Having spent many happy hours circa 1996 browsing the shelves of Rollersnakes as part of a regular retail wander that I could stretch over an entire day, I have some happy memories of that place. Back when the store was situated in Nottingham on the excellently-named Maid Marian Way, it had a solid mail order set up and, in a none-more-1993 move, they released a few VHS “catalogues” that included local footage from sponsored skaters, some sessions at local spots like Market Square, clips from the newest videos on sale and four minutes of staff posing in the latest clothing (plenty of Droors, Raggy and X-Large) and some shots of covetable decks, with a Zoo York Ryan Hickey or Girl Sean Sheffey running you 54 quid (decks might run you little more than a quid or so more 23 years later). Anyone in the market for Bitch slick? Rollersnakes upped the whole 1994 tape on their YouTube channel, but there’s some retail highlights in the video above and the entire 1993 volume one below. Rap with horns and big jeans aplenty.
Nothing to see here tonight, but if you’re strange like me, you should head over to Jonathan Gitlin’s Flickr account and look at the tenth anniversary Bond International “magalogue” from 1997 for a little primer on how things were in London back then. The product offering at the 10 Newburgh Street (pre 17 Newburgh Street) spot was ridiculous — Pervert, Gimme 5, Droors, Pervert before it exited the shelves, Union and their forgotten Polo tribute, Union Sport plus some brand with a box logo — phoning up back then to ask about the box tees and good Zoo York stuff always used to be fruitless, because that stuff seemed to fly out. With the passing of The Hideout, this is a welcome throwback to time when Soho was a destination to take that student loan money for the purposes of spending it on things that were two sizes too big and I wanted DC Clockers as much as I wanted some Humaras. Shouts to Mr. Gitlin for taking the time to up those images.
The year’s 1993 – hip-hop is horn-led, R&B choruses are frowned-upon, shorts are big, athletic footwear is rugged, with outdoor courts in mind, and if they’re too much for you, the boom in plain retrospective suede models is in full swing. In the following year, the resurrection of the earlier Jordan models will slowly but surely infect sneaker releases, arguably to the industry’s detriment. But that’s enough of the scene-setting (and bitter digressions) – if you didn’t get into the big smoke much in the early ’90s, a magazine like ‘Phat’ was a glossy-papered oasis of subcultural information and a break from then-waning publications like ‘i-D’ and ‘The Face’ who were too busy covering Courtney Love and ‘The Crying Game’ to focus too much on street fashion, giving us our very own British take on the then-great ‘Big Brother’. ‘Sassy’ spinoff (via Andy Jenkins, Mark Lewman and Spike Jonze) ‘Dirt’ also achieved cultdom Stateside, with a similar gung-ho, irreverent spirit before cancellation, but over here, and available in your local WH Smiths? We had a lot less to go on. ‘Phat’ was a mine of information.
Continue reading SHOULD HAVE BEEN HUGE: PHAT MAGAZINE