Apologies for the singular update this week. Here’s a quick Fila-centric filler piece. This commercial from 1997 (when those Grant Hill and Jerry Stackhouse endorsements had the brand up there as a contender rather than a heritage line) for the then popular Just For Feet chain (which had expanded significantly at that moment in time) with its “Where Your 13th Pair is Free!” promotion. By 2004, Just For Feet was no more and Fila was largely out of action as a premium brand, but at least we’ve got this alliteration riddled promo piece uploaded by Tuck Watts — “FIND FANTASTIC FINER FILA FOOTWEAR FOR FAR FEWER FUNDS”
Stress magazine is the hip-hop magazine that doesn’t get as shouted out as it should be. Completing a quartet of Tower Records buy-on-sights with On The Go, Mass Appeal and Ego Trip, KET and the team’s labour of love had a nicely politicised side when The Source seemed to let that angle slide more than a little. The annual Black August events they sponsored in aid of political prisoners and freedom fighters (an event that’s still ongoing) showcased an interesting collection of intelligent artists. Stress ran from 1996 to the early 2000s (did it get beyond issue #25?) and this Unkut interview with KET that dates back almost a decade is a lot of real-talk on the publishing process. In December 1997, the magazine “Made from the best stuff in NY” ran several interesting articles, including a brief dual timeline of Gucci and Versace (this was the close of the year when Gianni was murdered) by Jessica Green. It’s certainly not the very best thing from this project’s run, but for that mention of a bizarre 1996 Versace hosted rap themed party where pretzels were handed out to evoke a hip-hop ambiance, it stuck in my mind throughout the years. And has there ever been a citation for the Tom Ford “I design for the urban person…” quote that’s used in it?
I never noticed this compilation of Zoom Air adverts from 1997 on YouTube before — a star-studded collection of athletes in ‘Accepting Your Super Human Speed’ therapy group — that includes Gail Devers wearing the Zoom Spiridon alongside fellow endorsee Michael Johnson. 20 years later, the Spiridon seems to have found an audience again, after a spell in sale rack purgatory. On that subject, the recent boom in popularity when it comes to Errolson and the NikeLab team’s ACG reboot proves that simply resurrecting the old stuff was a smart move. When it game to marketing, the very nature of that division put it in a strange rustic-tech rocky terrain where jock boasting, Futura sloganeering and a collision of rough-hewn neon aesthetics all collided to create a fair few gems promoting some product that is probably better loved in 2017 than it was appreciated commercially on its debut. Old All Conditions Gear commercials and in-store videos were a curious bunch that included great stuff like a Shane MacGowan Sinatra cover and an eccentric Champs one that concludes with an allusion to possible sexual assault at the hands of hillbillies. Continue reading ACCEPTING YOUR SUPER HUMAN SPEED
I haven’t got a great deal to write today, but the LuckStaPosse YouTube account has a couple of gems in Japanese like a minute of UNDERCOVER’s A/W 97/98 show and this Harajuku 1997 footage of the folks gathering to buy some goro’s and some chats with UNDERCOVER and BAPE clad NOWHERE visitors is pretty interesting too. Remember when we used to marvel at a Tokyo streetwear consumer’s willingness to queue? We’re all at it now. The rumours of a goro’s webstore feel like the end of the last real-world only experience in this world.
For a while I was convinced that I imagined that Donald Trump appeared in a Nike commercial in the late 1990, and the sheer volume of great campaigns during the 1990s didn’t make ascertaining which ad any easier. But, thanks to YouTube (big up mercatfat), I was reminded that it was part of the 1997/98 era Fun Police series with the likes of Kevin Garnett, Tim Hardaway and Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Damon Stoudamire and knowingly fun-free characters like Cherokee Parks. Promoting a series of memorably eccentric Zoom-assisted silhouettes, one spot includes a one line speaking role by the future president-elect himself. Before you take those red boxes into the back garden ready to set them alight, chill — this was when Trump was seen as a New York mascot of sorts (and back then, without the internet, it was easier to forget that this was around the time he seemed to switch from Democrat to Republican, or that just eight years prior, he demanded the execution of five wrongfully accused young black men — including a boy of just 15), appearing in everything, from Home Alone 2 to The Nanny to Sex and the City, as well as ads for Pizza Hut, Oreo and McDonald’s. And by turning him into this larger-than-life caricature of capitalism, we all created a monster. But 20 years ago, the events of this coming Friday seemed even more improbable as a young boy left alone in New York thwarting the same duo of bumbling crooks he’d defeated before in a completely different city.
I still don’t think that there’s enough detail online regarding Russell Waterman and Sofia Prantera’s Holmes brand. The predecessor to the seminal Silas line ran from around 1994 to 1998 before its successor took over. Shifting from intelligent printed pieces to knitwear, fleeces, skirts and outerwear, this British skatewear label with superior men and women’s offerings took influence from an array of American and European staples was the blueprint for what causes some queues in the modern age. Despite this 1997 i-D magazine feature (a perfect example of how far the brand had evolved since its inception), illustrated by regular visual partner James Jarvis, being very much of its time, Holmes (which, according to one old 1994 feature in the equally defunct Select, was allegedly named after legendary cinematic swordsman John Holmes) was far, far, far ahead of its time in experimenting with the perimeters of where Slam City-centric clothing could be taken and sending it in all kinds of directions without losing focus. Rarely discussed, but extremely important.
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 designers lacking any of that same magic. Continue reading BRAND NUBIAN, COVENTRY, BOURNEMOUTH & CHESTER CITY