Books on athletic shoes are done to death. However, there’s always room for exceptions on the shelves and it was good to finally devour the contents of this particular one. A while back, before digital dominated, Nike commissioned some fascinating publications to coincide with campaigns. The world doesn’t need another bluffer’s guide to bestsellers with Q&As with the usual suspects. What it needs is untrodden informational terrain and Le Silver does the job. Written by Lodovico Pignatti Morano — editor of the flawless Ideas From Massimo Osti — the book is a 152 page anecdotal history of the Air Max 97’s role in Italy. I believe it’s culled from around 97 interviews and, curiously, despite its defiantly local nature, it’s published in English. Club kids, DJs, store managers, graffiti writers, rappers, stylists, editors, professional footballers, scooter boys and motorcyclists all break down the core appeal of Christian Tresser’s design between 1997 and 2003. Best of all is how the author retains the contradictions of any good origin story — there’s multiple accounts of different pioneers said to be the first to bring the shoe to Rome or Milan, some participants dismiss it as ugly, there’s tales of the shoe flopping initially before the sudden surge and plenty of corroborating tales regarding the impact that Georgio Armani putting it on the catwalk in early 1998 had locally. Very hardcore, very niche and beautifully designed by Munich’s Bureau Mirko Borsche, channeling that spirit of streamlined futurism that — according to some subjects — may well have driven the core appeal of this ostentatious entry into an already bold franchise. Incidentally, it also operates as a fairly comprehensive book on the popularity of the Air Max Classic/BW in Italy too. Well worth 22 Euros, even though that 16 Euro shipping fee is a little aggressive. Le Silver is the gold standard in shoe-related books. There are plenty more images of it and its contents right here.
The problem (or possible blessing) with being surrounded by something all the time is that you don’t see time flying. Things from the early 2000s seem, rather paradoxically, done to death and recent. But many of today’s consumers of the very things we obsessed over and the ones who’ll succeed us, were toddlers when magazines were a viable thing rather than a thing to lay on the table neatly for social media. Sydney’s Refill was a good publication that ran from 2003 to 2005 and was occasionally stocked at spots like London’s Magma for fifteen quid. Created by Matty Burton and Luca Ionescu, it ran for five issues before coming to a close, managing to document some things lesser spotted on 2017’s digital channels along the way. It evokes an era of chasing this and early adopter of most things Raif Adelberg’s hardback Made Magazine. Issues #3 and #4 of Refill are on issuu to browse in their entirety — I recall that BAPE edition causing a brief mania with 2004-era hype types because it came packaged with an ape head poster and badges of some kind, which makes up for the brevity of the actual interview in that cover feature. Nostalgic for features on Devilock? Step right in. The piece on Will Bankhead’s work, with bonus design work from Bankhead, Ben Drury, Christian Petersen, Fergadelic and Ed Gill, is fucking fantastic — Park Walk (created alongside Emmet Keane) from 1998 was a pretty pioneering Brit brand seemingly solely sold abroad, and the later, more widely distributed Answer line was incredible, making up a solid chapter in UK streetwear history that’s a good link between Silas and what the Slam City residents would sire next.
Image taken by Cory Slifka for the DECKAID Tumblr
Chris Hall is many things — a director, the skater’s skater, antique dealer and the sports footwear connoisseur to end them all for starters, and his defiantly D.C. aesthetic and East Coast mentality helped drive the look of the region’s skateboard scene. Believe it or not, there was once a time when a tag, some drips and a graffiti character on a deck or tee seemed different and progressive (it’s worth noting that “underground” was genuinely applicable to the scene 24 years ago), and while that look is very much of its era, Chris’s 1993 Underworld Element Champion parody deck was remarkably ahead of its time. Right now, we’re almost at breaking point with homages to the legendary C branding, but this design manages to embody now and then. On that East Coast skate note, without Supreme, I doubt Champion would be enjoying its current renaissance. I noted almost unanimous derision and laughing Emojis by the ton when size? posted some Champion Reverse Weaves on their IG a few years back, but since those doing the mocking shed their Hollister and elasticated chinos for streetwear, a shot of that label is guaranteed likes. Chris has been on that look since day one and images of this board were elusive or particularly pixellated until he was photographed by Cory Slifka with it as a loan to the excellent DECKAID show that benefits youth-based charities. Very rare. Very good. Always early.
I haven’t got a great deal to write today, but the LuckStaPosse YouTube account has a couple of gems in Japanese like a minute of UNDERCOVER’s A/W 97/98 show and this Harajuku 1997 footage of the folks gathering to buy some goro’s and some chats with UNDERCOVER and BAPE clad NOWHERE visitors is pretty interesting too. Remember when we used to marvel at a Tokyo streetwear consumer’s willingness to queue? We’re all at it now. The rumours of a goro’s webstore feel like the end of the last real-world only experience in this world.
PNB Nation has been discussed here a lot, from its pioneering inception and early days to that weird buyout. It looks like it might be in safer hands right now and those rebel sentiments that set it off are as relevant in 2017 as they were in 1992. Earlier this month, Bounce Media and PNB held a round table to discuss the brand and streetwear in general, erasing the industry whitewash of recent years and acknowledging how slippery streetwear is when it comes to definition. I know that for you podcast fiends, 90-minutes is the new 15-minutes and Alan Ket, Zulu, Pete Rock, Diego Moscoso, Elena Romero, and Kwasi Kessie all offer some interesting contributions. Check it out on the new PNB site right here ‘cos I can’t embed the Soundcloud for some reason.
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.
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.