My friends at Being Hunted (whose original site is the reason this blog exists) let me edit a little book for GORE-TEX that’s the result of some conversations with Virgil Abloh, Errolson Hugh, Andrew Bunney, Erman at adidas and some other good folks. Six Stories of GORE-TEX Products Vol. 2 is the follow-up to the GORE-TEX Japan book from a couple of years back. I’m assuming that it’s just a promo ting for partners and staffers, so I have no idea where you can get it from, but there’s more images over at Hypebeast. As a longtime fan of the brand, this was another wish list entry ticked off.
I usually don’t knowingly put things here that are covered by bigger, better sites, but I love ACRONYM®’s new video more than anything else I’ve seen from a brand this year. In recent years Errolson and the team have made outerwear into a martial art, and had clothing included in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on PlayStation and Xbox. So how do you top that? Continue reading GORE-TEX DYSTOPIA
Every time I’m looking for good quality imagery of golden era (2001-2005) grime style, it becomes clear that Ewen Spencer and RWD’s Simon Wheatly were some of the few photographers who took the scene seriously enough to document it. I reckon the majority were scared that they’d get taxed for their camera and Nokia 7600. That, plus a sense that early 2000s sportswear and oversized streetwear would never be something to get nostalgic about — especially with the “chav” tag being hurled around, and a tabloid-fuelled folk panic when it came to hooded sweatshirts at a point where people were in fear of getting slapped in public and recorded on a grainy phone video, with their ordeal shared on playgrounds across the country. It seems like yesterday, which is why I’ve always been perplexed that there isn’t an abundance of imagery online. Grime’s boom time preempts online’s total reign over print and it exploded and dipped before the iPhone era. Now grime is a big deal again (So Solid deserve a lot of retrospective respect for paving a way — last year, a North Face store I visited a few times in Tokyo seemed to be ahead of the curve, with Asher D, Romeo and company inexplicably on full blast), with those who never fully shook off their roots ready to make some coin. Fortunately, those who took the shots are getting their due alongside the cast of characters who called the shots. Ewen Spencer’s Open Mic is a great book and it’s 10 years old this year, so he printed 500 copies of a follow-up to celebrate that anniversary. Expanding interviews (the insight from Lord of the Mics’ Ratty is always welcome) from last year’s Channel 4 documentary in association with Dazed, there’s some bonus photos in there too. Go get Open Mic Vol.2 from right here and swot up so you can say you were into it from day when Kanye drops that inevitable BBK connected track.
Regardless of whether you have the slightest interest in genre moviemaking, you’ve ever worked on a project and seen it go to hell on so many levels that you just want to wander off into the wilderness to sulk, you’ll be able to identify with director Richard Stanley (I’m guessing that you might have seen Hardware and/or Dust Devil if you found yourself here — if not, they’re well worth watching). Full disclosure — I’m a huge fan of John Frankenheimer’s work and I like the 1996 adaptation of the Island of Dr. Moreau a lot. I may be the only person to ever say that, but the sense of threat, the claustrophobia in that jungle set, the makeup and the brutal nature of it make it a gem as far as I’m concerned — David Thlewis is great in his lead role and Marlon Brando is particularly peculiar in this one (though it’s not quite Missouri Breaks levels of eccentricity). I watched it having read shitty reviews because of a colossal crush on Fairuza Balk that had me watching her flicks unconditionally, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Despite being the film’s one fan, I know that there was a better version planned under Stanley’s direction and tales abound over the decades regarding the chaos around the shoot — tropical storms, plus the perfect storm of double-trouble egos in casting both Brando and Val Kilmer.
