There’s a certain romanticism around the early 80’s era of New York City, sure a lot of stuff was born out of the time but it wasn’t exactly the most bountiful financial times. NYC, 1981 touches on that by talking to some familiar faces who made their make in that time. It’s always interesting to see how people tend to make the most of a bad situation, at a time when New York was going through the most dangerous year on record there was still prosperity for those who worked for it. It leads on nicely from How to Make Money Selling Drugs which I watched a few days ago. Whilst the modern statistics from that film were bewildering it was the early story of high-level drug dealing I found most intriguing. Whilst that movie didn’t necessarily touch on the impact on NYC it’s always a pleasure to hear the entrepreneurial stories of people like “Freeway” Rick Ross and then take stock of the impact that someone like that had on modern society with his “product”. Crime is always going to be a more interesting topic and financial hardship is a pretty reliable catalyst. I’m sure in decades to come Detroit will have a sombre documentary to look back on when things move into a more positive light.
Nothing can be more positive then than some New Balance footwear themed on luxury goods, in this case it’s Concepts’ second effort on my beloved 997 and this time it’s even more heavily monotoned. Anyone with a bit of familiarity with the large fashion houses will recognise the bright orange and although I’m generally against all-leather runners for this shoe I will make an exception. For me the best New Balance have always been simple colours (not necessarily muted) and supremely high quality. In a time where retro footwear was reserved mainly for models that simply had never gone out of production, New Balance represented the highest tier of footwear flossing for runners. Whilst Air Max had the flash, adidas had the tech and obscurity (not ubiquity) reigned supreme the ultra-high price point of USA made NB made it a cult classic for corner boys. An ultra-lux NB is always going to win for me when it’s executed right and once again Concepts prove that they may just be the best at reworking these shoes at a time when the brand itself is too caught up on throwing colours and concepts (no pun intended) at shoes that need nothing more than a whole lot of respect with touch of finesse.
Anniversaries seem to be the new excuse for a brand to whip out a host of “limited” releases and with the Superstar celebrating 45 years in 2015 it means that it’s been a decade since what remains probably the collaborative effort that put adidas Originals on many-a-radar outside of Europe. Whilst most of the revealed efforts have been anything but lacklustre (given how good the original was the Neighborhood one is especially weak) the effort by Union is a standout. Rather than going the re-hashed idea route the shoe ditched it’s unique purplish hue and goes all brown suede (including shell) with a hit of royal blue. Strong move by Union and for me a smart one given how the store has changed in the last 10 years. Time will tell how the other efforts go but one could assume that the Tate shoe wont be revisited. Anniversary of an anniversary is still a bit tedious though isn’t it?
Aside from the aformentioned project, Y-3 and the epicly underrated-at-the-time A-ZX series it’d be safe to say that adidas has had some rather unsuccessful and uninspiring collaborative efforts in the past but the Kolor collection is definitely a winner. Letting someone assosciated Junya and Y-3 work on a futuristic collection encapsulating high-tech fashion is always a strong look for a sportswear company and I think Kolor nailed it. Would I wear half of it? Probably not but those Ultra Boost look great (one of the most genuinely interesting adidas running shoes for me in a while). The wetsuit-like sweater beats a Tech Fleece number from Nike every day of the week although might tie with OAMC’s new number. I do find the line “We have to deliver – at a minimum every week – something that excites the consumer” very concerning though but given I think this is the year we hit critical mass for collaboration it’s unsurprising.
Bandulu popped up on my radar a little bit back when Bodega added it to their roster and I was immediately weirded out. The idea basically sees vintage garms taken and pesonalized through hand stitching additions to make a unique piece. The most notable addition is paint splatters which at first make you look like your house-painting uncle from afar until closer inspection reveals the embroidered texture. There’s something amazingly simple yet advanced about the idea and the execution is admirable. In a time where everyone has OD’d on deliberately ironic bootleg fashion it’s refreshing to see something a bit more focussed and considered. It’s easy to write it off as over-priced wannabe fashion but there’s more here than that. The VFILES splattered jacket/jean combo is especially fantastic.
Whilst the new year brings in plenty of fashun news it excites the motorsports nerd in me even more, with many of the year’s Formula 1 cars breaking cover over the next few weeks and driver shuffling over the off-season meaning that 2015 might turn out to be a lot more interesting than last year (which aside from the fact Mercedes trumped everyone did have plenty of drama). What blew me away though was Nissan’s LMP1 announcement just today, with their “GTR” Le Mans contender giving everyone a stern middle finger in the air. In a world where regulations and technological advancement have meant that many forms of the sport are almost cookie-cutter silhouettes with stickers slapped on Nissan threw the rule book out the window. Having had (somewhat controversial) tests with the Deltawing (then IZOD) concept racers the new GTR LMP1 chucks a 1,250hp drivetrain into what is essentially a front-wheel drive front-mid engined sportscar. It’s weird and evil and utterly astonishing and I hope it runs well this year. The rumor that it may run sans rear wing in Le Mans aero configuration is even more mindblowing. This thing looks like the cars people draw as “what will race cars look like 30 years from now” and I love it.