From the monthly archives: April 2012

Derek has one of the most insane wardrobes of anyone I know. I have witnessed him acquire items he has searched high and low for; slowly crossing items off his list of coveted grails.  More than just being the biggest Ann Demeulemeester enthusiast I know; Derek seamlessly works in varied brands with an eye for mood, texture and proportion. I visited him recently and photographed some of his all-time favorite pieces and looks.

You can find Derek holding it down at Atelier New York.

This is my interpretation of iconic Ann Demeulemeester. When I don this I feel delightfully anachronistic, romantic, even a little bit rebellious. The rebel prince, I think. The contrast of wool and cotton on top and all leather on the bottom is essential in conveying this. With tailored trousers and a shoe it becomes dull, ethical, stiff. That couldn’t be farther from me.

This look brings forth my obsession with America, with rock n roll. I think of the beats, of open sky and endless road. I feel and externalize the death of old America, its evils, its mysticism, its hope. The Frontierman. Yeah, that’s him there, searching for new hopes in faint ideas.

This is the other half of Ann: the nonchalant, even lazy, street rat. This is poete maudite, dreaming and believing.

This jacket is oldish, but reeks of the future. It’s completely twisted and lopsided, and sparkles in the light. I miss this lux street attitude in Ann’s design.

“As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.” – Clarence Darrow


I think it sings a seminal Ann jacket tune – trans-seasonal nubby cotton/metal textile, quiet asymmetric cut, peak lapel with hidden buttons. The metal cleverly holds wrinkles nicely, and it’s taken on serious character since I received it. Karlo Steel gave me this jacket as a gift from his personal wardrobe, “I think there’s something vampiric about it.”


From the masterpiece FW08 My Own Private Portland collection. I never knew this jacket existed in black until last winter, as each one I handled was caramel leather with chocolate topstitching. So when I found this I bought it instantly. It’s design and cut feel made for me. The thick, matte cow leather has an ineffable patina. If the world fell into anarchy, i’d grab this and run.


If you’re going to have only one Ann waistcoat, this is the obvious choice. A slightly elongated take on a traditional waistcoat with signature double straps at the back. This particular one is made in a shadowstripe cotton. I like to wear it in the summer without anything underneath.

No one makes a t-shirt like Rick Owens, by now everyone should consider any t-shirt against his as the standard for comparison. I prefer them in uberdelicate sheer cotton and long long long. The more holes, the better.

I’ve shredded these over and over again, but will never get rid of them. I’ll keep patching them up until they completely fall apart, and then i’ll mount them on my wall forever after. I’ve yet to use the suspender loops, though.

Unbelievably delicious fabric, terribly thin, new holes showing up almost every time I wear it. I got this one at Atelier. It’s still my favorite Ann top in my closet: the floppy collar, dropped shoulder, and long sleeves strike the perfect lazy elegance balance.

This is a recent acquisition, but something i’ve lusted over unabashedly for five years, unable to procure one until just a few weeks ago. It’s masterfully pre-twisted design and contrasting interior color trump all other double-layer pieces i’ve handled. Another vital representation of Ann’s sloppy punk-poet muse.

I wear these every single day; this is the extent of my finger jewelry. They are simple, masculine, and timeless.

A completely anachronistic shape, and almost non-functional for an everyday runaround. Perfect for a book, a notebook, and a pen.

My first and only Ann cap. I get offers for this on the street, but it’ll be buried with me.

Call me Amish, call me Hasidic, it’s all good. And oh so warm.

My one and only. It’s very long and dangles like a tail from my hip.


These are obnoxious, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve dropped them a hundred times.

My first and only pair of her trainers. They had some buckles for the shaft but I took them off after a week or two. The wide eyelets and double zippers are paramount to both style and function.

