Monday, 30 November 2009

Ian Brown rocks the Cliffs Pavilion

Talking of monkeys, had an encounter with my favourite ape tonight. It's not very often that you get Ian Brown playing at your local venue, so hell or high water wouldn't have stopped me going to see him at the Cliffs Pavilion in Westcliff.

Now I'm a big fan of Ian Brown. I don't think he's ever made a bad tune. On top of that I credit him with a lot of the inspiration I've taken in the direction of my dressing. I know I wouldn't have had such an obsession with Bathing Ape if it wasn't for him.

Mind you, Ian Brown's dress sense certainly wasn't what had rubbed off on the fan in front of me. That fella was obviously more interested in the singer's trademark dance - circa Stone Roses.

This bloke, with his black and white tracksuit top zipped up to the neck, was having it. Arms out, leaning so far back he was almost horizontal, he Madchester marched through the entire gig, from M13 to F.E.A.R to the wicked Fools Gold encore and the penultimate Stellify.

That man might have been from Essex, but tonight, he had Manchester in his heart.

As for the Monkey Man himself, he put on a rousing performance, and it was heartening to see his dress style was still an inspiration. It was difficult to tell what he was rocking in terms of brands, but at a guess it was a W)Taps tee, zipped marl grey hoodie, Fragment jeans, Didn't catch the kicks. Oh and those shades that he always wears. Legend.

If you're wondering what that blurry thing is at the top of the post, that is my Blackberry's pathetic attempt at taking a picture. Don't get one.

Cardigans: Three I've found

I'm not going to labour this cardigan thing too long, especially seeing as it's no longer a lazy Sunday.

But yesterday's cardigan piece got me thinking a bit about what might be around in terms of button up, knitted snugability for this season. A quick trawl has turned up some very decent options - so decent in fact that I wouldn't know which one I would go for myself, if I was in the market. So it's over to you.

First up is a CP Company three quarter length knit, grey, naturally, and full-on chunksville, with a couple of hip pockets for you mits, epaulettes for the military edge, and a hood, for looking mean I guess.

Then you have Dunhill's superb cable knit offering, with the added option of genuine mammoth tooth buttons, if you fancy forking out the additional grand or two for them. Even without the flashy toggles it's a tempting proposition.

Then you have Obey's Bounty shawl neck for this winter. Nice and chunky, that neutral grey again, and equipped with a couple of nice pockets and more importantly, with Christmas round the corner, an OK price.

When you have that lot at your disposal, who gives a monkeys about the weather?

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Chunky cardigans: Perfect for crappy Sundays

How totally crap is the weather today? I know it's almost December but come on. Come. On.

Still, howling gales and driving rain can make for the perfect Sunday. One during which you do absolutely bugger all, because, let's face it, what is there really to do?

On a Sunday such as this, I prefer to indulge in such luxurious pursuits as having a lie in, eating a bacon sarnie, having a cup of freshly brewed coffee, watching rubbish on the telly, getting the fire roaring, all while kitted out in a nice cosy cardie.

There's something about those chunky knits that say: "today I will mostly wear my slippers and walk quite slowly."

I have a cardie reserved in my wardrobe for this purpose. It is this Obey shawl neck. A couple of years old, a bit bobbled, suitably hefty buttons and a neutral grey.

It's got Sunday written all over it, mataphorically speaking. I can't imagine owning a cardigan which actually has Sunday written all over it. That would be vile.

Pictured: Obey shawl neck cardigan; Visvim Madras shirt, Tudor Submariner; Oliver Peoples glasses.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Visvim C Pollard: Winter unveiling

Just to let you know, winter's here. Gales, storms, tornados, fire, brimstone, we've got the lot. It seems like it was only last month that we were basking in the soothing rays of an Indian summer. That's because it was.

But all that is so yesterday now that the chill winds are whipping up from the estuary. Time for the annual ritual of digging out my winter wardrobe.

This consists of the coats and jackets that I really can't wear all year round, unless I want to look like someone without a home. Obviously the scarves have been out for a couple of weeks now, and those damn Visvim Serra boots, which I might actually have broken in by May 2011.

But now it's time for phase two of the winter wardrobe unveiling. Thick wool overcoats, fine knit sweaters for work, and my favourite winter piece of all time, the Visvim C Pollard insulator jacket.

