Monthly Archives: May 2011

LUNAR JACK PURCELLS & OTHER MATTERS


I love wearing Converse, but those things hurt my feet. I’m an old-fashioned type, so generally it’s Chucks and Jacks in the shoe stack, yet it only takes half a mile before I’m walking my walk, thugged-out, orthopedic. I should probably admit defeat and concede that I’m not designed for these shoes, but the design classicism keeps drawing me back in. One solution to add mileage was always to pillage Nike SBs for their Anatomically Contoured Zoom Air footbeds, but they only delayed the pain.

This weekend I’ve been giving the drop-in Lunarlon midsole from the Koston One (read some nerdery on that shoe here) some road testing in my Jack Purcells, and it shits on the OX edition footbed, as it narrows towards the forefoot to minimise rubbing on the toecap. Usually, while the toe is smiling, I’m grimacing. Plus it’s fun to merge cutting-edge with a design that dates way, way back – lately, Mr. Russ Bengston,Mr. Nick Schonberger and myself have been discussing how awesome a Lunar and Flywire Chuck would be — even if it was just to anger purists. This cross-pollination of footwear is one comfortable step closer to that dream.

Incidentally, this brand crossover is sanctioned, because Converse is part of NIKE INC. Were it not, it would break a cardinal rule — I’ve grown out of some bizarre sub-culture imposed laws over the last few years, but the prohibition on mixing sneaker brands remains in place. If you wear adidas apparel with Nike shoes, or vice versa, it’s not a good look. And if you attempt to reunite the Dassler brothers in one outfit by merging PUMA and adidas, it’s even worse. It could get more extreme, with embargoes on wearing specific non-sports gear alongside the branded footwear that don’t have a collaborative relationship, but that’s just strange. Converse and Nike are now siblings, so the alliance creates a certain creative freedom.

But if we’re going to delve deeper, does that sanction wearing Nike with P.F. Flyers? For all the discomfort, the Jack Purcell’s selling point was once Posture Foundation technology to aid comfort, and it was introduced by the BFGoodrich tyre company as a badminton shoe in the mid 1930s. The BF company also started P.F. (Posture Foundation) Flyers in 1937 using a technology they’d created in 1933. There were other shoes in the Jack Purcell line by the late 1960s, with Jack Purcell by BF Goodrich making the capless Jack Purcell RaceAround (relatively recently retroed by Converse), the adidas-alike Jack Purcell Indy 500 (a lawsuit waiting to happen) and the Jack Purcell Windjammer (recently retroed by P.F. Flyers under New Balance ownership minus the Purcell name — does that mean you can wear NB and Nike with immunity?).

In 1972, Converse bought P.F. but apparently legal issues meant the purchase never took place in it’s entirety, but they got the licence to make the Purcell. This humble little shoe spans several brands, and it’s worth noting that the art in that Windjammer seems to be by the amazing Bob Peake, who designed the posters for ‘Apocalypse Now,’ ‘Enter the Dragon’ and a lot, lot more, vying with Drew Struzan for hero status.

Digression time. I watched John Carpenter’s ‘The Ward’ yesterday with mild anticipation. I appreciate that ‘Ghosts of Mars’ is unforgivably bad and that ‘Escape From LA’ should never have happened, but ‘Cigarette Burns’ for ‘Masters of Horror’ was interesting and because I forgot the majority of it immediately after watching, ‘Pro Life’ with the devil coming to claim back his kid from an abortion clinic was a madcap enough failure for me to think fondly of it. After a decade out of movie making, one of my heroes directed a film that looks a little like a Canadian TV-movie and feel like ‘Halloween II’ and a sail way too close to the plot of a film I won’t name for spoiler purposes. Still, I quite liked the font for the title lettering. Even if it didn’t feel quite like my beloved Albertus MT, there was still a lithe, gothic look to it. For that reason, I enjoyed it for around two minutes and trundled through the rest — though it’s not as bad as George A. Romero’s ‘Survival of the Dead’ or Dario Argento’s ‘Giallo’ in the genre-director-off-the-boil stakes. Plus Carpenter told Dazed & Confused that he likes to sing along to Pink’s ‘Get the Party Started,’ so I’m blaming her for this CGI-aided damp squib of a film.

