ONE WEEK TO GO, I REPEAT, THERE IS JUST ONE WEEK TO GO. I’m obviously still spending my time listing things I want, rather than buying things for people that are actually expecting presents. If I can’t get all my Christmas shopping done in an hour this Saturday, then it’s not happening. Sorry guys, IOU’s are still a thing, right?
Marc by Marc (by Marc, by Marc, by Marc..) leather backpack, Mr Porter
I’ve always got time for a backpack. I got into ~handbags~ fairly late at 18, prior to this I had a very organised “If I can’t carry it, it stays home”/”stuff everything in my boyfriend’s pockets” approach to life. Since I’ve been cycling I’ve come to re-appreciate the need for some hands-free bag action, and this spicy leather bad-boy is large enough to use for a weekend without looking like a body-bag.
Drawn In: A Peek into the Inspiring Sketchbooks of 44 Fine Artists, Illustrators, Graphic Designers, and Cartoonists, Amazon
As a very ~artistic~ child, I’m still very much into ~the arts~, even if the extent of my creativity lately has been making covers for my mother’s mixtapes (which did go down a storm, just saying). Anyway, I get a real kick out of other people’s sketchbooks/notebooks etc so this is pretty much perfect.
Tartan shorts, Topshop
Tartan has got my office in a choke-hold. At least six people on my floor have the somewhat ubiquitous Zara grey check scarf, and I don’t think there’s been a day over the past few weeks where I’ve been in a meeting without at least one Rupert the Bear doppleganger. That said, ever the shorts fan, I’m really into these. Tonally they’re not overly aggressive and as they’re shorts (ie, there’s not a lot to them) they’re not going to dominate the outfit as a whole.
Fake pony clutch, ASOS
I’d like a real pony, or a Givenchy ponyskin Pandora, but failing both of these, this clutch isn’t a bad third choice. I’m finally at that stage of life (23) where I feel like I can actually be responsible enough to own a bag without straps. And at £35 I’m not going to cry TOO hard if this trust in myself is misplaced and I lose another possession to the great God of nightbus.
Commes des Garcons wallet, Dover Street Market
I hate wallets. I hate carrying cash. I hate never being able to find anything in my bag more, though. Commes wallets come in roughly 677 varieties, but this one is my favourite. I love the unisex shape, the understated detailing of the stitching and it’s obviously in my favourite colour.
Another day closer to Christmas, another day I’m shocked at the injustice that I don’t wake up to a pile of presents EVERY day. Here’s part two of 25 things that I will accept as gifts. There’s still time, people!
Oversized shearling jacket, Acne
One of my absolute favourite Swedish exports (after ABBA and one of my best friends), since its founding in 1996, Acne has become a go-to for their jackets. The classic, shearling collar and pale pink biker jackets have all been a permanent fixture in my ‘how much money could I get if I sold my kidney?’ daydreams for the past few years. I love this oversized flight jacket, I generally always go for jackets at least one size up, I generally always wear bodycon skirts or skinny jeans so larger proportions on top balance this out. Also this looks warm enough that waiting for a night bus on New Years Eve won’t make me want to open a vein in the bath. Good times!
Religion shirt-dress, Topshop
I love a shirt dress. This collarless printed bad-boy ticks all the boxes. Oversized enough that you can layer underneath for winter, or avoid drowning in your own sweat in the summer, formal enough for work but comfortable enough for a hangover. The only thing I’m not mad about is the asymmetric drape hem, which I am already having premonitions of having to constantly fish out of the toilet/tube doors, but if you’re not an idiot like me, this Ann Demeulemeester-esque piece is defs a winner.
Givenchy spazzolato shoes, LN-CC
I’m generally very fussy when it comes to shoes. First rule, always boots. Any heel that isn’t wider than one inch causes ‘creative differences’ between me and gravity. Second rule, always black. No exceptions. I love the chunky heel on these, statement/metal heels have become a catwalk fixture for the past few seasons with the highstreet going particularly mad over them (I had a great pair pair from Zara with a silver chunky heel…obvz someone homeless is wearing them now after I left them on the nightbus…). I’ve mentioned before that I’m not the tallest tree in the forest, but the heel on these is just the right height for a confidence boost without making me feel like I’m in bad drag.
Messenger bag, Zara
Zara is somewhat renowned for its ‘interpretations’ of designer wear. The menswear in particular has taken a fair few Givenchy-print bullest to the face over the past few seasons, and the structured boxy shape of this bag is definitely reminiscent of Givenchy/Alexander Wang. Which isn’t a bad thing at all, especially when you don’t have £800+ spare change knocking around in your back pockets.
Peanut Butter PopTarts
I’m not sorry.
