Tag Archives: 1996

1996

The internet just keeps spitting out gems. Kyle Lilly upped another chunk of NYC public access show Video Explosion’s coverage of a 1996 Vibe Magazine and Def Jam party. With DJ Finesse chatting with Mic Geronimo, Charles Oakley and the mighty DJ Red Alert (wearing this incredible Odd Squad promo t-shirt for a night out), plus (a grainy) umlaut-era Jaÿ-Z with Mary and Foxy live on stage (where did I leave my Nutty Professor cassette?), it captures a transitional point for hip-hop. Half a year later, Jay would command a very different status in the city.

RAIN

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Back in summer 1996, an Oasis shoot in Arena Homme+ by Peter Robathan showed that, long before Liam did the cod-mod Pretty Green thing, he had a lot of style when it came to outerwear, while Noel has always understood the power of a good coat. Rain was rooted in the north’s inclement weather and the duality of the siblings. Liam opted for Lefthand, Donna Karan and Hugo while Noel gravitated towards Polo Sport and Kenzo. 20 years on, this Ralph (“coat £165 by Polo Sport Ralph Lauren”) is still a highlight. Trips to Bicester to get this one that Christmas yielded nothing. Continue reading RAIN

LEGENDS ON PAPER

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I don’t know whether it’s heartening that I frequently re-read longford pieces online and wish that I had a paper hard copy, or whether I’m just a total luddite. Caroline Rothstein’s Legends Never Die essay on the cast of Kids and their fates post-1995 is almost three years old, but I think it’s one of the best articles on the topic ever. I wish there were other articles of similar calibre on topics connected to “street culture”, but beyond the occasional FADER piece, I haven’t read anything of equal quality lately. Continue reading LEGENDS ON PAPER

AIR JORDAN MYSTERIES

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The original 1996 catalogue image

What a time to be a Jordan XI Low fan. I’m not sure I’d ever seen Tinker talk about this design until Nike News upped a piece on it recently, plus fellow fan of this shoe, Ben Berry wrote a nice piece for Finish Line on the topic of the mysterious use of I.E. because like me, he doesn’t buy that story about it standing for “International Edition” at all. Continue reading AIR JORDAN MYSTERIES

MENDING A RIFT

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Given the pandemonium around the latest Supreme season’s offerings, it seems like a good time to look at some lesser-discussed pieces on the brand. The trouble with the internet is that most of the folks who were first seem to have vanished, taken down their sites or simply left behind by their early 2000s lack of search engine savvy. Continue reading MENDING A RIFT

WHITE

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A while ago I was involved in some pitch for a book about the history and cultural relevance of the white tee. During some initial research, and labouring under the misapprehension that no book had ever been written solely on the topic, I found that not only did The White T by Alice Harris preempt our plan by 15 years, but I’d bought a copy on the cheap and forgot it ever existed. The moral of the story? Google harder before you get that presentation underway. Published in 1996, Harris’s book is decent, with some good archive imagery from the garment’s military issue early days all the way up to the 1990s, plenty of celebrity sightings and its place in gay and straight subcultures. The whole tabula rasa nature of white cotton shirts means there’s plenty of space to explore, but on its heavily stylised pages, The White T covers the key topics. With some proceeds going to GMHC and an intro by Giorgio Armani, who professes to be a white tee fanatic, this was a well publicised release in its day. I still managed to blank its existence from my mind. If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time. you’ll know about my respect for the mass-produced, non-nostalgia of the Costco Kirkland six-pack — between this book, some Japanese publications from the Lightning team and that time Dem Franchise Boyz reviewed tall tees for Vibe long before hemlines got wild, that’s as much a primer as you’ll need. The world doesn’t need another effort on the shelves.

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RESELLERS

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The world of footwear reselling is nothing new. People act like it was invented last week and while the Dunk played a heavy role in resell as we know it, it actually pre-empts the SB. Between 1996 and 1998, local newspapers in the USA were scattered with tales of the goldmine sitting in Americans’ attics, as Japanese kids were willing to spend big on their old shoes. In the mid 1990s, Japan had the shoe boom that never seemed to hit the western world until around half a decade later. The Nike Air Max 95’s role in this was substantial (the Jordan XI played a role too) with the shoe selling out and becoming one of the first shoes beyond the Jordan I or made in France Superstars I ever heard silly resell prices quoted for (though X-Large and Acupuncture were selling all things old school for a fair amount — and the hiked price on obscurities was an age-old phenomenon). In fact, a spate of Japanese AM95 (and, as I recall, AM97) robberies in Osaka even got column inches.

Post AM95 there seemed to be a surge in interest in AJ1s, Terminators, Pythons and mid 1980s basketball, but around 1997/98, the Dunk was the most sought after. That led to the sumo ads (sorry, no Force, Flight, Pegasus, Nike Air, Triax or Zoom — an indicator as to what was hot in Tokyo that year) that did the rounds urging small-town Americans to have a dig and make some money. Above, you can see another example of those ads, via the Grand Rapids-based Small Earth company. I’ve thrown a scattering of the column inches of the time, including a Michigan-based newspaper’s account of the far eastern popularity of their university’s colours on the Dunk.

The documentation of this phenomenon was a little warning (including accounts of unwary owners digging out old Daybreaks, Legends and French-made Concords to make a quick buck, plus Japanese collectors’ ability to spot the difference between 1985 Jordan Is and 1994 ones) about the hype to come, but it’s little surprise that some shelves and lofts were probably dry on the deadstock side of things once America realised it wanted to stock up on colourways too. Stop acting like this is a contemporary phenomenon.

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(Image of the Small Earth owners from the Cincinatti Enquirer)