My obsession with Timberland boots has been outlined here time and time again, but it was fun to take a moderate (and edited) take on that preoccupation to MR PORTER a few days ago. You can force cultural connotations on other items of footwear, but there’s almost too much to talk about when it comes to the item of footwear that the entire business was renamed after. I think getting a mention of ODB’s bootleg boot sweatshirt on MR P was something of an achievement — a triumph of spreading rap trivia base don split-second glimpses beyond our usual geeky echo chamber. Check it out HERE.
If the popularity of bespoke bootleg legend Dapper Dan in defining the union of high-end and street style taught us anything, it’s that fakes can actually be fun in some cases. I’m not talking the replicas, the toys with lead paint or the cons — I’m talking the weird pieces that could never have been legit. It’s interesting that a lot of brands would ultimately take cues from fakes and streetwear to put out authentic gear later down the line too. Continue reading SO UNOFFICIAL, IT’S OFFICIAL
Sometimes an image is so good that it renders any text obsolete. Snoopy in the legendary Gucci Tennis from the book to coincide with 1984’s Japanese Snoopy in Fashion exhibition is a perfect case study. Idea Books Instagrammed it this morning and made my day. Even better than Donald Duck in Timbs. Speaking of wheat workboots, a couple of good promo print projects arrived in the post this week — Oi Polloi’s always excellent Pica~Post is back with some extra metal, an interview with Patagonia Alpine Outerwear Christian Regester and Mr. Gary Aspden (it’s heartening to see the low-key looks of the SPEZIAL Ardwick become an object of desire in a world where the same old Technicolor yawns get eBay bids) who really, really went on the campaign trail for his labour of love after years of not doing too many Q&As — Next’s role in casual culture, a picture of Gary with a spaniel and a Preston b-boy crew called Mystic Force makes this amazing. The increasingly prolific David Hellqvist (aka. the Baron) has done a good job with the Document project on the Timberland topic — there’s fashion talk in there, design talk and a really good conversation between my friends Nick Schonberger and Ronnie Fieg on the topic of the brand and its connection to NYC that I loved (sample quote: “Chris Webber used to buy 15 pairs of Timberland at a time”). That’s the kind of insight I want to read when we’re talking about brands that I’m smitten with.
It’s nearly Christmas and — if you recall this blog’s content from Christmases past, you might recall the hate filled lists I used to drop here. I thought about doing one again, but the blog world is already full of folks getting all cynical despite being as obsessed with emperor’s new clothes as much as the next person, so it doesn’t need me doing it too. I think much of what I wrote in previous entries stands anyway — the world is at least 15% more corny and easily impressed than it seemed to be in late 2011. But why piss on people’s picnics? Plus, much of the work i contribute to every day is hardly firing on all cylinders, so I’m not in the position to take potshots right now. It’s still fun to fire off a few though, even if they backfire.
Just because you’re a pro skater and you’re meant to be all artistic and expressive automatically means that you get to contribute to art shows with some lo-fi photography or a nosebleed on a canvas. It also means you get to start a brand as a passion project, which may or may not be utterly unremarkable. If you’re Geoff Rowley, that brand will be awesome and you’ll spend more time punching people in the face for talking shit, making your own jerky and shooting guns in a canyon. CivilWare, launched in the summer, didn’t catch my attention the first time around, because it just seemed to be another simple tee line. The current store inventory includes coffee beans, an axe made with Base Camp X, paper shooting targets and a custom-made knife with Anza Knives. Because it’s Rowley-affiliated, you know that he puts this kind of thing to use, rather than this being some self-aware attempt to reassert masculinity in the era of organic produce and hurt feelings on social media. I’m looking forward to seeing what CivilWare does next.
Here’s a brief Shawn Stüssy interview from 1992 that calls him the “Urban Armani” and includes him shouting out Brand Nubian and discussing the brand’s expansion plans. it’s no the most in-depth discussion, but it belongs here for completist’s sake.
Shouts to Joerg at 032c for letting me write some end of year shoe-related stuff for their site. Getting to big up Olympus Has Fallen onsuch a prestigious platform was quite a privilege.
Whoever decided to switch up “dog” for “gun” in this Timberland newspaper ad from the 1980s makes this promotion more memorable. Timbs beat guns — anyone who ever had that outsole imprinted on their face or chest and lived to tell the tale can concede that it probably beats a bullet in the assault stakes.
While we’re talking axes and weaponry, just like Bad Santa, Home Alone, Gremlins, Father Ted, Scrooged and A Charlie Brown Christmas, the Tales From the Crypt episode And All Through the House is a Christmas necessity — you can see the original EC comic story here (don’t read it if you haven’t watched it yet) and the shorter British adaptation starring Joan Collins from the 1972 film Tales From the Crypt is here. Larry Drake is terrifying in the 1989 version and Fred Dekker and Robert Zemeckis do great things with the source material. I hope Santa brings all of you what you want and doesn’t arrive in the shape of an escaped psychopath…
Nothing to see here tonight — I’ve been too busy to hunt anything worth upping and working on a book and an exhibition has eaten up my evenings this week. Please accept my apologies. In the meantime, here’s a link to an extract of my chat with James Jebbia — Supreme just put out a Timb workboot with a shot on their Instagram of Javier Nunez skating in them. Talk of skating in Timberlands is always cause to up grabs of Kyle James and Brian Wenning in their wheats. Years after I blogged on that topic, I still can’t find that Pepe Martinez Timberland footage from the True Mathematics (coincidentally, I’m sure that shoe god, Chris Hall who owned that brand did some work for Timberland in the last few years) VHS. Who needs iPath when you can skate in something wildly inappropriate? Anyway, seeing as we’re talking interviews with industry kingpins, I interviewed Erik Brunetti for the new issue of ACCLAIM.
