Can somebody send me some cans of the AriZona Richard Prince Lemon Fizz collaboration from late last year please? Watching the ESPN Arnold Palmer mini-documentary, with its footage of the AriZona production line has reminded me that my aborted NYC trip meant I never got round to handing over 99 cents to get some. I have to concede that the post New Year downer is in effect and that sugary concoction looks like some much-needed sugar assistance to jumpstart my enthusiasm again.
The industry is boring, but only boring people get bored. However, I suspect the time has come for me to slowly shift from sports footwear retail (unless it’s for brands who want to pay me a decent sum to write about it) into other subjects. It’s a young man’s game and selling shoes is not something I have much of an interest in. I also suspect that not working with the damned things day in, day out would probably re-up my interest too and improve any work I’m involved in pertaining to sportswear. That doesn’t stop me feeling the urge to throw shoe-centric matters up here alongside the other stuff, because I’m too far gone (Dostoevsky’s, “It seems, in fact, that the second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half” quote is applicable here without seeming too much like tinpot intellectual showboating) on that topic. I can’t resist 1989 newspaper ads like the one above, with their ridiculous lineups, images of Eric Dressen, my childhood hero and current Epicly Later’d subject matter oozing 1988 style in the Nike Court Force for a ‘Thrasher’ shoot. If you’re interested (and I would never be able to listen to my own voice), there’s a phone conversation with me over on the Sneaker Fiends Unite podcast (shouts to Dallas Penn and Pete).
This nonnative jacket is needed. The majority of the SS 2013 line is impressive (the pig suede Laborer Jacket is serious), but the Trooper Jacket with the overdyed treatment and Windstopper treatment reworks a military standard and makes its mark on it without getting too fussy. That pick of the purple and the button-down lapel give a basic some extra identity without getting unwearable or overdesigned. At Yen/Pound translation, it’s approximately £440. Add on taxes and shipping and that price probably doubles. I really need to wrangle a Tokyo trip somehow that’s based around a pilgrimage to Tsutaya Books and exploiting the lack of Parcelforce depot visits buying direct from the source can entail.
After the pre-Christmas talk on here of bootleg tees and sweats, ‘Slogan T-Shirts: Cult and Culture’ by Stephanie Talbot was released last week and it explores the culture of bootleg shirts in far more authoritative detail than anything I could muster. DisneyRollerGirl (a contributor to the book) upped the piece where Barnzley breaks down how he saw the real tees, banged them out as bootlegs, then felt infuriated at seeing his idea bootlegged. Well worth a read. Seeing the Palace Versace design copied and sold in a Camden marketplace is not dissimilar — a copy of a copy that still feels like a violation.
This blog should probably become bloggingaboutchampiongearidontownagainandagain.com, but it’s my blog, so if I want to get stuck in the mud and dwell on one topic, I will. Nobody told me about the existence of this sweatshirt — I knew about last year’s Stussy collaboration on that slightly fussy M-65 style tracksuit employing Windstopper, but this ARMY Reverse Weave hoody in Oshman’s is the best Champion Windstopper design yet. Trying to give basic fleecewear technical properties is problematic. Angular, stiff fanciness defeats my primary purpose for putting a sweatshirt on. If a DWR treatment can’t sustain regular washes, it’s pretty pointless and if you can’t breath through the sweatshirt, it becomes a suffocateshirt. Water resistance has never worked for me on these garments, but Gore’s Windstopper protection layer makes sense and doesn’t infringe too much on the hand feel of a sweat. It’s good to see two technologies with over 50 years between them (I think this might be the Windstopper patent, a technology that officially debuted around 1992 while the 1938 patent here is a Champion one that seems to be focused on a Reverse Weave style technology). Pop fastenings on the collar, ribbed side panels, minimal vertical shrinkage, but annoyingly small Japanese sizing — everything that intrigues me about the work from a licensee that just does its own thing with a certain finesse.
The ‘Vintage Menswear’ book by Josh Sims and The Vintage Showroom’s Douglas Gunn and Roy Luckett is good value for money. If, like me, you lay down £20 on a Japanese magazine covering similar ground just to gaze at the photos, the 130 items here and accompanying copy is a nice antidote to keep on the shelf. I’m still stuck in the military chapter, where reversible German mountain parkas, custom military greatcoats, eccentric footwear innovations, a truly remarkable Aero Leather company B-7 sheepskin flight jacket and a lot more deliver enough insight for an idea-free clothing brand to get at least 2 years of designs out of it. The notion that the British Army’s Paratrooper’s denison smock was painted with a non-colourfast ink so that it might fade in enemy territory and give the wearer a different kind of concealment by letting them blend in with civilians (though it’s just a rumoured innovation) fired my imagination. I had no idea that the reddish applications to brushstroke camo on the Indian Army paratrooper’s smock dated back to the 1940s — I thought they were a 1970s treatment to the (to tie it to the Windstopper talk, the Denison jacket design’s spinoff was the lighter Windproof smock) pattern. All of which goes to show that I know nothing about camouflage. Go buy the book and get educated — it’s bitesize pieces rather than an exhaustive history of anything, but the spotlight on the details.
Who else used to buy magazines for the tapes? ‘NME’, ‘Select’ and ‘Melody Maker’ seemed like better value for having them on the cover, even though I never listened to them. ‘The Source’ had a good Rush Associated Labels one attached in 1994 and on buying ‘Fantastic Four’ #376 in a mysterious polybagged pack for the tape, I was introduced to the mighty ‘Dirt’ magazine. Then dad-mags like ‘Q’ got all fancy and stuck CDs on their covers and by 1996, the cover cassette was done. Few genres justify continual use of a long-gone, labour intensive object like the audio cassette like doom metal does, and UK-noise bible ‘Terrorizer’ gave away a couple of CDs this month, but throwing Dorset-based stoner-doomers Electric Wizard’s new EP in as a tape was a glorious flashback to the newsagents of old. It was a shame that only select issues got it. It’s also a damned shame that I don’t own a tape deck any more.
Agh, these blog posts just keep on lacking brevity. I can only blame a terminal case of verbal diarrhea and misplaced enthusiasm for it. GORE-TEX is on a premium, waterproofed pedestal with me for some reason. The mundane reality that the name is merely a hyphenated mix of a Mr. Gore and son’s surname and the word ‘textile’ is conveniently forgotten whenever someone hands me a product that employs the material on the lining. How does a breathable fabric become such a mark-of-quality, and more importantly, confer the otherwise passable to a taped-seam must-have? Why does that name still carry such clout?
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