Tag Archives: new york



Just to complete a trilogy, and because I never mentioned it a week ago, there’s one other Air Max story that’s rarely discussed — the 2001 City Tour collection. Easily some of the greatest shoes of the time, I waited and waited for something similar to happen in the UK and it never did. Considering that 2001 was the transitional year from garage into grime, and the Air Max figured heavily (as showcased in my friend Grace Ladoja’s film that went live on YouTube on Friday, but seems to have been put on private right now), the City Tour line could have been big over here. But I never saw them go on sale in London. The closest I ever got was seeing them being discussed on NikeTalk, because they were a Footaction exclusive.

The Air Max Tailwind series is notable for being named after the late 1978 shoe that debuted Nike Air and debuted as a slightly cheaper Air Max spinoff in 1992 called the Air Tailwind (though I was too smitten with the ST that year to even know this model existed) before the line seemed to restart in 1996 with the Air Max Tailwind, as worn by Biggie Smalls (I sometimes feel that this was a better shoe than the Air Max 96, even of it lacked the forefoot visibility), a dull looking II and III in 1997 and 1998 respectively, then the brilliant Air Max Tailwind IV in 1999, which was a takedown of the new TN technology from the Air Max Plus, with a similar sole. The IV is a well-loved shoe — so well-loved that it hit NIKEiD around 2008 and got reworked with Nike+ technology for real runners on its tenth anniversary. I never had much time for 2000’s fifth instalment because it looked too cheap. There was a 2001 Tailwind too, but it looked so much like the 2000 edition that I can barely tell the difference.

As per usual, I’m open to correction here, but I never quite knew what the Air Max City Tour shoe really was. I know it was a Tailwind, but it felt more like a derivation of the Tailwind IV created especially for this project — with its tiny forefoot Swoosh and appealing looks, it’s the last great Air Max before the 2009 dropped, almost a decade later. As I recall, each pair of City Tour Tailwinds was limited to the city whose map was screen printed on its upper. Nike had brought the “city attack” concept to AF1 in the mid 2000s and this seemed like an even cooler proposition. In March 2001, the New Yorks dropped, followed by the Chicago in April, Carolina* and Detroit in May, Miami in June, Los Angeles in July and New Orleans in August. I’ve never seen a couple of those colourways, but thankfully Doyle Calvert, Flash developer for the Footaction site back then has saved a copy of the promo materials (sadly sans Miami, LA and New Orleans).

This was a time just before every shoe got an irritating nickname and people got excited by unremarkable releases — theme packs weren’t as ubiquitous (now, city themed versions of Air Max seem like an obvious part of a marketing plan) and the City Tour had me wanting to become a tourist too, but these things never made it overseas. It’s one of the best Air Max drops ever because it still maintains a little mystique. Imagine if there’d been a London borough City Tour collection? People would have lost their minds. Instead it was more TNs, 95s, a 90 resurgence and an onslaught of the dreaded LTD instead.












*Kish made a good point about this: it’s a state and not a city. That might explain the added S on the heel.



My fascination with GORE-TEX additions to clothing is pretty well documented, but I have a particular interest in the adidas Waterproof. This blog was originally thrown together to cover things other than sports footwear, but because one outlet has closed, you might see a bit more shoe talk on here for the time being. You practically need to earn a suede and rubber PhD to navigate the nuances of the adidas archives. Navy running shoes are all over the 1983-1985 catalogues, but some made a bigger impact than others.

1984’s Waterproof is a truly cult creation on a number of levels — it was barely seen in its day beyond those in the know (especially on UK soil), it was incredibly expensive, and crucially, it had a GORE-TEX lining. Stylistically, the Waterproof looks a lot like the 1983’s New York training shoe (the Dellinger web version and not the alternate version) and its specialist, winterised look and feel made it a contemporary of the SRS (ostensibly, an LA Trainer on steroids) and the towering Jogging All-Round. But whereas those shoes looked like old favourites locked in a garage with the A-Team, the Waterproof was a more subdued looking creation.

Taking it back to 1984, a GORE-TEX coat seemed state-of-the-art, but on a shoe it seemed downright exotic. The GORE-TEX booty that brought the membrane material to shoes was honed by outdoor design pioneers like Willie Sacre and officially launched in 1982. The new breed of trainer-hikers took advantage of the technology (Nike’s 1982 Approach boot was an early creation using the insert), but I can’t ascertain who debuted it in a runner, though I suspect that the Waterproof was the first (and adidas marketing materials of the time say it was). It was the perfect accompaniment to an Allzweckanzug Athen GORE-TEX tracksuit too.

If it looked the same as a New York, down to the ADISORB insole, why was this winter runner so expensive? Membrane lasting is more complex than just Strobel or board lasting, so it costs. Water repellent leather costs. GORE-TEX membrane costs. The standards the GORE-TEX brand demands cost. Seam sealing costs. Untypical lasting methods cost. The gusset tongue (a lot of contemporary shoes at trend level forget this part in their quest for GORE-TEX branding) added more material, which, once again, costs a little bit more.

