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tenderloinsweatsuits

Image via Nagoya Yom

My granddad used to look after his garden. He also used to dress up to tend it (I’m sure I’ve mentioned his gardening tie here before) so it seems right to put on a suit to work — I favour a complete sweatsuit for any freelance duties. It’s getting to the point where I feel I can cure writer’s block with fleece. I’ve worked on a few projects lately and as a result, I’ve got sweatsuits on the mind. After the shellsuit and Fuct yard suit talk on here during the last week, it makes sense to keep talking neck-to-ankle sportswear. I was a little confused by the Tenderloin split and who still works with whom and who’s at TIMEWORN ATLAST&CO, but as I understand, Toru Nishiura still holds down Tenderloin while Kei Hemmi is at TIMEWORN.

The recent Tenderloin range preview in SENSE contained the usual leather jackets and horse hide accessories that I can only gaze at after running the Yen/Pound price through xe.com (and that’s before postage, taxes and the outright theft of Royal Mail’s “handling charge”). I also know that I lack the beard and neck tattoos to pull off the Suede Hunting Vest. The scale of this line is always staggering and last season’s dressing gown is complemented in the casual stakes by this season’s Sweat Suit and Sweat Pant combos in green, navy or brown marl, with draw string, contrast waist and cuffs. The whole T-Sweat collection is always solid, even though I have yet to meet anyone who rocks this stuff over the revivalist denim stiffness, petrol station swagger and checks. A £385 Japanese-made romper suit? I’m in.

Shouts to the excellent Nagoya Yom for scanning those pages. I’m always fascinated at the grand scale of Japanese brands every season — especially when brands that barely exit their motherland have catalogues this dense with premium materials, basics and patterned garments. Nobody seems to do anything by half. no matter how many personnel changes Tenderloin experiences, I’ll always ride for it because it reminds me of Bond International’s final years on Newburgh Street and a time when Soho was scattered with retail refuges to avoid being in the office. Like Costanza in velvet (and contrary to Seinfeld’s dismissal of sweatpants as an act of resignation), I would happily drape myself in loopback cotton. It’s not an act of self-defeat — it’s a statement of excellence and a minimum of fucks given.

jordanpriceguide2013

On the Tenderloin topic, how long before everyone’s dressing like an old world train driver again? You know something you liked is in tailspin when somebody writes a price guide on it. Jordan mania has even shoes that we Brits have traditionally never cared much for selling quickly (XIIIs used to hang around for a long, long time). Any market that’s filled with half-baked speculators is destined to implode soon and The Air Jordan Price Guide 2013 actually exists. I thought the Rareairshoes Sneaker Freaker guide would lead to entire books of shoe prices, but it never seemed to happen (a lot of hype goods became worthless in the years that followed). I don’t hate resellers (they’re marginally less annoying than “sneakerheads”), but when athletic footwear is treated like Pogs or Pokemon and becomes the subject of conventions, you know something’s going to give soon.

The Maze

Idea Books’ recent talk of the ‘Impresario: Malcolm McLaren and the British New Wave’ exhibition at the New York’s New Museum of Contemporary Art in winter 1988 is a good time to look at imagery of the Malcolm McLaren show in the NMOCA Digital Archive. Always the master re-appropriator, whatever your opinion of Malcolm, he almost certainly brought something amazing to your life in one way or the other. Whether the artists got paid properly is another thing. That his create-a-craze vision and Vivienne Westwood’s Buffalo Girls and Nostalgia of Mud collections brought Peruvian Indian and b-boy style together is something remarkable. He might have been a sub-cultural magpie but at least he took plenty of risks along the way and seemed willing to occasionally make himself look like a tit whenever it was required. By the end of the 1980s, everybody seemed to be robbing everybody — Malcolm took inspiration from NYC’s ball culture after seeing Paris is Burning and barely paid some vocalists before Madonna took the sound and made it go global. Surely Takahiro Miyashita’s Soloist vision owes a fair bit to the future hobo of Westwood’s Blade Runner backdropped and Duck Rock soundtracked Punkature show from 1982?