This is essentially a bomber jacket which weighs about a gram, is filled with this hollowfibre stuff that is toasty and windproof all in one, and which folds away into its own little pocket, although the only time I tried to do that it burst a stitch.

The Pollard comes out when the weather gets really nasty. It's like the security guard of my wardrobe, there to see me through the bleakest times.

Come on winter, let's see how hard you are now.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

On this: Micro turnups

This super tiny turn-up thing is something I've been seeing a bit more of recently. It first came to my attention in the summer.

Maybe it's a follow on from the bike craze sweeping London - roll up your troos so they don't get wrecked by your chain.

Whatever, it must play havoc with your ankles, especially with winter knocking on the door.

This is a look I wish I could rock, but somehow I just can't see myself being able to step out with my head held high knowing that a sizeable proportion of my white, hairy ankles were on show, like a chicken leg waiting to be put in the oven.

And while we're at it, a quick style note: If you discover your friend (you can just see him behind) has also rolled up his trousers in the exact same manner, decide which of you is going to unroll them. Because when it's two of you standing there with turn-ups like this, the look transforms from cool and street to children's TV presenter double act. And no one wants that, do they?

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

For sale: Supreme Damien Hirst Box logo tee

Here it goes then. One momento of a Saturday spent waiting in line, now available on Ebay. As you will know from my previous post, this is the Damien Hirst Supreme tee I waited outside Dover Street Market to secure, only to find I was number 21 in the queue, when 20 tees were available.

This tee therefore is already blessed with good fortune thanks to one of the Brighton lads who bought it for me along with his skateboard, at great personal risk.

So you are looking at more than a Supreme tee touched by the hand of Damien Hirst (actually it probably wasn't. Ever. More likely a tee-shirt printer). This is a tee also glowing with nice karma. Only good things can happen to you when you wear this.

Shame it's too big for me.

Buy it. Size large.

Prada lip balm: smacks of luxury

As far as I am concerned, Prada could stop coming up with its dodgy space age looking Eurotrash clothing lines altogether, so long as it keeps producing lip balm.

This is the best thing to have come out of the house of Prada ever. Without exception. It might have delivered a decent jacket or two in its time and somewhere in my wardrobe are some classic pieces which I would be hard pushed to part with, including a wicked chocolate brown manbag.

But I would give it all up for a lifetime's supply of this stuff. These tiny tubes of lip luxury have accompanied me on many a winter expedition, to the top of mountains on snowboarding trips, on -10 degrees stomps around Manhattan. They are a winter essential, a barrier from the elements. As important as a pair of gloves.

I remembered all this as my lips started to crack and split from my first proper, laid-up-off-work-sick coldy thing of the winter. A quick rummage through my bedside drawer later and my lips were softer than a ripe peach.

At least my smackers are doing OK now, even if Lizzie won't come within six feet of me for fear of catching something.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Brooklyn Circus: My dream shop in reality

I spend many an hour daydreaming about running my own store and what I might stock it with, and how I would ensure a steady flow of customers.

In my mind's eye my store would stock all my favourite labels, from all areas of retail - some clothes, art, furniture. But above all the store would be cosy and inviting, like one of those curiosity emporiums you might find down a back alley.

Never have I set foot in anything close to my dream store, but now it seems that Marcus Troy has, because he has told me about the Brooklyn Circus.

This is apparently quite an institution in Brooklyn, which, given the fact that I haven't been that side of the Atlantic in four years is most likely why it had escaped my attention.

One look at Marcus's photos is enough to make me want to get flight over there right now.

For more pics and a first person report, visit Marcus Troy's blog

Monday, 23 November 2009

Original Fake A/W 09 release

It never ceases to amaze me how Original Fake manages to do something new involving crosses with every release of its clothing.

This is a good thing, given that the whole brand came about off the back of graffiti artist founder Kaws's trademark crosses over the eyes of pictures in advertising hoardings.

So far we have had those crosses as details on cuffs and hoods, as patterns on sweatshirts and even on a belt. Not forgetting of course the crosses as eyes on the Companion toy.

The latest Original Fake release features a hoodie with a massive cut and sewn cross over the front - which in the blue and white colourway looks like something the Braveheart William Wallace might have worn if he'd been around today.

