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P A R I S

N E W

Y O R K

T O K Y O


P R E F A

C E

This might not be news to you but trends are coming and going faster with every passing season, which also means that putting together printed matter dealing with the forefront of fashion trends months in advance can become a rather complicated task. “Normcore” is a term that is being thrown around loosely these days and has been used to describe one of the major directions that our market is currently heading towards. Coined as “unpretentious, average-looking clothing,” many fear that this movement is threatening the big steps that the menswear market has made over the last decade. We actually do not agree at all and see it as a completely normal cycle, following what we have seen earlier on. The current mix of streetwear and high-fashion is creating a plethora of new brands in the market that fuse the two worlds in ways we have never seen before. Principles, design elements and attributes from previous trends meet in this new exciting phase. This current state of the market has lead us to choose ICONOGRAPHY as the main theme of our new issue. What makes an icon? What makes for an iconic image? What leads to a market-changing, iconic style? How do you become an icon? These are the questions that we asked ourselves when producing the magazine. You find iconography in images, in patterns, in symbols, in silhouettes and in people. Our cover star could not fit this theme any better. Yohji Yamamoto, the iconic Japanese designer – to many, the country’s most important to date – has been relevant for decades already, but one could argue that he is more influential and relevant today than he has ever been before. And that is exactly what intrigued us. Welcome to Highsnobiety Issue 9. On the following pages you will find an in-depth article

on the aforementioned cover star, Yohji, as photographed by Neil Bedford, alongside stories on now legendary American designer Rick Owens, tattoo artist Scott Campbell, graffiti artist ROIDS, graphic designer Fergadelic, and the prolific type foundry House Industries, as well as pieces on many other interesting creative people and companies. Furthermore, we produced a series of photo editorials to visually support our theme, focusing on the likes of Saint Laurent, Burberry Prorsum, Thom Browne, Public School, DKNY and Calvin Klein. Once again we worked with a series of illustrators to stimulate you visually and have also put together some thought-provoking opinion pieces. The result is a new issue that we believe captures our market and its current direction perfectly, yet also shows our love for some timeless styles and icons – things we believe every man’s wardrobe should include. An icon is after all something timeless, something lasting, something that needs to withstand the test of time before reaching its full potential. With this ninth issue, we are giving you more than ever before. In size, it has grown by 60 pages compared to issue 8 and we can proudly say that every single page was worth the addition. As always, we hope that you enjoy our latest piece of printed work and are eagerly awaiting your feedback. A special thanks goes out to Pete Williams and Edward Chiu for putting this issue together with our global team of editors, photographers, stylists and contributors.

David Fischer


Contents

Contributors

LOOK

READ

24 Footwear

48 True Icons

32 Classics & Staples

66 The Power of an Icon

38 Editor’s Choice 56 Everyday Living

140 How to Talk to Your HBA Teen

62 Ocean of Space

208 Wes Anderson

78 Enduring. Perpetual.

214 Travel

92 Nineteen-Nineties

226 House Industries

108 Trance

236 KIDULT

128 High Definition

238 Daniel Arsham

150 To be Continued

250 Body of Christ

158 Snark Hunting

254 The Legacy of the Jumpman Logo

166 Turn, Please

Atip W

Clara Lacy

Stylist, UK atipw.com

Illustrator, UK claralacy.com

David Hellqvist

Douglas Brundage

Editor, UK davidhellqvist.tumblr.com

Editor, USA dabrundage.tumblr.com

182 Just Kids 202 My Boyfriend’s Leather Jacket

INTERVIEWS

TA ST E

72 Fergus Purcell

43 Sneakerboy

86 Polar Skate Co.

45 Puma × McQ

100 Das Spezial

46 Nudie Jeans

116 Scott Campbell

54 FootPatrol

122 Rick Owens

70 Represent

144 Yohji Yamamoto

121 Warsteiner

174 Juun.J

190 Fred Perry x Nigel Cabourn

196 Roundel 232 ROIDS

222 Food 246 Wheels 248 Sounds

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Harriet Turney

Neil Bedford

Photographer, UK harrietturney.com

Photographer, UK neilbedford.com

Paul Davies

Saskia Schmidt

Editor, UK highsnobiety.com/author/pdavies

Stylist, Germany saskia-schmidt.com


F O O T W E A R

PHOTOGRAPHY R YA N H U R S H & T H O M A S W E L C H

SIZE? × NIKE AIR HUARACHE LIGHT “MOWABB”

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B E S P O K E G OYA R D VA N S AU T H E N T I C B Y R A R E S N E A K E R P R O G R A M

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Built for speed. The 48-20 Chrono.

nixon.com


WINGS + HORNS × NEW BALANCE 580

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SAINT LAURENT LACE-UP CREEPERS

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CLASSICS & STAPLES PHOTOGRAPHY M AT T I A S B J O R K LU N D STYLING AT I P W CASTING DIRECTOR REBECCA KNOX MODEL GUY GEE @ SELECT MODELS

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BAARTMANS & SIEGEL BOMBER JACKET


NIKE AIR FORCE 1 OUR LEGACY JACKET AND TROUSERS

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L E W I S L E AT H E R S ‘CO R S A I R ’ L E AT H E R JAC K E T

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CLOTHSURGEON SHORTS ACNE SOCKS PA L AC E × R E E B O K C L AS S I C L E AT H E R

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S P I E WA K M A-1 B O M B E R JAC K E T LEVI’S 501XX

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A D I DA S O R I G I N A L S S TA N S M I T H

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EDITORS’ CHOICE

PHOTOGRAPHY R YA N H U R S H & T H O M A S W E L C H

LPD NEW YORK × ADIDAS BASKETBALL

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CONCEPTS SCRAMBLE BANDANA DOWN SHIRT

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OAMC ARC SUNGLASSES

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SNEAKERBOY AND THE LUXURY SPORTSWEAR MOVEMENT WORDS PETE WILLIAMS

Over the past few years, the millennial generation has truly come of

Nike, adidas (Rick Owens for adidas and Kanye for adidas), Common

age, bringing forth massive shifts in culture, with digital communication

Projects and Boris Bidjan Saberi.

now touching upon all aspects of our lives in one way or another. Combining unprecedented access to information with a more relaxed dress code and a penchant for sharing nearly everything, today’s style leaders are rapidly changing the fashion landscape. Style-wise, one of the most prominent trends to stem from this digitally focused behavior has been the wave of luxury sportswear. On both ends of the spectrum, we see luxury brands moving into sportswear and sportswear brands focusing more and more on premium product, with more and more high-end sports-influenced product hitting the market with each passing season. As such, the relationship between street culture and high fashion is now more relevant than ever, with sneaker culture today embracing luxury and designer brands on the market. Some would go as far as to call it a movement, and if you’re looking for a retailer at the center of this wave, Sneakerboy stands out as a clear leader. A purpose-built sneaker store with a vigilant focus on the burgeoning trend of luxury, designer sneakers, Sneakerboy represents the world’s first dedicated luxury sneaker store, offering an incredible depth of product from the world’s leading international brands and fashion houses, including Balenciaga, Balmain, Lanvin, Givenchy, Rick Owens, Buscemi, Y-3, Pierre Hardy, Raf Simons, Kris Van Assche, Maison Martin Margiela and Giuseppe Zanotti. Not only does Sneakerboy place all these high-end brands under one roof, they also offer special lines, limited edition collections, collaborations, and pre-releases by the most respected footwear and fashion designers in the world including,

Emerging both digitally and physically, Sneakerboy’s brick and mortar stores are almost monuments devoted to the global luxury streetwear aesthetic. Seamlessly melding the tangible with the digital, the stores have no tills or fixed point of sale. They don’t even hold stock on site, instead, the Sneakerboy stores are the physical expression of the website – acting as both an interactive gallery and energetic showroom space where customers can touch, feel, try on, and buy any style or size from their unparalleled collection. Approaching the market with many of the same ideas that ruminate through the millennial generation, Sneakerboy focuses on technology first and foremost, allowing the retailer to constantly deliver the best new developments to their customers. To shop with Sneakerboy, customers download a free smartphone app that securely holds all their personal information, favorite brands and more. In-store shoppers simply scan product barcodes with their mobile device to find out if their desired sneaker is in stock. Whether in-store, at home or anywhere else, customers can open the app, and with one-tap purchasing, the chosen sneakers will be dispatched from Sneakerboy’s international shipping and logistics center in Hong Kong, arriving at most locations worldwide within three days. Combining a network of luxury brands that provide a regular stream of new product releases throughout the year, a next-generation digital/physical retail experience, and a season-less product cycle, Sneakerboy has effectively introduced a new model for the future of footwear retail that will undoubtedly influence the market in many ways for years to come. SNEAKERBOY

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OUR LEGACY BO ILED PAISLEY SCARF

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PUMA × MCQ THE FUTURE OF SPORT FASHION

WORDS PETE WILLIAMS PHOTOGRAPHY R YA N H U R S H

Although collaborations between high fashion labels and sport brands are commonplace these days, the Alexander McQueen versus PUMA range was one of the true originals. Working from their historical partnership, the two brands have evolved that collaboration, bringing PUMA together with Alexander McQueen’s younger sister label, McQ. Merging PUMA’s sport heritage with McQ’s street influenced DNA, we arrive at a set of youthful, performance-inspired sneakers with a strong nod towards McQueen’s early gothic tendencies. While previous Alexander McQueen PUMA sneakers were done in high-end Italian leathers and produced in Italy, this line focuses more towards PUMA’s

technical expertise, with a very athletic, techy range. The PUMA × McQ Move Lo features leather cutouts laid atop an oversized mesh upper, while PUMA’s Blaze of Glory-inspired PUMA × McQ Run Mid mates plastic rib-like overlays with a fine mesh upper and leather detailing, elegantly bringing together the look and feel of both PUMA and McQ in a familiar yet futuristic package. Looking towards the future of sport fashion, the first installment of the PUMA × McQ collection is now available at select retailers around the world. alexandermcqueen.com/mcq

PUMA × MCQ

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NUDIE JEANS STONEMASON REPLICA WORDS M A R TA S U N DAC PHOTOGRAPHY DA M I E N VA N D E R V L I ST STYLING AT I P W MODEL NICK @ MILK MANAGEMENT

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NUDIE JEANS


JEANS INSPIRED BY ORIGINAL, BROKEN IN, RAW DENIM. Having been in the denim game since 2001, Sweden’s Nudie Jeans has become a leader in sustainable and organic denim production. Founded in Gothenburg, the brand was born out of a love of denim, believing that no fabric ages quite as beautifully as denim does. With a passion and respect for raw selvage denim, Nudie understands that a worn-out pair of jeans is something to hold dear, believing that the longer you wear your jeans, the more character and attitude they acquire. Inspired by the traditions of denim and the characteristics of the fabric itself, Nudie’s design heritage focuses on classic fits that are designed to wear like a second skin and only get better with age. With names that express as much character as their denim — from Tight Long John to Grim Tim — you can find any fit you’re after to go with whichever wash you might desire. Known for their raw and Japanese selvage styles, they also specialize in pre-worn and treated denim. For fall, Nudie is releasing the highly limited Grim Tim Stonemason Replica. Limited to a run of only 300, the jeans are made from 100% organic 13.5 oz. Japanese selvage denim. As the name suggests, Stonemason Replica is based on a real life pair of broken-in jeans that Nudie came across. The story goes that a stonemason handed in a pair of Sharp Bengt jeans to Nudie’s repair shop in Melbourne, Australia. Having worn them every day for nine months, it was clear that stonemasonry, unlike other trades, is ideal for breaking in denim. He explains, “It’s heavy work. You need to bend your knees all the time, and when you move the stones they leave marks and cut through the denim. The dusty and dirty environment helps add character to the denim too.” So impressed with this pair, Nudie’s design team set out and studied the original pair, investing time, skill and effort into honestly replicating the beloved jeans. The result is one of their best replicas to date. The original Grim Tim Stonemason pair has since been skillfully preserved and has joined other amazing works of broken in denim in Nudie’s archive. Each pair of the Grim Tim Stonemason Replica is numbered 1-300, comes with a booklet detailing the journey behind the original pair, and arrives in its own recycled card box that is bound by a Nudie natural leather belt. The style launches in September and will be available from Nudie Jeans concept stores and the brand’s online store. nudiejeans.com NUDIE JEANS

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T

R

U

I

E

C

O

N

S

WORDS ALEC LEACH I L LU S T R AT I O N S ULI KNÖRZER

A TRIBUTE TO THE WORLD’S GREATEST STYLE ICONS, THE IMPACT THEY HAD ON FASHION AND SUBCULTURES THEY SPEARHEADED. While the cliché about judging books by their covers dictates that image doesn’t matter, the fact remains that the world’s greatest musicians, actors and artists have all had a signature style that went hand in hand with their work – whether they subscribed to fashion or not. While fashion is an exhilarating, ever-evolving ride through aesthetics, materials and seasons, style is a personal, instinctual expression of an individual’s personality and taste. It is no surprise then that some of history’s greatest characters, whether artists, actors or musicians, matched their talent and charisma with impeccable style. From thrift store finds to luxury fashion, what these icons have in common is their impeccable dress sense and the influence they had on their respective subcultures. From gangster rappers to vintage actors, these five icons are all immortalized in popular culture thanks to their effortless style – not only a collection of garments, but a genuine expression of their persona.

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TRUE ICONS


T H E N OTO R I O U S B. I .G .

A larger than life character both on and off the stage, The Notorious B.I.G.’s style spanned luxury fashion, streetwear and Mafioso-esque suiting and was never anything short of audacious – the perfect extension of his cocky, swaggering persona. Whether he was flexing in baroque Versace shirts and sunglasses, Coogi sweaters or extravagant suits, the rapper’s outlandish fashion sense and

vast collection of ostentatious jewelry set him miles apart from the thuggish, streetwise look of his gangster rap peers. Biggie’s adoption of high fashion and shameless flamboyance paved the way for hip-hop style as we know it today; influencing the scores of peacocking rappers who followed in his wake.

TRUE ICONS

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J E A N - M I C H E L BA S Q U I AT

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s clothing reflected perfectly the outlandish, primitive aesthetic of his paintings. With his tangled nest of dreadlocks, Basquiat would dress in a cocktail of patterns, fabrics and garments, fearlessly mixing styles to create a bizarre ensemble that was entirely his own. Writer and GQ fashion guru Glenn O’Brien, when referring to the late artist’s impoverished roots, described how “it’s possible to be poor and stylish, as long

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TRUE ICONS

as it’s economic poverty and not poverty of the spirit.” When fame and fortune eventually found the iconoclastic creative, he was known to paint in Armani suits – letting the splats and stains become part of the clothing. A master of style in the purist sense – with no regard to brands, convention or tradition – Basquiat’s ramshackle thrift store look can be seen on starving artists worldwide, decades after his untimely death.


STEVE MCQUEEN

The star of The Great Escape, The Thomas Crown Affair and The Magnificent Seven was at the height of his career the highest paid movie star in the world, and from his effortless mastery of classic men’s style it’s easy to see why. The “King of Cool” married his signature Persol sunglasses and Rolexes with a broad wardrobe of American casualwear – from

leather flight jackets and Harringtons to checked suits and chinos – that combined with his on-screen panache and love of motorbikes, cemented him as a true icon. Such was the impact of McQueen’s smart but effortless approach to style that menswear giants from Thom Browne to J.Crew have all cited the late, great actor as an inspiration.

TRUE ICONS

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I A N C U RTI S

Joy Division singer Ian Curtis’ style was as austere and somber as his band’s bleak music. Clad in simple shirts, dress trousers and brogues, and with a frenetic, convulsing stage presence, Curtis cut an intense figure – a thousand miles away from the glitzy disco pop of the ’70s. The Joy Division

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TRUE ICONS

frontman’s smart but stiff style borrowed heavily from the dreary clothing of British working men, and set the tone for indie’s uniform of overcoats, awkward haircuts and drab colors that guitar bands still abide by decades later.


KURT COBAIN

Kurt Cobain’s thrift store approach to style saw the Nirvana frontman don everything from American workwear to women’s dresses in a disheveled look that couldn’t have been further from the glitzy, flashy excess of 1980s fashion. Cobain’s baggy silhouettes and messy layers became de rigueur for the wave of bands that followed in Nirvana’s wake, and grunge’s uniform of flannels, ripped jeans and beaten up sneakers, is still seen on streets worldwide today. The impact of Cobain’s anti-fashion irreverence

soon made its way to the upper echelons of high fashion – Marc Jacobs’ notorious ’92 Perry Ellis collection and Hedi Slimane’s 2013 collection with Saint Laurent have all had a noticeable grunge streak running through them. While his presence is most obviously felt through nu-grunge revivalism, Cobain’s ardent support of feminism and refusal to abide by traditional norms of what men should and shouldn’t wear paved the way for androgyny as an ongoing narrative in fashion.

TRUE ICONS

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BEST FOOT FORWARD

WORDS ALEC LEACH PHOTOGRAPHY SANTIAGO ARBELAEZ

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F O OT PAT R O L


REFLECTING ON THE FOOTWEAR INDUSTRY WITH FOOT PATROL, LONDON’S BOUTIQUE SNEAKER DESTINATION. London-based sneaker store Footpatrol has been a fixture in the city’s sneaker scene since 2002, with a relocation to its current site in 2010. With a focus on new and classic sneakers, limited editions, Japanese exclusives and rare deadstock, Footpatrol’s array of styles has everyone covered, from hardcore sneakerheads, to first time buyers. The store’s unique design features a store within a store that is inspired by the tiny, hidden boutiques in Japan, and is located in London’s quirky Soho district. We caught up with Brand Manager John Brotherhood for a discussion on London’s sneaker culture, the state of the footwear industry, the store’s collaborative projects and more. What sets London apart from the rest of the world when it comes to sneaker culture?  London has always been world renowned for its varied fashion and music scenes. I’d say the sneaker culture is similar, from the guys into the basketball styles, to the guys chasing the exclusive releases, the football-casual guys, right through to those into the fashion end of the market. We’ve also seen these styles merging with kids queuing to buy retro runners wearing high-end sneakers. It’s this vast variety of people wearing a vast array of styles that sets London apart. There’s also a different kind of hunger for product over here, it’s on another level at the minute – with guys and girls, young and old, camping out for days to get their hands on the exclusive drops. It’s great to see that everyone has their own take on it, with their own taste and style! We’re happy to welcome everyone through our doors whether they’re a sneakerhead or not. Has your audience changed in the past few years? Supreme’s opening, size?’s expansion, and the growth of streetwear have made sneakers more popular than ever. We definitely have a core group of customers who shop with us regularly, but it has definitely changed in the last few years as everything does, and people old and new come in and out of the scene for various reasons. Personally I think it’s great to see the old heads not losing faith, while the youth and new people are getting into it. It’s proof of how big it’s become, and it just keeps growing. Supreme has certainly helped refuel that hunger for collecting again. Do you think the market could reach a saturation point? There are so many limited runs, themed packs and collaborations coming out that it could start to feel stale. It can certainly feel that way sometimes, with the plethora of collaborations, exclusive packs and reissues on a constant flow, and regularly releasing on the same day, some weekends we can have five to 10 different releases in one day, with guys queuing for some or all of them. It’s the nature of the beast, with the growth of the whole scene the brands continue to push more and more products. I think it’s a good thing as it makes the brands work harder on the next big thing, and it also pushes the like of us and other collaborators to bring it to the next level! Do you find retro releases or avant-garde innovation more exciting, and which are more popular with your customers? The retro reissues definitely account for the bulk of our business but

the new innovation works. Take the Nike Free Orbit for example, that took me by surprise – an avant-garde style that flew off the shelves! It is really important that brands invest in these innovations, to set the pace of things to come, as without these new styles coming through there are never going to be any future classics, just an endless recycling of what “was” cool. I mean just look at the Nike Inneva Woven – there’s a future classic right there! How do you approach your collaborations and what do you bring to the table on such a project? Each project is different; each brand will offer certain restrictions and freedoms on any given project. Also each working relationship is different and that can have a huge effect on how something turns out. We love what we do and working on collaborative projects can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the job, especially when you love and work with footwear. I’d like to think we always try and bring something fresh to the table with a focus on attention to detail; you may notice common themes within some of our projects but we try to make sure we do something different every time, but something that all of our customer want a piece of that remains relevant. What has been your favorite collaboration to date?  Now that’s a question! I like some more than other for various reasons, if I name one I’ll be upsetting too many other brands. I think this question is better suited to ask our customers! Let them decide. What do you make of the current craze of luxury sneakers? Many fashion houses are appropriating classic street footwear for a high-fashion customer.  This is another facet of the scene that is not going anywhere soon and shows the growth and depth of the culture as a whole. You see the major brands reaching out to the designers with a name and also really big fashion houses creating their own “take” on sneakers; some with more plagiarism than others! I think it all has a place and a customer. You have a small retail space – what makes a product appropriate for the store and how do you choose which product to stock? It is a modest space but you’d be surprised at what we can fit in. We try and represent the best and most relevant product from the brands that we stock in-store, but we’re also not afraid to support the new brands, those that not everyone has heard of, and those that we feel are right for us and our customers. It’s a delicate balancing act! Finally, top five sneakers of all time?  In no particular order: Nike – Air Max 87 Urawa Red; ASICS x Footpatrol – Gel Saga; Nike – Pocketknife; Clarks x Footpatrol – Tawyer; Converse – ’70s Chuck Be sure to pay the store a visit at 80 Berwick Street, London W1F 8TU or online at footpatrol.co.uk.