Adam and the Ants

World's End Fashions

Bow wow wow

Kings Road

Sex and Setitionaries Fashion

JESUS IN A CADDY

It’s the law that no YouTube video — regardless of how dumb it is — can amass more than 100,000 without a race war or heated debate about religion (often both) beneath it. It’s also another law that every time you’re hit by rap nostalgia and have to Google say Hard 2 Obtain’s ‘L.I. Groove’, there’s somebody bad mouthing Drake beneath it in the comments. Lately I’ve been hit by Clipse nostalgia. It’s 10 years since ‘Lord Willin’ dropped. 10 years. It’s terrifying. So that makes it 13 since their debut was shelved — we got previews of Clipse tracks on free East West compilations as late as 1998. And here’s me assuming that the Thorntons are a contemporary rap phenomenon. I’ll put that down to Pusha T’s post 2009 solo work feeling like something new. And Scarface’s ‘The Fix’ is almost a decade old too. 2002 was a good year for drug rap.

The meeting for the ‘Lord Willin’ cover art is one I wish I was in. Pusha and Malice with Christ in the backseat of a Caddy is often lampooned as a Joe Cool ‘Doggystyle’ friends-with-felt-tips effort, but Vicki Berndt’s art has held up as a memorable cover before album art became quaint. We could study the credible pop and rap crossover a little longer, but it was the Neptunes that brought the worlds together a little more deftly than earlier, more self-conscious efforts. Coke rappers trading verses with Justin Timberlake on ‘Like I Love You’ two months after ‘Lord Willin’ dropped broke down a barrier for better or for worse that reverberates in those confusing 2012 Bieber co-signs.

Beyond pivotal pop crossbreeding, using Bendt’s art was an odd move that brought in some other influences. Berndt’s career went from playing in punk bands, fanzines and photography for Sub Pop records to paintings. Her 2Pac portrait based on Danny Clinch’s ‘Rolling Stone’ shoot for 2001’s ‘Until the End of Time’ grave dig may have caught the eye of somebody at Arista or Star Trak, resulting in the painting of a lot of folks’ favourite bloke with a beard taking a trip to Virginia. To talk up the album’s lineage of glorious silliness that goes back to P-Funk (and beyond) would be too ‘Guardian’ so I’ll just shut up and gaze at the glory of that holy excursion to the sounds of ‘Young Boy’s Ajax talk and Pusha talking Vaseline and Novocaine in ‘Comedy Central.’ I still want a Virginia is for Hustlers t-shirt too, even if Bapestas and Evisu is done. I wish Vicky Berndt had created more hip-hop covers.

Source: Nagoya Yom

You might be in urban ninja mode or pretending there’s more to print tees than there actually is, but Japan’s The Original Tenderloin still keeps creating classics. www.nagoyayom.com is a superior source for finding scans of the best from magazines like ‘SENSE’ and they’ve upped the Original Tenderloin Fall/Winter collection from the latest issue. I like the faint aura around this brand (it also reminds me of Bond International’s Newburgh Street era) and after rumors of the brand’s demise (can anyone clarify whether there was a Real McCoy’s style split within the brand at any point?), the Seagal-esque T-Leather Pullover, T-Sherpa jacket design and T-Lounger plaid dressing gowns are excellent.

Nagoya Yom also upped the ‘SENSE’ preview of the Supreme and Chapman Brothers (not to be mistaken with Chapman who make a lot of Supreme boards) decks. Guaranteed to perplex a subsection of a new audience for the brand in the best possible way and they’re some of the best artist series decks since the Christopher Wool designs, Jake and Dinos’ work looks good on wood. Once again, tap up the site for more. Fuckfaced graphics, part of 2002’s ‘Unholy Trinity’ crucifix sculpture scene and a McDonalds hoarding part of the Chapman Family Collection all seem to be present.

Source: Nagoya Yom

THE BEST IS YET TO COME…

Dominic Stansfield has officially ended his Stansfield brand. It’s a shame. In a world laden with repro, pseudo old world efforts, he’s a standout character who really understands design, bizarro reference points and the power of imported 1990s skatewear. Stansfield was one of the best brands this country — and his Rushmoor line before that remains underrated too. It’s important to celebrate the masterminds who’ve weathered trends and reached Jedi levels of garment overstanding like Dominic, 6876’s Kenneth MacKenzie and Garbstore’s Ian Paley. I occasionally feel that I don’t celebrate the work of UK brands enough, but I feel the majority are piss-poor. After maharishi seemed to take a nosedive a few years back, I’ve had little luck connecting with any Brit streetwear lines at a similar level. Print tees with Brooklyn Kid fonts? Give it up. If you’re lucky, UPS or Royal Mail might be hiring.