With London Fashion Week and his SS14 collection just around the corner, here’s an interview I did with American menswear designer Shaun Samson last season for Platinum Love magazine.
My latest sartorial girl crush is Carlotta Oddi, major babe and assistant to tits-mental Vogue Nippon editor Anna della Russo. Stylistically, (and for her sake, I hope mentally, have you seen the ‘Fashion Shower’ video?) the polar opposite of AdR, Carlotta’s outfits encompass all of my favourite things – heavy menswear and streetwear influences, prints, I also love that unlike a lot of high-profile streetstyle favourites, she’s loyal to a piece and not precious about piece repetition – for example, her Opening Ceremony varsity, and Balenciaga leather biker, which when I was considering buying it, upon trying it on made me look more like a badly wrapped barrel, SAD TIMES.
Fred Perry have a reputation for great collaborations – notably their long standing line with Raf Simons and last year’s team-up with Dover Street Market to mark their 60th anniversary, which saw 20 designers including Simone Rocha, woodwood and Colette create their own interpretation of the classic Fred Perry polo.
Continuing to offer a fun (without being obnoxious) twists on classic styles, Fred Perry have just launched a line of polos featuring cult 80s gaming fave PacMan, (I promised myself a long time ago if I ever used the phrase ‘geek chic’ I’d hang myself) through ASOS. Ranging from £65 to £75, you can get them HERE.
The mens shows got off to a good start, with a really strong season from the new major players of London fashion – standouts included variations on a theme, androgynous menswear and experimental cuts from JW Anderson, pleasing prints from LCM babies Agi & Sam and heavy sports influences from Christopher Shannon. Paris really stuck with the enduring prints theme, Frankie Morello went for burger and sushi prints, Moschino showed lightning bolts amidst jewel-toned stripes and nerdy jacket and cardigan combinations, Paris brought the expected level of cool minimalism, Marni and Tillman Lauterbach were particular favourites.
Milan was…Milan…Dsquared2 was the usual display of maximum homoeroticism and minimal actual clothing, Etro took Mexican inspiration to rather a literal level, sending a heavily moustasched model down the catwalk in a whacking great sombrero. Probs not one we’re going to see on many street style blogs, but always a good go-to for fancy dress parties.
Overall, SS14 is looking good for menswear, lots of minimalism, androgyny, ~WaCkY pRiNtS~, with some added louche looks from Haider Ackermann’s quilted smoking jackets in a luxe pallette of wines and navys to Dries Van Noten’s muted tonal florals.
Surprising highlight collections for me were Iceberg and Opening Ceremony, both really clean and sharp, centered in the focus colours for next season – navys, blacks and creams/whites. I wasn’t sold on Givenchy’s prints this season, though for me the religious iconography was a real winner so it would’ve been hard to top anyway. I was surprised to like Louis Vuitton, usually not a collection I pay much notice to, but I really liked the Talented Mr Ripley vibes.
Obvs, there were some absolute car crashes. No surprises for guessing who I’m coming for here. Hedi Slimane continues his one-man destruction of Yves Saint Laurent, sorry, Soft Grunge Laurent, sorry, Saint Laurent Paris, every season managing to churn out more and more overly commercial, cheap sartorial high fives to dated pop culture references. This season the vibe is ‘Glam Rock by George at Asda’. (oh and obviously the standard set of models who wouldn’t look out of place in an in-patient facility. Good work, you absolute tit)
Moving on from blood-pressure raising train wrecks, here’s a look at recurrent themes for SS14.
ANDROGYNOUS / LADY PARTS
BLUE IS THE COLOUR
ALL WHITE EVERYTHING
“FLORALS FOR SPRING? GROUNDBREAKING”
KHAKIS/ NUDES/BEIGE/WHALE TUSK/OLD BISCUIT
The sales are what God created on the 8th day, to make the horrible equation of ‘wanting + buying = 20p noodles for the rest of the month’ easier on us all, probably after spending his rest day looking at clothes he couldn’t afford. The smug thrill of getting something with a major fist-bump discount is an emotion so amazing that it can only be topped by telling people about it. LN-CC has long been a favourite of mine for menswear and is always my first go-to during the sales, particularly as it means I can shop from the comfort of my freezing office rather than dragging my sweating, harrassed, afro’d corpse around actual shops. Here’s my pick of the best of the current sale stock:
I wrote a thing for Platinum Love, this be it.
The influence of music on fashion trends has always been strong, the two industries constantly intertwine, taking inspiration from each other and subsequently influencing the man on the street. Urban street fashion in particular has always been heavily influenced by music, particularly the popularisation of labels such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Fendi, aspirational brands easily recognised by their logos and immortalised in countless hip hop and rap lyrics.