One thing i’ll never, ever understand is how people keep their shoes looking new. I got these over 4 years ago and I think I wore them for almost two straight years when I first got them. They’re still the best made and most comfortable shoes i’ve ever owned. They still feel as good as the day I bought them every time I wear them. The patina is perfect: rugged and lush, bruised, irreplicable.

Photography by Rocky Li


I feel fortunate to know some of the most stylish people in New York and I will be showcasing their wardrobes and outfits in a series of Style Portraits.

The very first Style Portrait is with ‘Mr.Junior Watanabe’ himself Scott M. I have known Scott for almost three years now and in that time I have seen him make great strides in his personal style. Besides owning more Junya than anyone else I know he has really come into his own amassing a coherent and versatile wardrobe that crosses all four seasons. I asked him to comment on some of his favorite looks and pieces below.

This is probably my favorite outfit, I love the way the Noragi compliments the down shirt as a layering piece. The color palette is perfect, and it certainly catches some eyes when I wear it.

This jacket is my most recent acquisition from Japanese brand Undercover, and has been sought after by me for some time in my size and color. I love how it plays well as a technical and casual piece but was easy enough to dress up with a tweed blazer underneath.

I like to keep the pants on the plain side when I wear this jacket since it’s pattern is so overwhelming, but love adding textural accents to break up what could risk being a safe look. The mixture of striped oxford with herringbone, with camouflage is a great way to keep it interesting.

 For lighterweight outfits I generally like to go for an almost classic look of a navy jacket and washed out denim, but like the twist of textures with this blazer. The jacket’s fabric and collar detail paired with camouflage lined denim is a nice way for me to break up what would risk being a common look.

Junya Watanabe Boots FW09
These are my most prized possession, if my apartment ever burned to the ground…. they’d already be on my feet. I’ve worn them most days I can remember and they sum up my ideal shoe in every way. Each stain, wrinkle and knick has a story to it.

A Bathing Ape (BAPE) Manhunts
These were a piece I saw back in 09 or so and couldn’t get off my mind, and through a lucky ebay search I came upon them for a ludicrous price. The ripple sole on a Wally silhouette is just the perfect amount of uniqueness to a staple shoe.

Trickers Boots w/ custom laces
I actually have a very strong aversion to Leather shoes and prefer suede day in day out, but these just sort of clicked. The cap toe and brogue combo is a nice change of pace from a longwing, shortwing, etc.

Vintage Noragi
Many people have seen these from Visvim and dropped their jaw at the $1,500 price, as did I. This is the original piece that it was based on, and is around 200 years old. This probably is the most unique piece that I own, rich indigo dye and beautiful texture.

White Mountaineering Vest
This piece is my dream winter outerwear, it’s the most versatile piece I own. It has a goretex liner so it’s great for snow, down filled, and looks amazing with a blazer underneath.

Junya Watanabe Red Down Shirt
This piece would be on my back as well in the burning house scenario, there is no jacket that has captivated me or kept me entertained, and I get bored quickly. It’s a great piece because you can layer under it, use it as an inner layer, and it has such a radiant color.

Junya Watanabe Reversible Hunting jacket
This was my first reversible piece from Junya, which is one of his signature concepts. The weave of the fabric is very dense, and it crosses a great border between hunting wear and tailored wear.

Junya Watanabe SS10 Navy Gingham Blazer
This piece was my first Spring summer Junya weight piece, and I don’t know if I even have any other spring jackets besides this, I don’t really need another one. The fabric is a wild blend of Nylon and Cotton so it has a coarse texture without being heavy.

Junya Watanabe Camo FW09 Jacket

This was my second favorite piece from the runway from f/w 09 and something I hunted for forever. It randomly popped up in my size at the right time, and to this day is one of my wilder pieces I own, the pattern is insane in person.

Screenprinted Junya Watanabe Levi’s
These are actually nuts in person, they’re a cotton twill that is feather light, but have a pair of levis screenprinted on them off-kilter, Junya has done this treatment a couple of times.