In the troubled production documentary stakes, David Gregory’s Lost Soul: the Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau is up there with the superb Overnight, the uncut Wreckage and Rage: the Making of Alien3 and Heart of Darkness: a Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (in one colossal coincidence, it transpires that Stanley’s grandfather is Sir Henry Morton Stanley — an explorer believed to be the inspiration for Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, as reinterpreted by Brando in Apocalypse Now). Lost Souls also joins Jodorowsky’s Dune (as with …Dr. Moreau I love the resulting Lynch film, regardless of flop status) in the compelling explorations of the greatest films that never were. Worth watching for Graham Humphrey’s concept art alone, this film is sad, compelling viewing and an education on the way a studio like New Line was operating in the mid 1990s. It’s a shame that Thlewis’ name isn’t even mentioned (he wrote his own 60-page account of filming that I’ve been trying to hunt down for the last 8 years), there’s no Val Kilmer interview, and Frankenheimer passed away 13 years ago (had he been willing to talk about the experience, it would almost certainly have been quotable after quotable). Lost Soul is screening sporadically at the moment and it’s also available via VOD on Vimeo if you’re residing Stateside (or know how to make your browser think you are). Highly recommended.
Mr. Tom Scott put me onto this tremendous chat with William Gibson about clothes on Rawr Denim, wherein Gibson demonstrates an enviable knowledge of vintage and contemporary apparel, and reveals just how much of an ACRONYM fanboy he is. I liked the mention of “gray man” dressing to stay unseen — a survival and security term that represents the anti-flash polar opposite of peacocking for a mode of everyday camouflage. To be deliberately nondescript apparently requires a fair amount of thought, and isn’t just about chucking on a Superdry jacket and a top from Next.
I like this Bored of Southsea Stone Island-inspired graphic. I’ve heard a fair amount of gripes from associates regarding the love that Osti’s output is getting after the Supreme project, but hasn’t the brand always been aspirational? Do people shell out on expensive tech outerwear to wear it ironically? Still, most of the stuff I saw as a kid was very fake, and I was never an Armani Jeans kind of guy. Some skaters came up idolising Stoney, but I get the impression that a fair amount also experienced a fair amount of hassle from the kind of guys who donned the compass. Given Bored’s proximity to Pompey’s ground, it’s safe to say that the team have seen their fair share over the years.
There’s too much nostalgia on this blog right now. I blame the history lessons I’ve been working on, but I can always trust Errolson and Michaela Sachenbacher’s Acronym vision, the Errolson-helmed Stone Island Shadow Project to look ahead rather than picking through the past. Both lines have videos doing the internet rounds right now, demonstrating that technical apparel can be its own martial art (I wish there was a class near me teaching Acronymjutsu, with a John Kreece type in a GT-J27PL hardshell yelling about mercy ) — these promos always make other shoots and videos for other lines look unappealingly static, while cutting through the cliches of presenting everyday performance as a tech-Mumford affair. I like my GORE-TEX garms displayed with the requisite balance of the clinical and the kinetic. But “standard” Stone Island is dong a great job of taking consumers through their individual processes — have you wondered why a Raso Hand Painted Camo Field Jacket will run you over a grand? Six-minutes edit of a lengthy set of steps from a simple-looking military grade cotton to the final, unique distressed-done-right appearance is showcased in the video above. Probably best not to try it yourself at home, because hurling corrosive paste on a bit of army surplus would probably lead to injury or breathing difficulties. It’s good to see actual innovation at work.
The new issue of Business of Fashion brought this interview with Karl Lagerfeld to my attention — Karl might be a veritable production line of soundbites whenever someone hits record on the iPhone, but he excels with this one, “I want to know everything. I go to bookshops nearly every day. You have to be your own Google. I have an unbelievable visual memory. I can remember everything and that’s very important…” I suspect that approach to research is the key to the appeal of Acronym and the longevity of Stone Island.
Twitter is swarming with links to Robin Williams tributes, and with good reason — the handful of people I know who met him found him to be a class act and it’s a testament to his versatility that while I never found his standup particularly side-splitting, he was one of the ultimate actors when the script was right, as was the case with Terry Gilliam’s The Fisher King and Bobcat Goldthwait’s World’s Greatest Dad. Williams was a man with an inclination toward some of the brands and cultures discussed here — FTC (his local spot), Slam City and Supreme were all apparently regular haunts and the BAPE and Viotech combo has become a message board staple.