The lowest form of blogging is the “look what arrived in the post…” stuff, but I’ll do it here anyway, because it’s an object I’ve loved from afar for a long time. Timberland has cropped up here a few times over the last three years, but with it being their 40th anniversary and them and The Rig Out letting me get involved in the jumpoff for their Limited collection, it’s a good time to talk trees again. This wood box, (complete with a workboot lace and eyelet fastened copy of a hardback 100 page tribute to the original yellow boot) contained a pair of the World Hiker reissue. I know those who know will be tripping out over this one. All eyes will be on the return of the Super Boot aka the 40 Below (a classic from 1979) and the new Super 6″ addition to the pack — a GORE-TEX lined, Vibram soled version of the yellow boot (which I need in my life). But you know those boots well, right? The World Hiker is a 1994 classic that’s like 1988’s (the year that the Beef & Broccoli 5″ Waterproof Hiker first dropped) Euro Hiker on creatine supplements. Fairly light despite the imposing looks and surprisingly comfortable, this was a serious shoe in its day.
The World Hiker name is there for ease-of-use too, because this shoe started life as the top-line part of a four-shoe collection called World Hiker. As far as I know, this shoe is really the World Hiker Up Country Plus Backpacker (with some minor tweaks to the detailing) — the full load use part of the project — which was originally accompanied by the Up Country Hiker, the Front Country Hiker with GORE-TEX and the cheaper Front Country Day Hiker. From the custom-made carbon rubber Vibram outsoles to the technology involved, this was a state-of-the-art line, but the Up Country Plus Backpacker had the rubber rand for reinforcement, hinged forward and rear flex zones, gusseted, locking tongue and the multiple layer footbed that included materials with fancy names like Dri-Lex and Poron.
Now the shoe is made in China rather than the factories of Montebelluna in Italy, I assume that the GORE-TEX has gone and the Pittards buck leather has become a great quality full grain leather, but the shoe still retains its power — it’s still a D-ringed all terrain monster and the fit is better than most other boots on the market. The World Hiker elements symbols are present on the tongue too — wind for windproof a wave for waterproof, earth for anti-abrasion and the sun for temperature sensitivity. Salutes to Timberland for singling this one out for a return (only 1,973 pairs in line with the year the original Timberland boot arrived). Go visit here and read the Rig Out special for a little history of the boots in the collection and some pictures of dudes with beards looking serious.
I want to watch a bootleg copy of the new Ben Affleck film (no Gigli) so this is a rush job. The Timberland brand has been an organisation close to my heart since the notion of amassing £120 for a pair of boots was impossible and I had to settle for CAT. Shit, I even considered Lugz back when Erick Sermon was plugging them in jeans big enough to block out the sun and cause a global rickets crisis, but you always knew you were compromising. For all the ‘Watchdog’ talk of quality or unfounded rumours about them and their enthusiastic hip-hop market, an ad with, say, Das EFX in ‘The Source’ would have ultimately deaded the Timberland brand. I’m not mad at the way it wasn’t all up in the rap press desperately trying to be down (though I still don’t mess with the roll-tops) during my teen years. As Timberland weather approaches and their 40th birthday is impending (though the Abington Boot Company launched 60 years ago), here’s some old Timberland ads. The blocky TIMBERLAND lettering to promote the “Outdoors-Proof Boot” in 1976 shows how the brand design has evolved and the 1979 campaign with a hillbilly family in wheat workbooks that, rather curiously, depicts them as the shoe of the moonshine maker hiding from Treasury Agents, is a gem, complete with a tagline that pre-dates Stella Artois’ “Reassuringly expensive” campaign — “A whole line of fine leather boots that cost plenty, and should.” 1982 was seemingly the year that Timberland declared boat shoe beef with Sperry Top-Sider with shot after shot. Brands didn’t do subliminals back then — shots fired, man overboard! Can I still enter the 1984 sweepstakes for Black & Decker powertools? The copywriting’s pretty solid throughout the 1980’s as GORE-TEX enters the line and the Super Boot era begins. I never realised that it took until 1991 for the brand to drop proper hikers either. I love these ads.
To coincide with the exhibition that’s in Berkeley California right now (though I’m hoping to catch in Boston next April) a full mid-career retrospective book is dropping next month and it looks tremendous and curiously affordable too. The Damiani book from 2009 was substantial, but this 448 page behemoth is something I’m judging by its cover, but you know it’s going to be necessary. Here’s Berkeley Art Museum’s Lawrence Rinder (who, put the book together alongside assistant curator Dena Beard) and Jefferey Deitch talking about Barry McGee. There’s a few more videos on YouTube courtesy of BAMPFA, including an excellent slideshow created by McGee.