11 FAL L / W I NT E R
NIGOÂ® FUTURA A$AP FERG GIORGIO MORODER MARK GONZALES TA K A S H I M U R A K A M I KITH
A$A P R O C K Y
2 01 5
introducing the element wolfeboro jacket collection fall 2015 product : belton jacket photos by element advocate : brian gaberman @elementbrand
Â© 2015 adidas AG
handcrafted with polartecÂŽ performance fabrics
www.carhartt-wip.com Photography by Joshua Gordon, artwork by Tim Head
P R E F A
C E Welcome to Issue 11 of Highsnobiety Magazine. The publication you are now holding represents the second piece in a two-part print celebration of Highsnobiety’s 10-year anniversary. In part 1, Issue 10, we showcased the youth and young creators who are making an impact on our culture in 2015. Part 2, this issue, is an examination of longevity and the increasingly difficult feat of achieving it in a world that has become increasingly focused on the “now.” Over the past 10 years we’ve seen countless brands come and go, numerous designers rise and fall, and trends seemingly change with the weather, yet through it all there are certain players who have endured. Some of them blossomed in the post-blog era, but many of the individuals we’ve chosen to present were already household names in a time before the web and have stayed true to their vision through the years, continuing to thrive and capture our attention. With a whopping eight cover stories (for a total of 10 covers this year) we’re highlighting a range of key creators from across various disciplines and cultures. The iconic works of artists Futura and Takashi Murakami have been mainstays of our web content throughout the last decade and count our first two covers. Prolific Japanese designer NIGO®, whose work is referenced in countless stories on Highsnobiety.com, fronts our third. The look and sound of Harlem-based hip-hop collective A$AP Mob have been among the most influential in recent years, and their two most prominent members, A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg, each star individually on another two covers. Perhaps more low-key than the above, but living legends and important creators nonetheless, Academy Award-winning producer Giorgio Moroder and skater-cum-artist Mark “The Gonz” Gonzales make up covers six and seven.
Finally, we created a limited KITH exclusive cover that coincides with our Highsnobiety 10th anniversary PUMA collaboration and ties to an article exploring how the creator – represented by KITH’s Ronnie Fieg and the curator, personified by Highsnobiety founder David Fischer – fuel one another, and how this process has evolved since our inception a decade ago. In addition to all the cover features, this issue explores numerous other stories of continuance, including the journey of OG Stussy Tribe member Alex Turnbull, the 30th anniversary of Jim Philips’s iconic Santa Cruz Screaming Hand, and the history of tailoring through the lens of Patrick Grant’s E. Tautz label. Others, such as fashion designer Nigel Cabourn (who founded his eponymous label 45 years ago!) and Editor Andrew Richardson (of his self-created magazine Richardson) talk about their enduring output. We also produced a series of photo editorials to support this issue’s theme. Fashion-wise we focused on the Fall/Winter 2015 collections from important legacy brands like Lanvin and Stone Island, as well as those of persistent young labels such as Our Legacy, OFF-WHITE and newcomer adidas YEEZY Season 1. Furthermore, photographer trashhand explored abandoned America, showcasing the beautiful decay of forgotten architecture. And there’s much more. Our global team of editors, photographers, stylists, and contributors have put together a fantastic new issue that we hope succinctly captures the theme of longevity and will itself serve as both a reference and as a collectible publication for years to come. Thank you for being a part of our journey. To another 10 years. Enjoy. Pete Williams
16 Editor’s Choice
38 Carhartt WIP
32 From the Hoods to the Woods
70 Alex Turnbull
46 The Road Not Taken 58 Going Home 66 Crafted Comfort 98 Noli Me Tangere 112 We Were Not Here First
76 Liam Hodges 84 Nic Galway 90 NIGO® 106 Mark Gonzales
144 The Mystery Which Binds Me Still
158 Craig Ford
248 America, Abandoned
Photography Graham Hiemstra
Photography Allen Park
Photography Thomas Welch
126 KITH & Highsnobiety 152 Nigel Cabourn
222 Horizontal Volumes
Photography Robert Wunsch
214 Rowley Way
Photography Robert Wunsch
166 Takashi Murakami 172 Andrew Richardson 178 Giorgio Moroder 190 Jim Phillips 198 A$AP Rocky / A$AP Ferg
READ 184 How to Make It in London 228 Established (est.) 238 Travel 246 Sir Stirling Moss 254 Louise Nevelson
TA ST E 36 Double U Frenk 44 Kit and Ace 50 JackThreads 54 Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II 56 Nike's Tech Fleece
Photography Kento Mori
OUTDOOR ORIGINAL DANNER.COM/STUMPTOWN
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OPEN YOUR CITY
PHOTOGRAPHED BY trashhand
Please visit: EnjoyHeinekenResponsibly.com Brewed in Holland. Imported by Heineken USA Inc., New York, NY. ©2014 HEINEKEN® Lager Beer, HEINEKEN PREMIUM LIGHT® Lager Beer.
CO M M E D E S G A RÃ‡O N S S W E AT E R
see the film on nixon.com
C R A I G G R E E N Q U I LT W R A P V E S T
H E R S C H E L S U P P LY C O. S T U D I O C O L L E C T I O N S U T TO N D U F F L E
R A I S E D B Y W O LV E S F E R G -YA N G H AT
R E P L A C E
W W W . H I C K I E S . C O M W W W . H I C K I E S . C O M
T H E
L A C E
T R I WA C H A M PAG N E S KA L A A N D M I D N I G H T H VA L E N WATC H E S
TIMBERLAND BLACK FOREST COLLECTION BRITON HILL BOOT
FA L L / W I N T E R 2 0 1 5
H I G H S N O B I E T Y Ã— A N I CO R N S E R I E S 000 WATC H
ELEMENT WOLFBORO COLLECTION FALL / WINTER 201 5
FROM THE HOODS TO THE WOODS PHOTOGRAPHY
ALEX DE MORA STYLING
AT I P WA N A N U R U KS GROOMING
LY D I A WA R H U R S T USING MAC COSMETICS & BUMBLE AND BUMBLE CASTING
S A R A H B U N T E R @ B U N T E R C A S T I N GÂ P H OTO G R A P H Y AS S I S TA N T
THEO COTTLE MODEL
JOS WHITEMAN @ AMCK MODELS
DOUBLE U FRENK THE BEAUTY OF THE OCCULT
WORDS BROCK CARDINER
Born in February 2013 in the ancient city of Modena, Italian jewelry brand Double U Frenk began as a creative outlet for a group of friends. Bringing their very first design, a skull necklace, to local clubs, the group’s influential circle indoctrinated others on the scene and soon enough their occult creations could be found in some of the region’s best shops. Fast forward to today and Double U Frenk is carried in 80 dealers throughout Italy with an online shop that ships to every corner of the world.
DOUBLE U FRENK
While most brands would take that early success and set up a flagship, Double U Frenk, doing things their own way, has outfitted a caravan in their distinct design language to drive across the country and stop by some of the best festivals, reflecting their early club-going days. Best of all, the travels that served as inspiration when they were starting out are now on the road beneath them and the adventures ahead. What they’ll come up with next, we’ll have to wait and see.
DOUB L E COLLEC TI ONS
F R E NK
Ita l i an
d ou b l e u f re n k. n et
J ewe l r y |
25 YEARS OF CARHARTT WIP A CONTINUOUS WORK IN PROGRESS
WORDS BROCK CARDINER INTERVIEW DAV I D F I SC H E R PHOTOGRAPHY OLLIE ADEGBOYE & R YA N H U R S H
How do you continue to stay relevant after 100 years? Besides that, how do you bring your heritage and history to an entirely new audience after a century of existence? Those are the questions Edwin Faeh had to answer when he launched Carhartt Work in Progress (WIP) in Germany 25 years ago as part of a licensing deal, exactly 100 years after the birth of Detroit’s most famed clothing brand, Carhartt. At a time when streetwear was dominated by California surf culture through imprints like Stussy, Quiksilver and Ocean Pacific, the decision to launch a brand based on workwear seems odd in the context of the ’90s yet genius in retrospect. After all, who could foresee pop culture’s near fetishization of working-class fashion in the coming years? Sure, Ralph Lauren did it decades before but that was for a different generation, one that romanticized the countryside, and still held figures like James Dean and Marlon Brando as the pinnacle of cool. Cool in the ’90s was something entirely different. Cool in the ’90s was grunge and hip-hop; slap bracelets and light-up sneakers; Calvin Klein and Michael Jordan. The particulars hardly matter though as there are two things that define cool across generations: attitude and authenticity. The same values that defined cool in the rebellious characters of the ’50s and the summer-lovers of the ’60s defined cool in the existential disaffection of Kurt Cobain and in the social critique of Tupac Shakur. The attitude and authenticity were there, as they were when Faeh brought Carhartt to Europe. Although Carhartt already had a cult following and a reputation for rugged, authentic workwear outside of the U.S. when Faeh launched the brand’s European branch, Carhartt goods were nearly impossible to acquire beyond the States’ borders. His former business partners even thought the brand “was unsellable,” leaving Faeh to his own devices. In the early days of Carhartt WIP in fact, they “would only buy from America, from their catalog.”
Fortunately, with an expertise in fashion dating back to the ’70s, it was only a matter of time before Faeh was able to turn the ship around and bring Carhartt’s essence to a discerning European audience. “I went to business school and then I practiced in a textile company, but no one was wearing denim in the ’70s besides people like the Hells Angels. You wore corduroy and that was it.” Fast forward 20 years and denim has supplanted every fabric to become the great sartorial equalizer across the world. Rich or poor, young or old, everyone owns or has owned a pair of jeans. Armed with a deep and thorough understanding of denim and the distribution world at large, Faeh was wellequipped to start bringing Carhartt’s legacy to the Old World. “Carhartt was a foundation. It was jackets and pants. I was especially interested in the pants. I thought denim would be out one day but 25 years later and we’re still waiting, we’re still waiting for blue to be out.” Young, creative, inquisitive minds in particular were intrigued by the denim hip-hop artists wore, pairing “XXXL” jeans with buckwheat Timbs for a look that was straight off the streets of New York. “Hip-hop was the beginning, then came graffiti, skateboarding and DJing,” and the stockists reflected this. “We were never in a jeans store, never in a department store. It was very strict. We only sold in skateboard shops, streetwear/ hip-hop – these kinds of stores.” A sort of antimarketing form of marketing. As Faeh tells it, “There was no marketing meeting at all. We had no idea about marketing.” It’s plain to see from the start that Carhartt WIP’s fanbase was different from its counterpart in the U.S. While Carhartt was supplying farmers in the south with reinforced jackets and hip-hop artists in the north with oversized jeans, Carhartt WIP was supplying European skaters, graffiti artists and BMXers with refined versions of this multipurpose gear.
Despite their devotion to Carhartt’s renowned quality and their love of the musicians they idolized, Faeh knew he had to clean up the brand’s key silhouettes for his European consumers. “They had work pants with loops, We wanted it without loops.” Step by step they gained more control of the brand. “We used poly-cotton – the Americans never used poly-cottons. We wanted to do chinos in poly-cotton and we had to get the license to make them. Basically, we had to get the ‘OK’ on every piece. We had to get licensed for every product. We did well but all of the products were American products.” Things really turned around though when Faeh said they “wanted to make grays instead of browns, because no one buys browns in Europe.” To do this, Faeh and co. had to order a certain amount of product, known as a minimum. Through what was essentially a custom order, Carhartt WIP had created an exclusive colorway for their European audience. The next influential moment in the brand’s move for independence came when Faeh placed an order for Siberian parkas. The workers responsible for crafting these pieces at Carhartt’s Kentucky factory were on strike and Faeh was told by the head of Carhartt at the time, Robert, that they couldn’t produce enough for them and that they’d have to produce them themselves. In the end that’s exactly what they did, showing their parent company they could stand on their own two feet. Today, the relationship is symbiotic and even though they still have to send each and every collection to Detroit for approval, Carhartt fully understands what their Work in Progress siblings are doing. Look no further than the brand’s shorts offerings for proof. Carhartt didn’t even make shorts until Carhartt WIP scouted ahead and made sure the coast was clear. That’s not to say Faeh’s operation was completely void of hurdles by the aughts. On the contrary. Although Carhartt WIP had completely supported their fanbase from the start, the times were changing and streetwear as a fully-fledged lifestyle was on the rise. No longer limited to skaters, artists and musicians, anyone even remotely associated with
urban culture wanted a piece of the pie. Heritage, functionality and durability – three of Carhartt’s defining characteristics – started trending and simple pieces reworked for the continent’s fashion climate like the single-knee and double-knee pants, as well as the Detroit jacket, proved a hit. Eager to take this shift in lifestyle to new heights, Faeh started thinking about how he could take the brand’s 100+ year history and adapt it to the times. Carhartt eventually gave them permission to fashion jackets out of leather after refusing for some time, merging the brand’s time-tested design with sleek materials fit for the streets of London, Paris, Berlin and Milan. By 2006 Carhartt WIP was undoubtedly a formidable part of Europe’s fashion landscape. As the ultimate cosign, Japanese brand A Bathing Ape, under the leadership of streetwear impresario NIGO®, reached out to Carhartt after being impressed by their offerings in the UK to inquire about a collaboration. Even Faeh was taken aback by the request due to what he sees as Japan’s fondness for originality, while his business revolved around a license. The two quickly came to an agreement, however, and a collaborative zip-up hoodie was on the way. Carhartt WIP’s traditionally earthy color palette was swapped in favor of BAPE’s Ape Head camo – three versions of it in total – and the lining was stuffed full of down. The bridge between Japan’s historically insular fashion scene and Europe’s was finally built, with additional support laid down by brands like uniform experiment and SOPHNET. In 2008, Carhartt WIP set up their first collaboration with iconic footwear brand Vans. Together the two revamped the California marque’s Half-Cab silhouette, this time opting for a workwear-inspired makeover. Countless collaborations have followed since, most recently with fashion institutes like Paris’s A.P.C., Milan’s RETROSUPERFUTURE and Amsterdam’s Patta. In every single case, the brand has taken a unique approach that honors both entities’ DNAs to the fullest. Whether it’s through materials or colorways, each project holds its own as an extension of both brands’ roots.
Entering their 25th year, it’s only appropriate the brand celebrate with a 25-piece anniversary collection. Included are some of the most iconic workwear styles from the Carhartt archives, alongside a selection of classic pieces from Carhartt WIP. Many have been redesigned and reinterpreted, modifying the original fabrics, colors and trims for 2015. All 25 products come complete with silvercolored hardware and labels (the traditional color used for 25th anniversaries), together with a heartshaped button as an homage to the original Carhartt logo created in the late 19th century. Expect the celebratory goods to arrive in all Carhartt WIP stores and selected retailers around the world on September 25. With a proven track record of success, which now includes 75 flagship shops alongside 2,500 stockists, Faeh stays motivated simply by not driving himself crazy. Talking with him you get the sense that even though he’s older and wiser than he was when he entered this business 40 years ago, those same basic principles are still at play. He likes the people he works with. He appreciates simplicity; the same kind of simplicity he was surrounded by during his childhood in the countryside. He likes
to work as a team and he never lets his pride or his ego get in the way of what’s best for the brand. Listening to him recall his earliest fashion memories come off as childish, innocent even, like when he talks about seeing a pair of bleached denim for the very first time at a Parisian flea market. “You know who invented bleached jeans? Hippies. But they didn’t use stone like we do today. There was only chlorine bleach. They didn’t have stone-bleaching in the ’70s. They just put bleaching chlorine and jeans in the water.” It’s that wondrous, almost naive approach that has made Carhartt WIP what it is today – a brand unafraid to take something that has absolutely no faults to begin with and make it even better. As for what the next 25 years holds, Faeh says they’ll probably keep focusing on their simple Brown Duck offerings. Nothing too fancy; nothing too fashion. It’s been a remarkable quarter-century for the brand but as Faeh himself puts it, “We have history but we have to play our cards right.” In other words, it’s a work in progress. — carhartt-wip.com
You know who invented bleached jeans? Hippies. But they didn’t use stone like we do today. There was only chlorine bleach. They didn’t have stone-bleaching in the ’70s. They just put bleaching chlorine and jeans in the water.
GET UP AND GO WITH KIT AND ACE’S TECHNICAL CASHMERE™ WORDS BROCK CARDINER
PHOTOGRAPHY ALAN CHAN
The latest brand to emerge from the creative environs of the West Coast is Kit and Ace. Founded in technical apparel hotbed Vancouver just less than one year ago, Kit and Ace has quickly emerged as one of the industry’s leading innovators due in no small part to their machine washable Technical Cashmere™. Designed explicitly to keep up with the pace of life maintained by the creative class, the material is redefining the term “luxury” as we know it. While in the past the “L” word has conjured up images of opulence, grandeur and delicacy, Kit and Ace’s Technical Cashmere™ signals a shift in the trajectory of clothing with its get-up-and-go construction that focuses on fit, form and function combined with refined style.
KIT AND ACE
Each piece featuring the brand’s unique cashmere interlace is equally at home in a converted loft that doubles as a workspace as it is weaving through the city on a bike. In a word, those leading the way are no longer constrained by the limits of traditional fabrics, nor are they forced to change outfits three times in one day. Starting the day with a French press at home? Technical Cashmere™. Cycling to the office in a rush? Technical Cashmere™. Meeting with clients across town? Technical Cashmere™. Dinner with friends in a former brick factory? Technical Cashmere™. Best of all is the part that comes after a busy but satisfying day like that. Throwing the outfit in the wash and doing it all over again the next day like it was nothing. Because it wasn’t.
K I T A N D A C E . C O M
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C A S H M E R E â„¢
G-STAR RAW FALL / WINTER 201 5
THE ROAD NOT TAKEN
A M A R DAV E D STYLING
AT I P WA N A N U R U KS HAIR
ERNESTO MONTENOVO @ PHAMOUSARTISTS USING BUMBLE AND BUMBLE MAKE UP
M A R T I N A L AT TA N Z I @ O N E R E P R E S E N T S USING KIEHLS P H OTO G R A P H Y AS S I S TA N T
LIAM YOUNG MODEL
JACK BUCHANAN @ SELECT MODELS
JACK T H R E A DS
THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT A CULT BRAND FOR THE MASSES
You may not know Tony Kretten by name, but there’s a strong chance you have seen, and perhaps even own, his work. In his 13 years at Gap, Kretten headed up the iconic (RED) campaign and revitalized Gap’s 1969 denim line. Now hired as Creative Director of Commerce for new fashion line JackThreads, Kretten is setting out to build a new namesake vertical brand within the walls of a Silicon Alley startup. Launching in Fall 2015, the JackThreads label will take a former flash sale site and evolve it into a fashion resource for guys who appreciate fit and feel as much as good value. On a mission to bring good style to every man that’s interested, the new JT aims to update the timeless American look using the kind of unique customer insights only a tech company can truly master. As Tony himself tells it, they want to be nothing less than your go-to style destination.
WORDS E M I LY S I N G E R PHOTOGRAPHY MAX SCHWARTZ
JACK T H R E A DS
You’ve spent the past 13 years designing menswear at Gap. JackThreads is obviously a very different company and an entirely new brand. What has been the biggest change for you? When I was on the outside looking in, I always felt that tech companies were the future of e-commerce, because they’re part of that connectivity-based consumer culture. I looked at the marketplace and asked myself, “Okay, who’s really appealing to guys in a way that a) has great potential, but b) speaks a language that I understand?” There are other players out there who didn’t get it right because they speak to a very specific type of consumer, whereas I think JackThreads speaks to everybody, which I love. There’s also the tech side of [JackThreads] and how quickly we can respond to shifting demands in the market. We have the ability to engage in a dialogue with the customer every single day, and the customer is telling us, either via his click-throughs or what he’s buying, what he wants. That means we can give him more of those things. This level of real-time reaction makes the company grow in a far smarter capacity than traditional retail, because tech is in our DNA. Where brick and mortar takes six-to-nine months to react to customers, we can do so overnight. Speaking very broadly, what’s been the biggest change between when you first started designing and now? Beyond being a naive kid from Cincinnati who wanted to be Geoffrey Beene? I think the big difference between me then and me now is the fantasy portion of design. Along my career path I could have gone into the high-end sector, but the intellectual challenge of making ubiquitous clothing that’s both modern and relevant is, for me, more challenging than the high-fashion side of things. There’s still an art to what we make, but I’m more interested in the craft and commerce portion of fashion, as opposed to the outright craziness of runway shows. Menswear and men’s style has really picked up in the last two to three years. Do you think that an awareness of style has become an accepted thing? I think it’s certainly heading that way. I think there are mainstream guys who look at iconic sports stars and celebrities for style cues, they look at GQ, and now they’re going to look at the curation and editorial portion of JackThreads for advice on how to look good. But yes, I think it’s a part of men’s culture now to talk about style and not be embarrassed about it. With this new awareness, how is the classic American look changing? There are still some iconic heritage pieces in the regular guy’s wardrobe; it’s just that the details, the fit, the fabric – the things that actually make style modern and relevant – are more important than ever.
JACK T H R E A DS
About 80% of a guy’s wardrobe is made up of products that you can list off the top of your head, and the remaining 20% is trendbased style. I think that 80% needs to be modernized, retouched and thought about. Instead of just doing a T-shirt, we want to ask “what’s the cut of the T-shirt, what’s the fabric, what are the internal details?” Basics don’t have to be simple. So what can we expect from the new line? Confident style. The products that we’re creating in the new line are going to be those favorite pieces a guy will feel happy turning to time and time again. We want people to think “JackThreads makes the most awesome T-shirt for $18, so why would I shop anywhere else?” Since there’s so much competition with online retail, especially in the realm of basic menswear, how will JackThreads differentiate itself? It’s through our voice and our ability to curate confidently that we’ll stand apart. There are three sides to our business. There’s the value portion, in which you’re getting a really great product at a really great price, but it’s not outright cheap – there’s a big difference between being cheap and offering great style for a great price. Then there’s the fact we’re building an editorial component into the JackThreads experience, so we can actually educate our shoppers and have a daily conversation on style. Finally, there’s the speed and IQ of the tech involved. It’s taking the science of smart shopping and blending it with the skill of great products and the art of great style. Finally, is there anything you think is missing, or simply not being done right, in men’s fashion that you want to change? That’s a big question. My main problem is that shopping is either based on cost, or it’s based on some sort of elitist position. A lot of men want more than bargain basics, but don’t feel comfortable engaging with the fashion scene at large, so they feel excluded and un-catered for as a result. We want to create somewhere for these guys; we want to create a community where they feel at home, and feel confident expressing their taste and sense of style without having to know a secret handshake.
JACK T H R E A DS
C O N V E R S E C H U C K TAY L O R A L L S TA R I I
CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR ALL STAR II THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA WORDS BROCK CARDINER PHOTOGRAPHY DA M I E N VA N D E R V L I ST FASHION EDITOR AT I P WA N A N U R U KS
10 years after being acquired by Nike, Converse has unveiled the successor to the longest-running sneaker of all time. Appropriately named the Chuck Taylor All Star II, the sneaker draws heavily on the groundwork laid down by the 1917 Chuck and invigorates it with today’s best innovations. While the sneaker comes loaded with new features and improvements, the first thing wearers will notice is the cushiony Lunarlon insole. No more stiff footbed. The Swoosh has got your back. Ready for more, the Chuck has been streamlined, getting rid of contrast stitching in favor of tonality. The iconic patch is seamlessly embroidered, while the license plate branding has been upgraded for 2015’s HD requirements. On par with the Lunarlon sole is the foam-padded collar and gusseted tongue, eliminating the annoyance of a sliding tongue. Completing the premium package is a perforated micro-suede liner so your dogs won’t be sweating during extended periods of wear. In a word, the Chuck Taylor All Star II continues the legacy of the first and ushers in the second generation. Long live the Chuck. — Find out more at Converse.com.
C O N V E R S E C H U C K TAY L O R A L L S TA R I I
NIKEâ€™S TECH FLEECE RETURNS FOR FALL 2015 STAY WARM
WORDS BROCK CARDINER
The Swoosh takes one of their most innovative clothing offerings and revamps it for the Fall 2015 season. Hitting the scene a few years ago, Nike’s seasonal Tech Pack collection returns including all-time favorite Tech Fleece pants and a new printed Tech Fleece full-zip hoodie (pictured) for men. The last is done up in camouflage while the latter comes in midnight black. Both pieces are specifically engineered to stand up to unfavorable weather and to keep urban athletes moving in all conditions. Modeled by rugby stars Danny Care and Tom Wood, the new Tech Fleece styles are constructed for professionals and made for the everyday. Details of the camo hoodie include a scuba hood with extended bill, an extra-long chest zip pocket and a longer hem for added protection from the elements. The pants, meanwhile, are made with a thermal construction to provide lightweight warmth. In addition to hoodies, a vest, crew necks and pants, upgraded garbs for women arrive in the form of a cape. A new heathering pattern energizes the Tech Fleece and an interior bungee at the waist allows for a customizable fit. The silhouette of the centerpiece is carefully redone with a slightly oversized hood and extended drop tail for added coverage. Just in time for the clouds, rain and colder nights, you can pick up the Tech Pack Fall 2015 collection now online at Nike. — nike.com/sportswear
NIKE’S TECH FLEECE
PHOTOGRAPHY A M Y GWAT K I N FASHION EDITOR VINCENT LEVY GROOMING M A K I TA N A K A , Y U M I N A K A DA- D I N G L E U S I N G AV E DA P H OTO G R A P H Y AS S I S TA N T S M A R I A M A I N E R & D I A N A PAT I E N T MODELS ELLA KING @ PREMIER HAMISH STEED @ SELECT K E I R O N @ T O M O R R O W I S A N O T H E R DAY R I C H @ T O M O R R O W I S A N O T H E R DAY T E D @T O M O R R O W I S A N O T H E R DAY KEVIN ROWSELL @ FM
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MARQUES ALMEIDA ROKIT
V I N TAG E A D I DA S LIAM HODGES
CHRISTOPHER SHANNON SAUCONY
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ONEPIECE FALL / WINTER 201 5
PHOTOGRAPHY SARA SANI STYLING MARIANNE KRAUSS MAKE UP R EG I N A K H A N I P OVA MODELS INDES & LUCAS
ALEX TURNBULL ALL THE WAY LIVE TRIBE
DK WOON PHOTOGRAPHY
We live in a dilettante’s age – one where it’s increasingly common for people to dabble very publicly in a whole multitude of interests, occupations and “creative exploits.” The tale of the model/actress/ DJ is, by now, a yarn spun too often to be of any real interest (much like said individual’s record collection) and the sad fact is that to be a polymath in 2015 is to risk being lumped in with a whole raft of people who don’t take what they do very seriously. Alex ‘Baby’ Turnbull is very much the antithesis of this – a true polymath (and that’s not a term to be thrown around lightly). His “career” path has seen him play the role of skateboarder, punk posterchild, DJ, martial artist and, most recently, filmmaker. Yet, while somehow wearing all these hats simultaneously, he manages to pay due diligence to each of the cultures that exists behind them. Still regarded as a credible underground presence, his name isn’t known to masses of people, yet in each of his fields he has successfully engaged a willing audience. As he himself would phrase it, he is “proper,” oftentimes foregoing commercial gain in favor of genuine artistic integrity. I meet Turnbull on a crisp February morning at his studio in East London. A striking space he shares with his brother Johnny, the space is dotted with sculptures and paintings by his father, the British modernist William Turnbull, lending it a soothing ambiance. The studio feels like a quiet haven in an area that, at weekends, you might find littered with discarded drinks bottles, takeaway wrappers and laughing gas canisters. On weekdays it’s a bustle of media types rushing from one important meeting to the next. Alex is noticeably tall, with a physique honed by years of Jeet Kune Do. His passion for the martial art has been instrumental in defining his take on the world, especially the phrase “absorb what is useful, reject what is useless.” This mantra strikes me as increasingly difficult to live by, given the fast-moving, disposable culture of the city he’s surrounded by.