Stansfield made some fine outerwear and shirts. The car coat was particularly amazing, while the jacket above seemed to channel the reference point blend and bring something new to the table — the solitary fireman’s jacket clasp evokes memories of the jackets Treach would wear in 1993. His blog was a fascinating insight into the mind of someone utterly obsessed with their work. Some of the military and film reference points were stunning and the gear that emerged reflected that obsession.

The blog carried a final message a few weeks back where Dominic explained, “I think its time to move things on from this over-saturated wax jacket, heritage, workwear etc. bore fest.” It looks like he’s set to go technical with some projects primed for 2012. It’s a shame that the reverse weave sweats he mentioned a while back (that I’d heard about from multiple sources) never appeared, but perhaps the impending American sportswear themed brand he mentions in that post will be the outlet for them. Salutes to a mastermind who knew when to bow out and reinvent.

Dominic’s decision doesn’t seem to be affecting the direction for some other brands (In fact, I know for a fact that a rep for a brand recently announced that they were moving from sportswear in favour of “workboot styles”) and if the workwear movement continues, I hope a dearth of ideas ultimately leads them to August Sander’s ‘People of the 20th Century’ or Irving Penn’s ‘Small Trades.’ Sander documented some great characters across classes in those books, but I want to see wax-jacketed farmers and chore coated railroad types superseded in cool-guy hotspots by looks taken from Penn’s cheese seller, deep-sea diver and best of all, the steel mill firefighter look, which oddly, reminds me of the flame-making protagonists of some grindhouse favourites like ‘The Exterminator’ and ‘Don’t Go in the House.’ I hope the 1951 steel mill firefighter look hits streetwear and trickles down to the Superdry/Top Man consumer.

In all the excitement over Visvim’s zillion pound Native American themed collection for a SENSE photoshoot earlier this year, I hadn’t realised how good the new Tenderloin range was. For some reason, I find myself feeling a little more sentimental for Tenderloin goods than the majority of other Japanese repro brands, simply because they remind me of working within proximity of the Bond International store, and the sheer volume of tattooists from spots like Frith Street who proved that good gear just doesn’t date. I’d been led to believe that Tenderloin had reached its final season. I’m not sure who’s running it — Kei left, but I’m assuming that Koji and Nishi are still on board.

That sentimentality is amplified by the brand’s roots in London and Los Angeles circa 1997 and the fact the brand maintains a certain mystique – even in an era where every stitch visible from blog to blog in high resolution. The cushions and shirts in the range are great, but that deerskin jacket is a thing-of-beauty. I recently read up on a meat market and deli in Minnesota that does a sideline in affordable deerskin gloves, even though we fawn (pun intended) over it as a premium fabric, but the design of Tenderloin’s jacket is extraordinary. Then I found out that 176, 400 Yen translates as 1,269 pounds before shipping and tax. I’ll leave this one in the dream coat wishlist for the time being.

(BEWARE: TOTAL DIGRESSION AHEAD)

It’s been interesting to see hip-hop’s reaction to the Mister Cee story all week. dream hampton’s Tweeted revelation that Biggie’s boy Mann (as seen in the classic Timbs and dice image that’s adorned many tees — I first saw that shot in Cheo Coker’s ‘Unbelievable’ book) was gay. Remember 2Pac bodyguard Frank Alexander’s tales of ‘Pac getting greeting kisses from Gianni Versace in ‘Got Your Back’ finished with Alexander’s comedy disclaimer, “…I don’t play that shit — even with Versace”? Couple that with the fact that several of the culture’s pioneers were gay or on occasion, “gay for pay” according to some very reliable sources (and I’m not going to dry snitch), it throws hip-hop’s age-old homophobia into a state of fresh debate. After hunting the “gay rapper” since ‘One Nut’ ran their story, it’s all turning gay — like the steelmill/Anvil nighclub from ‘The Simpsons.’ Anything that infuriates screwfaced puritans is alright with me. Hip-hop needed a group outing.