Tag Archives: task force

TASK FORCE

troopsports

I think I’ve got a grip on the origins of pretty much every brand that had an impact on me during my childhood, but after they imploded, a lot of hip-hop cash-in companies didn’t leave much of a trail. While it’s easy to chuckle at the fly-by-night imprints that put out pricey outerwear then vanished and dismiss them as tat, what’s the difference between a Troop jacket and whatever godawful brand is hopping on floral prints right now? Nothing. Task Force remains a curiosity — just as Troop was booming, pre-KKK rumours (which I’ve always assumed were spread by a rival brand), their Jewish and Korean brand partnership seemed to spawn a ton of similar business models. I’ll concede that I thought Task Force was a sibling of Troop because I though it had a man with the surname Kim as an owner, like Troop’s William Kim. Then I found out just how common the Kim name is in Korea. Task Force put out jackets and shoes like Down Troop Sport’s output that were on sale in spots like London’s 4 Star General (which automatically, unquestionably made them seem credible to me), but looking back at them (it was the eBay-induced flashback of the Jekel stadium jacket where the below label is from that had me in nostalgia mode), the gear was pretty crap.

What I do know about Task Force is that it was a trademark of Eddy Sports Wear Inc. who were based in Brooklyn. Jekel was an Eddy brand who operated circa 1987-1989 who put out ski jackets, Task Force and the Extra Goose line (I’m assuming that the Eddy and Extra Goose thing wasn’t an Eddie Bauer rip). The names Jung Kuen Lee and Paul Siegert come up as folks involved in the company at a senior level, and it’s worth noting that New York’s garment district was awash with feather-filled lines around 1987 – Double Goose (I started assembling a Double Goose article that never got used and Thomas who obtained the DG licence told me, “Regarding the brand, we found out about the original owner by asking in Orchard street’s leather stores! He was an American-Korean living in NY”), Triple F.A.T. Goose and Goose Country were all doing their thing then too, which explains the strange trinity of Jekel, Task Force and Extra Goose on some badges on Task Force pieces. I’m sure Task Force made an appearance at the V&A’s Black British Style exhibition back in 2004, but I’ve seen little since. Their trademark expired in 1989 after being registered in 1988, which coincides with Troop’s collapse.

Normally I approach these blog entries with a certain confidence, but I know very little about this topic (this is just built on scraps), so if anybody knows more or has any Task Force shoe imagery, I’d love to see them. It might have been exploitative, badly designed and overpriced, but it’s not like brands are still pulling similar moves to channel a current zeitgeist and Task Force deserves a little spotlight if we’re trying to complete the bigger picture when it comes to UK street fashion throughout the years.

eddysportsjekel

CAMEO HAIRCUTS

Socialising, taxes and other matters have hindered my blogging aptitude this week, so all I can do today is recycle other things and call myself a “content creator” or “curator” or whatever. First things first, I finally saw this Supreme shoot by Tyrone Lebon in the new ‘Arena Homme+’ (which has an interesting take on the Osti archive in it) that I wrote some accompanying text for. It was fun to mention 2 Chainz in a writeup for ‘Arena’ but my scanning skills are weak so I lost the left side of the pages, so if you want to read what I wrote (and it’ll teach you veterans absolutely nothing new about the brand), you’ll have to buy it or go and treat WH Smiths like a library. Shouts to Rory for listing me as a “contributing editor” though — that’s fake importance at its best.

For reasons unknown, I’ve been pondering the mystery of Task Force jackets and the lesser-seen Task Force shoes today. That warrants the wholesale theft of pieces from the ‘Spin’ magazine b-boy special of 1988 that included Doctor Dre (as in the Original Flavor/MTV Raps Dre) breaking down some slang, Flav in Troop and some MCM and Dapper Dan talk, Big Daddy Kane on Cameo haircuts, ‘DMC’s Culinary Guide to Queens’ taking you around some of the boroughs’ finest junk food spots and a meeting-of-minds with Fab 5 Freddy and the legendary Max Roach. It’s naive with the benefit of retrospect, but there’s a lot of fun content here from a deeply significant year — the inclusion of DMC and the next wave who’d take the baton and take their shine makes it doubly interesting.

I have to take some time out to salute my friend Sharmadean Reid for putting out ‘The WAH Nails Book of Nail Art.’ I’m unlikely to get a Nike Safari print on my thumbnail anytime soon, but the book’s a smart distillation of the whole WAH worldview into a hardback book with plenty of cues from the ‘WAH’ fanzines in there too. Now everybody’s on that hop into print wave, but Sharma was putting out her own magazine (complete with Ecko sponsorship) before she hit 20. The spirit of ‘Sassy’ is peppered throughout all things ‘WAH’ (salutes to the Monster Children crew for finding away around the deletion of ‘Sassy’ spinoff ‘Dirt’s lost issue #8) but crucially, it offers a whole lifestyle angle that’s oddly aspirational. Let’s note forget hat most of this blog is a flagrant bite of the WAH blog circa 2006. Shar’s more of a role model than most of the males I’ve dealt with in this industry, many of a whom are backstabbing, two-faced bunch of burnt out chancers. But that’s a rant for another day. Salutes to Sharmadean and the WAH team.