I hadn’t seen this 1986 image of Donald Duck wooing Daisy in full Paninari getup before until I picked up a fortieth anniversary Moncler book from a few years back. I’ve seen Mickey rendered in hardrock mode with some big boots on and a scowl, but a dayglo Donald seemed to be out to replace the brand’s trademark duck with that Moncler vest and nubuck Timberland boots. Italy’s consumerist convergence of brands somehow managed to echo elements of casual, mod, NYC’s street level boosters, hip-hop uniforms and even today’s breed of slimline chino twat. Donald got there before you all and he got the girl as a result.

Whenever I’m feeling ill, I watch a double bill of ‘Death Wish III’ and ‘Shottas’ — both films have healing properties through sheer mindlessness and are as riddled with errors as they are bullets, but I still can’t get enough of the disregard for period looks that ‘Shottas’ maintains. If you’re going to have a 1978 flashback scene with a stashed shooter, it’s best not to use a distinctive shoe like 1996’s Jordan XII to hide the weapon. The Hilfiger boxers in that scene are bad enough, but this was some progressive footwear for the 1970s. ‘Shottas’ is far too yard to care for wardrobe accuracy.

And what better way to celebrate a holiday weekend than with a very, very sincere Swiss documentary on Celtic Frost that somebody has kindly uploaded onto YouTube with English subtitles?

FILMS, BOOKS & DOWN JACKETS

Lifted straight from Stephen Schuster’s Always Hungry blog and wildly appropriate at any given time.

It’s time to get my Tumblr on and post lots of images and videos with a minimum of text. Except I can’t be bothered to Tumblr, so I’ll post it all here today. If you’re one of the five people who follow this blog, then you’ll have noted a lack of focus, subject matter and the distracted nature of each entry. That’s deliberate and it’s intended as a simulation of my psyche. Sometimes you might get a 1000 word essay that’s laden with poor grammar and the next, a solitary paragraph. It’s like a lottery, in which the prize is a bunch of bullshit. All I can muster today is a collection of things that I’m into on Wednesday, May 25th, 2011 at around 10pm.

On a recent quick visit to BKRW in Paris, the homie Jay showed me the phenomenal ‘Euro Punk’ (based on the exhibition) book — a large softcover tome on the history of punk in Europe during the second half of the 1970s. The downside for a Brit-ignoramus who deals with language barriers by speaking in English v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y a-n-d LOUDLY is that it’s coming out in English this July. Can’t fucking wait.

I’ve been pondering my love of ‘Demons II’ (1986) during the much-delayed run-up to the release of the Blu-ray, from the opening title font to the fact that it’s the very thing that introduced me to the Smiths. Were it not for this bloodthirsty, logic-free nonsense, my wait to hear Morrissey and company would have been significantly longer. They even got a shout on the opening titles and they’re played at the house party gone horribly wrong (incidentally, the demon through the TV effect beats ‘Ringu’ and is an underrated scene,despite the bizarre and unnecessary dinner and band scene from 4:49 to 5:49 in that clip) when a load of kids in fleck jackets (led by party girl Asia Argento) bop to ‘Panic.’ The only thing that’s appropriate, given later circumstances, is that song title.

On a film note, why doesn’t the 1995 Canadian out-of-control-kids flick ‘Little Criminals’ get props? Sure, it’s a little sensationalist, but because it’s not as hipster-friendly as 1995’s ‘Kids’ (with Harmony influenced by the excellent but grim ‘Pixote’) or as laden with slacker appeal as 1979’s ‘Over the Edge,’ like its sullen protagonist, it doesn’t get the love it needs.It’s surprisingly sweary for a TV-movie and Brendan Fletcher’s performance is excellent. Kudos to the person who put this rarity on YouTube.