Camo Junya Watanabe Levi’s
The jeans have perfect wash and a great fit for me, the skewed pockets are an awesome detail, and I love the cuff lining.

Junya Watanabe Leather Pocket Jeans
These pants were the very first Junya item I bought, back on December 4th 2009, they mean more to me than any other trouser I own and just hold that special place.

All photography by Rocky Li


With summer weather approaching the search for the perfect sneaker is on. Here are a few suggestions for hot days ahead.

Undercover SS12 Low-Top Sneaker

Undercover provides their take on the Stan Smith for the SS12 season. An easy clean design accented by a detailed embroidery around the ankle.

£210 at Oki Ni
Maison Martin Margiela Painted Germany Army Trainers (GAT)

With a linen upper covered in white paint, these German Army Trainers stand out from the usual MMM GATs in a way that is tasteful and eye-catching.

$495 at Aloha Rag

Giuliano Fujiwara High Top Sneaker

Clean lines and mixed materials make this sneaker an attention grabbing choice for Summer. Made in the same factories as Raf Simons and common projects these sneakers are made to last.

$620 at The Corner

New Balance M1300LG-Grey

New Balances may be approaching played-out status but if you’re set on a pair you might as well go with one of the best models the 1300. This understated light grey colorway is sure to match plenty of items in your wardrobe.

$130 via Kith

Ann Demeulemeester Calf-leather Wrap-lace Trainers

The quintessential Ann D sneaker in a beautiful calf leather material. These are sure to go with jeans or trousers and can be dressed up or down with ease.

$415 via re.porter


Today Supreme launched their new iPhone mobile website. In this Internet age where it seems that just about every brand has a social media presence and a mobile app it’s worth taking a look back at these ads from mid 1990s. The use of subversive imagery and placement in key skateboarding magazines built the foundation and formula which the brand uses to this day.

Check out another nostalgic video below shot in 1996 by MTV Japan.

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I was fortunate enough to see Lil’B the Based God’s #rare speaking engagement tonight at the NYU Kimmel Center. The experience was an unique one : part interactive fan meet & greet, part motivational speech and part based TED talk on humanity. There was minimal cooking (the million dollar dance) but Lil’B touched on a breadth of topics in a manner that was humble, supportive and unscripted.


Lil’B reinforced his core ‘based’ message which is positivity and really being comfortable in your own skin. It’s a common theme in his music , videos and online persona so it was no surprise that it took center stage at NYU. Lil’B shared his own experience becoming the person and artist he is today. He stressed that it was important to live not for perceived success but for your personal sense of fulfillment. As he mimicked falling asleep on the table on stage he explained that he slept wonderfully every night because he was true to himself and his values namely “Honesty, integrity, friendship, passion…”

Much of the lecture was spent on sharing his idea that the barriers between human beings need to be broken down so that judgement, stereotypes and outdated definitions did not cloud interactions between individuals. Additionally he touched on the idea of forgiveness and it’s importance to society. We live in a “Hit me, I’ll hit you back” world and he stressed the importance of forgiveness replacing this mentality.

He shared one of his secrets to life.

“Every single person you meet, look at them like a golden million dollar baby.”

Issues and Life Lessons

Lil’B spoke on some issues near and dear to his heart.

“It’s funny, you feel me, this is how I really feel. I’m glad I can come tell you guys and you can see my personality and see this is really Lil B. This is what he wants. Regardless of what anybody says, I want all of you to live as long as possible, have a great, healthy life, fun, full of adventure, full of mystery, full of trials and tribulations. Just going through and seeing things, being able to forgive.

Test your friends. See who really loves you. Remember that. See who will be with you forever. Just see. Take some time out for yourself.”

Read more:

Some of the things I think about on the daily: I just want my people to be safe. [Audience member: “What you think about, bro?!”] Safety, man. And real talk, everybody make sure you wear seat belts, for real.

“Let’s stop fracking. Who knows about hydraulic fracking?”