Those paying attention at the time single out the Waterproof and the Zelda (a ghilly-laced, Reebok Classic looking creation that can almost certainly never be reissued under its original name) for their near mythical status at the time. The Waterproof certainly seemed to get more of a push. Post 1985 (and images, as seen below, of a pair from an Austrian catalogue, include lettering down the stripes), the Waterproof was gone. 1985’s GORE-TEX lined Tokio seemed to replace it, with its more technical look and option of an All-Round style high variation. But in 2006, adidas Originals dropped a Waterproof reissue, with the addition of a small metal GORE-TEX badge on the upper (not present on the original, but cooler looking and presumably part of the licensing deal). After selling out, that retro started commanding some eBay prices akin to some hype fodder of the time with significantly less substance.

In an early conversation with Gary Aspden about the SPEZIAL line (which, I believe, had a different project name at the time), my first question to him was, “Will there be a Waterproof?” The answer is yes — a Waterproof SPZL in an appropriately moody grey and white modelled on the second volume of the SPEZIAL book is part of the second collection (with a water resistant leather toe rather than the suede of the original). I admire the nods to leisure designs and minimal, narrow-fitting rarities in the original SPEZIAL line, but I’m just not northern enough to appreciate them (having a Scottish mum doesn’t count). This one, limited to 1,000 pairs, is my kind of shoe. The £185 price tag is no joke though, so I fired some questions at Gary before he goes on the campaign trail once again, to talk 3-stripes with the media.




GARY 1: Gary, what’s the impetus for including the Waterproof in the SPEZIAL line?

GARY 2: It’s a favourite of mine. They epitomise everything that is great about adidas footwear both in their design and function. They were at the forefront of footwear innovation when they were originally released. There is nothing in their design that doesn’t have good reason to be there.

Did you ever see the shoe on sale back in the mid 1980s or know anybody who had it?

I didn’t…I asked Gary Watson who I work with on the graphics for SPEZIAL the same question. I was hoping he would know something as he went abroad a number of times on trips to get adidas when I was still at school and is a bit older than me but he didn’t know anyone. I asked Paul Fox who has worked for JD Sports since the mid 80s and is a dedicated Birmingham supporter – he said there was only one person he knew who owned a pair back then was Dave Makin from JD (Dave also owned a pair of adidas Zelda). I have had a couple of older lads from Merseyside pop up on Twitter since we announced the SPEZIAL Waterproof reissue who said that they had owned them in 1984 and I am inclined to believe them as they are not messers. There were a few older scousers who showed up at the Manchester SPEZIAL who were specifically asking after Zelda and Waterproof. They were the best shoes in the market at that time — and that was reflected in the price point which in turn limited the amount of them that ended up on the shelves.

Do you think some of the shoe’s core appeal in this country was down to our bad weather as much as it was the rarity?

The adidas Waterproof became the stuff of legend, I guess because of its rarity, look and price. It’s like the yellow soled Forest Hills — speaking to people who worked for adidas in the UK in the late 1970s there was only one place in England they were available and that was Liverpool and they only ever had 400 pairs. No doubt a handful of people picked them up in the continent but it was the 1982 version with the white sole that I used to see around. I remember people talking about a mythical yellow soled Forest Hills but I never physically saw a pair until the reissue in 1999.

What’s the appeal of GORE-TEX to you? It sounds very exotic and always seems to represent a premium price.

It does imply value but it also suggests practicality. I grew up in an area where it rains a lot and spent much of my childhood getting soaked in Gloverall duffel coats and Polar Gear jackets. When the local Camping shop in Blackburn began stocking GORE-TEX anoraks they must have known immediately that they were onto a winner. It attracted a whole new audience to their store. The shop owners soon realised that they needed to improve their security after those appeared on the racks. Whilst I am a fan of it my love of waterproof fabrics isn’t limited to GORE-TEX — the organic ETA we have used in the Haslingden jacket is Swiss made and its water repellent qualities are mind blowing.

This time you never made any modifications to it, whereas every other shoe in the line seems to get a subtle change. Why was that?

All the components were available and the upper specifications of the previous 2006 reissue were true to the original shoe. Sometimes I choose to go for hybrids because of limitations on what tooling for the soles is in existence (creating new moulds for sole units that don’t currently exist is VERY costly). Sometimes this creates a scenario where we improve on the original shoe. I own a pair of vintage adidas Sevilla leisure shoes that were the inspiration for the Albrecht SPZL and the sole they used on those vintage shoes just isn’t right for 2015 although that upper with a few tweaks to the specs is still relevant so I wanted to give them a reappraisal. I am very happy that people are also excited about that shoe.

Did you try to alter the Waterproof at any point? Like put the upper on another sole unit like the other versions of the New York or the Boston?

No — it’s a great shoe and the moulds for the sole unit existed so the only thing I wanted to play with was the colour way.

That price tag is heavy — why is that?

The price tag appears heavy if you don’t know what has gone into building the shoe. adidas Waterproof were had an RRP of 155DM in the German catalogue in 1984. 155DM in 1984 = £63, however, you have to bear in mind the fact that adidas shoes in Germany at that time were significantly cheaper than in the UK, hence why so many entrepreneurs in the north west were going over there and buying up van loads to resell here. Considering that in Germany at that time adidas Dublin and adidas Hamburg were going for around 21DM, it puts it into perspective.

