Tag Archives: air trainer sc

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.

THE BOX

I love contemporary hip-hop. I love the tweet alerted, spur-of-the-moment instant fix that eliminated your boy in the States having the hookup. If you’re a late-to-bed European, you’re pretty much privy to the next thing at exactly the same time as your brothers across the Atlantic. Rap got globalised. Of course, some would criticise the fast food nature of projects as the boundaries between mixtape and album (do people even make “street albums” any more?) blur and touring makes the money. To stay on top of what’s dropping is a challenge, but in 2011, its been amusing to see the same rap download blogs that once delighted in goading the lumbering major labels stumbling when it comes to the next wave.

Odd Future made the majority (Hypetrak, Madbury and Street Etiquette aside) look pretty vacant when it came to their work and team A$AP were another crew that caught them sleeping. Where next? Is Chicago’s King Louie the next to instigate a mass late pass hand out? Now Tyler’s only got to Run His Mouth On Twitter in jest and it’s a multiple blog headline in the lust for greasy talk and its consequences. How relevant is the hip-hop blog if these guys can handle their own tweet, WordPress and Tumblr mouthpieces for people who like to call themselves cultural curators (I prefer the term press release regurgitator) to reassemble?

The only regret for me is the lack of joy in a brand name check nowadays. I blame Lupe Fiasco. Once, to see an item beyond the usual high-end boast brand, oversized Avirex, XXXL Source ad fodder (word to Maurice Malone) or utilitarian military or re-appropriated logger yard surplus was a startling moment that was genuinely memorable. Kanye in Supreme in ‘Vibe’ circa 2003 (posted on this blog a while back) was unexpected. Retro killed the interesting shoe mentions (Nore’s “Yo, I loved the Bo Jackson’s, the orange and blue…” Air Trainer SC reference on ‘I Love My Life’ was one of the last truly great sneaker namedrops, but Wale mentioning as many Jordan retros as possible doesn’t count, because that’s just a tactic to keep him on seeding lists) and streetwear lines on a rapper’s back have gone far beyond Nas’s Crooks & Castles namecheck and ALIFE’s excellent patio party projects to become ubiquitous.

Now, every Sendspace MC and his crew are Supreme down, but it’s more humorous that Supreme gear might be at the core of the OFWGKTA/A$AP static. Long before Mac Miller could cover ‘Billboard’ without a major label, we spent money on big plastic discs that usually consisted of the following — white MCs self-consciously trying to out psycho each other (the fathers of today’s breed of white rappers who pull lots of funny faces and act self-consciously jokey on WSHH interviews or rap about goblins and secret caves to nobody but the disparate band of characters who still frequent UGHH) or some Tribe-lite jazz rap that aged horribly.

The majority of my 1996-1998 indy rap purchases are gathering dust, unless I encounter a sudden urge to spend an hour listening to wearying Mike Zoot twelves, but there’s exceptions. The goonier, Premier-endorsed no-label dudes who never got round to a full length album, anything Mike Heron affiliated and the works of Non Phixion, who made conscious ignorance an artform and tore out the backpack bracket through sheer aggression. ‘The Future Is Now’ was an obsession of mine from the moment I got an internet connection at home.

Company Flow fit in here somewhere, but I have to concede that their Norris McWhirter with a stopwatch, syllable and simile-cramming hasn’t aged quite as well with me beyond ‘8 Steps To Perfection.’ Despite that, supported by ‘Ego Trip’s glorious mix of metal and hardcore, tunnel bangers and grimy obscure label support plus frequent plugs for a certain 274 Lafayette Street institution, Company Flow’s Bigg Jus wore the Supreme box logo back in 1997 for that middle-fingered ‘Independent as fuck’ press shot (though, with Murdoch money at Rawkus, I’m still waiting for Kool G Rap to testify at the Leveson inquiry) and it made an impression on me as I harassed Bond and Dr Jives by phone in the quest for a tee.

Ill Bill’s Supreme 1999 box cap with the Swedish-looking camo mixed with hood basics like Timbs and vast Iceberg denim for a Ricky Powell shoot (circa 2001?) that appears in ‘The Future Is Now’ (the “goons at Supreme” even get a thank-you) captured Supreme’s hood/skate/top-tier straddling appeal. It’s a notable moment in the union of rappers and skatewear (though almost a decade earlier, Y’all So Stupid, who’d later crop up for the indie boom as Mass Influence in Vans and FUCT on the Pharcyde’s art direction represented a strong left coast aesthetic). I wonder how some of the now-forgotten old JanSport guard would have fared with current DIY infrastructures in place — would they thrive in the MP3 market, or cave under the relentless mixtape workload expectations?

On the subject of backpack-rap, there’s more backpack talk in the second part of the piece I wrote for the homie Frank. There’s something similar on Forums coming too for those who care about that kind of thing and understand the power of that shoe.

Big up the Germans too. Because I have the sense of direction of a post thunderstorm feline, I couldn’t make it to the Arc’teryx press meetup this morning, but I did wander the Gerhard Richter exhibition at the Tate Modern listening to Juicy J and the new Vado before heading to a meeting with some German associates. I’m large on the Straße. On that subject, shouts to the circular knit types at Merz b. Schwanen who are creating loopwheeled cotton treats in Germany as part of a brand founded exactly 100 years ago but recently revived and whose style 221 button border shirts come Cabourn approved.

And big up Criterion and Janus for restoring Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1973 sci-fi flick ‘World On a Wire.’ The DVD and Blu-ray, with Sam Smyth (who also drums for Ben Folds) — the man behind some outstanding Criterion cover and poster design — responsible for the artwork. It drops in February 2012.