RIDING THE TRANSITION

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There’s a debate raging right now regarding streetwear’s decline that makes for interesting reading, starting with Bobby from The Hundreds’ editorial on Hypebeast. Personally, I think that The Hundreds did such a good job in making the brand seem huge (which would become a self-fulfilling prophecy) through strong writing and photography that the legions of chummy imitators that followed simply got too damned keen and forgot a brand’s duty to act like it didn’t want our business. The Hundreds blog was a significant influence on me, whether I wore the gear or not.

As a viable source of income, accessible, horizontal models in the industry seem to have lost their audience as pseudo-exclusivity becomes mainstream. I feel that — as somebody far too old to be wearing anything with a street prefix — I’ve seen a return to rawness with brands like Brain Dead and Hockey (the latter is a skate line, but I can’t help but think that a “streetwear” brand without explicit cultural roots sits on shaky foundations) that made last year one of the most interesting in a long time. Brand blogging showed some streetwear companies unclothed with documentation of their day-to-day developments, then social media pretty much exposed their internal organs.

I’ve long felt that too much information and unnecessary explanations and rationales eliminated mystique, which can be a great currency in itself. I was introduced to a brace of classic brands like Fuct, Fresh Jive, X-Large, Ben Davis and Pervert in the flesh on a single rack with zero explanation. I appreciated before getting a full understanding. My 1992 is somebody else’s 1989, 1998, 2006 or 2015. It’s odd to see anyone get misty-eyed for 2007’s mad mess of all-over prints, full zips, scarves and trade show hand wringing, but it’s somebody’s idea of a golden age. When the homages of homages diluted appeal to the point of pointlessness and the hemlines got longer, I think a transitional phase was complete.

I can’t deny that I miss the little signifiers — the visual nods for like minds that we’ve all made acquaintances and actual friends through at one point or another. I’m sure that they’re still operational in small towns and villages. Goodhood keeps them coming and has been doing parodies the right way over the years. References to Nirvana, A Clockwork Orange, Paradise Garage, Bad Brains, The Lost Boys and Apocalypse Now are nothing new, but these Goods by Goodhood pin badges do something smart with them. They’ve been on apparel in the most recent Goods line, plus a set of screen prints, but they’re particularly effective in this format.

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