When we decided to go with the Waterproof SPZL we were faced with a choice — do we compromise the original construction (seam sealed GORE-TEX membrane/waterproof leather/gusset tongue/etc) to get the price down or do we keep the construction authentic and charge a much higher price than the rest of the shoes in the collection (as it was the first time around)? We opted for the latter and I stand by that. The adidas Waterproof was a super expensive shoe in 1984 and for good reason. I remember a running shoe by another company called Odyssey were £60 in 1984, they were the most expensive shoe on the wall of Gibsons Sports in Blackburn and they didn’t have anything like the technology that went into the hard to find adidas Waterproof. The distribution is very tight on the adidas Originals x SPEZIAL range as it is and with the price point on this particular shoe the retailers have been reasonably cautious so we haven’t ended producing many pairs at all. It’s a shoe for dedicated adidas connoisseurs — the Waterproof always has been I guess.

Images of the aforementioned Zelda are below, because if you made it this far, you’re probably a fan:






Around 1989, I spotted a UK chapter member of the Guardian Angels on London’s underground. Thinking they were some kind of superhero vigilante group, I was pretty star struck. If I’d known that they once picketed Los Angeles’ cinemas to protest the showing of The Warriors I would have realised that they were pretty uncool (plus berets are hard to pull off). Now, the UK chapter is a little thin on the ground (as this photo essay testifies), but the launch of a reality show that looks like it was made in 1987 had me reading up about the group. My love of vigilante flicks and fascination with the Bernhard Goetz case, plus the Clash singing about them on Combat Rock has fueled that fascination and Nicholas Pileggi (author of Wiseguy that was adapted for the screen as Goodfellas) wrote a great piece about them for an article in the November 1980 issue of New York and the photographs by Stephen Shames are excellent. Whatever the reality of that crew, founder Curtis Sliwa’s tee over a shirt and tie is a big look and the Illuminati on air winged eye of providence logo will always be classic. And that kung-fu training shot? Powerful.









If you’re one of the seven people who saw White House Down, which is a more expensive version of the far better Olympus Has Fallen — two Die Hard style films about The White House being taken over by terrorists — then you will have cringed at the Air Jordan product placement in the film. I’m a sucker for a one man army against the hostage takers flick — I’m heartbroken that there wasn’t an Under Siege 3 on a space shuttle and I am a huge fan of Van Damme’s ice hockey action classic Sudden Death. I have no quality control. Olympus Has Fallen‘s foreign villainy had it billed as the right-wing predecessor to White House Down‘s left wing sentiments and once again, as is often the case with the reactionary nature of the best action films, the right won. Olympus… is more bloodthirsty, takes a Taken style pro DIY torture stance and has a CGI plane attack scene that’s so poor that the film could have been made in 1996 and been a straight-to-VHS masterpiece from a time when only zillionaires had DVD players. Despite my low, low standards, White House Down is crap — fun performances are bogged down by bloodless head shots and weird plot holes that even the dumb nature of a thriller like this can’t fill. Friend killed in a plane crash hours prior? Have fun post-siege regardless. Somehow, its CGI is even worse than Olympus… with its Playstation cut scene aerial assaults. But when Jamie Foxx’s US president kicks a bad guy in the face while wearing Jordan IVs and exclaims, “Get yo hands off my Jordans!” I was done. Not since the “I need a flashmob, like, five minutes ago!” line in the equally shitty Premium Rush have I wanted to slap a MacBook screen this much. Once, seeing Jordan IVs on-screen (even Vincent Cassell’s 1999 retros in The Crimson Rivers was awesome) was kind of cool. Now it’s excruciating. If it had been “Get yo hands off my custom-made presidential New Balances!” I probably would have been more forgiving. It was so weak, i had to stare at this picture of Michael Jordan celebrating his 26th birthday in February 1989 and cutting a Jordan IV cake with his parents for ten minutes straight to remind me that the shoe is a masterpiece.


Tenuously seguing from a Die Hard clone to allegations of being a try hard clone, I don’t get all the disdain for Brandon Sales’ attire. At least he makes an effort and goes in with the looks. Plus #luxuryexcellence is more double decadent than Domino’s. Shit, my hockey shirt, Karl Kani shoes and 40″ waist denims were a far worse teenage fit and there’s people far more deserving of your contempt — every single Tommy Ton hunting douchebag who used to wear BAPE then switched to double monk straps, any menswear dude outside a tradeshow looking like a teeming mass of solemn-faced, unadulterated effort, anybody over the age of 30 who use the term “kicks” and matches their shoes to their attire, the weed leaf socked, Herschel backpacked, five-panel hatted AM1 blog dudes who think they’re better dressed than him, anybody over the age of 30 who queues for shoes, people who comment angrily on blog posts in more than 70 characters, people who use the hashtag #streetart, people over the age of 30 who use hashtags to end anything, old dudes who excitedly attend shoe conventions, people who only like hyped things and then get angry about other people liking similarly hyped things, anyone who likes live graffiti installations and over 30s who wear Damir Doma and Rick Owens and come off looking like Emperor Palpatine. You’re entitled to wear what you want until you’re 25 — I know enough blog dudes who used to be on a shameful emo and rap-metal wave in their late teens and I believe that the purchase of a single Limp Bizkit CD single back in the day eclipses Mr. Sales’ alleged crimes. Let the man be.

Anyway, leather tracksuit bottoms, long black tees, Don C hats and vaguely abstract black hi-tops are the new jean shorts, white tee with a tank underneath, durag, oversized New Era fitted and white on white AF1s. Let he who is without teenage wardrobe calamities cast the first stone. Some people were dressed like Mr fucking Majeika, wearing bow ties and wacky patterned socks as a focal point until they started wearing Nike Airs again. Surely they deserve the abuse?




