This is one piece that I get asked about most often, most likely due to the lunacy of it. It’s neither sensible nor practical, but sometimes you just can’t help deriving emotion from a creation – of which this is an example – and feel you must have it regardless of what you will be doing with it once you have it. This process is probably in contrast to most consumer behaviour in the industry, especially when the goal of a buyer is to purvey pieces that people will wear and buy. Lucky for us, there are people like Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag (of Bless) that continue to experiment with ourperception of fashion in their work, rather than to sell to a commercial image.
Above photo via Reborn
Words and photos by Harry Zhou
The first time I saw this jacket was when my good friend Laurence aka internetflexin posted it on sufu. I originally though it was by Undercover but he informed me it was actually a vintage piece purchased for a very low price. I was definitely envious of him but also respected him for having dedicated a serious amount of time to look for a piece like this. Inspired by his tale of blue leathers at bargain prices, I went on a hunt as well and was checking “blue leather rider” in my saved searches every day. This went on for 8 months where I found a few similar alternatives but at premium prices, until I was approached by Laurence who was looking to find another leather closer to his size. It turns out this leather matched my measurements exactly and so my hunt turned full circle.
When I received the jacket, I was immediately hit by how heavy the leather was, it is by far the heaviest jacket I own and the thickness of the leather matched the weight. I found the buffalo leather to be a bit dry as well so before wearing it, I used some Obenauf’s on it to restore it back to its original condition. Even though I went to a lot of effort to procure this jacket and to maintain it, it has paid off with a leather that I can call a true grail. From the diamond quilted shoulder and elbow details to the chunky yet smooth silver zips that contrast with the blue leather. The colour of the leather changes from a dark rich blue to a much brighter blue which I would describe as M&M blue. This jacket is not just a nice blue leather jacket to me, but also a result of a lot of patience and pure chance. As the amount of time I spent searching has proven, this jacket is a grail to me.
P.S The price that I paid for this also contradicts the idea that a exclusivity is neccesarily achieved through high price.
Photos and words by Jacob Hui.
For many more grail pieces be sure to check out his blog Indiana Jawnz.
The idea of hunting for grails or something you covet has been mentioned on this site before. However, my own take on it is that instead of a hunt, I do not have a precise target for what I want as I just have a design element which I look for and I wait patiently until appears before me that matches all those requisites. I would compare it to fishing where you’re never quite sure what will turn up.
In this case, this Undercover jacket has never really appeared in any photoshoots or runways and I was actually looking out for an Undercover down jacket with leather sleeves instead. The one detail which caught my eye straight away was the distressed leather on the sleeves which is amazingly soft in reality. When I received this jacket I was astounded by the construction as the leather sleeves are attached to the lining and the blazer body is actually deconstructed from a whole jacket as you can see the shoulder seams are not sealed.
The details on this jacket speaks to me of Jun Takahashi’s fondness for deconstructing and reconstructing clothing as the front blazer pockets have been modified with zips to reference motorcycle jackets.
As this jacket illustrates, the reward of a patience and an open mind-set, is a treasure that exceeds all expectations.
Photos and words by Jacob Hui. For many more grail pieces be sure to check out his blog Indiana Jawnz.
I am unsure of the exact time period that these Rick Owens trainers were released but I know that I have owned them since 2009 when I purchased them from another user on Superfuture. If I were to guess I’d say these sneakers date back to about 2007 and were some of the first iterations created. As time went on the trademark Rick Owens sneakers have undergone many versions but the original is still my favorite. There’s rumors that later sneakers abandoned the ‘swoosh-like’ check due to pressure from Nike but no official story has been reported.
These sneakers are near and dear to my heart and I could never let them go. They have seen their fair share of wear: scuffs, pen marks, and spilled drinks. The shoes are still feel substantial as ever and I feel the damage only adds to their character. I’ve gotten them re-soled twice now and will surely will have to again soon. There is something that is so compelling about the design of the sneakers that is difficult to place a finger on. The shoes are imperfect; simultaneously beautiful and slightly grotesque. In that way they are prime example of Mr.Owen’s design philosophy and a visual precursor to his later work.
Photo by Rocky Li
While it’s easy to find photos of new product, it’s not very often you come across photos of pieces that have been worn in and well loved for years. Denim is a fabric that conforms to the wearers lifestyle and tells a story through its various fades so it was a logical place to start for this first ‘worn in’ feature.
I caught up with Andrew Chen who is a jack of all trades in the menswear business. He’s a co-founder of 3sixteen, owner in Self Edge New York and also runs the brand new Chapter & Verse agency in New York. No stranger to quality denim products, I took some snaps of him in his his pair of Flat Head F380′s and interviewed him on everything from his favorite pair to what he considered when it came to designing denim for 3sixteen.
How did you come to own these jeans and how long have you worn them?
These are the first pair of jeans I bought as an owner of Self Edge NY. Prior to partnering with Kiya, Demitra and Johan to open up the NY branch of the shop in 2009, I had bought several pairs directly from Kiya – but being on the sales floor and having constant access to all these great jeans every day led me to start trying many of them on. The Flat Head F380 was the perfect cut for me, a mid-rise straight leg with a slight taper from the knee down. I was also anxious to see how the Flat Head denim would wear in over time firsthand. I’ve had them since January of 2010; I took them home with me the night before leaving to Paris with my wife to visit family.
See the rest of the feature after the jump
Vintage 60′s Era Made in US Levi’s 501.
