Tag Archives: jungle

REEBOKS & HAIR GEL

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The current fetishisation of “roadman” aesthetics frequently seems to miss the strange nuances in functional bits like side bags and double tracksuit bottoms and the solemn-faced eccentricity in a UK goon dress code. Broad strokes end up labelling every part of a working class youth’s wardrobe or modern black British style with a roadman tag, and it’s wide off the mark. It’s about far more than kids with posh names banging on about bunnin.’ Continue reading REEBOKS & HAIR GEL

CONTACTS

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The Mo’Wax Urban Architecture exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall wasn’t quite as grand as I expected (newcomers to the label should pick up the book for some background), but the densely packed cabinets should make the visit worthwhile if you’re interested in early 1990s hip-hop and it’s connections to London and Tokyo. While all eyes might be on the canvases, these displays are full of elements omitted from the tie-in publication — James Lavelle’s business card hoarding seems to have paid off. I hadn’t even thought about Yankee Peddler since the mid 1990s, when he had the ads in toy magazines that promised a veritable emporium of action figures and made me wish I owned a fax machine so I could get a catalogue. That Major Force card gives me Patrick Bateman levels of envy too. I’m not sure how many casual browsers passing through the Festival Hall would care about this kind of thing, but I certainly appreciated it. Shit, I’d gladly pay to visit a show that was entirely 1985-1999 hip-hop business cards and if you’re similarly geeky, go check it out before it finishes later next week.

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The only marketing I’m interesting in right now is these urgent adverts from 1995 pirate radio stations like Shockin 90.0 and Dream FM 107.6. Defunct Kingston clubs, tape packs, and things that only Brits of a certain generation will be able to comprehend, are just part of the announcements recorded here. This beats your carefully mapped communication strategy.





Port magazine‘s cover story on Ralph Lauren by Donald Morrison makes the most of a rare opportunity and it’s refreshingly free of the sycophancy that I would have brought to it (though the celebrity soundbites are full of superlatives). I was trying to fathom the influence on Mo’Wax the other day, which was influenced by Stüssy and the Beastie Boys, who were presumably influenced by the Clash who may well have taken inspiration from Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s work. It’s tough to pinpoint a solitary influence in things I love, but I know one thing: Lauren’s company is the brand that every streetwear brand wishes it was, even if most of us are chasing the little pony rather than aspiring to ride a horse on a ranch somewhere. Nobody sells a lifestyle like this guy. The world density map of stores is a nice touch (there’s 474,951 square feet of Ralph Lauren stores in the States) too.

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NOTHING TO SEE HERE

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Haven’t got too much to say right now, but you should definitely check out the DAZED piece on Jungle style to preempt the 4OD documentary in a couple of hours — that there was 22 minutes of a major TV channel dedicated to Britain’s hardcore scene last week was a minor miracle and my expectations are sky-high for this instalment. This YouTube video of a very interesting conversation with the mighty “Rock ‘n Roll anthropologist,” Penelope Spheeris (director of Wayne’s World) from the other week might be relevant to a handful of visitors here who agree with me that Suburbia and The Boys Next Door are classics and that these are two of the best parts of any documentaries ever. Her life story is remarkable.



I wrote a little piece for Stüssy Biannual #3 on the mighty PHADE of the Shirt Kings. I know that it’s the done thing to misuse the term ‘humbling’ in these situations (it wasn’t), but it was a real honour to be involved because I grew up staring at album covers with PHADE and co’s work on the sleeves in one way or another (word to Kid Capri) and wishing that I could own a Stüssy t-shirt. The thirteen year old me would probably spontaneously combust at the prospect of being able to merge the two things and it’s important to keep that in mind. T-shirts that reference sport footwear are mostly terrible, giving wearers over the age of 20 that Robin Williams Jack manchild steez (watch for those black/red Air Jordan Is though), but Frank the Butcher put me onto Chicago brand KSSK‘s Heaven’s Gate Nike Decade tee (was this the first blog to ever talk about that shoe/mass shoeicide via Ghettrocentricity’s oracle-like shoe knowledge? I think it was), with some old style copywriting that makes it the best cultural reference to trainers on a shirt that I’ve seen in a long, long time. Salutes to KSSK for that one.

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DEADLY DADWEAR

Sorry for the belated blog update. Blame MMG and their pointless press conference for the hold up. I got distracted, but Omarion? That was the most pointless gathering since a group of people revealed that there was football in the Olympics the other week. Neither the former B2K or a poor-man’s Euro 2012 were worth more than a poorly worded Tweet. Me? I’m more interested in Woolrich’s Elite line and its Concealed Carry products, as analysed in this New York Times piece. Visually, as deadly and deliberately beautiful objects (look at the sheer level of gun fetishism on Tumblr for proof), guns are appealing — but that’s written from a country where they’re hardly commonplace, despite media hyperbole. It’s a privileged position. The reality is that the George Zimmermans of this world are based in states like Virginia, where a person can legally carry a concealed firearm.

Still, that doesn’t stop the Woolrich Elite brand being fascinating and if you’re wowed by camo and mil-spec this stuff shares that obsessive functionality. There’s a kind of everyman tech to their output — the quality of Woolrich product is without question, but there’s a sense that the kind of characters who make socks a focal point and carry shopping bags have emasculated manly staples like buffalo checks and the neutral ease of the chino. The solution? Give them swift deployment properties for firearms. If Woolrich Woolen Mills opted for Ted Nugent over Mark McNairy, this would probably be the outcome. The ads (see above) at least hint at heritage, but feature plenty of guns and a sense of impending action. Each Elite piece is the kind of thing you might see twinned with a size 12 white and navy New Balance tennis shoe on an internal flight Stateside, bur somebody’s really put the thought into each design to make them potentially lethal.

A nondescript-looking navy chino has a dual-chambered structured set of pockets, with a zippered, ripstop gun pocket — it’s like a deadly spin on dad wear. A twill jacket has elasticated loops, hidden pockets near the neck can hold plastic cuffs and there’s left and right inner pockets that conceal a big blue prop gun (see the videos below) pretty discreetly. Shirts with magnetic fake buttons rip-away side panels and concealed cartridge holders behind chest pockets indicate extensive thought behind each piece. Even if you’re unlikely to ever let off a shot, there’s proof here that you don’t need to dress like some kind of lithe moon man in space age garments to sport innovation. Remember the days when the style press would feature a jacket with built in Minidisc that cost a bomb and bricked commercially? There’s some of that in these more homely looking innovations — rustic stealth.







The opposite of anything rustic, these Olympic-themed Air Max 2012s are more interesting to me than the games themselves. Obnoxious in the extreme, the 360 on those soles is Antonio Fargas ‘I’m Gonna Git You Sucka’ fish tank status and the yellow should tip things over the edge enough to instigate a few “clown shoe” allegations, but those overlays are crazy. Carnival footwear contenders. The 2009 is the best recent Air Max, but these are insane enough to bring back the rich tradition of the crazy TNs from around the time of the Sydney festivities. Like those Woolrich gun garments, these are significantly more exciting than the prospect of Olympic football.

Shouts to the ever-reliable Our Legacy on channeling the sprit of two-tone outerwear and old ladies’ animal fleeces for the Serengeti Artisan Jacket design in the Splash collection. There’s been jungle prints this season, but to create a pattern out the jungle’s denizens is always entertaining. Givenchy seemed to fuse the power of lurid MMA affiliated clothing with the kind of canine-based gear that usually shifts on QVC to winning effect and triumphed. This goes even further and is the kind of thing that my inner-idiot would gladly be buried in.