I seem to stack up sportswear related ephemera to the point where it’s going to be the cause of my Collyer brothers style demise. There’s been plenty of curiosities that bear the swoosh or the three stripes throughout the years (foodstuffs, torches, jewellery etc), but the recent NikeLab ACRONYM Presto Mid release instigated some solid tie-in gear with the assistance of the excellent Kostas Seremetis, whose artistic vision is as prone to occasional aggression and disruption as Errolson Hugh’s design. Continue reading UNNECESSARY GREATNESS
I haven’t got too much to say this evening, but I’m always surprised that a lot of the more interesting Nike apparel hasn’t made a return in these thrift-and-resell hype days. Some old creations resurrected using Tech Fleece or F.I.T. fabrics with accompanying shoes from the eras? I’d be down. Though it’s unlikely that I could pull off a Sharks basketball vest. These snippets of catalogue line art from between 1987 and 1988 are the tip of a particularly lurid and excessively patterned iceberg. Continue reading MORE OLD GARMS
Growing up there were key texts: Marvel’s Secret Wars, all Moomins everything, the back of Palitoy Star Wars packaging, my cousin’s Mad and Cracked magazines, Roger Llancelyn Green’s The Tale of Troy, a battered copy of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and any Nike marketing materials. I was fascinated with any ads — be they print or TV — for the swoosh and that Futura Bold sloganeering was imprinted on my impressionable mind like an Air Max LTD footprint at a crime scene. I hadn’t seen this American Advertising Federation video from 2013 before, which I’m assuming was the edit shown before Phil Knight’s induction in the Advertising Hall of Fame award. There are a lot of great examples of the sort of thing that made me want to write stuff about this kind of stuff in this 3:37 compilation of Nike greatest hits. For a man who hated advertising, Mr. Knight definitely did a good job of selling the spirit of the company to me.
I see a lot of photo shoots that feature scowling people in sportswear standing near housing estates. It’s the formula that superseded men dressed like 1940s train drivers in parks for look books, but I’ve never seen it done better post-millennium than with french photographer Patrick Cariou’s Marseillais Du Nord shoot for the winter 2002 issue of THE FADER. Continue reading MARSEILLE 2002
Having been raised on old-world advertising, I understand that things had to change, but the modern stuff in the world of athletic gear doesn’t even come close. Across every brand, everything seems to be distilled into a two-word mantra of SPEED/STRENGTH/INNOVATION/TECHNOLOGY/COMFORT/CONTROL/DESIGN/FIT/CLASSICS followed by DEFINED/REMIXED/REDEFINED/PERFECTED/MASTERED or prefaced with REVOLUTIONARY/UNBELIEVABLE/INCREDIBLE. Two word blasts of superlatives are everywhere. I might take a William Burroughs cut-up approach to copywriting and see if it creates a classic. Continue reading DESIGNER BOOKS
Big up Kyle Lilly for uploading a little slice of locally broadcast hip-hop fashion history. Video Explosion was a Yo! MTV Raps style show that, as I understand, was screened regionally from Queens. There’s a lot of great footage from the program out there, but this clip features DJ Finesse getting his Fab 5 Freddy on and visiting the Shirt Kings store in Jamaica Queens’ Coliseum Mall to interview Kasheme and Nike (this seems to be a post-Phade iteration of the business) from the crew with a giant microphone. If you haven’t already picked up the book from a couple of years back, do it before it becomes extortionately priced in specialist stores or on Amazon Marketplace — it’s an essential document of an important moment in streetwear history. An expansion into London is mentioned here and it’s something I wish I’d seen happen. You don’t see a lot of footage of the Shirt Kings store in action, even if it’s a later version, so this is very rare indeed.
Given the glut of found footage films released over the last decade (none of which touch Cannibal Holocaust for a sense of witnessing something we shouldn’t have done and, with the exception of [REC], a couple of V/H/S segments and Chronicle, mostly terrible), you might expect this footage of Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman’s former residence to conclude with the spirit of the legendary coach and inventor pissing down someone’s leg (read Kenny Moore’s excellent Bowerman and the Men of Oregon for more information on that) or making a waffle iron open and close. None of these things happen in these research videos by former Nike designer Bob Smith, but shoe nerds will love the guided tour by another Nike legend, Geoff Hollister, of Bowerman’s old house (featuring Bill’s son Tom and Nelson Farris), garage and some bonus footage regarding the creation of those iconic outsoles. This is gold.