Apologies for the delay in updates. In the meantime, here’s a 1989-era Champion commercial via the superb Analog Indulgence channel, plus a 1992 trip to Dom’s Outdoor Outfitters in Livermore from Keith Richardson and a 1995 visit to Bay Ridge Brooklyn’s Legends Sporting Goods. It’s good to see that both Dom’s and Legends are still very much in business, unlike most of the mum and dad spots that only exist via YouTube sightings and old newspaper ads. Normal bi-weekly business should resume once this jet lag is done and dusted.
Tommy Boy’s promo Carhartt jackets are part of hip-hop fashion lore by now, but their role in preempting this whole contemporary brand orgy bears repeating. Those late 1991/early 1992 pieces probably weren’t the first streetwear collaboration (after all, pretty much all proto-streetwear seemed to engage in what would be considered a collab in current terms), but they set a standard with that three-way Shawn Stussy/Carhartt/Tommy Boy credible brand of the time teamup. Whether it was ever officially sanctioned by Carhartt or whether it’s technically a Stüssy project have never been made entirely clear (incidentally, seeing as GFS got the Phillies Blunt co-sign, wasn’t that a collaboration in itself?). What is known is that Tommy Boy marketing head Albee Ragusa was a Stüssy Tribe member and he headed up the Carhartt pieces as well as 1992’s merch line with Rock Embassy. After starting with 800 promo-only pieces, an Active Jacket variation of the coats went to retail a little later, accompanied by a set of baseball caps with Shawn’s distinctive hand style on them too (from memory, Danny Boy and DJ Lethal of House of Pain rocked the headwear) to coincide with a rise in hip-hop related fashion brands. In an era where music merch constantly crosses over with assistance from streetwear heads, this seems a lot more considered than another tinpot metal homage.
To read old issues of The Source is to be assailed by experiments in big brands targeting an inner-city audience, amazing album promo copywriting, earnest editorials and none-more-1990s moments, but crucially the magazine had an opinion that it was happy to put to work and some of the writing is fantastic. Catching early 1990s for 1.95 in places where the Comag distribution felt the magazine belonged was integral to making me want to write. The sportswear elements of the magazine were an education in themselves, despite clearly being ad-money driven rather than personal picks. A 1992 Rap City segment caught the publication’s staff at the Manhattan offices far ahead of the infamous late 1994 rebellion over those high-mic ratings for The Almighty RSO. Senior editor Chris Wilder sees white folks taking black culture like they did rock and roll — what would follow a couple of decades down the line makes his statements extra prophetical. While it only includes brief footage of the editorial process at work, it’s still a nice little time capsule of a time when a high rating could actually sell units and a rapper shifting around 80k considered a colossal flop. Big up Hias74 for uploading this as well as plenty of other Canadian TV rap-centric gems.
Additionally, that Shawn Stussy Beats 1 show with Mike D is a good primer on the sonic influences behind that pioneering street and surfwear and this uncut SHOWstudio chat with photographer Mark Lebon is some strong background on that original Buffalo era of fashion and streetwear’s union too.
Sorry, I couldn’t help it. I had to make a fourth return to SHOP TOUR CANAL OFICIAL and their abundance of 1990s’ retail wanders. You can’t fake this era of sport shops and those shelves are ripe with masterpieces that everyone took for granted at the time. Even the budget takedown crap has turned to gold. This is the kind of thing that makes YouTube better than any terrestrial or cable channel. It’s 1992 and 1994 embodied in a few minutes of grainy camerawork and excitable chat, but alas, A Sports USA of 148 E Flagler St, Miami is apparently a luggage shop nowadays. Continue reading MORE STORE
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
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.
With it being the three-year (which has flown by, as if to remind me how much I’m wasting my life) anniversary of the legendary MCA’s passing early last week, it seemed relevant to have a hunt for something with a Beastie connection. The House of Style interview with Adrock and Mike-D from June 1992 is fairly well documented, but I hadn’t seen the full version of the interview before. I’ve mentioned it here before at some point, but the Porkys1982 YouTube account is one of the very best channels dedicated to a band, and they upped a near 10-minute long version of a Check Your Head era chat about X-Large (in which nobody seems to have told the boys that the Gazelle preempts the Campus) and a certain era of clothing that resonates with them. It’s a great accompaniment to the MTV Sports appearance from the same year, Adrock’s 1995 Valentine’s shopping trip, the 1994 X-Girl fashion show segment, or the 1995 X-Girl film that Nowness unearthed back in 2013 (Kim Gordon’s Girl in a Band has some good background on X-Girl too). This Pump It Up interview is also something I hadn’t stumbled upon before. It’s important that the whole Beastie movement’s subcultural role is reiterated time and time again, but it’s also worth underlining how important they were in defining streetwear as we know it now.
On that mid 1990s note, a shoe I saw then completely lost track of has made a reappearance on shoe-selling site, Klekt. I’m not down with blowing up eBay auctions because it’s ungentlemanly, but I’m not sure what the unspoken rules are with Klekt. The Friends SMU of the Air Edge completes the trinity (I know there’s actually more — like the gear created for the Martin cast — but trinity just sounds nice) of Nike TV specials that Nike created in the mid 1990s. The Nike Binford for Home Improvement cast and crew and the Air Seinfeld version of the GTS for Seinfeld cast and crew aren’t as nice as the 2nd Season edition of the Edge specifically for friends of Friends in 1995, even if Friends and Home Improvement are trash compared to Jerry and company’s antics. This is extraordinarily rare. A gentleman by the name of Joe is currently taking offers for these.