He'd probably need an XXL if he had though - that Original Fake stuff does come up a bit small.

This release also includes some chinos and tees.

Available at DSM, The Hideout, Goodlife.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

The long wait part two: Supreme Damien Hirst release at Dover Street Market

All was not lost. Another seismic event in the Rare Things to be Available If You're Patient calendar was taking place across London at Dover Street Market.

Here, at 11am, would be available the latest Damien Hirst x Supreme release. I was on familiar ground here. A niche label with a select following. Only 20 t-shirts and skateboard decks would be available, but I reckoned the number of devotees prepared to wait outside could only be ten. Maximum.

I was number 21 in the queue. At the head of the line were a few chaps from Brighton, a guy called James Norris and a couple of pensioners sitting on fold away chairs. They had arrived at 6.30am.

I had clearly underestimated the popularity of Damien Hirst. Amazing what pickling a sheep can do for your career. Who would have thought his art would have pensioners queuing outside shops for hours?

If it wasn't for the kindness of one of the Brighton lads who bought a tee for me along with his deck, I would again have missed out. I am eternally grateful

That's James Norris to the right, proud owner of a bit of Hirst skateboard art.

As for me and queues, don't expect to see me in another one.

Oh, and it turns out my tee is enormous. So expect to see it on Ebay soon.

The long wait part one: The Knoll sample sale

It seemed like such a good idea about a week ago, when I first heard about the Knoll sample sale. Two Barcelona chairs, usual retail price £3,600, going for the bargain basement price of £749.

I knew I would have to suffer to get one but hey, I've stood outside a few shops in my time in order to secure a rare item, and what was a few hours wasted waiting in the cold if I could walk away with one of the most iconic pieces of furniture of the 20th century? Even if it didn't fit in my lounge, Ebay would surely reward me with a tidy profit.

So the plan was hatched. Get the first train to London, 4.36am, make my way to the Knoll store in Goswell Road, mark my place at the start of the queue. Wait. Simple. I would secure the advantage by hours.

I looked at Twitter. The Knoll staff had been hyping this sale like it was the second coming. Then came the Tweet of devastation. Steve Lidbury, first in the queue, at 7pm the night before the sale.

Now any sane person would have thrown in the towel there and then, and opted for a few extra hours in bed. Not me. In my mind Steve Lidbury was there alone, cursing his foolish move as he shivered his way through the night. I would still go, and be number two in the queue.

I overslept, ended up on the 8.21am train, but I still arrived at Knoll half an hour before the store was to open, to be confronted by this. Hundreds of furniture huggers, their appetite for cheap Knoll heightened by a year of recession.

I stood there for about ten minutes before reason got the better of me. No way would I find anything close to the bargain I was hoping for. I left, before the doors had even opened.

Waiting in line is a mug's game, but arriving late to wait in line with no hope of achieving one's aim takes mugishness to a new level. Fortune favours the true mug, the one who sleeps in shop doorways. Well done Steve Lidbury.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Bamford & Sons: Pimp my Rolex

Following on from yesterday's drubbing of the Fragment Design Rolex Air King, I feel I should really say a few words about the people that customised it.

Bamford & Sons is a bespoke menswear brand which is probably better known for what it likes to do to Rolex watches. The Bamford treatment begins with the application of "military grade Physical Vapour Deposition". This essentially blackens the steel casing and bracelet, leaving it coated with a "flawless, diamond hard" tint.

The rest is up to you, the customer. Bamford can supply its own custom details for the dial and markers, or you can come up with something entirely unique to yourself, which I'm guessing is what happened in the case of the Fujiwara Fragment Air King.

Mind you, he did a far better job with the Submariner for Sophnet.

The whole Bamford pimping process doesn't come cheap. As a rough guide you can expect it to add about £4,000 to the book price of a Rolex.

The result is a matter of opinion. Being coloured, the Bamford watches bare a passing resemblance to the wannabe brands like Toywatch, or that foul Monocle x Beams effort which they still haven't managed to shift.

I probably wouldn't make too much fuss if I was given one though.

