Since its inception in 1976, BEAMS has been helping define entire dress codes. Only knowing them as serial collaborators until I visited Tokyo for the first time in the 2000s, I was staggered at just how vast their presence was in Harajuku. I don’t know if I was just being easily wowed in the humidity, but there seemed to be an entire street of BEAMS stores. Crucially, the entire product mix and presentation, from kidswear to homeware to menswear was absolutely incredible. Now, with the gift of English language accounts of Japan’s love of Americana, plus the recent POPEYE reprint, everything makes a bit more sense. Fortunately, those smedium larges and a famine when it came to XLs saved me a substantial amount of money that would have been spent on things that just about fitted but were never, ever washed because of a fear of shrinkage making me dress like I’ve had an overnight growth spurt (insert Kenneth Williams innuendo face image here). Rizzoli are putting out a book with the company called BEAMS beyond Tokyo in February next year with contributions by Sofia Coppola and Nigo. Reading the promotional text around it, the project sounds more about the company’s working and collaborative process than a straightforward history, but that sounds good to me.
Flicking through Neal Heard’s excellent A Lover’s Guide to Football Shirts you’ll see a lot of gems and many of them are Le Coq Sportif creations — the 1983 A.S. Monaco shirt with the Bally sponsorship being a great example. The joy of flipping through a book like that is seeing the curious eccentricities that players wore in front of the baying masses and realising that some designs I hated in the 1990s have aged well in their audacity, with contemporary, skin-tight, referential, remixed, tactically homaged pieces from high-profile designer lacking any of that same magic. Continue reading BRAND NUBIAN, COVENTRY, BOURNEMOUTH & CHESTER CITY
Rizzoli releases The Carhartt WIP Archives in October. As someone who grew up preoccupied with duck fabric in that shade of brown and paused Yo! MTV Raps trying to work out what the brand with the ‘C’ on the path was and who the heck made those weird half zip shirts with the monkey on the pocket, it holds a very particular place in my heart. With those vivid memories of days when I believed Carhartt and Ben Davis were just very conservative-looking hip-hop brands still etched into my psyche it was an honour to get the opportunity to contribute a little something for this book. The company’s European history is very deep indeed.
Taken from the Lo Life History
As I wait for Thirstin Howl the 3rd and Tom Gould’s Bury Me With the Lo On book I figured I’d look around for some other Polo-related gems online and the Lo Life Brand’s History section is incredible. The Lo Life clothing brand gives me mixed feelings in that I wonder if the Lo Lifers of old would have clowned any contemporaries for wearing a tribute brand the same way that Beverly Hills Polo Club gear would have gotten you crucified, but if anybody is going to make money from homaging that iconography, it may as well be Thirstin and friends, seeing as they’re key to popularising Lauren’s output in a streetwear context. Plus, I doubt that the crew saw a cent from the product that they helped sell to a local and global audience that the company itself couldn’t reach. Having kept their clippings throughout the years, the existence of a Lo Life cap back in the early 1990s as part of a student design competition is an interesting addition to their history, plus all those Source articles are in the mix too. I’d never seen the newspaper stories from 1992 back when Lo Lifes were being discussed with emphasis on gang status rather than the contents of their wardrobes, but they’re up on the site too. Go check it out HERE.
After briefly being lost in the Rizzoli publishing matrix, the UNDERCOVER book has dropped at colette ahead of its wider release in a couple of weeks. Jun Takahashi’s brand has such a deep history in connecting cultures doing the streetwear to higher fashion crossover better than pretty much any other brand hoping to bridge the gap has ever done. The book doesn’t skimp on the archive images, from invites to pieces to those Last Orgy articles that helped write the Ura-Harajuku blueprint during the early 1990s.
There’s a lot of pavement outside the gig bootleg style shirts doing the rounds right now, but I think it’s something that’s still effective in the hands of those who overstand the cultural touchstones they’re playing with Continue reading NERVOUS
If you’re here, I’ll be presumptuous — and not in that irksome clickbait “You won’t believe what…” way —and assume that you own something by Ari Marcopoulos. Ari is one of the greats, working with the Gucci’s new order as well as Supreme, and his documents of NYC skate culture are immortal. Continue reading ARI UP