Some ill-informed characters would jeer at that gaudy combo a few years back and discuss it as if it was the death knell for those brands, but the fact is, Williams was most likely on it before it hit the radar of a new breed of cynics. Williams was even up on Acronym, picking up pieces from San Fran’s Darkside Initiative store. He was up on Raf Simons shoes back in 2009 too. Now, if a semi celebrity wears some easy-to-find Jordan IIIs, the internet starts quaking — back in the mid 2000s, this was unique. Between that , the video game obsession and Questlove’s tale of an encounter that indicates that he might have been a hip-hop fanatic too. There’s too many layers and degrees of separation to even begin to dissect here, but his loss is a tragedy.
In these situations, I clocked a few of the social media voices of unreason complaining that we mourn celebrities more than we do victims en masse in a war zone — that’s because it’s tough to fully grieve when there’s no face to put to the deceased and, given his admirable work ethic, Williams’ mug was a familiar sight. The sad reality for the complainers is that some poor kid thousands of miles away that strayed onto a landmine wasn’t in Fast & Furious 6 or Jumanji. It’s human nature. Are the going to start picketing our uncles’ funerals next because we’re not getting angry enough about Syria? Familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt We’ve been given the emotional depth to be upset about both things.
But anyway, forget all the sentiment — the image above from 1990 (jacked from Getty and the LIFE archives), around the Cadillac Man era in Williams’ career, wearing the GORE-TEX North Face TransAntarctica coat indicates that, long before he got himself an Acronym, he understood the power of great outerwear. Robin Williams was unique on every level and he was doing the brands long before the blogs too.
If you never got a copy of the Nike Genealogy of Innovation book from the project I worked on and your browser is too weedy to look at the website, here’s a video that the good people of Golden Wolf put together that animates 200 Nike shoes from 1972 to 2014 in chronological order. Crazy that the lists I was writing in iPhone Notes during a train journey ended up looking like this — it looks like the inside of my mind.
I love what the Acronym brand stands for — defiantly progressive during a decade of staring back, never cheap, but (I’m guessing) not the most profitable of enterprises due to a zero-compromise approach to design which defiantly incorporates everything that a man in a suit and tie (rather than an overbuilt yet ultra lightweight asymmetric zipping GORE-TEX shell) would demand removed. Season after season, their videos have been as much a highlight as the product, with wearing the clothes becoming its own martial art — Acronymjutsu. Errolson’s graceful way with those straps, accessories has been the ultimate moving lookbook since he broke out the Blade II soundtrack for that ’04, realmadHECTIC affiliated promo. The VHS fuzz and Blade Runner reference on the last showcase was good, but Errolson being joined by director Ken-Tonio Yamamoto mid-way to a sample from Sydney Pollack’s The Yakuza has made other Vimeos from brands trying to dress up gear look even lamer. The Yakuza has a place in my heart because my dad taped it for me back in the day and it imprinted finger-cutting, honourable goon stereotypes of Tokyo’s underworld into my mind at a fairly early age, with the soundtrack by Dave Grusin (who, in his career, was sampled many times — the best being Biggie’s Everyday Struggle) and tremendous opening titles. It aged well too. In subsequent years, Ridley Scott’s Black Rain would do the culture clash a little more crudely to warp me some more and when I finally got to see Kinji Fukasaku‘s Hiroshima-based Battles Without Honor and Humanity series, I got a little more insight into that thing of theirs. Then Chris D’s 800-page Gun and Sword (highly, highly recommended to my fellow inquisitive weirdos), an encyclopedia of the Japanese gangster genre, opened up a whole new world (cue the song from Aladdin) for me. But, as per usual, I digress — Acronym have the best lookbooks out there right now. Salutes to Errolson Hugh, Michaela Sachenbacher and Ken-Tonio Yamammoto. Check out the tech specs here.
I spoke to Supreme HNIC James Jebbia for issue five of Hypebeast Magazine. Don’t expect a sprawling conversation — from an informative one-hour+ chat we settled at about 1,500 words. When it comes to putting an interview on paper, James speaks with his brand, but there’s some jewels in there and it all looks pretty good.