White van man: They're not all psycho axe murderers

I'd made it to the top of the hill, only a few minutes into my commute to work. It was the bit where the buildings stop and the road to the train station continues through the Belton Hills nature reserve. This was probably a cliff centuries ago but is now a steep hill with a lot of meadow and a few trees. The wind whipping off the estuary can be ferocious to say the least. Add a sheet of rain or two and you've got a refreshing November walk.

This is usually a fairly uneventful journey, especially at 6.30am. So when the white van beeped its horn, my first thoughts were that I might have dropped something. The driver was making some sort of signal, pointing down the hill. In my early morning fug, I just stared at him blankly. 'Great, I thought, now I've got to give him directions.'

Then he leaned over, opened his door, and said: "Are you going to the station? Jump in, I'll give you a lift."

Now in this day and age the only people who pull up and offer you a lift are serial killers. Actually that's not entirely accurate. Serial killers and psycho one-off axe murderers. This bloke must drive round looking for commuters to pick off with offers of a lift. He would asphyxiate me with a rag and take me off somewhere to carve me up. So I jumped in.

You know what? He didn't kill me. He actually gave me a lift to the station. Turns out he was delivering papers for the newsagent. What I experienced was nothing more than a good deed by a nice person.

I reflected on this as I waited on the platform. Thanks to that good deed I had a ten minute wait for the train. I wondered how many people would have turned down that lift. Most of them I reckon, because that's the world we live in - no one hears about the nice things that happen, just the gory stuff conducted by psychopaths. But nice people who just want to help out do exist.

Sometimes they even drive white vans.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Fragment Design Rolex: How to ruin a perfectly good watch

On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the most difficult, I reckon the chances of tracking down one of these customised Fragment Design Rolex Air Kings has to be about 50.

Hiroshi Fujiwara is widely regarded as the man with the midas touch when it comes to Japanese design. This man could print his trademark Fragment Design lightning bolt logo on an empty crisp packet and someone would probably pay a tenner for it.

Fujiwara's touch is subtle to say the least. His philosophy seems to be to take a product, colour it black, white or grey double the price and within seconds of release it will become an instant collector's item. The ludicous thing is that this actually works. Stuff looks good with those lightning bolts on it, and you can't really go wrong with monotone. Even the most recent release, a black Winnie the Pooh toy (yes you read that correctly) is oddly covetable.

The Rolex is a slightly different story. For one thing there is the addition of pink, of all the girly colours to put on a Rolex. If he had stuck to the black powder coating and white details I think this wouldn't look quite like the trashy piece of Taiwanese counterfeitism that it does. But that's being picky. And besides, it's not like you'll ever be able to find one.

Via This is not new

The right bag: Dunhill SS10 Chassis leather collection

If there are three accessories that define your standing in society, it has to be your watch, your shoes and your bag. You could dress from head to to toe in rags, but if your bag, shoes and watch are decent enough, you will still manage to scrape by with a bit of respect at the least, or at best be mistaken for an eccentric millionaire.

Only this morning I noticed a chap on the train with dishevelled balding grey hair and a Berghaus jacket - two classic indications of an accountant who enjoys fell walking at the weekend and has a penchant for homemade ale. Then I noticed his Rolex Submariner and my opinion changed. Here was a man of some taste, despite the Berghaus jacket. He even polished his shoes.
If he had only been carrying a decent bag, my respect would have been complete. He actually didn't have a bag, but if he had I would hope it had been fashioned from a nice hide, be simple in its appearance and be of the holdall design, carried in the hand as opposed to slung over the shoulder.

Something from Dunhill's SS10 Chassis Leather collection would work a treat, crafted as it is from a deep grey leather embossed with a carbon fibre pattern previously only found covering the dashboards of exotic sportscars. As a bonus, the leather is allegedly scratch resistant. Quite the gentleman's holdall, great for a weekend trip or for holding that gym gear, and an accessory to be admired.

But a Dunhill holdall could be a style indicator too far for our Rolex-sporting, outdoor jacket-wearing friend. Something tells me he might actually have a preference for rucksacks. Of the Karimoor variety.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Outlier woven leather keychain

This is a wicked looking key chain from cycle wear brand Outlier. It's made from woven leather with a nice shiny steel buckle and looks a bit too nice to have dangling from a belt loop a few inches above your wheel.