F O OT PAT R O L

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ELEMENT WOLFEBORO COLLECTION FALL / WINTER 201 4

EVERYDAY LIVING

PHOTOGRAPHY DA M I E N VA N D E R V L I ST STYLING AT I P W GROOMING PHIL GILBERT USING BUMBLE & BUMBLE MODEL H A A RVA R D @ SU PA M O D E L MANAGEMENT

SHIRT

DPM CAMO 57


BEANIE

JACKET

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INITIAL COMBO FULLER


JACKET

ALDER

SHIRT

CUSTER LS DESOTO

JEANS

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JACKET SWEATER JEANS BELT

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GIBBS DENALI BOOM WATCHWORD II


JACKET

KETTLE

BEANIE

STROMA AINSWORTH BOOM

JACKET PANTS

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G-STAR RAW FALL / WINTER 201 4

OCEAN OF SPACE PHOTOGRAPHY CHAO HUNG STYLING N E . S T R E E T MODEL LIN DAO YU

TOP TROUSERS

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RE RAIL SW S/S RAW A CROTCH SWEAT TAPERED


MN 10 YR REVERSIBLE TOUR JACKET RE RAIL SW S/S RAW JEANS 3301 SUPER SLIM JACKET TOP

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A CROTCH WORK SHIRT L/S A CROTCH SWEAT 3D CROPPED BLAZER TROUSERS ARC 3D SLIM SHIRT

BLAZER

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MN 10 YR REVERSIBLE TOUR JACKET (REVERSED) WIRFIELD R KNIT L/S   JEANS 3301 SUPER SLIM JACKET TOP

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THE POWER OF AN ICON: RELIGION, FASHION AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN WORDS DOUGLAS BRUNDAGE I L LU S T R AT I O N N AT U R E L

Between the 31st to 26th century BC, a language called Sumerian rose to prominence. Archaic at first, it is widely considered to be the first sign of a literate human society living in the “cradle of civilization” of Mesopotamia (modernday Iraq). Comprised of etchings, Sumerian texts look more like doodles than a language. Nonetheless, the drawings were sophisticated enough to encompass meaning, syntax and grammar. What’s most striking about the world’s first language is that, similarly to its more famous cousin of Egyptian hieroglyphs, the alphabet is pictographic. Today, the Rosetta Stone might as well be an app (and it is, in fact, a language-learning software shilled on late night television and billboards in airports), but symbols are more important than ever. Around the world, currency is adorned with ancient, provocative iconography. In the United States of America, a committee led by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams developed our now-infamous $1 bill’s “Great Seal.” It took six years and countless revisions before a shielded eagle and a rather ominous masonic “unfinished pyramid” topped with an “eye of providence” were selected. From ancient times to revolutionary Europe, icons often reflected religious fervor. Responding to a symbol-rich Roman hegemony, early Christianity latched on to the Old Testament’s ban on the worship of idols. As time passed, the Catholic Church employed a multitude of powerful images designed to distill complicated scripture into easily digestible tableaus. Today’s most prominent religion, Islam, designates no stance on symbols in its holy text, yet has developed a nuanced visual language that is concurrently embraced and reviled by separate sects of the faith. Fittingly, the early proponents of iconography as a field of study were all specialists in Christian religious art. The French, in particular, were prominent in the academic embrace of symbols as imbued with more meaning than just surface value. This makes perfect sense in the grander scheme of history as iconography first began to build steam in the early 19th century, soon after the French Revolution’s rejection of institutionalized religion. As neo-religions and anti-religious movements gained prominence in the 20th century – from Nazism to Communism to Scientology and American cults of the 1970s – visual

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THE POWER OF AN ICON

branding became even more important in order to recruit for new membership, control devotees, and evangelize philosophies. Government propaganda from around the world employed iconography designed to elicit patriotism or instill fear. It’s no surprise that the British World War II-era “Keep Calm and Carry On” flier experienced a surge in popularity in America after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. The inclusion of a royal crown symbol meant little to the American public, but its original purpose was to soothe and reassure the civilian population of a United Kingdom under attack. “Don’t worry,” it seemed to say. “We’ve got this under control.” Simple pictures can, indeed, compound great meaning with serious emotion. As a social construct, there’s little to distinguish iconography from art. In its simplest definition, the word merely refers to “the content of an image” and “the typical depiction in images of a subject and related senses.” Those who are skeptical about the power of aesthetics need look no further than a phenomenon called Stendhal syndrome in order to plant a seed of doubt. Also known as hyperkulturemia, or Florence syndrome, it is a psychosomatic disorder that causes everything from severe dizziness and fainting to hallucination and emotional ardor upon the experience of a sight of overwhelming beauty. This normally refers to the viewing of a piece of art and is named after a life-affirming moment documented by the famous French author Stendhal upon visiting the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence in 1817. The phenomenon has a particular relevance, understandably so, to the viewing of religious artwork by the devout. In today’s developed world, consumerism has taken hold as a dominant cultural lynchpin. For those who don’t subscribe to religion or art too ardently, brand iconography tends to slip in to the collective consciousness, filling a void of classic symbolism in 21st-century life. Fittingly, nearly every iconic designer – from Louis Vuitton to Yves Saint Laurent – developed his or her own simple yet instantly identifiable monogram or logo. These symbols may be comprised of little more than a set of initials, but as with every great cultural touchstone, they have become imbued with sophisticated meaning as time passed.


THE POWER OF AN ICON

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One global hallmark of Parisian luxury, the house of Chanel, is the perfect example of this phenomenon. The instantly recognizable interlocking “C” logo was clearly inspired by the brand’s namesake: Coco Chanel. Its inception, however, was actually inspired by a set of stained glass windows featuring interlaced curves that Ms. Chanel discovered in an Aubazine chapel. Today, as prices in the luxury sector routinely rise an average of 8% per year despite no altercation of product or enhancement of means of production, the equity in Chanel isn’t in its signature quilted leather’s quality or the brand’s heritage but rather the logo – and everything it means to aspirational customers around the world. Chanel’s monogram, and the iconic prints of other luxury brands, serve as emblems of something greater than the product. Brands like Mercedes-Benz and Apple, have transitioned from historically elaborate typographic logos to stark, flat and supremely simple modern symbols. Yet the

logo means something instantly, Slimane’s tiki-printed skate shoes or Tisci’s Rottweiler-emblazoned neoprene sweatshirts lack a distinguishable purpose besides the forced advent of a trend. In the pursuit of mass cultural relevance, artistry often falls under fire. The same tendency of emphasizing the anti-logo is applicable to some of our most prominent popular culture figureheads. Kanye West steeped his latest album and tour, Yeezus, with deep religious and esoteric symbolism. From another appearance of Christ to the application of skeletons, Native American patterns, embellished masks and towering mountains, Kanye’s performances sometimes skewed more occult than hip hop. Contrasted to his longtime collaborator and sometime-rival Jay Z, who is so content churning out new sets of symbols with every album that he even published a coffee table book about it, Kanye appears focused on avoiding traditional branding. Mr. West has referenced

fashion world seems to be following exactly the opposite trend as of late. Designers have shifted from utilizing icons as logos towards incorporating them into seasonal designs. From Saint Laurent Paris to Balenciaga to Givenchy, as contemporary “new guard” creative directors like Slimane, Wang and Tisci take control, monograms have steadily begun to disappear from garments and ad campaigns alike. Instead, latching on to the millisecond-fast consumption habits of the Internet age, labels are including symbols in the garments themselves – ever evolving, new every season. At Givenchy there are sharks and Rottweilers, birds of paradise, and distorted American flags. Tisci understands the power of the image as dictated by the Catholic Church, making sure to include plays on the Virgin Mary and Jesus himself in many of his streetwear-influenced prints. Meanwhile, Balenciaga has employed a steady theme of “seams” throughout Wang’s first three seasons using prints influenced by veins of marble, creeping ivy and shards of broken glass. The designer has referenced these prints speaking both to the “graphic” and the “organic” elements of the world around him, in addition to the breaking of more traditional molds established by the

cult Chilean-French director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain as an inspiration for the Yeezus tour, and its influence becomes clear upon comparison. With images drawn from classic Catholicism in addition to tarot, Zen Buddhism, Greek mythology, Masonic traditions, Mexican folklore and Kabbalah, each frame in The Holy Mountain is both evocative and provocative. The spiritual director prompts thought, confusion and discussion with each image deployed. He is careful, extravagant and bold in ways where Kanye would also like to be. Jodorowsky’s film is a philosophical and aesthetic powerhouse. Kanye’s tour was something less than that. Either way, Mr. West’s embrace of the “anti-brand,” most prominent in his recent adoption of labels like Maison Martin Margiela, Haider Ackermann and A.P.C., represents a powerful movement against the logo and back towards the symbol. Like Jodorowsky, West seeks to re-contextualize religious, occult and pop culture iconography to mean together something greater than they did apart. Only time will tell how effectively Kanye’s vision can trickle down into the residual elements of consumers’ lifestyles. It’s abundantly clear, however, that he has already

industry before him. At Saint Laurent Paris, Hedi Slimane chooses to forego iconography almost altogether in exchange for the embrace of an aesthetic. Each season, it’s 1960s Go-Go Goth, French Johnny Cash or Underground Vegas Glamour. He embodies full stories, evocative of a time and place, through concise and consistent collections geared towards a specific consumer. Sprinkled in amongst the statement pieces are always tiny leitmotifs – vampire lips one year, tiki skulls the next. What’s most ironic about all of this, however, is that the aforementioned brands have become supremely commercial. The labels, led by a new wave of designers, have stifled visions focused on pushing proven market-friendly products forward. They answer to executives, not muses. Therefore, icons come and go with little time to imbue these provocative patterns with significance. In the same way that a Louis Vuitton monogram or interlocked-C

influenced fashion to move towards a brand-less aesthetic in more ways than one. So, is the logo dead? Far from it. Icons will always exist both glittering on the surface and coursing through the veins of culture. Even as high fashion moves away from the more traditional employment of the monogram, new labels like Hood By Air and Pigalle as well as ’90s staples DKNY and Calvin Klein have sprouted up to embrace it. From Mesopotamia to Ancient Rome, from the archives of film to the runways of Paris, from fine art and philosophy to T-shirts and concert tours – symbols have existed as a form of “meaning-making” for nearly as long as mankind has walked the earth. Some facets of society are more imageobsessed than ever before now, while others seek to rebel through classic, minimalist living. Either way we live in a world of icons and it’s what we make of them that matters most.

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Au t u m n / W i n t e r 201 4 Collection

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INTRODUCING REPRESENT WORDS PETE WILLIAMS

Represent began as a college project for Manchesterbased graphic designer George Heaton, a couple years ago, after he saw streetwear experiencing a boom. Coming into the industry with next to no knowledge, the brand has grown alongside George in all aspects. No longer a side project, George, his brother and designer Mike are today fully focused on Represent. Having found their feet recently, Represent sits somewhere between streetwear and high fashion. “Of course you’ve heard this a lot recently, but it’s where we saw ourselves the first time I sat down with my team and created an outlook,” says George of the streetwear meets high fashion mix. “I remember reading an A$AP Rocky interview and him talking about mixing Rick Owens pants and Air Force 1s. This helped inspire me to create something bridging the gap between the two terms of streetwear and high fashion.” Known for their tapered denim and elongated tops, Represent uses shapes, panels and fits to create collections. George’s favorite piece from the FW14 collection is the rubberized neoprene “Shadow Jacket,” which he describes as “the perfect British Winter jacket, elongated with a matte finish.” What sets Represent apart from much of their competition is a commitment to manufacturing locally in England. The brand is designed and sampled in England, with locally-made fabrics and 90% of the final product is UK-made. “In reality, this tag isn’t as important as it sounds,” Heaton says. “It’s the fact we want to be in the quality bracket of these world-class high fashion brands, but have the affordable price tag for everyone.” With a focus on fabrics, fits and attention to detail as a whole – not just in terms of the product itself but also everything from the editorial shoots to the matte black delivery boxes – it really adds up to a premium end result. In this sense, Represent is truly a brand for the people. The team produces garments they want to wear at a price they feel is fair. That’s what Represent is all about.

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FERGUS PURCELL A CULT ARTIST NOW RELEVANT FOR THE HIGH FASHION CROWD

It’s five minutes before I’m supposed to be at Fergus “Fergadelic” Purcell’s house to interview him for the publication you’re currently reading. Rather than being dorkishly early, I opt to pop down to the local newsagents to buy a fizzy drink. Halfway there I encounter a tall, tattooed figure wearing the de facto uniform of an ’80s American suburban rocker: baseball cap, T-shirt and pale jeans. Instinct tells me this could only be Fergus. I let him know I’m actually on my way to see him and he immediately apologizes for being late, even though he’s running five minutes ahead. There’s a juxtaposition between his outward appearance and his mannerisms that is inimitably, undeniably Fergus. Contrasts, as I’m to learn, are completely comfortable for him. For the uninitiated, Fergus is an artist whose graphics have been at the heart of brands as diverse as Palace, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Silas, X-Girl and many, many others. In 2014 he inhabits a world that is now accepted by high fashion but of which the roots are very much in subcultures and all that they entail. It might help to know that Fergus’s youth was spent skateboarding, making music and reading comics. The audience of 2014 is most likely to have spotted one of Fergus’s Tri-Fergs out and about – the triangular logo for skateboarding’s company of the moment, Palace. Fergus is keen to acknowledge that Palace weren’t the first to do triangles, but it was them that launched the three-sided shape into popular consciousness. It’s a logo that has since spawned a million imitators; triangles have inevitably become a bit of a “thing” in graphic-led clothing recently. None of this happens to annoy Fergus however; he’s terribly mindful that it would be more than a touch hypocritical given that he’s prone to a good rip-off graphic himself. This is indicative of his background in streetwear, where the lines between a rip off and an original are often blurred.

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WORDS DK WOON PHOTOGRAPHY LY D I A G A R N E T T


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We are now able to consume across all genres and eras. Being able to view things from very disparate sources all in the same context, all in the same five minutes is a really new way of looking at stuff.

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Though it’s probably the most frequently recognized piece of his work, the Tri-Ferg has informal origins – it was simply through knowing Lev (Tanju, founder of Palace) that Fergus was approached to do the logo. “Lev could’ve asked me to do any sort of graphic and I would have been up for it,” muses Fergus. “The fact it was such a great name, it was a gift. At the time (and he subsequently forgot), he said ‘it’s going to be called Palace and it’s all about triangles.’ So I just went away and did a logo in a triangle-kinda thing. It was just a mates thing – free graphic.” It’s naturally fitting that the latest thing Fergus has been working on is a project for Lev’s girlfriend, Ashley Williams, who is one of London’s most talented young designers. It’s work that embeds him firmly into the world of fashion rather than that of streetwear, which his previous work inhabited. Understandably, this crossover has Fergus tremendously excited; he knowingly sees it as indicative of a greater cultural consciousness at this moment in time. Ashley Williams isn’t the only fashion-oriented brand that he’s become involved with, as he was recently sought out by the new creative duo of Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley at Marc by Marc Jacobs. There’s been a bit of a buzz around the brand, with the pair of them reenergizing the brand. For their first season working together Fergus looked towards America: “I definitely am that classic thing of the English person who’s infatuated with American stuff.” Being an avid pop culture fan for him it was impossible to not look at America. It’s the age-old tradition that runs right the way back to Teds, of Brits making something completely new through looking towards the States with rose-tinted glasses. Taking a look back towards London, like a fair few of his contemporaries, Fergus first found his feet doing work for famed skateshop Slam City. The skateshop is as much of a cultural institution as it is a place to get nuts and bolts. Even in Fergus’s adolescence, Slam managed to carry this aura; his first exposure to the shop came through UK music weekly NME rather than a skateboarding outlet. Fergus is keen to point out that though skateboarding is a large part of his background, it doesn’t inform everything he does. As Fergus recounts, mail order was the point of contact then, as living in Chesham – to the northwest of London – meant it was easier to leaf through skate mags and post his order in. A young

Fergus once excitedly gathered his pocket money and sent his order off, complete with illustrations. When the package came through, it arrived with a throng of stickers and a note proclaiming Fergus’s letter to be “letter of the month.” An accolade Fergus reckons they probably made up, but one which got him hooked on the shop nonetheless. From there it wasn’t long until Fergus had been invited to do a T-shirt graphic for them – at which point he summoned up the courage and actually visited the shop. “This is when it was at Talbot Road,’ says Fergus of the defining moment. “It was just saturated with the smell of screen-printed decks and stickers, so it had that amazing Plastisol smell. You could almost get high walking in there.” Any feeling of intimidation in that environment quickly evaporated when Fergus noticed the staff was watching Aussie soap Neighbours on the TV. The importance of Slam as a cultural hub during that time shouldn’t be underestimated. By that point Fergus had moved to London to study at Saint Martins and Slam had relocated from Talbot Road to Covent Garden. It became a bit more convenient for the young designer to pop into Slam and nag them about doing graphics – to the point where it became a running gag. At his graduation show he remembers Paul from the shop attending, not to view his work but “actually because Will Bankhead [the brains behind The Trilogy Tapes amongst many other endeavours] was in the year below.” Fergus – in his ever modest manner – mentions as an aside that Will’s second year show was probably better than his graduate one. Anyway, upon running into Paul at the show he jokingly asked if there was any work going and it was at this point that Paul mentioned a new label he was starting with a girl named Sofia Prantera and Russell Waterman: Holmes. Holmes quickly gained a great following and it wasn’t too long before the team behind the brand transitioned to new brand Silas in order to get more of a share in the business due to its burgeoning success. Silas still exists to this day (albeit only in Japan with none of the original team involved). The brand’s legacy goes much further than that, however. Silas really was about the meeting of distinctly countercultural sensibilities and an eye for actual fashion. Fergus and Sofia now work together on a project called Aries which was recently featured in Vogue. This is perhaps indicative of where things are in 2014.

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It might have seemed strange for Fergus to have been working with high fashion brands no more than a handful of years ago, but in a strange way, things seem to have come full circle. Fashion’s love affair with streetwear is stronger than ever, with the crossover between the two seeming to have no end. In part, this is down to the languages of subculture being more accessible than ever. In this respect Fergus proposes the Internet has helped tremendously. “We are now able to consume across all genres and eras. Being able to view things from very disparate sources all in the same context, all in the same five minutes is a really new

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way of looking at stuff.” Of course, Fergus learned visual articulacy long before the Internet by simply living and breathing the cultures and subcultures he admires. Things seem to be going from strength to strength for Fergus. He’s in the fortunate position of being able to work on passion projects like resurrecting ’80s extreme sports brand Life’s a Beach, whilst at the same time being equally enthused by large-scale projects like Marc by Marc Jacobs. Let’s hope that things stay this way for quite some time.


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WORDS GRAHAM HIEMSTRA PHOTOGRAPHY GRAHAM HIEMSTRA (OPENING PORTRAIT) N I L S S V E N S S O N ( M A N H AT TA N DAY S )

SWEDEN’S SUPREMELY VISUAL RESPONSE TO SKATEBOARDING’S FADING CULTURE

California is no longer the absolute epicenter of skateboarding. Though most major brands still call SoCal home, now, more so than ever before, skaters are looking elsewhere for a new place and culture to embrace – something less structured and more authentic. New York, London and Paris each offer an outlet. But Malmö, Sweden is where many wandering eyes have landed in recent years, thanks in no small part to Polar Skate Co. With industry veteran Pontus Alv acting as creative director, graphic designer and team rider – alongside a skeleton crew of fellow Swedes – the modest operation has established itself as perhaps the most influential brand in skateboarding at the moment, leading a movement to return skateboarding to its creativity-fueled, irreverent roots. “In my eyes, three to five years ago skateboarding was in a really shitty place; it was in a really boring position,” says Alv, who cut his teeth skating for Mad Circle in the mid-1990s. “And I was like ‘fuck, I’m a skateboarder, I have history, I have heritage, I need to do something about this skateboard direction.’” In 2011 he founded Polar Skate Co., drawing inspiration for the overall concept and graphic direction from the companies he idolized in his youth. “Polar means the tension between two poles — plus and minus, north and south, happy and sad, the contrast between two sides of life. The energy between those two is what pulls you forward,” explains Alv, who is gravely conscious of such energy. Tall and slightly imposing, Alv is a real genuine character, one who has seen every side of the industry in his nearly two-decade-long career. You’ll hear no PR pitches or corporate recordings from his mouth. Though shy by nature, his art is emotional and mysterious – weird even – and informs every aspect of the brand.

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All we do is try to create great shit for the skateboard community to laugh at, have fun with, enjoy and get inspired by, and to give kids these days some skateboard culture.

Growing up in the late ’80s and ’90s, Alv and his cohorts were heavily influenced by graphics and video releases from now-legendary brands like World Industries, H-Street, Blind and Powell. Residuals of such can be seen in the work of each associated artist. By building the brand around artwork, whether made by his own hands or those of a few close friends, Alv has taken what in years past would have been an isolated, niche brand and given it worldwide reach. “There are no more geographical boundaries,” he explains. “If you do good shit, if you have good ideas, it doesn’t matter where you’re from – it’ll get out there.” Alv paints, draws, takes photographs and collages with colored paper cutouts – a tribute to French artist Henri Matisse, in which voluptuous women do lovely, graceful skateboard tricks. “It’s just funny to see that,” quips Alv. With each cutout, he strengthens Polar’s brand identity. The style is synonymous with Polar, as are his “Happy Sad” drawings and photographs that grace everything from socks and shoes to shirts and boards. The same can be said for the perfectly crude cartoon work of Jacob Ovgren, whose high-gloss illustrations depict everything from cuddly animals brandishing boners and adult babies guzzling booze to scooter kids hung by their own devices. Each artist in the art department’s “toolbox” offers something different and Alv hopes to keep it this way. As the brand grows, the importance of developing fresh new styles to avoid becoming pigeonholed while keeping things fun is ever evident. “It’s boring if a company only does things that sell – you need to do some fucked up shit that’s like ‘sorry,’” says Alv. “Because at the end of the day, I’m not doing this for money. It’s not a money thing for me, it’s really about a cultural movement to make a difference.” It’s with film that Alv sees further opportunity to contribute to the burgeoning creative culture within skateboarding. “Film is a powerful thing when you express yourself with motion and with sound and with visuals, and when it all comes together in harmony. I always try to get the hair on my skin to rise; that’s when I know I’m onto something good,” explains Alv, who knows only too well how to achieve this effect. His films strike a rare balance between art and skateboarding, bouncing seamlessly between scenes of raw street skating and moments of film noir that are at times severely moody and macabre. In 2010’s In Search of the Miraculous, for example, Alv appears next to his grandfather’s recently deceased corpse, silently addressing the fact that we will not last forever. Moments like this remind us that there is much more to skateboarding than just what happens on the curb. To Alv, skateboarding is “all those things we go through in life – losing friends or losing fathers, mothers or just personal stuff. I try to touch that area, and even if it’s not in your face I try to set a mood that makes people feel something.”

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Whether discussing Alv’s artistic undertakings or those of the brand’s other creative counterparts, the subject is one of pure intentions. “All we do is try to create great shit for the skateboard community to laugh at, have fun with, enjoy and get inspired by, and to give kids these days some skateboard culture,” says Alv. “As an older skater I want to take my heritage within skateboarding and recreate it in a new format for 2014, and give it away for the new generations to be inspired by.” Thankfully, Polar is not alone in their efforts to breathe new life into

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the industry. A current wave of independent brands like Welcome, Palace, Bianca Chandôn and Bronze 56k are all firmly focused on reaching the same end goal, though taking distinctly different routes. “We’re bringing back the elements of skateboarding: style, expression and being creative. It’s more about your whole vibe, flow, and having fun and looking good on a skateboard. And kids are discovering this,” says Alv. “Right now there’s so much cool shit going on and I’m so hyped on skateboarding again. I think we all as skateboarders can be proud again.”


SNOBSHOTS.HIGHSNOBIETY.COM


STUSSY ALIFE TROUSERS A BATHING APE CHAIN AMBUSH HAT

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NINETEENNINETIES PHOTOGRAPHY HARRIET TURNEY STYLING S E E TA L S O L A N K I P H OTO G R A P H Y AS S I S TA N T CHRISTIAN PAGE S T Y L I N G AS S I S TA N T AYA N O S A N TA N DA GROOMING R O G E R I O DA S I LVA MODEL TONY @ OXYGEN MODELS THANKS TO SHOREDITCH STUDIOS, 123 LIGHTING & TOO HOT LIMITED

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DAS SPEZIAL WORDS DAV I D H E L LQV I ST PHOTOGRAPHY KEVIN CUMMINS STYLING GARY ASPDEN RETOUCHING OLI CARVER

ALL CLOTHING BY ADIDAS ORIGINALS × SPEZIAL

On a warm July evening in London last year, as Shoreditch started filling up with its usual late-night revelers, a different crowd began swarming a gallery space on Kingsland Road. In many ways, they looked and behaved like others around them: casually stylish and with a drink in hand. But there was something different about these punters; they had a particular purpose, they were out in force for a reason. Eyes fixed with desire and wanting, this was a craving on a whole new level. In front of them, with only a thin glass box separating them from the Spezial trainers, a collection of highly covetable and rare adidas pieces was laid out, curated into an exhibition by longtime three stripes devotee Gary Aspden. The exhibition was not only a unique insight into adidas’s heritage and Aspden’s personal archive but also the starting point for Spezial, a new adidas Originals collection launching this autumn. “The expo provided a backdrop for the range, it contextualized it,” Aspden explains from his Covent Garden office, almost a year later to the date. “The content of the exhibition showed the shoes that I had access to and that I’m a fan of.” As such Spezial is founded on the ethos of the event and Aspden’s curatorial knowledge of the German sportswear giant’s design DNA. But in a day and age where adidas boasts an impressive lineup of high-profile collaborations – everyone from catwalk specialists Raf Simons, Rick Owens and Juun.J, to streetwear icons like Kanye West, NIGO and Pharrell Williams – the Spezial collection signals a different kind of commitment from the Herzo-based brand. “I felt adidas were needing a product offering of mature, premium clothing and footwear that has strong links to the brand’s personality and core identity,” Aspden says when defining Spezial. In the days of Adi Dassler, the adidas tracksuits came boxed with the words “sports and leisure wear” on the side. “I wanted to do a contemporary take on adidas’s rich and often overlooked history in leisurewear.” According to Aspden, “sportswear” is these days a shallow term, watered down by a contemporary need for casual context: “I’m very economic in my use of that term nowadays since the fashion world has turned its attention to it. I think “sportswear” has become a catchall phrase for casual clothing – for me that does a huge disservice to companies that invest in sporting technology to improve athletic performance. It’s almost like saying that anything that comes down a catwalk in a fashion show is haute couture.” The Spezial collection is, it appears, reclaiming the long-lost term “leisurewear,” and Aspden is using himself as a sartorial role model: “I wear a full tracksuit for long-distance flights and Sunday afternoons.”