It’s a good time to be a Jodorowsky fan. I have no idea how I overlooked the fact that the ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’ documentary about the 1970s pre-production of the best film that never was is being put together. Between this and a slew of hi-def reissues of the great man’s classics, maybe ‘Sons of El Topo’ might actually get made.



I saw these baby LunarGlide IIs in Silverlake’s Undefeated branch and they made me broody. Tiny Jordans are nothing new (it’s creepy that I can recall baby VIIs from the first time around) but tech runners for tiny feet is next level. Does a baby need Flywire? That’s not the point.

‘Crack & Shine International’ got a nice little trailer that’s atmospheric and evocative of the book and there’s a collection of tie-in tees with Vans (limited to 15 of each design) that you can pick up from the Topsafe store.



Jonas kindly sent me a picture of this little publication that comes with the Nike Sportswear Free Run+ 2 City Series releases. Titled ‘The Expression of the Run’ I was bugged out by the fact my name’s on it and that it’s next to lots of people far more talented than me. While the NYCs are out (and the Rio de Janeiros are the illest), I believe the Londons are dropping to coincide with the return of 1948. Shouts to Rob and Ben at Dualforces for their patience.

‘Industrie’ #3 has more fine content. I’ve grown a little restless with print of late (though the prospect of a Scott Campbell special of 032c is exciting), but I always feel that my £7 is well spent with this publication. The interviews are vast, the right questions are asked and the choice of subjects is refreshingly diverse, rather than picking from the most vocal and exposed in the fashionista PR pool. The interview with Moncler CEO Remo Ruffini is particularly relevant to my interests — especially the revelation that he frequently has a coffee and morning conversation with the North Face’s president who lives near his (presumably plush) abode. This issue cements my initial opinion that ‘Industrie’ is one of the best magazines to come out of the UK in recent years.

YOU NEED ‘CRACK & SHINE INTERNATIONAL’

“It’s a graffiti book presented like a Louis Vuitton catalogue.” That’s a 10-word pitch that had my attention from the early stages.

Normally Sunday is a day for easily distracted blogging, with multiple topics in a single post, but today the subject is singular because ‘Crack & Shine’ went in with such gusto and have created something that justifies a certain level of babble

I always feel like a charlatan when it comes to writing about graffiti-related matters. At least I recognize my toy status — plenty of blogs take a tumble when the paint and markers come out, falling over themselves in a mass of hapless outsider analysis that rings false. I just enjoy looking at destruction and find it insane that anyone would risk their wellbeing to get their name on a wall, overpass or train. Glorious acts of ignorance are the best gestures. Sometimes hearing the writers talking about their motivation is the only way to go, and ‘Crack & Shine’s debut in 2009 gave some London legends an aesthetically beautiful but defiantly uncensored voice.

The BOZO DDS recollections in the first volume were phenomenal and Will Robson-Scott’s photography was stunning. If you have even the faintest interest in any “street” related matters and didn’t pick up that hardback volume, you made a grievous error. We’ve all amassed the core texts — the ‘Mascots & Mugs,’ ‘The Art of Getting Over’ (a huge influence on ‘Crack & Shine’), Nov York’s streams-of-consciousness and ‘Also Known As Vol. 1’s elegant presentation of total damage, but too often, the image-heavy train-centric European tomes that are (quite rightly) for bombers by bombers go over my toy-head.

I rely on word-of-mouth for the real book recommendations. On the Run’s output is extremely consistent, but the second ‘Crack & Shine’ with an international theme has been something I’ve been waiting on for a while now. If you don’t pick up ‘Crack & Shine International’ (named after the publisher’s preferred mode of no-frills, British approach to getting up) when it drops, then you’re making a grievous error. This is more hardback, high-end presentation of the hardcore, this time with a tasteful fashion magazine style art direction that makes it an even more compelling artifact.

The task of getting writers to submit their inner-thoughts for a deadline isn’t something I envy, but after several years of work the team have come through. As a sub-culture that’s prone to moans and online debates, talk of notable omissions is inevitable, but for Fred and the team to come through with the book they’ve been promising since part one was released in a world that’s a conversational elephant’s graveyard of product, writings and brands that never materialize is immensely heartening.