Still, it's a stylish way to avoid that clatter of doom as your keys collide with the tarmac while you take a roundabout at speed, and cycle brand or not, this has to be the most covetable keychain released by anyone this year.

These are expected to be available on the Outlier website sometime next week.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Rapha x Paul Smith Grand Tour gloves

Rapha's grand tour gloves are the kind of cycling accessory that you don't really need right now. For a start they're fingerless. On top of that they're made of leather as thin as paper. Then they've got holes punched all over them.

They're about as good for winter riding as a sleeveless vest. Which is no doubt why Rapha has released a collaboration Grand Tour glove with Paul Smith. Warm they are not, but they look amazing with their Paul Smith multi-coloured piping. Perhaps the winter release is a clue to the fact that you really wouldn't want to mess up a pair of gloves like this by actually wearing them while riding - far better to leave them in their box and gaze at them longingly.

As you wonder at their suppleness you will spare a thought for the African hair sheep which lived on the arid savannah in Eastern Africa, its skin thin to cope with the heat while remaining extremely tough. You will consider the craftsmen who skinned that sheep and ‘table cut’ the leather, working it by hand lengthways and crossways to give it texture and suppleness.

Then, when summer comes, you can wear them for walking to the pub or something equally non-sweat inducing. Or put them on Ebay, where they will fetch a fair premium on the £175 price tag.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Beard today ...

Well I tried. All last week it was there on my face, this kind of ginger shadow. I had been cultivating that beard since last Friday, massaging it, loving it, putting up with the incessant itching.

Why? Because everyone's doing it, that's why. Everywhere I look I see blokes sporting sizeable thatches in the jaw area. Growing a beard has regained a popularity not seen since the Seventies. After decades of living in the shadows, its memory barely kept alive by farmers and Richard Branson, the beard has returned.

Beards can now be seen on everyone from sharp suited businessmen to lumberjack shirted hip types on their fixed gear bikes. These days, if you are a resident of Shoreditch, and you are a man, beard wearing is virtually law. Facial hair, and that means real growth, not some clipped little Brazilian-for-your-face goatee, is once again cool.

So the razor was left alone. Ten days I went without shaving, as whiskers sprouted in little patches all over my chin. For some reason my moustache took on a life of its own while you could barely notice any growth at all on my cheeks. I developed a rash on my neck.

I'd had visions of growing this handsome beard with a decent, uniform coverage. I was expecting to have transformed into this rugged chap and developed a fondness for a pipe and a cable knit cardie.

What I actually looked like was unshaven. Rather than belonging on me, that growth looked like it was trying to escape. I took on the appearance of someone who had been sleeping under a railway arch for a week.

I decided it might look better if I tidied it up. As I possess no beard trimmer I set about it with a pair of Lizzie's hairdressing scissors. This is the facial equivalent of taking a scythe to your lawn. The beard was decimated. clumps of whisker hung off in lumps. There was a bald patch directly under my chin.

So it had to go. I have come to the conclusion that not all men are supposed to wear beards.

I expect someone like me must have invented shaving.

Art: Kate Moss's knickers

You might have noticed a certain drought in my blog content of late and that's because I have had a week off, during which I have been otherwise engaged painting Kate Moss's knickers.

Well not just her knickers, although that's what the search engines will pick up on. No, I have painted from her knickers to the bottom half of her face. It's a study of a Mario Testino shot from 2008 and I was struck by how the colours worked so well together. That and the composition - a bit of England and a flouncy skirt hitched up to show off her kecks.

A bit rock 'n' roll, a bit raunchy, not quite porn.

If you like it you can vote for it in the next round of the Saatchi Online art competition, which runs from November 30.

Click here to see it in all its glory.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Colours: Those rules need bending

I adhere to many of the rules of style - never wear your undercrackers over your trousers, always go out with matching shoes on, that kind of thing.

But when it comes to colours we are on murky ground. There are plenty of guidelines on compatibility of the spectrum, and many are perfectly correct. For instance, never wear the same colour from head to toe is a good one, particularly if that colour is red, or yellow. Purple signals you are sexually frustrated. And as for brown. I'm not even going there.

"Ah but what about black!" you cry, and to that I have three words. Milk Tray Man.