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BOBBY GILLESPIE (PRIMAL SCREAM)

At the end of the day, as with a lot of creative perspectives, a lot of it comes down to adolescent nostalgia. Aspden, like so many of his peers, grew up with adidas as opposed to competing brands like Nike and Reebok. The images that Aspden, together with legendary Mancunian photographer Kevin Cummins, created for Spezial’s debut season – some of which are exclusively premiered in this issue – very much prove that point. The personalities used for the campaign are not freckly teenage models without any cultural reference points. Indeed, many of the musicians, actors and athletes called upon by Aspden for Spezial duty represent the same values we associate with adidas: quality, durability, credibility, attitude and diversity. Signing up Don Letts, Bobby Gillespie and Stephen Graham, to mention but a few, is not only a marketing coup

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but a statement of intent for Spezial. “I’ve known Kevin for many years and when I told him what I was doing, he offered to photograph it as he thought it would be good to work together on something. It was a simple conversation and a handshake I guess. The casting was based on people who I personally respect, am a fan of, and have longterm relationships with.” Interestingly, with a lot of focus from both adidas and similar brands on the youth market, it’s worth noting that the average age in Aspden and Cummins’ project is well above other, similar projects in the current climate. “Yes, it’s fair to say that much of what adidas Originals has been doing of late is aimed at teenagers and I felt that, due to the nature of the products and the potential audience, I had an opportunity to push the boundaries beyond that in terms of who we shot.”


And in many ways, Gary Aspden is the Spezial customer: fluent in adidas speak, long-term fan of leisurewear and casual sportswear, a trainer connoisseur obsessed with details and obscure referencing. “Yes, I’m primarily designing for myself and my peers,” he admits. “But I like the idea of the collection tapping into a diverse audience. The fact that Don Letts, Lev Tanju from Palace and Lukas Podolski can wear the same Beckenbauer suit but make it suit their personal style is what Spezial is about. I didn’t want it to be targeting a specific audience,” he explains. So the brief, both for him and from adidas, is actually quite wide. In fact, Aspden goes as far as to argue that, though German, adidas is truly a continental brand. “I believe its European origins were a contributing factor in adidas being adopted by a host of cultural

movements globally. I interviewed Ken Swift from Rocksteady in 1999 and, when asking him why the B-boys and graffiti writers gravitated towards adidas and PUMA, he said it was because they were European sportswear brands he and his peers saw as ‘exotic.’ From that conversation I could see parallels with what was happening in the UK at the same time with football casuals and adidas – whilst they were going after different products than B-boys in the South Bronx the brand had the same underlying appeal. adidas has ‘the brand with the 3 stripes’ written in different languages on the shoe boxes, products with city names like ‘Zurich’ and ‘Stockholm,’ Freizeit knits with suede and corduroy details – there was something very aspirational about it all to me as a teenager with limited options.”

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The tracksuit is a German invention. In the UK, the tracksuit has had a lot of negative baggage attached to it in the media over recent years and I wanted in some way to reclaim it from that nonsense.

In terms of clothing and trainers, the best way to describe FW14 Spezial is to call it a capsule collection. All in all, this season is made up of a dozen or so pieces of apparel and footwear with a focus on “wearable and realistic” aesthetics. And for Aspden there is no doubt what piece sums it up. “The Beckenbauer SPZL suit. It’s indisputably adidas without relying on the three stripes, but ours is a completely overhauled version of this design classic. The tracksuit is a German invention. In the UK, the tracksuit has had a lot of negative baggage attached to it in the media over recent years and I wanted in some way to reclaim it from that nonsense.” Two full suits are part of the FW14 offering, but Aspden refuses to call them “tracksuits.” “I doubt they will ever see a running track. They offer the comfort of sportswear but I’d like to think that the materials and execution take them somewhere else.” Each piece is based on an archive apparel piece as the foundation but completely reworked. “I’d say it’s archive-inspired rather than archive-focused. With the apparel we’ve created a modern collection that has echoes of the brand’s history. It isn’t futuristic nor is it retro – it is modern. I guess a company has to have history to

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be able to legitimately look back at – unless you are one of those comedy brands who pretends to have history and relies on selling to customers who couldn’t care less what the truth is.” Examining the collection close up, especially in the company of Gary Aspden, you will notice that nothing is included by coincidence, not even the colors. “The green used in the ’Touring’ jacket and the half-zip knit feels super European to me – it was actually inspired by the passport controller at Nuremburg airport! Coincidentally I recently read an interview with Peter Moore (former creative director at adidas) where he said the decision to use green in the first adidas EQT range was because he saw it as a very European color.” Summarizing the range, Aspden makes a point of Spezial being an adidas line that looks beyond the three stripes; instead it draws on the brand’s true aesthetic doctrine. Where, I wonder, is that visible? “The graphics in the patches of the hoodie. The sock liners inside the shoes. The Spezial tape inside the garments that has the brand motto in three languages. The Trimm Trabb sole unit, the color blocking in the midsoles of the Bostons. I could go on…”


KARL HYDE (UNDERWORLD)

STEPHEN GRAHAM

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PUBLIC SCHOOL FALL / WINTER 201 4

TRANCE

PHOTOGRAPHY JUSTIN BRIDGES STYLING ADRIAN MANUEL S T Y L I N G AS S I S TA N T ANTHONY GARCIA HAIR & MAKE UP ASHLEY REBECCA MODELS MCCLAIN DRIVER @ REQUEST PAT R I C K A DA M S @ D N A

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SCOTT CAMPBELL LOVE AND DEATH: THE FRAGILE FORM OF EPHEMERAL BEAUTY

WORDS BROCK CARDINER PHOTOGRAPHY THOMAS WELCH

When we meet on an overcast summer day in Berlin, tattoo and fine artist Scott Campbell is outfitted in athletic gear ahead of a late-afternoon gym session. His hair is slicked back drawing attention to a number of pieces visible on his lower neck and protruding limbs. Enthusiastic and open about his life and career from the start, Scott’s spent the last month in the German capital in an apartment whose walls he’s draped in linen, giving him the time and freedom to paint expansively ahead of the birth of his first child due in October. Now, his gallery pieces are just as renowned as his tattoo work – something he attributes to taking the tattoo iconography and vocabulary he’s worked with since he was 16 and translating it to different mediums and techniques. So far that approach seems to be working as nearly every gallery show of his sells out ahead of its opening and his tattoo client list includes everyone from the late Heath Ledger, to Sting and Marc Jacobs. What started out as an attractive medium at the age of 16, soon became a viable career path as it allowed him to draw and feed himself while giving him the freedom to be on the road for months at a time. Japan, Spain and France are just a few of the places the Louisiana transplant called home during his more formative years, setting up shop for weeks at a time before packing up and moving

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on to another exotic location. His whimsical roadtripping days, mostly between the ages of 18 and 25, seem to align perfectly with his idyllic visions of tattooing – another aspect that initially drew him to the medium. “I love tattooing. It’s a very romantic, free lifestyle which when I was young was super attractive.” Although he now explores a number of intricately detailed motifs, several symbols common to the medium and Scott’s oeuvre – particularly ones involving death and love – continue to resonate with collectors and clients alike. “I’ve been carving skulls into my desk in math class since 7th grade. It started out as suburban rebellion and has evolved now into something that’s almost like a mantra. For as long as people don’t understand what it means to die, people will be affected by skulls as a theme. Everyone in the course of their life goes through the struggle of being afraid of it or embracing it. They’re the perfect symbol of fragile beauty, appreciating the ephemeral.” And when it comes to matters of the heart, Scott insists “falling in love in the 1600s felt exactly like it does to fall in love now, but people have different ways of expressing it.” Living up to this sentiment and his own knack for spontaneity, he had his wife’s name, Lake Bell, inked across his back after having met only nine times.


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Growing up in a conservative Southern Baptist family, Scott’s exposure to religious iconography informs his work to this day. He went to Catholic school as a kid and although he’s not particularly religious, he’s mindful of things and forces that are bigger than himself and beyond his comprehension, especially when it comes to creativity and positivity’s ability to manifest itself. Part of his visual vocabulary for decades, he offers up a simple yet deft explanation on what makes religious iconography, including many from his upbringing, such a recurring theme. “Religious iconography is a theme in tattoos in that religion is a theme in people and how they navigate their life and how they prioritize. Religion provides people with a system of morals, a sense of family, a sense of spirituality. Those are the things that people want to hang on to. People want to look down and see that on their arm. They want to see that feeling that you feel, whether you’re religious or not, when you walk into a cathedral and you smell the candles and get that sense of things that are bigger than us. You’re referencing that feeling so in your everyday life you carry a piece of that reverence or that holiness.” Sticking to his characteristic lightheartedness, cartoons and various motifs from the American canon weave their way through Scott’s extensive symbol-heavy repertoire. They’re part of his work because they’re part of his heritage – the things he saw growing up. As if in a time capsule, Scott describes them as “symbols of everything that was going on in the media and made me who I am. In the same way that a ship will navigate the ocean by identifying certain stars – so it knows where

it is in relation to those – a lot of those symbols become things that as a kid help you learn how to be a person in America that you identify with and navigate.” Cartoons’ nostalgic power play is perhaps the most important role in their unique ability to pop up again and again across social classes and cultures. They were right alongside you during your childhood innocence and unaffected by time’s singular direction provide a welcome anchor for any sudden longing. Beyond religion and contemporary references, iconography is pervasive across the medium for reasons Scott chalks up to people wanting to take “grand gestures and grand emotions and to try to summarize their whole life into one symbol, or find some one thing that expresses what they’re feeling.” It’s an accepted cliché that tattoos define the way you present yourself to the world and by now certain tattoos themselves have even become clichés. It’s precisely these recurring motifs and themes though that reference such universalities that give birth to things becoming classified as iconic. “There’s a tendency in artwork and symbolism to attach reverence to something because of its age, to give things that are ancient more emphasis than things that are contemporary. However, it’s important to be aware of what the symbol means to you now and here and not just attribute truth to it because it’s been around a long time.” Intrinsically, these symbols have no power or meaning but instead become powerful because of the belief that’s placed in them, usually developed over a steady period of time. These values, oftentimes placed arbitrarily, become even more evident in enclosed environments.

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Recently back from a three-day excursion to a nearby prison, Scott affectionately refers to prison tattoos as a “special form of tattooing” due to the rudimentary tools available. “Tattoos in a prison can be a tool of inclusion in that you associate yourself with a group in there and you have this feeling of connectivity and family inside a very harsh environment.” Having visited numerous prisons over the years and given his fair share of prison tattoos, Scott seems to have a certain reverence for inmates and is acutely aware that the meaning behind each piece on the inside can communicate certain social distinctions far before any words are exchanged. By way of example, a swastika on an inmate may not necessarily signal anti-Semitism but instead may be a way of aligning oneself with a specific section of the incarcerated population. Looking at some of the larger pieces Scott’s been working on back at his studio in New York,

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his references become clearer and the knowledge and expertise he’s picked up along the way manifest themselves seamlessly in acrylic on canvas. Although the medium is more forgiving than tattooing, his use of certain icons and symbols continues unabated. Regardless of where they’re applied, whether it’s a human body or laser-etched on to a stack of uncirculated U.S. currency, Scott’s nearly obsessive exploration of love and death is no accident. “Any artist’s job is to be as honest as possible and to achieve artwork that is the truth.” He lets on, “And those are primal truths that as a tattoo artist, has been my job to render and communicate on thousands of bodies. In artwork they’re still relevant; they affect myself and other people emotionally and I think they always will.”


CELEBRATING HERITAGE WORDS ALEC LEACH PHOTOGRAPHY BJÖRN JONAS SET STYLING S VE N JA M A L I C H A-M A R X

LEGENDARY GERMAN BREWERY WARSTEINER CONTINUE THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN STREET CULTURE BY CRAFTING A LIMITED SET OF BOTTLES ADORNED WITH ORIGINAL WORK FROM THE WORLD’S LEADING CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS.

Heritage German beer company Warsteiner, long time patrons of street culture, continue their storied relationship with the art world through a series of artist-designed aluminum bottles. While the brand first intersected with the art world over 30 years ago via Andy Warhol’s iconic depiction of the classic tulip glass, today Warsteiner recruited an all-star lineup of contemporary artists, as Fafi, Ron English, D*Face, Kevin Lyons, James Jean and ROIDS each adorned an aluminum

bottle with their unique artwork. Free to approach the bottle as a three-dimensional canvas, the artists created a diverse collection of products bearing their signature aesthetics. The collection serves as a sequel to Warsteiner’s previous 2013 art collection, which featured Stefan Strumbel, 123Klan, INSA, Aaron De La Cruz, Nychos and Brooke Reidt, and will be available for sale in strictly limited quantities. Head to www.warsteiner.de/artcollection for further info.

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THE ONGOING TRANSFORMATION OF RICK OWENS WORDS PAU L DAV I E S IMAGES COURTESY OF OWENSCORP

The “Rick Owens effect” is a phenomenon that almost everyone who has noticed the designer’s clothes will experience at some point. It becomes more pronounced once an individual starts buying them. Typically, it would start with either a simple T-shirt, a pair of basketball boots, or one of his signature leather jackets. The T-shirt – that most basic item of everyone’s wardrobe – offers you a departure point from the norm and entry in to the world of Rick, as the fashion cognoscenti like to refer to him. It is a semi-translucent neutral color that is so finely woven it resembles a 15-denier stocking. It is long enough to reach your mid-thigh. You put it on for the first time and would be forgiven in thinking, “This isn’t a T-shirt, it’s more like a dress.” And then, as you hurriedly begin to remove it, the excess fabric creates shape around your torso. You catch yourself in the changing room mirror and register surprise at what you see. The earlier confusion is swapped for admiration as you notice the ruched material gathering at the waist. Now, the T-shirt looks disheveled; it doesn’t hang straight down to the hem anymore. Instead, it’s working with your shape. This T-shirt is anything upwards of $220 — ridiculous, yet, you are strangely compelled. If you don’t leave the store with it this time, it’s a guarantee that you will continue to think about it. Next, the boots. Catching the eye with their bulbous toecap and heavy chrome side zip, the first thing you notice is the level of quality involved. The fact that it’s all-leather, including the interior, makes for a supremely comfortable fit. As you slip it on, it envelops your foot and feels so right — not like a brand new shoe that will need time to wear in, more like an old favorite. And, it is heavy – weightier than a sports shoe or military apparel has any right to be. Walking in them initially makes you pigeon-toed; it’s almost like a concrete sole. You just know it’s going to cost. Correct again – the higher the price, the greater the desire. The “effect” here is that you soon begin to consider these garments as the norm. They started out appealing to you because they were so different to everything else. And, before long, you find yourself wanting to multiply those firstbuy items in to several more of the same. Regular T-shirt

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lengths now seem inadequate; canvas basketball sneaks are relegated to your adolescent past. It is quite common for the keenest Rick Owens customers to buy more than one of their favorite leather jacket styles. This season’s classic “Stoogers” biker jacket is a strong contender with its boiled cashmere lining that drops below the jacket hem. In a matter of years, it’s just possible that Rick Owens will dominate your wardrobe. But for a handful of notable designers – Yamamoto, Demeulemeester, early Raf Simons, and the occasional Margiela piece – his proportions are almost incompatible with most other fashion labels so that it becomes difficult to mix them. It’s as well, then, that he continues to impress such loyal followers, whom have now grown exponentially in to a global tribe, with consistently strong collections. Much of that is down to a refined taste level that produces a constantly satisfying “just so” impression when you try on the clothes. Generous details include deep pockets and the lengthy waist cord that is a design feature in itself. The shapes may be dramatic, but most Owens garments never lose sight of the fact that clothes should be comfortable before anything else. His knitwear and jersey cotton are so comfy, they could easily function as sleepwear. In 20 years, this strategy hasn’t changed at all. From his earliest days on Hollywood Boulevard, California – long before the area became gentrified with its current gauche consumer orientation – Rick Owens started out with elongated slouchy T-shirts and leather jackets in which the hides appeared to have been scarred. And, despite significantly growing the clothing range since, these remain his perennial bestsellers. Better yet, no obvious designer tags are on display to identify the garment as a Rick Owens piece. There is a relatively short learning curve in recognizing his designs. And that is because they haven’t meandered too far from those first years. His pattern-cutting technique, honed during several years working in designer knock-off workshops in LA’s Garment District, stands out amongst the racks of other labels in a designer store. And, in that respect, whilst the label is now considered in the premium league of high fashion, Owens’ origins were always anti-fashion and reassuringly non-conformist.


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I think there’s something about extending beyond your limits that I was always attracted to – being bigger, longer, dragging things behind you, filling more space, falling apart, reckless gestures... with a touch of opulence.

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It is a brilliant example of brand marketing and could only come from someone who possesses a strong belief in what he does. So, Rick Owens, then. In person, he is naturally friendly and open for discussion. Like his menswear, he is tall, lean and just a little bit louche, whilst his aquiline features give him a serene air of nobility. Despite living in Paris since 2003, he retains that unmistakably languid Californian accent and the soft, drawn-out vowels has the effect of immediately relaxing anyone in his company. However, it is his bone-dry humor and self-deprecating comments that leave the most lingering impressions. He can be disarmingly modest or wickedly funny. And the deliveries are often so subtle you have to double take for facial clues to see if he really did mean what he just said. To offset this, he enjoys talking about monumental architecture, leading edge electronica and a select roster of artists that he enjoys collecting. As the business has flourished, he has been present in various global art fairs. After which, a flagship store has sometimes opened, such as in Miami’s Design District last December, home of the annual Art Basel event. There is also the furniture line he produces – more of which, later. At 51 years, there isn’t the slightest hint of settling for a pair of chinos and colorful polo shirt like most middle-aged men would do. Owens still tries on everything that comes out of the design studio and it’s immediately clear these are clothes primarily designed for him to wear. This, too, requires a special kind of confidence – a resilient belief that anyone else would want to emulate the look. As he himself explains, “This label is about one person’s very personal expression and presence, for better or worse. I know that that’s what I want in a designer.” This has not gone unnoticed by his legions of followers and, in turn, has elevated his status to a cult figure. There are plenty of reasons for this, not least the fact that the Rick Owens brand has defiantly evaded the lure of any large corporate giant to do his bidding. Even the most casual observer would soon appreciate that every product, event, and presentation out of the RO stable is handwritten by one man and his tight-knit circle of contributors. To amplify this level of artistic independence, the clothes imply an autobiographical element – something he has mentioned repeatedly. And, if it has resonated powerfully amongst the style conscious, that’s because they suggest a life lived at the margins, upscaled with premium materials. Maintaining but never quite resolving that tension between penthouse and pavement. Here is where the story gets interesting. The RO aesthetic hardwires directly into a romantic notion of your own adolescence. The complete rock ‘n’ roll fantasy – Too Young to Die, etc. Experimenting with everything… drugs, sex, illicit indulgences. Allowing the raw energy of new

music to shape your personality. It isn’t about being smartly dressed and impeccably mannered to satisfy your parents, it’s about coming from the wrong side of the tracks and taking pride in that. The ubiquitous bad boy: dirty jeans, ripped holes in your T-shirt, and a badly scuffed leather jacket. This ambience is the DNA of all Rick Owens clothing. And he has openly discussed his early adulthood, the substance abuse and sex clubs. This isn’t “designer” sportswear because the head of marketing, or the trend-forecasters have decreed it as important, it’s coming from a genuine lived-in experience. And this integrity is inherent, not assumed. Yet in previous interviews, Owens has referred to himself as a “sissy boy,” the only-child outsider who was denied access to television until he reached 16. Instead, he immersed himself in the family library, absorbing highbrow philosophy, European literature and developing a taste for epic opera. The change came after that. A personal transformation that he describes as “Everything I do is a very clichéd reaction to a very controlled childhood. As soon as I was able to, I lost control as spectacularly and theatrically as I could.” In terms of the clothes he designs, in particular, the emphasis on excess proportion and layering, he elaborates. “I think there’s something about extending beyond your limits that I was always attracted to – being bigger, longer, dragging things behind you, filling more space, falling apart, reckless gestures… with a touch of opulence.” Owens won’t be drawn in to any comment on the wake of menswear designers that have emerged since he first entered the marketplace. Indeed, an entire strand of menswear has grown; names such as Boris Bidjan Saberi, Damir Doma, Yohan Serfaty, Thom Krom and ma+ all eschew the conventional idea of tailored clothing. They share a reliance on casual sportswear and shoes that incorporate luxe fabrics and a distressed look. Even more significant is the response his designs have received from the sports apparel industry. Alongside the obvious military wear influence, Owens’ design signature is largely due to his unique interpretation of contemporary American sportswear. These are the totem poles of every Rick Owens collection. That he can present a basic singlet with all the characteristics of an evening tuxedo is one thing. But it is the ongoing relationship he carries with the buying public, offering them elongated versions of basketball shorts, tops and boots in leather rather than performance-enhancing materials that has generated the repeat custom. The take-up has been unanimous, and further consolidated by several key hip-hop moguls, DJs and film celebrities actively endorsing his clothes in the public eye. More recently, the sports companies have been paying equally close attention. Notice how their dimensions, in particular the shoes, have grown in recent years. Wider, taller, thicker – approaching similar proportions to the classic RO Geobasket boot.