Everyone loves to gossip, and watching beef unfold digitally is an undeniable pleasure. Spectating on Splay back in the day or witnessing Superfuture rumour mongering and being a voyeur to some TMZ-esque talk of Downtown scandals was entertaining. Long before that, I liked the litigious post-exodus angry Steve Rocco era of skating, where Simon Woodstock could seemingly be erased from being through legal threats from a man who once worked those first amendment rights to the absolute limit.

The streetwear and men’s style blog realm frequently has slow news days — that means closer looks, a GQ photoshoot, another generic lookbook or a teaser for a summer blockbuster. So it’s understandable that the recent Supreme and Married to the Mob legal talk, claim and counterclaim has been dissected in order to get that precious traffic. I’ve been a little perplexed at the amount of people rooting for MOB in this situation though, painting a curious picture of the oppressed women against “the man” dwelling in his vast box logo covered corporate headquarters, because that’s not the case.

I respect Supreme a great deal for their ability to stay relevant and capabilities for keeping it thorough — that’s not to say that everything they put out is relevant to my interests, but they’re operating on so many channels right now that the old GAP for skaters summary is fully deaded in favour of a bigger picture. So I can understand why they’re trying to stop a trademark. If someone tries to jack your logo with a dose of witless misogyny at the end, you’re probably going to get a bit litigious — it’s a case of battling direct appropriation re upped to make some quick cash. Was Barbara’s name mentioned when the original Supreme Bitch shirt was put together? I wouldn’t know, but it only ever seems to get thrown around when things get negative.

Get popular by doing things well and schadenfreude is an inevitability at any perceived stumble. The problem with not talking too much is that it breeds assumption. Googling Supreme will bring up a mass of message board lore. Mythmaking is an inevitability, like the tale of Shortypop being paid off for the box homage (contrary to the occasionally distributed cheque image, that apocryphal payoff never happened) or Supreme not having the Supreme trademark, which dates back to a remark made in an Interview piece — since then they’ve obtained trademarks. Part of having a trademark is that you’re obliged to defend it — failing to defend it can result in losing it. Then there’s America’s right to common law trademark ownership. So what’s the big problem here?

Supreme have recently filed an answer to the counterclaim from Married to to the Mob and it makes for more interesting reading. Married to the Mob has put out some strong work solo and alongside KAWS, ALIFE, Colette and Nike (those Chanel references on that shoe are homage done very right) over the years. A female-centric streetwear brand is still a part of the market that could be taken by someone willing to be as fastidious as the luxury lines we like to ape, but it’s a market that has only been partially tapped. The Supreme Bitch tee was funny nine years ago for its “is it or isn’t it?” collaboration status (see also, Zoopreme) back in the Retail Mafia era when the online hype sector seemed significantly more niche than today’s big numbers and mass appeal. As its own line, it’s just a Supreme bite, eating off of the Supreme brand’s popularity. If you’re granted one loose collaboration, are you allowed to make a ton more on your own several years later and go to get the trademark for both labels?

People can raise the Barbara Kruger reference all they like (for she is the queen of Futura Bold Oblique and the key influence on the Supreme logo, though Paul Renner deserves a mention for creating the typeface in the first place), but when the majority of bland brands drop that font into a rectangle, they’re riffing on Supreme — if the assumption is that Supreme was entirely built on a bite then it’s worth taking one of those tiresome trips back to 1994 and recalling that the aesthetic of the brand and its pick of reference points was something very different when it debuted. That logo future proofed the brand and acted as a (probably inadvertent — over analysis is rife when you don’t give too much away) visual manifesto of sorts with regards to Supreme’s appropriately Downtown merger of skate and art.

Kruger is an artist, while Supreme trade in clothing, accessories and skate hardwear. MOB deals in clothing and accessories too, so their appropriation is something very different. The Levi’s Red Tab device was also an inspiration (later the subject of some legal issues over its inclusion on denim) on Jebbia’s pick of that red box — it’s an effective logo created on the back of plenty of retail experience. In 1994, plenty of skate gear and store branding was doomed to go wild with the graf letters or bigger-is-better literalism. That’s why they’re not around any more. It was some fortuitously out-the-box but in-the-box thinking.

I’m surprised that nobody has started bleating about the SUPREME in a red box Powell Peralta tees and stickers circa 1990 from the days when Billy Valdes was on the squad (who went on to join Menace alongside Supreme family member Javier Nunez and design for Stüssy and X-Large too). But nobody seems to remember that because we’d started to stray toward the new wave of street-orientated companies by that point that helped build Supreme in the first place.

Supreme has traded in the flip — that’s undisputed. But when the cease and desists or lawsuits came in, there was no righteous web rants or pseudo “Attica, Attica!” rabble rousing. LVMH, Levi’s, Coca-Cola and Calvin Klein and the rest weren’t the subject of us against them fury. All parties came to amicable agreements that even led to future projects in a more official capacity. Nobody claimed it was a Class War issue or elitism. If Condé Nast came a-calling over Eustace Tilley’s appearance on cotton, the matter would have been dealt with without a battle speech. If Supreme had ignored a warning and attempted to trademark an image of Tilley engaging in a sexual situation or wielding a weapon, then there would have been a court case.