Readers of Highsnobiety will perhaps be most familiar with Alex for his involvement with Stüssy. Perhaps you’ve seen him modelling their clothes, or maybe you’re even old enough to remember him DJing at Stüssy parties way back in the day. Either way, Stüssy is a name that will forever be associated with Alex, and likewise, I don’t think he’ll ever be able to extricate himself from the “Alex Baby” moniker embroidered on his OG Tribe jacket. His introduction to the brand came in 1986, through friends he’d met a decade before while skateboarding at London’s notorious Southbank. That said, the intro itself happened over the Atlantic Ocean, on a visit to New York. It was there that Alex reconnected with old friend Jules Gayton at Madam Rosa’s (the hot Downtown club at the time). Though they hadn’t seen each other in around 10
Of course Alex’s fascination and involvement with street culture came long before his affiliation with any one brand. As I mentioned before, Alex had been introduced to Stüssy through friends he’d met skateboarding, and it was this that was his first foray into the life he is so known for today. Picking up a skateboard around ’75/’76 (at just 14 years old), Turnbull was amongst the first wave of British skateboarders to embrace the pastime. It was an exciting period: urethane wheels had only just landed and across the Pond it was the era of Dogtown and the Z-Boys. People like Jay Adams and Tony Alva were the first introduction for a young Alex into the world of fashion. In his words, “They were punk rock before there was punk rock” and their combination of physical prowess, attitude and style was both lethal and completely new. The world of Dogtown and the Z-Boys, with its backyard pools
years, their paths had run remarkably parallel, both now working as semi-successful DJs. At the time Gayton was living with Jeremy Henderson, an American skateboarder who’d also spent time living in London. One day, Henderson beckoned Alex down to a midtown warehouse. When he reached the location he was met with two rails of clothing, and Paul Mittleman. What was on these two rails was enough to blow Alex away: “I remember getting a T-shirt, the first T-shirt with a sorta skull and surf crossbones thing, some beach pants, and a kinda sailor crewneck long-sleeve thing. I remember just thinking ‘wow… this is what we’ve all been waiting for!’ Because we were all wearing adidas tracksuits, Goose and bootleg Gucci!” It’s easy to see why Alex connected so easily with Stüssy. To Alex, Stüssy represented a brand that didn’t concern itself with “empire building.” Instead it was very much about the Tribe: a global set of people affiliated with a shared set of values, who weren’t snobbish in their exclusivity, but were nonetheless select in who they welcomed. To receive one of the infamous Tribe jackets back then was a big deal. “I remember that day so clearly,” he recounts with excitement. “It was like ‘I’ve got a jacket with my name on it – nobody else has this jacket and I’m the only person that has this jacket.’” Fast forward to 2015 and Alex is sporting a Louis Vuitton jacket he’d been given by Kim Jones (Louis Vuitton designer, who has also designed for GoodEnough whilst also working at Gimme5). The jacket itself is an incredible bomber referencing the designs of Christopher Nemeth, which he was given after DJing at a show alongside Grammywinning mega-producer Nellee Hooper. Whilst there, he remarked to Kim that it was the first thing that had felt like a Tribe jacket since that original piece. While I struggle to resist getting misty eyed, few brands can elicit such a powerful response these days. It’s clear Alex feels it too – a certain lack of ease with brands of the modern age. He’s by no means an overly reverential old man, and knows it would be all-too-easy to slip into lazy armchair criticism. Yet still, there’s a certain discomfort with how things work today – the endlessly peddled cycle of recycled culture. As he puts it, “You see someone wearing a Clash T-shirt and they don’t know what the Clash are.”
and surf breaks, was – as Alex is keen to remind me – incredibly exotic in comparison to London in the ’70s. This was a period when the nearest you could get to Vans were a pair of Dunlop Green Flash, and even they were prohibitively expensive (“mum certainly wasn’t going to spend £5.99 on shoes!”). Back then, it was a more innocent age – a time where information was scant, and the only insight into what was going on in California were issues of skateboard magazines passed around from person-to-person down at Southbank. British skateboarding was a different animal, one where the protagonists barely even knew what surfing was. A few years on, and it was through Jeremy Henderson that Alex went on to meet Mark Gonzales and Jason Lee: two of street skateboarding’s pioneers and still two of the best skate styles that have ever graced this planet. It was Alex and his brother who first showed Mark Gonzales to a gap under the Westway now referred to as “The Gonz Gap” (not to be confused with the one in San Francisco), and it was his brother who taped the footage of Gonz ollie-ing it in era-defining, Spike Jonze-directed skate flick Video Days. Skateboarding helped expose Alex to, in his words, “People from all different cultures. Color, race, creed. Kids from Stockwell, kids from Camden, kids from Kensington and Chelsea. Everyone hung out and it didn’t really matter where you were from.” Instead, their scene was a meritocracy. “What mattered was whether you could skate! In a way it’s like breaking or graffiti. It’s a performance-based thing. It’s like hip-hop was. Not what it is now. I guess MCing still is – to an extent. Either you can do it or you can’t. Goldie said it best when he said ‘I can tell if you can paint or not. I can tell if you can dance or not. I can tell if you can DJ or not.’ In the end, anybody that knows, knows! If you get up on the decks, there’s no way you can pretend – there’s no halfway.”
It’s about underground culture and style, but style is the thread that runs through... It’s important that someone inside tells the story, rather than some producer from some TV channel who doesn’t really know. This story has to be told from the inside.
After punk fizzled out in the late ’80s, Alex joined 23 Skidoo – a band that were incredibly ahead of their time. Punk served as a liberator, but Skidoo borrowed from a far wider spectrum of influences: everything from Fela Kuti to reggae to William Burroughs and Cabaret Voltaire. The name 23 Skidoo was a reference to an Aleister Crowley poem, although Alex is keen to point out they weren’t into the occult. “People tend to think that we’re some sort of mystical witchcraft. It was nothing to do with that. What [23 Skidoo] meant to us was to evolve and to move on.” It might seem a bit of a jump to go from 23 Skidoo to hip-hop and DJing, but for Alex it was quite a natural progression. He recalls going to one of Afrika Bambaataa’s first shows in Britain, all by himself because “no one else knew who he was!” Here he saw the “cutting up of funky drum breaks on beat” which immediately appealed to him, given his background as a drummer and love of the writer William Burroughs (a man famous for his ‘cut-up’ aleatory technique). Inspired by this, he took to DJing – starting out with little more than a makeshift DJ setup consisting of one belt-drive deck and another turntable hot-wired into an amp. Finding tunes was the next step, and for that Alex credits UK radio mainstay Tim Westwood, who turned him onto a lot of early hip-hop through his show on LWR. “For all the jokes he gets, [Tim] was one of the earliest DJs on radio,” he extols. This was around 1983, and two years on Alex started playing his first gigs. Hip-hop – by virtue of being underground – had a raw authenticity which Alex thrived off. After Skidoo’s Icarus moment, it seemed only natural to Alex that he and his brother form a record label. The label was dubbed ‘Ronin,’ chosen for its renegade connotations, and the inspiration was to form a place filled with assassins for hire, operating entirely outside the system. With artists like Roots Manuva and Estelle on the books, Ronin remained underground through-and-through. When artists they were involved with were being offered five-album deals by major labels, they came to Ronin and were signed for one. It was very difficult to maintain, and Alex cites the “artist-driven” nature of the label as part of its eventual failure. Ultimately, Ronin was trying to sell British hip-hop to a public that wasn’t quite ready for it, and eventually Alex became disenchanted, refusing to kowtow to the commercial end of the spectrum.
Moving on to the present day, and it’s filmmaking that is Alex’s most recent preoccupation. It’s that for which he’s best known in 2015, and he sees it as a means to combine his many passions in a way that allows him to remain artistically pure. In a way, filmmaking acts
as a conduit between Alex’s past, present and future; his most recent project focuses on the phenomenon of British street style: “It’s about underground culture and style, but style is the thread that runs through,” he explains. “It’s important that someone inside tells the story, rather than some producer from some TV channel who doesn’t really know. This story has to be told from the inside.” And it’s this inside track that Alex has unprecedented access to. He’s already interviewed a whole host of incredible names – Boy George, Paul Simonon, Don Letts, Goldie, James Lavelle – but for him the real point is to give credit where credit is due. “Yeah, I’ve got some people that are higher profile, but it’s as much about the other people. The Judy Blames, the Mark Lebons – the people who have been very, very influential, but aren’t as well known.” So what does Alex envision himself getting up to beyond all that? Given his propensity to switch disciplines, you’d be foolish to rule him out from doing something completely different with his time. Then again, there’s a sense that, with filmmaking, he’s finally found something that suits his natural inclinations. Here he has a vehicle for expression that can be turned towards any one of his interests, no matter how varied they might be. “One day,” he says, “I’d like to make the first great British kung fu film.” Until then, we’ll just have to wait and hope.
LIAM HODGES EVERYDAY ESCAPISM
WORDS VINCENT LEVY PHOTOGRAPHY TA K A N O R I O KU WA K I STYLING NAZ & KUSI (TZARKUSI) HAIR TA K AO H AYA S H I
MODELS DARIUS @ SELECT MEL @ SELECT MACKENZIE JAMES @ MODELS1 O S I N AT I KO @ M O D E L S 1 — FOOTWEAR PALL ADIUM
MAKE UP ALEXANDRA PILCH
Several months ago a small makeshift dwelling made up of discarded scaffolding, army green canvas and graffiti-stenciled pagan symbols appeared in the basement of London’s Dover Street Market. Beneath the streets of Mayfair, this dystopian scene – distinctly British in its campsite and car trunk sale eccentricity – could have been torn from the page of a Terry Gilliam movie script or a 2000 AD comic. In reality, it was the creation of Liam Hodges – one of the city’s brightest young menswear talents. An art installation cum sales rack created to mark the arrival of his designs at the prestigious concept store. Simultaneously familiar and strangely filmic, it seemed to perfectly capture the essence of his brand. An impressive feat of clarity, considering he only graduated from the Royal College of Art’s Menswear Master’s Degree in 2013. Hodge’s first collection was presented at London Collections Men for Spring/Summer 2014, through the prestigious Fashion East program. The six-outfit presentation immediately outlined a unique ability to play with narrative-driven concepts, in an easy-tounderstand and street-relevant way. Titled “Morris Nomads,” elements of Morris (a form of English folk dress) maintained approachability within a mash-up of more familiar hip-hop, punk and military design codes. This scrambling of reference points, which has now become his signature, seemed to speak of an internet-armed generation’s propensity for what Hodges calls “cultural overeating.” But the clothes themselves maintained an authentic depth through their hardwearing and highly detailed
finishes. The look was made all the more real and relatable through the pre-drinks style staging of the presentation, which saw models slumped on a single sofa with a seemingly endless supply of beers. Fall/Winter 2014 offered an even more immersive invitation to join the party. Facilitated by Red Bull Catwalk Studios, Druid Road featured a soundpiece collaboration with psychedelic rock band Puffer. Set amongst symbolically piled masses of stage equipment, the setup was part gig and part spiritual ceremony. While Hodges has since shown three collections through the more conventional runway format of Topman and Fashion East’s MAN show, his work has maintained the same balance between escapism and reality. In person, Hodges explains each collection’s concoction of unexpected ideas in the most matter-of-fact ways and essentially his clothes do the same. Whether exploring druid roadies, a cult-like band of boy scouts, or an imaginary set of market-stall traders, each concept is illustrated within the confines of bold and bloke-ish shapes. Subduing his theatrical thinking with a clear concern for the practical needs of his customer, the designer has created a standout look that’s uncomplicated but never uninteresting. Clothes that are loud when they want to be but never dandified or pompous as a result. As if mimicking the pose of models at his very first presentation, Hodges took an hour out from working at his East London studio to crash on a couch and explain the development of this aesthetic.
Setting up your label must have been a daunting experience. Are you fully into the rhythm of things now? Well the first season was done from my bedroom (laughs). That’s crazy. I heard that there were only three weeks between your graduate collection and your first collection at Fashion East? Something like that. On the MA (at the RCA) there are two “friends and family” shows, and one press show, and between each of them I was running upstairs and ordering fabrics. Luckily, I’d finished my collection early and I wanted to carry over part of the story. I always have more than I need. What gives you the drive to create so much? Deadlines? The responsibility of interns? (Laughs) I always have a slight crash after going to Paris for sales but right now it’s easy. The lead up to the collection is the fun bit. When did you set your sights on fashion? I hadn’t even entertained the idea of it until my Foundation Degree. I always thought I’d do graphics or sculpture. It was the one thing that sort of let me do a mixture of the two. Do you think of your work as art then? Definitely not. It can be that for some designers but for me it’s probably someplace between art and product. It’s difficult to describe really. Ultimately I make clothes I want to see my friends in. I think it’s hard for most designers to explain what they’re making or why they’re making it. If they could explain with words, they might not be making it in the first place. Exactly. I communicate my ideas by making things. I remember having a meeting with my tutors (at the RCA) and telling them I wanted to focus on Morris dancing. They looked at me like I was mad because I’d turned up to every tutorial before that with pictures of street art and different militias. In the end I made a video to explain. I created these weird Morris dancer outfits for my mates, got them pissed and high, and filmed the whole thing, and
then they got it. I might be bringing together some random things, but they won’t feel random when I’ve finished, because they’ll always be shown within my world. Have you always been like that in some way? Were you into a lot of different things growing up? I definitely dipped in and out of stuff. I grew up in suburban Kent so I suppose everything got filtered down and blurred a little bit. It was a bit of this, a bit of that. I had the Nike TN hat and trainers so I wouldn’t get beaten up in the park on the weekend. But I also used to go to Korn concerts. I’d listen to garage but I was also buying Offspring albums. Scene-wise, everything seemed to get a little blurry around that time anyway. If you look at nu-metal, for example, that had certain elements of hip-hop mixed in. Yeah and I mix references in that way now. It can be quite all over the place. Each show will be different but you should always have a rough idea of what I’m about, because it’ll always be my slant on things. I suppose the thing that connects everything is the idea of subculture and that slightly outsider point of view. Video is an unusual medium for a fashion designer to use but it’s played a part in pretty much all of your collections. Are you interested in filmmaking in a wider sense? Definitely. When I was studying I’d always use film and also do life-size paintings of the outfits. There isn’t always time to do these things now, but I try to do one or the other. For me there’s always a narrative. It’s always about what will fit within my world and each season it’s just a different set of characters within that world. Would you ever want to do costume for film? Not “costume” in such a dramatic sense but I’d love to design the clothing aesthetic for a film. Like what Gaultier did for The Fifth Element, for example. You’ve got this place and this moment in time, and you have to create something that fits. That’s how my mind already works with each collection.
How did film play a part in Fall/Winter 2015? Well we’ve just moved to a new studio in Walthamstow, which has Europe’s biggest street market. We based the collection all around that. Primary research has become pretty important to me recently, so the obvious thing to do was take a video camera and start talking to some of the stall owners. We then edited the footage and used it as a backdrop to the show. At the same time we found loads of cool graphics from cardboard boxes and newspapers, for manipulating and feeding into the designs. “Fake Booze” was actually a headline in the Walthamstow Guardian. Someone had been selling counterfeit alcohol. There’s a big slogan on one of the Fall/Winter 2015 T-shirts that says “Totally Safe Classics.” Is that a bit of a tongue-in-cheek commentary on menswear in general? I think there’s always an element of comedy to what I do. When we talk about the clothes that we make and look to, they’re things that have a classic position in most men’s wardrobes and then we take it from there. We were also imagining if I had a market stall, what it’d be like, what it’d sell. What snappy name we’d give it. But actually a heater blew up in our studio, and we were joking around about health and safety. And “safe” has another meaning. Exactly. There’s an element of humor in your show notes, too. They’re not written in a typical way. My friend Daniel Cullen writes them all. Without wanting to offend anyone, a lot of other show notes seem to basically tell journalists how to write their reviews. I don’t think that’s cool. Daniel writes for television and that’s great because it becomes another way to tell the collection’s story.
There’s a line that’s repeated in each of yours, which says you’re not creating clothes for “any man driving a Volvo.” What would the Liam Hodges man drive then? An old Hummer would look pretty good with the big bold shapes of your clothes. (Laughs) Well, it’d be one of my dream cars of the moment. There’s this guy you’ll see sometimes on Kingsland Road who has an old Belgian army truck with a massive sound system and he’s always playing Slayer at full volume. That’s how it’d be. Or a ’90s Merc or maybe a Bimmer. It’d be something old with a lot of attitude. You mentioned reviews. Do you think designers are only as good as their last collection? I think when you’re just beginning you are, but ultimately it should be about the whole body of work. I read an interview a few years ago with Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, where he summed things up pretty well. He said something like a musician can have one or two great albums, an artist can do one great painting. They’re both seen as successes, but he has to do this many collections this many times a year, and if one of them is no good, then apparently he’s useless. That’s tough! I suppose you’re at the point where you really have to push, do the legwork, and then hope to plateau for a little bit? Yes, but you don’t want to become same-y either. Look at someone like Walter Van Beirendonck who’s really gone through a couple of different guises in his career. Personally, I like his “Wild And Lethal Trash” stuff the best, like when the models couldn’t see and would fall off the end of the catwalk. Or the shows turned into giant parties. But that doesn’t mean I like him any less now because he’s changed direction a bit. It’s important to keep moving on and changing.
I wonder whether Walter’s really a product of Antwerp; where there isn’t such a rulebook. There seems to be a specific kind of pressure in London. The pace of things? The pace and the fact that if you’re too “out there” these days, people can fail to see a commercial viability. Some amazing London names have disappeared because of it. I’m lucky because there’s a natural commerciality in the way I dress and what I put into my clothes. Even though there’s the madder stuff in the collections, there’s always something fairly simple, and hopefully that’ll help it survive. London is really important to me. Given the opportunity I’m an inherently lazy person. If you look at my school reports, “bone idle” was written on pretty much all of them. But there’s a pressure here that means I can’t be lazy and that’s great. When you’re surrounded by a load of other creatives all going hell for leather it sort of spurs you on. You said you make clothes you want to see your friends in. Does that mean each collection needs their seal of approval? Not always, but I definitely always talk to them about my ideas down at the pub, including the ones who aren’t really into fashion because they’ll question things. I suppose that can be rare in the industry. There’s a lot of yes men around, who’ll say something’s good because everyone else says it is. Exactly. Talking to them makes me question myself and that’s healthy. Beyond your circle of friends, do you get more of a thrill seeing your clothes on real people or on the runway? I love the process building up to the show, but when I see someone choosing the clothes and enjoying them, that’s really special. We street cast a boy for last season’s campaign and let him pick a T-shirt when we’d finished shooting. On the way back to the studio I could see these two guys skating down the road and I was like “oh, that’s him,” he’s already wearing it. That kind of instant approval feels pretty great.
You mostly use non-professional models in your shows. What is it that you’re looking for? What does the Liam Hodges man look like? There’s nothing too specific I’m looking for. It’s more about their mindset and who they actually are. A lot of them are guys I know and their personalities play a major role. I did a sample sale in Hackney a few months ago and this guy came along who’s in his late 60s. We’ve become friends and he’s really supportive of the brand. For me, it’s important that the label doesn’t have those boundaries. I don’t want there to be that bracketing, so we try and reflect that a bit with the casting. What does the Liam Hodges man aspire to? Well there’s the archaic view of what’s aspirational, which is the model-looking dude with the gold watch and “nice” suit, which is all fine and good. But the value and luxury in my clothes comes from other things; however many hours have gone into it, what stories are attached to it. For me what’s aspirational is doing what you really enjoy doing and just enjoying your life beyond anything. It’s not about this huge capitalist thing. It’s not about having the gym-fit body, a Rolex on your wrist, and a leather bag under your arm. It’s a bit more “I forgot to shave – oh well.” What about your aspirations for the brand? Well sales-wise, the first catwalk season just blew my mind and now we’re in places like Dover Street Market. It became very real at that point. The little space inside my head, my world I call it, well I just want to keep that going. I just want to keep developing and communicating that. Not just with my established customers but new customers, too. And also the friends and people I work and party with. I just want to keep collaborating and building things bit by bit. It’s about sustaining things ultimately? Yes, I want it to have a decent lifespan. I want to keep coming up with stories and I want to keep seeing people wear what I make.
N I C G A LWAY
THE CREATIVE COMPLEX ADIDAS’S NIC GALWAY TALKS CREATIVITY, LONGEVITY AND SPORT
WORDS STEPHANIE SMITH-STRICKLAND PHOTOGRAPHY THOMAS WELCH
adidas was founded in 1924 and officially registered on August 18, 1949. From the company’s fledgling days, when brothers Christoph and Adolf “Adi” Dassler worked (somewhat peacefully) together,
projects, including the Yamamoto collaboration (and the Y-3 Qasa silhouette), the wildly popular Tubular shoe, and the equally sought out ZX 8000 Boost. As a “special products” designer, Galway says he
to their tempestuous split in 1947, innovation and creative problem solving have been synonymous with the adidas ethos. In the beginning, when the duo had no access to consistent electricity at their home base of Herzogenaurach, Germany, they solved the problem with a stationary bicycle, which they took turns pedaling to create the necessary power to run their factory equipment. In 1936, Adi, the younger of the two, ventured onto one of the world’s first motorways to drive from Bavaria to the Summer Olympics in Berlin. There, while Germany was still in the thrall of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi dictatorship, he went against the propriety of the times and managed to talk African-American track and field athlete Jesse Owens into attaching a novel new creation to his running shoes: spikes. Dassler promised Owens it would give him increased traction while competing on the track’s sandy turf. Owens went on to win four gold medals, and in the process, single-handedly dispelled Hitler’s rhetoric of Aryan supremacy. He also became the first African-American male athlete to be sponsored by a brand. Today adidas Originals Creative Director Nic Galway sums up Adi Dassler’s future-facing attitude most succinctly: “People sometimes say to me, ‘How could you do that to such and such shoe’ or ‘shouldn’t you leave it as it was?’ But that was never the spirit of the founder of the company. Nearly everything that is in our archive is somehow a progression of what came before it. I want to build on that progression.” Galway, who took over the role of Vice President of Global Design in September, says much of his long-term strategy will focus on evolving existing ideas in a way that stays true to adidas’ sportfocused DNA. Prior to his appointment, Galway had already been working on Originals’ special
was given full creative control to conceptualize and execute projects as he saw fit. “I wanted to bring that freedom to my team and re-energize everyone by getting them sketching and making things,” he shares. His long-term goal, however, involves bigger picture thinking. Galway wants to instill a mentality of imagination and discovery into every part of the design process; it is something he believes will ultimately work to build internal confidence around creating a “challenging leading product.” Perhaps part of Galway’s outlook on the creative process comes from his background. He was originally an automotive and product designer who spent years working in consultancy before his tenure with adidas. “I worked on many, many different products,” he explains, “You were never really an expert in one thing, so you were always exploring and trying to understand, so I’ve taken that with me.” Galway also acknowledges that coming from a background outside of the footwear industry often works in his favor because he does not feel limited to finding inspiration solely within the trade. In fact, he rarely gets his ideas from anything relating to shoe design. He rather gets ideas from life’s simple pleasures: perusing hardware stores, traveling and observing the inner-workings of everyday objects. “It’s still really important to understand what’s going on in the industry,” he states, his lightly accented tenor projecting despite the softness of the timbre. “I use the media to find out what the status quo is in the industry, but you should never really use it for inspiration. If you’re researching what’s already there by the time you’ve made it, it will be too late. My whole point for adidas and adidas Originals is to be pioneering. You can’t pioneer by seeing what’s already on the table.”
N I C G A LWAY
What Galway believes you can do, and what has been working tremendously well for adidas in recent years, is reappropriate the past. For Galway and his team in particular, this means constantly picking over the archives. “I think the most important thing is my view of what the archive is,” he explains, “I’ve never viewed the archive as a museum or a closed chapter. To me it’s much more of a living document. People love sneakers, and we have such a wealth of information about them — more than most companies. My job is to go in there, pick up the stories, understand why they [past designers] did what they did, and then bring that to life in a new way, or a way that celebrates it. The Tubular, for instance, was truly an idealist’s shoe at the time it was dreamed up. In Galway’s hands, however, it proved to be perfectly suited for today’s times. “The original brief was amazing. It was made at such a time when there were a lot of new possibilities coming into the world of manufacturing, but it was just one step too soon. The idea was right but it just wasn’t really achievable. I loved the intention so that was the start of it for me.” From there Galway recognized that he needed to simplify the original idea, which, though clever, was more complex than necessary. Ironically, it was his automotive background that helped him complete the project. “Basically the idea of the original Tubular was to suspend the foot over a tire. What they [the original designers] found is that suspending it over a tire would require making a very hard plastic plate, which somehow defeated the object of the soft thing underneath because it created a layer between the two. When I looked at the Tubular what I felt was interesting was the idea of suspending the foot; it’s a simple thing to understand. I then looked at the complexities that had to be built in which took the idea away from the original brief, and I stripped those out. In motorcycles and offroad vehicles they use airless tires, so that was an obvious, easy transferrable solution. So you just remove the complexity and keep the integrity of the idea.” Galway has brought a similar way of thinking to adidas’s many successful collaborations. And though he believes a successful collaboration must be a true partnership, he also understands the importance or preserving the authenticity of the adidas brand. “I want to find a balance between
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reissuing and reappropriating archival ideas,” says Galway. “I want to do both [reappropriate and reissue], but I want to do both true,” he explains. “In reissuing something I want to understand what it is that people love about it and why it was made in the way it was, and then I want to build it with truth. So it’s a reissue, it’s for the sneakerhead who really loves the genuine classic. I think there’s always a place for that and that’s something I like. When it comes to doing something new I think you have to see and say ‘I haven’t seen that before, but I get where it’s coming from,’ but it’s genuinely new. What I don’t like is in the middle.” State-of-the-art advancements like Primeknit and BOOST technologies are a result of this desire to avoid the mediocrity of “the middle.” While the former is often thought to be an answer to Nike’s Flyknit technology, in a 2014 article published on Fast Company’s digital platform, adidas former Global Creative Director of Performance, James Carnes, claimed the company had been working on the technology for almost 12 years prior to its release. He went on to say that in 2008, when they realized “the potential of knitting,” a team began to focus more on developing what would become Primeknit. Today, the second-skin fit and one-panel construction of Primeknit can be found in more than just adidas’ sport-focused categories, which, in Galway’s estimation, is a true testament to the versatility of the adidas brand. Versatility similarly comes into play where choosing a collaborator is concerned. In the past, adidas has worked with fashion icons like Yohji Yamamoto, who though committed to his own instantly recognizable personal aesthetic, wanted to speak to audiences interested in more sport-led categories. Conversely, when adidas collaborated with Rick Owens and Raf Simons, the designers’ ability to create a narrative that elevated sneakers – a hallmark of sport – into something that resonated with fashion-obsessed consumers proved to be a successful departure from the brand’s primary audience. However, the best testament to adidas’s understanding of universally appealing design is the recent, runaway success of the Stan Smith tennis shoe. Although it was embraced across the board, the voracious obsession of the fashion crowd was undoubtedly the most unexpected outcome of all. Galway credits the success to smart marketing and adidas’s respect of its own history.
I think the most important thing is my view of what the archive is... Iâ€™ve never viewed the archive as a museum or a closed chapter. To me itâ€™s much more of a living document... My job is to go in there, pick up the stories, understand why they [past designers] did what they did, and then bring that to life in a new way, or a way that celebrates it.