“I’m like whodie, get that oil out the ocean!”

“I’m the first rapper to adopt a tabby cat. I adopted it straight from the ASPCA, you feel me?”


After a member of the crowd suggested Lil’B run for president, he touched briefly on politics.

“I may run for president because when you run for president everything comes out and I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of.”

“I’m out here trying to get my Mitt Romney on.”


Lil’B announced that he would be working with Lil’Wayne again in the very near future as well as a yet unnamed artist who in his words was one of the biggest artists in the world. He also announced that he was branching out of the hip-hop genre.

“You guys are the first to hear it: I’m actually releasing my rock album. This is gonna be some garage punk. This one’s for the rebels. Look out for the Lil’B rock record, California Boy.”

He also stated that he is 100% still with The Pack and that new Pack music is in the works.

Sidebar: Lil’B also paints and he prefers watercolor (though his clothing is strictly in dior paint) . Can we expected to see based art soon?

There was a feeling in the room that the lecture hall had been transformed into a real life @lilbthebasedgod twitter feed. Retweets and mentions had been replaced by audible woops, swags, thank you Based Gods and honest dialogue between between fans and Lil’B.Being someone who has supported Lil’B as an artist for quite some time I came away from the lecture feeling I had a better understanding of the ‘Basedworld’ that Brandon seeks to create.

Everything about Lil’B does pretty much defies classification or convention and this was no exception. It was really refreshing to see a musician enthusiastically embrace their role as a social activist. So often that attempt can seem forced or deliberate but Lil’B has captured the hearts and minds of a young generation who grew up with a steady dose of social media, free music and political/religious apathy. Through his celebrity, intelligence , charisma, and fearlessness Lil’B has been able to entertain without compromises and teach without pretension.

From my observance of the NYU students that filled the auditorium, those who attended TRULY did enjoy the hour-plus long lecture. Lil’B stuck around afterwards to sign autographs for and take photos with as many fans as the time-slot admitted. Indeed tonight’s lecture at NYU convinced me that Lil’B has transcended his self-appointed title of historic online figure and become a historic real-life figure. I can only sum up the experience with one word.

Thanks to Peter from NYU for helping me with a ticket.
And Thank you Based God.

Photos and words by Rocky Li

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The long-standing rumors have been confirmed. Raf Simons is in at Dior. I have mixed feelings about this appointment but I will reserve judgement until his first haute couture collection is shown in July. Long live Raf Simons.

Below passage via the New York Times

Dior Selects Raf Simons to Replace John Galliano
by Cathy Horyn

On Wednesday, the Paris fashion house will announce that Raf Simons will take over immediately as artistic director, replacing John Galliano, who was fired from Dior last year following anti-Semitic remarks. His first collection is planned for July at the fall haute couture shows.

The choice of Mr. Simons follows more than a year of discussions and apparent soul searching by Dior and its boss, Bernard Arnault, who is chairman of LVMH, about the ideal person to give creative direction to the 66-year-old luxury brand.

In an interview Monday, Mr. Simons expressed delight at the appointment. “The first time I heard about the Dior position,” he said, “I thought, ‘This feels right.’ ”

Read the entire article in the NYT.


If you are in Antwerp this month between the 18th and 21st there is no excuse for missing the Raf Simons Archive Sale. I can’t wait to see some of the pieces that come out of this ‘exceptional’ sale. If you are attending and would like your photos of the sale published drop me a line.

Image via hapsical

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This past week I saw a notification pop-up from Graham Newmarch inviting me to become a fan of re.porter. Clicking through to the facebook page and subsequently the website, I was greeted with pieces from CCP, Ann Demeulemeester, and Julius. What initially struck me was the quality and consistency of the styling and the rarity of some pieces. I could tell this was not the average webstore. I reached out to Graham [founder of re.porter] to learn more about his venture and gain insight to his unique approach to online retail.

