KURT

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I’ve long assumed that Kurt Cobain would despise everyone that purports to be influenced by him stylistically, or, at the very least, he’d administer some onstage sarcasm their way. I also think he cared about his appearance a great deal more than he let on too, like that indie kid who puts in a lot of work to look like he doesn’t give a shit. As a fan of Nirvana and Goodhood, it was nice to get involved in their Cobain 50th birthday celebrations, because they always do this presentation and content stuff better than the rest. The illustrations are tremendous and I love Gregk Foley’s writing. Check it out right here.

LAURA WHITCOMB & SPORTSWEAR

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The best thing about this site is the ability to up missing details you forget to mention in features way, way back. In last year’s bid to blow up the adidas Gazelle I omitted to mention the impact of Laura Whitcomb’s work and Madonna’s patronage in 1993. Whitcomb ran the store Label (which used the Repo Man style no-frills, consumerist aesthetic earlier than many) in New York from 1995 to 2010 and continues to run Label in a less prominent form. Whitcomb’s unique evening gown reinterpretation of the adidas tracksuit was initially unofficial but a memorable moment in sportswear and fashion crossover. That dress and the platform Gazelle (which I assumed was a custom, but I’m not 100% certain — there were high-heel edition too) unlocked some potential for where old world athletic performance design could be taken. Eventually, adidas gave permission to manufacture the clothes, while PUMA, Everlast and Champion apparently only agreed to one-offs. Whitcomb — an LA native who worked as a stylist in London before moving back overseas — began the Label project in 1991 with her sports remixes that would include PUMA, Everest and, a while before the flips got a little overwhelming, Champion. Those sporty maxi-dresses were much imitated, but it’s a moment in fashion that defined 1993 and instigated something far bigger. The Label by Laura Whitcomb blog has a lot of excellent press imagery from the time regarding those reappropriated adidas pieces, plus this piece on the Label store and its work with Playboy iconography. A fashion, streetwear and sportswear clash, the collaborations and even the Stash-designed VW-style LW monogram all seem a little bit ahead of their time. Here’s a 15 second video of a ’93-era adidas by Label fashion show from Laura Whitcomb’s Vimeo account…

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Images taken from here

SMARTER

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After the passing of INVENTORY a short while back, I was waiting for another publication to offer something a little deeper on specific brands that language barriers and laziness have prevented me from fully investigating. In 2015 I picked up issue #1 of intelligence and wasn’t bowled over by the content enough to get the next issue, but issue #3 is very good. Created as a division of the excellent HAVEN store and, like INVENTORY, Vancouver-based (most good things seem to come from Canada right now), the magazine avoids the heritage stuff and focuses on some brands that are, for the most part, pretty progressive (INVENTORY seemed to be following a similar path in the last couple of issues before its close because it had pretty much profiled every key brand that operated in the vintage and Americana-themed arena). With pieces on Christopher Nemeth’s daughters, Brain Dead, Greg Lauren (whose comic book cover artist stint, role in the Boogie Nights overdose scene and avant fashion career is a CV that fascinates me far beyond the obvious provenance of that surname) and Sasquatchfabrix’ Daisuke Yokohama, there’s some gold in those interview answers. Kiko Kostadinov’s thoughts on functionality and becoming hyper aware of design from his studies and work life thus far were an indicator that the future is in safe hands, while a KAPITAL article, scuppered by a repetitive print problem has been fixed and upped on the intelligence website. At sixteen quid, it isn’t cheap, but those hours of dialogue transcription probably didn’t come easy either.

MORE ENERGY

As discussed here multiple times, between 1990 and 1993 — and with a floating broadcast time of between 6:25 and 9:30pm from series to series — DEF II’s Dance Energy show was extremely influential to me as a town-bound kid. It provided street style sections in cities far away as well as profiles on city capitals overseas, a well-lit look at that week’s trends on the crowd of dancers in the studio sections plus some great and terrible live PAs. Naturally, we took the ability to get a quick overview of the new and next things while sitting in front of the TV eating golden drummers and oven chips for granted until “yoof” TV in such a prominent place seemed to dry up. Superb UK rave and clubland archive resource Webm8 just upped several episodes and complications on YouTube. Hiroshi Fujiwara talking Tokyo hotspots circa 1992, a brief Major Force profile, lots of UK coverage, those legendary bootleg-looking Timberland leather jackets and Joey Starr and friends rapping Paris are just part of the rare footage on display here. Continue reading MORE ENERGY

1993 OPENING

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An abundance of footage of the 1993 opening of a Miami Nikeshop branch recently appeared on SHOP TOUR CANAL OFFICIAL’s YouTube account. If you look at this site relatively regularly, you’ll know it’s my favourite channel for the way it dwells on the products in shops from yesteryear. That ACG selection with the LE Huaraches in the mix is particularly appealing here and, as usual, you need to be Brazilian to understand some of that dialect, but the shelves do the talking. Suits, basketball showcases, execs, some Night Tracks in a display case and people in short denim shorts dancing solemnly to new jack swing are just part of the launch festivities. A nice little snapshot of a moment in time that’s rarely documented.

BAGGY

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This Jodeci VH1 biopic might be the best news of the day — a Jodeci flick and a full Ric Flair documentary? An amazing time to be alive, contrary to those apocalyptic headlines. If that rising ocean and those missiles can hold off for a couple of years, that would be ideal. I’m also very excited about the impending issue #1 of TTTISM magazine from the Sang Bleu stable. Maxime Plescia-Büchi is a friend and role model — a man so prolific that he’s put together an entire supplementary publication to an existing rollout, a complete apparel range and even changed his name since I saw him last. And that isn’t even his day job. On an unrelated note, big up Hezakya Starr for upping this 1993 news piece on the sagging, baggy denim boom — big jeans will be back soon (note: bootcut and baggy are two different things), and this is a reminder as to haw voluminous things got back in the day. Switching to unrelated mode again, a couple of cool Larry Clark interviews have appeared online too, including one where Clark talks about an impending retirement from films to drive around Europe in a Bentley and another one for French news — I post a lot of Larry interviews on here, and most tell the same tales and ask the same questions, but he is a character who will forever prove fascinating to me.

CHAT

After years of haplessly attempting to write and watch TV shows and films at the same time, the ascent of the podcast has been a godsend. A wealth of deep conversations on niche topics scattered with anecdotal diamonds and some necessary myth busting is the soundtrack to most of my afternoons and it’s notable that the sprawling length of some favourites like Drink Champs fires warning shots in the direction of those who demand that information be kept to pithy lengths. Those attention span deniers are a regressive bunch. Give me hours of meandering chats over condensed blocks of information any day. Mark Anthony Green and the New Yorker’s Matthew Trammell entered the arena recently with Rich Friend: the Elevated Conversation and the interesting choice of guests thus far has made it one of my favourites. The most recent episode with DJ Clark Kent is a break from the regular shoe-centric direction he’s taken in to showcase how smart he is — never a passive conversationalist, Clark has an interesting opinion on the state of rap and the state of the world right now, plus an insane level of history in the hip-hop industry harking back to when it was just a scattering of New York jams. Good guy, good hosts, good podcast.