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Mere coincidence? Not when high visibility stars such as A$AP Rocky are regularly noted in Owens’ clothes. Mention this to him and his modest response is, “I don’t think I really invented anything. I was just able to express what we were all maybe in the mood for.” Instead, he expresses slight regret at having remained outside of the fashion community, and only because he may have missed the opportunity to be photographed by the legendary photographers: “Our Horsts, our Avedons or our Penns.” After two decades of business and eight years since officially launching a menswear line, where does Rick Owens stand in the market today? One of the most qualified industry figureheads to comment on this would be LN-CC.com’s founder, John Skelton. An enthusiastic champion from the outset, he introduced the line to Selfridges, Harrods and oki-ni.com before setting up his own store in London five years ago. “Rick Owens has really shown what a progressive designer he is over the past two years. At a time when the blacked-out vibe literally died at the premium end, he has updated not only his use of color and fabrications, but also his silhouettes, whilst many other brands are copying his original ones. Shorter shorts, more tailoring, and sleeker footwear twinned with more solid cuts of tees and knitwear, keeping the brand relevant at a time where simplicity and purism leads the way in forward-thinking design. The label remains as strong as ever, regardless of the growth achieved. And the look, whilst keeping its angst and strength, is a lot more refined in terms of shapes and cut.” When the German sportswear giant, adidas announced they were producing a capsule line of sports shoes with Owens in 2013, the designer quipped that he’d wanted to take up running so discussions began. “I thought to myself, ‘What shoes am I going to wear?’ I can’t wear my big chunky basketball shoes… I’d look like a dinosaur running through the Tuileries.” Public reception was mixed. Rick aficionados gushed over the online blogs, whilst traditional sneaker heads ramped up their snark. The designs were markedly different and just as uncompromising. Had he wanted to simply generate some extra income, he could have offered adidas license to replicate his existing designs in a variety of colors. And let them take care of manufacturing and distribution. But, given their history of designer collaborations and Owens’ constant striving for new interpretations, that was unlikely. A previous collaboration with Eastpak was a one-off; it was different with adidas and next spring’s Springblade design is his most futuristic yet. He describes the relationship: “The adidas thing was really about developing an alternate silhouette to my shoe shape, which I still love but needed to move forward. A running shoe shape was the opposite of what I do, so it seemed ripe for corruption. It wasn’t any big PR strategy, I just didn’t want to try and reinvent the

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wheel. They know how to make performance sports shoes better than I do and they gave me exactly what I wanted. Believe me, I’m the first to dismiss collabs as hype, but this was honestly about finding a design solution. I do hesitate to develop it further because it became a bit more visible than I thought it would and I would hate to come off like I was milking it… But I do have to say that the adidas guys are really nice, easy, talented people.” Earlier in 2003 another important transformation had taken place. The year before, U.S. Vogue had approached the designer and offered to sponsor a catwalk show during New York Fashion Week. It was more professional acknowledgement than he had expected, but he resisted the urge to decline the establishment calling and went with it. This preceded a move to Paris and a further change of circumstances. The lifestyle excesses of West Hollywood were exchanged for a more rigorous structure. Studio in the morning, regular trips to the gym at midday, and then back to work until the evening. As if a switch was flipped overnight, the Rick Owens brand took on its own destiny to become a serious contender in the fashion world. Again, in conversation, Owens describes this period as an embracing of the ritualistic. That he is attracted to the bettering of the Self, the aspiration in wanting to constantly improve is heroic and perfectly attainable, he believes. You see this in his catwalk shows – legions of male warriors striding towards you, clad in modern day uniforms of the noble. You also can recognize this in his other design output – a furniture line that has been in regular production since 2007 and the store interiors that resemble abandoned underground bunkers. Now at seven flagship stores worldwide, they contain the furniture that continues his fascination with exaggerated proportion and texture. They allow these barren environments a sense of decadence and luxury. Playing off the aggressive stippled walls that resemble stalactites in some ultimate fantasy sex dungeon, the furniture echoes the personality of his clothing. A giant nine-foot daybed could easily double up as a skate park ramp. The changing room drapes are heavy cashmere and the seating is upholstered in battered suede. Finally, Owens cannot resist some of the dark humor he is renowned for… in the London store, a severed head, accurately modeled on his own, complete with long black hair, sits on top of a concrete pillar, staring passively down at the till point. In Tokyo, the perfect replica torso morphs into a Godzilla claw, the “Rickzilla.” Owens clearly enjoys the promise of grotesque transformation in both himself, and the many clothes and other products he designs for others. — rickowens.eu


The adidas thing was really about developing an alternate silhouette to my shoe shape, which I still love but needed to move forward. A running shoe shape was the opposite of what I do, so it seemed ripe for corruption.

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HIGH DEFINITION PHOTOGRAPHY ROBERT WUNSCH STYLING C H A N TA L D RY WA HAIR & MAKE UP JAZZ MANG @ BASICS

1 S T P H OTO G R A P H Y AS S I S TA N T MARKUS KRETZSCHMAR

2 N D P H OTO G R A P H Y AS S I S TA N T JEFFREY WALLNER MODEL DANIEL @ NEST MODEL MANAGEMENT

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HOW TO TALK TO YOUR HBA TEEN WORDS MAUDE CHURCHILL PHOTOGRAPHY DANNY STYLING O_C MODEL WAY N E L A U

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YOUTH CULTURE IS NO STRANGER TO BEING APPROPRIATED BY HIGH FASHION LABELS: SUBCULTURES OF THE LAST 60 YEARS OR SO HAVE GIVEN WAY TO SOME OF FASHION’S BIGGEST TRENDS AND FASHION HOUSES SUCH AS RAF SIMONS CONTINUE TO TURN TO THEM FOR INSPIRATION. BUT NOW THESE YOUTH CULTURES ARE RECLAIMING THEIR STYLE AND CREATING THEIR OWN BRANDS. BRANDS LIKE HBA AND OFF-WHITE CIRCULATE THEIR VALUES, BELIEFS AND INTERESTS THROUGH THE GARMENTS THEY PRODUCE, AND IT’S TIME TO EXPLORE WHY THOSE VALUES CAN’T BE REPLICATED.

It’s been said that creation is born out of frustration. Growing up in a village near the Belgian municipality of Neerpelt, with a population of just 6,000, it’s fair to say that a lack of culture could have been frustrating for Raf Simons. Born into a working-class family in rural Belgium, Mr. Simons’ first real affinity with design struck when he picked up a record sleeve designed by Peter Saville, causing his fascination to really set in. That kind of isolation is hard to imagine today, when access to the world is always at the end of our fingertips. But it’s exactly that kind of isolation that creates a unique appreciation for something, something that is born into no context. Beginning his appreciation for design through a record sleeve cover created a different angle for Simons to observe from. He entered the design industry through a college education of Industrial and Furniture Design before moving onto fashion, which meant that from the outset he was creating fashion from the fringes. And this is a trope that has been recurrent throughout his life. Raf heavily empathized with many different subcultures because of his inability to be part of them himself. His geographical displacement meant that he spent many of his own adolescent years isolated. He watched the punk scene emerge with fascination yet was unable to personally take part in it. His experiences of subcultures are something that seemed to resonate with the origins of the sub-cultures themselves. Spawned out of a political frustration, punk began as a way to rebel against the establishment with a code of beliefs and principles, along with a distinctive style that reinforced their actions. Although these subcultures are a way for these people to set themselves apart

from the mainstream, it at the same time creates a collective that enables all members to feel a part of something, which is perhaps something they have never truly felt before. The resulting subcultural styles have consistently been picked up by mainstream and high-end fashion throughout the course of history, as per Thorstein Veblen’s trickle-down theory. Veblen theorized that over time, goods marketed at a price-point that only the elite classes could afford were then gradually copied by companies who produced more affordable versions, thus distributing the exclusive items on a wider scale. What’s interesting now is how we’re seeing fashion brands directly created out of the subcultures themselves. No longer is the industry standing by ready to poach manifestations of style direct from these youth cultures, but the youth cultures are taking control by producing their own lines themselves. Hood By Air has come a long way since its beginnings. The hard fact is that many of its avid fans know little of its origins and perhaps they don’t care, but it’s exactly those origins that set them apart from so many brands, and exactly what those other brands are desperate to achieve. Shayne Oliver founded HBA as an exclusive T-shirt line for him and his close friends, most of whom hap-pen to be gay, lesbian or transgender. Yet it’s not the definition that matters. What matters is the movement of empowerment and Oliver’s creation of a fashion line created a uniform-like style for him and his LGBT community, which created a sense of unity, and thus a feeling of strength and togetherness.

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A feeling of unity for a group of displaced youths was certainly created through Raf Simons’ Spring/Summer ’97 show, “How To Talk To Your Teen.” The collection has a defined narrative which is woven throughout the garments all the way through to the presentation itself. The show presented 14 teenagers who have escaped from society in an imaginary UFO, where they are able to indulge in their fantasies. The symbolism of a separation achieved via a subculture is represented through the physical and celestial displacement. Aesthetically, the collection borrows elements from the mod and punk cultures while synthesizing them with traditional schoolboy uniforms, creating juxtaposition between the liberated subcultural styles and the institutionalization of the uniform. That juxtaposition is one that Shayne Oliver created with his initial incarnation of Hood By Air. The clothing provided solace when life threw shade: “We’d be running around wearing heels with parts down the middle of our hair, but wearing these T-shirts that said ‘HOOD’ just to mix it up. I’d some-times get into altercations with people over [the shirts], but at least I knew there was power in something I’d made.” This sense of exclusivity and rejecting conformity is a trait shared by more and more clothing brands – ones that have been started within a distinguished social group. HBA may be a prime example, but take Marcelo Burlon’s County of Milan, Virgil Abloh’s OFF-WHITE or Stephane Ashpool’s Pigalle as further proof of the movement. All of them have a distinctive cult-like appeal which was spawned from a circle of friends and acquaintances who pursue interests in a particular creative lifestyle. The brands aren’t just selling a certain cut or style of clothing, but the unique values and messages that come along with them. The blurred boundaries of gender within HBA’s designs continue the anti-establishment ethos of any subculture. And it’s something that’s been taken to the forefront of contemporary culture by devotees such as A$AP Rocky, because let’s face it, it wasn’t until Hood By Air came along that rappers started

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wearing skirts. But there’s a confusing dichotomy in both HBA and Raf Simons’ choice to present an exploration of youth culture within a high-end and arguably less accessible arena. Why take a set of ideals so innately rooted in a youth culture and manifest them through clothing that’s sold at a price point that the majority of youths will not be able to afford? Let’s look to the art market for clarity on this. Sure, clothes are made for wearing and art is made for seeing – not just owning. But the truth of the matter is that fashion makes bigger waves in the communities these subcultures thrive in. Whether we can afford that $150 T-shirt or not, HBA and similar brands are now appearing in street style photos from fashion week events around the world, suggesting that the founding values of these labels are being spread, be it intentional or not. Streetwear brands have more and more frequently begun to employ high-end strategies such as exclusivity, scarcity and short runs. They’ve never been a way to exclude the youth cultures they appealed to, but instead used to deter those who are eager to jump on the bandwagon. It’s a rite of passage. It would be sensible to liken this occurrence to the bubble-up effect, which is a subversive reaction to Veblen’s trickle-down effect. The styles associated with particular subcultures are picked up by various, more prolific fashion outlets and distributed on a wider scale. The issue with this is the reduction of the original values that were imbued within that style; which are never carried through the imitation versions. So why are Raf Simons designs still revered? Why are his collections that cite punks and mods as inspirations not considered “knock-offs?” The answer is simple: he works hard at a collection that honors its design origins and adds its own concept. While the same can’t be said for all the counterfeits adopting Hood By Air’s trademark logo-mania, the concepts, values and messages aren’t the same. Creation is born out of frustration, not out of imitation.


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THE BLACK BEAUTY OF YOHJI YAMAMOTO WORDS DAV I D H E L LQV I ST PHOTOGRAPHY NEIL BEDFORD

In modern day society, greatness is often associated with larger-than-life personalities, booming voices and a narcissistic ability for constant self-promotion. In certain countries, that’s the definition of success, a natural consequence of both personal and professional achievements. But in Japan, generally speaking, there’s a more humble approach to dealing with triumphs and accomplishments in place; their polite and courteous manner testifies to a modest point of view of life, even the lives of icons. Sitting on a rooftop in central Madrid, smoking and drinking black coffee, Yohji Yamamoto is taking this honorific etiquette to new levels. Piercing you with his dark, kind eyes, his voice is so quiet you have to lean in to catch his words of wisdom. With the long, black hair under his characteristic slouch hat, Yamamoto cuts an enthralling figure when walking the streets of the Spanish capital, or indeed any other city. People turn their heads, even though they might not know who he is. Yamamoto, who besides his mainline also designs Y’s and his collaborative adidas line Y-3, possesses those aforementioned superstar qualities, but his are quiet ones. Not only his voice, but Yamamoto’s entire persona is subtle. The black clothes – baggy pants, boots, string vest and a tailored long coat – are essential parts of his cult look. The choice of clothes isn’t a calculated move to fuel his iconic status; this is just what the 70-year-old designer wears and has for a long time. His own personal style is entwined with his brand but for the designer, the relationship between the actual wearer and the clothes goes deeper. “When I meet people, even famous and highly successful ones, I can judge everything about them based on what they wear,” Yamamoto says, having taken awhile to ponder his answer. “Intelligent people know what to wear. Your clothes is who you are, it’s an extension of your personality.” But his own style, according to Yamamoto, is all about simplicity, quite literally: “My style says I love fashion but I quickly became a workaholic so when I wake up, I’m very lazy and I’m too tired to color-coordinate my outfit. I always wear the same clothes; I have five black T-shirts, six black trousers and five black jackets on the go all the time. It’s like a uniform.”

Like all the great designers and having once been dubbed “Maestro” (he qualifies for the epithet), Yamamoto early on developed a specific style – an aesthetic that’s easily recognizable as his own. Tribal in a way, the Yohji Yamamoto point of view is defined by equal parts silhouette and color, or rather lack thereof. The palette is symptomatic to the fashion industry in general; according to Yamamoto, “Once upon a time black became a fashionable uniform. Around 1990, fashion people started wearing just black, it became a uniform for them.” But so far, almost 40 years since his Tokyo debut, he shows no signs of surrendering the obsession. “There are so many types of black. Some of them are ugly. There’s blue, red and green shades of black. The sunlight makes them look different.” For Yamamoto, there are never-ending options as the black palette constantly offers up alternatives. “There’s a whole world of black – sometimes I get bored with what I have and start looking for a new black that I find exciting.” Yohji Yamamoto set up his brand in 1972, launched it in Japan five years later and moved his catwalk collections to Paris in 1981. Since then, Yamamoto – together with Issey Miyake and COMME des GARÇONS’ Rei Kawakubo, who he briefly dated in the early ’90s – has come to define Japanese avant-garde fashion. Looked up to not only by customers, the trio are designer’s designers, constantly cited as inspiration by new generations of creatives. Though of course very different in terms of aesthetic, these three Japanese designers share one common trait: they design for an extremely particular customer, men and women who are not afraid to let their clothes stand out in a crowd. Yamamoto, who often takes time out to perfectly formulate his response, is quick to describe his client: “I’ve never designed suits for businessmen. I design for outsiders – it can be artists, writers, filmmakers, painters, people who do nothing or homeless. These people don’t have to wear a uniform, so-called businesswear. They need to express themselves by wearing something strong and personal. Ever since I began, over 35 years ago, I’ve been designing for people outside society.”

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At the time, 20 years after I started showing in Paris, I felt like I had come too far away from the streets... I was looking for something, something new that I could relate to and finally I found the sneaker. “This is it,” I said, “This is street.”

Though his clientele isn’t particularly young – the mentioned writers and actors are more likely to between 40 and 50 as opposed to in their 20s – Yamamoto is constantly inspired by an adolescent energy. “I like looking at hip-hop people, I like their style. It’s not my fashion but they’re very stylish. I like music but I don’t necessarily get hip-hop. To my disappointment, it’s too fast for me! I understand the beats but not the words,” he says, laughing. Yamamoto has a great sense of humor. He makes quiet and subtle jokes; sometimes you struggle to both hear and understand them. When you do, you find them very funny, partly because of the designer’s deadpan comic timing. It was Yamamoto’s fascination with street culture and youth movements that led to Y-3, his 11-yearold creative collaboration with sportswear giants adidas. As one of the first full-blown partnerships between high-end fashion designers and sports brands, Yamamoto is partly responsible for the subsequent avalanche of luxurious and refined athletic ranges. Like with so many other good concepts, the idea for such a line occurred to Yamamoto when he critically observed his own brand. “At the time, 20 years after I started showing in Paris, I felt like I had come too far away from the streets. I couldn’t see my clothes on the streets of New York, Tokyo, Paris or London anymore. I was looking for something, something new that I could relate to and finally I found the sneaker. ‘This is it,’ I said, ‘This is street.’ So I called adidas to see if they wanted to collaborate. The response was very quick: ‘Yes, we do!’” Though Yamamoto had grown up with adidas himself back in Japan, especially the trainers (“I really liked the stripes. They mean ‘caution’ to me. When you find stripes, more than three, it means caution – be careful! So not only did I like the products but also the branding”) it wasn’t always meant to be an adidas collaboration. “It’s a bit of a secret,” Yamamoto says, smiling, “but I called Nike first but they said, ‘We’re sorry Mr. Yamamoto but we’re working with sportswear,

not fashion.’ I respected their answer. But not long after I started Y-3 with adidas, Nike then started designer collaborations.” Today, the Y-3 partnership is both a commercial and critical success, now even showing in Paris as part of the menswear schedule, just a few days after Yohji Yamamoto’s mainline collection. Over the years, the collection has fed Yamamoto’s creativity, adding also to his other lines. “My own brand and the Y-3 line influence each other in terms of developing fabrics and mixing materials.” Ironically, but perhaps inevitable considering Yamamoto’s ability to draw inspiration from the unexpected, it’s those very fabrics that he’s got a problem with: “From my point of view, sportswear is double – one side is all ugly polyester, which I hate, and the other is all about high technology and the athlete’s perfect body.” His fascination with the human body is evident. “It makes me realize how beautiful the body is. An athlete can’t be compared with an actor or musicians because they put their bodies through all that training and exercise.” Yohji Yamamoto himself, although over 70 years old, seems to be in fine physical shape. His tender body frame looks fit, perfectly in harmony with the tight top and baggy trousers – a classic play on proportions from Yamamoto. But his own health regime is not what it used to be, for obvious reasons. “My generation of Japanese men only had two choices when it came to training: baseball or martial arts. I chose martial arts. I started when I was in primary school and quit when I was 55.” He stops and looks straight at me. “I feel skinny and tiny, but be careful – I can still be dangerous!” Age and the pressure of running a successful business made him give it up. “I stopped because I became double busy… there was no time but I miss it. Now I have a two-year-old dog and I walk her early in the morning every day. Then, in the middle of the garden, I practice karate by myself. It’s good for my mental health,” he says, reaching for his water glass instead of the black coffee standing next to him.

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There are elements of a Yohji Yamamoto wardrobe that belong to a parallel universe, not all his garments can be applied to a “standard” 21st-century wardrobe. That’s not a criticism or a problem, it’s just an interpretation of the brand that fits with his own view of his customer; intellectual men and women with a strong desire to develop personal styles and unique looks. Yamamoto will never be mainstream. In many ways his brand has more in common with the past than the future, without being historic or irrelevant. The link is not lost on Yamamoto. “In the 18th and 19th century men dressed formal. Since then, society lost its hierarchy and became flat. Now, we have only the middle classes.” Among the middle classes, though, Yamamoto thinks there’s a sartorial apathy that needs adjusting: “Many young people are wearing exactly the same kind of outfits, there’s no individuality. The majority is boring. I travel on a sidewalk of fashion, not the main road.” Then he smiles again, and jokes in his soft spoken voice, “From my side of the street, I’m shouting, ‘You’re not fashionable!’ to the crowds!” But Yamamoto isn’t stuck in the past, far from it. When we broach the subject of the future of fashion, he becomes serious and takes an extra long time to analyze his opinions, perfecting the answers. How do we push fashion forward? “It’s a quite difficult question,” he admits. “Generally speaking, menswear is five to 10 years behind womenswear. But in certain cities, like London, Tokyo or New York, there are now so many stylish young men. Maybe even more fashionable than the women.” And, according to Yamamoto, it isn’t necessarily a recent phenomenon. “Yes, it was like that in Japan back then as well. But, especially in Tokyo, the gender boundaries have been blurred, the styles have become more unisex. Boys started wearing skirts and the girls wore very masculine looks. Those looks are very important to me.” It brings us to the relationship between the two genders, one that famously has come to define his design history, almost as much as his fascination with the color black. In the past, Yamamoto has claimed his men’s clothes look as good on women as on men, and vice versa. But, when discussing it in Madrid, there’s no doubt who he prefers working with and why. “I like womenswear more because I never know what entrance to come in from when

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designing a collection – just to know where to start is difficult enough. Imagining a naked woman’s body is like traveling in the desert – there’s no limits! Men’s design is not that difficult.” Though he seems more comfortable around the male models, “Menswear shows are like playing with classmates – the models all help me, they are easy to hang around backstage. It’s a lot more tense during the womenswear shows because it’s more challenging.” It’s always exciting to hear someone talk with passion about their work; creativity breeds creativity. Yamamoto is well aware of this. In the past he’s not only stopped at collaborating with Dirk Schoenberger, Global Creative Director of adidas Sport Style, but also brought in a third partner. A great example of that is Y-3’s SS14 collection where Yamamoto invited the legendary graphic artist Peter Saville, of Factory Records fame, to contribute prints and patterns. Between Yamamoto’s complex silhouettes, Saville’s graphics, and the sportswear expertise of Schoenberger, the “Meaningless Excitement” collection was the closest thing to a super group fashion has seen in a long time. “Yes, working with a third creative partner, like Peter Saville, is challenging but it works. I’m a simple dressmaker and our ideas come from different places. His ideas always surprise me, it’s a new angle to the clothes. This kind of collaboration creates something completely new.” But Yamamoto acknowledges it wasn’t always a smooth ride: “Sometimes he destroyed my outfits!” In a good way or a bad way? “Any way! And I liked it.” And he smiles again, that kind of face you make when you remember a particularly good day at the office. As we approach the end of our time together, I ask what – in a day and age when collaborations between fashion designers and sportswear brands are a dime a dozen – makes Y-3 special? Yohji Yamamoto, the maestro, looks at me and – almost whispering – says exactly what I was hoping for. “It’s a very delicate question. We’ve worked together on Y-3 for more than 11 years now, creating a totally unique DNA and something that’s completely new. But what is that? I don’t know yet! It’s still happening and evolving all the time…”

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TO BE CONTINUED

PHOTOGRAPHY M AT H I E U V I L A S CO STYLING PAULINE CROCE MODEL O CTAV E D U R A N D @ E L I T E PA R I S

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SNARK HUNTING PHOTOGRAPHY PICZO STYLING NAZ & KUSI (TZARKUSI) P H OTO G R A P H Y AS S I S TA N T MIO HAIR FA B I O V I VA N U S I N G B U M B L E & B U M B L E MAKE UP ADAM BURRELL @ THE BOOK AGENCY

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TURN, PLEASE

PHOTOGRAPHY YVES BORGWARDT STYLING SASKIA SCHMIDT P H OTO G R A P H Y AS S I S TA N T MAGDALENA BICHLER HAIR & MAKE UP GABRIELLE THEURER MODEL A L E X D U N S TA N @ S E L E CT M O D E L

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CHANGING TIMES WORDS E L A I N E YJ L E E PHOTOGRAPHY M AT H I E U V I L A S CO STYLING PAULINE CROCE GROOMING JOANNA MODEL J O N AT H A N H AY D E N @ E L I T E PA R I S SPECIAL THANKS TO KI-HWAN KIM (ABOUT BLANK)

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A 1980s South Korean military camp is where Private Wookjoon Jeong, a Fine Arts student, started thinking about dropping out of college. He had put a hold on academics to join the Combat Army Branch, a national requirement that he, as a male Korean citizen, had to fulfill for three years. He was in charge of guarding the border to North Korea, which consisted of night-watching shifts to look out for impending attacks, bombings, threats and any other suspicious activities from the communist North. And this meant that while being on duty – fully weaponed – Wookjoon didn’t get any bathroom breaks. But it did give him a lot of time to think. As would any college student, he thought about what he wanted in life; what he wanted to do. He eventually decided that his future, at least at the time, wouldn’t be in art. He was a junior with only one year left to finish his undergraduate Fine Arts degree, but the idea of dropping out didn’t trouble him. He was determined to start afresh. That Wookjoon Jeong is sitting in front of me now, almost 30 years later. No one addresses him as Private Jeong anymore. Instead, he’s called “teacher” by those who work under him – a team that includes six designers, three pattern makers, and a handful of corporate marketing and PR representatives. All those years ago, back in the military, he had decided that he wanted to become a fashion designer and he’s become just that. He now oversees a team of 22 with the official title of creative director for a brand he founded, named after the last syllable of his first name and the initial of his last – Juun.J. “It’s pronounced ‘joon-jee’ because that’s how Europeans say it,” says the Seoul-born, Parisbased designer. That “joon-jee” has also replaced

his actual name: people call him “Juun.J-nim” or “Juun.J sunseng-nim,” a Korean honorific term used to address teachers or masters of a craft. We are in Seoul now, sitting at his office in Gangnam – an all-white affair besides black cardboards pinned with runway looks propped against the wall. This is where he stays when he’s not producing his runway shows in Paris. The kid who used to get in trouble for “not wearing his army uniform like he was supposed to” is now a designer with over a dozen Fashion Week collections in his archive. He is adored by the likes of Rihanna and G-Dragon and his signature avant-garde streetwear aesthetic is recognized by most, sold in the most prestigious retailers around the world. But when I’m escorted into his office, I don’t see a man dressed in anything like what we normally see from Juun.J. No oversized silhouettes, no shiny neoprene, no psychedelic graphics. Instead, he’s in a humble – and dare I say, ordinary – blue button-up and black tailored trousers. I’m told he wears only clothes he makes himself, which surprises me. It’s not because he seems plain; it’s because the act of wearing only self-made clothing – even something as basic as a blue button-up – shows the level of thought and pride one would have in his creations. He is very soft spoken with gentle gestures, communicating with a voice so low that it requires extra attention. He has a very calm aura about him, a quiet sensibility that commands carefulness and respect. It displays a sort of quiet confidence, fit for a man who’s called a master. It somehow makes everyone else around him also lower their voice and speak softly. And this is how we converse for the next half-hour, in a room so quiet that you could hear a phone vibrate from the other side of the wall.