Then there is Blue and green, which should never be seen. Fair point if the blue is royal and the green emerald, but navy and olive, well that doesn't look terrible. And that's where the rules bend, because with every colour combination that shouldn't go together, there is a shade, or a tint, that looks just dandy.

Such as blue and black - more often than not an absolute no-no. Get it wrong and it comes across as one huge mistake, forgiveable only if you are colour blind, But get it right, when that blue is vivid enough. That works.

Pictured: Supreme outdoor hoodie; Acronym jacket, Norse Projects scarf.

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Art of the Trench: Burberry's killer blow

Is there anyone who doesn't own a trench coat? It has to be the number one coat ever produced, and the variations on its theme are now endless.

Amazing for a garment with such humble, yet courageous, beginnings. Who would have thought something which hasn't changed a lot since it was released in the First World War for the soldiers at the front would have become such a wardrobe staple. Aquascutum invented it, then shortly afterwards, Burberry started up as a rival.

Aquascutum might have helped the British Army win the First World War, but Burberry has won the battle of the trench coat giants. While Aquascutum is floundering in the shell hole of the recession, Burberry is marching onwards, armed with some nifty design, marketing and a steady flow of tourists all eager to own a Burberry trench.

As a parting shot at its Regent Street rival, Burberry has delivered its killer blow, in the form of a marketing campaign. Photographic evidence that it has conquered the world by way of a double breasted showerproof overcoat.

As I write, pictures are flooding in to its specially dedicated website, the 'Art of the Trench.' People from all walks of life, all oddly photogenic, beautiful and predominately young, flashing their checked linings with abandon.

Burberry has had the Sartorialist, Scott Schulman pounding the streets across the four corners of the globe, but mostly London and New York, to find these customers.

Just look at them. It's enough to make you just go to London right now and try one on to feel the stylishness pulse through you.

The odd thing is, visit a Burberry store and you won't find anyone buying those coats looking remotely as good as in the pictures. Just overweight German tourists and balding businessmen from the Middle East. How's that for bursting your style bubble?

And that's when you realise, the fantasy is often a lot nicer looking than the reality.

For Burberry, that's the price of victory.

PS: The picture is of Lizzie in an M&S trench coat.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Puma x Kidrobot Munny Charity Project: I could have thought of this

I've had a Munny sitting on the shelf in its box since my brother-in-law bought it for me last Christmas. In case you don't know, they arrive in pristine white plastic ready for you to let lose with your imagination and a bit of paint.

All year it's been sitting there, waiting, and I've been waiting for a suitable brainwave to kick me into action, like a lawnmower that's been in the shed all winter.

The whole thing is driving me mad to be honest. It's like that Munny is in there laughing at my inability to come up with even a remotely cool paintjob, goading me with its nakedness.

Then, to rub it in I see these. Possibly the coolest Munnies on the entire planet. This is what I wanted my Munny to look like. Either of them. I don't care.

Just the thought that I could come up with something as totally cool as these would be enough for me. I would retire right there on the spot. I would consider my life's work done.

And what happens? Someone else comes up with the very idea that I never thought of. Twice! Life just is. Not. Fair.

Via Highsnobiety

The Christmas list. Part 1

Much of this blog is about objects of desire. I might not want to own all of them. In fact I can think of a couple I would positively take right back to the store should it reach my door. Nevertheless, they are all objects and therefore would all qualify in one way or another as Christmas presents.

So why I find it so difficult to come up with suggestions for my own presents at this time of year beats me. Of course there are things I would own tomorrow, like that Porsche 911 or the Wally Hermes yacht, but I've got to get a little bit realistic here.

So assuming that if you're reading this you will probably like what I like and therefore be just as happy to receive one of these things as I would, I am publicising my list. You will be pleased to know that it will not, as yet, cause any close friends or family to file for bankruptcy protection.

So far I have found:

Kaws dissected companion keyring, £12, The Hideout. (Upon further investigation this is already sold out but DSM might be getting some in)

Supreme leather keyring, £15, The Hideout / Dover Street Market

Hiroshi Fujiwara Personal Effects book, £40 (est) The Hideout

Rapha neoprene overshoes, £50, (assuming they restock with size large)

Rapha Merino base layer, l/s, large, £55

Clot web belt, £39.95, Hanon

If I find anything else I'll add it

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Brand watch: Kaws' Original Fake

I've been keeping my eye on Original Fake for a while now. Here is proof that vandalism can pay, as long as you have the right contacts.

