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…
Images taken from here
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.
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
Little to report this evening other than my excitement at the impending Massimo Osti Archive exhibition in east London later in the month from Jacket Required and the gents from Proper magazine. I’m not sure that it coincides with the actual reprint, but it definitely coincides with the news that the Ideas From Massimo Osti book is getting a reissue very soon, with extra content to reward everybody who was late to the party and punish the keen. Still, I’d be happy to keep another copy for emergency purposes. If you’re UK-based, this might be worth whatever the % increase in travel fare was this year. Continue reading IDEAS
Thanks to an insatiable appetite for content online (and a lot of curious writers) there’s a lot of deep histories on some brands that had been barely mentioned online in recent years. Slowly — and whether a more image and video inclined audience have any interest in reading it — the lesser-discussed foundations of an industry are being given the treatment they deserve. I wondered what exactly happened to the R.A.P brand — which made plenty of appearances in British style magazines before it folded in 1996 — that was founded by Moroccan-born London resident Hassan Hajjaj and began as a shop on Neal Street in Covent Garden in 1983 before spawning its own apparel line. Continue reading HISTORY OF R.A.P
Visiting the Arc’teryx design facilities and factory in Vancouver was one of those head office experiences that makes you appreciate what you already liked significantly more (I’ve had a few experiences of head office trips that didn’t quite nurture that appreciation — occasionally it had the opposite effect). The brand’s Evolution of Design video for REI from a few months back gives a quick primer on why Arc’teryx is still keen to reiterate their commitment to innovation. They’re not just faking obsessiveness for the cameras. Some of the brand’s designers did a presentation at a REI store to coincide with the campaign and YouTube user Nature Calls captured some of it — the sound is barely there, but turn up the volume and there’s a few nuggets of functional design wisdom in there. Lest we forget, it was an Arc’teryx backpack that helped give us the Air Jordan XI, and when your work is the difference between life and death, there’s not much room for the silly stuff.
Continue reading OBSESSIVE DESIGN
I attempted some kind of white tee review system on this blog 7 years ago, but I wasn’t qualified to be discussing apparel in any kind of depth. This past summer, Japanese site Fashionsnap.com went in on the topic of white shirts. It’s far deeper than the time Dem Franchise Boyz broke down white shirts in Vibe 12 years back. Over a span of around a month, Fashionsnap’s “Road to Fashion Geek” broke down 30 shirts, from the budget multi packs from Hanes to some open-end ring spun Egyptian Giza cotton visvim expense. They talk history, origin, pre-wash and post wash specs, neck stretch and other pressing matters. Continue reading WHITE TEE VALHALLA (ALMOST)