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“I think taking the Stan Smith out of the market and giving it space to breathe before bringing it back was a risk, but it was smart. We were hoping people would embrace it, which was our intention even though there’s never a guarantee. My feeling is that something like the Stan Smith should always be special, and that’s the reason we took it out for a while. We wanted to make sure it always remains secure. We didn’t have to give the Stan Smith back, but it got to a point where people really wanted it. You saw it on the feet of editors or fashion designers after their show and it became coveted.” Circling back to his philosophy regarding collaborations, Galway states, “We don’t endorse, and I’m not interested in endorsements. I like collaborating. To me collaboration is two partners who have something to prove to each other, and want to really make a difference. And provided we pick a partner who has a love for what we do and has ambition and wants to make a difference, I think it’s always the right fit. That’s one of the unique things about adidas — we do take chances. We’re very much a people’s company.” When Galway’s attitude about partnerships is understood, suddenly projects like Yeezy Season One make all the sense in the world. After all, who better to work with than a notoriously ambitious musician who is determined to prove that he can design as well as he can produce and write songs? Galway was also interested in the polarizing nature of Kanye West, stating, “When I think of Kanye I think there are some people who can exist within culture and be very popular within culture, and then there are those who can change culture. I believe Kanye can change culture… His energy and his vision and his wish to show a different potential are very powerful things.” Many will remember that before the official announcement that West and adidas would be collaborating, Galway and West were spotted spending time together. One particular picture of the pair walking through a mall in China sparked a flurry of speculation that something big was coming. What is more interesting about the scenario, especially now, is the knowledge that getting to know each other on a personal level is an absolute requirement for Galway to move forward with a partnership. “The first part of that year was just getting to know each other,” he explains. “We discussed a lot
of things, we made mockups — none of which we actually ended up with, but it was still really valuable time. We just really got to know each other on a collaborative level. From there we figured out what we wanted things to be together. “ The result is a collection Galway describes as “balanced and nuanced.” Although the assortment is not heavily branded, there are subtle cues that point to the adidas ethos. “You don’t have to write something on it for people to know what it is,” Galway states. “I think you just need to have cues within it. For instance you’ll see the hidden three stripes on the back strap or the boost on the inside of the shoe. That is adidas, not writing adidas on the side of something. It’s that mix of innovation and new territory; that’s adidas enough. After a moment of pause he adds, “You do need to have a balance though. If you look at the overall offer for the year there’s a good amount of the branded and the less branded.” After another moment of pause he finishes, “Still, it’s more important to me that it’s all leading to the product.” As for the future of adidas, Galway is confident that respecting the brand’s history and positioning will always lead to longevity and success. “What is important and true with adidas is that it started in sports. I sit more on the fashion side now, and I’ve worked on some really amazing collaborations, but I started in sports. In my early years I was head of sports and performance, and what I always really admired in adidas is that sports comes first, and it always should. So whilst I love everything we’re doing I always believe that football or soccer or running, these have to be important to a brand like us. If you let that go then you’re not true to where you started. So when we do projects like Y-3 or Originals everything still comes from sport. If I even think back to my previous job with the Qasa, this shoe was hugely popular in high fashion and streetwear. I think it was that popular because it was a sneaker and it was from sport, as opposed to something a fashion brand would do. That is why sport should always be our strategy, and from there we can take it as far as we want. We can take it all the way to Kanye or Rick or Raf, but as long as it still remains true to who we are then I’ll always believe we got it right.”
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NIGO®’S NEW LEASE OF LIFE
WORDS DAV I D H E L LQV I ST PHOTOGRAPHY KENTO MORI
THE BATHING APE FOUNDER DISCUSSES HIS NEW CREATIVE ADVENTURES, MIXING THE MAINSTREAM APPEAL OF UNIQLO WITH THE AMERICANA VINTAGE DESIGNS OF HUMAN MADE. How do you progress and develop when leaving behind one of most influential brands in streetwear history? That was the question facing NIGO® when he sold A Bathing Ape to Hong Kong retail consortium I.T in 2011, and then stepped down as its creative director two years later. For two decades, NIGO® and his famous camouflage – eventually found on just about every garment and accessory streetwear has ever known – was at the forefront of contemporary urban culture. In 1993, when NIGO® and Jun Takahashi set up their Harajuku store, NOWHERE, and launched their brands BAPE and UNDERCOVER, the term “streetwear” hardly existed in the popular lexicon – at least not in the way we use it now. NIGO® and BAPE helped shape that definition.
NIGO®’s love of American and British culture, alongside his fascination with gadgets, first meant the Japanese underground scene embraced BAPE – especially the characteristic camouflage logo designed by SK8THING (now founder of Cav Empt). As the BAPE logo spread across the world – helped, in part, by popular leftfield musicians such as Cornelius and UNKLE’s James Lavelle – European and American consumers of counterculture began to warm to the brand’s notoriously difficult-to-find merchandise. By the end of the ’90s, BAPE had earned cult status in London and New York, as well as in Tokyo. Yet, by the late ’00s BAPE’s fortunes had started to turn, and the brand was no longer the exclusive property it had once been. Having not only revolutionized the uniform of an entire youth generation, but also rewritten the rules on what it’s acceptable to name a brand, NIGO®’s time in the BAPE driving seat had come to an end. But where should he go from there? Characteristically, he chose a two-fold path. Today, among several other side projects that include a boutique Tokyo store and collaborative fashion endeavor with WTAPS founder Tetsu Nishiyama, NIGO® also runs his own independent brand, Human Made, and works as creative director of Uniqlo’s UT T-shirt division. Considering the size and statement of intent between these two brands, they couldn’t be further apart. But, to NIGO® that makes complete sense. “For two decades I’ve worked with my own brand and I had my own company. I feel like I’ve completed that and come to some sort of closure in that respect. When I was looking for my next step, that’s when the approach came from Uniqlo to head up UT,” the man himself explains over coffee in Paris. “I thought it was a great chance, as it also offered an interesting learning experience for me. Officially, it’s been just over one year now, but I actually started working with Uniqlo about a year before that. The last 20 years was all about me and my life on Earth, but now, in this capacity, it’s like looking at Earth. It’s not just my perspective that counts, and that’s very exciting.”
If we look back 20 years to the late ’80s, early ’90s, the people who wore tees everyday would have been the Japanese, the Americans, and maybe the British. But today, the sweat-culture has been adopted by the Maisons of Paris, so I think that means it’s finally been accepted on all levels of fashion!
It’s no coincidence that it’s UT, and not the general apparel line of Uniqlo, that NIGO® is hard at work on. T-shirts have always been a big part of his work, and his own personal wardrobe. Looking back, the T-shirt was the fundamental streetwear basic; it was a blank canvas for designers and artists to express themselves through text, images and graphics. Its casual aesthetic and simple design made it a street staple and, for NIGO®, T-shirts and sweatshirts are the ultimate menswear garments. “If we look back 20 years to the late ’80s, early ’90s, the people who wore tees everyday would have been the Japanese, the Americans, and maybe the British. But today, the sweat-culture has been adopted by the Maisons of Paris, so I think that means it’s finally been accepted on all levels of fashion!” But NIGO® won’t dictate how your T-shirt should look, though he’s got a very clear point of view when it comes to his own perfect tee: “For me, what makes it ideal is the fact that a tee is something you wear and wash over and over, and as you go through that process it becomes, in a way, deformed. But deformed in the respect that it takes on the form and shape of your body. And that to me is the perfect T-shirt!” With his two creative outlets, NIGO® caters for very different audiences. This fact has obviously not escaped him and, even though he won’t say it out loud, that was probably why he accepted Uniqlo’s offer. He needed to find a balance. In the
end, BAPE turned out to be the middle ground – a safe place that, apparently, bored him. The neverending hype machine, the limited edition goods and the “cooler than thou” attitude can surely become a little tiresome after two decades. These days it seems like the man has got a new set of goals and a different drive. “I’m fascinated by the tension between high and low, Human Made and Uniqlo,” he explains. “This is the way I operate; I live my daily life, I look at the surroundings in which I live, the air that I breathe, and people I see around me. In that context, I do my creations. The concept of something being limited doesn’t really interest me anymore, I don’t think that’s what people are looking for today.” Of course, Uniqlo’s business model isn’t built on limited edition goods in any way, and instead offers an inclusive wardrobe where, arguably, everyone can afford to be a part of it. More importantly, the clothes and styles are broad enough to appeal to a wide audience, yet still characteristic enough to be unique to Uniqlo. Meanwhile, Human Made – a (comparatively) small line of workwear clothes inspired by vintage Americana – is very much an exclusive product. The small wholesale numbers come from NIGO®’s ambition to not be tied down by huge seasonal orders or other hype-inducing ulterior motives. “With Human Made, we even skipped a season a while back because it wasn’t the right time to do it. And I like that I’m able to operate this brand that way.”
What I find most rewarding are the challenges of this work. Until now I could do exactly what I wanted, as it was for a very specific customer, but UT is for another clientele, it’s for the masses.
The aforementioned tension between the two brands, from NIGO®’s creative point of view, means that his work days are never dull or uninspiring. It seems he’s a man that thrives on the difficulties of adjusting to the “big brand” mentality. “What I find most rewarding are the challenges of this work. Until now I could do exactly what I wanted, as it was for a very specific customer, but UT is for another clientele, it’s for the masses. All these customers will have to like it and that’s not easy to achieve. But I’m learning a lot and that’s what I find rewarding.” As both a small-time label owner and a corporate creative director, NIGO®’s is a life built on balance: “Yes, it’s like being a DJ: it’s all in the mix! Human Made, for me, is something very private; it’s not really about making it into a business like it was with BAPE.” Yet, whether it’s BAPE, Human Made or UT, his approach to creativity is the same. “Inspiration comes from my daily life and regular activities. These are things I feel in everyday living, and therefore my decision on whether I want, for example, a tightfitting or a loose T-shirt comes from that.” So how important are the two brands to each other when it comes to NIGO® delivering? Would
it be possible for him to do UT without having Human Made as a creative outlet? “Maybe not impossible, but perhaps I wouldn’t be able to create the best possible things for Uniqlo without having that side project. I don’t necessarily think Human Made feeds into Uniqlo but, because I work on Human Made – something that is so intrinsically linked to me – I’m able to work on other projects, such as UT. Human Made becomes like a respite and a pause.” And now that he’s no longer at the helm of a zeitgeist-shaping brand like BAPE, what does he think about the state of contemporary streetwear? “Well, Chanel are now doing sneakers, which makes me think that we were onto something. The line between street fashion and high-end luxury has become very blurry. I have friends that work as designers in the luxury area, and we’re part of the same generation; we’ve come from the same place and time. We influence each other. So the question is, what do you call those Chanel sneakers, is it streetwear or luxury? I don’t have the answer to that… But I did buy a pair!”
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NOLI ME TANGERE P H O T O G R A P H Y SAMUEL BRADLEY S T Y L I N G DAV I D H E L LQV I ST P H O T O G R A P H Y A S S I S T A N T J A M E S R A W L I N G S S T Y L I N G A S S I S T A N T R YA N L E E HAIR H I R O S H I M A T S U S H I T A MAKE UP PERNILLE NADINE USING ONE LOVE ORGANICS — JEWELRY M O D E L’ S OW N
PORSCHE DESIGN SPORT BY ADIDAS
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MARK GONZALES THE MATURATION OF SKATEBOARDING’S MOST INFLUENTIAL MIND
WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY
If all is to be believed, Mark Gonzales is the most influential skateboarder of all time. He is The Gonz, an infallible god of creativity that condemns conformity and holds spontaneity in the highest regard. He is, as many like to say, your favorite skater’s favorite skater. He is the reason modern street skateboarding exists. He invented scribbly, sketchy, skate art. He does sculpture, photography, poetry, painting and everything in between. He is an atomic bomb of originality bursting at the seams, infecting everyone within eye or earshot with his whimsey-filled, childlike vision of the world. He can do no wrong. He is Tuck Everlasting. If all is to be ignored, Mark Gonzales is a middleaged man trying not lose his grasp on the very way of seeing the world that made him a household name. He is tired and bored, and ever so slightly concerned with the grey hairs that threaten to take over the majority share of his head. He is working on this project and that project, because someone in an office somewhere told him to. He wants to be more famous than ever. He just wants to be left alone. He doesn’t know what he wants. The truth lies somewhere in between. Or rather, in the area marked All of the Above. With close to 35 years of skateboarding under his belt, The Gonz is among just a handful of ’80s era skateboarders still involved in the industry in a public manner, although few, if any, command such universal love and admiration. He turned pro with Vision at 16 and today, at 47 years old, he retains a list of enviable sponsors (including adidas, with which he recently
celebrated 15 years). One could argue The Gonz is as relevant as ever. Certainly, he’s productive in both skating and art, releasing footage from time to time and exhibiting around the world. But beyond the endless articles and interviews exalting his contributions to the culture at large, and behind the funny faces and the squeaky voice that channels a brain moving a mile a minute, is the reality of time catching up with The Gonz. This isn’t a bad thing, really, it’s just one more thing that he will have to adapt to. Lucky for him, and for us, adapting is what The Gonz does best. In the late ’80s, an endlessly energetic teenager became The Gonz by taking freestyle tricks like Rodney Mullen’s kickflip and introducing them to the streets. He was the first person to skate handrails, the first to ollie San Francisco’s legendary Wallenburg four-block, and in 1991 he introduced his aggressive, fast, yet ever so smooth style of skating to the world with his part in Blind Skateboards’ “Video Days.” Here, in his own company’s first video (directed by a young Spike Jonze) he skated to the jazz music of John Coltrane — a stark contrast to the rock music most others skated to at the time — moving with rhythm and speed in a way that felt so completely natural it was all but impossible to ignore. During this time period, Gonz, along with fellow Californian Natas Kaupas, skated anything and everything in front of them. Together the two changed skateboarding forever, directing it further away from vert and flat ground, defining what street skating could, and eventually would become.
As the decades came and went, Mark remained deeply dedicated to creating art and pushing the boundaries within skateboarding. In the early ’90s, Gonz left Blind and then, after starting and shuttering another board brand called ATM Click, he landed at San Francisco-based Real Skateboards. The late ’90s and early 2000s offered a number of significant occasions where Mark’s art and skateboarding overlapped in a much more public way than perhaps any previous point. In 1998 Mark was invited to the Abteiberg Museum in Mönchengladbach, Germany to perform a beautifully curious skateboard demonstration inside the gallery — while donning a fencing outfit — in addition to a poetry reading. The show blurred the lines between traditional skate
culture, from the trend of skating unconventionallyshaped boards (Gonzales graced the cover of June 1993’s Thrasher Magazine skating a vert ramp with a banana board with clay wheels, which, under anyone else would spell a death sentence) to the idea that skateboarding is more art form than sport. Go to any skatepark in the world and you’ll likely see at least one kid zigging and zagging like Gonzales did and still does. No-complies and wallies are the tricks de jour, despite the fact that they’re decades old. You know those teenagers in Supreme’s recent Bill Strobeck-directed video, “cherry”? It’s safe to say that none of them would be skating the way they skate without Mark. Hell, they might not even be skating if it weren’t for Mark. What
demo and avant-garde performance art, and further proved that skateboarding and art can coexist. “A lot of the body movements and positions in fencing or ballet, it’s very much the same. Like when you thrust forward to go for a stab, it’s almost the same as an ollie pop,” explains Mark of the matter. “Sometimes I think people mistake skateboarders for being antisocial when they might not really be like that. So I thought to make something more pretty, that was not aggressive, but showed different aspects of skating.” (The footage of this exhibition was later used by Jason Schwartzman’s band Coconut Records as the music video for the song “West Coast.”) A few years later, in 2002, Mark founded Krooked Skateboards with fellow skateboard pioneer Tommy Guerrero, creating a real, tangible outlet for his art. With Krooked he allowed his two sides – art and skateboarding – to fully merge in their absurdist harmony. But don’t ask Gonz what year any of the previously mentioned events happened — he won’t have a clue. Dates don’t matter to Mark. He seems interested only in remembering the experience and allowing it to seep in and out of his mind’s eye, directly or indirectly influencing the other million ideas running through his mind at that moment. And when you consider he’s witnessed most of the major defining moments in skateboarding history firsthand — or he himself has been responsible for them — then it’s best to just let Mark be Mark. In a span of a few minutes, he’s likely to dive headlong into an obscure story about skating a vert contest in communist Czech Republic in the mid ’80s as he is to tell you about a great YouTube video starring a skateboarding dog. Dates be damned, The Gonz’s influence was felt in his heyday, and continues to be felt in nearly every aspect of contemporary skateboarding
is new though, is the approach many contemporary skaters are taking to these old tricks. Much in the same way The Gonz made a name for himself by looking at his surroundings with a completely unbiased eye in the ’80s and ’90s, most anyone making waves in skating nowadays does so by performing existing maneuvers in new, fresh ways. At the core, it proves the point of skateboarding. There are no rules; no right or wrong ways to skate. Simply by thinking about an old trick in a fresh way, it becomes new again. But for a living legend like Gonzales, who has staked his career — and to some extent, his very existence — on the ability to iterate and constantly create anew, this trend of adapting old tricks to new spots can be both an inspiration and a reality check. “You know I’m really surprised when I see people doing things that I’ve never thought of before. I really love it, but I think as I’m getting older I’m less creative, to be honest,” Gonzales explains. “Because I see these younger kids doing things that [make me say] ‘wow, that’s awesome,’ and it’s not me doing them. I mean, I’m sure that myself, and Natas [Kaupas], [Tommy] Guerrero and [Ed] Templeton, all these different skaters must have influenced these young guys. I know I get a lot of credit for doing a lot of original stuff and junk, and you know, it’s okay; I’m sure I helped them to think and skate creatively, but [the influence] is from a lot of other people as well.” This loss of creativity is likely more physical than mental. Aging is inevitable, but because skateboarding itself is only a few decades older than Gonzales, the culture surrounding it hasn’t experienced a generational shift like this before. There is no retirement age in skateboarding. Skateboarding is for life.
The only problem is — I still have no fear — but the problem is that my body can’t sustain the amount of punishment to keep going. I think I gotta take a smarter approach.
“I just wish I was younger so I could rip with them. Sometimes I want to do the same things as them but I can’t do it anymore,” Gonzales continues. “It’s not being cautious, the trick is no fear. As soon as you have fear, that’s when you’re going to get hurt. A dog can sense that you’re afraid and so it attacks you. It’s the same — the concrete knows when you’re afraid and it attacks you. The only problem is — I still have no fear — but the problem is that my body can’t sustain the amount of punishment to keep going. I think I gotta take a smarter approach. You know, think about [the trick] before, and make it in less tries. Or I just have to skate more.” Only more time will tell how The Gonz reacts to aging. One could wager his diminishing athletic ability will usher in a new period of art making, as his manic mind shows no signs of slowing. In fact, a recent afternoon spent with Gonzales in New York City indicated that may already be happening. The Gonz’s medium of choice at the moment is the tablet. “I’ve been really involved in doing animations on my iPad,” Gonzales says. “I’m doing one right now of a purple butterfly. I can show you.” While reviewing an album of sketches done with his finger, I ask if he is aware that David Hockney, the celebrated British artist, almost exclusively creates art on his iPad these days. He shakes his head then shows me a few more animations he’s made in the past day or two — a humming bird-like creature hovering next to a jungle of flowers, a jungle of vines and flowers that’s not quite done yet, and one depicting a skateboarder doing a boardslide 360 shuvit off the coping of a pool and into the flat bottom. The words, ‘By Scott I think He’s Got It’ flash across the screen in a title sequence of sorts. A millisecond later, Mark asks if I know the origin of the phrase, in a tone that sounds like he already knows the answer to the question. I reply no. He asks the waitress. She doesn’t have clue either. A look that reads either disappointment or indifference graces Gonz’s face. “Me neither,” he says. Still, old or not, The Gonz is as curious as ever. Always asking questions, always absorbing, always iterating.
“I can picture an artist being completely into his medium. You know, how like David Hockney likes to use his iPad now, and hardly ever paints,” he says as matter of factly as possible. “The mind of an artist is such a potent type of thing, you have to be very cautious when you even address an artist and ask them about their work.” The Gonz is an artist, of course, but being free to change mediums at a moment’s notice, free to take in endless forms of inspiration and observation without really registering where it comes from, is what separates him from the capital A art world. “For me it’s all whimsical, it happens haphazardly and playfully and [is] not so serious. I’m not like an artist that is relevant in terms of… I’m not represented by Larry Gagosian; the Art Council of London isn’t asking me to build them a sculpture. But you know if I had it I probably wouldn’t know what to do with it. I think that I had it in skateboarding — really big like that — and it made me feel uncomfortable. It was a bit odd,” says Gonzales. “I don’t know, I mean you can always be more popular, can’t you? I came up with this one poem – it goes like this: ‘No amount of attention is ever enough.’ No, ‘No amount of fame is ever enough.’ People get hungry but you know they have to chill.” As our meeting wraps, a momentary lapse of silence is broken by a brilliant idea. “Let’s take a selfie,” Gonzales says with a grin. He holds the iPad up and the screen flashes hypnotically. Flipping back through the images Mark cracks wise that I look like a deer in headlights before pausing and whispering to himself almost inaudibly, “Man, I look so old.” The iPad cover slaps shut. “Think I can make it to 80th and Park by one?” It’s 11:30 a.m. and we’re standing in front of his apartment near City Hall, something like 100 blocks south of where his next appointment is set to take place. “Sure,” I say. And before I can even offer my hand for a final shake, he’s off, pushing his perfectly oversized board into traffic. The Gonz will always be The Gonz. A real music maker. A dreamer of dreams.
STONE ISLAND FALL / WINTER 201 5
WE WERE NOT HERE FIRST
PHOTOGRAPHY ANDREW JACOBS STYLING MICHAEL BAQUERIZO HAIR M A SA S H I K AWA K A M I & KOTA R O S U Z U K I MAKE UP T O M OYA M O T E G I MODELS M I K H A E L AYO U B @ R E Q U E S T N AT E CA R T Y @ R E D NICK HADAD @ ADAM MODELS
FUTURA ALWAYS LOOKING FORWARD
WORD JAMES SHORROCK PHOTOGRAPHY 13THWITNESS
What’s in a name? For a man like Futura, formerly Futura 2000, a lot. Though he had no way of knowing it at the time, the choice of Futura 2000 was prophetic. With a name inspired by the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, it’s no surprise that the artist Futura has always looked ahead to the future. But ask the man if he ever dreamed he would enjoy the sort of career and life that he’s had thus far and it’s clear that this sort of longevity was never something he planned on. Indeed, when he started going by Futura 2000, he was just a 15-year-old teenager living in New York City, fascinated by science fiction and wanting to make his mark on subway walls. Fast forward to 2015 and you could say that nothing has changed and everything has changed. Futura is as busy as ever and still has his gaze fixed on the future, but the world around him has changed in ways that not even his favorite science-fiction books could have predicted. So how did a kid growing up in New York during the ’60s and ’70s tagging trains and subway stations before joining the U.S. Navy become a fixture of the art and street culture scene? At the core of it was and is his prodigious talent. His work showed a different side of graffiti and helped bring it to a wider audience. And then there’s the man himself. He’s intelligent, incisive and doesn’t pull any punches. He’s remained completely himself — no easy feat in a world where everything needs to be politically correct and squeaky clean. But then again, that’s part of what draws people in and why brands like Nike, Converse, Hennessy and the like have chosen to work with him. In a culture rife with “strategic product placement” and fauxeverything, he’s remained refreshingly authentic. To find out how, we met up with Futura in Hong Kong to learn more about his career, his thoughts on the pervasiveness of social media, and what he thinks the future has in store.
You’ve been a regular in the art world and street culture for the last few decades while some of your contemporaries have come and gone. How do you explain your continued relevance and is it something that you’ve worked to maintain or is it primarily a reflection of your work and creative output? Perhaps choosing the name Futura would be the ultimate prophecy. Thanks Paul Renner. I have continued to adapt and evolve but there’s been a lot of luck involved. In the end, I am a survivor. Alvin Toefler’s Future Shock had a big influence on you growing up. Is it still relevant to you now? Well, my name Futura 2000 comes from 2001: A Space Odyssey. So I’ve always been a futuristic dreamer, whatever that was. But I also thought we’d have jetpacks by now and we didn’t really get jetpacks but we have drones, which is cool. I didn’t forecast it totally right but at the same time we never got as futuristic as I thought we would. But yea “Future Shock” was just… I was Futura. It was one of the early influences. You know, there was the typeface Futura, there was Future floor wax, there was Future Shock, but I also knew Alvin’s daughter, so that was another connect-the-dots thing. But, you know, back then that was just stuff we read in school and I didn’t think about it too much. There’s a little bit of paranoia in all that and I’m not paranoid about it. I mean, I embrace it. I was U.S. military; I’m not a criminal, I’m not trying to live in an “underworld.” I want to believe kind of what’s going on and just use the tools that are out here. There was a little bit of cynicism in that and definitely some mind control stuff. I don’t know if you believe Snowden and all that but the thing is, all those revelations don’t really bother me because I feel that you have to consciously have understood from day one that shit you put out there is, it’s out there. So don’t then complain that you think someone is listening in or taking data. One of the things I didn’t like about cellphone technology and having my geo data on is that it’s all networked into just selling you. I’m not running to some signals to tell me “hey, you’re close to
Zara; you bought a Zara jacket three months ago.” Come on, that’s ridiculous. But some percentage of the population wants all that. Like the way Mark Zuckerberg said “all the people want this.” Don’t fucking tell me what I want; I don’t want that actually. I don’t want to be part of that “cool” club. No, I want to do things separately. But you know, before there was any of this in 1996 I wrote my own HTML site. I was online for a long time — publishing nonsense; my own propaganda; stories I invented, interviews I presented that were me interviewing me; whatever, just nonsense. But not with any control, not with any interfaces that were necessarily how they all are now. Controlling and incorporating, “friend” this, and “like” that. I’m just using the platform because, quite honestly, no matter what happens on the upper level of it — the red hearts and the commenting — I want the voyeurism of it; I want the people just looking. I want them; I want to be out there because people do look. So that’s why I’m on it like that. Because it’s the most accessible platform that everyone is just on. So Future Shock is not just negative; there’s also positive aspects to a future like that. Would you agree with that? Oh yea, I do. I think it’s that. For example, ordering food — I don’t know if you have Seamless out here — that’s like the craziest thing I’ve ever heard of. I can just order from my phone and you already have my credit card information and I can tip your delivery person and you’re just bringing me food. Certain conveniences like that. You know, all the books I’ve read — the Blade Runners, the Future Shocks — they always made things seem bleak; they never talked about some of the benefits, the cool stuff that’s also possible. When something is efficient and it works then, well, you know it’s a benefit to society. And if it’s about saving time in some degree, which I feel is also important, then that’s a good thing. So then is there anything to fear or worry about in the future? Well I don’t think machines are going to take over.
I was 15 years old. I was sitting in high school one day and after having seen graffiti on the subway walls, I was sitting down thinking “I really want to do that but I need a cool name.”
So you’re not worried about Artificial Intelligence and all that? No, no, no. And quite frankly, if and when that’s going to happen it’s not even your children or your children’s children. We’re a couple hundred years away from that. I’m already into the 2020s. I’m already there, like in my mind I’m already there. We’re already at 2015 and once you get to the halfway point you should have your next few years planned to some degree. 2020 is 20 years beyond where I initially put my marker. In trying not to be Futura 2001, I was “alright, I’m Futura 2000.” That way nobody is going to say “oh, like the movie” and no one ever did say like the movie. But man, it’s 2015. It’s crazy and you know, that inspiration, that was 1970. I was 15 years old. I was sitting in high school one day and after having seen graffiti on the subway walls, I was sitting down thinking “I really want to do that but I need a cool name.” So you know, like 45 years later, I look ahead. I mean I don’t look 30 years ahead anymore because that’s pretty unrealistic but as a 15-year-old I wasn’t going to live to be 30. Who wanted to in that era? It’s not like today. People within my sphere and certainly my children, I hope we’re more adjusted than that. I think the future is going to be great actually because I think we’re going to get past some of this nonsense. So I’m more optimistic about the future per se than I am about the immediate one. In the immediate future we’ve still got some things to hash out, obviously. But then once we get out of this I think we’re going to get on a bit of a roll and that’s exciting. Speaking of the future, what are some of the things you’ve got lined up? Some exhibitions because I’ve been trying to pursue the artist story again. But having said that, I do have a shoe coming out with Converse this summer. We’re going to have a return of Futura Laboratories. You know, I had to shut my shop down in Fukuoka a couple years ago. Post-Fukushima I felt like I was a burden to them. It wasn’t about growth, it was just about existence. So that was like “okay, let’s pull that back.” And so I thought “okay, I could do it again but now in America.”