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I just want to show people what we’ll wear in the future. This isn’t “realistic” fashion. It’s part of a dream. Fashion should always be about dreaming.

“I’m still really influenced by the military,” he whispers. His time in the army has left a profound mark on his life, not just for being the turning point for his career but also for changing the way he perceives clothing. “When I was in the army, I hated the uniforms because I had to wear them every day. But there are a few things that I thought were beautiful, like the ribbed ankle ends of pants or a jacket’s windbreaker whose thick tailored collar would snap shut and cover your chest,” he says while gesturing enthusiastically to show me. “And military boots. I thought these things were very beautiful.” It’s easy to see the military references in Juun.J’s designs, with his more-thanfrequent insertion of dramatically tailored pea coats, masculine parkas and strictly cinched trenches in his collections. Sometimes the references are even more literal: Juun.J has taken the windbreaker collars that he so praised from his uniforms past and has included them in his collections since the brand’s beginning. Besides the military, Juun.J’s other source of inspiration is history, perhaps because of his background in fine art. For Fall/Winter 2014, he drew from one photograph of an Oxford University student from 1925. The subject of the black-andwhite photo is a man wearing a fedora with both hands in his blazer pockets, nonchalantly walking by a gated brick building and smoking what appears to be a 10-inch cigarette. He’s wearing a chalk-stripe jacket, a matching buttoned vest and pants that are unusually wide-legged, so much so that each leg seems like it has room for four more. “Back then, they called these Oxford pants because they were worn by Oxford University students,” explains Juun.J. “I look at a lot of vintage photographs from old books. I don’t know who the subject of each photograph is, but I think about the person, the clothes he wore and his past.” I later learn that the wide pants are actually called “Oxford bags,” and were worn to rebel against the fashion conventions of the time. Juun.J’s designs are more than a nostalgic look to the past. It would be hard to look at his clothes

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and only think “vintage” or “old-timey.” The brand is distinctly characterized by a sense of futurism, expressed through the use of computerized graphics, progressive materials and unusual silhouettes. He explains, “If it’s a photograph from the 1920s, I think about what the subject would wear in 2020.” It’s precisely this attempt by the designer to look to the future while taking from the past that makes his designs so new and avantgarde. By today’s standards, the clothes of his imagined future are extremely bold. Some may even call them unwearable. And at this, Juun.J is wholly admitting. “There are some designers who only show wearable pieces and I respect that. That’s reality. But I also want to design things that you can’t wear now. You might look at some of my clothes and think, ‘How could you wear that?’ But I think in 10 years, they will become the uniform.” This is a rather ambitious claim made by the designer and it reinforces how much pride he has in his designs. The year 2020 has no significant meaning to him. “I just want to show people what we’ll wear in the future. This isn’t ‘realistic’ fashion. It’s part of a dream. Fashion should always be about dreaming.” To achieve his dream in fashion, he wanted desperately to go to Paris after his military serve. He had no means to but an act of fate got him close. By the time he decided to drop out of Fine Arts, he had heard that ESMOD – the esteemed Parisian fashion school whose alumni include Olivier Rousteing, Alexandre Vauthier and Suzy Menkes – was opening a branch in Seoul. “It was all very exciting,” he says with wider eyes, his voice raised a bit more. He immediately enrolled in ESMOD and began to learn to cut and sew. Upon graduating, he worked under numerous Korean labels, eventually founding Lone Custom – a brand that got him the recognition as one of the best up-and-coming designers in the country. After a total of 15 years in the market, he decided to rebrand Lone Custom as Juun.J and finally move on to Paris in 2007.


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Paris was welcoming and laudatory of Juun.J. After years of successful collection shows in the fashion hub, he was approached by Cheil Industries, the arm of Samsung that handles electronic materials, chemicals, textiles and fashion. W ith the conglomerate’s acquisition, Juun.J joined a portfolio of licensed brands like COMME des GARҪONS, Balmain, Rick Owens and Thom Browne. “Before, I did all the marketing, designing, and the sales by myself, but now, I can leave it up to the experts. It has given Juun.J more momentum and strength.” Juun.J still undoubtedly holds on to his belief in the dream of fashion, but that doesn’t mean he’s apathetic to commercial growth. Since becoming part of Samsung, Juun.J has been pushing his retail efforts aggressively, wholesaling to large retailers worldwide and collaborating with giants like New Era and adidas. “It’s only right to grow,” he sternly states. Juun.J admits he designs only half of the clothes stocked in stores. While his runway collections are 100% his creations, his team of six designers – albeit under Juun.J’s general creative direction – produce the more buyable pieces that get sold. “In the end, it is a business. But all of Juun.J – both what’s on the runway and what’s in stores – convey the same message.” When asked if there are plans to open standalone shops, he shows eagerness. “Of course. And the first will probably be Paris. Hopefully soon.” For how attached he is to Paris, Juun.J is still very characteristically Korean. He loves soju, which he makes a point to drink as often as he can with friends at local street vendors, popular late night meeting grounds for salarymen and college students. “I love conversing with people over drinks. Just now, we had a meeting with adidas where we discussed our plans for next year over wine.

It was great.” The sorts of friends he meets after hours are other creatives in Korea’s fashion and pop culture scenes, like G-Dragon’s fellow band member Taeyang, with whom “he shares a deep mental connection.” He also loves Juuny, a three-year-old black Pekingese puppy he treats like his daughter. Over the course of our conversation, he shows more enthusiasm talking about her than anything else. “I’ve been looking for a house with a garden and backyard so she can run around and play. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to love nature and animals.” His growing love for animals has also brought on a significant change to his design ethos. Juun.J, who so masterfully integrates rich leather and luxe furs in his designs, now faces an internal battle. He confesses, “I’m very conflicted about whether or not to use fur. I would have to make a decision soon.” A rather shocking piece of news, seeing as though leather and pony hair were the main materials of his fall collection. Even a designer who seems as accomplished as Juun.J is struggling, fighting challenges and drastic changes. Juun.J may be a different person from the Private Jeong he was in the military and he’s still changing as we speak, but he hasn’t lost his propensity to look forward; the college student who used to ponder deeply about his future is still there. Like Helmut Lang, whom he cites as his role model, he eventually wants to get back to his art. “I want to continue designing, but as I get older, I want to paint more – just pure art, nothing commercial. Even if no one recognizes them, I want to express what I want.”

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JUST KIDS PHOTOGRAPHY M AT T I A S B J O R K LU N D STYLING AT I P W S T Y L I N G AS S I S TA N T N I C H O L A S WA LT E R HAIR SA RA H J O PA L M E R U S I N G AV E DA MAKE UP OONAH ANDERSON USING M.A.C CASTING DIRECTOR REBECCA KNOX MODELS SY LV E S T E R @ F M M O D E L S HARRIET @ IMG MODELS

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WORDS BRIAN FARMER

HAIR & MAKE UP THIMO BLOOM

PHOTOGRAPHY ROBERT WUNSCH

P H OTO G R A P H Y AS S I S TA N T R YA N H U R S H

STYLING C H A N TA L D RY WA

MODELS NIGEL CABOURN SAM @ CORE MANAGEMENT

FRED PERRY NIGEL CABOURN TWO BRITISH ICONS COME TOGETHER FOR ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE COLLABORATIONS OF SPRING /SUMMER 2015

Championship-winning English tennis player Fred Perry and cult British designer Nigel Cabourn are akin in their love for table tennis; with Fred Perry first becoming world champion of table tennis in 1929 before pursuing his tennis career and Nigel a self-confessed fan who plays at least five times a week with an ex-England professional. Fred Perry prides itself on being the first British heritage brand to successfully blend sportswear with streetwear to create some of the most iconic styles of the last century. The brand was born in the late 1940s, when former Austrian footballer Tibby Wegner approached three-time Wimbledon champion Fred Perry with an idea. Their initial

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venture was the very first sweatband, which was quickly adopted by tennis players across the courts of Britain. In 1952, the pair launched what was to be Fred Perry’s most famous garment: a slim fit cotton pique shirt with Laurel Wreath embroidery. From the beginning, Fred Perry – and the tipped pique shirt in particular – has been associated with a series of subcultures driven by musical affinities: mods, skinheads, suedeheads, soul boys, rude boys and two tone. The original Fred Perry cotton pique shirt is still made to the same high standards and remains synonymous with underground fashion and British cool.

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Meanwhile, Nigel Cabourn has worked in the fashion industry for over 40 years producing collections which are not influenced by fashion trends but driven by inspirational stories of real people in history and vintage military, outdoor and workwear pieces. A passionate and avid collector of vintage clothing, he has amassed an archive of over 4,000 pieces – unearthed from all corners of the globe. It is from this ever-increasing archive that Nigel draws inspiration for styles, fabrics and details to ensure that each collection has a real story, sense of history and integrity. To this day, Nigel remains the hands-on driving force behind the Nigel Cabourn brands – Authentic and Mainline – working closely with his design and production teams and various collaborators to produce around 18 collections each year. With great honor, we are pleased to inform you the two British brands have at last come together for a collaboration launching

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February 2015. Styles, fabrics and trims in the collection are inspired directly by those worn in the 1950s by Fred Perry and five-time World Champion table tennis player Victor Barna. Giving our readers the very first look at the collaboration, we teamed up with Nigel himself to showcase several standout garments from the forthcoming Spring/Summer 2015 collection. “Fred Perry is a brand that I think runs in some ways parallel to the Nigel Cabourn brand: both are truly British brands inspired by British heritage and British manufacturing,” says Nigel. “I think a lot of Fred Perry and Nigel Cabourn fans alike will be pleased we have finally come together on this collaboration.”


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GOING UNDERGROUND WORDS L E N A DYS TA N T I L LU S T R AT I O N S CLARA LACY

200 FEET BELOW GROUND, LONDON’S TUBE SYSTEM HAS BEEN TRANSPORTING THE CITY’S COMMUTERS FOR A CENTURY AND A HALF. ELEVATING COMMUNICATION TO NEW LEVELS, ITS MIX OF SHARP GRAPHIC DESIGN AND ABSTRACT ART FIND NEW LIFE IN STREETWEAR LABEL ROUNDEL. The slogan “Thanks to the Underground, we are all Londoners now” has been the starting point for Roundel since day one. A democratic approach to design, its founders have distilled decades of big label experience and 150 years of London Underground history into a label that feels both personal and all-encompassing at the same time. To put it simply, this is the world’s greatest souvenir brand, produced in collaboration with Transport for London – the mammoth institution that runs the city’s bus, tube and railway network. Embracing contemporary art and graphics from its opening in 1863, London Underground design through the ages now decorates street and workwear classics, from a multi-patch MA-1 bomber to a skate-friendly long-sleeved graphic black tee. The Spring 2014 Air Max 90 in an all-over Moquette print, a distinctly ’70s pattern that covered District Line seats back in the day, seems to sum up Roundel best. An appreciation for the past while constantly looking forward, the shoe placed something nostalgic into fresh, relevant context. The label’s Design Director, Andrew Bunney, began – like so many in the business – as a specialist in vintage American clothing. An appreciation for the detail and love of subcultures and their paraphernalia, Bunney’s skills have been employed by the likes of Nike, Stussy, visvim and Dr. Martens to name just a few. Teaming up once again with Italy’s multifaceted streetwear empire, Slam Jam, this latest collection for Fall/ Winter 2014 continues to explore the depths of the tube’s mammoth archive. A goldmine, here you discover London Transport’s forward-thinking approach to art direction, from Man Ray to Barbara Kruger and Yayoi Kusama, instructional and informative designs taken to new levels by art world heavyweights. With all this in mind, we sat down with Andrew Bunney to talk beginnings, following instinct and get a breakdown of the classic imagery revived for the current line. 196

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Tell us a little about Roundel’s beginnings? I had been working on the British Remains brand, a project which I started with my friend Daryl Saunders. Using some Underground imagery on T-shirts, we’d infringed some of the graphics and were asked to stop by the lawyers pretty swiftly. So I went to talk to TFL (Transport for London), firstly to apologise but secondly to see if there were any opportunities to work together as the line was selling well in places like colette and Dover Street Market. I met the Head of Intellectual Property who was very warm and we talked about what they were doing, and my history and past work. It turned out that they had all different kinds of licenses but that they’d always wondered about making apparel properly rather than just museum shop clothing. We were both interested in the idea of taking the energy of London and turning it into something else. What was the aim at the start? The main thing has been understanding what “Underground” and “London Underground” mean and the difference between the two. So when we see the font, those familiar signs, we recognize them immediately as something specifically English; we’ve seen them so many times before. We wanted to take those visuals and graphics and match them with the youth and buzz that comes with London. Hopefully making something relevant to the UK firstly but also beyond, working with creative out of the UK – building it that way. Did you feel that London Transport understood what you were trying to do, to achieve? Overall, they’ve been really relaxed. They trust us and they see all the brands and projects myself and Slam Jam have worked on in the past. The launch was really exciting. Firstly, putting together the Derek Ridgers book, but also tapping into some of TFL’s world which isn’t particularly exciting to them, but for us was fascinating. We placed posters in the Cromwell Road tunnels under South Kensington station, opened a shop inside Piccadilly Station to launch the Nike Air Max we created – I mean, that’s just crazy. Has it been hard to narrow down what you use for each collection? We want to create a balance between the London spirit which comes from the people and the London imagery that comes through TFL. It’s finding what suits best, at the moment that’s the sloganeering but I can’t even begin to imagine how much is available. The thing is, London Underground has had such a strong art direction right from the start. It’s consistent. In the beginning I tried to approach it with logic, but there’s so much that you have to go with the feeling. It’s just instinct.


‘BABS – SOHO’ – DEREK RIDGERS (1987) This was one of our favourite images from the book we published during our launch, 78-87: London Youth, featuring incredible subculture images

The whole period was about the coming together of different looks, that DIY style that took from Bowie, punk, skinhead, New Romantic… the kids then

from photographer Derek Ridgers. Babs takes on different looks as the years pass. Here she’s got a homemade tattoo on her face, backwards because she did it in the mirror. As cool as this seems now, at the time these were quite powerful, dark images.

didn’t have access to everything as we do now, it all happened fairly organically. Derek’s images are quite unknown which is really nice. They’re almost too uncomfortable to have gone mainstream.

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‘TIGER’ – ABRAM GAMES (1976) There have been lots of great London Zoo posters over the years, encouraging tourists and families to visit, and this is one of them. A strong, graphic image, it was shown in bright tiger colors with the Roundel displayed as the hindquarters. We turned

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it monochrome for the fall collection and applied it to this cardigan. As people’s attitudes towards animals changed over the years, so did the imagery used. You can still buy this in poster form; it’s even been featured on a stamp.


‘NO WET NO COLD’ – FREDERICK SCHNEIDER MANNER (1929) Its original form was a poster campaign in the deco style of the day – the words placed against a stormy, umbrella-filled background. Essentially, it’s about offering protection, very simply stating

that on the Underground there’s “No Wet” and “No Cold.” We’ve screen-printed it on a workshirt style here, a classic staple of UK culture seen on the likes of The Clash, etc.

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‘THE PROUD CITY’ (ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL) – WALTER E. SPRADBERRY (1944) This is a really interesting one. As WW2 came to an end they launched a campaign entitled “The Proud City,” displaying the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral amongst the ruins of the bombing. In the spirit of inclusivity the slogan was written in a few different languages including Urdu, very forward-thinking for

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the times. It immediately reminded of me of Vivienne Westwood and Malcom McClaren’s Seditionaries store on the King’s Road in the mid ’70s, which used an inverted image of the Dresden ruins as the store backdrop.


‘WAY OUT’ – ARTIST UNKNOWN (EARLY 1900S) & ‘LEAVE THIS’ – WILLIAM KERMODE (1924) A sign still on display at older stations such as Stepney Green and in various other forms in different locations. Used today it takes on a few different meanings. It’s almost replaceable, a cute motif, a kind of “I’m with stupid” or “Way Out Man.” On his ball cap you’ll see ‘Leave this’ which was a great

slogan – really old, about leaving the situation you’re in, getting away from your everyday life thanks to the Underground. This idea was a big part of their early campaigns. It’s basically about escape, almost a plaintiff cry.

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MY BOYFRIEND’S LEATHER JACKET

PHOTOGRAPHY M AT T I A S B J O R K LU N D STYLING AT I P W HAIR & MAKE UP BRETT SHERRIFFS USING BUMBLE & BUMBLE AND BOBBI BROWN CASTING DIRECTOR REBECCA KNOX HANNA WEARS LOUIS VUITTON MODELS NICOLE @ PREMIER MODELS R YA N N E @ S T O R M M O D E L S ASTRID @ MODELS 1 HANNA @ ELITE ISABELLE & SEMKA @ SELECT MODELS

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NICOLE WEARS ACNE STUDIOS

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ISABELLE WEARS OUR LEGACY

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WES ANDERSON VISUAL BRANDING IN CINEMA

WORDS M A R TA S U N DAC I L LU S T R AT I O N S M AX DA LTO N , F R O M T H E WES ANDERSON COLLECTION BY M AT T ZO L L E R S E I T Z ( A B R A M S , 2 01 3 )

Wes Anderson’s unique visual language is the result of a pastiche of popular cultural icons, which when rendered in his own style, has since become iconic in its own right. As an auteur filmmaker, Anderson uses his unique vision to identify his work, reading like his own brand mark across all of his films. While fashion has its labels, cinema has its directors; of whom Wes Anderson has forged a strong identity with his own personal brand in the past 20 years. Cinema has long been known for creating iconic imagery and in turn providing icons of the film world, be they characters, locations, scenes or entire films that reflect our society. Auteur directors often leave their stamp on their work, marking it as their own. In Anderson’s case, his unique style has become his own brand identity, with the director’s quirky visual aesthetic an instantly recognizable trait. With the symbolism found in the staged worlds of his films, Anderson has created a cinematic identity that represents our culture today. In filmmaking, auteur theory traditionally states that a film is the product of a director’s personal creative vision, rather than that of a studio. The guidelines for such films require technical competence in technique, personal style in terms of look and feel, and a recurring interior meaning tying various works. Auteur filmmaking as such is no longer limited to independent cinema, with these criteria now satisfying various big-budget studio features, albeit with a recognizable figurehead as the director. The next step for filmmakers has become branding through visual identity.

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The rise of symbolism as a visual language in popular culture has become the sign of our times. Beginning with fashion in the 1990s, anonymity in clothing became the norm, with minimalist designs setting the fashion climate. Alongside the simplified styles, however, came the rise of strong branding, with logo-driven pieces and brandheavy advertising. This obsession with symbolism and iconography has transferred across various mediums, including cinema, where Wes Anderson embodies this idea through his unique visual style. Throughout his career, Anderson’s style has slowly evolved and become stronger in its vision. From his early films Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, it is clear that there is a style developing, however, it has not yet been defined. His third feature film, The Royal Tenenbaums, is arguably where Anderson’s iconography really begins. From the film’s opening sequence, with its multi-character introduction shot in Anderson’s signature symmetrical, frontal style, the audience immediately becomes familiar with the various stylistic techniques he imparts on his films. His next two films, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Darjeeling Limited follow a similar style, with Fantastic Mr. Fox departing somewhat from this course with its stopmotion animated style. Finally Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel usher in the latest and most developed adaptation of Anderson’s filmmaking oeuvre. In terms of visual techniques, the three most notable points of a Wes Anderson film include symmetry; elaborate camera setups, which most notably include lengthy tracking shots; and intricate set design, constructed very precisely in terms of style and color palette. While these features immediately suggest style over substance, Anderson has managed to use these methods to enhance his work’s meaning. As they have become signature elements in his films, each technique brings with it an already established meaning that the audience has gained from a previous Anderson film. In this way, the cinematic tropes in his work can be considered accumulative. A symmetrical, frontal shot of a character immediately introduces them within the film, with later instances marking points of reflection or decision-making. By doing this Anderson creates a strong emotional weight for his characters, which is further emphasized by the two other visual techniques. Elaborate tracking shots also act as introductions into a scene, providing the audience with information on the scene’s location and mood. Also known for his dramatically tense slowmotion shots, this technique is the most jarring to the audience, often criticized for taking the viewer out of the moment. While these shots can simply appear as visual spectacles, they do add a dreamy quality to his films and in fact convey a lot of meaning in the scenes in which they appear.

However, the most important visual aspect of Anderson’s films is the carefully curated set design. Frequently setting his films in the past, the nostalgia of Anderson’s work is perfectly executed in painstaking detail through thorough location scouting, set construction and a precise color palette. As Anderson’s career has progressed, so has the extent of his visual aesthetic. What began as relatively basic production design in Bottle Rocket has developed into the very extravagant style of The Grand Budapest Hotel, which featured both location shooting and studio sets. Anderson paints his scenes like paintings, where every color serves a purpose and every still image is a work of art. As he has progressed, the mise-en-scene has also become fuller, with more and more background information added in his later films. The more that sits in the frame, the more visual clues Anderson offers into his characters’ worlds. Anderson’s fixation on nostalgia is obvious, with each of his films successively set in earlier period settings. This is a very important aspect in the creation of Anderson’s iconography, the taking of something that is often labeled with a blanket “vintage” tag and giving it the Anderson treatment. By creating worlds that are essentially anonymous 1960s or 1930s settings, and adding his own signature symbols or techniques, he is able to craft a uniquely Andersonian perspective of those times, and in turn take something that is often generalized in modern society – the ’60s or ’30s – and present them as his own. It is his way of labeling or branding his work. While Anderson wasn’t the first director to do this, his brand is undoubtedly one of the most instantly recognizable and distinctive of modern cinema. Wes Anderson’s short films for Italian fashion house Prada further exemplify this shift into branding. With “Castello Cavalcanti” and “Prada: Candy,” two short films that simultaneously act as adverts, the audience is aware they are watching a Wes Anderson film. In fact it could be argued that the pretense under which they are watching the film is because it is a Wes Anderson film, which supplements this idea of branding, making these short films a collaboration between Prada and Wes Anderson. The fact that he is able to take his oeuvre and adapt it from feature films to short fashion spots, only implies the strength and popularity of his namesake brand. While a director’s influence on his work is undoubted, Wes Anderson has taken the auteur theory of filmmaking and pushed it one step further, having built his own iconography in cinema into his own filmmaking brand. By using symbolism and strong visual signifiers in his films, Anderson’s work transcends traditional boundaries of filmmaking and instead forges new ways in which film can be seen and recognized.

