Because I’ve never bothered to take the time to make this blog look slick in any way (down to the long-winder .wordpress.com URL), I find searching it to be a big old mess. So I can’t recall whether I’ve mentioned What We Wore (I suspect I did, in its infancy), but the site has a lot of great personal accounts, ill-fated fashion moments and pictures of tribes that are rarely documented. I just spent some time there looking at every submission and now I’m gonna watch Lethal Weapon 2, so that’s why you’re not getting another 800 word, hastily researched history lesson on some brand that nine people care about tonight.
Using early 1990s magazine shoots and articles might make for fun reference points, but when the shoots were heavily stylised and using big city cool kid circles and borrowed clothes, they’re not indicative of the reality of the time, let alone the boroughs with lower rents or the provincial towns and villages full of kids trying hard but failing beautifully with lookalike brands and a slightly skewed perception of what was happening in London or Manchester (speaking of Manchester, I’m glad I live in a world where there’s 22-minute documentaries on Bugged Out that make me miss Jockey Slut even more). Those outlying areas are where the magic really happened, creating groups of like-minded folks using what resources they had to try to keep up and creating their own little histories and cultures at the same time.
And with a What We Wore book coming this year, we can anticipate a good accompaniment to the recent Derek Ridgers book, Sam Knee’s A Scene In Between and issues of LAW (who do an equally good job of celebrating everyday greatness, because we don’t see the woods for the fucking pop-up shops). Support What We Wore’s crusade, and — for a similar exploration from the other side of the pond — if you never picked up Anthony Pappalardo and Max G. Morton’s Live…Suburbia book from a couple of years back, you should get yourself a copy as soon as is possible.
While we’re moaning about pop-ups, has anybody got any more pictures of the Champion and Wu-Tang space? Or are they talking about that Tried & True event in Los Angeles last month? I never thought the day would come when old Wu-Wear tees would be reissued.
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.