But times are changing. Gratuitous logos are being eschewed in favour of a new dark sports-luxe minimalism. This changing face of urban street fashion has been pioneered by one of hip hops biggest success stories of the 21stcentury – Kanye West.
When West released his debut album in 2004, his sartorial choices rarely got more exciting than a plain jumper and baggy jeans. A short decade later West is now as known for his avant-garde fashion choices as his music, his sell-out Watch The Throne collaboration tour with Jay Z was art directed by Riccardo Tisci, a good friend of West and creative director of one of his favourite labels, Givenchy. By choosing to wear leather kilts and crystal encrusted Margiela masks rather than adhering to the standard uniform of oversized commercial fashion labels, West is rewriting gendered fashion for the next generation of artists including A$AP Rocky, Frank Ocean and Pheophilus London, as well as black youth as a whole, and paving the way for a larger cause, a change in attitudes towards what black masculinity really means in the 21st century.
Of course, not everyone sees West’s unconventional fashion choices as pioneering. Lord Jamar, member of New York hip-hop group Brand Nubian, took particular offense to West, penning ‘Lift Up Your Skirt’, essentially blaming West for emasculating black male youth.
Another recent rising star of hip hop, A$AP Rocky, established his interest in fashion and style from the beginning of his career, which has included him walking for Hood by Air and collaborating with Raf Simons. Rocky told the April issue of Interview “fashion is just one of those things that helped me be an individual…it helped me get the attention that most people try to get with publicity stunts of by doing other crazy things.”
This evolution of black street fashion is important in terms of a new fashion moment, but also in terms of working towards quashing negative and intolerant attitudes both within the hip hop community. By popularising an aesthetic that is non-gender specific and also not as consciously hyper-consumerist, a more liberal attitude toward fashion will hopefully influence a liberal attitude in general. Hood by Air, the cult streetwear label was founded in 2006 by an openly gay black man, Shayne Oliver. The label has risen to cult status, having been worn by streetwear tastemakers including A$AP Rocky, Rihanna, Kanye West and a slew of young males on increasingly fashion forward site Tumblr. The importance of Hood by Air as the pioneer for the emergence of luxury streetwear is not to be underestimated. It’s popularity within a community constantly called out in the media for perceived promotion of intolerance proves that fashion is not a tool to divide – the haves vs the have nots, ‘gay’ vs ‘straight’, but that it is an important social agency with the power to promote positive change.
Shayne Oliver sees the popularisation of Hood by Air as “the beginning of a trend that will allow black men dress in ways formerly dismissed as ‘gay’”. Homophobia sadly is still a major issue within the hip hop musical community, and with artists such as Lord Jamar so quick to call out West, a straight man, for being ‘gay’ merely for wearing a kilt – a traditionally male item of clothing, incidentally – undermines the great leaps that artists like West who go against the mould are making towards promoting tolerance amongst black youth. A$AP Rocky said of the problem “it makes me upset that this topic even matters when it comes to hip-hop, because it makes it seem like everybody in hip-hop is small-minded or stupid — and that’s not the case. We’ve got people like Jay-Z. We’ve got people like Kanye. We’ve got people like me. We’re all prime examples of people who don’t think like that. I treat everybody equal, and so I want to be sure that my listeners and my followers do the same if they’re gonna represent me. And if I’m gonna represent them, then I also want to do it in a good way.”
The prestige of exclusivity previously held by Louis Vuitton et al has now moved onto the exclusivity of knowledge. Being able to not only instantly recognise a Givenchy print or a Raf Simons trainer holds weight, but also knowing where to get these items has become the new marker of fashion credibility. The new aspirational labels often run limited edition lines, placing the importance on sourcing the product and being one of the first to have it, rather than having the same item as everyone else who can afford it.
Black street fashion trends, including bandanas and low slung trousers, were traiditionally used to signify an affiliation to specific groups or gangs, this move within urban street wear towards an appreciation for the avant garde and more obvious sartorial risk taking sets wearers apart from the crowd. This emphasis on fashion as a form of self expression rather than as a uniform is paving the way for urban fashion to help bridge gaps that historically exist within hip hop and the wider community. Social freedom, long a battleground for minorities, is now finally extending to street fashion, promoting an environment where urban youth can walk down the street without fearing a backlash from their own community, and even if leather kilts are still worn by a minority, that minority includes some of the most recognisable and successful black men in the media. First, the street, second, the world.
I’ve been really heinous at this blogging lark lately, partly because #realliferesponsibility is fly-kicking me in the head slightly but also partly for EXCITING (and somewhat unbelievable) REASONS!1!!1 which I can hopefully post about later this week. Anyway, here are some nicely dressed boycats in the meantime.