The longevity of Supreme has been down to a professionalism and approach that treats it like a world-class brand. That requires a certain cold efficiency. The hand-wringing hustler thing might be effective in the short term but it’s a 24-month hype life at best. 19 years is a long time to survive and it’s not down to fluke — the shouty blogroll brand approach is the spirit of the 2005 era when everyone had a formula and worked that formula again and again until the screenprint faded to a blank. Supreme’s decision to put the red box logo tee on ice around six years ago to avoid the one trick pony pitfall was a smart one. After the hype is gone, the bitching begins.

Back when Married to the Mob was married to FUBU (and I’m not gloating because I know the feeling of the corporate water down and fake promises pretty well), it seemed to slip off the map a little. 2012 was the year when the flipped logo became quick cash again and it was good to see SSUR get some money (after all, their weed trefoil flip in the 1990s has made a lot of loot for street corner vendors shifting adihash shirts) with the sudden burst in COMME des FUCKDOWN popularity that sparked some discussion on the subject. A lot of people have been getting some internet shine from bringing Canal Street to the digital realm lately. The COMME flip was smart (even if you’re too familiar with it now) as is the Channel Zero Chanel one, while the currently popular Brian Lichtenberg Hermès/Homiès and Céline/Féline shirts and sweats at least display a second’s contemplation over coffee in their execution. Nobody at SSUR would be crazed enough to attempt to trademark Comme des FUCKDOWN though, because it would end badly and contains much of the parodied logo within it.

Supreme Bitch? Not so smart. It’s a one-shirt deal in terms of appeal. It includes the Supreme name in it as a standalone and it makes the aforementioned Zoopreme rip seem downright cerebral in its wordplay, and sure as hell makes the old I like the pope, the pope smokes dope tourist staple of old seem like a satiric masterpiece. It seems more like a hop on the brazen bite bandwagon to get quick cash rather than playing the long game of brand evolution. Contrary to the counterclaim that Supreme turned a blind eye to seven years of Supreme Bitch, in the answer, it’s mentioned that it returned after a six-year absence with a little more detail on the discussions that took place:

(From Married to the Mob’s Counterclaim)

(From Supreme’s recently filed answer to the counterclaim) “107. Counterclaim Defendant denies the allegations contained in Paragraph 107 of the Counterclaim except admits that it filed a litigation seeking damages and injunctive relief and further admits that in 2004, James Jebbia understood that McSweeney would be making a onetime sale of only a t-shirt bearing the words SUPREME BITCH and design. (See Exhibit 3 true and correct printouts of Counterclaim Plaintiffs’ lookbooks which show that Counterclaim Plaintiffs offered for sale SUPREME BITCH t-shirts in 2004 and 2005 and then not again until 2011. These lookbooks support Jebbia’s understanding that McSweeney did not offer for sale the SUPREME BITCH t-shirt in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 but instead had a one-off, limited production in 2004-05.) Counterclaim Defendant admits that Jebbia first became aware of the re-release of SUPREME BITCH items (which had now been expanded to include a coffee mug, a knit hat, a cap, a mouse pad and a beach towel) in December of 2012 when he saw photographs posted online of pop artist Rihanna wearing a SUPREME BITCH hat. McSweeney had not sought approval from Jebbia for either the re-release of the t-shirt or the expansion of the SUPREME BITCH product line. At that time, Jebbia also received inquiries concerning whether the SUPREME BITCH items were affiliated with or made by Supreme. At that time, Jebbia also first learned that McSweeney had filed a trademark application for the SUPREME BITCH mark (see Exhibit 1 showing application for word mark was filed on January 1, 2013) and that she was selling the branded items through national online retailers such as Urban Outfitters and Karmaloop. Shortly after receiving these calls and learning this information, Jebbia personally reached out to McSweeney who assured Jebbia that she would cease manufacturing and using the SUPREME BITCH Logo and agreed to provide information about her inventory. While Jebbia waited for that information, and in complete disregard of her representations, McSweeney filed a second trademark application to register SUPREME BITCH in a design form that wholly incorporates the famous and distinct SUPREME Logo (see Exhibit 2 showing that the SUPREME BITCH design application was filed on March 1, 2013). Thus, Jebbia did not “sit idly by for nearly a decade” but instead acted shortly after he learned of the re-launch and expanded use of SUPREME BITCH by the Counterclaim Plaintiffs, received customer inquiries and learned of the trademark filings. Jebbia also tried to avoid litigation by amicably discussing his concerns, personally with McSweeney and not through lawyers, that would have allowed her to not only sell her remaining inventory but also to use “SUPREME BITCH” in a design that was distinguishable from the SUPREME Logo.”

Playing the misogyny card and shouting about free speech and feminism suddenly is a little trite. If Barbara found herself sighing to see a red box housing the output of hefty average basket values after her stabs at consumerism, to see her cited in a case where Bitch equals empowerment must have been a real eye-opener. The Want me, Hold me, Fuck Me, Hate me Kruger homage is interesting too. Throwing down the misogyny card because Supreme used Terry Richardson, Tera Patrick and an extract of Courbet’s L’Origine du monde is made moot by the imagery cited in Supreme’s response documents — Cunt, Cunt, Cunt? Bitch Better Have My Money? Bitches Get Stitches? Will Fuck For Chanel? Come on. It’s fun, loud, shock factor gear, not some profound statement. Skateboarding as a boy’s club? Nothing new and a strange thing to be discussed in a court of law.

Much of the current court documents talk about MOB as the female Supreme, but a swift Tumblr search reveals that a lot of ladies like to wear (frequently fake) Supreme gear, regardless of its gender intent (Supreme’s answer also discusses Kate Moss, Lady Gaga and Chloe Sevigny’s recent involvement).

