Tag Archives: 2002

MARSEILLE 2002

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I see a lot of photo shoots that feature scowling people in sportswear standing near housing estates. It’s the formula that superseded men dressed like 1940s train drivers in parks for look books, but I’ve never seen it done better post-millennium than with french photographer Patrick Cariou’s Marseillais Du Nord shoot for the winter 2002 issue of THE FADER. Continue reading MARSEILLE 2002

LONDON

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A lot of brands could benefit from walking before they run and while I always want to celebrate homegrown organisations here, I rarely get the sense that there’s anything behind the brand to differentiate it from the rest when I get emails about new lines. That’s because I’m still judging things by the standards that Gimme 5, maharishi and Slam City set (and there’s a whole book — or at least a booklet — to be written on Duffer’s contribution and legacy). Shouts to Trapstar, Grind London and Y’OH (currently on hiatus) for creating brands with a sense of substance and none of the thirst that deads a brand from the offset — every brand I ever loved as a kid didn’t even seem to want my business and that was appealing to me. it still appeals.

Personable, transparent, super-social, heavily PR’d wannabe Supremes miss the point of why Supreme built foundations that can sustain waves of hype that could kill a lesser brand — crucially they have a skate heritage. If you’re making streetwear for streetwear’s sake without any subculture at the core other than a quick blog buck from the slew of British sites who’ll post any old shit then you’d better be making the best tees, hats and sweats ever. Most aren’t. Having said that, the blokes behind brands like Hype are almost certainly richer than the people behind interesting product, so credibility as we knew it back in the day might be an archaic concept.

Palace is interesting in that it’s rooted in the same spirit as Slam City spinoffs like Silas (given the folks involved, it’s practically a sequel), but it seems to have hit multiple audiences without compromising, as that triangle is on nearly every moodboard and presentation I’ve seen in the last year in one way or another. Shouts to Gareth and Lev for that one — jaded old farts like me love what they’ve created and so does that lucrative 16-19 year old consumer that brands are baffled by right now. I still think that the handful of alpha kids who know have an innate understanding of whether a brand is begging it by trying to bamboozle them with Tumblr-sourced skulls and galaxy patterns or whether a brand — or the folks who run it — have a certain subcultural provenance. Maybe I’m deluded.

To see Palace rise from a collective putting out book reviews, tees and clips to something that brands —from high street to high-end lines — want a bit of in a few years is phenomenal. If Relax ran the classic (shouts to Mr. Chris Law) October 2002 Slam City feature now, that diagram (above) would probably only be slightly different (for starters, TONITE, Aries and Palace would be there). It’s unhealthy to live with two feet in he past, but I think it’s always good to get retrospective in order to understand why Slam is such an important part of our culture and it’s an institution that’s key to appreciating the importance of skateboarding as a central force in creating a market for daft printed tees in this grey climate of ours.

The Palace Christmas Pop-Off opens this Friday at 100 Shoreditch High Street (an address that seems to place it within the Ace Hotel space) and the flyer promises nothing but awesome things rather than just garms, hardware and shoes — “a new silver board that makes you skate faster”, “hyper-printing techniques” we haven’t seen before and bobble hats, plus the new Palace Reebok project are all going to be there. This will be popular.

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THE GENUINE ARTICLE(S)

This blog commenced as an outlet for non-sneaker babble, but as time goes by, I find myself drifting in and out of obsession with pleather uppers and rubber soles. At present, I’m fiending for the J Crew New Balance 1400 and the Nike ACG Lunar Macleay. As in, really fiending for them—not finding myself attracted to the next best thing because the competition is so aesthetically displeasing, like 2:59am in a provincial nightclub. They will be mine. So consider this post a celebration of a purer approach to sports footwear.

Lately —and this is certainly no bad thing—I’ve spotted more and more loving tributes to sports shoes of old and a throwback to a more genteel time of footwear preoccupation. While there’s a part of my mind that wants to fill the information gaps on everything from my teenage years, I try to gag that voice for fear of slipping into regression. However, here was a point a short while back, when the shelves heaved with trainers self-consciously trying not to look like trainers and appalling hybrids. Brands were hopping aboard with “top-tier” collaboration “programmes” who just weren’t very credible the first time around. Everything seemed to implode. No wonder suede brogues made a reappearance in the most unlikely of sportswear-centric circles.

Fortunately, common sense prevailed and some good bits and pieces seemed to drop without the ruinous gaggle of pre-release shit that makes us hate product before we’ve ever physically felt it. I maintain that the darkest moment for fanboys and girls was awareness of collector culture and an attempt to harness that love with colours and fabrics rather than innovation and brand-new product. It’s refreshing that even ‘INVENTORY’—that perfect-bound periodical clutched by the stern-faced neo-hype massive maintains a very strong sneaker page that’s a good continuation of h(y)r’s original online magazine output.

Just as camo is back (and while I’m not paying £65 for a Champion repro tee I need a Real McCoys Tiger print jacket), the sneaker seems to have made another of its cyclical returns, and the blog realm is currently reflecting this. Want to know why? Because sauntering around with a tote bag rocking a cardi and sensible shoes is something we’re destined to do in our twilight years.

Of course, we oldies need to smarten up, but I propose we delay the inevitable slide into utterly sensible for a short while to come and dig out the articles that weren’t too tainted by the cynicism that retrospective shoe slurry can fuel. Complete crap can fuel negativity as if it was biomass, so I propose you kick back and read Bobbito’s ‘Confessions of a Sneaker Addict’ from May 1991’s ‘The Source’—reading it now, it’s pretty basic, given the electronic access to information we’ve long been exposed to, but those AF1s with a gold swoosh are no joke. Listening to nearly five hours of Stretch and Bobbito’s reunion radio show makes getting reacquainted with one of the original collector articles courtesy of Kool Bob extra timely.

I just finished writing a piece that’s a hefty love letter to the greatest period for footwear for another source and my mind is aching, hence the brief length of this entry. As an extra bonus, I chucked in the ‘Mass Appeal’ adidas basketball article from spring 2002 too—it’s not as enlightening as the phenomenal ‘Three is the Magic Number’ adi history from issue three of ‘Grand Royal’ (watch this space), but I don’t care much for the brand’s non-basketball output, so some of the imagery is priceless.