Explain the concept behind re. porter and how the site came to be

Good things happen when friends move to china. that is to say, because my best friends moved to Guangzhou, leaving me [and all their professional studio equipment] behind. I had already been doing consignment via eBay for some of my retail clients, and didn’t hesitate to seize this opportunity to take it to an entirely new level.

re. porter, literally translated, means to wear again. It’s a simple play on words with the prêt-a-porter collections we’re all so accustomed to drooling over a palm-full of times each year. As simple as it might be though, it says a lot about what I want re. porter to become.

High fashion is supposed to exist outside the strictures of time-driven stresses. it’s supposed to remain unaffected & uninfluenced by trends, focusing instead on the exploration of its own particular expression, voice, or style. it’s supposed to be timeless…

Unfortunately, when it comes to the retail side of things , time is a very real factor – and of prime concern. boutiques are under severe pressure to get stock in as soon as possible, and move it out just as fast. Having spent a lot of time working in luxury retail [Komakino in Vancouver, and Layers in London] I’d always wanted to run my own store, but never liked the aggressive nature of brick and mortar sales – and the luxury retail-world as a whole.

With re. porter – I have a unique opportunity to pay homage to the timelessness I’ve always so idealistically attributed to my favourite designers’ work. old[er] pieces from Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens, or Damir Doma combine effortlessly with any of their latest seasons’ offerings. re. porter provides its clients with the opportunity to find sold-out gems from their favourite designers’ past seasons – hopefully aiding & abetting avant-garde collectors at-large in their individual quests for fashion’s holy-grails.

Many of our clients don’t even realize we’re a primarily consignment-based operation. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the biggest indicator that we’re doing our job correctly.  We place prime importance on presentation, and believe by showcasing consigned goods with equal [or more] integrity as others do new stock – we pay proper respect to the artistry of the work, and the timelessness of its respective aesthetic.

How do you source and select what makes it up for sale on re. porter?

Sourcing takes up the grand majority of my time. as re. porter is by-and-large a consignment based operation, I spend my days corresponding with clients and collectors alike, offering them the opportunity to consign with our store.

That being said, not everything in the store is previously owned. I spend a fair amount of time sourcing items from the world’s various online vintage and second-hand markets – where it’s not rare to find completely new gems-of-old; who never found their destined customer before the boutique was forced to move them along.

In the months leading up to launch, it wasn’t unusual for me to spend twelve [or more] hours a day corresponding with clients, collectors, and boutiques – convincing them to consign with us and calmly reassuring them i wasn’t actually a criminal. Now that we’ve launched it would seem the website does most of that work for me, and i can focus on what products i choose to take on consignment, rather than searching for any to consign at all.

The process of selection itself is fairly straightforward. I’m pretty much my own client, that is to say – my target client-base knows these designers just as well as i do.As in all buying, there’s a bit of logistics involved, but what I do is more akin to curating a gallery; choosing my stock based on its [already proven] success in both the first-sale & after-sales markets, “Hrmmm, should i really take these highly-coveted works of artisanal beauty on for consignment? I mean, I remember them selling out world-wide in about the blink of a bomb, and they RARELY pop-up on the internet and even MORE rarely stay-up…” it seems pretty obvious when explained.

What are your long term plans for re. porter? Is a physical location in the future? 

I definitely have some exciting plans for how to integrate re. porter into the world of flesh & bone – but such plans will never involve bricks, mortar, or fixed locations.The adaptability afforded us by being a strictly online operation will allow re. porter [Vancouver] to easily transition into re. porter [Tokyo], you know… as an example. But in the more immediate meantime, look for re. porter to temporarily pop-up in different locations across North America in true guerrilla-style fashion.

You’ll witness the website evolve as well, adding a lot more functionality & control to the [already awesome] home page. We’re hoping this will provide us with the ability to showcase specific pieces & brands – and even help us feature young designers, local or otherwise.

What is inspiring you of late in fashion? Any designers or collections really catching your eye?

