’s site. Earnest strangeness in its most irony-free form is the best kind of strange. Nina and Cieron’s What We Wore project is gathering true British style and error since the 1950s, with a book dropping next year that will be the antidote to simplified notions of sub-cultural style.

Everyone I ever see in iconic images of mods, rockers, teds, casuals and the rest seem to get it right — I want to see the sartorial misfires, tryhards and those who couldn’t afford the right stuff but had a go anyway. That’s what helped shift Spliffy garms — when you’re surrounded by style struggle, bad becomes good. Good books on sports footwear that aren’t Japanese language are thin on the ground — after the reprint of Bobbito’s Where’d You Get Those? at the end of the year, Slam Kicks: Basketball Sneakers That Changed the Game drops in February 2014, written by Slam’s Ben Osbourne and Scoop Jackson. I’ve wanted a sequel to Sole Provider for a while, so this could fill that bookshelf gap. In the meantime, go and pick up the Gonz issue of Huck, because pretty much everything in it is good.


I have no idea what the story behind these Cole Haan wingtips with Air Max 2013 technology is, but pebbled leather and speckles kind of works. Is this some response to the Prada Levitate’s AM97-esque look (Edit: Shouts to Todd Krevanchi for pointing out the resemblance between these and the Air Max Sentry which had the ’97-style unit on a sensible shoe design)? I assume they’re some internal experiment that’s destined to never release after the Cole Haan/Nike separation, but they’re avant-garde in their jarring trad-tech collision. These were spotted on Mr. Salehe Bembury’s blog with zero explanation as to how they came to be.


Speaking of big air (and I apologise for all the Air Max references in the last few blog entries — I was working on Air Max related Nike projects and became obsessed all over again), back when Lil’ Kim didn’t Vybz Kartel herself and wasn’t obliged to live up to the soft porn persona she created the following year, she made grape AM95s look incredible with Junior M.A.F.I.A.


Chaze from Grim Team doesn’t just produce extremely hard QB and Bronx hip-hop — he keeps to his French origins with some synth-led sounds. Grim Team isn’t afraid to get its hands dirty and Chaze’s This Was Your Town (featuring Casey Mecija) video is directed by Jay One and contrasts beauty with a heavily bombed Paris setting. Nobody does destruction like the French, down to the trucks — proof that there’s style in willful regression. Pretty ladies in camo coats who dig for vintage clothes and records is a winning addition to a promo too.