So it’s kind of like starting a brand again but it wouldn’t be starting a brand again, it would be just revisiting it. So I might do that. I’m talking with Errolson from Acronym. We’re going to do a painter’s smock or some kind of cool item to work in. Coveralls-ish, Acronym-esque. I don’t know what it’s going to be but it should be some pretty cool shit. Something with Casio — a midlevel G-SHOCK. I’m talking with (Narue) Oka from Medicom — a 400% for sure, maybe something different. I don’t know, some new character creation perhaps — something one-off for them. Perhaps a collection of things could appear over the next year. My book with Rizzoli is coming out in 2016, which is great because it’s been 15 years already since my Futura book and it’s time for another book. There are some exhibitions along the way. The Venice Biennale is doing something with me, Mode 2, Doze Green, Todd James, Delta aka Boris from Holland, if I forgot anyone I’m sorry but a group of us are all doing something in Italy. What about in terms of technology? Do you think Instagram has spawned its own sort of photography? Yeah, I mean, I could call out Timothy, my son. He’s spawned clones of what he’s been doing. But I don’t think it’s about that and I think we should be over the “is photography photography?” question. I mean that’s crazy now because those were the structures and the rules. You know, when there was only something to be judged by certain tools that certain people possessed and classically, only people with money had those things. So that’s not right either. When you don’t have stuff you just have to be more inventive about things. But they’ve dumbed it all down now so anyone can do anything and so people are doing great things and apps help people’s effects look better. But I mean, I’ve already walked through the door of not knowing what’s real and not real long ago and I can’t really judge. I judge people and not their work. I’m all about humanity and stuff we create. Well either you’re super talented and have an eye for things or you don’t but that’s not important. I won’t not like you if I don’t like your work.
What I think is remarkable is — you know I’m going to be 60 — the fact that you just have this device in your hands at all times and you’re connected to everything at all times. I mean, hey, I still bug out at the fact that I’m flying over here 30,000 feet up at 800 mph.
Is there a stigma that comes from being a popular Instagram photographer and transitioning to more traditional photography? Yeah but Instagram has already spawned its own marketplace for people who can use their following to get up. The thing is, if I look at Timothy for example, this company called NY on Air, in the beginning — and it’s not just Timmy, it’s Jason Peterson, Van Styles, I’m sure there are 20 names you could mention. Like I said I’m not following anybody but I know who everyone is because I’m a lurker. I’m looking around and checking shit all the time, that’s what I do. The point is, is that the NY on Air is a perfect example because okay, they have no platform, they’re just coming in like “hey, let’s get some attention here and do our business right.” They really have a clever plan: they just grabbed the right people who had the right following and zoomed them right up. And then popular Instagrammers started realizing rather than just “hey let’s meet up and hang out together, let me leverage this following in some commercial capacity.” Tim’s clever about it because he doesn’t want to really do it but he gets exposed to stuff. I mean they’ll throw you a car like “hey, just take a photo of it with the Brooklyn Bridge or something and put it up on your Instagram.” It’s a crazy way to make money. Everyone wants to monetize something. I’m not on there to monetize it but it is a platform
you could monetize and people are trying to figure out how to do that. You don’t want to sell ad space but at the same time you wouldn’t mind getting gigs based on the fact that you have a lot of people checking out your stuff. But I mean I think Tim is beyond being just an Instagram guy. He was already someone before Instagram and I’m sure he can transcend that into whatever the new thing is. What I think is remarkable is — you know I’m going to be 60 — the fact that you just have this device in your hands at all times and you’re connected to everything at all times. I mean, hey, I still bug out at the fact that I’m flying over here 30,000 feet up at 800 mph. The whole physics of the thing. I first sailed to Hong Kong in 1975 on an aircraft carrier. I was in the Navy for four years and that was the first time I came out here. So I used to be this kid who didn’t know very much but was excited about traveling and geography. I was thinking things like “man, the world seems cool, I’d love to check it out sometime.” That was my entrance and somehow all of this happened. I’m just always super grateful and I’m pretty healthy so I think I’m alright for a while. It’s remarkable, the technology. I’m not on Facebook and Twitter; I don’t want to communicate that way. I want to communicate with my pictures. I want the images, and the graphics, and whatever I’m doing to tell a story in some way and that’s it, let people figure it out. I draw the maps, I don’t give directions.
KITH & HIGHSNOBIETY A TALE OF TWO CITIES
WORDS GARY WARNETT PHOTOGRAPHY OLLIE ADEGBOYE, G I OVA N N I E L AO, TYLER MANSOUR, MARCUS WERNER & ROBERT WUNSCH
Stop for a minute and think: what were you doing a decade ago? 2005 was an interesting time. Pre-financial crash, yet post internet boom – the street fashion landscape had some big hits and some real misses. Still, given the results-driven approach to product and marketing that followed, it’s easy to lapse into nostalgia for the naïvety of that period. 2005 was arguably the year that blogging broke through as an influential medium, becoming less “online diary” and more “information exchange.” It was then that David Fischer, posting from Switzerland via a basic Blogspot template, set out to create a regular document of those products, launches and exhibitions that were relevant to his interests. This online vision of contemporary consumer culture was given the strange but memorable title, Highsnobiety. The following year the full website would take form, and, after a move to Berlin in 2009, David’s Titel Media publishing company began life as it is today. It was a business that would go on to grow massively in both size and influence, fueled by the growth of hype as a global currency. The same period would prove pivotal for Queensbred Ronnie Fieg, who used such currency to build a formidable brand of his own. This then became the springboard for his pair of KITH retail stores. Yet, in the modern digital era, paths can cross without ever walking the same streets. You could argue that the rise of both Highsnobiety and KITH was symbiotic — after all, a magazine needs new things to write about, while fresh product can always use a promotional push. In a world where celebrities are as entrenched in the world of exclusive gear as the regulars of Harajuku or Downtown NYC, and the global fashion press is covering sneaker drops and skatewear brands, Fischer and Fieg’s respective businesses are much bigger than mere bedroom blogging or stacking up a stockroom. A collaboration (of sorts) between the store and the site has been ongoing since both men first met. However, to commemorate Highsnobiety’s 10th anniversary, something more tangible was required. Following their first footwear project together (an ASICS GEL-Lyte III in 2009), they’ve joined forces once again. This time, it’s with PUMA. Consisting of specially reworked versions of the R698 runner (originally released in 1993) and the Blaze of Glory, the collection plays on subtle cultural signifiers of Berlin and New York. In short, it’s a tale of two cities, two distinct personalities and two businesses that have each helped the other make their mark on the world.
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NYC / BERLIN “THE EFFECT THAT IT HAD ON ME WAS INSANE. I CHECK THAT SITE EVERY DAY. RELIGIOUSLY.” Cast your mind back; what were you doing 10 years ago? Ronnie Fieg: I was buying for a chain of stores. I opened up all the athletic brands that [New York sneaker emporium] David Z was carrying, and I was handling all of the athletic buys. I was working really, really hard. I was partners in a lounge in SoHo called Loft 529. Very quickly, within that year… man, there’s so many stories. David Fischer: In July 2005 I went on a week’s vacation to Paris as the first feature I ever did for Highsnobiety. It was about colette. That was the first original content piece for the site — an amazing experience. Funnily, it was the one and only time I put a message on the site saying I was off on vacation and there’d be no news for a week. That was the only time in 10 years that ever happened. No holidays since! (Laughs) How did you first meet? Ronnie: It was at David [Zaken, owner of David Z]’s office, back in the day when he was in town. It was like, 2008. But I knew Highsnobiety since it launched. The effect it had on me was insane. I check that site every day. Religiously. What did you make of David when you first met him? Ronnie: David is a very smart man. He’s well-versed in this market, and the conversations I’ve had with him make me respect him on many levels. What was your first impression of Ronnie? David: I was impressed with how boldly he stepped onto the scene. He definitely felt like an outsider, but I liked him right away and I appreciated the hard work. Quite quickly it became apparent that he knew exactly what he was doing. It was during the financial crisis and it was timeless product that seemed right for the era. You haven’t spent a lot of time in Berlin have you Ronnie? Ronnie: The first time I was in Berlin was for [fashion trade show] Bread & Butter. I love the city, and I noticed that some people were wearing my stuff out there back in the David Z days when we didn’t ship to Europe. It was crazy to see that. David, was New York a pilgrimage for you? David: The first time I went was 1994, but I was a bit too young to be fully aware of what was there. Polo Ralph Lauren was my thing then, and I didn’t need any special shops for that. We did Los Angeles and Florida during that trip, but I was obsessed with the New York part. Since then, Ronnie seems to have boosted the appeal of the running shoe back in the States. David: It’s a big thing. His colorways have become really, really good over the years. He is taking that over to PUMA right now.
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Did you approach Ronnie to work on your 10th anniversary? David: We didn’t have this huge plan for our 10th anniversary, but we knew we had to do something. We wanted to set up a project with some of the people that we’ve been working with for a really long time; we didn’t want to work with people that we’ve only written about for six months. When did you start the project? David: It was probably the middle of last year that we reached out to potential partners. It was really nice to see that most people did want to celebrate with us. It was Ronnie’s suggestion to bring PUMA on board, because he’d just started working a lot more closely with them. The time involved in product creation is at odds with fastpaced content creation. Did you find that jarring? David: It makes me so nervous. I’m like, “Come on! It can’t take that long!” It’s crazy. But there’s nothing as rewarding as holding a finished product that you’re happy with. Ronnie has become such a pro with this. How much did David bring to the creative process? Ronnie: Before working on the shoes, we spoke about the initial concept of it being Berlin and New York. David knows what my talents are and what he can bring to the process. When we got the first samples back, I was like, “Yo. These don’t look good but I’m gonna fix them.” The R698s were really light and leather, not nubuck. Now it looks a lot better. They did a great job with the nubuck — now the PUMA stripe wraps all the way around the heel, which they’ve never really done before. I also like the debossed pattern. David: He took complete lead on design and turnaround, but always came back to me with everything. For him and his team this is completely business as usual. I don’t think I know any retailer out there with this amount of collaborations. He would show me a sample and I’d be like, “Yeah!” but he’d be like, “Ehhh.” Then he’d send me a picture of something else. Those are the situations where Ronnie impresses me and makes me say, “Fuck!” Ronnie: But you need to visualize the whole thing. The reds and lining were off on the first one — the speckles were off too. David: Let’s face it, Ronnie is at that point in his career where he’s not resting with picking the right colors. He has that trust with brands where he can change silhouettes. It’s amazing that PUMA let him create our own shoes like the R698 boot he did. Ronnie’s very much “now” — he lives, breathes and leads the sneaker market that’s now.
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CREATOR / CURATOR “I FEEL LIKE THE RACE HAS CHANGED. THAT RACE WAS PROBABLY AT ITS FASTEST FROM 2009 TO 2012.” Would KITH be as popular now without the blog world? Ronnie: I think that, without an internet presence, it would have turned into what I wanted it to be, but it would have taken a lot longer. Right now, I’m in year four, but it feels like I’m in year eight because of what the internet has done. Before, word of mouth would have had to stretch to other countries. Do you remember the days when being on the blog was everything? Ronnie: And you were depressed if you never got on it! Blogging back then wasn’t like a mag and it didn’t have ads. David was picking it, and if he didn’t like the product, it wasn’t on there. I feel that my name wouldn’t be out there and I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing if the blogs didn’t pick me up earlier in my career. They gave me credit and told my story early on. That was a big deal. David, was the original aim to ultimately have a platform with that kind of power? David: I’m not a designer and I’m not a skateboarder; I found my own way of getting into this world. In the beginning, readers were always excited, but brands weren’t. I remember flying to Vegas for the trade shows in 2006 as a shy 24-year-old and trying to meet some of the brands that I wrote about at the time. They were all cool, but it wasn’t a situation where they were begging to be featured on Highsnobiety. It was crazy how that dynamic completely changed around 2007. We kept on growing. I remember a time when I was being put in contact with the vice president of marketing at a company just to get pictures of a sneaker. It’s the craziest thing if you think about it! In the digital space, one year seems like four years to me. Ronnie: 100% true. That’s what the information highway has done. You can’t stop how fast this thing is moving — it’s a snowball effect. It’s an information time bomb; every day that goes by, there’s more of it. Ten years ago, I think it was more like a hobby than anything else. David: But Ronnie had that ambition. At the time — and I have to be honest — there was this European voice in my head asking, “Why are you branding your collaborations with your name, dude?” That was so weird to me. Looking back, it was probably the smartest thing he ever did because he knew that the Ronnie Fieg brand would go with him wherever he went. Things had more time to breathe back then. Ronnie: There was like, three blog posts a day. Five seemed a lot. Ronnie: In two very different worlds of business, what we do share is big releases. Not just our product, but with the other lines that we carry at KITH. It can be like, three major releases every weekend. That kind of shift is comparable to the blogs and how their business
has grown tremendously — more blog posts means more work from an editorial, design and management standpoint. Yet, these days, retailers can blast something out there now without blogs. You could argue that the power is in the hands of the retailer. David: Totally. I have that conversation a lot now — everybody is trying to be everything. Every store wants to be a news site, and every news site wants to be a retailer. It goes further with news sites wanting to be everything, like Mashable opening a fashion channel, or The Verge and Refinery29 writing about politics. Now, if you own an audience, the new thing is to give them everything. Ronnie: Yes and no. Yes in that we have a following that’s interested in us and is looking at what we do next – and looking at us solely. But on the Highsnobiety side, you get to see our product alongside other product, and that gives you a feel for the market as a whole. You get context. David: The one thing I always say is the reason that we’ve stuck around so long certainly isn’t because I’m a good writer! I’m not an educated journalist or even a native English speaker. I think it’s consistency in what we offer. Nowadays it feels like cynicism has increasingly crept in as the consumer has evolved. David: It tends to be that the ones that shout the loudest are the most negative. It’s just a lot easier to be negative than to be positive. You’re absolutely allowed to say something negative, though — I’m not saying you shouldn’t be critical. Has the criteria for coverage changed at all over the years? At some point it seemed the blogs were constantly competing to feature things before anyone else. David: I feel like the race has changed. That race was probably at its fastest from 2009 to 2012. It was about getting it up first and being the only one — that was the currency and it was the only thing that mattered. Then we arrived at the point where, if we put it up now or two hours later, it wasn’t important. The most important thing we’ve learnt is that those two hours are better spent devoted to one great article than rushing out another few average ones. It’s a science now. David: It is! We look at the craziest stuff — best time, best formats, best social platforms, best wording. You sort of hate yourself for it, but what can you do? That’s the market we’re competing in, and it’s our living. In fact, to find something yourself is a luxury. David: The biggest joy is the find, whether it’s in real life or virtually. It’s so exciting when I find something I haven’t seen before.
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How has Highsnobiety maintained its place for a decade? David: We really had to fight our way into this. Then that next wave of blogs, online magazines… whatever you want to call them… didn’t have to fight so much. In their case it was an easy in, but it was just as easy to go out. Would you ever put yourself out there like Ronnie has? David: It was never my thing. Comparing myself to Ronnie, there’s this European versus American thing. That’s just my personality. My goal was always to create a brand, and I think we’ve achieved that. It was important that the brand stood above everything else and wasn’t about a single person. Ronnie is very good at it though. Ronnie: I know how people think because of how much time I spend at ground level. I’m the consumer. I know how people will act and I like it when people act negatively towards something at the beginning. I think I’ve got to a place, after 20 years in this business, where I know as well as anyone who follows me whether or not a product is good. If I’m gonna put something out, that means I think the product is great. Do you ever worry that, given where you’ve got to now, people approach you with an ulterior motive? Ronnie: Yo, that is a great fucking point. I have long talks with my father and he always told me, “Be careful of anyone who wants to pick your brain about anything these days.” He told me, “Money changes things, but success changes more.” That stuck with me, and the circle has gotten very small. Sound advice. Do you wish you had a mentor back in the early days of brand building? Ronnie: I do. I almost feel ashamed at the fact that I can’t spend more time mentoring the youth — it’s something that I wanna do so badly. I speak as much as I can, but speaking in front of people and Q&As isn’t going to actually help — I want to take people under my wing and show them what’s up. But I’m still building. The people I’ve taken on are helping me run this brand, and I wouldn’t be where I am without them. David: The one thing we had – and it seems like nobody will ever have this again – is time. Ten years ago, nobody expected Ronnie to create a massive sneaker business in a matter of two years. Nobody expected me to turn Highsnobiety into a blog with millions of readers in just a year or two. Now people start things, and if they’re not killing it in a matter of months then it’s assumed that they missed the boat or they’re doing it wrong. They’re not considered successful. It was such a luxury to take our time to build something.
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KITH & HIGHSNOBIETY
OLD TECH / NEW TECH “I THINK LIFE HAS BECOME DISTORTED; THERE’S A RESURGENCE OF APPRECIATION FOR REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCES.” Do you think “blogging” has become a dirty word? David: I don’t know. Jeff [Carvalho, Fischer’s partner at Titel Media] was always like “Don’t call Highsnobiety a blog — call it an online magazine!” I’m like, why the fuck can’t we call it a blog? Perhaps some people view blogs as having eroded the exclusivity of the scene? Ronnie: As a person who cares about business last, I don’t think it’s a good thing that product is available everywhere these days. I wish regions had their own product. In the old days, if you got something you could be a lot different to anyone else on the block. That got diluted. Eventually it’s gonna go back to that — it has to. Regions are getting big enough to support their own collections. David: Yes. You see a bit of it in Japan. It’s the only market where you can Google a brand and still not find anything about it! It’s amazing. There’s brands where I just don’t understand the economics. I’m not saying that the money is everything, but I don’t understand how some brands can survive. Still, that’s what makes them so great. You get that feeling that it’s being done because of passion. What about the use of platforms like Snapchat to promote product? Ronnie: I’m on Snapchat, but not for promo purposes. I think that it’s getting too much. I really think that getting stuff in print is the most important thing. Why is that? Ronnie: Because it’s forever. The older I get, the more I understand how important tangible things are. It’s like when someone goes on a juice diet — for seven days you’re on juice, and by day three you miss chewing. David: For us, the print magazine has been an amazing journey. It really set us apart. As Highsnobiety becomes more pop culturedriven, the magazine is very much about that traditional core of fashion and lifestyle. Do you not worry that the reach of a magazine article is a fraction of what it could achieve digitally? David: The main thing that the magazine has done is teach us about creating high-quality content. Suddenly we had to proofread text and take beautiful pictures because, in print, everything is so definite. You can’t correct things. This process really pushed the quality for the whole website.
Do you think the reverence people have for magazines is down to a slight distrust of digital? David: Ultimately, my parents only respected what I did once I had it in print! (Laughs) It legitimizes so much of what I’d been doing for so long. Suddenly it was like, “What do you do?” And I could slap it down. Ronnie: I think life has become distorted; there’s a resurgence of appreciation for real-life experiences. David: Ultimately, the things that you connect with the most exist in the real world. Our lives should not, and will not, be exclusively online. Thankfully! What about the role of social media in keeping people informed? David: The other day I asked our intern where he gets his news, because I was looking for new sites, and he said, “You know what? Mostly Instagram.” Now I feel like we’re competing with social media as well as the other blogs. It’s a strange new competition — if you ask people which websites they visit every day, how many people are still doing that? These days we’re fighting to be a square on somebody’s news feed. Ronnie: I turn notifications off. I can’t see it. It’s too much. When I think how far communication has come over the last few years, it’s crazy. I just think that the whole digital era we’re in now is so different from where I’ve come from that it’s detrimental to my personal experience. Would you prefer that the real world and digital mix be a little more balanced? Ronnie: The best case scenario today would be to mix both — a little bit of the old school mentality blended into how things are done today. I think Supreme does a good thing with marketing their products. It’s direct, clean and they give you the bottom line. Finally, do you think we’re coming to the end of a boom for athletic footwear? Ronnie: I’ve seen the cycle three times. I think that we’re hitting the end of one now — boots will have their moment this fall. David: It’s a good question. Right now, I can’t see how sneakers won’t play a role over the next few years. It’s too big. But it will have to change eventually. I remember starting in 2005 and sneakers becoming bigger and bigger, then BOOM, everybody was wearing white Common Projects or Red Wings. I was like, “Boat shoes? What the fuck are you talking about?” We’re not that far away from that. But since then, sneakers came back stronger than ever. You can never rule them out.
KITH & HIGHSNOBIETY
PHOTOGRAPHY M A T A B A D STYLING A L E X U S S H E F T S HAIR G U I S C H O E D L E R MAKE UP T O R I M C C O N K E Y
O F F - W H I T E J A C K E T, N O E U N D E R G A R M E N T S B R A & P A N T Y, A L E J A N D R A G B O O T S , V I N T A G E F U R H AT & G O L D C H A I N
CA R M E L I TA CO U T U R E T R E N C H , F L E U R D U M A L B R A & PA N T Y , V I N TAG E F U R M I N K & W R A P N E C K L AC E
S F I Z I O F O R L A U N C H U S A I N T E R N AT I O N A L J A C K E T, MICHELLE HERBERT BRA, INDAH BIKINI BOTTOMS, C H A R L E S A L B E R T C H A I N P E N D A N T, H A I T I C H A I B O D Y C H A I N
MORRIS JANKS CARDIGAN, INDAH BIKINI BOTTOMS, HAITI CHAI CHOKER
I N DA H O N E- P I E C E , C H A R L E S A L B E R T CO L L A R, P U S H M ATA A H A R I N G S
OFF -WHITE FALL / WINTER 201 5
THE MYSTERY WHICH BINDS ME STILL
PHOTOGRAPHY SY LVA I N H O M O STYLING L AU R A WA LT E R S GROOMING N AT VA N Z E E U S I N G S 5 & I N I K A RETOUCHING LO U I S A S S E N AT MODEL CHRIS ARUNDEL @ STORM MODELS
NIGEL CABOURN TWO DAYS WITH NIGE
E L A I N E YJ L E E PHOTOGRAPHY
“To be vintage, it needs to be from before the 1950s. After that, I may call it retro,” Nige starts. Nige, more known to the public as Nigel Cabourn, is in a taxi with me because I convinced him to go vintage shopping in Brooklyn. He only has about 30 minutes before his next meeting. “I was born in 1949 – I am vintage as well, aren’t I? I just made the cut,” Cabourn continues in his thick English accent. “I don’t mind being vintage, really.” In 1967, Cabourn entered fashion school at Northumbria University at age 17. Fast forward almost 50 years to today, and Cabourn is still in the game. He has six stores in Japan and one in London that are so successful that he plans to open more in New York and Seoul. Collaborations with the likes of Filson, Journal Standard, Fred Perry, Red Wing and Converse keep him busy. Alongside his Authentic, Mainline Japan and womenswear lines, Cabourn designs and oversees approximately 18 different collections a year. “People come to me every week to do collaborations. It’s embarrassing,” he says as he throws his hands up in an act of helplessness and repeats, “It’s embarrassing.” The British designer is arguably one of the most respected and long-lasting forerunners of heritage workwear. He’s had his namesake brand for 45 years, which means he launched it right out of college at the tender age of 21. And with the brand’s revamp 12 years ago, he’s still running Nigel Cabourn with the same level of energy and passion he started with. When he moves, he seems to leap from place to place, taking large, energetic strides and sweeping his arms. He executes a hectic schedule with both physical ease and spirited excitement, hence his eager willingness to stop by Front General Store – a shop in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, minutes before an important sales meeting in SoHo, Manhattan. When we meet, he had just come out of another meeting with Woolrich that ran for much longer than expected. “It was for fabrics for Fall ‘16,” he says in his loud, coarse voice as we practically run down the street to catch a lunch break. “My next
meeting is at 2:30, then I need to go to the airport by four to catch my plane. Then I’m headed to Tokyo in three days. But right now I need to eat because I’m starving,” he declares. “I need to eat constantly. I’m a monster.” But despite what he calls himself, he takes his time spooning his fish soup with proper British etiquette. He converses on the phone (“So only the Harris Tweed delivery will be late?”) while nonchalantly ordering more bread for the table. It’s fast approaching two o’clock and we still haven’t left for the vintage store. I’m getting nervous that he’ll be late to his next meeting, but Nige himself is not in any rush. And just when you think he’s getting too comfortable in his seat, he turns and asks, “Now be honest with me, do you think we can make it?” I’m skeptical but I still nod aggressively, desperate to see the avid collector in action. Behind Cabourn’s fine wrinkles and beaming smile lie an obsessive attention to detail, frightening precision and memory as sharp as a knife. He can recall the price of each item he bought in his 4,000piece vintage archive – collectively valued at around 2 million USD according to the designer – which is all photographed for digital records. When our photographer walks in the restaurant where we’re having lunch, Cabourn immediately points to his jacket and asks if it’s Engineered Garments. “Good guess,” the wearer says with a nod of approval, to which Cabourn responds: “It wasn’t a guess.” He’s so fanatic about vintage that in addition to carving out time to meet with collectors wherever he goes, he will not hesitate to snatch a worthy item he sees by chance, even if it means taking it off someone’s back. At the Liberty Fairs trade show that took place in New York last July, Cabourn spotted an attendee with a pair of rare 1930s Blue Gem Cone Mills, and convinced her to trade them with one of his tunics. It’s precisely this invariable enthusiasm that drives him and his brand, and constantly feeds his desire to add to his personal collection. “Four-thousand pieces is not that much. I’ve got giant closets.”
Thereâ€™s not too many people like me at my age... People lose their enthusiasm when they get older. I donâ€™t want any old person working for me. Nobody over 40.
For Nigel, those giant closets are like bookshelves in a library. When conceptualizing a new collection, his approach is to search in his library to find and study a vintage item that matches the theme at hand. “If [the theme] is mountaineering, then I have all the best mountaineering [clothes] from George Mallory in 1924 to Edmund Hillary in 1953. I don’t sit around drawing and thinking about what I am going to design – I have it all in front of me.” Two days before our shopping appointment,
the first place. Every so often, he playfully nudges at me to repeat my question. “My daughter thinks I’m crazy. She thinks I’m too old for the Instagram,” he laughs. “I used to think my customer was quite old. For years, I used to think that it was a guy from 35 to 65, but the reality of it is we’ve got loads of fans that are really young and I’m a bit shocked about it. One time in Japan, we went to a shop to meet our customers and I can’t believe how young some
Nigel and I meet at his sales showroom for some tea. This is when he describes to me in detail how he distinguishes between British, American, German and Japanese workwear, and specifically, military wear. “First of all, the color gives me an idea straight away: we (the British) have a proper army green so it’s very dark, very military; the U.S. have what we call a USMC green, much more of a washed-out green; the Japanese is definitely more khaki.” There are also stylistic cues: “Americans tend to customize quite a lot. I mean, you’d never see a British army garment with embossing [or] branding. The British are a lot more conservative. Germans are great at pockets [and] what I call proper tailoring. German clothing are so well-tailored, it’s frightening.” And lastly, there are material differences: “Americans are obviously fantastic at sweats. British workwear is very much about cotton drill. Japanese are best at denim.” As if all of this wasn’t enough to prove his deep sea of knowledge, he settles his authority as a living workwear dictionary once and for all: “I just know by smell.” We’re back inside the taxi on the way to Front General Store. “This morning on the lift, I said good morning to a guy and he said nothing back. I wanted to punch him in the nose to be honest,” Cabourn confesses. It’s an understatement to say that he’s unusually lively for someone in his late sixties. The man is not strapping by any means, but he has a sizable frame that he keeps in shape with a physical trainer every morning. It would hurt if he punched you. “There’s not too many people like me at my age.” He pauses and continues, “People lose their enthusiasm when they get older. I don’t want any old person working for me. Nobody over 40.” But like any man in his sixties, Cabourn is also endearing – adorable, even. He has the capacity to ramble, often forgetting what’s being discussed in
of them are. People who are 18 or 19 love our product. And they save up for a whole year to buy one piece,” Cabourn says as he lowers his voice in a show of gratitude. With this revelation also came another opportunity. Inspired to further expand his customer base, Nigel Cabourn launched womenswear in Spring/Summer 2014, although it hasn’t been easy. “I find doing womenswear quite complicated, because what I underestimated is that women are not so interested in what men are interested in. When I talk about a zip to a girl, she thinks I’m crazy. It bores them silly, I see.” I ask if he’s open to change his ways. “I’ve tried to keep it the same concept [as the menswear]. Maybe I’m gonna have to change the philosophy, I don’t know.” Another thing he doesn’t know is why he’s so popular. “Why,” he politely queries, “do I have so many fucking fans?” If it’s not his encyclopedic knowledge, electric personality or passion to give back (he guest teaches university students in Kyoto and Manchester multiple times a year), I tell him it must be his personal style, to which he retorts, “I think I look a twat, actually. If you ever think you’re cool, you’re not cool. I look in the mirror and I think, ‘Can you really go out like that? Who you fucking kidding?’” We finally arrive at the promised vintage shop. He swore he wouldn’t spend any money but he can’t help himself. After hastily shuffling through racks (“I need at least two hours here!”) he spots a Bombay bloomer-style pair of khaki shorts, dated Britain 1956. He swiftly makes the purchase but progresses to chat with the shop owners. He’s late to his next meeting. I literally grab at his elbows and drag him into a taxi, but he doesn’t mind. “Thank you very much. I had a great time,” he says instead of a goodbye. Then he’s off.