Misogyny is a heavy allegation — in a world where Malala Yousafza is shot for attending school, depicting a common-sense legal response to a novelty t-shirt as an act of oppression seems like a bizarre, tasteless bid for some P.R. What would Emily Davison or Marilyn French have made of this? Care to get Gloria Steinem or Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim to chime in on the power of a Will Fuck for Chanel shirt? Does it fit into a second-wave, third-wave, or some fourth-wave of sex-positive feminism? Dining off the work of a male-owned brand without a particularly smart subversion feels like the antithesis of feminism.

(From Married to the Mob’s Counterclaim)

(From Supreme’s recently filed answer to the counterclaim) “121. Counterclaim Defendant denies knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations contained in Paragraph 121 of the Counterclaim. See Exs. 4 and 5 reflecting offensive merchandise offered for sale by Counterclaim Plaintiffs which plainly degrade and marginalize women rather than send a feminist message. The merchandise reflected in Exhibits 4 and 5 use shock value phrases that are not feminist but rather statements 6 that objectify women and perpetuate negative stereotypes (i.e. “Will F*ck for Chanel” and “Want Me Hold Me F*ck Me Hate Me”).”






It’s a prevention of one big mall grab. Just as the infamous truck clutch is derided, James Jebbia has disregarded the prospect of real Supreme being stocked in a shopping centre alongside perceived market rivals several times before. Avoiding the box logo’s spread beyond a controlled distribution has been beneficial. Married to the Mob is hunting that Urban Outfitters dough though, and that could dilute what’s been carefully steered over two decades. Why can’t Supreme Bitch operate without the box logo?

Through a favour turned into some spurious excuse to build a brand by alignment, not only is this case trying to place the Supreme Bitch as some kind of semi-official work, but it misleads idiots into thinking that Supreme is on sale at Karmaloop and does a spot of brand dilution in the quest for somebody else’s contact credibility and the dollars it entails. Letting too much slide isn’t the actions of a well-run company — it’s the actions of a fly-by-night streetwear brand that ends up wanking for change. That’s why the industry is paved with “whatever happened to?” chat about companies that were killing it before falling off and disappearing into the abyss.

Shit maybe I’m wrong and this will end up being made into a Silkwood or Erin Brockovich style flick in a decade’s time. This case has given publicity to a brand that had it going on, but it reeks of manicured nails clawing at a past glory in a competitive marketplace. “Because right now, it’s about more than just a t-shirt!” shouts Leah’s official statement and rallying cry. Yeah, it’s about mouse mats and mugs too. I’m keen to see Married to the Mob return to the status it had in 2008 without building the business on a novelty knockoff and fortunately, Supreme is also about more than a t-shirt after almost two decades (otherwise maybe they’d be scrabbling for attention too right now) — that’s why kids are still queuing for it.

If anyone out there is looking to copy anything from Supreme, steal the work ethic.


While there’s a frighteningly comprehensive movie firearms database, there’s no decent movie knife database and it’s a shame. I’m currently researching some classic cinematic blades for another project and while this Wiki was set up, it never really took off. I’ve noticed that people take knives as seriously as I take other things and why not? They’re beautiful, tactile items, provided they’re not sticking out your body. I never knew that Rutger Hauer’s switchblade in ‘The Hitcher’ was a custom Jeff Harkins Triton or that Emilio Estevez wields an extremely rare Bali Song butterfly knife during one of my favourite scenes in my favourite movie (check the thread here).

My two favourite knives, wielded by two genuinely scary characters, but unique enough to become an extension of the villain themselves, is the Night Slasher from ‘Cobra’s spiked knuckleduster knife (custom-made by Herman Schneider and later stolen, but seemingly turning up in ‘New Jack City’ 5 years later), a weapon so awesome it made me like the movie, despite the rest of it being dire and ‘Geraldine’ as wielded by Alan Arkin’s sleazy Harry Roat in 1967’s ‘Wait Until Dark.’ Geraldine is a gravity knife set inside a small statue of a woman, made in Italy as part of a run of 5 for the movie. Roat’s goth-beatnik look, with the sunglasses and leather jacket (in fact there’s a few great coats in the film on the villains), plus that final leap, makes him a memorable protagonist, but it’s Geraldine that really sets him apart from other bad guys. I can’t buy an official replica of Geraldine to keep as multiples in the cutlery drawer, but you can buy a Night Slasher repro.

It’s the switchblades that inspire the most dedication though, with this forum thread pretty much covering every screen blade to ever pop out with a satisfying click — it’s good to know what Polanski slashed Jack’s nose with in ‘Chinatown’ (a Rizzuto copy apparently), but oAROWANAo’s multi-part ‘Switchblades in the Movies’ series on YouTube is insane, covering the weapon’s appearance in movies between 1920 and 2009…89 years of slashy cameos, from backstabbing sneaks to cocaine testing from its tip. There’s a certain beauty to this device and its presence onscreen as silencer, negotiator and executioner is unbeatable.

