Category Archives: Heroes

HOW THE CONVERSE ONE STAR WAS BORN AGAIN (AND AGAIN)

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NOTE: I wrote this a year ago and it was meant to run somewhere else in its entirety, but it never happened. Looking through the replica of Japan’s 1976 issue one of Popeye magazine the other month and spotting the One Star (before it was called the One Star) reminded me that I should probably throw it up here.

Simple design has a curious habit of affecting subcultural style. The blank slate approach allows for statements to be made far beyond a design’s original intent and the humble athletic shoe in its most stripped-down form has long held a tendency to connect with the most discerning and critical audiences possible. You can’t buy credibility, just as you can’t preempt those moments when the everyday becomes a must-have. In this case, a basic basketball shoe design found its purpose beyond the court. The Converse One Star’s impact is substantial, despite being a relative failure on its original release. Continue reading HOW THE CONVERSE ONE STAR WAS BORN AGAIN (AND AGAIN)

FOUND FOOTAGE

Given the glut of found footage films released over the last decade (none of which touch Cannibal Holocaust for a sense of witnessing something we shouldn’t have done and, with the exception of [REC], a couple of V/H/S segments and Chronicle, mostly terrible), you might expect this footage of Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman’s former residence to conclude with the spirit of the legendary coach and inventor pissing down someone’s leg (read Kenny Moore’s excellent Bowerman and the Men of Oregon for more information on that) or making a waffle iron open and close. None of these things happen in these research videos by former Nike designer Bob Smith, but shoe nerds will love the guided tour by another Nike legend, Geoff Hollister, of Bowerman’s old house (featuring Bill’s son Tom and Nelson Farris), garage and some bonus footage regarding the creation of those iconic outsoles. This is gold.

A CHAT WITH FUTURA

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Photo by Yamandu Roos

Three things that I’m a fan of: Patta, Futura and Converse Chuck Taylors. I figure that if I’m going to be a sellout and post campaign-related bits here, it may as well be about a project that’s true to the topics we discuss here. The new Futura Chuck II (the low/Ox editions win) drops this weekend and Patta worked with Lenny to hand write translated lyrics from Dutch singer Ramses Shaffy’s 1978 hit Laat me onto 50 tees that they’re giving away with purchases of the shoes. Continue reading A CHAT WITH FUTURA

GIMME FIVE’S ARCHIVE

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It goes without saying that Michael Kopelman and Gimme Five have been essential to my career progression (and I don’t think I’m alone in being grateful to Michael either). Given the company’s admirable reticence to do nostalgia, I always thought that a few stories in British streetwear were lost and the importance of what they did was overlooked. Thanks to Gimme Five, we were first when it came to discovering a lot of brands and the Gimme Five line itself was experimenting with Champion tees, parodies and collaborations way ahead of several others. Continue reading GIMME FIVE’S ARCHIVE

MUHAMMAD ALI AT THE ‘BLACK RODEO’

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Muhammad Ali’s passing has led to numerous eulogies that I can’t hope to match, but it’s worth revisiting his visit to a black rodeo in Harlem in September 1971. As part of an event created to remind people that black cowboys, who had been whitewashed from the history books, existed, Ali rode a horse capably down 125th Street and even rode a bull, which no mater how docile it looked, was still a bull. It’s all documented in the 1972 film Black Rodeo and YouTube Jeff Kanew has uploaded the sections with the great man. On the back of his March defeat at the hands of Joe Frazier, there’s a lot of barbs directed at Joe and he tells one cocky character, “You got a fast left? Boy, I’m so fast I’d hit you ‘fore God get the news.” Can you imagine any globally recognised sports star in 2016 ever being allowed to ride a horse down a street or attempt a (potentially) bucking bronco?

WHAT ‘MY ADIDAS’ DID FOR US

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Seeing as it’s 30 years today since My Adidas was released, and the anniversary of Raising Hell was a couple of weeks ago, my friends at MR. PORTER took my mind off pondering my old age (and subsequently, ruminating on my mortality) to write a quick homage to the Run-D.M.C. adidas deal. Continue reading WHAT ‘MY ADIDAS’ DID FOR US