Themed on the wanderlust of artists with a hunger to paint, connect and develop a greater understanding pre-internet, there’s a focus on folklore and deeper meanings that’s not silly and romanticized, nor offering any sugar-coating or flawed sociology on why the scene’s kings do what they do.

The likes of ESPO, NOXER, TOMEK, SEL ONE, ROID, KATSU and NASTY are strong subjects as the book shifts from NYC to Amsterdam via Paris, before Berlin, London and Los Angeles. The squint-worthy lists of every street in each spotlighted city hint at a masochistic production process. Mr. Powers’s “If you can’t describe what you do in 10 words or less, then hit the reset button” quote is something to live by, ROID is a dusted genius and NASTY submits one of the highlights as he explains that he might have developed a “Spider Sense” against being apprehended and bookends that thought with plenty of common sense. Every piece of submitted writing is strong, with the obsessive-compulsive nature of writers ensuring that their message is lucid, with anecdotes to top the original.

But this is all giving too much away. 288 pages of premium content makes this one of the best books on the subject matter to date, and it drops in a few weeks. Expect plenty more promo around the time it arrives, but shouts to Freddie and company at Topsafe for creating something that tops a standard that they went and set.

By all accounts, the ‘Crack & Shine’ project ends with this one, but in an era of 140 characters and homogenized blog content, a project like this is even more essential than ever. Each image is gallery standard (the amount of photos that never made the final edit is staggering) and getting Stephen K. Schuster involved is a wise move too. Buy local and support ‘Crack & Shine.’ Did the paragraphs above read like an advertorial? Pick up the book and I triple dare you to tell me that my enthusiasm is unjustified in any shape or (letter)form.

There’s too much bullshit out there — I hope this body of work influences people to cut the crap across-the-board. Keep an eye out for the imminent launch of www.crackandshine.com for further information. There’s big things planned.

CURRICULUM

Writing stuff on a plane is hard. Altitude, overexposure to family-friendly entertainment and watered-down coffee kill my work rate. The knowledge that I’m whizzing way above the ground in a vast lump of metal and that homeland security are waiting, ready to quiz me as if I’m two questions away from admitting to atrocities doesn’t help either. As a result, I can’t churn out the usual line after line of pop-cultural drivel. But I can still talk shit on a BlackBerry when it’s in flight safe mode.

Every day I’m blessed/obliged/cursed to be writing about sports footwear. Blessed because I’ve had an interest in the subject since I was 5 or 6 years of age. Obliged because that’s my day job and cursed because while I love my fellow fanboys and girls (in all honesty, it tends to veer towards the former), if you work with this stuff, you’re liable to get a little jaded with it. Jaded by solemn imbeciles blankly YouTube broadcasting a description of a fucking shoe to me, telling me what colour the upper is and talking about the accents and outsole and other things that I can see in a single JPEG. No cultural context. No history. Just a fucking piece of pleather in their hand and a serious face. Fuck that. Sneaker internet celebrities freak me out.

I don’t care for campaigns trying to sell me the notion of dullards keeping their shoes boxed and neatly stacked, trying to sell tat to a diminishing notion of the “sneakerhead.” Corny. Fuck your initiative. I don’t think the “sneakerhead” (sorry, I coughed up a little blood there) died out and the passion remains – people just wear what they buy nowadays. It’s better that way. I don’t have to listen to people deifying suede and nylon false prophets — non-Air runners from 1990 getting love for the sole reason that they’re “deadstock.” Sneakers went fully blown. My brother knows what a Dunk is. Jordans become trending topics. I like that.

Still, I love to chat with friends and associates who can talk for hours with passion regarding the losses, wins and reference points that makes sports footwear resonate with them. Those who pursue the esoteric, celebrate the noble failures and overthink this stuff are my kind of people. Age, experience and the amount of pairs amassed aren’t so relevant. I don’t care if your shoes match your hat and t-shirt either. It usually makes you look like a kindly simpleton, albeit in pristine footwear.