Oscar from 1992 blogging Educated Community ‘zine covers reminded me of the couple off later issues I have in black bags somewhere. The whole New York for a Japanese visitor demographic was pretty unique and while it never came back after a #15/#16 double issue. Salutes to Yuka Iwakoshi (former X-Girl manager), Atsuko Tanaka, Hiroyuki Hatakeyama & Masaki Matsui Inada for putting in the work and documenting something genuinely interesting before the variations on a theme and global community aura deaded that aspirational downtown clubhouse mystique and made everyone feel involved. This site is promising an archive book and it’s something I’m keen to see — the fanzine’s end in 2005 feels timely, with the blog rising at that point as the new mode of education. Still, what made noise between 1999 and 2005 seems to be slowly disappearing from the internet as hosting bills aren’t paid and Google finds new ways to put the last week’s content at the forefront of a search.

Mr Chris Law sent me this video of the story of the Rip City Black Flag skateboard that fascinated me when I saw it in ‘Skateboard’ magazine a few years after that original release. The wrongly screened bars and the spray paint solution is amazing. As David Markey’s ‘We Got Power’ gets an official UK release in January, there seems to be a brief tie-in, with Jordan Schwartz involved in both the board and the book. The 1984 ‘Thrasher’ ads were pleasantly low-key and lo-fi — a Hosoi and Black Flag crossover is nice moment as bluesy misery sludge meets the aerial master’s long-haired kamikaze look.

Now that a decent burger is as ubiquitous in central London as a Starbucks and that for a few hours there was an In-N-Out on these shores, I’ll stop moaning about a dearth of the ultimate foodstuff. I don’t care about a lack of reservations or that everywhere is manned by mustachioed men in scoop neck tees with hand tattoos, just as long as their burgers are good. So what about the ramen? I wanted an Ippudo in London, but it looks like their spot’s being covered on the tonkotsu front. For years I yearned for bowls of pale fat-flecked cholesterol for lunch but could only find other ramen variants. Nagomi did a decent version but booking and peculiar opening hours put me off. Then a restaurant that called itself Tonkotsu opened up, but a Japanese friend recommended somewhere else for a non-porky variant having been disappointed by their noodles.

I’ve had my eye on Bone Daddies on Peter Street (opposite Supreme, to create an axis of food and noodle hype) since ex-Nobu head chef Ross Shonhan displayed an obvious enthusiasm for tonkotsu in this interview. It didn’t disappoint (and was half price for the opening weekend too), with that salty complexity in the broth and an egg that was boiled properly rather than neglected until it’s white and beige (Shonhan understands the importance of the egg to a good bowl or ramen. As time goes on, that bowl should get better and better (Bone Daddies had barely been open longer than the 20 hour pork bone boil when I visited). The killer application (figuratively and literally) was the extra pipette of pork fat I added to mine for 50p. All dishes should come with the pipette option. When I fall to the ground, clutching my chest, you can blame the tonkotsu and that greasy, clinically applied optional extra, but I regret nothing.


Schemed a blog entry on the train then found out another better blog had done it already. I was going to blog about the Nike & Stüssy project but there’s about 3,000 things about it on the internet already — needless to say, I’m extremely grateful that Adam and Jorge (a phenomenal designer) let me write some stuff and Eric Elms was kind enough to put me in touch with those guys. I missed out on the opportunity to work in a period of advertising I worship and they retroed an aesthetic beautifully in #the #hashtag #era. But you can Google that and see better coverage. As I wait for a Rizzoli Dapper Dan retrospective to sit alongside the Hussein Chalayan book, I’ve been looking back at a couple of gems that capture the naivety of Euro teen hip-hop obsession as well as a time when you weren’t so jaded that you didn’t look at your new shoe/track top/cap/t-shirt last thing before the lights went off at night. Now we’re all scheming the next purchase before the email confirmation of commerce even arrives. That’s why I loved Dokument Press’s ‘Cause We Got Style!’ last year, laden with plenty of pasty faces pulling off b-boy poses in gear that almost certainly required some fraternal hookups and pen friend behaviour as well as complicated – and perilous — modes of payment by mail. European hip-hop posing in 2012 doesn’t seem as fun.

‘Cause We Got Style’ was a fine supplement to the Cold War East Germany hip-hop scene documentary, ‘Here We Come’ — further proof that Europeans rival our friends in Japan on the obsession front and manage to make good use of scant resources like some sub-cultural survivalists. Dokument are dropping something equally exciting in April 2013 with the release of ‘Shirt Kings — Pioneers of Hip-Hop Fashion’ by Edwin “PHADE” Sacasa and Ket. PHADE and his NYC crew’s contribution to the print t-shirt, hip-hop style and as a result, street style as a whole is substantial and 144 pages of Shirt Kings is a serious prospect, given how popular a mere scattering of images from blogs and PHADE’s MySpace of happy Shirt Kings’ customers proved. I’ve always wondered how many of the shoes in those shots came from the legendary Mitch’s shoe spot near the Shirt Kings set up and Eddie Plein’s OG gold grill location. This is a promising publication — salutes to Dokument for putting out this kind of thing.

That was an anaemic Wednesday entry — I promise I’ll make it up to you.

In the meantime, go read the new issue of Oi Polloi’s Pica~Post here. On the subject of re appropriation and style, there’s a good interview with Olmes Carretti the man behind Best Company in there — a brand worn by some top boys as well as Russ Abbott in the ‘Atmosphere’ video. Carretti’s own website is a treasure trove of Euro ads for his brands, including a ton from ten years of Best Company. Is that coke or snow on that guy’s nose?