CRAIG FORD TWO DECADES OF DEFIANCE
GREGK FOLEY PHOTOGRAPHY
Throughout London’s expansive cultural landscape there are few individuals who can claim the capital of Craig Ford. Having first arrived in the City in the early ’90s during the original rise of casual clothing, the two decades that followed saw him land into almost every corner of the street fashion industry, playing a central role in some of its most exciting moments. Such a broad and comprehensive insight isn’t something you come across every day – and, in Ford’s case, it was not put to waste. From working at Duffer of St. George’s flagship store and helping develop the brand during its golden years, to playing a crucial role in A Bathing Ape’s explosive arrival on British shores in the early 2000s, his career is one characterized by a constant proximity to rising stars and a firm understanding of fashion’s ever-changing trends. In 2008, having worked his way up the ladder in a number of different guises, he set off on his own path to launch a number of names* – a distribution company that began life as a three-man operation in an East London studio. In the seven years since, a number of names* has grown into a multifaceted brand in its own right, with PR, marketing, strategy, sales, retail, design and events management divisions all housed under one roof. If you live in London and have even the vaguest finger on the pulse of popular culture, you’ve probably come into contact with them on more occasions than you might realize. What’s more, the anon* story has now finally come full circle, with the opening of an official store of their own on Soho’s Upper James Street. With London’s fashion topography having undergone some incredible transformations in the time Craig Ford has been a part of it, we sat down for an hour with the man himself to talk about style, the Soho scene and a career that’s taken him from shop worker to style mogul without a hint of slowing down.
You’ve often cited Soho as the heart of London culture. Has this area changed at all over time? Soho is always changing, but I suppose that’s a good thing. When I was about 16 my girlfriend and I got the bus from Glasgow down to London. The only reason was to buy clothes and to visit The Wag club or The Milk Bar. I was so excited, because I’d never been to London before. I got the tube to Oxford Circus as soon as we got in at night, just to go and look through the window of the Duffer store on D’Arblay Street. This was when there’d be working girls out on the streets. I’m 16 (looking about 13), with these girls coming over to me like, ‘Are you alright love?’ That was my first ever taste of Soho. Since then it’s just always been present in my life in one way or another. How would you describe street fashion when you first started, compared to how it is today? It’s sort of incomparable. When I first started out working, even going to stores, there wasn’t what you get now – the brands, the media. It was a totally different landscape. Most brands now, to me, come from a lineage of labels. The first brands that really aimed at teenagers were the ’80s Italian casual brands – Best Company, etc. Then you had the French brands – Chipie, Chevignon and so on. The next brands in that same lineage were Stüssy and Duffer. When I was about 20, they were the only brands that mattered. Other brands were just coming off the back of that; British brands came off the back of Duffer, American brands off the back of Stüssy. I think they appealed to guys in a way that people hadn’t thought about before, tapping into culture, music, representing old clothes. Nowadays, the whole market has developed, so there’s no real comparison. Your personal interests are a blend of music, style, literature, politics and design. Has this influenced the way you operate professionally? When I was about to leave school I went to see the career officer and they said, ‘What do you want to do?’ I said I wanted to work in music or fashion and they sort of went, ‘Oh, okay… maybe you can get a YTS [Youth Training Scheme] in an office somewhere.’ Nobody ever even told me that I could go to University and study music or fashion. So I left school and got a job because I wanted to buy clothes and records. The influences always come first, and I think everybody’s driven by that. These things creep into everything I do. On top of that you seem keen on elements of rebellion and subversion. Images of Marx and Lenin adorn the anon* offices, for instance. What do those themes represent to you? Well rebellion’s been packaged now, like everything else. It doesn’t mean what it used to, but those ideas came to me when I was a kid. One of my best mate’s brothers was a punk, and he had a huge Anarchy flag on his wall; my other mate’s brother was a mod with a picture of Trotsky on his wall. He used to sell Socialist Worker Party magazines at Rangers games, whose fans were traditionally more right wing, so there was always trouble. That was my first taste of politics. When I got a bit older I got into
proper Anarchist punk – bands like Crass, Conflict, Subhumans – and it’s continued to be a massive influence on me. But nowadays, yeah, I think it’s become more difficult to talk about because big companies have packaged it. I saw you quoted something the other day about the youth taking over? Yeah, Danielle Greco from VFILES said, ‘Make the fashion industry realize the youth is taking over – we are here to stay and your dated politics will be disregarded.’ I thought that was perfect. Is there any part of that spirit that you put into your work, especially in those early days when you were first pushing BAPE in the UK? That was a strange time. BAPE were purposely methodical with their supply and demand. When I went to the showroom for the first time to make an order I was like ‘Okay, thirty of them, twenty of them…’ and they were like, ‘No. Six of them. Five of them. Just trust us.’ It’s so bizarre to go to make an order and be told how much you can buy of each item. They knew how many they could sell and the objective was to sell that number out, which was the complete opposite of every other brand in the world. When we opened the Busy Workshop store, it was before the days of queuing and all those systems we have now. People crowded outside and mobbed us when we opened the door, grabbing everything they could. We weren’t ready for it. After a while certain product would develop hype – the camo truckers or the shark hoodies later on – and people would queue up. But we never said, ‘This is the release date.’ Eventually people worked a system out, watching what Pharrell was wearing, for example, and start queuing up outside the store waiting. We had all the people from businesses around us like, ‘What the fuck is going on? Can you move these kids?’ To me, that was the start of the culture. Nowadays even the queuing, to an extent, has become part of the package. Yeah. At the same time Nike was starting out Tier Zero with a few stores like Footpatrol and Chapter. You really saw the start of that culture. I find it funny how it’s grown from BAPE and Nike to people queuing up for ASICS shoes now. It’s an entire package. ‘The shoe comes out on this date. You’ll have to queue outside this shop.’ You join the dots and kids buy into it, but these were the guys that started those dots. In recent years there’s been a similar surge in popularity with Cav Empt, involving many of the same people. How do these two stories compare? I think it just proves the genius of Toby Feltwell and Sk8thing. Look at their track record. With Sk8thing’s graphics and Toby’s marketing, they’ve been behind BAPE, BBC/ICECREAM and now C.E. It’s quite amazing to do three solid hits.
Do you think that kind of success comes with having experience of the whole chain – from retail and buying to design, marketing and sales? I was really lucky at Duffer getting to try my hand at PR, marketing, sales, distribution, a bit of design, and then traveling to America do buying. I worked in every part of the company. It’s really good to have that experience. If you’re a designer that’s great, but Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs still have talented business partners. You need someone to take care of that aspect. I’ve got experience within all those disciplines and it’s hugely beneficial. How do you think that translates into anon*. What’s the dynamic of the team? Dysfunctional. We’re like a big unhappy family (laughs). It’s weird, because almost everyone that’s worked here has been here for a long time. When I first started it was just myself, Fabio [Arciero] and Annoushka [Giltsoff] working in a freezing cold studio in Hoxton. Clive used to work in the warehouse at Duffer, now he does distribution here. Harley was a buyer at Well-Gosh and used to visit the BAPE store a lot; now he does sales. We’ve known each other for a long time and there’s a family atmosphere, which can go two ways. It seems like anon* has evolved into something much bigger than its original form, something with character and personality. That was always the goal. Every company has to have an identity – from the graphics and logo to your overall communication. When we started it was just a name, so creating all that was exciting and interesting for me. We had BBC, Gourmet, AMBUSH, and a name – we didn’t even have a logo. I knew it needed a strong image. There are a lot of PR companies out there, but we’ve got the strong personality that people can connect with. Someone said to me the other day, ‘There’s parties on all the time, but not like the parties you guys do.’ We don’t just do a party for a brand. I like to think we do something authentic that connects to the culture. There seems to be a thread that runs through labels under the anon* umbrella as well, which is rare for most companies. I’ve got to be personally interested in a brand to work with them. We get approached all the time by brands that maybe could be good financially, but how I am I going to fit that into the operation? It’s got to make sense.
So what was the motivation behind launching [London trade show] Jacket Required? Jacket was just recognizing a gap in the market. It was weird; I had the idea to put together a trade show and Mark Batista [Number Six, Content Store] had a similar idea around the same time. We knew we could fill that gap in a credible way and we had the connections to make it work. Together we had a solid roster of nine brands each. We approached a few people and didn’t announce anything until there were only a few spaces left. When we finally announced it, we were inundated with messages from people who wanted to show. It ended up being like the BAPE model – demand outstripped supply. That’s how we’ve managed to grow every single time. When we first started, we had about 36 brands. Now we’re at over 150, and we always have the potential to do more. And how did you then arrive at the idea to open the anon* store? It’s sort of been at the back of my mind for years; I’ve always wanted to own my own store. Especially when you visit some of the Japanese stores and you see the way they run things over there, it’s really inspiring. It’s much easier for us to control operations if we’re doing it ourselves – that way we can showcase and present our brands in a really unique way. We’ve designed the store so that it can be split in two, with one half available as a pop-up space for events and collaborations for the brands. There are a lot of stores with similar brands out there as well, and I don’t want to compete with them, so we’ve spoken to a few brands that aren’t available in Europe. There are some other labels that myself or the team have relationships with as well, so it’s turning into a really exciting project. It’s interesting to see your history in retail and brand management make a return. How do you think your experience has helped the new project? Most distribution companies just sell clothes; some don’t even do much PR or marketing. The economy isn’t like that anymore; people always need to sell more. Stores sell out our product, which in the old days was brilliant, but nowadays if a department store sells out its product then that’s a problem – the buyer didn’t order enough. With the anon* store it’s just an opportunity to maintain our control straight down the chain.
What developments can we expect to see in a number of names* over the coming months? We’ve got collaborations coming up with most of the brands in the store over the next few months, which is quite a big thing. We’ve got some good marketing campaigns to go alongside it as well. One of the main things about the store is that we want to work with people that are authentic. Collaborations used to be about two likeminded brands coming together with similar references, or two entirely different brands creating something totally unexpected. Nowadays it feels like “collaboration” is just another buzzword. Back in the day, Britain was way more tribal. When I worked at Duffer we hated Maharishi, they hated us, we hated Boxfresh. Even American companies were at least happy to pretend to be friends, but in Britain we were quite comfortable being enemies. Now I feel like I’m at an advantage, being friends with people from all across the field, and everyone we’re now working with is somebody we have a personal relationship and history with. With 6876 we’re remaking this jacket that I saw years ago when I went around to Kenneth Mackenzie’s house. I loved that jacket, but they’ve never remade it, so I approached him and we’re collaborating on a new version just for us. That’s a longstanding goal achieved. What’s your personal take on longevity? To me it seems like people are less interested in longevity. A lot of brands have come in during the last few years off the back of a trend. If a certain look becomes popular, then it seems like every brand will jump on it – real fast fashion. It’s amazing how quickly some labels have managed to explode in popularity. Yeah, but for how long? If they don’t hit the sales targets, they’re out, simple. Things move so fast now – technology, culture, media. People used to complain about MTV and pop videos because people couldn’t retain a lot of information, so what can we say about Snapchat and Instagram? If you put your brand on a trend then it devalues it, in my opinion. And if a look becomes fashionable, someone will start a brand on that look, but they can only last as long as the trend does. Before you used to want to work with a store, develop your brand, build your orders and categories – everything working in partnership. But I suppose market conditions mean some stores are happy to swoop on trends, make a quick buck and then drop them later. You’ve just got to take the rough with the smooth. One year you’ll be hot, then later you’ll be a dirty word, but these things will come back around. Brands that want to be credible should be unreactive to trends and be true to their brand. That’s how I’ve always operated — store.anumberofnames.org
TAKASHI MURAKAMI’S SUPERFLAT UNIVERSE THE ART OF OBSESSION
BROCK CARDINER PHOTOGRAPHY
During men’s fashion week in Paris, the ground floor of Paris’s Galerie Perrotin is furnished in one-off pieces from Takashi Murakami’s latest collaboration. Surfboards and skate decks printed with Murakami’s rotating cast of characters, including self-portraits, line the walls, as do square canvases spray-painted with the words “VANS” and “MURAKAMI.” The message is clear: we’re here to celebrate a joint project featuring two pillars of pop culture. One grown in the fertile fields of California’s legendary surf and skate lifestyle, and the other formed in the post-war years of Japan. On paper, the union makes no sense. Given form, it does. The former is a patron of contemporary arts while the latter uses commercial merchandising as an artistic medium. What seems commonplace and obvious in 2015, however, was anything but when Murakami launched his massively successful collaboration in 2002 with Louis Vuitton at the invitation of Marc Jacobs; laying the groundwork for Murakami’s prolific and endlessly creative output. Although it’s been 13 years since that partnership put him on the radar of worldwide tastemakers like Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, the Superflat artist remains modest. He’s 53 now and worth millions of dollars but his personality and style say otherwise. Photographed for the magazine on a different occasion than when this interview took place, when I meet him his hair is up in a hastily done bun, the kind you see people get their eyeglasses’s hinges stuck in. Wearing a military-inspired jacket from NIGO®’s HUMAN MADE venture, Murakami could just as easily be the editor-in-chief of a Japanese fashion magazine. Underneath the jacket he’s wearing a pastel plaid shirt and below that there’s a graphic tee from his collaboration with Vans. The shorts are hard to make out but they’re also inspired by the military and on his feet are a pair of Vans Slip-Ons printed
TA K A S H I M U R A K A M I
with colorful Superflat characters, the cornerstone of his newest enterprise. The latest in a long line of commercial work, if you were so inclined you could live your life in a Murakami universe. You could put on Kanye West’s Graduation featuring the artwork of Murakami, dress in a Murakami x Billionaire Boys Club tee, strap on a Murakami x G-SHOCK watch, lace up a pair of Murakami x visvim sneakers, munch on some Murakami sweets, hop on your Murakami x Supreme skate deck, ride to Murakami’s Bar Zingaro for a drink, and come back home to play a game of Murakami Monopoly. If you had the money, you could hang a painting of Murakami x Damien Hirst x Lionel Messi or line your shelves with Murakami’s hyper-sexualized anime sculptures. But how did he get here? He’s now a veritable part of both the art and fashion landscapes, but like another one of the country’s famous Murakamis, author Haruki Murakami, Takashi was not initially well-received in his homeland and was accused of abandoning his Japanese roots in favor of commercial success abroad. These detractors even point to Murakami’s Nihonga training, translated literally as “Japanese-style painting,” in which he holds a Ph.D., as proof. Why would someone with such immense talent waste their time drawing anime? Increasingly disillusioned with the field’s rigid political structure and the lack of a viable art market in Japan, he began to look toward contemporary artists in the West for inspiration. In 1994 he traveled to New York to participate in PS1’s International Studio Program after receiving a fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council. There he studied the works of artists like Anselm Kiefer and Jeff Koons, forever changing his creative approach and altering his artistic sensibilities. While his work from that point on would begin to resemble the art we associate him with today, a key Nihonga characteristic would remain.
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Central to the Nihonga tradition is the principle of emphasizing things that are considered uniquely Japanese. Of course what could be considered uniquely Japanese had changed drastically since the term was coined during Japan’s Meiji period, which ran from 1868 to 1912. While it used to count things like the country’s nature and traditional way of dressing as distinctly Japanese, in Murakami’s mind, things that were uniquely Japanese in the late 20th century included anime and the culture surrounding it. Reaching back into his adolescent years as an “otaku,” or obsessive anime fan, Murakami was ready to take this seemingly lowbrow culture and elevate it to international highbrow acclaim. Treating the subjects and the illustrators who crafted them as artists, the foundations of Superflat were in place. As artnet uncovered, the term was initially used in “an exhibition he organized for the PARCO department store museums in Tokyo and Nagoya,” followed by a 2001 exhibition of the same name, the first in a trilogy of exhibitions designed to portray the lesser-known potential of Japanese artistic creativity by introducing Japanese pop culture creations to an international audience. During these years, the term referred to the way various forms of graphic design, pop culture and fine arts are compressed – flattened – in Japan. The world was interested in Japanese art again. People were listening and enough time had passed since Japan’s defeat in World War II for a new generation of creatives to take their culture and turn a critical eye on it; a culture that valued originality but at the same time fetishized consumerism, particularly the West’s approach to consumerism. In Murakami’s words, “I think that those who were able to enjoy consumer culture and the world of consumerism were in the countries that were victorious in the war. And by the countries that were victorious in the war I mean the U.S. and the British. Societies that lost the war, like Japan, envied the consumerism of the winners but they still wanted at least to be able to borrow what they envied.” [GalleristNY]
Superflat allowed Murakami and other artists under the Superflat umbrella to express this belief in ways it hadn’t been done before. Through Superflat, anime’s exaggerated aesthetics could be used for reasons other than entertainment. Appearing distinctly Japanese to Western audiences and distinctly Western to Japanese audiences, Murakami’s cultivation of Superflat ushered in a new type of art market in both parts of the world. An art market in line with Murakami’s sensibilities, where mass-produced products could exist at the same time as priceless paintings; where Superflat creations could be appreciated and acquired by serious art collectors and otaku fans alike. Over the years though, the term has been reinterpreted by Murakami, his peers and critics to refer to things such as “the shallow emptiness of Japanese consumer culture.” [artnet.com] This interpretation is perhaps the most striking and integral to Murakami’s output as his most recognized medium; merchandising, is also his most accessible. Consider his groundbreaking 2002 work with the French fashion house, for instance, in which Louis Vuitton’s 150-year-old monogram was reimagined in vivid Superflat color. To the tune of $5,000, fans of the luxury brand could show their admiration for heritage and pop culture in one eye-catching go. Applying this interpretation to the project and the collaboration becomes something entirely different. No longer does it just reflect the tastes of its wearers, instead, it plays right into Murakami’s initial exploration of consumerism. A work of art on a giant, corporate-backed, board of directors-approved scale. The ultimate comment on consumerism. It’s this ingenious, conceptual approach to art, alongside his factory-like creation methods, that has earned him comparisons to Andy Warhol, (one which he detests, by the way) and has brought him to the attention of today’s farthest-reaching entertainers: musicians.
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The story goes that when Kanye West reached out to the Japanese artist in hopes of a studio visit, Murakami had no idea who he was. West wanted to see Murakami’s Hiropon, a fiberglass sculpture of an anime woman with unrealistically large breasts, in person. Immediately taken aback by the sculpture, Kanye began taking photos of the figure before even saying “hello.” Nothing came of the initial meeting but a month later Kanye’s team got in touch and soon enough the cover art for Graduation and corresponding music video for the album’s lead track was in the works. Teleporting Mr. West’s Dropout Bear mascot into his Superflat universe, the two titans would come together to reinvent hip-hop culture, and by extension pop culture, as we know it. A pivotal moment in hip-hop history, West’s third studio album was set to release the same day as 50 Cent’s Curtis. A bet between the two musicians on who could sell the most albums was placed and it was said that whichever album came out on top would determine hip-hop’s future trajectory. If West outsold 50, it showed music fans were open to new ideas in hip-hop. If 50 outsold West, it proved gangster rap wasn’t going anywhere. A week after both albums were on store shelves it was revealed that West outsold 50 by nearly 300,000, moving 957,000 copies to Curtis’s 691,000. Along for the whole ride, willingly or not, was Takashi Murakami, who through Graduation would become a formidable presence in the traditionally insular world of hip-hop. While fans of the genre were used to seeing hardened portraits of their idols as cover art, West and Murakami introduced a style that had already rocked the art and fashion worlds to a whole new audience. Murakami was now hiphop. The YouTube view count for “Good Morning” clocks in at over 17 million while Graduation has now shipped upwards of 2.7 million copies. Since then, Murakami has worked with every type of artist, brand and company under the sun, lending his malleable aesthetic to streetwear heavyweights like Supreme and visvim as well as international hitmakers like Pharrell Williams and Britney Spears. In 2011, he even teamed up with Google to decorate their classic search tool with two different doodles.
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Each collaboration, though vastly different in subject, keep one thing at their core: their insistence on welcoming the outsider to Murakami’s universe. Whether through the use of the artist’s original characters, which notably include Mr. DOB, Kaikai and Kiki, or the repetition of familiar motifs like flowers, mushrooms and jellyfish eyes, every partnership ends in Murakami’s fantasy naturalizing a new citizen. And more often that not, this feeling is reciprocated. Look no further than the 2010 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for proof. Inflated alongside icons such as Mickey Mouse and Snoopy, 30-foot versions of Kaikai and Kiki were invited to take part in the festivities. The artist even got in on the fun, dressing up in a bright green flower costume of his own design. A trivial one-off compared to his works that hang in powerful institutes like the Gagosian Gallery, Murakami’s participation in the annual parade is perhaps the most symbolic. Despite their differing origins, each character in the parade knows no bounds. They may not have the superhuman qualities of a Marvel or DC hero, and they may not even be center to their own fictional universe, but each one successfully transcends time and culture. A phenomenon of mass media, Murakami’s characters have now entered this elusive realm and they don’t care if their flying above the streets of New York, hanging out in colette or posting up as part of Larry Gagosian’s personal collection. What Superflat originally set out to do hardly matters anymore. Just like its characters, it’s open to change and welcomes outsiders. Its secret power lies in its ability to adapt; its ability to take something foreign and make it familiar. It has its own gravitational pull and eventually we’ll all be part of Murakami’s universe if we’re not already. Best of all, you don’t even need to bring anything – just an open mind and an open heart.
©Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
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A CONVERSATION WITH ANDREW RICHARDSON
WORDS J E F F CA RVA L H O PHOTOGRAPHY THOMAS WELCH
Founded by fashion editor and stylist, Andrew Richardson, in 1998, Richardson Magazine leans forward in its discussion of sex and pornography refusing to shy away from uncomfortable or extreme matters as explored by a top list of contributors. Its covers have been dominated by adult film actresses of the moment: Jenna Jameson, Sasha Grey and Belladonna have all graced the magazine. Delivering just seven issues in the last 17 years with no plans to regulate itself, Richardson is a laborious work for Andrew and his small team. During that time, he’s continued to style for the world’s top fashion magazines while exploring other avenues for the Richardson brand, including his highly coveted clothing collection that is very much one of the now brands coming out of New York City today. The long game is a slow one with Richardson and that seems to be just fine for its founder, as we discovered during this interview. I brought a trove of recently acquired vintage underground erotica to interview Andrew Richardson. I discovered the stash buried under a pile of birthday cards at a flea market in Brooklyn. I spread out the find on Richardson’s side table – vintage ’30s and ’40s “blue books” with strange erotic writings and grainy “Illustrated from life” pornography not too dissimilar from today’s world. He gets right into it: I never get too into anything. The thing that really frustrates me is that someone can show me something, and if I’m not particularly in the mood to see what they’ve shown me, I will overlook it and then maybe 10 years later, they’ll show me the same thing again when it’s what I’m looking for and I’ll be high off that experience.
It’s also 11 in the morning to be looking at this stuff. I’m not talking about this specifically, but rather the general process of collecting. For me, making the magazine, curating things and getting obsessed with anything is about serving my needs at the time. So I don’t really collect for the sake of collecting, but I get into things because they relate to the work I am doing. That’s the process of doing the magazine. There might be something I saw when I was much younger that will just pop back into my mind and be remembered, but normally any type of collecting of this type of material will be because of it’s about to go into a magazine or something that just happened that I am now interested in. Each issue of Richardson is built around a theme. How do you land on the topics you cover? I’m always thinking about a word, or a city, or a country, or anything, and I think “can you do a magazine around that idea?” Then I begin to imagine “what would this magazine about this particular thing include?” You start to think of things that would be typical or atypical. For me, the most important word is “no.” You can have a bunch of ideas floating in your head, and the one that stays is the one that gets done. Rather than taking something and going for it, I percolate on a whole bunch of different things and see which one stays. Also, things change. Like this [next] issue was supposed to originally be about California, but there were so many things that I couldn’t include that I wanted, so I opened it up to be an “American” issue and it’s America from a specific lens. Black Chyna is on the cover and it took us a long time to get a hold of her and make that happen; it turned into a two-year process. That’s kind of good because a whole lot of interesting things have happened in America since then. If we put it out a year ago, it wouldn’t have been timely. Sometimes the luxury is that I don’t have to do the magazine at all on any bimonthly or monthly schedule. I’m very lucky to be in a position where I have an audience and I can work like that. It’s more important for you to get it right? Yes exactly. For me, if I decide to do it a certain way, I just can’t let go. Richardson Magazine is impressive in its ability to tackle topics directly as well as for its impressive list of contributing artists, photographers and illustrators. Can you discuss the relationships you have with the creative people you feature on the pages of the magazine? I always refer to a magazine or clothing line as a “we” instead of “me” or “I.” Because “I” suggests one person did it all, and I almost feel
embarrassed when I read an interview and it’s all about “I” and “me” and it just makes them look ungenerous. For me everything has come from the group of people that I am friendly with. I live in New York City and most of the people I know, we have a work-friendship relationship going on and I don’t think of very many people as being of just pure work or pure friendship. I’ve had many different collaborators and just like the magazine, things change, issues change, and sometimes you’re friendly with someone and you’re helping each other with your creative work. Out of that friendship your perspective is shifted and maybe the magazine changes. [Richardson] Magazine has been around since 1998 and as I am told it has been reliably good, and I think that’s because we stay open to change and open to having a diverse group of people in flux. It feels like a long game to Richardson: the magazine is going on 17 years, yet in that time has published just seven issues, with an eighth forthcoming. You touched earlier on how getting each issue correct is more paramount to keep a formal schedule. Do you think this affects your readership? I know it sounds really selfish but I don’t really think about the reader when I’m doing the magazine. Not in any kind of dismissive way, but I just think about whether it’s cool or not or if it works. I’d love to put [Richardson] out every year or twice a year, but there’s never been a great business structure around it. It’s been more of a labor of love than a business. When I first started the magazine I thought, “This is going to be great; it’s going to come out every month or every quarter” and the reality is that it didn’t happen. It just isn’t viable. Maybe in the future it will be, but the magazine needs to be the best it can be. Sometimes there might be something that may make me or readers uncomfortable, but you have to push yourself and your reader. I always want to push the boundaries and that might not be so appealing to advertisers, but fuck those advertisers anyway. They don’t give a fuck about you, the reader, or anything except the bottom line. We don’t give any consideration to any of that kind of stuff. We have a genuine editorial point of view, which I think is the greatest luxury today in publishing. I’d rather go broke and do a magazine that was genuine. If you made a lot of money in the wrong way, like you stole it, you would burn it. You would spend that money and waste it; it wouldn’t be good.
I don’t really know what “pornography” technically means but it seems to me that we aren’t in a pornogra phic progressive period. We’re into like terror porn, horror porn, death porn, death cult. That seems to be the porn of now.
Richardson Magazine is an example of a thriving, independent print publication in the era of digital dominated by a seemingly limitless sea of social media and Tumblr blogs. Does digital factor into the longevity of the magazine? It’s not important. A while ago we did try to make a website that was an online extension of the magazine but it was never materialized. It was kind of something we did while doing the magazine. It didn’t really have a goal, it was just meant to be funny. It was getting a lot of traffic, but then I realized it was just costing me money to stream. We had a lot of fun, we made videos, we did interviews, but it was just not sustainable. I do work as a fashion stylist and a creative director and I was just using that money to experiment with the magazine online, but there was just never a business structure around it all. I guess that was a sort of failing but I also consider it a godsend: For me, the magazine online is not important. It always ends up online, but I don’t really care. The magazine is well-known for putting adult film actresses front and center on covers. With the exception of Jenna Jameson (A1) and Tera Patrick (A3), many actresses are known for the extreme nature of their work: Belladonna (A6), Stoya (A5) and Alisha Klass (A2) come to mind. Did their work play a part in the selection process? No, not really. It was more because they were appealing and famous in their field. Media is arguably more tolerant today of pornography and sex. Neither topic seems as taboo today as it was in past decades. Has pornography changed in the last century? I don’t think it’s really changed; it’s just become more mainstream. If you look at John Willie who did “Bizarre” publications between 1947 and 1961, he was like a bridge, in the way, to a lot of the erotic publications done. Before him, erotica was made to be seen in private, and were exchanged and collected that way – those were much more extreme than what you’d see today. A lot of them were sadistic fantasies that had no sense of political correctness at all, often regarding race or sex, gender, whatever. Those were really a reflection of the human imagination in its unfiltered sense. John Willy came in, took that and made it more beautiful and more palatable in a way, and took that extreme sort of sadistic stuff out and injected a little more beauty. Then things change and you have people like Irving Klaw, Gene Bilbrew and Eric Stanton, who continued with the mail order “art” and it then became commercial.