In fact, it’s all just fun to me. Easy come, easy go. I assume the stern faces and attitude is borne of insecurity. With a birthday looming, I know I’m too damn old to be working in this part of the industry.

Someone should introduce an exam for the douches who want to be authorities and (sorry, I just coughed up another globule), “influencers.” Maybe something a little like the snippet above that’s a real English test entry from 1996. An exam question based on buying sneakers, with an emphasis on price and build quality. Why didn’t they have questions like that when I was at school?

ENTER DA ARTHOUSE

‘Black Moon’ doesn’t involve drivebys on skateboards or anyone hitting their head on the concrete to beat defeat. It’s Louis Malle’s once-maligned, 100 minutes of glorious confusion, originally released in 1975. If you can kick back, spark one up and go with the flow, there’s something in here about nature, sexuality and, um, talking unicorns. I’ve never really read into this film any more than I’ve attempted to decipher Jodorowsky’s very best, but to have this weird contemporary fairy tale in Blu-ray format via Criterion in a couple of months is a winner.

As has been noted before, where, say, ‘The Holy Mountain’ feels like a director’s shamanistic mindset translated onto celluloid with an earnestness that pays dividends and makes the escalating madness so compelling, Malle doesn’t seem quite so strange and there’s a sense that he woke up one morning and decided to do a surreal film. That contrived senselessness and 1970s look actually makes me admire it a little more.

The original poster is one of my favourites, with that block lettering and bird/moon interface, but kudos to the Criterion designer who took on the challenge of not recycling the existing imagery with a Rorschach/face/unicorn hybrid and a particularly elegant font. ‘Black Moon’ isn’t the easiest film to summarize visually, but as ever this imprint comes correct.

Shit. That wasn’t much of a word count, was it?

Time for some barely connected discourse.

Seeing as any mention of Black Moon evokes some NYC spirit of a frequently referenced era, with all this Mobb hype I’ve been desperately hunting 2006’s Supreme Mitchell & Ness ‘Hennessey’ baseball jersey — a definite one that got away — that was part of that collection that included the long-sleeve shirts . I thought the Prodigy book might explain a little more about the ‘Shook Ones Pt. II’ but apparently P may have been too cracked out during the video shoot to shed too much light on them. Why were Hav and P’s tees lacking an ‘N’? Could they only accommodate ‘HENNESY’ or was there more to it? Gotta love the ‘QUEENS BRIDGE 95’ on the back. P knew they were important – hence their inclusion on the legendary 2008 ‘TRENDS PRODIGY HAS SET SINCE 1992 AND STILL IS SETTING IN 2008 AND BEYOND’ list, “#6 CUSTOM MADE FOOTBALL JERSEYS WIT HENNESSYand E&J ON EM“

After his Supreme shoot (the real Skateboard P?), Prodigy has been getting his streetwear on via a Mishka interview and shoot, but 40oz VAN NYC got involved a couple of months ago, with a shirt inspired by the legendary ‘HENNESY’ efforts too. They repaired that spelling as well, and managed to get a shot of the Mobb in the shirts too. That’s good going. Now they’re putting out some H.N.I.C. ones too. Somebody still needs to reinstate the typo.* But as Mr. Ben Rayner recently pointed out, who’s fucking with Project Pat’s ‘Tennessy’ tattoo in that classic font?

*Shouts to Alex for alerting me to this Hennessey mesh jersey sighting. I also recall an anecdote from someone (a skater?) about obtaining the actual one from the video.

On a New York subject, Mr. Charlie Morgan put me onto the Smart Crew’s blog and their ‘NYC A-Z Series’ highlighting some acts of lesser-known gulliness.The Canal Street instalment touches on topics raised in T.J. English’s ‘Born To Kill’ — a worthy supplement to the awesome ‘The Westies’ by the same author.

