There are a handful of good books on street, skate or surfwear out there and I gave up on waiting for a Rizzoli Stüssy retrospective a while back. But that brand archive book via Japan was simple, comprehensive and very effective and on Friday, IDEA drop An IDEA Book on T-Shirts by Stüssy in DSM stores (plus some very nice t-shirt collaborations). It’s 240 pages and I think it retails at 45 quid (which isn’t cheap but with 2,000 copies made, when it’s gone it’s probably not going to appear on Amazon Marketplace for 37p plus 2.75 postage and packing). By all accounts, it’s good and it opens with an essay on graphic tees written by me (I’d be plugging it on here regardless). This i-D interview with Ryan Willms and Alastair McKimm sheds some more light on the project.
One collaboration I’ve not mentioned here before in all the proto industry model talk is 1990’s Stüssy i-D magazine tees. Created to commemorate the magazine’s tenth birthday alongside pieces from the likes of Simon Foxton, the shirts were sold for 15 quid via mail order. The Stüssy design was pitched to readers as a Shawn Stussy for i-D project rather than a straight-up brand collaboration and offered in white or grey. Given that the brand would take a slightly different, pared-down look, release some tribe-centric videos and host an event in Tokyo (that’s still considered a pivotal moment) the following year, it was inevitable that this project would make a splash far beyond London.
It wasn’t just the pioneering streetwear line that had a significant 1991 making grander Japanese inroads — i-D’s first Japanese incarnation was launched in September that year, lasting 16 issues. As a result, I’ve seen different versions of the shirt, which originally read “Enjoy yourself stupid amounts” on the front in that familiar hand style and included a dense list of predominantly female names on the back that includes the Queen, Sade, Lisa Stansfield, Sarah Stockbridge, Grace Jones and Wendy James. Continue reading EARLY COLLABORATION
Right now, the online incarnation of every men’s fashion magazine is putting up some generic streetwear list to get that traffic. Where you might once have memorised that moment Stüssy got a Sunday supplement mention or Supreme got the Vogue treatment early, it’s pretty much everywhere. Unless New York Times affiliated, not much of it seems to tell you much at all (salutes to the folks at Supreme and Palace who generally seem to leave bad rag journos hanging for soundbites, meaning it has to be some friend-of-a-Facebook-friend-of-a-friend who has to contribute some loose insight). Back when Loaded seemed revolutionary, it ran a 1994 four-pager that left an impression on me, talking streetwear with dons like Shawn Stussy, Rick Klotz, Erik Brunetti and Eli Bonerz, that starts with talk of the mystery Beastie Boys Slam City show and incorporates Curtis McCann and James Lavelle as models. Plaid shirts and chinos aplenty.
Between 1999 and 2001, Juergen Teller was Stüssy‘s go-to photographer for ad campaigns. Picked by Paul Mittleman, his images covered the brand in a variety of global territories. Having shot Kate Moss for a Vogue cover in April 1994 and on the back of his seminal 1999 book Go-Sees, Teller certainly wasn’t a rookie, but the decision to use him led to some arresting images that helped unify that new brand direction’s high and low-end positioning. Influenced by Comme since the very beginning and the daddy of the streetwear designer homage, this appointment seemed like a logical one (and Terry Richardson would shoot some subsequent ads). In 2017, the sullen kid with cheekbones in a hoody is pretty much a go-to for brand lookbooks and blog fodder, and for those with a budget, calling in Juergen is no surprise any more — failing that, a glut of tinpot Tillmans wannabes with a Yashica are ready to shoot their friends in a crap flat for free clothes. There were at least 25 images used in the Teller Stüssy rollout (The Face and Dazed ran a fair amount of them over here) and with some great Tyrone Lebon world tour work of late, it’s great to see that the quality control has been sustained all the way up to present day.
Bringing two longtime obsessions together, I wrote a brief cultural history of GORE-TEX for issue #8 of the Stüssy Biannual which is out right now. That membrane is something I’m insane about and I’ve been impressed by Stüssy’s output of late. Continue reading GOREHOUND
The abundance of 60 minute plus podcast conversations out there, soundtracking my working day, means that a lot of behind-the-scenes characters are getting their opportunity to tell the stories I’ve always wanted to hear — familiarity from another angle always seems fresh, instead of the usual assumptions or third-hand storytelling. Tremaine and Acyde’s No Vacancy Inn Soundcloud account is an informational treasure trove if you pick the right episodes. Chicago-raised model, producer, DJ and doer Lono Brazil’s name has cropped up over the years, but I’ve always wanted to hear his story in a more comprehensive way than the brief videos and bios on the web. Brazil was an original Stüssy Tribe member (Albee Ragusa is another Tribe legend I want to hear more about too). The self-proclaimed subcultural Forrest Gump has been in a lot of interesting situations at the right time, and his role at Capitol Records put hm in the middle of some very interesting mid 1990s hip-hop projects. We might focus on the youth when it comes to cultures, but with age there’s anecdotes and an abundance of inspiration.
Despite Bedford being my birthplace, I’ve long assumed that, despite being the longtime breeding ground for a lot of talent throughout the years, even minor recognition for the town was unlikely. One local hero is producer and musician Lil Silva who’s making credited and uncredited power moves while making some sounds that evolved locally into elements of some globally popular music. Continue reading BEDFORD TOWN