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ACROSS THE HAN RIVER EXPERIENCING SEOUL, ONE HALF AT A TIME.

WORDS E L A I N E YJ L E E PHOTOGRAPHY HANNA YOO

There’s a reason why PSY chose Gangnam as his subject for the song “Gangnam Style,” whose infamous music video captures the South Korean district so comically. Part of Seoul City, Gangnam is notoriously reputed to be conspicuous, and is therefore a perfect item for a satirical performer like PSY to parodize. But Gangnam is only half of the story; literally translated to “south of the river,” it has a whole regional counterpart on the opposite side of Han River – a thin body of water whose northbound bridges will lead you to Gangbook. Han River was the definitive deciding factor when choosing Seoul as the nation’s capital. The water’s natural properties and surrounding land

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fostered rich agricultural growth, also doubling as a port for merchants to bring in commercial wealth from around the world. Today, the grossly urbanized East Asian country may no longer consider Han River to be as pivotal as it once was, but it still carries heavy symbolic value. It acts as an open border that both separates and connects the city’s two halves. It’s a cultural barrier between two characteristically different worlds: Gangnam, which is fast becoming East Asia’s next mecca for fashion, technology and pop culture; and Gangbook, an organic nesting ground for the city’s youth and budding artists and home to the country’s best preserved ancient treasures.


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GANGNAM; THE SOUTH; THE NEW SEOUL CHECK-IN & BREAKFAST Hotel Lacasa Hotel Lacasa is the Ace Hotel of Seoul. Owned and operated by houseware and furniture design company Casamia, it is entirely furnished by in-house products. The quaint boutique hotel boasts colorful interiors and intentionally mismatching decorations that make it a unique experience to stay in. Its location in the heart of Karosu Road, the most up-and-coming area for shopping and going out in the city, makes it an ideal stay. Expect quality service and a delectable complimentary breakfast. W

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SHOPPING

ILMO ( 10 Corso Como Outlet)

Stussy Seoul Chapter

If Carla Sozzani’s 10 Corso Como boutiques are anything to go by, expect ILMO to be equal parts fashion, art, and culture. The multi-story store sells designer clothing and accessories for men and women at discounted outlet prices while also offering coffee and food at an outdoor cafe. The store is just one such boutique among strips of shopping and food vendors, all walking distance from Lacasa.

A taxi ride over to Rodeo Street will get you to a concentrated shopping hub. Instead of the typical luxury mall, start with Stussy Seoul for an experience more tailored to the locale. A no-fuss, minimally furnished raw cement building stocks Seoul-branded Stussy clothing and accessories that you can only find here.

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stussy.com 645-24 Shinsa-dong


COFFEE BREAK & LUNCH Leata A giant vintage motorcycle fixture takes up half of the space of this extremely small apparel shop. The other half is occupied by a tank of piranhas, glass cases of handmade men’s jewelry, and a worker’s studio where you can see them getting made. The studio is directly linked to the shop and available on view (but they will kindly ask you to please not enter). The gritty shop also offers a selection of reading from unique street style and hip-hop magazines you’d only find in Korea. W A

leata.net 643-20 Shinsa-dong

Diafvine There are no signs for Diafvine’s second floor walk-up store on the building’s exterior, and you must ring the bell to be buzzed in. The caged metal door opens to pungent smells of Indian incense, vintage Alden shoes and an impressive line of Diafvine’s quality leather jackets. The unique collection of paraphernalia from the shop owner’s travels alone are worth the visit.

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diafstore.com 656-25 Shinsa-dong

ManMade Cafe by Wooyoungmi Arguably Korea’s most successful men’s ready-to-wear designer, Wooyoungmi’s ManMade doubles as boutiques for her Wooyoungmi and Solid Homme brands as well as a cafe/gallery space that hosts musical performances and art exhibits. The cafe’s food and drinks are delicious, served on low wooden tables with felt folding chairs in Wooyoungmi-branded upholstery. ManMade’s location is ideal for a quick break, right in between all the other shops you’d want to stop by in the area. Selected readings are also available. W A

wooyoungmi.com 648-1 Shinsa-dong

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DINNER & AFTER HOURS

Double Trouble Double Trouble is not where you go for a traditional Korean meal. Here you can devour “cheesy, fatty and nasty� fried chicken over waffles, sausage sandwiches, and animal-style bacon and cheese fries after a long, hard day of sightseeing. The restaurant is managed by Humantree, a hip-hop fashion retailer, music studio and media company that gives Double Trouble the unapologetically rap culture-influenced atmosphere. Relieve some stress with their signature homemade grapefruit and orange beer while enjoying displays of items like Pigalle Nike basketballs next to phone charging stations. This one should not be skipped by any means. A

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GANGBOOK; THE NORTH; THE OLD SEOUL SIGHTSEEING

COFFEE BREAK

Mulnamoo Cafe Translated to “water tree,” this ’60s-style cafe was named Mulnamoo because founder Hyunsik Kim wanted to receive energy from elements of nature. Kim is a photographer who wished to bring back the original concept of the dabang – Korean cafes that acted as meeting grounds for the country’s intellectuals, artists and liberal politicians in the old days. Kenyan coffee beans are roasted by Kim himself on traditional Korean cauldrons, making for an unusually savory taste that goes perfectly well with the cafe’s complimentary seaweed crackers. Mulnamoo is a delightful and peaceful escape from the busy city and throngs of tourists.

Bukchon Hanok Village

Original Black and White Photography Dept.

Hanok translates to “traditional Korean housing,” squarely wooden structures with tile roofs made of cement and clay. Bukchon village has preserved many of these houses that date back 600 years which are still occupied by local residents. Explore the beautiful stonewall walkways and humble street corners filled with old-world gems.

This quaint photo studio is attached to Mulnamoo, headed by the same founder. Passionate about studying photography in its purest and most basic form, the studio uses only black and white film and vintage cameras that line the nooks and crannies of the small space. Keep in mind they have a two to three-month waiting list for appointments, but you are free to look inside.

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mulnamoo.com 84-3 Kyedong-gil, Jongro-gu

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LUNCH

SHOPPING

Namdaemun Market

Manhattan’s

One of Seoul’s largest food and goods market, Namdaemun is known for its “kalgooksu and bibimbap alley,” a short strip of open-seating food stands that sell bibimbap and noodles. The alleyway is overcrowded by throngs of midday grocery-shopping housewives, especially cramped at meal times, which is precisely when you should go. You may have to elbow your way in but once seated, fast servings of cheap quality food will more than satisfy. This is a real Korean food experience with people who have been working and eating at the alley for generations, and the food is good.

Cab over to Seokyo-dong after lunch and some market strolls for a dose of Gangbook shopping. This is distinctly different from any shopping experience you’ll get in Gangnam, because Gangbook hosts smaller, unique vintage shops that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. The area has been occupied by artists and musicians, sort of like the Brooklyn of New York, and so is characterized by an air of creative freedom and untouched youth. For Manhattan’s, walk down a nondescript basement to find a selection of the best heritage American and Japanese brands mixed with some local Korean labels that you can only find here.

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DINNER

aA Design Museum Cafe As its name suggests, aA Design Cafe is known for its well-designed interior, with mismatching yet complementing furniture and standout sculptural accents that make the whole space a joy to explore. The food and drinks border on the expensive side, but it’s worth it.

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aadesignmuseum.com 408-11 Seokyo-dong, Mapo-gu

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TRADITIONS OF TASTE IN AMERICA’S HUMBLE ICON, THE HOT DOG IN CONNECTICUT, THE FRANKFURTER REIGNS SUPREME.

WORDS ARNOLD T PANTS

PHOTOGRAPHY L I Z B A R C L AY

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What food comes to mind when you think of America? The hamburger? Pizza? Smoked brisket? Fried chicken? Whatever materializes in and titillates the mind first likely fits some definition of comfort food, the simple staples of regional cuisine. Those dishes that console in times of need and evoke the most pleasant type of nostalgia. A restaurateur friend, specializing in fine dinning, once confided that after each reconnaissance meal in New York City he ate a hot dog. Daniel Boulud, the Big Apple’s god of French cooking, never shies from a street corner dirty water variety sausage. Both have Charles Feltman, famed for “inventing” the American hot dog in the late 1860s, to thank. And America (and others love its gluttonous contests) can thank a Feltman associate, Nathan Handwerker, for cementing the hot dog in the consciousness of Brooklyn’s bustling Coney Island. The hot dog, in all its simple glory, is an unstoppable force, breaking socioeconomic boundary and culinary conviction in celebration of an American icon. The history of the American hot dog is filled with fascinating characters. It includes associations with frivolity. Most important, the hot dog has a place in each and every community. Across America, highways are dotted with stands slangin’ dogs. Some are internationally famed—the aforementioned Nathan’s, Chicago’s The Wiener Circle, Los Angeles’s Pink’s and, of course, the last remaining Grey’s Papaya on NYC’s Upper West Side. Every city and town in the nation has its own favorite, if lesser known, hot dog haunt too. The state of Connecticut, birthplace of Highsnobiety’s own Jeff Carvalho, is no exception. While known around the food world primarily for pizzas tossed in New Haven, burgers steamed in Middletown, and lobster rolls lovingly stuffed in the coastal village of Noank, the hot dog remains the area’s secret gem. Filmmaker Mark Kotlinksi flies the flag for the Constitution State’s tube steaks. In 2011, he released a documentary, A Connecticut Hot Dog Tour, highlighting 10 spots emblematic of the offerings available. There’s a floating stand, Weiners on Water, which sells chili cheese dogs in the middle of the Connecticut River. Capitol Lunch, in New Britain, is chosen for its superb meat sauce, and Glenwood Drive-In – located in Hamden – sizzles by way of a famous charcoal grill. Rawley’s Drive-In and Super Duper Weenie, both in

Fairfield, represent old and new school approaches. In sum, Kotlinkski’s investigation revitalized interest in local traditions and galvanized the Connecticut Office of Tourism to create an official hot dog trail. With its delightfully lo-fi aesthetic, both the film and trail remind that the foods that capture mass imagination need not be glitzy and certainly don’t need glamourous surroundings. There’s no recession-era folksy “heritage” in hot dogs. And, even in “haute dog” form, these sumptuous sausages remain simply an industrial food for industrious people. Few families represent this truth as well as the Hummel’s of New Haven, Connecticut. In 1933, 13 years after emigrating from Hals, Germany, brothers Robert and William founded Hummel Bros. on Congress Street. Blending beef and pork, with absolutely no additives, in a lamb intestine case, the company produces a milder dog than the allbeef variety found in New York. The Hummel Bros. are Connecticut’s gold standard—competing with Bloomfield’s Grote & Weigel and Noack’s Meat Products of Meriden—to supply the state’s stands. The best ones, those championed by Kotlinski, often work directly with Hummel, defining their flavors through unique blends—collaboration of the finest kind. In that, Hummel connects the dots between some of the towns of villages in Connecticut. While each, as Kotlinski details, has its customs, the factory reveals broader, more holistic traditions. There’s solace in solidarity. Hot dogs, of course, are available everywhere. Yet, in Connecticut there’s a special bond between the eaters and their meals. Icons need not scream importance. Instead, some can simply pass quietly from generation to generation, doing what foodways are exceptionally well suited for: solidifying the beliefs and values of a community. In our world, one predicated on “likes” and dictated by homogenous digital tastes, hot dogs serve as a mnemonic kick in the ass. This is food for the people, removed of manufactured legend. Connecticut’s variety, not hot, not mild, aren’t universally acknowledged. Neither are the dogs served from spots made known by typical conduits of popular culture—film, photography, or the allure of Hollywood. Instead, each bite is an opportunity to relish an unfettered IRL experience with culture, and testament to a symbol of place which unites through blissful, understated ubiquity.

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HOUSE INDUSTRIES: SALUTING OVERLOOKED AND UNDERAPPRECIATED INFLUENCES WORDS J E F F CA RVA L H O IMAGES COURTESY OF HOUSE INDUSTRIES

Their work is familiar to unknowing millions: House Industries, a small type and design firm in Wilmington, Delaware, may well be the unlikely heroes of modern graphic design. Front run by partners Andy Cruz and Rich Roat, House Industries has never really played by the design world’s rules nor have truly understood them. Since 1994, House Industries has been a type foundry, first and foremost, designing typefaces and font families that are universally applied across a massive cross culture of assets around almost every turn: television opening sequences (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central), animated cartoons (SpongeBob SquarePants), Japanese toys (Medicom), lingerie books (Agent Provocateur), Danish block toys (LEGO), commercial stuffed animals (Build-A-Bear), popular HBO dramas (Girls), spy movies (007), and even the most sought-after and iconic streetwear brands (A Bathing Ape) – the work of House Industries is simply everywhere and for everyone. And while their commercial success may be measured by reach, their inspirations and influences come from interests that sit well

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outside the mainstream. The team follows ideas and thoughts down wormholes that have left a colossal mark on countless brand logos, wordmarks and packaging, without ever compromising their own interests. Our look into House Industries stays rooted in their influences, their fetishes and fascinations. We’ll discuss their catalogs, which for many designers and fans was a gateway to a different view on type and graphic design. We’ll talk with famed bicycle builder, Richard Sachs, who after more than 35 years turned to House Industries to rebrand and re-skin his iconic bicycles. And we’ll dip into their future works in aeronautics and likely anything else that keeps the team in House’s Delaware office interested. Through conversation with a handful of friends and cohorts that have worked with the team for the better part of 15 years, the House Industries story shared here, in an admittedly incomplete form, is designed to focus on the core inspirations and diversions that have helped define modern day and future graphic design.


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“It has always been our goal to create solid design work that salutes overlooked and underappreciated influences.” – House Industries monograph book, published in 2003 by Gestalten. “I still refer to Andy Cruz as the country’s creative director by proxy. People often reference one of his layouts, designs or features, rather inadvertently or intentionally.” – David Dodde “The House Industries guys are everyone’s favorite design firms’ designers.” – Brian Awitan Richard Sachs (Master American bicycle framebuilder): They’re doing with design and font what I think I’m doing with bicycles, which is basically living in the margins making a good life and making good product with limited output, because you can only do so much work. Barnzley (Original International Stussy Tribe London chapter member, House 33 founding partner, placed first major House Industries T-shirt order for Superb Co. bringing the brand to Japan in the late ’90s): I’m on the same page as those guys. We grew up with the same stuff. It just so happens that they’re really skilled at what they do. They are really good craftsmen, as good a factory making clothes or a decent carpenter. Those guys are at the top of their game and have been for a long time. Brian Awitan (Levi’s National Sales Manager and House Industries Disruptive Technician): So many people have asked me “are they based in New York or LA? Are they a big firm in New York or LA?” Nope. They are half a dozen cats in a one-room school house based in Delaware. David Dodde (Master print maker/House Industries Grand Rapids, Michigan plant manager): It’s a common conversation. Hypothetically, would they be a bigger, different company if they were in NY or LA or a larger market? The reason they are able to operate out of Delaware is because they make a product. The bread and butter of that business is typography; the software and downloads. The other stuff is a way of promoting that typography. The Internet has changed the game. It’s the same reason any company can be a satellite. Our deliverables are digital for the most part and the hard goods can be sold by vendors. Being in Delaware keeps them removed. All these places, New York, Los Angeles, are nice to visit but to live there is a different story. That’s another very important component: the culture of House Industries is family, period. That’s a big driver of the culture and what they get themselves into. Sachs: They seem to be making it work without actually being in New York, Philadelphia or wherever the scene is for design. They’re making it happen in Delaware and I really like that. It’s a staff of maybe 8 or 10 people that listen to their own voice. That’s the way I see them. Dodde: The company has always been a hustle. It’s been a way for them, very selfishly, to get into places they would have no other reason to be. It’s kind of like Warhol creating Interview magazine to get into VIP parties. Awitan: House Industries started in 1993 with Rich Roat and Andy Cruz, essentially, being frustrated with what they started with Brand Design Co. Jeremy Dean (Graphic designer and typographer, creator of two early House Industries’ typefaces): I met a couple guys at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, one of them being Allen Mercer – one of the original House Industries partners – and Ken Barber, who is currently their lead type guy. I’m hanging out with them (we’re in the same classes together) and I keep hearing about Rich [Roat] and

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Andy [Cruz], who were working on designs for a bunch of different companies at the time under the name Brand Design Co. Awitan: They were obviously sought after, talented, young and hungry. But client edits were a drag: It was hours of painstaking work putting the composition together. They were like “there’s got to be an easier way.” Dean: Allen mentions that Andy and Rich are started a font company. I had done this font for a school project and was using it for logos to annoy my professors. It was Crackhouse. I gave it to Allen and he showed it to Andy and Rich – they had just printed their very first mailer. They both said “this is rad and we’ll put it out, but this is how it works: we’ll give you a list of characters to build out so we have a full character set.” I said, “Okay, I’ll do that.” They made Crackhouse into a working font and it landed in the second House Industries catalog. Barnzley: The first time I became aware of House Industries, I saw that copy of Emigre No.38 they did the cover for; the one that had some sort of painted muscle car-thing on the front of it. Dodde: I go back to ’96/’97 with House. I was a vendor. I was working for a major Disney licensing company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As you can imagine, we cranked through a lot of artwork, so we needed as many tools as possible. We relied on phone books, ‘800’ numbers and magazines. That’s actually how I found them: in HOW magazine where they advertised the Rat Fink Font typeset. Awitan: In the late ’90s early 2000s while I was in Austin, Texas, there was a funky little shop that sold tchotchkes and a lot of old Japanese toys. There I saw these Rat Fink T-shirts in paint cans. I was like, “Whoa, what is this?” Dodde: The Rat Fink resonated with me very emotionally and I’d never seen anyone pull from something so obscure at that point in time. No one at that point in time had really referenced the Rat Fink outside the actual hot rod culture of Los Angeles. No one really brought that culture out into the mainstream. Awitan: The guy explained to me it was a font company, but the packaging of the fonts came with these T-shirts and paint cans. I was so confused. Are these guys fucking making fun of me? It was this weird thing. Dodde: I called the ‘800’ number in the HOW ad and Andy Cruz answered the phone. I told him I wanted to license their entire catalog – sight unseen. I needed it for 36 computers and I had a budget. They gave me a quote for $10,000, I said go! That was their largest PO at the time. Once I ordered all the sets, that’s when it really hit home that they were making history. It was very obvious they had their own love and appreciation for their choices. It was like opening a treasure chest. Awitan: Over the last few years, I’ve easily been exposed to the highest concentration of mid-century modern design, Japanese culture, landmark architecture, milestone moments in hot rodding and iconic textile design origins.


“It’s like when you went to a show and you came home with the shirt.” – Jeremy Dean Whether for their own typefaces, catalog mailers, T-shirts or objects, packaging has always played a role in the House Industries’ expression. Dean: With packaging, House wanted to give people their money’s worth. A font you cannot hold in your hand even though you can use it and do all kinds of stuff with it, but there is something so wonderful about having a tangible product to go along with it. It’s like when you went to a show and you came home with the shirt. Awitan: All the margins they may have potentially made on those Rat Fink T-shirts, they dumped back into packaging. If you buy a ticket and take a ride, you should be able to walk away with a souvenir.

Dodde: House packaging was a wakeup call as a young creative telling me: A. I needed to step up my game, and B. I had to get involved with these guys however I could. I wanted to work for House Industries. Dean: The most amazing thing was the House Street Van packaging because it took so long to build. It was intricate and Allen [Mercer] worked forever on building a template so that the street van opened in the back to hold the floppy disk. When you get something like that, people were like, “Holy shit, this is insane.” Those kinds of things are such a nice surprise.

“The way House approached it was that catalogs and mailers had to be something you wanted to hold on to and something you got in the mail that stood out from all your other junk mail.” – Jeremy Dean Awitan: They also want you to experience it the way they do and that’s always exemplified in some sort of overdone packaging. Let me tell you the last eight years I have been with Andy, the bulk of my hustle with them have been to pay for their mailers. Dean: We printed on leatherette and whatever crap material we could get our hands on at the time, because it was cheap. Barnzley: I kinda get the same thrill as when you look at comic books or you really like punk records, you can’t wait to get them home. They seem to really easily do that with their catalogs and with their graphics and type. It really is thoughtful. Dean: When I started in ’94/’95 there was Emigre and they were the most avant-garde foundry with Elliott Peter Earls’ “Apollo Program Font Set,” which was total bizarro stuff, but their catalogs weren’t that crazy, while House was just layering and layering on top of shit.

Awitan: They needed to dump as much silver paint in a catalog or do as much die-cut packaging so you remember who they are. They really are art projects, art pieces, everything that they do. Dean: The way House approached it was that catalogs and mailers had to be something you wanted to hold on to and something you got in the mail that stood out from all your other junk mail. And it could not look not like a type catalog. Dodde: It was graphic design a la fine art. Awitan: There are House fans that from the early ’90s that still, to this day, collect catalogs. It’s become a cult phenomenon. They still have their heavy mailing list of many non-designers that just collect these things. Their idea on it was to not promote it for exactly what it was.

“House have an amazing knack of basically just looking to their hobbies and figuring how they can fold them into their occupation.” – David Dodde Awitan: House Industries goes deep when developing type. The cultural references pull on some familiar heartstrings that peak your interest. Then, the next thing you know, you’re tricked into enlightenment because through their [interests] is an abyss of historical provenance that pulls you into learning more than expected. Dean: It was all those formative years of buying records, riding skateboards and buying magazines that were like, “I want to be a graphic designer; I want to do what those guys do!” Dodde: Andy Cruz and House have an amazing knack of basically just looking to their hobbies and figuring how they can fold them into their occupation. And that was really fascinating to me. Dean: We all grew up linearly. We were looking at hardcore flyers and hot rod magazines. We were not looking at all the traditional design stuff that everyone was looking at the time. That stuff was boring. We were looking at stuff from our childhood. Barnzley: I grew up in a similar thing you know. Growing up in England in the ’70s there was nothing going on at all and then the punk thing happened. When you hear guys say everything was in black and white then all of a sudden it was in color, it was just like that.

Awitan: I think that their process is interesting because they draw from things that are admittedly somewhat selfish. Whether it be hardcore, pinstriping or skateboarding. These all make its way into the House “oeuvre” if you will. Dean: It wasn’t really wanting to be like Herb Lubalin; it was wanting to be Vernon Courtlandt Johnson, aka VCJ – the guy doing Powell & Peralta skateboard graphics. Dean: Every time we got into something, whether it was hot rod magazines or bicycles, we would incorporate it into our work. Dodde: The automotive stuff is an easy connection back to Andy’s dad. Awitan: Andy is a son of a hot rodder. Dodde: They just want to know as much as they can about a particular interest, so that eventually when they roll it into House, it is honest and genuine and makes those appropriate emotional connections with the people who know the original.