As soon as it becomes commercial, you see things change. You see John Willie change: he commercialized this kind of BDSM aesthetic and it became less visceral and a little more palatable. Then it continued on to the point where you have pornography today where there is some stuff that is misogynistic and violent and shitty and psychological, but generally it’s pretty boring. It’s pretty natural: There’s some vaginal intercourse, some anal intercourse, some oral sex, and then both people climax. There’s some psychological stuff that is kind of implied but it is pretty tame, compared to the earlier 20th century. I don’t really know what “pornography” technically means but it seems to me that we aren’t in a pornogra phic progressive period. We’re into like terror porn, horror porn, death porn, death cult. That seems to be the porn of now. You have ISIS who is clever at manipulating the media and horrifying the West. That’s kind of where the extreme pornography of today is. I see it as just very choreographed and I can’t watch it – it’s just not my thing. I think that’s where pornography is extreme today, but sexually it’s pretty boring. I think pornography is sort of lost at the moment. It doesn’t seem to really know what to do or how to deal with the business changes. Porn is kind of boring, and kind of dead. Blac Chyna is not a porn star, we didn’t put a porn star on the cover of this issue. I just didn’t feel like there was anyone that cool. You’re a successful stylist and over the years you’ve offered collaborative T-shirts to celebrate issue launches. Today, that’s grown in a full Richardson clothing brand with a collection of garments that share similarities with mid-aughts streetwear, particularly Japanese brands – I think of BOUNTY HUNTER; a little Hysteric Glamour. What is your connection, if any, to Japanese streetwear? It’s simple. I actually never fucked with any of that shit except for WTAPS. I see [Tetsu Nishiyama] every time I’m in Tokyo. He’s brilliant. I’m jealous of his talent; he’s so fucking clever. I think it’s a mutual thing: he likes the magazine, I like his clothing. I’ve done a lot of work and projects for Supreme and it was James Jebbia who told me to check him out. We would go to the NEIGHBORHOOD store where you would be able to get WTAPS, maybe 15 years ago or more. I would go there and buy stuff, and I’d come back the next day and buy some more. It was a feeding frenzy. There was never anything before where I got so carried away. I felt like [Tetsu] was creating a military uniform for people who were sort of like-minded.
WTAPS modernized the M-65 military jacket by adding technical GORE-TEX. Yes it was the taste. I remember he made a zip hoodie out of three different fabrics. I really hate the word “couture” because it wasn’t 3,000 hours of work that went into it, but it was an incredible thing. I think it was almost so good you could copy it and feel good about yourself. I can’t help it, but definitely a lot of ideas in [the] Richardson collection originate from WTAPS’ early 2000s aesthetic. It’s often the way I remember it. You talked earlier about how you felt Japan was the “ultimate.” Talk about your relationship with Japan and the people there. I first went in 1989. I bought my first CD and portable CD player there; I bought Joy Divisions. I remember you could skip to the tracks you liked and it was a fucking revelation. I remember going to Hysteric Glamour and met Nobu Kitamura. I was 24 maybe and I was very impressed with Hysteric Glamour and all of the graphic T-shirts they were doing. That was my first introduction into Japanese streetwear I suppose. Does any of that play into what you do today with Richardson, the clothing brand and magazine? It’s like a lifestyle, isn’t it? I’ve lived a pretty consistent type of life, and therefore whatever I do comes out of the good and bad things of that life. I’m sure 23 year old me would be into what I’m doing now, hopefully. I’ve gone through huge changes, but I believe I’ve definitely been into similar types of things. When you get off a plane in Tokyo, everything feels very kept. You walk into a convenience store and everything is in its right place. There’s no laziness to that lifestyle. Exactly. It is rigorous. When I was young I used to be a real asshole [in Japan]. I would go there, walk across the street when the light was red and I realize now that I was so ignorant. It was really comforting and relaxing to observe the rules. The rules there are for the greater good. It’s okay to antagonize, but you shouldn’t go to a place like that and be antagonizing. You should save that energy for a place worth antagonizing. What’s next for Richardson? For the magazine we’re launching in Berlin on September 17th at the COMME des GARÇONS Black Shop in conjunction with the Berlin Art Book Fair, and then we’re launching it here with the New York Art Book Fair (September 18th to 20th). We’re launching it in Tokyo with Bonjour Records on October 1st. We’ve got a pop-up shop in Los Angeles that goes through the month of October. There’s a lot of stuff to do. It’s about slow growth rather than explosive growth. Slow growth for me is to get there in the right way and not be too thirsty and try to do it with a bit of dignity rather than just hyping the fuck out of it. We don’t really hype things. We just offer it and hope that people get it. — richardsonmag.com
GIORGIO MORODER LONG LIVE THE DISCO KING
WORDS ALEC BANKS PHOTOGRAPHY ALLEN PARK
Giorgio Moroder answers the door in a polka dot shirt, linen pants and quickly ushers me into his condo as if we’re old friends. In the 10 steps it takes to get from the front door and into the sunfilled living room overlooking Beverly Hills, three Oscar statuettes guard the hallway as if pawns in-service to the legendary producer, composer and disco king. I ask him if he says “good morning” and “good night” to the Oscar statuettes. He offers up a warm smile that sits below his iconic mustache. While it’s decidedly grayer and more tamed than it was when he reigned supreme in disco music during the ’70s and ’80s, the man and his career actually seem to be aging in reverse as if Benjamin Button pressing buttons. Today, he has an engineer in his home to work on his DJ set for upcoming dates at Gurtenfestival in Switzerland and Melt! Festival in Germany. In some cases, Moroder is twice if not three times older than the other performers also scheduled to appear like Ellie Goulding, A-Trak, alt-J, Jamie xx, La Roux and Toro Y Moi. I ask him if he still gets nervous when he performs. “No,” he says, with supreme confidence. “I also have to do The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” he adds, as if appearing on a late night television show is as nerve-racking as tying one’s shoes. After a period of semi-retirement in the 2000s – where he was on the golf course working on his short game more than in the studio – Moroder has stormed back into mainstream music consciousness thanks to his work with Daft Punk on Random Access Memories. On “Giorgio by Moroder,” the 75-year-old says “the dream was so big, that I didn’t see any chance because I was living in a little town, and was studying.”
Two weeks before he was born Giovanni “Giorgio” Moroder in Ortisei, Italy – a town of 4,637 in South Tyrol in Northern Italy – German forces invaded Norway and Denmark. The son of innkeepers, he was one of four brothers who all had a passion for the arts. “I had quite a nice upbringing,” Moroder says. “We were not rich, but not poor either. After World War II, it was quite difficult in Italy. We had food, but not much.” When he was 15 years old, Moroder decided to follow his musical passion. Armed with both a guitar and bass, a younger Giorgio would play gigs at coffee shops and at restaurants with other musicians – often forming either a trio or a quartet – and belting out pop covers as well as original
as well as performing under his own name. “Munich felt much better because I could drive to Italy and it only took two-and-a-half hours,” Giorgio says. In October 1970, Moroder scored a Gold record for “Looky Looky” on Ariola Records. He also happened upon a singer named Donna S u m m e r – born LaDonna Gaines in Boston, Massachusetts – with whom he took a liking to after using her for background vocals while working with Three Dog Night at Musicland Studios in Munich. While it would be several years until they became an infectious, disco duo, the seeds were planted for a successful partnership. By 1971, Moroder was ready to infuse inspirations he gathered from Walter Carlos’s
songs. “I would do all of this in the summer,” he remembers. “And then I got the offer to become a professional – with my little guitar and my little bass. So I started when I was 19 and dropped out of school.” After leaving the comforts of home and the smalltime gigs that often give a musician the courage to take the next step, Moroder found himself in Switzerland for his first professional gig. He quickly learned how things could change in a profession where playing in harmony is vital. “After two weeks, the pianist – who was actually quite good – forbade me from playing guitar because the piano player and guitarist never get along,” he says. “Each one wants their own chords. So I had to start playing bass.” By the late ’60s and into the early ’70s, Moroder begun to make a name for himself as both a singer and a producer under the harshest of conditions: Cold War-era Berlin, Germany. The Wall itself was meant to keep Western “fascists” from entering East Germany and undermining the socialist state, but it primarily served the objective of stemming mass defections from East to West. “After a period of time, I got really tired,” he remembers. “I would leave Berlin once a year and go home to Italy and it was not healthy.” While Moroder had to navigate “Checkpoint Charlie” and succumb to other restriction that came with living in Berlin, he actually thrived by creating something the Germans referred to as Schlager music – songs with pop melodies and infectious rhythms. “I had my first hit in Berlin,” he says of those early years. Buoyed by success, Moroder moved from Berlin to Munich. His career continued to take off producing records with people like Pete Bellotte –
album, Switched-On Bach – which was computer generated and utilized synthesizers – into his own music. “This is the instrument which I would love to use,” Moroder told NPR in June 2015. “And then I found this guy in Germany who had one. It changed, a little bit, my life.” The ensuing recording, “Son of My Father,” marked the emergence of the Moog synthesizer in disco/pop music. While the song was originally recorded by Giorgio and broke the top 100 in the United States, the tapes of the recording ended up in the hands of another producer, Roger Easterby. The same day he heard the futuristic composition, Easterby went to the studio with Chicory Tip – a British pop group – and recorded a cover of the song. Their version of “Son of My Father” hit number one in Great Britain – becoming the first song to top the charts that prominently featured a synthesizer. With his newfound love for synth-infused compositions, Giorgio went to work on Donna Summers’s conceptual album, I Remember Yesterday – a record that channeled the musical stylings from the 1920s, 1950s and even the “future.” The breakout hit from the record, “I Feel Love” peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the charts in Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. As his success in the music business continued, Hollywood came knocking on Giorgio’s door. Director Alan Parker wanted Moroder to create music like “I Feel Love” for his film, Midnight Express. “I must say, it’s all director Alan Parker’s fault because he liked the song ‘I Feel Love,’” he jokes. “So he said to me, ‘Get me something in that style. Something dramatic.’”
Longevity is whether you still like your work... [It’s] saying to yourself, ‘I loved it 40 years ago, and I still like it.’
The music for Midnight Express earned Giorgio Moroder his first Academy Award for Best Original Score. It also holds the distinction of being the first score to use digital techniques – beating out legends like Ennio Morricone for The Boys from Brazil and John Williams for Superman. “That was quite an achievement,” he says. “But I never thought about
just eliminated his boss, Frank Lopez. “The movie was not finished yet. He explained to me the scene when [Tony Montana] comes in from Cuba. That was the first and only song I’ve ever composed without seeing the movie beforehand. I played it to Brian a week later and he liked it.” With a brand new audience thanks to his
it like that at the time. When that movie came out, the film world and the composers like John Williams were all classically trained. I was coming from pop – and even moreso from disco.” At the same time, critics and fans began calling for the “death of disco.” In one of the more “antidisco” moments in history, Chicago radio DJ, Steve Dahl, arranged a “Disco Demolition Night” at Comiskey Park – home of the Chicago White Sox. With over 50,000 people in attendance, Dahl proclaimed, “This is now officially the world’s largest anti-disco rally! Now listen – we took all the disco records you brought tonight, we got ’em in a giant box, and we’re gonna blow ’em up real good.” After Dahl did blow up several hundred disco records in center field, thousands of people rushed onto the diamond – ultimately causing a cancellation of the second game of a double header between the Sox and Detroit Tigers. “I was lucky because when that anti-disco movement came, I was already in the movie business,” Moroder remembers. “For someone like Donna Summer, it was really hard. And I also spoke to Nile Rodgers of Chic and it was really hard.” As the conversation continues about his work in film – with additional Academy Award wins for Best Music and Best Original Song for Flashdance and Top Gun – Moroder gets up from where we have been sitting and glides across the room to his white, Yamaha piano. I had asked him about “Tony’s Theme” from Scarface. “That’s the ‘bung, bung, bung?’” he asked. Before I could answer, he was playing “Tony’s Theme” for me as the early morning sun shone through the windows. “I met Brian De Palma in New York,” he says of the origins of the iconic scene where Al Pacino’s character, Tony Montana, has
appearance on Random Access Memories, Moroder returned in 2015 with a new album, Déjà Vu – his first since 1985. One song title in particular, “74 is the New 24,” pokes fun at how his career is once again taking off at an age usually deemed the “twilight years.” I ask him what advice he would have given his 24-year-old self. “When I was 24, I was just learning how a composer should compose, but I was not quite there yet,” he says. “What I would have told myself is ‘stop doing the music in the nightclubs.’ I would say ‘get out of the lazy musicianship and become a producer and a composer.’” Just before the breakdown on Daft Punk’s “Giorgio by Moroder,” he says, “Once you free your mind about a concept of harmony and music being correct, you can do whatever you want. So, nobody told me what to do, and there was no preconception of what to do.” The same can be said for longevity. There’s not just one way to achieve it. “Longevity is whether you still like your work,” he says. “[It’s] saying to yourself, ‘I loved it 40 years ago, and I still like it.’ I think it’s a little like riding a bicycle, once you know how, you never really forget. That’s longevity in the music business. I still like it, I still listen to it, and I don’t listen because I have to, it’s because I like to.” We say goodbye to each other with a fist bump, not a handshake. “Wow,” I thought to myself. He really is a young man. Then he points to his pinkie finger and says, “It’s hurt.” A week later, I see Giorgio sitting in and playing alongside The Roots on The Tonight Show. Dressed in a black shirt and black sunglasses, the only indication that age was catching up to him was a small, white bandage on that same pinkie finger.
HOW TO MAKE IT IN LONDON WORDS IAN HSIEH PHOTOGRAPHY SUNNY LAU
HOW TO MAKE IT IN LONDON
INDEPENDENT RETAIL IN THE SMOKE IS FLOURISHING. BUT SURVIVAL, LET ALONE SUCCESS, DOESN’T COME EASY. WE REVEAL HOW GOODHOOD, LN-CC AND PRESENT BATTLED TO BECOME THREE OF THE FINEST ESTABLISHMENTS IN THE CITY. It’s the autumn of 2007, and Goodhood’s Kyle Stewart and Jo Swindle have just opened the doors, literally and metaphorically, to a new chapter in their lives – their first-ever foray into the world of retail. “We were mystified as to what the reaction would be. It felt like putting your neck on the chopping block,” recalls Stewart in his languid, Edinburgh lilt. “We were super naïve,” he adds when we ask about the Shoreditch institution’s humble beginnings. “We didn’t want to start up a brand and get involved with product because we knew what a headache that was. So we thought, ‘Hey, let’s start a shop, ’cause that’ll be easy.’” He laughs. “Lo and behold, it’s not easy at all.” Leaving well-paid – but highly corporate – design jobs at the Swoosh to pursue a more balanced, happy life, the duo has, over the course of eight years, lovingly nurtured Goodhood into a shining flagship of independent British retail. Survival and success, however, have not come easy. Stories of wide-eyed startups crumbling into oblivion within the space of a year pepper London’s streets like so many trampled spots of chewing gum. With zero experience between them, the pair was forced to learn on the job, turning their weakness into a valuable asset. “Because we didn’t know everything, we started off tiny and took timid steps,” says Stewart. “We were so small we could figure out exactly what we had to do to survive. If we were in a different position, we might have had an investor with a million quid, then lost that million quid in a year and a half.” For Late Night Chameleon Café – or LN-CC – an anonymous space perched on the corner of an unassuming Dalston alley, this was a lesson that had to be learned the hard way. Opened in 2010 and housed deceivingly in a sprawling, 5,000-squarefoot warehouse, the directional fashion store is renowned as much for its otherworldly, conceptual interiors as it is for its blend of established luxe brands (Lanvin, Saint Laurent) and upstart talents (Yang Li). For three years, it experienced blistering growth before falling hard into bankruptcy. In 2013, the store failed to pay many of its designers – it was the final straw; LN-CC lost good brand relationships and its reputation was in tatters. Creativity, imagination and vision, it seems, are nothing without a solid foundation of business management skills to build on.
HOW TO MAKE IT IN LONDON
“Until you actually understand business and how it really works, it’s hard to know how you can run into classic, unexpected startup situations,” says LN-CC co-founder and creative director John Skelton. “It’s basic stuff, but when you’re growing fast – and on big numbers – it happens quick. And when it does, it hits hard.” “For me personally, it was very difficult,” adds the former oki-ni creative director. “These were essentially all my relationships that I’d built up over 15 years. It hurts on many levels.” LN-CC’s powerful identity as a creative risk-taker that could transport visitors to another time and space would prove to be its savior. In early 2014, Milan-based The Level Group – the exclusive e-commerce partner for the likes of New Balance, Woolrich and Baracuta – pulled the cutting edge Dalston store out of administration. It relaunched the business earlier this year, allowing Skelton to continue to pursue his idiosyncratic vision. Punch in 1985 and accelerate to 88 mph. It’s Portobello Road in Notting Hill, and a 24-yearold Eddie Prendergast – along with friends Marco Cairns, Barry Sharpe and Clifford Bowen – has rolled the dice on a new shop after a successful stint selling vintage army surplus from a Camden market stall. The name of the shop: Duffer of St George. Duffer was OG. It was the first European stockist of Carhartt, Red Wing, and the adidas Superstar. It also brought New Era hats to London, being responsible in part for the UK’s ’90s obsession with baseball caps. And the growing predilection for deadstock sneakers and selvedge denim? That was Duffer, too. As well as buying in brands, the store would start to manufacture in-house product, with a certain James Jebbia importing Duffer goods to New York to sell in his store, Union. The iconic British brand would go on to huge success in the mainstream, before running into financial difficulty and finally being bought out by JD Sports in 2008. Prendergast wasn’t done, though. A year later, he launched his own menswear store with business partner Steve Davies. It was a refined, street-influenced take on everything the modern
gent needed – with a constant flux of brands that have included Nigel Cabourn, Mr.BATHING APE, and signature collaborations with heritage English companies like Tricker’s. Located in the old Duffer building on Shoreditch High Street, it was named Present after the shop’s gallery-like space. And with over 30 years in the game – not just surviving the retail roller coaster but milking it, too – it’s safe to say the loquacious shop owner knows a thing or two about making it, despite his jovial claims of being a “new boy.” “You can’t beat the market. You have to give the market what it wants,” says Prendergast emphatically in his rapid-fire manner of speaking. “If we’re talking about clothing, the high street – let alone the world – is very quick to catch up in terms of style and price. You have to be able to adapt and move, far more so than years ago. People can see what’s happening instantly.” It’s an insight that explains Present’s decision to offer more than just apparel. One of the first menswear stores in London, if not the world, to serve speciality coffee at the front of house – instantly creating a welcoming atmosphere – Present has also demonstrated the foresight to curate a unique range of accessories, homeware, stationery and literature that complements its menswear offering. Shoppers have more of a lifestyle experience than one that is fashion... A less astute retailer might have continued to blindly shoulder the expense, to the detriment of his or her business. This expansion beyond fashion has been a key strategy for Goodhood and LN-CC, too. Whilst LN-CC has always dedicated a room to lovingly selected new and vintage wax (complete with a turntable for listening), as well as audiophilegrade headphones and a carefully curated selection of books (in collaboration with Exmouth Market’s Donlon Books), the clothing remains the space’s focal point. For Goodhood, the creation of a specialized, well-rounded lifestyle experience wasn’t just a natural progression, but a necessary way to sustain the business.
HOW TO MAKE IT IN LONDON
HOW TO MAKE IT IN LONDON
“The fashion industry is, for a retailer, an unsustainable business,” says Stewart. “You pay out a lot of money for seasonal stock that starts depreciating in value the minute you get it in the store. Six months later, it’s deemed worthless.” Opening the standalone Life Store in 2013 (which now lives with Goodhood’s other offerings in its new location), and curating an international selection of beautiful yet functional products, the Goodhood founders combined their deep passion for product design with their love of well-made clothing. Not only that, the Life Store would enable them to free themselves – to a certain extent – from the stresses and shackles of seasonal fashion. “Everybody lives in a house, surrounded by homeware objects,” explains Stewart. “Traditionally, they might be from somewhere like The Conran Shop – so there’s a dichotomy between the contemporary casualwear consumer, and going to a furniture store – which seems to be a much more sober experience. You might have high-end furniture in your house, even if you wear Jordans, you know? A lot of people have responded to that.” It’s a typically trailblazing move from Stewart and Sindle; the perfect counterpart to Goodhood’s redefined take on luxury that organically places brands like FUCT and Vans next to Junya Watanabe MAN and Mark McNairy.
Goodhood, LN-CC and Present each have their own unique selling points. And while they may have walked different paths to get to where they are today, they’ve reached the same point. They’ve all survived, building not just physical destinations, but experiences loved by local communities and discerning international visitors alike. For LN-CC, the key to future success is environmental responsibility. “The issues are not ‘how do I look in this,’ or ‘what brand am I wearing,’” says Skelton. “Seriously, who gives a fuck anymore? How about, ‘Shall we only buy product that helps protect the planet we live on and the people within it?’ This is the only area of our lives where we’re not considering this stuff. We have to change this.” When it comes to retail in London, nothing is guaranteed (except, perhaps, for Eddie Prendergast’s innate ability to change with the times). It’s something that Stewart makes abundantly clear when we ask what he and the team are scheming for Goodhood’s 10th anniversary in two years’ time. “We’ll definitely be doing loads for that…” He pauses and adds wryly: “If we get there.” If Goodhood’s last eight years of family vibes, zero-attitude customer service and playful sense of discovery are anything to go by, that, surely, is the one thing we can count on.
HOW TO MAKE IT IN LONDON
JIM PHILLIPS 30 YEARS OF ANGST
WORDS STEVEN FRÃ–HLICH PHOTOGRAPHY SEBASTIEN ZANELLA
Anyone interested in street or skateboard culture knows Screaming Hand. The graphic, created in 1985 by artist Jim Phillips (70), was used as a logo for Santa Cruz Skateboards’ wheels line, Speed Wheels. Over the years, the slightly morbid amputated hand has become one of the most recognizable skate illustrations of all time. This year, the iconic extremity celebrates 30 years. To mark the occasion, we talked to Philips and reflected on its success.
ANXIETY (STRUGGLES, CRUELTY AND UNFAIRNESS) “The image expresses the inexpressible. There’s no word for the angst. Saying ‘I have angst!’ doesn’t come close to dealing with those frustrations adequately. Expressing those feelings of conflict that result in angst is a way to confront and deal effectively with your emotions. One way to do that is through art. For example, by displaying the most effective symbol of this psychological malady that the modern world has known since Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Skateboarders quickly recognized the value of my Screaming Hand as a panacea. No doubt due to the roughness of the sport and the discrimination they face in society along with the rest of the complications that young people face daily. Nowadays the graphic is as vital and effective as it ever was. It would still be a source of personal expression and inspiration. As we progress toward our inevitable fate there are plenty of challenges in our future. Screaming Hand will continue to be a comfort and a joy to many as it continues to cast our psychological cares away.”
ORIGINS (THE FORMATIVE YEARS) “I would give them to my friends after class. In a typical surf scene I would draw a big wave with some dorky surfer riding it. I would put in some sight gags like a mine, a shark fin, or a clenched hand sticking out of the water like a drowning guy. I began drawing the hand on my schoolbooks and notepads. It became a character for me. Around that time, my parents lived near the beach. I saw a drowned man down there after some men had tried to resuscitate him. I walked over and looking at the horror of his death, I thought of the drowning-guy hand that I had been drawing. It made me think that my symbolism of dying and death was a lot deeper than any of my other cartoons. I became morbidly fascinated by those feelings about death and the connection to my drowning-guy hand. It seemed
so ironic to be drawing a drowning guy’s hand sticking out of the water on my book covers and then see an actual drowned guy, as if I had to face the reality of my moribund creation and apparent imminent culmination. I was like a medical student watching an autopsy to prepare for their work and had to come to grips with inner fears and repressed repulsions. Years later, when Santa Cruz asked me for a logo for Speed Wheels, I thought of the hand and how powerful it was. Many artists have used hands over the centuries to express emotion. I posed my left hand for a drawing. I thought about how much more expressive it would be if there was a screaming mouth on the palm. I instantly knew it was cool. It was one of those sketches that you know is working so I didn’t bother with alternative ideas like I usually do. I had to convince the wheel manager to start using it though. Luckily, Screaming Hand has proved itself over the years as a powerful and enduring icon.”
THE ALMIGHTY HAND (REPETITION AND MEANING) “For centuries artists have used hands to express emotions. You punctuate your conversation points with them. You can’t speak without gesturing even if you are on the phone and no one sees it. Shaking hands is even the most common form of greeting. There are not many other body parts that are so talented, sensitive or expressive. For an image to become a powerful icon it must first pass the public feel-good test, then proliferate by mass distribution and subsequent display by those who use it for identity purposes or just think it’s cool. Then you see it so often you get sick of seeing it. Then turn around and go out and get one on a T-shirt and wear it. Some sort of reverse-adverse-reboundreaction syndrome. It’s ghastly, but it’s cute. And to be clear, I do like to put a humorous overtone on my ghoulishness, and it does counter-balance the horror of an apparent dismembered appendage. People still like seeing the Screaming Hand because it has charisma. I knew it was cool as soon as I penciled the first sketch. But a cool design by itself doesn’t go anywhere. It takes a company like Santa Cruz to recognize the potential and follow up with effective marketing and distribution. The hand is working for you. The iconic image is expressing all your angst while you go merrily along. There’re still plenty of 13-year-olds who are tuned into him. That’s also the reason we are gearing up for the next 30 years.”
ON RETIREMENT AND DEATH (THE THINGS NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT) “Screaming Hand became a nice retirement. When you get to my age, many health and financial situations pop up leaving you vulnerable and helpless – unless you have resources. My bone cancer medication is really expensive. I might not take them if I thought it meant depleting our savings and leaving my wife to the wolves. So yeah, you can say it goes a long ways for peace of mind. My friends at Santa Cruz are watching my back and keeping up on my issues. I’m very grateful for them. I’m doing super with my bone cancer though. My doc says ‘phenomenal.’ He wonders how I could take more chemo than anyone he has seen and never get sick from it. He said there’s a couple new drugs out but doesn’t want to change anything because I’m doing so well, even as I approach my prognosis of six years. It’s incurable and I’m terminal but I’ve already outlived four close friends who were feeling sorry for me back when I was facing 30 days to live. And heck, I’m 70 and we’re all terminal sooner or later.”
COLLABORATING AND LICENSING (FROM PUMA AND VANS TO MARVEL AND KID ROBOT) “Ka-ching! That’s the sound of a happy artist, one who has tasted the unenviable starving artist syndrome. A skateboarder who placed art above skateboarding. A surfer who sacrificed swells to meet deadlines. Chained to his table drawing pictures of surfing and skateboarding while his friends were out there doing it. So my appreciation goes out to all who have participated in the collaborations and licensing. To all the Jeremy Scotts of the world, the guy who led his fashion models down the runway emblazoned with our designs, and others who unfairly purloin my designs I say ‘close, but no cigar!’ and let our legal department put an inglorious end to it.”
RECOGNITION (THAT’S MR. HAND TO YOU!) “It represents a personal vindication for my many efforts of presenting off-the-wall ideas over my career. Screaming Hand is my Mickey Mouse. It’s very rewarding to see such an offspring grow and become a worldwide celebrity. I am reminded how Walt Disney would stand in the back of the theater during the early showings of his cartoons. He unconsciously lip-synched everything Mickey said and pantomimed his every move. It was obvious that Walt loved Mickey. However, while I was chained to the drawing table, Screaming Hand was partying around the world and has become quite jaded of the whole thing. He wants to be known as Mr. Hand now. Around the offices we’ve been referring to him as Mr. Yawning Hand. After all, you can’t really hear anything on a T-shirt graphic. What I mean to say is that artists generally work behind the scenes and don’t often get recognition. The artwork can become iconic while the artist wallows in obscurity grinding out ever more work on his lonely table. The yawning represents boredom and so I connected to the idea of a superstar who is jaded by partying around the world in what I thought was a reasonable reference to a sight gag, since the sound of screaming is imagined.”
