Photo by Yamandu Roos
Three things that I’m a fan of: Patta, Futura and Converse Chuck Taylors. I figure that if I’m going to be a sellout and post campaign-related bits here, it may as well be about a project that’s true to the topics we discuss here. The new Futura Chuck II (the low/Ox editions win) drops this weekend and Patta worked with Lenny to hand write translated lyrics from Dutch singer Ramses Shaffy’s 1978 hit Laat me onto 50 tees that they’re giving away with purchases of the shoes. Continue reading A CHAT WITH FUTURA
This blog is rapidly looking like a Patta fansite, but I love talking to those guys about culture. Plus Gee is one of the select few whose book recommendations I trust 100%, and this site is also transforming into little more than a set of gushing paragraphs about the printed word. A book just dropped that documents Amsterdam’s street style through the long-running Appelsap festival. Continue reading TITANIUM SHELVES
(Note: I wrote this a year ago for my friends at Patta and Converse as part of a zine to coincide with a collaborative Chuck Taylor celebrate their 10th anniversary in 2014 — I think this might be a slightly rawer version.)
“How long have we known each other?” Gee — a Patta co-founder — is weaving in and out of traffic en route to Amsterdam’s west side while in deep conversation. A towering Surinamese-Dutchman on a bicycle with a backpacked Brit perched on the luggage carrier would be a comedy distraction in any city other than this one. Continue reading PATTA: DUTCH MASTERS
The majority of documentaries on sports footwear are a bland retread of past glories with the same talking heads telling exactly the same stories. The world doesn’t need some guy in weirdly laced shoes asking people who’ve been queuing for 16 hours, “What is a sneakerhead?”, any more than it needs another Imelda Marcos reference in the opening of an article on collectors and resell. Dull. The much-hyped exhibition in NYC right now looks a little middle-of-the-road too, even if the first part of the book offers a useful primer on the history of athletic shoes Still, there’s a few slept-on productions with some rare footage out there, like Sneakers, a 2004 Dutch production that features Patta brothers and true shoe Jedis Tim and Edson (back when Tim had dreads), some super-dated “cool hunting” (which seemed to fascinate people back then), and some chats with Steve Van Doren, Tinker Hatfield and Nobukazu Kishi from Boon. Like much on the topic from this period, it’s dated, but in a nice way — like over-designed Flash streetwear and shoe websites from the same time frame that don’t work on Wayback Machine. Submarine did a decent job on this 50-minute film, so salutes to whichever kind soul took the time to subtitle this.
I’ve looked up to Amsterdam’s Patta squad since they were putting out mixtapes featuring Non Phixion — their convergence of shoes, music and art, plus their admirable crew mentality has made them a movement (the existence of a Patta Talk group on Facebook, featuring almost 5,500 members is a testament to that. I have an ever-changing list of missions on my mind at any given time, but doing something, anything, with my friends at Patta has been a constant. We had discussions, but projects can vanish or switch repeatedly, so it never happened. Seeing as Lee and the squad have long been supporters of what I do, and I’m a fan, i wanted to put a tick by it. The 10th anniversary Converse project gave me the opportunity to write something more substantial than the 400 words a magazine would probably allow about their intentions, the role of hip-hop in Amsterdam and, most importantly, Edson’s steez, that eclipses any pitiful pocket square wearing, cancer stick posing Pitti tourists right now. It’s in the Today Was a Good Day ‘zine that Patta and Converse (it helps that the Chuck Taylor, which was the collaborative canvas for this project, is a personal favourite too) put out late last month alongside plenty of art and photography by the formidably talented Vincent van de Waal. I had a good couple of days working on this one — salutes to Team Patta.
Kickstarter culture, an anniversary celebration of no significant number for pretty much everything important, hunger for content and anyone coming of age during the 1990s getting their expendable income together means that things I’ve discussed here before are the subject of movies, documentaries, big books and exhibitions. It’s a great thing too. The current Larry Clark print sale at Simon Lee Gallery meant that I could grab a piece of the shoots that informed how I dressed back in the day but it was also an excuse to buy some smut too (which Instagram’s all-seeing eye snatched from my feed). Apparently there’s still a few good shots up for grabs in that wooden crate. I read about The Kids Film a few weeks back – Hamilton Harris‘s documentary on the making of the film and its aftermath (encouraged by the popularity of Caroline Rothstein’s Legends Never Die), with Clark helping as a producer and The Screen Feed ran an interview with Harris about the project last week that’s worth reading.
Soon, orgies of unofficial branding on tees will be fully played, but Boiler Room and Young Turks went in with this collection of logos akin to the late 1999 labels feature from The Face. That grid depicts plenty of Sports Direct favourites — once exotic and prized, but now licensed out for twenty two quid a pop. There’s a couple of ones that kept the flame burning in there too. If you caught the Budgie episode of Boiler Room’s Collections broadcasts then you’ll know that this 45 King episode is going to be heavy too.
Edson is the connoisseur’s connoisseur when it comes to music and clothes and he’s out to cause a baby boom with Luffie Duffie 3 — the last two instalments went in with the slow jams and this one is MOP inverted — smooth never rugged. That Parra cover art is serious too. This goes out on the 5th and you know the Patta squad will christen it the right way.
Patta is ten years old. That’s quite an achievement, because between 2004 and the present day, plenty of stores and brands have fallen by the wayside and the squad have proven that Amsterdam, like Paris, can do the hip-hop thing — from leather goose downs to two-finger jewelry — and maintain the culture’s sense of style without lapsing into herb territory. Edson, Lee, Gee, Tim, Danny, Malvin and the rest of the family are folks I look up to. Except when I see them I always look homeless by comparison, because their swagger is unholy, so I should keep it strictly digital to avoid them highlighting my lack of style. Just as their own brand started popping, Precinct 5 and Patta closed in 2012, but they promised a return and reopened. To do what they’ve done and not sell out (and I know all about selling out — it never ends well) is impressive and this year is going to be big. After the London pop-up, they took it to NYC this year. Setting it off with Stüssy and Pigalle, plus Italian-made running shoes (which sits perfectly with their worldview — they too once looked up to the guys with illicit dough and the obscure, expensive shoes). I believe that there’s a lot more coming too. Does anybody else remember the 2005 mixtape that called in some old Fat Beats affiliates? Shoe related (nearly) everything can eat a dick, but that Non Phixion freestyle over the Run beat that makes a lot of references to running shoes still works. Happy birthday Team Patta.
Watching the Drew Struzan documentary at the same time that I’m writing this, I was reminded of Mr. Charlie Morgan‘s compilation of shoes as they appeared on Struzan’s poster art. There’s Vs, Terra T/Cs, Reeboks, Airwalks and the Sk8-Hi in the mix. Drew knew shoes.