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“It never occurred to me, ever, to shop this idea. If House Industries said no, I’m not really sure what would have happened.” – Richard Sachs Richard Sachs is America’s most famed and renowned bicycle frame builder. For more than three decades, Sachs has hand-built legendary bicycles. His epically long waiting list speaks for itself. Sachs and House Industries, play along many similar parallels and after more than 30 years, there was only one design firm he turned to when considering a new “look” for his famous builds. Sachs: It never occurred to me, ever, to shop this idea. If House Industries said no, I’m not really sure what would have happened. Awitan: Rich [Roat] is a huge cyclist hence their work with Richard Sachs. Sachs: I’m not in the design world, but I think of myself as being design-aware. I didn’t even think about it. They were the only people I would’ve called. Dodde: Rich is a fan of anything on two wheels. He’s been a velocipede his entire life; he’s very athletic. He participates. You can see how this evolved into the work for Richard Sachs. Awitan: Richard [Sachs] is a huge fan and there’s lot of mutual admiration there. There’s definitely parallels with his process, his life philosophically, and the way Andy and Rich run not only their personal lives but business. It is almost one in the same. Sachs: Rich and I have known each other now for at least a decade, and I’ve known him more intimately in the last five years. We seem to be connected. About five or six years ago, I asked him if he thought House Industries would be a good fit as a sponsor of my racing team. One thing led to another, and they came onboard. [Years later] I woke up one day and I said “you know, I’m so fucking sick of this.” I’ve been doing red and white bikes for my team since about 1982. It was an iconic Richard Sachs team scheme and very recognizable; it was part of the lineage of my brand. I wrote to Rich and I said, “I want you to take what I have, start with a blank piece of paper and change it. I don’t care what you change, if it’s the shade of red, I don’t care; I just want something else.” I had kind of convinced myself from the front end that whatever House did would be what I am doing next, which is what I’m doing now. It never occurred to me, ever, to shop this idea. If House Industries said no, I’m not really sure what would have happened. The art of a gag has never been lost on House Industries. In this classic story of fakery, House Industries uses early ad spots to not only promote new fonts sets and goods, but use a novelty as old as Abraham Lincoln for frolicsome hazing. Awitan: They did this joke; it was either a fake sideburn or mustache. Barnzley: In the back page of Emigre magazine, there was this kind of bogus fake ad that looked like 1970s ads you have in the back of comic books and one of them was for a stick on goatee beard. Awitan: So Andy gets a call from this cat called Barnzley. Barnzley: I phoned them up and gave them this [T-shirt] order and at the end of the order I was like “can I get one of those beard things as well.” Andy said “one second” and he put me on speaker phone. Andy says, “Sorry was what?” Yeah, that stick on goatee beard thing, can I get one of those as well?

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Awitan: Andy was like we don’t actually sell those; it’s actually just type treatment. Barnzley: They’re all fucking cracking up in the background. Awitan: To the untrained eye it looks like a catalog you can buy everything from, but catalogs are essentially style guides and they just typeface applications – if you were to do this you could do this with that type. Dean: My kids watch cartoons and they show up there. They know how to pick them out. “Dad is that your font?” Awitan: Definitely one of my favorites is what they did with Chris Cooper. Coop Heavy ended up being on the new Lucky Charms box. It later became the Krusty-O’s in The Simpsons movie that was sold in every 7-Eleven. More recently it’s been the stuff that Andy has allowed himself to really get into for the Eames Family Collection. Dean: I think the Eames set is unbelievable. I use it all the time and it’s incredibly universal and beautifully designed. Dodde: It took seven years to produce the Eames type set. Dean: I saw Crackhouse used on kids’ yogurt packaging. Barnzley: I loved all the Big Daddy Roth stuff. One of the ones I thought was really good was the Chalet font. The story of René Alber Chalet is a myth perpetuated by House and their staff to subvert the design establishment, across multiple disciplines. It is a clear case of great storytelling and design combining to sell anyone on a legend. The idea of Chalet was jocular, but it did deceive enough people to cause a bit of a stir when some design publications published Chalet’s history as fact without much back thought. You can find Chalet, the type family in Pinkberry frozen yogurt shop branding. Dodde: Chalet was the comedic child of guys in the studio riffing about the snobbiness of the design community and wanted to play a joke on them by creating a faux designer. That’s how they operate day to day: they don’t take themselves seriously. Awitan: They went into this whole fictional history of this unknown famous designer and it was so real. It was done so well that it actually duped a magazine into rediscovering a “lost” designer. Barnzley: They wrote this whole thing up: René Alber Chalet is this fashion designer from Switzerland who grew up with a Swiss marionette theater and they made a whole typeface based on this guy’s ready-to-wear collection. Awitan: But it was a hologram. But the point is that it feels and tastes so real. They somehow can always, from that vapor, create something so tactile, something that you can hold. That for me is what sets House apart. Barnzley: We were in New York one time at an opening and some guy says my mum has a load of this stuff. Andy was like yeah right, this is all bullshit. What a bunch of knuckleheads. We said at some point we should produce a little ready-to-wear collection and wheel out an old guy in a wheelchair.


Objects have played an ever-present role in the House Industries story. From T-shirts in paint cans to Eames blocks, Japanese ceramics, Heath clocks an on-again, off-again clothing line under the House33 moniker, objects have been an extension of their type and a new playground for House to explore fascinations new and old. Dean: Objects are another extension of the brand and design. It seems like a logical step. It was the next part of the component – the pieces, the fonts, the objects, the clothing. Barnzley: I like all the packaging for House 33 with the varnish over pages that you could only see when you move the page. I remember opening the catalogs and thinking they’re so nice. Other places were one sheet. The effort that goes into it, I really loved that but it had personal meaning to me. Awitan: House 33 always lived on as somewhat of a muse – a really selfish endeavor for applying type to clothing. Dean: It was kind of insane and took up my life for a few years. For House Industries the future seems like business as usual: the firm has no plans to expand their operation, nor plan to move from Delaware; their design and type work output remains relative to their manpower and they’re more than happy with where that stands. But like all House projects, they put personal interests before big dollars, allowing themselves to explore, absorb and get themselves into work that, at times, can be quite difficult to understand today, but may well show results later on. The Cannae Drive is one such example of this forward look by House. A propulsion project that violates the principle of conservation of momentum (momentum equals mass times velocity), Cannae Drive may well show itself to be the future of space travel, but the idea is

quite difficult to communicate and understand by laymen, let alone physicists, many of whom are skeptical of the plausibility of Cannae Drive’s claims. But according to Wired.co.uk, NASA – the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States – has put a stamp of approval on Cannae Drive’s claims through their own tests. Why House Industries chose to involve themselves in the branding and design elements of Cannae Project comes down to the usual with them: a friendly conversation. Dodde: Joel Hodgson (creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000) is a super fan. We did a Christmas show at Partner & Spade in New York and it just so happened that Joel was in town and stopped by the show to introduce himself to Andy. He’s a hero to Andy. Joel tells Andy he has a neighbor, Guido Fetta. He’s a physicist and he’s come up with this invention that he wants to move forward with, but Guido has a problem: Guido is not a good communicator. It’s such a big idea, such a good idea, such a strange idea, that he needs exceptional quality tools to communicate it. Joel asked if the House guys can help Guido create branding. There’s so much behind the scenes there. Looking from the outside, you scratch your head, but it’s just a fan and a friend helping each other out. Cannae is a game changer, possibly for the entire aerospace industry and House Industries is going to have branding they worked on in space on satellites. I really want one of the satellites pinstriped by Andy’s dad. Mark my words, I’ll make that happen.

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FROM STREET TO STUDIO

WORDS M A R TA S U N DAC PHOTOGRAPHY JONNIE CRAIG

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MAKING THE CROSSOVER FROM STREET TO STUDIO, ROIDS HAS ALREADY CREATED A STRONG NAME FOR HIMSELF IN THE ART WORLD. STARTING OFF WITH HUMBLE BEGINNINGS THROWING TAGS IN SOUTH LONDON, HE QUICKLY MOVED ON TO HIS UNIQUE TYPOGRAPHIC PAINTING STYLE, WHICH HAS SINCE PROGRESSED TO A STRONG PORTFOLIO OF STUDIO-BASED WORK. WE CAUGHT UP WITH THE RISING ARTIST WHILE HE SHOWED US AROUND HIS LONDON STUDIO. Where are you originally from? Was there much of a graffiti scene where you grew up? I was born in South London and have spent most of my life here. Around the mid ’90s when I first started noticing graffiti, there was a lot of tagging in my area especially on the buses. Like most European capitals, London has always had a thriving scene but not necessarily a particularly friendly one. People were active but often kept to themselves or their crews. Certainly before the CCTV influx you would see a lot of stuff on the streets, so that was my introduction. How did you first become interested in graffiti? Probably the same way a lot of my generation did. There was no shortage of tags and silvers on the streets and train lines in my area, and I was instantly attracted to it. Whether it was initially the criminal element or the idea of notoriety I’m not sure, at that stage I was only seeing tags and simple pieces so to dress it up as running in line with my interest in art would be a lie. When I was about 13 I got hold of a book called Spraycan Art, which I was glued to for months, but it wasn’t until I was about 17 that I was reintroduced to it through skating. When did you first start painting walls? The end of 1999, beginning of 2000 was when I really started to paint pieces. Where did the name ROID/S come from and can you uncover the myth of why it is sometimes plural? The name was thought up pretty quickly before going to paint panels in Italy. I’d been painting a number of different names after a longwinded criminal investigation around 2007 and needed to settle on something. The name originally came from asteroids as I was listening to a lot of cosmic/Italo disco and was pretty hyped up on anything space-related at the time. Unfortunately there’s no real myth behind it. “S” is a great letter, sometimes I like to use an “S,” sometimes not. Did you have any mentors growing up? In the early days it was just myself and a couple of equally clueless friends, which when I look back was great. Lots of trial and error and plenty of close calls but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Everything was new, pure discovery. It made things a lot more exciting. There was little in the way of inspiration for us other than what you would see in the city, or the odd magazine that popped up in Virgin Records, so to get any sort of perspective on what was going on you had to get out and explore. What came first, typography or graffiti? Did you start painting as a way of experimenting with type, or did experimentation come once you were already painting walls? Graffiti was my gateway into typography/design. A huge part of it is about the stylization of letters, and it gave me a good understanding of the basics. I’ve not really had any formal training as a typographer but I was brought up in a pretty creative environment and was always encouraged to draw. I was so consumed by graffiti that it wasn’t until

I left school and came to the next step in education that I had any thoughts about a creative career or direction in life. It was fairly easy to find interest in more “acceptable” or at least applicable creative areas that had similar values. The concept of earning a living through painting graffiti wasn’t a reality. When I eventually made it to university I went down the route which at the time I felt allowed me to continue doing what I wanted to do and I felt most comfortable with. Although hand-painted, your work is very influenced by typography and digital design. How did you become interested in this style? I studied illustration at university, which I found massively informative but was a bit of a shock as my course was heavily focused on the industry and I actually left with what looked closer to a portfolio of a graphic designer than an illustrator. All the briefs seemed oriented toward commercial work and where I was expecting life drawing and a more hands-on approach there was encouragement to use Illustrator and other Adobe programs as it was what was required of you to get a job. Looking back it was more like a factory than a place to explore your interests, pumping out students by the hundreds ready to go into junior design roles. Once I left I made a conscious effort to spend more time drawing. Whilst I took interest in some of the aesthetic aspects of digital design and found myself more and more attracted to vintage computer programs, I found a lot of the programs frustrating and the work I was producing felt disposable and lacked the qualities and warmth you get from a hand-painted or drawn piece. So it was really a case of recreating the treatments and effects I was inspired by and applying them to hand-painted pieces. We are part of a generation that experienced the analogue/digital crossover, which is incredibly interesting to me. I love looking back at design processes and techniques from the past that are now effectively exempt and putting them into practice. It’s about drawing from both worlds and trying to create something new. Where do you look for typographic inspiration? Most of my typographic inspiration stems from my childhood. My mum studied as a print maker and later went on to practice as an illustrator. She had a Letraset catalogue from 1989 and a huge folder full of sheets of rub on type, which I unfortunately got my hands on a little too early and abused until all the sheets were just blank pages covered in erratic scratch marks. I used to study the catalogue and remember being fascinated by the different fonts and pages of Letratone, tiny pictograms and patterns. It’s something that I’m still really attracted to and I get a lot of enjoyment from flicking through old Dover image source books and catalogues of trademarks and symbols. That said in recent years I’ve tried not to spend too much time looking directly at typography work for inspiration. I approach it in the same way I do my studio and graffiti work, drawing inspiration from my outside interests and then channel them into what I’m doing.

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Your style is constantly evolving. How did you arrive at your current style? In the first year or so of painting graffiti I had a pretty typical London style, which at the time was basically trying to emulate people like Teach and other members of DDS (one of the most prolific graffiti crews at the time). It was about people being able to read your work from a moving train/bus so there was much more of an emphasis on simple stylized lettering, big and bold, and high contrast. I can’t remember making a conscious decision to change what I was doing but my interests outside of graffiti seemed to have more and more influence over the work I was doing and it moved further away from what I had been doing before. Initially I caught a lot of flak for the stuff I was doing but I was getting recognition and I didn’t care too much about people’s opinions. I was enjoying myself. I was switched on to a ton of new stuff whilst at uni, being surrounded by creative people and having access to an amazing library just encouraged me to experiment further and introduce more outside influence. Combining and pushing all the things I found interesting, whether it was patterns I’d found on a piece of fabric somewhere or graphics from an obscure record cover, through to attempting to create visual representation of different music genres I’m into. Most of the time I feel any evolution is just a case of natural progression from my previous ideas. Graffiti today is a very fast moving art form and there are a number of people who are really pushing forward and experimenting with new ideas. Stuff is produced and published at such a rate that it’s sometimes difficult to fully explore an idea or technique before someone else jumps on it. So it’s a balance of seeing something through till you are satisfied with the results and keeping on your toes.

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How do you decide what style to paint next? Is it what interests you at the time or does your work follow a specific path? Experimentation naturally opens up new pathways and I really push myself as much as possible out of my comfort zone; it’s easy to plod along with what you know works. What’s more exciting is taking risks and painting something that you don’t recognize, and the ideas that flourish from those moments. How did you end up joining the graffiti crew MSK? I joined MSK in 2009, alongside two of my UK painting partners Aroe and Gary. We had all met Rime in Poland whilst InterRailing in around 2001. Being one of the few guys that also spoke English we ended up hanging out and painting but most of the time was spent taking the piss out of each other’s accents. We visited New York and New Jersey and it wasn’t until later that we met a few of the other guys and were asked to join. In the last few years you’ve broken out in the fine art world. Was this something that you always wanted to do? Not consciously, but the more time I spent creating studio work the more it seemed like the natural progression and path to take. I was never under the impression that I would skip effortlessly into this new world, painting the work I did on walls and trains on canvas. It’s rare that it translates with the same energy. It was a case of refining what I do and taking the stronger elements and channeling them into a different way of producing work, without straying so far that it becomes unrecognizable.


Is there a different approach you take when working on the street compared with the studio? Some of the larger scale murals that I have done (which I wouldn’t classify as graffiti) have been more reflective of my studio work. There’s plenty of factors you need to consider with size and materials, so you do tend to take a different approach. Murals definitely benefit from a bit of pre-planning which I don’t often do with studio pieces, but sometimes it’s nice to just go in with a loose idea or framework and see what materializes whilst painting. With graffiti it has gotten to the point where it’s more of a quick fix for me. After 15 years of painting and the reasons I was doing it changing, I am beginning to enjoy it in the same way I did when I first started. Graffiti is for me most entertaining when it’s illegal or not too time consuming. At the moment I get more enjoyment working in the studio than I do painting permission walls. So in that respect I’d say my approach is now completely different. What other mediums have you been experimenting with? I’m most often using a mixture of vinyl acrylic, gouache, spray paint and enamel. It really depends on the format and surface I’m working on. I previously worked a lot with a super flat finish which the acrylic and gouache were perfect for, but I’m beginning to really appreciate the qualities you get from using multiple mediums and finishes. I’ve been experimenting with some abstract paintings incorporating sculpture, built up out of a modular block system and multilayered parts which are all painted separately, then built up together in a composition I choose. I wanted to approach the paintings more like a collage.

Have you ever created your own font for commercial design purposes? Is it something you would consider doing? It’s something I’ve definitely been interested in doing but haven’t gotten around to quite yet. I’m working on a publication with my friends at Topsafe which will be purely typographic so it’s pretty likely we will build a few fonts for that. Your fine art works walk the line between typography and abstract geometric paintings. Do you see your work shifting away from typography into more abstract visuals, or will type always be an integral theme for you? I think it’s something that will always be apparent in my work. I like to bounce between the two and combine them. At the moment I couldn’t say that I would follow any particular path, I’m just enjoying experimenting. What are your long-term goals as an artist? Is there a specific direction you’d like your career to take? At the moment I’m really just taking it as it comes. I’m trying to focus more on exhibiting work and continuing to develop and build upon the work I’ve been doing the last couple of years. I just recently moved into a new larger space and I’m really enjoying my time there. It’s allowing me to move forward and be more ambitious with my work, and obviously providing more room to work on bigger ideas!

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CREATIVE. DESTRUCTION.

WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY K I D U LT

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The manufacture of consent, of desire, leads our society to a monotony in which money is the only divinity. We are losing control, we think that we can impact our system… but we are nothing but slaves to this system that we serve; we are prisoners of this prism. Humans are nothing but an irresponsible flock that needs guidance… Painting allows one to open his mind. Also, if one sees but prefers not to and disbelieves, then he is blinder than the blind. Nowadays, painting is for me the only way to impose the truth. It is not about opinions, or visions, it’s about exposing the truth. Graffiti leads us towards a reassessment of ourselves while consumption and entertainment are leading us to a dictatorship disguised as a democracy. Graffiti should not be underestimated. Graffiti has an ideological, social and political scope. Wars come and go, opinions vanish. Only facts remain. We entered a new era motivated by ever increasing greed. The bourgeoisie is taking over the world. It has to infiltrate every single layer of society, exploit every single resource or person, and expand its ever-growing network. Graffiti is not a luxury; it is an original creation of the underclass. We are to art what homelessness is to society. Art is not a commodity; this is why we operate the way we do, with a vision of freedom and intangible artistic aesthetics – art sanctions as a force leading the way for humanity. Graffiti will settle in rich neighborhoods, on luxury boutiques’ storefronts, on embassy walls, on bank buildings… everywhere it should not belong. Graffiti is a whole; you cannot solely take an element of it that interests you. Artists need art collectors to buy their work; I need the people to be confronted by mine. At the core of my work lies the necessity to preserve the disturbance of graffiti. It reaches its paroxysm only when it is illegal and harmful. Graffiti is a crime in front of which victims only have two choices: incomprehension in most cases, or reflection. The hijacking of our codes has created this hybrid culture deprived of values, in which graffiti is falsified for the sake of capitalist greed. This culture does not want us to think – it wants us to worry more about what others may think about us, it wants us to conform to its norms, it wants us to accept injustice, and to refute the incontestable. Today, graffiti and street codes are its prostitutes. The brands are creating an abyssal gap between the value of graffiti and the price that they sell it for, making profits out of something they do not and will never own. The hijacking happens in both senses; I take over the brand’s marketing strategies in order to pirate their image. I use the same techniques they do to advertise for my cause, to be seen and heard by all. I use their notoriety. By using the same media, I use their tool to dismantle their system.

Many will say that the recuperation of graffiti has legitimized graffiti, raising its profile as an art form. I, however, insist that this kind of legitimation deprives the graffiti of its essence, which at its core values the “free” – both in freedom of expression and freedom from pay – or non-profit making. Luxury brands appropriate graffiti for publicity, thereby pushing me to react by vandalizing their stores with real graffiti. These brands are usurpers. They are helped by the institutions that rule our society in their enterprise of stealing our culture. Institutions support brands, the legal arsenal and police repression are their main tools. I am legitimate and illegal; they are illegitimate and legal. This is how our society works, whenever you are perceived as deviant, out of the frame, or subversive, you are hunted and the governing bodies are trying to shut you down. The neoliberalization of our society tends to the generalization of this functioning pattern. The vision of the neoliberal city – supporting the development of capital through private investment – dominates today. One way for the governing bodies and the companies to make this a reality is to enhance their control of the space and its use. My work, because it affects the relations of capital between the states and the private sector is thus marginalized, repressed and sanctioned. The paradox is that the same institutions that are trying to shut me down are at the same time promoting the idea of a legal graffiti. Undeniably, some things will never happen. I will never cooperate nor work with a brand or a company in a lucrative manner. My approach is simple « gratuity for all », our movement’s values are incompatible with their core principles. The various copycats or fakers that can be spotted in videos, fashion shows, and other advertising will never mislead anyone who understands and embraces our values. Graffiti will rise and blow up, layer by layer, the superstructure that constitutes your so-called street art. Graffiti exists under no conditions, you do. This is not something I want to do; it is something I have to do. Graffiti has no gallery, no master. We aim at being our own new media, a brand new channel… just like the Internet was. The urban infrastructure and our streets make up our network. Exhibit on the walls what others don’t want to see. We live in a society in which there are thousands of untold truths and enough paint to inscribe them. My vision is given to you, these are now your duties and responsibilities, to be just, and to open your eyes, let us multiply and write the truth. Welcome to the movement…

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FROM LANDFILLS TO GALLERIES

DANIEL ARSHAM’S FUTURE RELICS

WORDS BROCK CARDINER IMAGES COURTESY OF GALERIE PERROTIN

It’s a peculiar aspect of mass consumerism that certain pieces become iconic. Despite the production of millions, if not billions, of what is essentially the same product, only a handful of designs per generation go on to define an era. Beginning in the mid-century, the use of easily available synthetic materials combined with the increasing disposable income of the middle-class brought forth a new range of consumer choice. While most products were destined for landfills and dumpsters, some transcended their short lifespan and lived on through their power to inspire nostalgia. American artist Daniel Arsham pays tribute to these icons and questions modern assumptions of linear time and history with his series of eroded sculptures and future relics. Mineral materials related to geology like rose quartz, glacial rock and obsidian resemble fossilized items found in a futuristic archeological dig. Regardless of their obsolescence, these products carry meaning and memories for cultures around the world. They’ve overcome their disposable nature and they’re here to stay.

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“OBSIDIAN, STEEL AND ASH ERODED RADIOS” 2014 VOLCANIC ASH, VOLCANIC GLASS, GROUND GLASS, OBSIDIAN FRAGMENTS, STEEL FRAGMENTS, HYDROSTONE 122 × 52 × 14CM / 481/32 × 20 1/2 × 5 1/2 INCHES

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“OBSIDIAN ERODED KEYBOARD” 2014 OBSIDIAN FRAGMENTS, GROUND GLASS, HYDROSTONE 3 9, 5 × 1 3 3 × 1 2 , 5 C M / 1 5 1 / 2 × 5 2 1 /4 × 5 I N C H E S

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“STUDY OF THE ERODED CD” 2014 GOUACHE ON MYLAR, FRAMED 101,5 × 134,5 CM / 40 × 53 INCHES (SIZE UNFRAMED)

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“OBSIDIAN ERODED WALKMAN” 2014 OBSIDIAN FRAGMENTS, GROUND GLASS, HYDROSTONE 1 6 , 5 × 1 8 × 7, 5 C M / 6 1 / 2 × 7 1 / 8 × 3 I N C H E S

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“O B S I D I A N , G L AC I A L R O C K A N D S T E E L E R O D E D T U R N TA B L E S ” 2014 O B S I D I A N F R A G M E N T S , G R O U N D G L A S S , G L A C I A L R O C K D U S T, F R A G M E N T S OF MARBLE, FRAGMENTS OF STEEL, VOLCANIC GLASS, HYDROSTONE 4 3 × 3 8 × 1 2 C M ( X 3 ) / 1 7 × 1 5 × 4 3 /4 I N C H E S ( × 3 )

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A BRIEF HISTORY AND DESIGN ANALYSIS OF THE PORSCHE 911 WORDS YOAV G I L A D PETROLICIOUS PHOTOGRAPHY JOSH CLASON

The Porsche 911 lineage has enjoyed legendary longevity, second only to a handful of nameplates (the Chevy Corvette, for instance). But the origins of its timeless design must be considered if we’re to understand how it has evolved and why it looks the way it does. So let’s examine the philosophies and the cars that established those ideas before getting to the 911. The family tree should be well known to anyone familiar with the brand: the first Porsche production car was the 356. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche was a brilliant engineer but he actually wasn’t responsible for that first model. While Ferdinand was imprisoned awaiting trial for war crimes, a trial that never came, his son Ferry designed what would eventually become the 356 as he was unable to purchase a car that really interested him. He also led the company through some of its darkest financial days until his father was released in August 1947. Following his release, Ferdinand and Ferry set to building the first few 356 models in a tiny sawmill in Gmünd, Austria. But Ferdinand originally opened his company in 1931 as a pure consultancy.