NO REGRETS (THE COST OF OPPORTUNITY COSTS) “Everything you’ve done was a choice between what you did or something else you could have done. I hung up my baggies and sold my surfboard to attend art school. I was never sorry. I put art first and it has rewarded me richly. Not only monetarily, but through my expression, it has provided the release of my bottled-up creative urges. Whenever you choose art you choose one of the highest expressions of humankind’s spirit. You will always have opportunities to participate in sports or other activities. It is a matter of priority and it is very easy to prioritize fun. But works of art are work, hard work. So it takes self-discipline and determination, but the rewards are greater. An artist’s prolific productivity will follow along and become useful in many ways later in life unlike any sport.”
WHAT OTHER ARTISTS THINK To honour Jim Phillips and the Screaming Hand logo, Santa Cruz invited around 50 influential artists to interpret and pay homage to this iconic image. The artworks that have been created are currently on a world tour. We spoke to a few of the contributing artists about what the Screaming Hand means to them.
GRAPHIC DESIGNER, BENNY GOLD APPAREL “Screaming Hand is as popular today as it was 30 years ago because of how unique and raw the graphic is. If you’ve ever skated and felt that uncomfortable-out-of-control-speed-from-bombinga-hill-too-fast feeling and feared for your safety, then
CREATIVE DIRECTOR, GIRL SKATEBOARDS “It’s a great, simple drawing with all kinds of connotations. The simplicity of it and the subject matter make it an icon of skate culture. It reminds me of my first real skateboard with a Jim Phillips graphic on it. Rob Roskopp’s first monster board. All blue dipped. That turned me on to Jim’s work with Santa Cruz.
you can relate to the raw energy of the art. When I started skating in the ’80s, skateboarding was aggressive, full of energy, and very punk. Screaming Hand embodies all those qualities. To me, the graphic is wrapped in the nostalgia of falling in love with skateboarding. I remember thinking how badass the graphic is. All the early Santa Cruz graphics made me curious about pursuing a career in art and Jim Philips’s art influenced me tremendously. The graphics he made for NHS back in the day made my head explode with wonder. They made me grab a pencil and draw them all over my school notebooks. His art is just good and spoke to an entire generation of skateboarders.”
MARK “FOS” FOSTER ARTIST AND OWNER, HEROIN SKATEBOARDS “Screaming Hand is an iconic image. It’s pure savagery. It was born from an era of punk rock and it’s also a fantastic piece of artwork. Look at the line detail. It’s ridiculous. Jim Phillips is a masterful draftsman. His line work is untouchable. When you look back on the images of skateboarding in the ’80s, you remember Jim Phillips’s work and Powell Peralta’s Ripper the most. Those are just really powerful images that have come to represent that era. Phillips did loads of the most iconic graphics of that time. Screaming Hand just seems to be the one that everyone references and remembers. I think it’s partly because of the ‘80s nostalgia trend that’s been happening. Jim Phillips has influenced me tremendously. When I opened the page of a skateboard magazine for the first time (in Lancashire, England) I realized that I wanted to be a part of that world, with slime and skulls and the rest of it. He was one of the masters that I looked up to as a kid. And it’s not just me, he has inspired pretty much every other skate artist by setting the bar really high.”
Graphics help visualize what skateboarding is. The best graphics have an edginess, a relation to the rider, a sense of humor and, for me, great line work. Jim’s work for Santa Cruz does this amazingly well. He conjured art directions for each of the Santa Cruz skaters, most of which are as important to the skater kid as the pros they represent. That strength of graphic coupled with pro endorsement gives them longevity and make many of them highly coveted by collectors now. Jim’s line work has definitely influenced me. It’s so clean and loaded with finesse. It’s something any creative inker can inspire to. My line work style isn’t anything close to his, but one can dream of having Jim’s ability to put the line down. His art is special to me because of the historical and artistic aspects. Like I mentioned earlier, my first real board was Mr. Philips’s Rob Roskopp graphic for Santa Cruz. Skateboard graphics are like time portals in the past – all kinds of old memories pop up.”
MIKE “GIANT” LESAGE ICON OF BLACK INK / TATTOO AND GRAFFITI “One reason that Jim Phillips’ Screaming Hand has been and still is popular is because it’s vulgar. Vulgarity is always an eye-catcher. I think it exemplifies the attitude of skateboarding too. It’s obnoxious visually in the way that skateboards make awful, obnoxious noise. The graphic style and colors certainly add to its lasting impact. It’s a good drawing and it represents skateboarding in the ’80s, straight up. Jim has definitely influenced me. Have you seen how I draw? I’ve been studying Jim’s drawing most of my life. I’ve always seen Jim as a role model not just in art, but in lifestyle, spirituality and whatnot. He’s got the total package in my mind. I hope my life pans out as well as his.”
MARK “FOS” FOSTER
MIKE “GIANT” LESAGE
C OAT STOLE KNIT
A$AP ROCKY / A$AP FERG
GIVENCHY BY RICCARDO TISCI HAIDER ACKERMANN
LONG LIVE AND PROSPER A$AP ROCKY / A$AP FERG
WORDS JIAN DELEON
PRODUCTION DESIGNER M O N I CA M AYO R G A
PHOTOGRAPHY & CONCEPT ROBERT WUNSCH
POST PRODUCTION THOMAS SAALFRANK
STYLING C H A N TA L D RY WA
CASTING DIRECTOR A N I S S A PAY N E
HAIR (ROCKY) NICOLE WILLIAMS
P H OTO G R A P H Y AS S I S TA N T LOGAN FLOYD
MAKE UP EMMA BERLEY
S T Y L I N G AS S I S TA N T S E R I K A M U R ATA & K A N A KO SA K A I
GROOMING J O M O K E N YAT TA
SPECIAL THANKS DUNE STUDIOS NEW YORK, H I LTO N , R E C O M & A P K . N YC
PRODUCER DA N I E L N AV E T TA
A$AP ROCKY / A$AP FERG
T- S H I R T
11 BY BORIS BIDJAN SABERI STYLISTâ€™S OWN
A$AP ROCKY / A$AP FERG
A$AP ROCKY AND A$AP FERG HAVE CARVED OUT THEIR OWN UNIQUE LANES AS A NEW BREED OF HIP-HOP ARTIST, THE MULTIHYPHENATE CREATIVE WHO SIMPLY CAN’T BE DEFINED AS A “RAPPER.” When A$AP Rocky gets his nails done, he makes it look like the coolest fucking manicure on Earth. His grills intermittently flash when he cracks a smile, glinting off the myriad of lights surrounding the mirror in front of him. He’s chatting with Ella Dror, a buzzed-about British PR figure known for helping break London designers like Astrid Andersen. He jokes with me about a video he watched last night, in which he purports that the meme-fluent, pizzaobsessed Instagram-based comedian The Fat Jew was making jokes at Rocky’s expense, and that the video in question had been produced by my employers at Complex Media. He frankly tells me to send word to The Fat Jew to watch his back, and really drives his point home. That is, until he starts to smile, and says “You know I’m just fucking with you right?” Rocky laughs for a second, offering another quick glimpse of his grills. “You were shook for a second,” he says. He’s in an especially good mood right now, even while preparing for his cover shoot, an honor he’ll share with his A$AP Mob cohort A$AP Ferg. “I’m just really happy,” he tells me. “I got a lot going on. There’s a lot to be happy about,” says Rocky. To say he has “a lot going on” is an understatement. In May 2015, he released his second studio album, AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP, to critical acclaim. The followup to his 2013 debut Long.Live.A$AP, Rocky’s new album builds on the regional musical influences and high fashion references that got him into the spotlight, while further entrenching his own lane as Harlem hip-hop’s trippy, jiggy emissary. A month after dropping his album, Rocky made his acting debut in Rick Famuyiwa’s film Dope, playing the smoothtalking Molly dealer Dom, sharing screen time with Tyga, Zoë Kravitz and his ex-girlfriend, model Chanel Iman.
While the 26-year-old artist is currently having the time of his life, his year began with utter tragedy. A$AP Yams, arguably the cultural Sherpa that helped Rocky and the A$AP Mob strategize their way to the top of the game and someone whom Rocky described as his “truest, bestest friend,” to The New York Times, passed away in January from an accidental drug overdose. Yams’ savviness with social media, inherent charisma, and encyclopedic hip-hop knowledge base was an enormous resource for Rocky and the A$AP Mob. His realniggatumblr website is credited with getting Rocky’s breakout hit, “Pe$o” into the ears of the finicky rap Twitter community, whose approval boosted the song’s street cred considerably by the time it had made its way to the eardrums of the Internet at large. For rap nerds, Rocky’s Houston-meetsHarlem sound and the atmospheric, dreamlike beats provided by producer Clams Casino wasn’t just a novelty, it marked the arrival of a new New York sound. But what got him on the radar of the fashion set were his references to designers like Jeremy Scott, Raf Simons and Rick Owens. Since then, Rocky has become a full-fledged fashion icon himself, attending Jeremy Scott’s Moschino show at last season’s Pitti Uomo, and regularly spending time with Michele Lamy – Rick Owens’ muse and wife, a restaurateur, and multi-hyphenate who designs jewelry and the extravagantly brutalist Rick Owens furniture and housewares line. “LamyLams,” as he calls her, even made him a ring for his birthday. It has brown chocolate diamonds in it and made an appearance in the music video for “Multiply.” Rocky’s ascent into the fashion spotlight coincides with several seismic shifts in the hip-hop style landscape. The worlds of streetwear and high fashion began merging and coexisting in a way they haven’t before, feeding off each other’s respective energies, the results spilling out into the streets and onto the backs of the young, stylish cognoscenti who listen to Rocky’s music. But for all his self-aware fashion influence, he knows having people aspire to his style is a double-edged sword.
A$AP ROCKY / A$AP FERG
HAIDER ACKERMANN TOM REBL
A$AP ROCKY / A$AP FERG
A$AP ROCKY / A$AP FERG
“I hate tacky motherfuckers,” says Rocky. “You know what tacky people are? The people who just buy those dumbass brands that I hate.” While Rocky won’t elaborate on any specific brands, he is currently wearing a pair of white Raf Simons jeans made in collaboration with Sterling Ruby, a pair of adidas Stan Smiths designed by Simons, a white festival T-shirt, and several layered gold chains he says he got on Canal Street. His friendships with designers like Jeremy Scott, Raf Simons and Rick Owens are rooted in a mutual respect for each other’s work, not a desire to feed off each other’s success or prestige. “They fuck with people’s craft,” says Rocky. His obsession with
belongs to Future. That nigga killing shit right now.” There are some parallels between Future and A$AP Rocky. The former deftly navigated his way through Atlanta’s heavily strip club-influenced hip-hop scene to the point where he’s created a sonic world and career that exists well outside of it. Rocky’s own career is a carved-out lane that exists in a sonic dreamscape somewhere between Harlem and Houston, and his own distinct mannerisms, mode of dress, and taste level have come to define a new generation of global jetsetters – the kind of style that looks equally at home in Paris or New York. There are certain references and nuances that only the savvy will understand.
fashion stems from a competitive nature. Rocky and the A$AP Mob engaged in a sartorial form of one-upmanship, and they’d compare clothes and designers in the same way guys debate about sports teams and star athletes. “We were trying to swag on each other,” he says. It’s a contest Rocky has undoubtedly won, as his style has not only got him noticed by his fans, but the fashion world too. Rocky’s photogenic nature has landed him campaigns with Ferragamo and made him a regular on best-dressed lists everywhere. He feels like he’s at the point where dressing well comes so naturally to him that he no longer has to actively try to outdress everyone else — he’s already lapped them several times, and they’ll never catch up. Rocky credits himself with bringing designers like Raf Simons and Rick Owens to the Harlem style vernacular. He also rides hard for French accessories manufacturer Goyard. Rocky not only has a wallet, but several trunks and bags. On set, he has four, including a duffle bag with “Flacko” custom-printed on one end. “I’m the reason my niggas wearing Goyard belts,” he says. He estimates he currently owns about 50 Goyard pieces. “They can’t touch me — I’m a lord. I’m Super Saiyan. I’m sensei-level.” Rocky sparks up a blunt outside the photo studio where Ferg is finishing his solo shoot. Inside, the echoes of tracks from Rocky’s AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP have segued into songs from Atlanta rapper Future’s newest album, Dirty Sprite 2. As an artist heavily influenced by Southern rap himself, it’s no surprise to learn that Rocky is a Future fan. “Bro. 56 Nights, Monster, DS2. Forget about it,” he says. “2015
“I make shit that you got to be into,” says Rocky. “It ain’t for outsiders. You got to be a part of the culture.” Beyond the music, Rocky’s vision stretches to the strange intersection between art and social media. His latest album art and the music video for “L$D” were both handled by up-and-coming British photographer Dexter Navy, whom he’s been friends with since 2011. “I got a bunch of creative friends. I just take my creative juices to people who bring it to life,” says Rocky. In the moments leading up to the release of his album, Rocky turned his Instagram into a sort of digital installation. He hired an art director, Robert Gallardo, and enlisted the services of artists like Daniel Arsham and Tan Camera. The result was 168 total images delivered in a social media barrage over one weekend, giving Rocky’s Instagram account the appearance of a digital mural. Images of him were interspersed with Raf Simons clothes and recognizable logos like the impossible triangle of Palace Skateboards. The creative endeavor wasn’t without risk, and it ended up losing him over 100,000 followers. “The funny thing about art is nine times out of 10 it’s [sic] disturbing in many forms,” wrote Rocky in an Instagram caption in the aftermath of the project. “Long story short, sorry for the inconvenience on your TL’s… We are just a bunch of young artists showcasing our taste level for kool shit… AWGE.” AWGE refers to the team Robert Gallardo heads, which purportedly handles Rocky’s art direction on the low. On the one hand, it feeds into Rocky’s desire to empower young talent and give them a platform to hone their skills before they blow up.
A$AP ROCKY / A$AP FERG
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STYLISTâ€™S OWN ADIDAS BY RAF SIMONS
A$AP ROCKY / A$AP FERG
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“I just want to work with legends,” he says. “And I’m a legend-in-the-making, so I can make legends.” AWGE also allows Rocky and his associates to further push past the creative connotations usually associated with “rappers,” a word he openly disdains. “The term ‘rapper’ is just like ‘ghetto.’ Most people generalize us as some motherfucking rock star rejects,” he says. To Rocky, being able to express himself in the realest way possible supersedes the desire to be the celebrity of any particular moment. The legacy that A$AP Yams had the entire mob focused on was more about laying the groundwork for longevity than remaining the hot topic of conversation. It’s why Rocky isn’t so concerned with losing 100,000 Instagram followers, as long as he was able to execute his vision. “If my biggest concern is staying relevant, or even people talking about me, I’m going about it all wrong right now,” he says. “I got to start fucking more bitches — I got to start paying attention to chicks that are more superficial, and do things for the limelight.” As far as upcoming projects go, Rocky says the Cozy Tapes Vol. 1, a mixtape he hinted at earlier this year, named in memoriam for A$AP Yams, is still on the way. His acting days aren’t over yet, either. While he admits that he’s always been interested in acting, the timing has to be right and so does the role. He’s definitely in no rush to make his next film. But don’t be surprised if he pulls a few more subtle stunts along the lines of his Instagram mural. “I’m at a point in life where I’m going to do whatever I want. I’m not going to hold back,” he says. By the time A$AP Ferg finishes his portion of the cover shoot, he’s taken off the head-to-toe Boris Bidjan Saberi 11 outfit he was wearing and changed into sweats, a pair of Air Max TNs, and a white tee. Rocky’s cool, calm, demeanor contrasts with Ferg’s media-ready affability. Ferg, whose “Trap Lord” nickname was derived from his multiple jobs and hustler’s mentality, is equally busy as Rocky, but he’s been plying himself with extracurricular activities from the jump. Currently, Ferg is in the final stages of obtaining his helicopter license. “I just want to do it.” he says. “For one, I’ve never known a helicopter pilot from Harlem, let alone a young kid... We just don’t aim for stuff like that. I wanna fly. There’s so much stuff you can do before you die, and I want to do everything.”
The two have known each other since high school, and are both Libras, which Ferg says gives them a better sense of mutual understanding. Ferg’s father, Darold Ferguson Sr., owned a Harlem boutique that screen-printed shirts for labels like Bad Boy and artists like Bell Biv Devoe and Heavy D. His late father (Darold Fergson Sr. passed away from kidney failure, ironically from breathing in the plastisol paint from printing shirts) first introduced him to the clothing game, and also instilled a strong work ethic. It’s apropos that Ferg’s first big single was titled “Work.” Despite his current success, Ferg is keeping his head down so as to not keep his nose too far from the grindstone. “I don’t let anything go to my head,” he says. “I thank Rocky all the time for opening my eyes up to a new hustle — doing this rapping thing. Sometimes at shows I’m like: ‘Damn. What would I be doing if it wasn’t this?’ I really don’t know.” The 26-year-old Harlemite acknowledges that while every member of the A$AP Mob brings something different to the table, it was A$AP Yams and A$AP Rocky who get them their seats in the first place. Like Rocky, Ferg had negative connotations with the term “rapper.” He thought rappers were corny and overly braggadocios. But when Rocky made it, it signified that the mob could achieve that sort of success in a real, organic way that was true to who they really were. He likens it to being taken to the water, but each member having to learn how to swim on his own. “We were all on a motherfucking beach stranded,” he says. “I had to swim on my own — figure out where my ship was. I was hopping from boat to boat, and next I was going to be on my own island.” What kind of foundation does Ferg’s island rest on? It’s multi-layered. The musical side is built on the strength of his avant-garde music videos, which oftentimes feel like short films and a nostalgic throwback to the ‘90s heyday of the medium, when rap videos in the era of Hype Williams and Paul Hunter felt more like momentous events rather than afterthoughts. “Music and videos are depressing sometimes with everybody on the same shit,” says Ferg. “We want to bring something different, something innovational to the game. We constantly want to stay ahead of the game, that’s what we pride ourselves on.”
A$AP ROCKY / A$AP FERG
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Ferg is the rare creative who can see from the sides of both the pure creative and the person charged with marketing and promoting the work. He has an understanding of what makes things viral on YouTube and also what makes people respect an artist’s body of work, like consistency. He also fully recognizes his art’s ability to affect people in ways he never imagined, like one fan who told Ferg that his music soundtracked his personal fight with cancer. He thinks that many artists are so burdened by trying to make something that hits that it’s easy for them to lose sight of the uniqueness that got them noticed in the first place. “When you’re just creating art, you’re not trying to create no hits, you’re trying to change the game,” he says. “That’s the shit that I’m thinking about. I’m trying to change the world, fuck chasing hits.” Ferg’s rap career isn’t something he’s trying to capitalize on quickly and then cash out. For him, it’s a chance to make a lasting cultural impact. Especially now that hip-hop is the go-to sound of youth in rebellion, which makes it music to brands and marketers’ ears. “Hip-hop is the shit, hip-hop is the art that is booming right now. It’s not rock, it’s not any of that,” he boasts. “We those dudes now, so you gotta fuck with us because you want to be seen. Like Givenchy and Valentino — they gotta fuck with Kanye and Kim Kardashian because they’re modern day royalty.” As a child, Ferg’s father would take him to the factory where the clothes were being made while meeting up with clients like Russell Simmons and Puff Daddy. He says the elder Ferguson helped Simmons concoct the Phat Farm fragrance and helped create the Bad Boy logo. Given that background, Ferg went to an arts high school and eventually majored in fashion and minored in fine art. Before he was able to pay full price for designer clothing, he recalls going to consignment stores like Tokio 7 in New York’s East Village to find gear by Rick Owens and Raf Simons for much, much less. “When we was coming up, kids didn’t understand it; they thought it was weird, they thought it was different, you would get called names, people would be whispering behind our backs,” says Ferg. “I feel that more people are able to do that now, even in the hood. I see people dyeing their hair and wearing skinny jeans and Rick Owens. We had a major part in that.” Now, Harlem style looks drastically different than it did even five years ago. Old-school hip-hop style icons like Dapper Dan, who used to make custom designer clothes for rappers like LL Cool J, Eric
A$AP ROCKY / A$AP FERG
B. and Rakim, and athletes like Mike Tyson, even credits the A$AP Mob for their aesthetic influence. “We put the platform out, we made it cool for hood kids to dress different, for kids to be themselves period,” says Ferg. “Now it’s time do something different and keep evolving.” The difference between change and evolution is a key point in establishing A$AP Ferg’s long-term goal. The latter is informed by the past and takes those aesthetics and ideals into the future, without forgetting what preceded it. As A$AP Ferg and A$AP Rocky’s respective careers progress, the key to longevity is taking their art to the next level, not rehashing the past. As Ferg continues to evolve creatively and professionally, he believes that the future of hip-hop is now out of his hands and rests with the youth he’s inspiring. Part of the A$AP Mob’s legacy thus far was giving the power back to young kids to determine who tastemakers are, and where real cultural influence comes from. It’s a delicate ballet of tiptoeing on the precipice of mainstream success, breaking through past the fringe, and then inspiring someone else on the outside looking in that yes, it is in fact possible for them to do the same. And when you’re in the position to help empower the next generation like Ferg, he hopes to use that platform to give something positive back to the younger generation. One of Ferg’s other recent hits was the song “Dope Walk,” which contains the line “my walk’s meaner than Cara Delevingne.” The British model got word of the reference and tweeted at Ferg, challenging him to a Zoolander-esque digital walkoff last December. That playful online feud turned into a lo-fi music video filmed over the course of New York Fashion Week last February. In it, Delevingne appeared via FaceTime in the corner of the screen, witnessing Ferg and the A$AP Mob’s escapades during the week. Like modeling, the lifespan of a rap career can seem equally short, which is probably why Ferg and Delevingne found kindred spirits in each other, and also why Ferg fully supports her transition into acting. “She wants to explore. She’s like me, why just rap when I want to design and I want to create visuals for other people. I want to direct,” he says. “We’re still young and want to explore life and see what we’re made of, see what we really want to do. Modeling might not have been something she really wanted to do all her life.” In the meantime, Ferg’s creative island seems like it will forever be a work in progress. “You’re never supposed to be stale and confined to this box, you’re always supposed to be learning. I’m a constant student forever.”
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A$AP ROCKY / A$AP FERG
OUR LEGACY FALL / WINTER 201 5
PHOTOGRAPHY IAN KENNETH BIRD
P H OTO G R A P H Y AS S I S TA N T JAMES BIRD
STYLING AT I P WA N A N U R U KS
S T Y L I N G AS S I S TA N T MADDY ROBERTS
GROOMING M A R T I N A L AT TA N Z I @ O N E REPRESENTS USING KIEHLS & BUMBLE AND BUMBLE
MODEL H A R V E Y H Y LTO F T @ M O D E L S 1
LANVIN FALL / WINTER 2015
PHOTOGRAPHY LONNY SPENCE STYLING NAZ & KUSI (TZARKUSI) HAIR TA K AY U K I N U K U I MAKE UP CHRISTOPHER KAM @ AIRPORT P H OTO G R A P H Y AS S I S TA N T C O R I N N A S C H U LT E MODEL M AT T H I E U G R E G O I R E @ S U CC E S S
ESTABLISHED (est.) THE ROOTS OF THE SUIT UP TO AND INCLUDING PATRICK GRANT
WORDS PAUL BL ACK PHOTOGRAPHY PANI PAUL FASHION EDITOR VINCENT LEVY ART DIRECTOR LOL A PAPROCKA HAIR M A K I TA N A K A MAKE UP NOBUKO MAEKAWA USING MAC MODELS DUNCAN PYKE @ PREMIER THOMAS ANDREWS @ PREMIER
“The suit is really just a jacket and trousers in the same fabric.” You might call this factual simplification ironic coming from Patrick Grant, the man who has brought one of the great bespoke tailoring houses of Savile Row buzzing back to life; same again for the London tailor that literally invented sportswear in the late 1800s; and again for one of the oldest and most important manufacturing firms in Britain. There’s more to say about Mr. Grant, but we begin with a brief history of tailoring. Bespoke tailoring underpins everything in fashion. It’s the haute couture of menswear; the epitome of the ‘dress suit’ as we know it. Each bespoke piece is created from scratch, without a pattern, for a specific customer, never to be repeated again, except for that man. Made-to-measure is one step down, but no great compromise when it comes from the right house. Ready-to-wear (aka off-the-peg) can also be gorgeous, and you will get lucky at times. No matter which way you go, the bottom line is nothing makes a man look more refined, elegant, debonair, empowered, supreme and confident than a suit that looks right. Nothing. But the suit must be right and it’s worth knowing what right is. The term bespoke was coined as a reference to a piece of cloth that was “spoken-for.” The word suit comes from the French word suite, meaning “to follow.” The jacket and trousers “follow” each other on the body and have the same cloth and color. A suit as you know it (i.e. jacket and trousers in the same cloth and color, single or double-breasted, waistcoat optional, great tie always advised, strongly tapered sides, minimal shoulder, draped without wrinkles from tension when done right, top-button fastened on a single-breasted, bottom buttons on a double if you’re going for the longer line as did the hip Prince George, Duke of Kent) is actually a “dinner suit” that was invented in 1865 by legendary bespoke tailor Henry Poole & Co. (est. 1806) at the behest of soon-to-be King Edward VII, who commissioned a short, dark smoking jacket without tails to be worn during informal dinners in his private residences.
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Going back further, bespoke tailoring emerged and developed throughout Europe between the 12th and 14th centuries. The Renaissance transformed arts, culture and self-expression, and men began to dress to impress. Clothes became less practical and more a form of expression, objects of desire, and a means to express status and wealth. Outerwear began to be tailored so that it would show off the contours of the human body. The masculine, fitted attire as we know it today started to become de rigeur during the reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715), though far more flamboyant in France through silk and satin. The English, on the other hand, were developing a far more austere look, inspired by the country gent’s riding attire. This trend became the norm when the French Revolution brought an end to the decadent aristocratic court dress. Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette, were evicted from Versailles and beheaded in 1793. France’s cultural dominance ended and gratuitous flamboyance was replaced by honest (and simple) British tailoring of the 18th-century Regency period; becoming even more stark and formal in the Victorian era. The masculine, sublime elegance of the Brits would dominate European fashion. London tailoring would become the end-all and be-all, and Savile Row in Mayfair would be referred to as the Golden Mile of Tailoring. Built between 1731 and 1735, the street was named after Lady Dorothy Savile, the wife of the 3rd Earl of Burlington. Mayfair was itself called Mayfair because of its countryside fairs in May (a lovely fact garnered from Mr. Grant when we chatted). It’s funny to think of Mayfair (Bond Street et al.) as countryside, but at that time what is still called the City of London was a relatively small urban hub, gathered around the Thames, slightly to the east, establishing itself as the financial capital of the world. This is where British tailoring really began and today you’ll still find the “uniform of status,” a well-tailored suit, often from one of the tailors still in the City.