Aaron Bondaroff linked to a YouTube upload of ‘Apple Juice’ — a 1990 skate documentary made by the crew from New York’s Skate NYC store. You owe it to yourself to visit the awesome NY Skateboarding site’s blog and read the piece about the store there. While you’re there, read the previous entries too. Skate NYC’s roster included Harold Hunter and Jeff Pang, and the images that accompany the blog entry are crazy — the hangtag that accompanied Harold’s own t-shirt is especially amazing, and the below video they’ve unearthed is amazing too. And what’s the current status of the ‘SK8FACE’ documentary?



It was NYC’s skate culture 8 years before this kind of proto-hype lunacy:



When I was a child, I had a plethora of crappy sweatshirts bearing fictional baseball leagues and rally-related imagery. They were hastily cobbled together and I was once quizzed by a kindly doctor as to whether I did actually play baseball, which made me embarrassed and caused me to spin an outlandish lie which I’m sure he saw right through, but opted to play along regardless. That fills me with an odd feeling of embarrassment and nostalgia — the same nostalgia that led me to pick up this dumb but awesome RRL sweatshirt from the American Graffiti collection.

I think there’s some 1930s and 1950s influence in the collection, but beyond the references to some Bonneville Salt Flat hot rod legends, it just reminds me of that goofy sweatshirt. Like Garbstore’s 1950s-themed Mechanic Sweat, this design’s saddle sleeved assembly gives it some extra personality — the detailing on the underarm is even more severe than the British interpretation of vehicle-themed fleece cotton and the mix of marl colours is a winner. It also looks like some pyjamas I had when I was a toddler. Again, I believe that’s a strong selling point when it comes to sweatshirt purchase.

On that note, I recently saw someone selling Polo Western Wear jeans from 1979 on eBay with excitable talk of it being a proto-RRL. Wasn’t that the ill-fated Ralph Lauren GAP hookup that bricked even harder than RRL did in 1993?

THE AIR PUMORI & OTHER ODDITIES

It’s a less sub-sub-sub-substantial update tonight because I’m packing for Paris. If you can find a twattier introduction to a blog entry anywhere else, I’ll be surprised. Normally I’ll think about a blog topic during the day, but I’ve been distracted by a presentation on sports footwear for some amassed PR folks (who rather kindly, didn’t throw rocks or bottled urine at me for my witless rambling). All I can do is loosely tie some self-promotion to a topic that was raised during said presentation during the Q&A — “What constitutes a modern classic?” All I can muster is ‘Nike Lunar Racer’ and point out that the ability to trace the lineage of an object through its reference points will null future classic status.

Anything lifestyle rather than sports orientated from the get-go is null too (we’re talking sneakers specifically there rather than a bigger picture with that one). I’m becoming quite the rent-a-quote — rant@garywarnett.com, but I couldn’t recall writing most of the 6-page article I submitted to Mr. Simon Wood for the new ‘Sneaker Freaker.’ I think it was a busy month. Maybe I blacked out. Still, I’m pretty happy with it — it’s a couple of thousand words bemoaning the truly strange product on the shelves and an excess reliance on retrospective goods. There’s probably a link between the two.

It raises the subject of the Nike Alpha Project of the late 1990s. It’s generally considered a failure in its attempts to give Nike a new identity at a point when their public relations were in an odd place when it came to some pretty damning broadsheet coverage. But here’s the paradox — it’s one of the greatest moments for the brand’s Innovation output from a fanboy perspective. From 1996 to 2000 the Nike design language went buckwild, throwing the rulebook out (and wisely for some necessary pre-millennial progression, the baby with the bathwater too). I hold the project in very high esteem, as my day job is with a company built on articles on some key Alpha Project releases (thank you to the Seismic and Kukini) made by occasionally overlooked genius designers (and all-round good guys) like Richard Clarke and Sean McDowell.

I was glad to see Woody got plenty Alpha imagery in the piece too. Beyond the Zoom Citizen, Air Max ’99, Presto, Flightposite, Vis Propensity III, Trainer Max V, Radiant RW, Trainerposite and Air Tuned Idea designs, 1999’s $200 ACG monster, the Air Pumori ACG , was a vast boot with shades of Superdome about it, but apparently made with snowboarding in mind. Just as the Zoom Force 1 takes the Uptown to the slopes, this bad boy had some Air Max Tuned ’99 and Air Max 95 to it. An Air Max (well, kind of) snowboard boot. We need this level of lunacy to become a daily operation again.

