I’m late to the party again, but I only just realised that two Read And Destroy tributes are on the market and both are excellent. After the RAD event a few months ago, there seemed to be a new wave of nostalgia for the legendary skate magazine (shouts to the team behind the recently launched Free Skateboard Magazine after Sidewalk’s recent demise — DIY efficiency in effect). Two shirts coincide and compliment that goodwill for the scene’s most iconic publication; Dear Skating is a love letter label that remakes the much-missed or impossible to find tees from a golden era of street skating, like Gonz’s Israel design from Video Days, with a vintage wash, and they’ve made an homage to the shirt that was advertised in the magazine that’s available now in stores like Flatspot and Native. if you’re looking for a tribute with a twist, Fergus Purcell and Sofia Maria’s male wing of the excellent Aries brand has created the RADER hybrid of RAD and Thrasher to take it one louder. It’s a fusion that works (was Skate Action the Transworld to RAD’s Thrasher, or is that bit of a reach?) and it unifies two of the greats. Slam Jam and Palace have got the Aries homage in stock. One of the forums created a DAD version for the skate fathers out there a few years back, but sadly, I couldn’t find a picture. Memories make for good gear.
Quick update time. I’m in Tokyo right now, so I’m too dazzled by the bright lights to compile anything of note here. A visit to Daikanyama’s T-Site — a spectacular triple building monster of bookstore — has still got me shellshocked, but it’s nice to have my spending curbed by minuscule sizing. These Japanese-made Champion creations (which, admittedly, weren’t as microscopic in medium as many tees out here) at nanamica would have been in my possession if I didn’t get the JR Hartley treatment when I asked for a large. Damn. There’s big Cs and then there’s colossal Cs and this design celebrates the brilliance of that logo design on a great quality shirt. The urge to spend was briefly put in a headlock there, but the beauty of this city is the 100,000 other ways it’ll manage to separate you from your hard-earned cash.
Blogging your blagging is the epitome of douchebaggery, but some things are too good not to mention. At an event earlier in the year, the OTW goodie bag wasn’t your average tote bag print-up. The tote bag’s become the norm, but I think I’ve stockpiled a complimentary tote for every man, women and child on the planet, which pretty much defeats the re-use purposes of a cotton carrier and almost certainly missed the eco-friendly point. I can’t carry one around casually either, unless it’s a post-purchase trip back — they still look like shopping bags for the fey or elderly to me — I need something that hangs from the shoulder. As a result, I have no qualms about rocking the man bag. Round my way, every ‘yoot’s getting all JJB-metrosexual with a tiny Nike bag containing whatever ‘yoots are carrying these days inexplicably near their armpit. This OTW bag > blog-dandies with camo tote. Everybody’s doing a camo now, so it makes sense to explore military build rather than the stealth aesthetics, which, through sheer ubiquity at tradeshows and on store shelves means camouflage is starting to become invisible to me — mission accomplished, I guess.
Vans win on two scores – implementing the work of Mr. Rob Abeyta of Dual Forces as part of an OTW project and — in a very Dual Forces move — ditching the anonymity of the tote in favour of some mil-spec, US-made army standard baggage. I believe this bag is a DF spec take on the SO Tech Mission Go Bag — a bumbag, shoulder bag and seemingly indestructible creation that acts as part of a modular system. Made to ride below armour, and from a design that seems orientated towards combat medics, but it also seems targeted towards (no pun intended), snipers and anybody wielding a tiny military Panasonic laptop. Big, idiot-proof zips and plenty of space, plus plenty of pockets (Lexdray still get my vote of most insane amount of pouches, compartments and hidden stuff — I lost my phone for an hour in one of their backpacks) makes it a fine camera case. Special Operations Technologies are the real deal (“Built to Survive the World’s Worst“), constantly reworking existing designs, deliberately overbuilding their goods, using heavy threads and not skimping on their Cordura deniers.
Los Angeles based and kitting out every Hollywood film of recent years with a military element, the brutal-sounding testimonials page on their site proves they’re not dropping their standards to get an end credit mention. Any brand that boasts of stocking, “the most obscure buckle designs” is my kind of brand. Salutes to Vans, Dual Forces and Special Operations Technologies. Other brands need to unleash the American-made mil-spec goodie bag too.
