High End, Lowbrow

Diddley

So the name for this entry comes from the tagline of a brand that would have to be in my top five influences and has eventually manifested itself into my personal motto; do things well but don’t take yourself too seriously. Fiberops was well and truly ahead of it’s time, morphing into it’s final rockabilly, Motown inspired form before sadly disappearing into oblivion thanks to the all-too-familiar explanation of ‘it wasn’t worth it any more’. It ran alongside brands like Commune and The Loveright Co. all joining forces under the F.I.S.M (Fuel Injected Suicide Machines) moniker. Headed Alyasha Owerka-Moore, a man who is involved in just about everything good to come from the last 15 years in streetwear (Nike SB, Alphanumeric, Zoo York to name a few), it really reverberated with the hot-rod, rock’n’roll wannabe within. The whole aesthetic, and culture of a group of mates all doing their own shit but in it together, building hot rods and listening to Bo Diddley was a great appeal. The clothing itself had the right mix of traditional patterns and cuts, mixed with a bit of humour and whimsey.

I have fond memories of sitting and checking the Fast Eddie’s Garage website for new deliveries, along with Digital Gravel. Nowadays Alyasha is (among other things) helping with The Hundreds Public Label and last I heard Eddie was at K-Swiss. It’s interesting to see where these people who were so influential to me ended up, with the only memories left in the form of some of my favourite pieces of clothing. With the amount of brands now relying solely on printed tees and crappy quality products pumped out on short notice to keep up with trends, I wonder if anything is built with that sort of longevity in mind. The clothing is more in-the-moment and less about lasting impact than ever before.

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Japanese label Hender Scheme has been causing waves on the interwebs for a minute since they released their “Homage” series of footwear that brings inspiration from some of the most recognisable sneaker silhouettes. In the range there’s something akin to Vans, Nike, New Balance, adidas and even a Reebok Stomper. The shoes are constructed from a supremely high quality untreated leather in a manner more often seen on mens dress shoes. The ability to have the leather bottoms re-soled gives you a clue to how long the creators wish you to own and wear these. With time the uppers takes on their own unique patina, much like your favourite pair of jeans. It seems that the Japanese in particular grasp the concept of truly individual, wearable, durable clothing and footwear.

Personally I’m not too sure on the New Balance looking model, as you may know I’m a devout NB fan and anything masquerading as it tends to make me sour although this time it’s doing it in a way that they would never do, it’s definitely not hopeless like Louis Vuitton’s attempt. I think the German Army Trainer (fondly referred to as the GAT) is the best use of the concept though, putting Margiela’s “Replica” efforts to shame, although the Air Force 1 is pretty impressive as well. The whole lot skirts the dress shoe/sneaker hybrid market in a completely new way, it’s luxury sneakers that are actually luxurious.

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Speaking of Japanese labels, I can’t leave out my recently acquired (and first) piece from FUCT’s SSDD (Same Shit Different Day) range. For years it has eluded me, the brand seeming to be almost impossible to find outside of the country it’s run out of. After what seemed like a decade of waiting, the first ever range to hit our shelves arrived and in it contained a very tentatively ordered wool blazer for myself. The guidelines to sizing were sketchy at best, and my gut feeling was to go true-to-size, but I was convinced by my comrades that I should be sizing up (like most Japanese brands). Needless to say the moment I slipped it’s weighty wool shell over me I knew that all was well. Pretty much spot-on, the sleeves are perfect length for this type of jacket, but on something a bit more casual they’d be deemed too short. Having decided a short while ago that it was time to somewhat “grow up” the fact this blazer seems quite bland on the outset yet has signature Death Bunny stamped buttons and a huge version of the Totenkopf spoof embroidered in the satin lining sold me. Like I said; high end, lowbrow. Now it’ll sit in the wardrobe for 8 months until the weather cools down…
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