RAGAMUFFINS, WITCHES & BAGGAGE

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If you’re weird enough to wish for a never-ending Monocle brand spotlight, this one delivers. I slept on Korea’s B magazine before, but issue #17 of the Seoul-based, perfect-bound publication is entirely dedicated to the Yoshida & Company’s Porter baggage brand. While Japanese magazines like Mono and Smart had great Porter issues in recent years, the lack of English language meant I was missing out. B (for Brand. Balance) is entirely in English and offers a documentary in paper form. Keen to declare that there’s no brand payola in the mix, B‘s Korea-centric collection of interviewees at the start offer only a scattering of insights, but as it continues, there’s a wealth of information about Porter’s origins, business model and some extra understanding as to why a Japanese household name only makes a minor splash beyond its country of origin. It’s part business studies case study, part geek-out, part entertaining love letter to a brand (though they’re not beyond publishing some survey-style brand critique). I would have liked to learn a little more about Hiroshi’s Head Porter subsidiary, but the Monocle-style presentation, switches in paper stock and strangely addictive glimpses inside everyone’s bags, plus some superior photography, make it one of the more interesting approaches to product-led print out right now, but I’m not sure that I’m quite interested enough in Havaianas to pick up #18. However, I definitely need the BIC, New Balance, Canada Goose and Snow Peak issues.

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Dunno what’s more excellent — Palace’s faux-luxury contribution to Vans’ Downtown Showdown in Paris tomorrow or the fact that DAZED have upped a good quality version of Julian Henriquez’s Peckham-based drama from 1992, We The Ragamuffin which should be relevant to your interests if you love Rockers, Babylon and Wild Style — if you arrived on this blog for whatever reason, I’m assuming this is your kind of thing.With some amateur but effective acting, killer soundtrack and wild outfits, plus plot and direction to keep you interested enough to take 29 minutes out of your lifespan — this is a great replacement to the Channel 4 VHS copy that somebody kindly upped on YouTube a couple of years back. For all its influence on street style today (even the Essex boys with the bad pinrolls and Huaraches), ragamuffin style on these shores at its prime is only sporadically documented. Shouts to Buckey Ranks and Mikey General. Bad quality extract below (shouts to mk2dubster) and the best quality in a long time on DAZED DIGITAL right here.

Visiting the Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s exhibition at the V&A, one of the first things you see on entering is a pair of shoes from Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s Witches collection. Those fluoro prints using commissioned Keith Haring art are ahead of the curve, but the shoes, with their exaggerated triple tongues and shiny hardware are clearly the godfather of the oft-hated Jeremy Scott collections as well as the contemporary high-end hi-tops from brands like Balenciaga that people pretend to like, even though the Arena and its ilk are just the 2013 Travel Fox. What’s worth reinforcing here is that Westwood was creating this stuff for autumn/winter 1983. That’s just one reason she (and Malcolm) deserve respect. Don’t blame her for the fact that the industry took the amplified b-girl styling in the decades that followed and completely ruined it. On that subject, how do I get a copy of the full contents of the ultra-elusive Seditionaries/Let It Rock/Sex collection book that compiles Hiroshi Fujiwara and Jun Takahashi’s personal collections? That thing is beyond elusive.

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