After a some time away from wearing indigo denim, I’m back wearing it regularly. I started looking online for a pair of vintage jeans with a perfect fade. When I saw this pair of vintage Levi’s I knew I had to get em. I placed a bid through Yahoo Japan Auction and the help of the good folks over at SutoCorp proxy received them a few short days later.
I believe these shrink to fit US made Levi’s 501s date back to the 1960′s and the tag indicates that they were a Japanese import. Noticeable details include the redline selvedge and the old Big E LEVI’s branding. There’s been numerous tears on these jeans and as you can see from the pics; many repairs performed. My favorite aspect of these jeans is definitely the color of them. The wash down the front is perfect to me. The whiskering just compliments the faded indigo so well. It’s been some time since I’ve owned Levi’s but having the opportunity to own these helps me understand why vintage pairs are so coveted. It comes down to the feel of the denim which is substantial but not heavy and the understated look. I feel lucky to own something that is in a word, original.
Photos by Rocky Li
I posted in September about the FW12 Nike Gyakusou footwear collection but now I am sharing photos of my personal pairs of Nike Gyakusou Lunarspider LT+2s from the Fall/Winter 2011 collection. After getting the purple pair I knew I wouldn’t be happy unless I had both colorways. The lunarspiders are built on the standard lunar sole but have Nike + and flywire technology built in to them making them a stylish and practical accompaniment to any running kit.
What these sneakers execute so well is the mixture of colors. The contrasting teal sole on the orange pair. The light blue patent hit on the back of the purple colorway. These sneakers pop without ever screaming for attention. My favorite detail on these sneakers is the gradient carbon fiber on the midsole.
I appreciate products that stand at the crossroads of aesthetics and function and that is probably why I cherish these pairs. To me their visual design tells the story of Gyakusou.
I got this pair of Skull Jeans by an Alchemist denim about 4 years ago. Since then they’ve seen countless wears and have just been put through a lot. These jeans are a slim tapered cut and a sturdy 14.5oz denim weight. The 6×6 refers to the denim thickness of the indigo warp and ecru weft.
When I first got these they were slightly used but in near-raw condition and I’ve since washed em about half a dozen times and taken them around the world with me. They’ve been through alot and despite their rips and tears I love these jeans more now than when they were still dark indigo.
I’ve heard people say that raw denim is played out in the current men’s market. The concept behind denim repro (reproduction) brands such as Skull Jeans is to pay homage to the denim manufacturing techniques of the past not to become trendy objects of desire. Artisanal jeans such as these are not cheap but once you wear a pair through to this point you will understand the appeal. I don’t think I could ever part with these jeans. Just looking at them reminds me of concerts I went to, people in my life, late nights spent partying and early morning workdays.
You can get a brand new pair of these same jeans for $345 at Blue in Greene.
More photos below (after the jump) Continue reading »
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Above TOJ1 Varsity Jacket in the “Jason Bourne” Colorway
Varsity jackets, aka letterman jackets, are a classic wardrobe staple that underwent a strong resurgence in 2008. While traditionally worn by students to represent one’s school and/or team, it is not uncommon to to see various interpretations being offered by labels such as Visvim, Balenciaga, Junya Watanabe, Number (N)ine, and A.P.C. to name a few. Up until this point, the only letterman jackets available for purchase to consumers were either vintage or commissioned to be produced in bulk (Skookum aka Centralia Knitting Mills being one such company); either route usually resulted in a boxy fitting piece with awkward proportions and standard materials. This particular piece resulted from an individual’s effort to fulfill a demand among superfuture members for a high-quality letterman jacket that was also slim fitting and reasonably priced. Although initially started for a small group of members, it quickly caught on and to this day is still one of his most demanded pieces.
More after the jump
It goes without saying that one of the biggest trends to develop over the past several seasons has been the omnipresence of the clutch bag as the new “it bag” for Autumn/Winter 2012. Nearly every major fashion house pushed their own interpretations back in Spring 2012 with Céline and Balenciaga’s sleek document holders notable standouts from Paris, as was 3.1 Phillip Lim’s Roy Lichtenstein inspired pop-art numbers from New York, and even young start-ups in Tokyo such as Roggykei building buzz with their youthful punk interpretations and street-wear staple Phenomenon getting in on the action with their Head Porter collaborations for Spring/Summer 2013.
I’ve been meaning to buy a clutch portfolio for my day-to-day fashion work and couldn’t find the right one that has just the right amount of understated sleek design, quality craftsmanship, and ability to hold my Macbook Air and other essentials without screaming “Hey look guys I’m carrying a Macbook Air!”.
The search ended when I found this Céline FW 2012 portfolio. Even though Céline is a women’s collection line, the bags and accessories are thoroughly understated/unisex with a growing legion of male fans. This particular version has three large pockets with the middle pocket closeable with a zipper at the top. It perfectly fits my laptop without any bulkiness but still has enough room and compartments for my other items without ruining the case’s sleek lines. Sadly things of beauty do not come cheap with this white version (black, blue, and brown versions are also available) in Spazzolato calfskin costing me 14,000 HKD (roughly $1800 USD) when I purchased it on a business trip to Hong Kong last month.
For those male readers that may be turned off by the idea of carrying a women’s clutch, another recommendation I have is from Valextra. They are an Italian high-end leather goods maker that does an equally subtle but drop-dead gorgeous Macbook Air portfolio in fine-grained calfskin leather. This particular earlier black model has two sleeves, one for the Macbook Air, and another for various documents, an iPad, etc. Sadly this also was quite expensive, running me over $1600 when I purchased it in Tokyo last summer.
Writing and photography by Rajiv Sawhney