Tag Archives: travel fox

1991-1993

4stargeneral1993

First things first, rest in peace to Tycoon To$h. All us disciples of Tokyo streetwear owe the man and the culture he brought, from new wave to a local interpretation of hip-hop, a fair amount. Major Force inspired Mo’Wax and Mo’Wax inspired…well, you get the general idea. On the topic of early 1990s gems, the superb Webm8 site keeps bringing the gems, with nuggets like this fit-inducing two-minute retrospective of 1990-era ‘fits that was shown on MTV Europe in association with Swatch back in the day. Lots of crap and a few fakes in the mix, but to be fair, there was a lot of that my wardrobe back then. Shouts to everyone who used to watch this kind of stuff intently to take notes back in the day.

MORE GOOD STUFF

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At least three times a year for the last five years, I’ve been sent an enthusiastic email with the Powell Peralta SUPREME campaign tee attached as a jpeg. It’s a weird coincidence that somebody was throwing the Supreme name around in a box on the skate side, but, as far as I know, not an inspiration for the skate brand that’s going to break the internet on Monday morning. Above is an ad from early 1990 from Powell Peralta, which showcases the SUPREME name in stickers — as far as I know, this was just an ad campaign and showcase for some of the squad who appeared in 1990’s Propaganda rather than anything major. Having only ever seen 1991’s Video Days in VHS format, was the young Guy Mariano wearing the SUPREME shirt in that Jackson 5 soundtracked opening? It’s likely, given his Powell pro-status pre-Blind, but it’s also amusing, given the Powell-Blind feud that was brewing and how tapes like Video Days were nailing the coffin for the big brands. You could connect the Powell team from the 1990 era with the Supreme brand with ease given how many skaters were on the squad (eg. Billy Valdes-Menace-Javier Nunez-Supreme), but then again, you could connect any skater with another skater or brand in three steps or less.

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The good folk of Goodhood (who have been very supportive of this blog since day one) just launched their Goods brand, which delivers the premium basics in its inaugural rollout (if you can consider a UK-made backpack with a digital pyramid, palm tree and cactus print a basic). I know everyone’s launching a brand right now, but Kyle, Jo and the team have real design experience and can nail the print tee to make it appealing to people like me who’ve given up on life and rock the same blank day in, day out. There’s some great pastel bucket hats in the collection too, which, when worn by somebody that’s not me, will look amazing, plus a yo-yo too (beautifully packaged enough to make you think you’ve needed a yo-yo for some time), but the t-shirts caught my attention the quickest — the Dazed design with the appropriately Confused flipped ’78’ on the rear is a solid execution in terms of typography, illustration and the little details (given their self-confessed love of brands like Neighborhood, it’s no surprise), while the tie-dye creations make sense among the confusion, given the late 1970s cues. And if all that’s too fancy and you’re a drop-out like me, they’ve custom created their own blank shirt too. I’m looking forward to checking the hand feel of the Goods soft interpretation of vintage jersey. On your average rag trade cash-in brand, the, “A Well Made Product” blurb would be the same old bullshit, but the Goodhood crew really mean it.

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Be careful what you wish for. I know we’re all getting nostalgic in our old age (and there’s some young folk suffering from premature nostalgia right now), but I should know better than to wish for a brand to return out loud, just because I was thinking about the late Tony Wilson rocking the Travel Fox with a suit (and making them look crap) and tried to chart the history of the company. Those of us of a certain age might remember the Nappa leather and strange use of colours on this Travel Fox shoe, plus a £100 price point back in the 1988-era — it was a shit shoe, but it had status for ten minutes. Thanks to benski oner, for the heads up, I found out that the ‘Travel Fox Troop’ (I’m guessing that the Troop was added to up the nostalgia profits for another brand?) is at Sports Direct for £29.99. No Nappa and a crappier sole unit too. And that’s the end of that. Travel Fox was done by 1989, but now, thanks to Sports Direct, the memories are diarrhea-tinted. Remember The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, or the adaptation of sorts in the 1972 Tales From The Crypt movie or — best of all — Bob Clark’s Deathdream? The moral of the stories was this: be careful what you wish for. I know I’ll be more careful in future.

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THE SECOND COMING

I’ve moaned about Fila on here and the impending resurrection of Ewing has made me a little thirsty for the gear that got away. Fortunately David Goldberg and his team bringing Ewing back have done things the right way, but maintaining the packaging and the extras that made those shoes so desirable. Goldberg and the crew also seem to be aficionados of that shoe too. A couple of years prior to Ewing debuting, gaudy sportswear from rebel brands seemed to be sprouting up everywhere, but unlike Patrick’s indie endeavour, the product hasn’t aged particularly gracefully. There was a point when I would have gladly pressed a button to kill someone somewhere in the world to lay my hands on a pair of Troop Cobras and the fame I would have obtained for one school term in 1988, but the shoe with the ‘Cooling System’ hasn’t held up particularly well and the Ghostface-endorsed early 2000s retros bricked. Travel Fox’s mooted comeback never happened, British Knights was always terrible and SPX was always sub-Troop to me (endorsing Lennox always seemed like a bland move too) – something that the reissues with the terrible boombox packaging reiterated. The late 1980s sportswear boom is something that’s probably better left as a hazy overpriced memory I remember with a certain fondness, rather than anything I’d actually wish to revisit at a product level. This piece from February 1989’s issue of ‘The Face’ about the “second coming” of sportswear has some gems in it — it plugs fake Troop, import Filas, Junior Gaultier and talks of a time when Slam City Skates sold Converse Cons and LA Gear apparel. AXO BMX trousers, Aquaboy and God sportswear don’t seem to have opted for a resurrection. The guy in the Stussy sweat and Haring hat got lucky.

The new ‘Proper’ is out and it’s another departure for the magazine in terms of looks after its recent perfect-bound redux. A new logo, extra sheen, Eoin MacManus on art direction and plenty of ‘Hikerdelia’ themed content makes it one of the few proper (sorry, that was actually unintentional) magazines worth tracking down. ‘Proper’ has a voice (plus a fuckload of good puns) and it’s a very rare thing these days. Plus, it’s a little-known fact that only northerners can write about parkas and rucksacks properly. Interviews with Fabio Cavina from The 12th Man on the subject of Paninaro fashions and best of all, a piece by Bruce Johnson, the man behind the History of Gear site. If you don’t live near any fancy shops, you can buy ‘Proper’ #12 here.

‘Rocky V’ is a crappy film, but watching it last night, as well as being a little more moved by the conclusion than before after Sage Stallone’s passing, I was reminded that it has some of the greatest graffiti of any big Hollywood production. I put that down to Stallone handing directorial reigns back to the man behind the first film. This is when nepotism goes very right. Not only does JA have a cameo in the film, but he’s turned loose for the set of the final conflict. Did he get to bring Sane and Smith on board or did he pay tribute to them by himself? I’ve never known. Sane’s untimely passing would have been several months after the film’s production would have ended.

TRAVEL FOX & THE ART OF 'CASUALETICS'

Blog post from May 2009.

Every decade seems to get an excessive epilogue. The ’60s had team Manson on the loose. The ’70s saw Spielberg set the hit or miss megabudget tone when ‘1941’ flopped. The ’80s had Travel Fox. Something of a mystery to me at the time, the late ’80s were a breeding ground of new shoe brands. Whether indeed they actually served an athletic purpose was superfluous.

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