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British tailoring still has its place in the City but back in the day, when fashionistas demanded more gentle surroundings to court their vetted tailors, many moved to the “countryside.” You’ll find Gieves & Hawkes (est. 1771) at No.1 Savile Row, Henry Poole & Co (est. 1806) at No.15, Norton & Sons (est. 1821) at No.16, Kilgour (est. 1882) at No.5, Hardy Amies (est. 1946) at No.14, Richard James (est. 1992) at No.29, and perhaps a surprise name for those who weren’t aware he learned his trade on Savile Row, Alexander McQueen (est. 1992) at No.9. Bespoke tailoring is not cheap. A two-piece suit from Norton & Sons starts at £4,200. Food for thought indeed. But when you consider you’re buying something made totally from scratch; a suit molded to your frame, hand-stitched and built to last you your lifetime; it’s not so unreasonable. For a man who’s willing to pay a few grand for a good watch, only slightly less for a gorgeous designer leather jacket, or several hundred say for a pair of hand-finished loafers, bespoke is exactly right. So what distinguishes bespoke from madeto-measure and ready-to-wear? The Savile Row Bespoke Association nails it: “Every Savile Row suit starts life as a two-dimensional length of superfine suiting cloth, transformed over time to fit the customer precisely to his requirements, fulfilling entirely an individual’s vision for their own clothes. Every suit is unique, made to the customer’s exact measurements (typically around 30 measures will be taken across the customer’s body), drafted into an individual paper pattern from which his chosen or ‘bespoken’ cloth is cut. The suit will then be handmade, with the cloth shrunken, stretched, pressed, stitched and structured into a perfectly form-fitting three-dimensional garment. Apprentice tailors can train for up to six years to be considered a specialist in but one area of bespoke tailoring, whether this is cutting a customer’s pattern or trouser-making. The skill sets of several different specialist craftsmen combine into every suit and an average of 50 man-hours, three intermediate fittings and some three months from commission to finished garment characterize the Savile Row bespoke process – a process that has changed little since the 17th century.” E . TA U T Z F/ W 1 5 S H I R T, TA N K T O P & T R O U S E R S , E . TAU T Z H I S TO R I CA L A R C H I V E T I E , E . TAU T Z F/ W 1 4 S CA R F , C U T L E R & G R O S S S U N G L A S S E S , CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN SHOES
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But, an impeccably fitted and flattering suit does not have to be cut and sewn entirely by hand for £4,200 or more. Made-to-measure will cost considerably less, and when it’s done right, you’ll still be turning heads and feeling unbeatable. Made-to-measure is the craft of adjusting an existing suit pattern (a “block”) to fit your specific measurements, though to less rigorous standards than bespoke. Sophisticated computer programs and finely calibrated laser-cutting and sewing machines have made it possible to own a nearenough equivalent to a bespoke suit at less than a third of the price. There should be at least one fitting and there is some work done by hand, particularly in the details, like buttons, buttonhole finishing and stress-points. You should buy a madeto-measure suit from a house with inherently great style, renowned quality, an established history, and perhaps a young visionary at the helm. Meeting all these requirements is Patrick Grant (est. 1972), engineer by trade, MBA graduate (Saïd Business School, Oxford University), rugby international (U18 and U19) for Scotland, and winner of the Menswear Designer Award at the 2010 British Fashion Awards. Handsome, affable, clear, reliable, highly intelligent and very nice, Patrick is determined to “invest in the fabric of the nation.” He has quietly brought Norton & Sons (est. 1821), Hammond & Co. (est. 1771), E. Tautz (est. 1867), and the manufacturing firm Cookson and Clegg (est. 1860) to the forefront of today’s British fashion scene. Norton & Sons was somewhat lost at sea when Grant purchased it in 2005, with merely 20 paying customers. Now it has hundreds with a turnover in excess of $1.5M per year. “Hammond & Co. by Patrick Grant” is a line of affordable, traditional tailored clothes and accessories available at 80 Debenham’s shops throughout Britain. E. Tautz is probably the sexiest piece of the puzzle. Manufactured in England by Cookson and Clegg, Tautz offers its made-to-measure service at its new flagship store on Duke Street, just a few hundred yards from the premises where Edward Tautz invented modern sportswear. Grant has also been working with Barbour as Creative Director of their Beacon Heritage line.
E . TAU T Z S/S 14 JAC K E T & T R O U S E R S , E . TA U T Z S / S 1 3 S H I R T & O V E R S H I R T, B U N N E Y B A D G E S
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Norton “is a service business looking after the man properly,” he says. You go to Norton for the absolute height of service and quality. It served the likes of Winston Churchill, King George V and Cary Grant in the past, had a long and prosperous association (1952-89) with the official dressmaker for Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Hardy Amies, and now enjoys a totally revitalized business that serves a host of the greats from this era. If you still want to taste the pure bespoke experience, you might try a bespoke shirt. Norton’s shirt-maker has over 30 years experience. The shirts are cut from a handdrafted individual pattern and handmade in the shirt workroom in London. Each shirt is made entirely to customers’ specifications and typically requires just one fitting before the shirt is completed. A full range of business, informal, sporting and formal shirts are available, and they carry over 2,000 shirt cloths including cotton poplins, twills, oxfords and royal oxfords… Priced from £250. At the other end is serious mainstream accessibility, but in no way is Hammond & Co. a compromise. It’s a great product that is one of GQ’s “favorites thanks not only to its distinctly British vibe, but also due to attention to detail in each piece in the range that’s rare on the high street.” The sweet spot of Grant’s burgeoning empire is undoubtedly E. Tautz and this is where we should be keeping a close eye. It’s the embodiment of a retail operation that can dress a man with impeccable style and uncompromising quality. It’s priced to be accessible, in the same world as a trip to Dover Street Market or A.P.C. Whether it’s a made-tomeasure suit (starting at £1,250 for a two-piece), a ready-to-wear two-button (£795), a clean-styled bomber (£625), a timeless Chesterfield coat (£850), or their biggest seller, the oversized field trouser (£230), the quality is unbeatable. It’s all made at Cookson & Clegg in Blackburn – the same place as Nigel Cabourn’s celebrated “Made in England” line. E . TAU T Z S/S 1 5 S W E AT E R & T R O U S E R S , E . TA U T Z F/ W 1 5 S H I R T, E . TAU T Z H I S TO R I CA L A R C H I V E T I E
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Tautz’s made-to-measure service really is worth your time and money. The guys on the floor say they’re seeing every kind of guy, from the classic Mayfair “town and country” gent to the super-stylish Dover Street kid from Tokyo, and everything in between. The way it works is: they have two blocks, slim and classic, you choose one, and they take incremental measurements to get the fit. You start to make your changes; higher rise and/or tapered in the trousers, shorter jacket, particular pockets, certain button-styles, and a choice of 3,000 cloths. It’s a process that embraces you and puts you in control. You get exactly what you want. It’s totally, uniquely yours, and it will never go out of style. Good suits never do. E. Tautz is hot. It’s going to be big, so says the British Fashion Council and GQ, who awarded Patrick the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund in May of this year. The award is a serious nod of approval from the fashion industry, last year going to Christopher Shannon. It’s not just props from the industry, it’s a £150K grant coupled with a year-long mentoring scheme worth £50K, designed to catapult a budding British brand to far greater heights. It’s exciting to see the establishment of today recognizing a young visionary leading the establishment of yesteryear, and it looks like there will be no stopping Patrick Grant. Deservedly so. It’s worth mentioning there are a host of others who make British fashion the best game in town. There’s Richard Anderson (est. 2001), Richard James (est. 1992), and the amazing Oswald Boateng (est. 1994) in the bespoke world, established visionaries in casual/street like Hardy Blechman of maharishi (est. 1994), Cathal McAteer of Folk (est. 2001), Nigel Cabourn (est. 1971), or the runners-up of the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund, super-funky Astrid Anderson (est. 2014), military-inspired Christopher Raeburn (est. 2008), the multi-disciplinarian Matthew Miller (est. 2011), and mad-good Sibling London (Sid Bryan, Joe Bates and Cozette McCreery, est. 2008). One last thought: Think about one of the most “classic” examples of modern fashion, the adidas tracksuit. Born from utility, nurtured to become a fashion staple. What is it? Jacket and trousers in the same fabric. Say no more.
H A M M O N D & C O H I S T O R I C A L A R C H I V E C O AT, E TA U T Z S / S 1 5 S H I R T, E . TA U T Z F/ W 1 3 J A C K E T & T R O U S E R S , E . TA U T Z H I S T O R I C A L A R C H I V E T I E , L O C K & C O A R C H I V E H AT, CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN SHOES
In memory of Savile Row apprentice, Alexander McQueen (1969-2010).
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EXPLORING MOSCOWâ€™S NEW CULTURAL FRONT WORDS
CHRIS DANFORTH PHOTOGRAPHY
N ATA L I A K U P R I YA N O VA
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When considering a prospective visit to the Russian capital, what comes to mind? The grandeur of the Kremlin. The Bolshoi Ballet. Sharing a chilled vodka with a sultry, furclad companion named Elizaveta, perhaps. But examining Moscow’s relevance within the Highsnobiety world is a particularly interesting challenge, as specifics of the city’s sneaker culture, fashion climate and art scene may often be obscured by more pressing matters. From a distance, contemporary Moscow life is a mystery, shrouded behind Hollywood’s stereotypical portrayals. Russia’s largest city with 12 million inhabitants, the capital is steeped in antiquity; founded around 850 years ago – and in that time the city has traded hands between many ruling factions – it has been razed and rebuilt far more than once, invaded and conquered almost too many times to count. The city’s longevity has remained constant through conflicting political ideologies, World Wars, on top of an assortment of cultural and societal divides. Historically, Moscow has slammed the door on Western traditions time and time again, but more recently societal norms have shifted. In many ways since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has been playing catchup in the fields of art, politics and culture in a greater sense, and the former USSR has been cherry-picking Western views steadily since the early 1990s. We’ve seen Gosha Rubchinskiy deliver his Russian spin on
streetwear and skateboarding, and this adaptation speaks largely to the way that Russians have been selectively appropriating over the years, creating a new identity for themselves in the process. Moscow is also home to fashion designers like Tigran Avetisyan and gritty streetwear brands like Sputnik 1985. So what do you need to know? Moscow is a massive city, consisting of multiple central areas, so navigating on foot or by bicycle is not ideal. The metro is a key tool in traveling from A to Б, especially during the colder months, but why would you visit in winter anyway? En route to your destination you can enjoy the architectural and artistic masterpieces that adorn many train stations. When out to eat, Central Asian and southern Russian cuisine is excellent and readily available, and Moscow even has its own street food scene, consisting of freestanding stalls throughout the city. Of course you’ll be privy to a healthy amount of vodka, but make a point of cracking open a can of Kvass, Russia’s national soda. The Moskva River is also a key feature of the cityscape, snaking through the capital and providing a great reference point for navigating, much like the Thames in London or the Spree in Berlin. Insofar as Russian etiquette – which isn’t necessarily friendly or intuitive – your trip will likely provide a crash course in itself, in more ways than one. Here’s how to spend 24 hours in Moscow.
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Pokrovka Hotel Possibly one of the biggest draws of Pokrovka Hotel is its central location. Designed by famous architects Jestico + Whiles, the boutique hotel boasts 84 individually decorated rooms. Grab a quick coffee at the in-house restaurant Meat + More, then head to a nearby Metro station to see the sights. — W hotelpokrovkamoscow.ru A Ul. Pokrovka, 40, стр. 2
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Breakfast Cafe Moscow’s plainly named Breakfast Cafe serves classic fare, ranging from waffles and bagels to blueberry pancakes, served right out of a castiron skillet. The modern, naturally lit interior faces Patriarch’s Ponds, an area popular with expatriates. If you’re not in the mood for breakfast dishes, the Breakfast Cafe menu also offers a selection of cakes, pies, as well as coffee and tea. — W breakfastcafe.ru A St. Little Nikita, 2/1
FOTT Russian streetwear outfitter FOTT was born from one of Russia’s only style forums, which launched in 2005, and the FOTT name has continued to branch out into various avenues over the last decade. In 2008, the first FOTT showroom opened its doors, before the retail arm and FOTTPAPER were established. Today FOTT purveys labels including Palace Skateboards, Jason Markk, Our Legacy and more. Sneakerheads visiting Moscow will also want to make a point of dropping by Brandshop, another local boutique. — W shop.fott.ru A Dmitrov Lane 7
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Muzeon Park Colloquially known as “Fallen Museum Park,” Muzeon Park is so-called due to the scattered busts of Soviet leaders. When the Soviet Union fell, various statues were felled from their pedestals and taken to the park, where they later became a monument of sorts. The park is home to a range of museums and family-friendly facilities. Muezeon Park is also a great spot to chill on the park benches with a beer. — W muzeon.ru/pages/park A Yakimanka District
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Burger Brothers Hamburgers are a relatively fresh import into Russia, and definitely a newcomer to the Moscow cuisine landscape. Burgers don’t have much context in Moscow, so burger chefs are given carte blanche when it comes to innovating, although an American-style recipe is still a staple in any Russian burger joint. — W theburgerbrothers.ru A 1-y Tverskoy-Yamskoy per, 11
Garage Museum At Garage Museum – a platform for new thinking – you’ll find exhibitions that mostly focus on local Russian artists, with some international works included in the mix. Art installations, photography showcases, even performance and live art pieces are not uncommon at Garage. Located in Gorky Park, the museum is one of two pillars in the Russian contemporary art scene, the other being Winzavod. — W garageccc.com/en A St. Krymsky Val, 9, pp. 32
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Uilliam’s Restaurant Located quite centrally within Moscow, Uilliam’s is best known for its well-appointed daily specials, all of which are consistently innovative and delicious without skimping on presentation. The cozy interior allows patrons to sit in view of the kitchen to watch the chefs at work as an added bonus, while menu inclusions draw upon French, Italian, American and English techniques. — W uilliams.ru A St. Malaya Bronnaya, 20At
Vanya Naylot Craft Beer Vanya Naylot hasn’t quite earned its stripes yet, but the newly opened watering hole should certainly be of note for beer lovers visiting the Russian capital. Serving local and international varietals – mainly from Belgium and Holland – the pared-down space sits on the banks of the Moskva River in an area that is known as an artistic area of venues and cafes. A stone’s throw from Strelka Club, we’d suggest you grab a pre-drink or two here. — W facebook.com/vanya.nalyot A Bersenevskaya Embankment, 6/3 244
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Strelka Club As with most other Moscow nightlife establishments, at Strelka Club you’ll have to practice your feis kontrol – or “face control” – to appease the doorman. Moscow clubs are known for notoriously tight door policies, however, foreigners may have an easier time. Situated on the Moskva River, Strelka is a longstanding constituent of the club sphere, located on a club island near other legendary venues like Gipsy and Rolling Stone. — W strelkainstitute.com/en/bar A Bersenevskaya Embankment, 14/5
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SIR STIRLING MOSS SIXTY-THREE YEARS ON THE EDGE WORDS
YOAV G I L A D IMAGE COURTESY OF
SIR STIRLING MOSS
About two years before Goodwood, he had crashed, hard, at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. “I was holding the car in a sweeping right-hand bend at 140 miles an hour when the left rear wheel snapped off... I remember looking back and seeing that the wheel wasn’t there anymore... I think my neck snapped back and knocked me out.” Sir Stirling Moss had broken both legs, three vertebrae, his nose, and a few ribs. Two days later, refusing his Belgian doctors’ advice, he was flown home to England where a specialist assured him that there was no danger to his spinal cord. That was all the encouragement Moss needed — from then on, pain be damned, he rehabilitated himself as quickly as he could. Seven weeks after the crash that nearly crippled him, he won a race again. Two weeks later, he entered the Portuguese Grand Prix and when the medical staff refused to clear him, believing there was no way that a man could be ready to race so quickly after such a severe wreck, Moss jumped around their office until they relented. Moss was convinced that he could do anything and his quick recovery just cemented that belief in his mind. And he loved telling the story of his recovery to the press, friends, fans, practically anyone who would listen. It just proved what a badass he was. Through his career he broke nearly every bone in his body at one time or another. But motor racing in the 1950s and ’60s was a very different, very dangerous affair. That’s what makes Moss’s longevity so remarkable. He began racing in 1948, shortly before his 19th birthday and a bit later than many (superstar Ricardo Rodriguez would die in a Formula One car before his 21st birthday). But Moss was a natural and excelled quickly no matter how good the car was. The British press quickly fell in love with him and at one point he was as famous as Queen Elizabeth. The racing headlines always deferred to Moss’s results either praising his wins or commenting on DNFs or mild shunts. Not only was he quick, but he was a consummate competitor who loved the challenge of racing. Moss was also business-minded too and coupling his love of competition with his love of commercial success, he raced as often as possible to increase his visibility and winnings. Back then, drivers didn’t sign on with a team at the exclusion of other opportunities. Even if you were a factory racer, you could race in Grands Prix, lower formulas and sports car racing. Through his career, Moss entered 527 races! More amazing was that he won more than half of all the races he finished (212/375)!
All of this over 14 seasons! On Easter Monday in 1962, Sir Stirling Moss climbed into his Lotus at Goodwood Circuit in England for the Glover Trophy (a non-championship event, meaning that it didn’t count towards the Driver’s Championship), began on the pole, set the fastest lap (tied with John Surtees), and crashed horrifically, almost inexplicably, later in the race. The Lotus flew off the circuit without touching another car, and folded nearly in half after colliding with an earthen berm. It took over 30 minutes to cut Moss out of the wreckage. Almost every bone on the left side of his body was broken. He slipped into a coma for over a month. When he finally reawakened he required surgeries to reconstruct his face and restore his vision. He worked hard just as he did following the Belgian wreck, and made speeches, appearances (for a fee of course), and had a few tests in race cars. But this time, his reflexes just weren’t as quick. He decided to retire officially. Somehow, throughout all those seasons in Formula One, Moss never won the championship, losing by only one point in 1958, and three and five and a half points in 1956 and 1959 respectively. And considering how many fatalities occurred back then and how many times he climbed in, it’s miraculous that he wasn’t killed. Although he retired from racing’s top-level in 1962, he didn’t give up racing altogether until he was 81, in 2011, claiming that he had scared himself that afternoon in qualifying for the Le Mans Legends race. In the intervening 50 years, he competed in historic races with some frequency and even raced in professional events, including rallies and the British Saloon Car Championship, occasionally. But don’t think that he’s passed on or faded away — he’s still on retainer at Mercedes-Benz where, in addition to public appearances, he drives the historic 1955 Silver Arrows 300SLR in promotional films and events. It’s the car that he drove to the checkered flag in the ’55 Mille Miglia. Motor Trend called that non-stop, 1,000-mile race “the most epic drive. Ever.” And what did Moss do the night and day immediately after the still-unbroken record-setting race? He drove his girlfriend from Brescia, Italy to Cologne, Germany stopping for breakfast in Munich and lunch in Stuttgart. Legendary. Overall, his career lasted from 1948 until 2011. And while he never won the Driver’s Championship, there is no doubt that he won his fans’ hearts and is ranked among the best of the best. There will NEVER be another like Sir Stirling Moss.
SIR STIRLING MOSS
IMAGES COURTESY OF
ART MARKET MONITOR, ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE F O U N D A T I O N & S T. P E T E R ’ S C H U R C H
LOUISE NEVELSON REFLECTED & REFRACTED
“I never feel age. If you have creative work, you don’t have age or time.” Judging by her output, her look, her tenacity, her language, Louise Nevelson lived in her own construction. She was untouchable and out of time. “I didn’t make sculpture to share my experience. I was doing it for myself. I did it because I knew I was in a spot, and I had to move out of it to survive. Almost everything I had done was to understand this universe, to see the world clearer… I could only understand through working. That means, through myself.” One of the important and original women sculptors of the 20th century, she lived her life as a totality of art, a gesamtkunstwerk, fusing what
she made with how she lived and looked. It may be a pitfall to see the artist in the work but Nevelson is too impressive and her work too original not to ally the two. It wasn’t a smooth synthesis of life and art, it was a rapturous one. Nevelson referred often to the idea of harmony, yet hers was principally conceptual and highly subjective. From the early tabletop sculptures to her totemic forms, to the mature works of open-faced wooden boxes stuffed with narratives of discarded objects and stacked to make freestanding walls, and finally to the later COR-TEN steel sculptures that confer with the landscape, she honed her own language that enabled her to listen and speak at the same time.
LO U I S E N E V E L SO N BY R I C H A R D AV E D O N NEW YORK, 1975
S K Y CAT H E D R A L PAINTED WOOD, 1958
CHAPEL OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD PAINTED WOOD, 1977
When asked “what would you like to come back as in your next life?” She answered, “Louise Nevelson.” Nevelson’s character has the markings of extreme unself-conscious self-consciousness. She was entirely preoccupied with herself in the world; making art and dressing up were the mechanics of survival. As it goes Nevelson was a very prolific sculptor. She rarely referred to the influence of others though she was working in New York in and around the foundations of modern art, at the crossroads of Cubism, Dada, Surrealism and abstract expressionism. It’s not that Nevelson denied the work or influence of other artists, rather she was too immersed in her own story. Her work and personality have stronger signs of a singular insular vision than the imprints of a deliberate genre maker, which incidentally makes her a genre maker. “I’d rather work 24 hours a day in my studio and come in here and fall down on the bed…Because this is living. It’s like pure water; it’s living. The essence of living is doing, and in doing, I have made my world and it’s a much better world than I ever saw outside.” In the late 1920s Nevelson studied with Hilla Rebay, an aristocratic bobo and nonobjective painter who would have conveyed to Nevelson the mystic power of art. We know she left New York to study with Hans Hoffmann in Zurich around 1931, a period cut short by the threats of World War II and the Nazis. Apparently Nevelson walked by Hitler’s house each day on her way to the school and the energy and traffic there were an ominous sign. She studied with Hoffmann again when he too escaped to New York, and his insistence on discipline through a limited palette are signatures of Nevelson’s work. She didn’t need colorful. For Nevelson black was total color. She spray-painted all the stacked wall narratives, starting with matte black, then white and eventually gold, finally returning to black. Treating the assemblages with an elegant, uniform cover, she transformed them into arcane monochromes. And without the distraction of color, the assemblages conjured their own language: an articulate gibberish that was awkward and seductive. She choreographed the wood scraps in discrete boxes which were then ganged up and stacked to
form Nevelson’s freestanding walls. Crude objects housed together forming startling reliefs – banal, beautiful and extraordinary. In Sky Cathedral from 1958, one of the earliest walls, she combined fragments of chairs with spindles, wood shims, door frames and other odd parts, and then coated it in matte black. The black paint doesn’t disguise the parts, but the mysterious force of will of the artist makes it something other than the sum of its parts. She started using found wood objects when other artists were working primarily with steel. It’s a feminine gesture, maybe even a maternal one, collecting and caring for the unwanted materials, putting them in good company, and transforming then from discarded scraps into elements of another dimension. It’s notable too that Nevelson’s father worked with wood (he was in the lumber business) and that wooden scraps were accessible, making it a touching and practical choice. In 1932 she worked with Diego Rivera on his New York murals. She claimed “I didn’t want his imagery even then… I had to find my own way of communicating.” Still his planar painting style show up in Nevelson’s undulating sculptural walls, which unlike most sculptures, are made to be seen frontally and from one perspective. “Candidly, I’ve always thought that two dimensions, the flat surface like in a painting, is far superior to sculpture… I feel there’s more myth and more mystery in painting because you have to give three dimensions to a two-dimensional plane.” When it comes to the intention of her work, it’s an issue of language and metaphysics. Nevelson referred always to the translation and transformation of objects, and it was her practice to power these processes. She was very conscious of material and the relation between materials and objects, so working for her was an exercise in listening and hearing the nature of things, and then exerting her will over them, activating her supraconsciousness. Nevelson was evidently warm to incongruities (her unusual sense of harmony). She doesn’t formally or in conversation make cleavages into meanings, though she does address the public. Her sculpture makes expansive gestures, sometimes like she’s wielding her arms and other times like a mediated embrace.
“…You’re just there with it. For example, I had the straight walls and somehow it came to me that I would like to give circle to the straight. And, before I knew it, I did it. And then I wanted great enclosure so I thought of black. It’s very simple. Everything is here and it’s up to you to use it.” Nevelson was striking. Though she never liked fashion she believed in appearances, and she was deliberate about hers. Photographs of her show a self-possessed original woman. The iconic images by Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Cecil Beaton show a startled and startling Nevelson, body dramatically draped, with smart eyes heavily framed. She often wore fur (especially indoors which is remarkable) and her eyelashes were made from sable (also remarkable). She had grand style with mystic notes, as if her ideas for dress came from a sage utopian voice. She was usually seen in uniform: sable lashes, fur coat, head ‘dresses,’ jewelry and layered clothes in shattering patterns, colors, and textures. She managed an easy confrontation between the unlikely elements of her dress; it was a wild style that she wore like skin. “I don’t think of myself as a strong woman… I always thought bluntly that I was a glamorous, goddamn exciting woman.” As a sculptor and visual artist she was committed to aesthetics, however she didn’t speak about it in theoretical terms. Nevelson was entirely handson and she was always ‘building,’ guided by her history as a jew, a foreigner, a woman. Her work was a way of life and emancipation. “I don’t want to make anything; what I am doing is living the livingness of life, the livingness of the livingness…” There are images where Nevelson looks like she’s in costume – primarily because the others around her look so unceremonious. It’s really only in the company of others that Nevelson appears eccentric. As a female artist at the time, it was not easy to be considered among the male moderns. Nevelson took it on and rather than adapt she cultivated her strong personal voice. In the exhibition “Sixteen Americans” at MoMA in 1960, her first museum show, Nevelson was among men a generation younger than her including Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Frank Stella. This is symptomatic in general of the disparities between men and women in the art world, and in particular with respect to Nevelson who was out of time. “I’m an outsider because I wouldn’t permit anyone to
bother me. That’s the price you pay for freedom.” Nevelson’s most respected teacher was Ellen Kearns, who taught her modern dance for nearly 20 years. “Ellen always claimed she didn’t teach dance, she taught eurhythmics… dance has a form and eurhythmics touches the life force and is freer. It is inner rhythm.” “This boy and girl danced beautifully; they didn’t speak, they didn’t touch each other as they were dancing. And I thought it had more power by negation – not touch, not talk – than anything I had ever seen because it was like white heat, it was like two beings who practically could eat each other up. And I thought it was fascinating and it seemed so right for the moment in our time.” Nevelson didn’t have classic values and she didn’t attach classic value to things, which is evident in her use of materials. She also inverted conventional associations because she read the cues differently. For example she referred to Cubism as a stabilizing force, yet Cubism was fundamentally a way to destabilize the formalist vision. For her, Cubism represented a discrete subject of study with a defined visual form upon which she could focus. Nevelson lived in her own immersive environment, her house was as a private sanitarium: “I don’t consider it a home, the whole thing is studio. I have 24 chairs that stack and can go into the closet so I don’t really have furniture.” Her domestic space was filled with her sculptures, like an enchanted forest where she was surrounded by Nevelsons. It would have also been like a hall of mirrors for which she needed wayfinders. It was only in the later stages of her career and life that she accepted commissions to work in response to prescribed conditions. Around 1977 Nevelson produced a suite of work for Chapel of the Good Shepherd, a meditative space within Saint Peter’s Church in New York. An apt choice by the pastor for this new visionary church, and apparently a divine opportunity for Nevelson. She distilled the religious symbolism but the narratives are legible in the all-white sculptures (except for the cross behind the altar with its gold leaf background). The whiteness softens the density of the work though the sculptures are still imposing, so if the spiritual energy of the chapel itself did not enable transcendence, then Nevelson’s work would certainly take them elsewhere. “It isn’t how you live, it’s how you finish.”
LOUISE NEVELSON BY ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE NEW YORK, 1986
PRO D U CT I O N M A N AG E R
M A S T H
HEAD OF SALES, EUROPE
HEAD OF SALES, USA
C R E AT I V E D I R E C T O R
ADV E R T I S I N G E X E CU T I V E S
Martina Canevari Caitlin Leroux Angus MacEwan Nina Schims
D ART DIRECTION & DESIGN
Son Mok SPECIAL THANKS M A N AG I N G E D I TO R
Alec Banks, Chris Danforth, Alexander Gwilliam, Elaine YJ Lee, Stephanie Smith-Strickland
Andrew Cannon, Chloe Donnelly, Dan Doyle, Sky Gellatly, Annoushka Giltsoff, Nikle Guzijan, Jillian Hutton, Shelley Landale-Down, Isaac Larose, Sarah Lawson, Skin Phillips, Cullen Poythress, Jennifer Stein, Debra Thom, Ikla Wright, Dover Street Market New York, Knickerbocker MFG
Feindruckerei feindruckerei.de CONTRIBUTORS
Paul Black, Jian Deleon, Gregk Foley, Steven Frolich, Yoav Gilad, David Hellqvist, Graham Hiemstra, Ian Hsieh, Vincent Levy, James Shorrock, Emily Singer, Eileen Sommerman, Gary Warnett, DK Woon
13thWitness, Mat Abad, Ollie Adegboye, Samuel Bradley, Ian Kenneth Bird, Alan Chan, Amar Daved, Giovanni Elao, Amy Gwatkin, Graham Hiemstra, Sylvain Homo, Ryan Hursh, Andrew Jacobs, Natalia Kupriyanova, Sunny Lau, Tyler Mansour, Alex de Mora, Kento Mori, Takanori Okuwaki, Allen Park, Pani Paul, Sara Sani, Max Schwartz, Lonny Spence, trashhand, Damien Van Der Vlist, Thomas Welch, Marcus Werner, Robert Wunsch, Sebastien Zanella
C O N TA C T
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