One collaboration I’ve not mentioned here before in all the proto industry model talk is 1990’s Stüssy i-D magazine tees. Created to commemorate the magazine’s tenth birthday alongside pieces from the likes of Simon Foxton, the shirts were sold for 15 quid via mail order. The Stüssy design was pitched to readers as a Shawn Stussy for i-D project rather than a straight-up brand collaboration and offered in white or grey. Given that the brand would take a slightly different, pared-down look, release some tribe-centric videos and host an event in Tokyo (that’s still considered a pivotal moment) the following year, it was inevitable that this project would make a splash far beyond London.
It wasn’t just the pioneering streetwear line that had a significant 1991 making grander Japanese inroads — i-D’s first Japanese incarnation was launched in September that year, lasting 16 issues. As a result, I’ve seen different versions of the shirt, which originally read “Enjoy yourself stupid amounts” on the front in that familiar hand style and included a dense list of predominantly female names on the back that includes the Queen, Sade, Lisa Stansfield, Sarah Stockbridge, Grace Jones and Wendy James. Continue reading EARLY COLLABORATION
Salutes to Hugh MacEachern and Rewind Eats the Tape for uploading these 1991 Foot Locker sale ads, with enthusiastic men in referee shirts banging on about bargains. You think trainers are a big deal now? Slicing cash off Air Jordans was enough to justify a moment in between primetime TV shows decades ago. That said, America seemed to get the good stuff that was omitted from the Brits. I never saw the grape Jordans (back before the numbers you had to just state the year as a differentiator) on sale where I lived, let alone with money off.
A few months ago I linked to some 1990 Foot Locker store visit footage from this Brazilian shop tour show, but the gems just keeps on coming via the frequently updated SHOP TOUR MEMORIAS – COMERCIAIS YouTube channel. While it isn’t English-language, the neon-accented treasures on show are pretty universal. Check these 1991 clips. The trip to A Sports is particularly impressive, with an examination of Mowabbs, a meeting with someone dressed like an Air Max 90 (“Hi Mr Shoe! Are you alright? Okay! What do you think about A Sports — great, no?”), plus a look at Starter jackets. There’s a shit ton of 1990/1991 clips below with lots of repetition, but if your eyes are peeled you’ll catch some gems. Best. YouTube channel. Ever. Excitable presenter babbling about sportswear during a golden era — no vlogger can come close. Even the soundtracks are excellent. Continue reading GOLDEN ERA STORE FOOTAGE
Big up Kyle Lilly for uploading a little slice of locally broadcast hip-hop fashion history. Video Explosion was a Yo! MTV Raps style show that, as I understand, was screened regionally from Queens. There’s a lot of great footage from the program out there, but this clip features DJ Finesse getting his Fab 5 Freddy on and visiting the Shirt Kings store in Jamaica Queens’ Coliseum Mall to interview Kasheme and Nike (this seems to be a post-Phade iteration of the business) from the crew with a giant microphone. If you haven’t already picked up the book from a couple of years back, do it before it becomes extortionately priced in specialist stores or on Amazon Marketplace — it’s an essential document of an important moment in streetwear history. An expansion into London is mentioned here and it’s something I wish I’d seen happen. You don’t see a lot of footage of the Shirt Kings store in action, even if it’s a later version, so this is very rare indeed.
I’m not sure if this footage has been on YouTube before, but it looks like some promotional Nike VHS from 1991 for, either staff training or constant play in stores. Continue reading LOSE THE TOECAP
If anything’s going to make you feel old, it’s doddering around while a younger generation wears something you were obsessed with when you were even more youthful than them. When I was 12, I wanted an all-red pair of Nikes. All burgundy, navy or green suede Fila F13s had a moment (in fact, my friend Frank’s embroidered crest adidas Forums — which went over a lot of people’s heads — tapped into that era perfectly). We loved Travel Fox, Ewing and Champion shoes (word to Roberto Muller) in block coloured suedes and never feared mustard uppers — it was a pretty defining look between 1990 and 1991, because we still seemed locked into a world of black or white with neon accents. The only way to go further was to flood a shoe, but it seemed that a lot of British buyers didn’t want to take the risk, so most Nike offerings from that era, like the Ultra Force (above) in its 1991 incarnation or the ultra-elusive other Forces (bear in mind that this was an era when Neneh Cherry would sign and give away her Solo Flights on live TV one Saturday morning) in that all red makeup were strictly import only (shouts to Scat on Bedford High Street) for us young ‘ins to stare at before they seemed to vanish after the summer of 1991’s explosion of all things monotone (down to Vikings if you were tough enough). There’s little argument that Kanye’s Nike and Louis Vuitton work and endorsement of the Balenciaga Pleated Hi-Top and ‘Independence Day’ AM90 Hyperfuse has created the new market for red footwear, but for us old folks, it brings back memories of a look that aged well. All-red Nikes represent a time when I became aware of brands, prices and the power it commanded with my peers — it’s nice to see that the window-gazing might be done electronically nowadays, but the saga is definitely repeating itself.
Huaraches have been ruined by appalling colourways and weird shapes, plus the fact they’ve been rereleased in one of the least imaginative periods in recent history. But not everybody shares that opinion. In fact, the shoes offer almost Jordan levels of traffic if you’re looking for click bait. My friends at Complex asked me to write a brief history of the shoe (excluding the pre-release situation when the shoe was scrapped) in the UK. That’s a good excuse to put that murky, lo-fi photo of the best way I ever saw the shoe worn (sans laces too) from The Face back in 1991 back up here. No time to do much of any substance on this blog today, so head over there if you want something a little longer. This nation did the shoe thing better than anyone else back in 2000. Now? Not so much.