Tag Archives: air max 95

IDEAS

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Little to report this evening other than my excitement at the impending Massimo Osti Archive exhibition in east London later in the month from Jacket Required and the gents from Proper magazine. I’m not sure that it coincides with the actual reprint, but it definitely coincides with the news that the Ideas From Massimo Osti book is getting a reissue very soon, with extra content to reward everybody who was late to the party and punish the keen. Still, I’d be happy to keep another copy for emergency purposes. If you’re UK-based, this might be worth whatever the % increase in travel fare was this year. Continue reading IDEAS

ROCK STAR FOOTWEAR

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Late last week, Twitter was awash with incredulous reactions to commentators who were mostly social media comedians claiming that Kanye West had put Macca on with his out-of-nowhere track, Only One. This is because click baiters picked up on the tweets in question minus the context of their timelines, and because many Paul McCartney fans are often fundamentalists who can’t fathom that anyone into hip-hop could utilise sarcasm or a deadpan joke. After scanning conversations, it became apparent a couple of people genuinely did seem to be oblivious to McCartney’s work. As somebody who’s barely interested in the Beatles (though in Paul’s defence I prefer Jet to most of his old band’s work) because of the preciousness around them, the silly horns and their influence on some right old shit, I envy them and respect them as the unsuspecting nemesis of the old order. I’m more likely to listen to Guess Who’s Back or Two Words than Yesterday and what I liked about one of my favourite Beatles recordings (Phil Spector’s production on Let It Be) was what McCartney hated about it. He’s undeniably talented though and, like many other rich white rock stars, his Nike game was ahead of its time.

You folks associating Beatles with Tretorns (Lennon wore the Stan Smith in black and white nicely though) are missing the stranger stuff — Paul rocked Footscapes several years ago too (as the image above, right-clicked from the glory days of the CT forum attests). I know that ol’ Slowhand, Enoch Powell-loving Eric Clapton, was on Footscapes early too — did Clapton introduce Paul to them? Was it during a Japanese tour? I’ve never fully known. Even Cliff Richard, renowned square, was on a bus full of honeys with a pair of Jordan IVs on his feet back in 1989, Steven Tyler wore all kinds of rare neoprene runners during the late 1980s and early 1990s, and we know that Mick Jagger has a pair of Kid Robot AM1s in his stash somewhere. I’m surprised that a McCartney Nike SMU hasn’t made an appearance (maybe it’s down to that 1987 Apple Records Revolution ad beef?) yet, seeing as Rod Stewart, Elton John, Frank Zappa, Devo and Jefferson Starship all had some shoes made for them. Even Clapton got a couple of Nikes — the Presto from 2001 and the mysterious Air Max 95 (check out that Nike plane’s markings too) with his logo on the tongue. All that was before Kanye got his 180s, and it was way ahead of the Yeezy. Beyond the mansions, the royalties and owning their masters, even when they’re not trying, these ageing rock stars have a better inadvertent trainer collection too.

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)

MORE READING MATTER

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I generally don’t take product for paragraphs on this blog, but if anyone wants to send me books or magazines that are good it’ll save me some cash and I might up them here. I spend way too much money on reading matter and there’s some prospective greatness in the pipeline — Enjoy the Experience about private press vinyl covers drops on Record Store Day via Sinecure and it’s clearly necessary, with a limited edition version available on the publisher’s site. Earnest strangeness in its most irony-free form is the best kind of strange. Nina and Cieron’s What We Wore project is gathering true British style and error since the 1950s, with a book dropping next year that will be the antidote to simplified notions of sub-cultural style.

Everyone I ever see in iconic images of mods, rockers, teds, casuals and the rest seem to get it right — I want to see the sartorial misfires, tryhards and those who couldn’t afford the right stuff but had a go anyway. That’s what helped shift Spliffy garms — when you’re surrounded by style struggle, bad becomes good. Good books on sports footwear that aren’t Japanese language are thin on the ground — after the reprint of Bobbito’s Where’d You Get Those? at the end of the year, Slam Kicks: Basketball Sneakers That Changed the Game drops in February 2014, written by Slam’s Ben Osbourne and Scoop Jackson. I’ve wanted a sequel to Sole Provider for a while, so this could fill that bookshelf gap. In the meantime, go and pick up the Gonz issue of Huck, because pretty much everything in it is good.

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I have no idea what the story behind these Cole Haan wingtips with Air Max 2013 technology is, but pebbled leather and speckles kind of works. Is this some response to the Prada Levitate’s AM97-esque look (Edit: Shouts to Todd Krevanchi for pointing out the resemblance between these and the Air Max Sentry which had the ’97-style unit on a sensible shoe design)? I assume they’re some internal experiment that’s destined to never release after the Cole Haan/Nike separation, but they’re avant-garde in their jarring trad-tech collision. These were spotted on Mr. Salehe Bembury’s blog with zero explanation as to how they came to be.

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Speaking of big air (and I apologise for all the Air Max references in the last few blog entries — I was working on Air Max related Nike projects and became obsessed all over again), back when Lil’ Kim didn’t Vybz Kartel herself and wasn’t obliged to live up to the soft porn persona she created the following year, she made grape AM95s look incredible with Junior M.A.F.I.A.

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Chaze from Grim Team doesn’t just produce extremely hard QB and Bronx hip-hop — he keeps to his French origins with some synth-led sounds. Grim Team isn’t afraid to get its hands dirty and Chaze’s This Was Your Town (featuring Casey Mecija) video is directed by Jay One and contrasts beauty with a heavily bombed Paris setting. Nobody does destruction like the French, down to the trucks — proof that there’s style in willful regression. Pretty ladies in camo coats who dig for vintage clothes and records is a winning addition to a promo too.