Other than that, it’s good to see some buddies like professional Frenchman Mr. Jay Smith, Mr. Alex Nash with an MF Doom collaboration and Mr. Craig Leckie contributing to issue #21 too. The design of ‘Sneaker Freaker’s stepped up a great deal too. 21 issues — where the fuck did the time go?

THE GUV’NOR

Wow. In all the hip-hop and movie excitement, I forgot to talk about clothes. It’s all go in London, but this is a nation that doesn’t wander around bigging itself up like those ‘How to Make it in America’ bellends.

I find that when it comes to matters of menswear online, at least 80% of the time earnestness outweighs knowledge. Sure, you can talk about plackets and positions of collars all you like, but plenty of paragraphs fizzle out – lost in the quest to create content but lacking direction. I speak as one who knows nothing of menswear who pads out pages with the worst of them. That’s what makes those who genuinely understand the subject matter and can offer a context in terms of both the details and the sub-cultural something to cherish — Mr. Jason Jules has been mentioned here many times, but it’s worth celebrating the work of a chap who’s always impeccably dressed, lacks any know-it-all pretense, blogs like few others can and can turn out a perfectly structured page or two too. He has the ability to tell the stories.

He’s also been modeling for the the Hideout and Stüssy Deluxe lately, but I’m sure he would be too humble to talk about such things on his Garmsville site. Lately I’ve become a little tired of magazines. My print spend is down significantly — you can bang out a magazine over a few months, but if none of it offers any content that informs and educates me, or if your writing is weak, you’re out the pile. My days of paper loyalty are looking a little tattered. It’s funny how much can change in a year. ‘INVENTORY’ is still a decent publication, despite my allergy to stern-faced matters of loomed cotton and long-lasting leathers. The UK price tag is dizzying — emulating the heavily-taxed Japanese publication costs, and the ‘Monocle’ influence is undeniable, but the John Smedley article by Leanne Cloudsdale and the history of the humble Harrington by Mr. Jules are outstanding.

With extra insight from John Simons, the design’s popularity via these shores and time as a totem cool and uncool (via Arthur Fonzarelli) are explored. Great stuff. Bear in mind that Jason’s been putting it down as a writer and stylist since ‘i-D’s early days and even contributed to ‘Boy’s Own’ circa 1987 (documenting a visit to Soho’s legendary CUTS). Many who know, keep their cards to their chests and the inquiring mind of many a veteran has a tendency to close for business — especially when they see their old favourites paraded again and again — but this guy just maintains and keeps on educating.

I liked the little interview with the man himself for the launch of Utile clothing. I think I know a few folks involved in the launch of this UK-made collection and the output looks promising. There’s enough going on to separate it from the horde of Albam, Garbstore and Folk-alkes who have a tendency to miss the point a little. It’s all in the little touches — as Norse Projects have demonstrated — but fuck with the formula too much and it tumbles into a longevity-free land of quirkiness. The Utile crew seem to know the power of the smaller touches and what little branding there is comes via the talented Nick Duggins — I think the Jules jacket may be named after a certain someone. It definitely fits his style. Like any true Ivy disciple, Jason prefers to listen to the masters play the horn rather than blow his own trumpet, so big up “The Professor.“



While we’re talking UK-brands that are linked to people I’ve got a lot of time for, seeing as I covered Utile here a week late (despite a heads-up), Greg (of Pointer fame) has been getting busy too with his partnership in the LARKE line that’s also UK-made. Bomber jackets and overshirts for men, plus some equally intelligent outerwear designs for the ladies too, are being stocked in east London’s The Three Threads make up the inaugural drop, and like Utile, they’re created for a gap in the market and personal tastes rather than a cash-in. The product looks great in the flesh and that Auton-looking dummy is no substitute for a sentient being. The site isn’t fully operational yet, but it’s located here.

It’s nice to see nice people creating nice things.