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And it was at this consultancy that he was able to produce the winning proposal for both the 356 and 911’s predecessor: the lowly Volkswagen Beetle. The thinking behind the Beetle led his son to design the 356 the way he did. The ideas behind it were thought out, sound and there was no reason to reengineer it. It had a slippery shape, made even sportier by shrinking it slightly and removing the rear seats. Clearly, Ferry was interested in a car designed for fun, spirited driving. One difference between the production 356 and Ferry’s design was the layout: the concept had a mid-engine drivetrain. And he also understood something lost on many manufacturers today: that horsepower doesn’t make a car entertaining, its chassis, suspension and steering do. When introduced in 1948, the car didn’t garner much attention beyond Germany and Austria and the Porsches were only able to build about 50 models in the first two years. However, a class win at Le Mans in 1951 helped spread its fame and the 356 eventually gained a worldwide reputation for its build quality, good handling and clean aerodynamics.


In some ways, the Porsche 911 was an evolution of the 356. It maintained the 356’s rear, air-cooled engine, rear-wheel drive and 2+2 layout. But as any Porsche enthusiast will eagerly tell you, it was an all-new model. For starters, the engine gained two cylinders going from a flat-four to a flat-six, while the individual cylinders lost some displacement (395.5cc to 331.8cc). But perhaps more importantly, the car grew in every dimension and was designed to be more comfortable than the outgoing 356. Before we delve into the finer points of the 911’s design, I want to establish that I believe that the 911’s fundamental design is flawed and the fact that Ferry’s original concept called for a mid-engine layout supports this. And I’m certain that I’ll receive hate-mail suggesting I have my head examined, but I hope that you’ll allow me to explain. Hanging a massive lump of metal (the engine) out past the rear axle (or front axle, for that matter) increases the car’s polar moment of inertia, which makes it harder to recover control once the car begins a slide. But it is possible to learn how to drive the car once you understand this. Counter-intuitively, you have to stay on the gas rather than lift. But it has a benefit too: as much of the weight is out back, it gives you extra traction coming out of corners allowing the driver to get on the gas sooner. Having a greater polar moment of inertia isn’t a real problem for a 20hp VW Beetle, but as power and speeds increase, and hence the speed of weight transfer, it does become an issue. We could discuss physics and the 911’s merits all day, but as my ultimate example consider the vast majority of modern racecars: they are equipped with an engine mounted amidships. That’s probably just coincidence, though, right?

Regardless, the 911 styling is evolutionary, clearly a development in both looks and aerodynamics from the upside-down bathtub 356. The overall proportion and stance heavily emphasize the rear engine, however, they’re a bit at odds with the downward sloping roofline and beltline which carry your eyes over the rear too quickly (consider the substantial flares over the rear wheels in more recent years, designed to counter this), de-emphasizing the rear. While the proportion and surfaces are a bit at odds, the surfacing itself, while evolutionary, is beautiful. The transition from the engine cover to the fender as two surfaces seem to become one (they never actually do) is much more elegant than the 356’s rear treatment (it just flattens out, vertically). And from a functional perspective, the low hood, narrow dash and more upright A-pillars allow for a commanding, confidence-inspiring view of the road. Personally, I suspect this is the primary reason for the 911’s popularity; the fact that it’s a subconscious feeling makes this part of the design sublime. In typical German fashion, detailing is sparse and is limited to items that serve other functions besides pure ornamentation. It is this simplicity that gives the Porsche such a timeless appearance. The Porsche 911 could be described as elegant or efficient, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to call it beautiful in the traditional sense, say like a Ferrari 250GT Lusso. And if you’re so inclined we can debate the merits of a rear-engine car until hell freezes over. But there is beauty in the design of this car and that beauty exists in the organization of multiple, disparate components that conspire – like a symphonic arrangement – to make you feel invincible behind the wheel.

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THE LOGO ORIGINS OF FOUR LEGENDARY RECORD LABELS

WORDS ALEC BANKS

DEF JAM

In what now seems like an ancient ritual of going to the local record store and thumbing through new releases – whether on vinyl or CD – a person’s eye might stop on the logo bearing the record label as opposed to relying simply on name recognition associated with the artist. Much like blue chip brands that evoke thoughts of trust and reliability, a record label’s logo was an assurance that creativity had been paramount during the process. Aside from the music that made a label legendary, the initial visual seed that would serve as an initial calling card to fans was just as important. Here are the origin stories for four historic record labels.

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The origins of Def Jam are cemented in entrepreneurial lore thanks to cofounder Rick Rubin planting the seeds for the legendary label while still in his dorm room in Weinstein Hall at New York University in 1984. With Russell Simmons joining soon after, the duo’s first single bearing the Def Jam logo came in the form of T La Rock & Jazzy Jay’s “It’s Yours.” While many think that Cey Adams was the creator of the logo – responsible for iconic album artworks, billboards and advertising campaigns for the likes of the Beastie Boys, Run-D.M.C. and LL Cool J – it was in fact a DIY piece of imagery crafted by Rubin himself. In Dan Charnas’ book The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, he points to Ruben looking at Estée Lauder – a place

where his aunt worked – as having the tools necessary to create something that could stand the test of time. In an email exchange with Red Bull Music Academy he recalls, “In the pre-PC days, the creative department at Estée Lauder had lots of press-type options. I played with a few layouts before settling on the cap D and J, offset as you see them now, with lowercase letters filling out the name.” Utilizing a Helvetica typeface because “it’s not decorative in any way, and because of that, has a naked graphic and informational quality [which is] easy to take seriously,” there’s no doubt that it’s one of the most important logos in hip-hop history.


TOMMY BOY

DELICIOUS VINYL

FACTORY RECORDS

The original Tommy Boy logo attached to their debut release of “Havin’ Fun” by Cotton Candy was a near duplicate of the logo for Tommy Boy Grapes and created by founder Tom Silverman in 1981. Following the success of Afrika Bambaataa and the Jazzy Five’s “Jazzy Sensation,” the label realized they needed a more professional image that reflected their burgeoning catalog. Monica Lynch, Tommy Boy’s first employee, recalls enlisting the help of Steven Miglio who said of the process, “It was based on the kids spinning on their heads, breakdancing on a piece of cardboard on the street. The thought was if you put them on the label and then spin around the record, maybe it’ll look like they’re spinning.” In 1989, Silverman hired legendary graffiti writer Eric Haze to produce another updated look – resulting in a changed typeface and hand-drawn, recomposed figures. Silverman notes, “They originally had bellbottoms, and then when Eric redid it he changed the clothes they were wearing.”

In the summer of 1987, two Los Angeles DJs – Matt Dike and Michael Ross – converted a tiny LA apartment into a recording studio and started a record label that would go on to release classics like Tone-Loc’s “Wild Thing” and “Funky Cold Medina” and produce acts like The Brand New Heavies, The Pharcyde, Born Jamericans, Masta Ace, and The Whoridas. In talking about the legendary and appetizing logo associated with the label, Ross has said, “It came from this crazy 1950s generic book about sandwich shops and coffee shops; something that said delicious sandwiches. It was a guy eating a Subway sandwich and somebody had the idea. I think it was Matt [who said] to put a piece of vinyl in the guy’s hand and call it “Delicious Vinyl.” It was an amazing natural fit. We were all vinyl junkies back then and it’s just good to know that vinyl is going to outlive the CD.”

Manchester-based label Factory Records owes its design aesthetic to legendary graphic designer (and co-founder of the label) Peter Saville – who is most noted for his groundbreaking cover art for Joy Division’s 1979 release Unknown Pleasures. Aesthetically, the logo itself is supposed to represent Manchester’s industrial skyline.

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BODY OF CHRIST : THE RISE OF CHRISTIAN ICONS IN MODERN FASHION WORDS ALEXANDER GWILLIAM PHOTOGRAPHY DFINELIFESTYLE.COM

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“A CROSS THAT HAS NO WEIGHT IS NOT WORTH CARRYING” These are the words of the Most Reverend Archbishop Justin Welby, head of the Church of England and leader of the largest denomination of 31.5 million Christians in the UK. In November 2013, he made a bold claim. In writing a foreword to the book Looking Through the Cross, Welby argued that the modern Christian crucifix has been hijacked by the worlds of fashion and popular culture. These secular forces, he wrote, have reduced the cross to “an object of beauty to hang around your neck,” meaning it “has lost much of its capacity to shock and challenge.” The statement caused controversy at the time, with critics rushing both to support and oppose his position. Yet, regardless of their respective opinion on the matter, none were willing to contest Welby’s central claim: that the cross has, over time, become a stylistic plaything for forces entirely unrelated to religion. This, it seems, was accepted by everyone. But what is it about the cross specifically that makes it so appealing to designers? And why, after all these years, do they still return to it in a world filled with iconic branding and symbology? In truth, the crucifix is just one isolated example of the way Christian iconography has been plundered repeatedly by artists, designers, musicians and celebrities over the past three decades – and, at the heart of that, fashion has played a leading role. Historically, fashion and religion have frequently overlapped. Go back to a time when Christianity was the overwhelming ideology in European society and a visible crucifix was a common sight among people who could afford it. Often ornate items of jewelry, they were worn as both a mark of religious dedication and an extravagant accessory. In Catholicism in particular, the ornaments and lavish vestments of the clergy conferred much of the same exclusivity that was put forward by high fashion, marking a clear separation between those who could wear them and those who couldn’t. Yet today, Christianity’s visible prevalence has waned. Despite some 76% of Europeans and 78% of Americans describing themselves as ‘Christian’ (both figures taken from recent studies by the Pew Research Centre), the day-to-day make-up of public life is profoundly secular. Likewise, fashion has become greatly democratised and is by no means still limited to top-tier society. So what is it about the cross that we continue to find so alluring in a time when outward displays of religion are seen as increasingly unfashionable? The roots of separation between the crucifix and its intrinsic religious background began in the early 1980s. On society’s fringes, the goth movement flirted with the “ankh” (a pre-Christian symbol, originally ancient Egyptian) as a part of its signature all-black wardrobe, while over in the mainstream, Madonna made a deliberate attempt to

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rile religious authority with her sacrilegious stage name and flagrant uses of Christian symbolism. While the goth scene’s fairly harmless stance eventually gave way to openly antireligious figures like Marilyn Manson, Madonna’s widespread acceptance as a household name helped pave the way for a world in which “lighthearted” toying with Christian imagery was first tolerated, then accepted and finally emulated. Today, you don’t have to go far before you come across an item of clothing or jewelry emblazoned with the cross or some other piece of religious artwork. Edgy and alternative looks became marketable on a mass scale in the mid ’90s, and somewhere along the line the inclusion of a cross became a byword for “rebellious” or “countercultural.” Stores like ASOS, H&M and Topman are brimming with products bearing these hallmarks, yet it’s not only high-street fashion that has embraced such overt methods; many major streetwear labels have proven themselves just as ready to hop on the bandwagon in recent years. As just a small handful of examples: “underground” label BOY London made the cross an integral part of its early branding, also adopting the flying eagle motif (the symbol of St. John) so often seen adorning the lectern of Anglican churches. Supreme, meanwhile, released a range of apparel using a pattern of repeated gold crucifixes in 2013. Jalil Peraza – one of Kanye West’s entourage – made waves when he launched a series of T-shirts bearing a large cross across the shoulders (subsequently popularised by both Kanye and Jay Z) in 2012. Even adidas seemed unphased at the prospect of releasing a sweatshirt and pair of sneakers bearing a large, bejewelled cross as part of its 2010 collaboration with designer Jeremy Scott. But how much can actually be read into these decisions? As a stylistic tool, the cross’ simple design makes it pretty hard to beat: it obeys the compositional rule of thirds, it repeats easily within a pattern and it makes a highly versatile canvas for artwork. What’s more, the shape is something instantly recognise and resonant in the public psyche. In many respects the cross is the world’s most powerful logo – one that’s entirely free from copyright and open for use by any willing brand. Then again, perhaps there’s a deeper implied meaning to its continual deployment. In a day and age where many people lavish the same time, energy and devotion on their personal image as others do on their religion, could there be a subtle, if not wholly intentional, inference that fashion is the new religion, and brands are the new gods? Obviously no commercial brand would ever make such an incendiary connection, yet one area of fashion where there’s undoubtedly some antagonism present is the catwalk. Runway designers have been


dipping into the pool of Christian cultural heritage for years now, and out of it they’ve pulled aspects of religious art, design, symbolism and iconography, all of which have been fed into their own work. Whether it’s John Galiano’s brazen Fall/Winter 2000 reimagining of the Pope for Christian Dior; Alexander McQueen’s last-ever collection for Fall/Winter 2010, with its prints of marble saints and priests wielding the Catholic crosier; Riccardo Tisci’s Spring/Summer 2013 line for Givenchy, adorned with gothic images of Christ and the Madonna; or Dolce & Gabbana, who produced collections in 2013, 2014 and 2015 featuring various saintly frescos, mosaics and other works of religious art – it’s clear the Christian religion is a major source of influence for much of the high-fashion world. Again, is this merely coincidence (a natural consequence of Christianity’s unavoidable presence in history, perhaps?), or is there a more pointed message these individuals were trying to get across? It’s worth noting that all five of these designers – Galiano, McQueen, Tisci, Dolce and Gabbana – are openly gay men, and their transplanting of Christian culture into the world of fashion could be seen as a rebalancing of power from a largely intolerant force to one openly accepting of their sexual orientation. In a country like Italy especially, where the Catholic Church has repeatedly denounced homosexuality as an abject sin, the use of so many of its cultural assets to further the careers of the very people being stigmatised is a shrewd bit of irony – one not lost on the Church itself. While that might seem cynical, not all examples of Christian iconography in popular culture are so deliberately antagonistic. One example at the opposite end of the spectrum comes from hiphop, which has found itself with a renewed emphasis on Christianity in recent years. For decades people have struggled to unravel hip-hop’s convoluted relationship with the Christian faith. Critics point to the fact many artists will happily claim some degree of religious affiliation while (often in the same breath) espousing acts of violence, theft, adultery, murder and any number of other morally dubious practices. While such behavior might conflict with so-called “established” Christian values, several theorists have argued that hip-hop’s take on Christianity is a far more personal affair, based around a relationship with God that occurs on a more individual level than the organized church. No greater evidence of this exists today than the phenomenon of the Jesus piece. The popularity of this remarkable item of jewellery – an effigy of the face of Jesus Christ, often in solid gold, studded with diamonds, and hanging from a gold chain – has exploded in recent years. While its originators are commonly believed to be The Notorious B.I.G. and jewelry designer Tito back in the mid-’90s (although there’s

some debate around that), the trend took on new life in 2004 when Kanye West commissioned infamous hip-hop goldsmith Jacob the Jeweler to produce a bespoke piece especially for him. This was to be a key moment in the Jesus piece’s evolving mythology, as Kanye’s growing “Yeezus” persona saw it linked not only to material wealth but also spiritual superiority over his rivals. The Jesus piece soon became a tool of competitive one-upmanship within the modern hip-hop landscape. As artists sought first to emulate, then outdo West and each other, a single Jesus piece was no longer seen as sufficient, and artists would purchase two, three or even more pieces in an attempt to outshine (in some cases quite literally) their rivals. In one particularly brazen act, Rick Ross appeared on the cover of his album God Forgives, I Don’t sporting no less than 10 of the necklaces, of which he told MTV “one Jesus piece was always fly, but I just wanted 10. I just wanted to go to that next level.” The intensive proliferation of this item of jewelry among hip-hop’s biggest stars has had a trickle down effect on culture as a whole. Today you can find Jesus pieces produced, en masse, from both wood and plastic, allowing a mainstream audience to follow the trend set by their idols. On the one hand this removes the wealth factor from the equation, theoretically leaving behind a purely religious object. But are those who choose to wear one doing so as a symbol of their own religious expression, or as an item of fashion? And, if the latter is true on a large scale, does that diminish the importance of the few who fall into the former category? These are all complex questions, and, for those like the Archbishop Welby concerned about the increasingly transparent role of Christian imagery in pop culture, there are few clear answers. Some solace resides in the fact that nothing in fashion is ever permanent; history would suggest there will come a time when all but the most sincere tastes change and the Church is once again free to reclaim its erstwhile insignia. One thing’s for sure, however, right now the cultural assets of Christianity are enjoying an audience they’ve not seen for centuries, although whether that’s a good thing depends entirely on who you ask...

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THE LEGACY OF THE JUMPMAN LOGO WORDS ALEC BANKS I L LU S T R AT I O N PEDRO ELOI R E N Q UA R T E R LY

Everyone did it. Whether it was on a sun-kissed court in Los Angeles or outside a rickety barn in Indiana, it was a basketball rite of passage. It wasn’t so much a “move” as it was a daydream. The preparation for launch seemed every bit as calculated as sending a spaceship

of a simplistic silhouette simply titled the “Jumpman.” Created by Peter Moore, the logo was inspired by a picture of Jordan from LIFE magazine where he’s wearing his 1984 Olympic uniform. Jordan recalled in HOOP magazine from April 1997, “I wasn’t even dunking on

into orbit. How did he get so high? Did he really move through the air that way? You’d consult your shoes as a reference. Damn, he really does fly, you’d think to yourself. There was a certain resignation, I’ll never really be like Mike, but at least you could be his silhouette. Five dribbles later and you’d launch yourself through the air – legs outstretched – hands spread overhead like wingspan was a national epidemic. Of course, it was more like a kite unable to catch an updraft than flying, but it still felt like the real thing. You jumped. He jumped. But it felt so different. Michael Jordan’s iconic Jumpman emblem remains one of the most enduring logos of all time despite His Airness being officially grounded since 2003. Equal parts inspirational, as well as a simplistic way to illustrate Jordan’s athletic prowess, over the 25 years since its creation, it is still the benchmark for marrying a star with a brand. Usually when someone says “jump,” the response is “how high?” With the Jumpman, the response usually starts with a story. It’s hard to imagine Nike without Michael Jordan. Their paths and meteoric rises are forever intertwined. However, when Jordan left North Carolina to strut his stuff in the NBA, the Swoosh was behind both Converse (which he wore in college and who Coach Dean Smith urged him to sign with), as well as adidas – who Michael truly favored. However, due in large part to the state of the company following founder Adi Dassler’s death, adidas lacked focus on the domestic/U.S. aspect of sports and couldn’t see the forest of cash to be made through the Trefoils. Enter Nike. Despite seeing their revenue go from $28.7 million in 1973 to $867 million by the end of 1983, the year before Jordan entered the league was the first time in their history that they reported a quarterly loss. They needed Jordan. Thus, they offered him $500,000 a year in cash for five years – including an opt-out clause after three years if he didn’t accomplish winning Rookie of the Year, becoming an All-Star, or averaging 20 points per game during that stretch. Even after terms were agreed upon, Jordan still went back to adidas and offered to sign with them if they could even match Nike’s offer. Ultimately, their loss was certainly Nike’s gain. One of Nike’s main selling points was the notion of a “signature shoe” – which they certainly followed through with. But it wasn’t until the Jordan III that people got a good look at the reworked logo attached to Michael’s likeness. Gone were the wings in favor

that one. People think that I was. I just stood on the floor, jumped up and spread my legs and they took the picture. I wasn’t even running. Everyone thought I did that by running and taking off. Actually, it was a ballet move where I jumped up and spread my legs. And I was holding the ball in my left hand.” Despite creating the logo after recreating the shot in a studio setting, Moore ultimately wasn’t the one who slapped it on the shoe. Leave it to legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield to unearth Moore’s sketches – as well as his own refined eye resulting in the Air Jordan III – to craft something truly incredible. Not only did it change the rules of basketball shoes and branding – favoring a personal logo instead of Nike’s iconic Swoosh – it ultimately kept Jordan with the brand after enjoying enough success on the court to once again approach adidas. What’s particularly remarkable about the Jumpman is despite the image being undoubtedly tied to basketball, the resulting Jordan Brand remains a multi-sport empire where everyone from Derek Jeter to Chris Paul continue to perform in Jumpman-laden equipment. As undefeated middleweight boxer Andre Ward has said, “When people think about Jordan Brand, it triggers the word ‘elite.’ When I’m at the gym preparing for my next fight, I look to my gear and that motivates me. Seeing the Jumpman, I know that if I want to be the greatest, I need to stay committed.” As Nike notes, “As the [Jordan] brand continues to grow, the requirements never change. The logo has long since surpassed being about a basketball player and moved into an icon – one that challenges you to out-work and out-perform your peers.” It seems quite apropos that the release of the Jordan XX9 in September certainly put an increased emphasis on the Jumpman while also touting new technologies like an evolved Flight Plate that is coupled with the first-ever performance-woven upper. Working in unison, it’s equal parts an homage to the past as well as a reintroduction of the basketball shoe into a competitive market being dictated by lighter, quicker and more form-fitting choices. As Michael Jordan said in the past, “We all fly. Once you leave the ground, you fly. Some people fly longer than others.” That’s what the Jumpman has provided in the past and what it continues to embody today: the notion to do something extraordinary.

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PUBLISHER

PHOTOGRAPHERS

David Fischer

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70565 RASO HAND PAINTED TORTOISE SHELL TRENCH COAT IN A SATIN WEAVE COTTON FABRIC OF MILITARY ORIGIN. THE GARMENT HAS BEEN DYED AND THEN FADED IN SELECTED AREAS WITH A CORROSIVE PASTE. THE BLEACHED PARTS HAVE THEN BEEN HAND PAINTED WITH A TORTOISE SHELL INSPIRED MOTIF ALSO POLLUTING THE STONE ISLAND BADGE ON THE LEFT SLEEVE. THIS EXTRAORDINARY MANUAL PROCESS MAKES EACH PIECE UNIQUE AND UNREPEATABLE. DETACHABLE HOOD IN GARMENT DYED PADDED IRIDESCENT NYLON. ZIP AND BUTTON FASTENING. DETACHABLE LINING IN GARMENT DYED DOWN_26 GR X SQM_N, AN ULTRA-LIGHT NYLON WEIGHING ONLY 26 GRAMS PER SQUARE METRE, FILLED WITH THE FINEST DOWN APPOSITELY TREATED TO BEAR THE STRESS OF THE GARMENT DYEING PROCEDURE. IT IS SECURED TO THE OUTER GARMENT BY THE ICONIC STONE ISLAND FASTENING SYSTEM.

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Highsnobiety Magazine 09 - Winter 2014  

Yohji Yamamoto

Highsnobiety Magazine 09 - Winter 2014  

Yohji Yamamoto

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