Whenever friends visit Tokyo, I always harass them to get me plain grey Champion US-made Heavy Weight Jersey shirts from Oshman’s. These are my favourite tees on the market and with Mr. Michael Kopelman being one of the first I ever saw wearing one, it’s good to see that London’s The Hideout will be stocking 6 colours of the plain shirt from tomorrow. With import tax and all the rest, they won’t be cheap (the Real McCoys Champion tees, with the even older style branding and fit were an expensive proposition), but these shirts last and wear in nicely. If I was balling, all my UK sunny day shirts would be these. For NYC heat they’re not so good, because that thickness and softer lining borders on a semi sweatshirt feel. On the Oshman’s topic, their US-made UCLA tees are pretty amazing too. The difference between these and the cheaper ones is in the fact that the former are nigh-on unwearable unless you’re built like a brick shithouse. Even if you were a man mountain, I suspect they might look a little too blocky.
“Leave ya lookin like the Michael Jackson jackets wit’ all them zippers” 50 Cent ‘Patiently Waiting’
I just realised how much I love ‘Kush’ by Dr. Dre. It’s got that futurist piano plod, but it’s that cocaine sheen that makes it bang extra hard. It took me a couple of years to accept the bulk of ‘2001’ but this is a tight record, sans the Akon crooning—he’s the poor man’s Nate. They should have given Yelawolf a call. But that jacket in the video? Not so good. Is it some kind of CGI effect that Joseph Kahn added post-production? Was the Doctor wearing a plain black tee until they applied a skintight leather to him? I’ll refrain from claiming it’s pauseworthy (I actually only just noticed the “All my niggas that say pause after they say some fucked up shit…rock on” line on the outro from Jay-Z’s ‘Can I Live II’ in 1996), but it’s not a strong look. Smedium and rap are not good bedfellows—isn’t it a little rich that Snoop singles out Will-I-Am’s jeans as a metaphor for lyrical tightness, when his mentor is suffocating himself in a futuristic cowskin creation?
Perhaps the black biker number would have been a little looser if Dre hadn’t been getting hench in a Timbaland style these last few years. Rappers and leathers have never quite merged properly—Slum Village members always had some boho-looking brown coats, but the XXXL Avirex was the main culprit in a poorly fitting plague that filled screens, magazine shoots and CD sleeves. The usually impeccably dressed Grand Puba even wore a black leather that was too loose. But looking like he robbed Fonzarelli isn’t working for Andre. I haven’t seen him looking so questionable since those sequin shots that Eric Wright used to gleefully wield. Even in the Dr Pepper ad he opts for a leather number, but nothing like the ‘Kush’ effort. He needs to fire his stylist.
Or maybe he got caught in the smedium trap. Who hasn’t paid through the nose at some emporium—filled with stone-faced staff—for some Japanese product in a Large and got the simpleton sleeve and belly top look when they tried it on at home? Buying sweats and tees is one thing—it can give someone manorexia. Even in the best case scenario, that’s going to be unwearable after a single wash, no matter how cold the setting. When you find an XL is problematic, it’s doubly depressing. Many garments should be re-labelled on entering the country by law. Biker jackets are meant to fit slim, but the Visvim Strabler, Junya Watanabe take in that design and the Uniform Experiment effort are outerwear Russian roulette without a try-on. Beware before you get your proxy purchase on…unless you’re mad frail.
Back to the Doc…obviously no one should be dressing as if they were still in their twenties at the age of 45, but Dre used to get it very right. Black Ben Davis, Dickies, Shelltoes and a White Sox hat? Ageless. The Funkadelic ‘Maggot Brain’ (“Hell yeah”) tee in the ‘Fuck Wit’ Dre Day’ video is a classic too. What happened to the wardrobe of crispy Ben Davis shirts in the wardrobe at the opening of ‘Let Me Ride’s extended promo? That was an iconic uniform…I can only presume it was engineered to slim him down alongside his skinny sidekick. Now those concerns have evidently been allayed, he’s proudly gone the smedium route.
If you’re strapped for Christmas ideas, I recommend the ‘Apocalypse Now: Full Disclosure’ boxset. It isn’t cheap, but it’s an region-free Blu-ray. If you liked the film on DVD, this is next level. It’s curious that we’ve been denied the ‘Hearts of Darkness’ disc in the UK, but this includes it in this set as well as plenty of extras previously included in the tin box set of DVDs. Still, the quality here is amazing. You can turn up the volume to convince neighbours that all hell has broken loose, and some brand-new add-ons like Francis in conversation with John Milius are fantastic.