This Fall / Winter 2012’s runway collections [both men’s & women’s] were some of the best, & most inspiring shows I’d seen in years. Yohji’s women’s show was gorgeous, everything I’ve always loved about him just emphasized, colored and complemented in a fashion I hadn’t seen for so long. Julius_7’s runway show truly wowed me for the first time ever this season – eschewing their overtly anime-inspired styling for a more wearable aesthetic [more akin to how real people wear the brand] just made this show sing for me. A.F. Vandervorst probably moved me more than anything else this season though, with the styling, clothes, casting & music all making me wonder how the brand’s nearly impossible to find stocked sometimes.

However, I’m more of a fashion collector, rather than consumer, and actually spend most of my time tracking down items from clothing’s past; items I either missed out on because I didn’t have money at the time of release, or simply because they were released before I’d ever even cared for clothes… my most cherished designer of all time is an artisanal Italian designer named Maurizio Altieri. he started the design collective Carpe Diem, and most of the clothes I’m constantly tracking down are  Carpe Diem, l’maltieri, m.a+, or label under construction [all ex-carpe diem designers] release.

Honestly though, there’s too many Carpe Diem scions showing up these days, with designers riding their carpe-affiliation coat-tails to undeserved levels of success. That being said, the designer Mariavittoria Sargentini’s label marvielab, is one particular brand I exempt from this derision. her work is some of my most cherished these days – encapsulating every Carpe Diem nuance I miss in a fresh manner all of her own.

On the more fun side of fashion though Takahiro Miyashita’s new shit [the soloist] is something to appreciate and if I’m ever bored i just browse through Junya Watanabe’s catalog of women’s collections for some eye-candy & inspiration.

Otherwise, I’ve always loved Ann, old[er] Raf, and everything Rick – with the latter being the reason for my first forays into this world of fashion. Rick took weird mainstream, and they love him for it – it’s almost too good to be true.

With so many online shopping experiences available now. What do you think the market is missing? What unique perspectives are you bringing to online retail with re. porter?

Honestly, the online shopping world is doing pretty okay. I wouldn’t say there’s much missing but I would want to call a lot of places out for lazy styling, lazy web-design, and lazy customer service. However, online is rarely a boutique’s primary concern as they’re too busy focusing on their walk-in clients.

Personally, I want the online shopping experience to mirror my own esteem for the clothing I’m buying. I’ll refrain from naming names, but i see too many online stores these days whose presentation shows absolutely no respect for the value of the product they’re selling. Stop with the annoying intro screens set to macabre music, stop with the floating images over pixelated backdrops, and stop showing me your stupid model’s blue-steeled or perv-stach’ed expressions – I don’t want to buy your clothes if you think I find that shit appealing.

That being said, I have to give credit where credit is due – and that is to places like LN-CC for their brilliant styling, casting, buying, & presentation; and to Atelier New York for its distinctively artful touch [not to mention their unparalleled customer service and encyclopaedically-brained sales associates].

With re. porter, we aim to offer a uniquely intimate online shopping experience – taking the obsequious levels of service experienced in the world’s finest men’s boutiques, and directly transposing it to the online world. this is why we’ve chosen to employ an enquiry-based purchasing system. We prefer directly communicating every purchase with our clients – as it allows us to develop the same client/clothier relationship that occurs in proper brick ‘n mortar boutiques.

I’m a Shakespearean actor by training, and my favourite Elizabethan theatre critic always said a play was most successful when its form matched its content. That is to say – how a piece is presented is every bit as important as the piece itself. With re. porter, I believe we’ve created an online photographic-playground; one part gallery, every part boutique that not only emphasizes, but relies on the beauty of the stock it houses to create a truly unified luxury shopping experience.

re. porter, in essence, is a project borne purely out of passion for the work it houses – and we hope it shows.

Questions and Introduction by Rocky Li

All Images via re.porter