Is it finally time to officially mourn Zoo York’s demise? Being taken over by a brand called Iconix who dismantle an established skate program to put loyal ZY riders like Zered Bassett and Eli Reed out in the cold is a low blow that indicates that the brand’s finally teetered over the edge its been wobbling on for just under a decade. Having been in business for over 19 years, it’s a real shame too. If you’re wondering why a situation involving a brand that frequently makes TK Maxx appearances irks me so much, is because of the history. I can still remember spending an afternoon on a J.R. Hartley style phone-around to every skate shop that advertised in ‘Sidewalk Surfer’ in the hunt for the black Zoo York hoody with the white letters — for those old enough to remember, there was once a point when that seemed as hardbody as a Supreme shirt. Post-Millennium, it all seemed to take a gradual slide.

The Zoo York story actually pre-dates 1993 by a couple of decades. While there’s no official tie between the two entities, the Zoo York Soul Artists, led by ALI, who founded the collective did give permission for Zoo York to use the name. It’s frequently forgotten that Zoo York Soul Artists (RIP Andy Kessler) helped spawn the Zoo York Recordz label, that released several records between 1981 and 1983, with ALI performing on ‘Shoot the Pump’ under the J Walter Negro name. You can read more about that label in this 2005 blog entry. I know a few graff nerds out there too — so can anybody confirm that the top picture (taken from Norman Mailer and Jon Naar’s ‘The Faith of Graffiti’ is the fabled Zoo York wall? (Edit: Mr Sofarok forwarded me this link.)

This Karmaloop video on the 1993 Zoo York mastermind Eli Gessner, explains how he was affiliated with the original squad, but after SHUT’s closure, Rodney Smith spoke to ALI, leading to Eli and Rodney setting up Zoo York 2.0. Having built it on the back of Eli’s work with an early Phat Farm, those shirts appearing in 1995’s ‘Kids’ during the park scene (lettering and a subway design), with Justin Pierce (RIP), Javier Núñez, Jeff Pang and other Zoo Yorkers making up the film’s cast. It was a decent piece of global marketing — especially on the back of the movie’s controversial nature.

The above ads were borrowed from the excellent Skately library

1997’s ‘Mixtape’ video (salutes to scottieb1 for upping it on YouTube) reinforced the power of the team and the brand — that authentically NYC mix of street skate (with shades of classic 411) and gutter hip-hop, with Harold Hunter (RIP), Roc Raida (RIP), Anthony Correa and Peter Bici making memorable appearances. 1999’s ‘Peep This’ and ‘Heads’, 2001’s E.S.T. 2.0 and 2002’s ‘Unbreakable: Mixtape 2’ (Akira Mowatt is currently doing his thing with the After Midnight brand now) were all a strong visual reinforcement of the Zoo York sensibility.

The whole post 9/11 ‘Unbreakable’ campaign was one of Zoo York’s finest moments and when eckō acquired the brand in 2001,externally, Zoo York seemed to operate as it always did (though Mr Dave Ortiz did once mention to me, that the tiny inner bird print during the early days with eckō was a joke about how a little bird might rest on a big rhino) — the Nike Dunk SB from 2002 was part of that carefully curated approach to entering the skate arena with credible partners. Greg Lucci and Sal Barbier were a smart addition to the brand to maintain some energy and creativity. In 2003, Zoo York were tapped up to make some non-SB Nike Blazer colourways too. Pharrell wearing the brand before every rapper dressed like an explosion in the Karmaloop warehouse was no bad thing and Bad Brains in some magazine ads was a good look, but the 2004 use of Ashton Kutcher as Zoo York’s frontman was a truly strange moment. 2006’s team up with Lady Sovereign was just as baffling. But having the homie Grotesk as art director ensured their visual direction was on point.

But then having Skechers producing Zoo York footwear? Uh-oh. Zoo York’s tumble into a sub Route One world of big store basements and slashed prices was conferred when it was singled out in the equally mediocre HBO show ‘How to Make it in America’ as an example of a brand losing its edge (some kind of revenge by Zoo York OG Eli Gessner who was a creative consultant on the show?). Which leads us to Zoo York 2012 — I like Kate Upton as much as the next man, but it felt like an M&Ms commercial with bonus boobs.

I’m no stranger to the difficulties of losing your edge when the cold, hard truths regarding cashflow come in and I’m fully aware that explaining cultural cache, credibility and limited editions to a suit is like trying to discuss Sartre with a rampaging bear, but to lose all your ties to the early 2000s in such a calculated way is a kiss of death in the long run. Still, there’s plenty more companies to pick up the team riders you’ve discarded like a McDonald’s bag. Salutes to the real New Yorkers like SHUT, UXA, 5Boro and Supreme.

I can’t work out Jay Electronica at all. The track with Mobb Deep was heralded on Twitter as the second coming of pretty much everything and turned out utterly unremarkable and I have a feeling that many will die of old age waiting for that album to release, but Jay seems to have made some of the most bizarre career choices of any rapper ever — that suited role in the near decade old Benzino video that leaked earlier this year, where he babbled about Satan and Eminem, despite working with Denaun Porter later on in his career pales next to his Daily Mail appearance — the culmination of his friendship with Zac Goldsmith is that he’d been boning his brother Ben’s wife, Kate Rothschild. Illuminati theorists everywhere must have damn near erupted. Was Jay on some strange mission to break up powerful unions from the inside, or did he just want to sow his oats? I’m thinking it’s the latter, but I want to believe the former. What next? Currensy becomes part of the Mittal family?