Kaws, who has launched this clothing and toy line with Medicom of Japan, is a New York graffiti artist who made a name for himself through the simple application of spray painted crosses over the eyes of images in bus shelter adverts.

Over the last 20 years or so those crosses and Kaws' connection with the NY art scene and Japanese clothing designers have blossomed into quite a brand.

Kaws toys, such as the Companion we can see in the picture, are regarded as art in themselves. That figure in the picture would cost in excess of $6,000, if you can find one. Other toys, in particular the earlier models, can fetch even more.

Then there is Kaws' art, which is essentially bastardised advertisements or images of naked women with strange cartoon heads. The originals are taken far more seriously in the art world than they ever should be - they even receive their own gallery exhibitions. But if you don't fancy splashing out tens of thousands on a vandalised advert you can find Kaws images on the Original Fake tee shirt line.

Which brings us to the clothing. It all started a bit garish, in that Bape cartoon romper suit manner. In fact before Original Fake was launched, Kaws did a collaboration line with Bape, putting crosses on the eyes of Baby Milo and running chomper teeth prints (a Kaws trademark) down the zippers of Bape hoodies. Nigo even did a camo design featuring the Kaws worm.

But this year Original Fake has found its true identity. The quality is second to none and the trademark crosses and chomper teeth feature with restraint on the garments. The price is astronomical, but at least you're not going to look a fool with the stuff on.

And of course, just like his artwork, you can find Original Fake hardly anywhere, ensuring the possibility of appreciation in terms of the value of pristine pieces. It's like wearing a piece of art.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Caps: The bent peak way

If you are of the hip hop, streetwear persuasion, you might want to stop reading now. Particularly if you also prefer your headwear to be of the pristine New Era variety, because I have a confession to make.

I bend my peaks.

Obviously I don't bend all my peaks because quite a few of my caps already have pre-bent peaks, kindly shaped by a person somewhere in Asia.

But for those peaks that arrive flat, well they don't stay flat for long. The thing is, I have to do it. I have tried to go with the street flow, but one look at myself in a cap with an unbent peak is all it takes to make me realise. I look like Kevin the Teenager.

It could be the shape of my head, but I put it down to my generation. This is a generation which largely precluded hip-hop and all its idiosycracies. Granted, we had Public Enemy and NWA - even Boogie Down Productions, but it wasn't so much of a movement that we bothered to go out and track down jeans so big that they fell below our bumcheeks, or bandanas or XL tee shirts. Or wear our caps as if we'd just stuck them on our heads and walked out of the sport shop, poppin' a cap in the assistant on the way. We removed the stickers, and we bent the peaks.

Don't get me wrong. It's not like I have anything against straight, unbent peaks, they're just not for me. In the same way that I don't feel the need to drive a blacked out Chevrolet Suburban with a Glock in the glovebox.

So bend them I will. Old habits die hard.

Oh, and I know that isn't a New Era cap (do those peaks even bend?) in the picture. It's a Supreme panel cap. With a nicely hand-bent peak.

Time of the month Supersonic Halloween Special: the aftermath

I know you're all desperate to know what I looked like for that Supersonic Halloween Special party at the Sunrooms in Southend, so I present you my gloriously ghoulish self.

You will note the hand touched-up crappy skeleton suit, receiver of more than one comment on its Donnie Darko authenticity - I do believe I told one person it was the actual suit from the film.

I think the professionalism of my makeup application is self evident, and was borne out when we got to the door of the club to be complemented on my "look" while Lizzie almost didn't get in because the bouncer wasn't sure she qualified as wearing fancy dress. Ha!

And do you know what? There wasn't a single other Donnie Darko inspired character there. The Joker was everywhere you looked, as were a variety of hockey masks, and full points have to go to Neil, who spent the evening parading around in a Mexican wrestler mask and cape. The mask prohibited the wearing of his glasses, so he stumbled around like a masked mole trying to identify people.

My favourite outift of the night had to be the bloke who dressed himself entirely in black and turned himself into a stick man through the use of glowsticks. An inspired look which worked wonders on the dark dancefloor. Until one of his legs fell off.