IT’S A COLD WORLD

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Hip-hop style has evolved a lot, but in a world where you only have to make something basic in leather to be crowned king of the high-end crossover, it’s way dumber than the late 1990s Tunnel-era take on fashion was. Bright red leathers in XXL Tim Westwood sizes and canary yellow technical wear, with a Hype Williams fish eye effect and the Casio demo keys stays winning. Back when ‘Clef was pulling his weapon out on an editor rather than posing on a bike in his pants, people weren’t even looking for any pseudo-intellect in rap or hunting for messages in every line. I like where things are in 2013 (salutes to this guy for getting all crushed out heavenly, always entertaining me with his outlandish garms, infuriating people and giving his brand the name Luxury Excellence), but after that unofficial 1995 cutoff for purist-friendly major label work, rappers really got wild with the garms to create a goldrush of hip-hop clothing labels. Can I still buy a Mecca U.S.A. suit? Probably. Germany still fucks with some Johnny Blaze gear and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a 4-floor Sir Benni Miles store owned under license out there. This seemed to be a starting point for rappers to make an effort again after years of brown hoods, boots and army surplus. On the hip-hop wear subject, with their impending Rain Heat & Snow clothing line, is the U.S. Postal Service going to retro Danny Boy’s cap from 1992? It’s cold right now and I’m thinking about rap-wear, so that seems like a sign to post a classic magazine fashion shoot. In late 1995, Vibe magazine gathered an eclectic group of rappers for their Cold Chillin’ fashion piece where Junior M.A.F.I.A. Das EFX, Q-Tip and bizarrely, Kool Keith, all modeled the latest cold weather creations. The photographer, Daniel Hastings, shot pretty much every key hip-hop album/single cover shot between 1994 and 1996 and that summer, his work was present on the cover of Only Built For Cuban Linx.

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As a bonus (I should really have chucked all this up on Tumblr rather than on here), nothing screams 1995-1998 quite like the Nike Air Max 95. Ghostface (Killer rather than Killah here) basically dressed like people do now 18 years ago in The Source and three years later Big Pun rocked that shoe and coordinated some food packaging with it rather than his actual outfit. Lil’ Kim wore it for press shots for Conspiracy too. Flamboyant but still a defiantly street shoe, it crops up time and time and again during the era described above.

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In the midst of this late 1990s nostalgia, Cieron of ISYS has put together his own little video ode to a time dominated by Puffy and StarTAC phones for the launch of the third issue of LAW next month. It’s a good match. ISYS is keen on celebrating the unsung style that surrounds us, while LAW has a similar agenda in archiving something similar and capturing the kind of thing that’s near-impossible to explain to your American friends. yet so close to home that we barely document it.

FOOTWEAR

This one’s for the shoe weirdos only. When it comes to online retail, once a fearful domain where my bank details disappeared and I was left waiting for months for product to arrive (or not arrive in some instances), it’s curious that I should get nostalgic, but most men’s fashion retailers are fucking dull online. It’s the same stock as everybody else, a blog tagged on with brief features as an afterthought and I can’t get excited at all. Sports footwear’s even weaker — exactly the same options, pretty much globally, where once the US got some unexpected SC releases and co.jp was a mystery, now it’s all the same.

Staggered releases, but ultimately the same old stock. That’s why I pine for the grey retailers of old who actually had the untethered power to surprise a customer. Now we know what’s coming in advance and shocks are few and far between. If you lurked on the internet for Nikes between February 1998 and 2001 (though it started in 1996 and was online until 2010), you probably came across Shoetrends.com, with its mix of older and newer releases, import colourways and no-frills looks, plus the biggest amount of Air Max 95s, Dunks (a couple of years before their wider release and hype burnout) and Jordan retros the majority of us had ever seen in one place. It was riddled with some of the worst clip art ever, appalling fonts and other strange touches, like this:

…but the stock that passed through the store’s inventory was pretty spectacular. ACG and Terra fans were well served indeed, as was anyone with a thing for visible air. Sure, a ton of the good stuff was always sold out and while the secure server of the store with the Cerritos, CA P.O. Box address felt safe, the import taxes purchases incurred were often brutal. The basic looks and mind-boggling stock beats a million sites padding out mediocrity. To this day, Shoetrends is one of my favourite sites ever. After an early ’00s dalliance with consignment selling, those terrible looks remained until at least 2007. In early 2011 when i went to visit, stock had been liquidated and it sent me to DeadstockShoes.com — the new Shoetrends,com.

In honour of the greatness of this site and because I’m too lazy to write much this evening, I’m retroing www.shoetrends.com circa 1999 and 2000 as a reminder of the greatness it peddled. Note the ’99 Air Jordan IV Black/Reds sitting around. If this gets you hyped, you’re probably a likemind. Waaaay before Nike Sportswear, that SC abbreviation had retros on lock. Look at this and try to tell me colourways weren’t better in 2000. Women still got some amazing variations back then. In fact, I wouldn’t begrudge you if you find yourself sitting there, silently weeping, pretending to buy navy and orange 97 by clicking blankly on the screen.

This had to go up, because I get the feeling that pre 2004 footwear imagery is being slowly eroded (this content has been gone for nearly a decade) and the ’95 and Terra Humara fans might get a kick out of it. Those Uptempos are no joke either.



On the nostalgic wave, salutes to T-Shirt Party for celebrating that market knockoff era of Spliffy, adihash and the mysterious Naff Co 54 (Naf Naf for tramps, basically) brand with their latest releases. So widespread that they were, undisputedly, British streetwear for those without expendable dough, T-Shirt Party are shifting them as a three-pack. Those from the UK and of a certain age will get the reference — it was never good, but it sure is evocative.