Feature on Berlin-based brand GmbH for i-D 'Faith in Chaos' issue
Calum Gordon is a Berlin-based writer who specialises in fashion and contemporary culture. As well as co-authoring Contemporary Menswear (Thames & Hudson), he has contributed to publications such as Dazed, SSENSE, Garage, 032c, i-D, Another Man, Kaleidoscope, Mundial Magazine, and LAW.
Calum also writes copy for brands and advertising agencies, including adidas Originals, Converse, Beats by Dre, Carhartt WIP, The North Face, Billionaire Boys Club, Doubleday and Cartwright, and R/GA. In addition, he is currently the editor in chief at WIP Magazine, a biannual publication by Carhartt Work In Progress.
Contact: [email protected]
Feature on Berlin-based brand GmbH for i-D 'Faith in Chaos' issue
Taken fromWIP magazine issue 04, SYNTHETIC MEMORY is an extensive dossier, marking the 30th anniversary of the "Second Summer of Love," when Acid House exploded across the UK, while also examining the power of cultural nostalgia. It hits at exactly seven minutes and 58 seconds of Mark Leckey's 1999 video artwork, Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore.
Despite its European origins, the adidas Superstar feels as quintessentially American as French fries. There are four people closely associated with the shoe: the three members of Queens rap group Run-DMC and basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whose career in the NBA spanned two decades, starting in 1969.
About a month or so ago, while scrolling through my Instagram stories, I came across the account @stonedislandpatch. The concept is pretty simple: pictures of notable figures with poorly Photoshopped Stone Island badges on their left sleeves, typically with a caption that reads like it's been lifted from one of the many trashy, football casual novels published in the mid-aughts.
SSENSE and Victory Journal team up on five stories related to style in sport. Sometimes, it is the most incidental cultural moments that have the most influence. The kind of unexpected plays that you mentally posterize, that sneak into your mind in places and ways you can't anticipate, years later.
The final look of Louis Vuitton's SS20 menswear presentation offered what could generously be described as a "vest." It looked almost as if the model had been dipped in some high-strength adhesive and swung by his ankles around a Louis Vuitton showroom, accumulating tobacco-hewn, monogrammed bags and furniture as he went.
It started with an empty space, a nondescript floor and a bag of colored vinyl tape. Zobop, the artwork by Scottish artist Jim Lambie, was conceived for his first solo show in 1999, has since gone on to grace the floors of MoMA, the Royal Academy of Arts in London and, currently, the UK's Tate Liverpool gallery.
References to late nights and chemically-induced collectivism are woven throughout recent fashion history with London's Sports Banger, Gucci, and adidas's Spezial unveiling acid-tinged collections and campaigns. It's not unusual for brands to mine the counterculture seeking inspiration, but the parallels between early 90s rave and the present are not purely aesthetic, but political too.
Ten minutes to read about streetwear losing its cool.
Sliding into Detroit, Michigan in search of America’s other skating subculture
In March 2011, a 9.0-9.1 magnitude earthquake struck the Pacific coast of Tōhoku. It was the most powerful earthquake to ever hit Japan, the fourth most powerful earthquake which has been recorded, and in turn triggered a tsunami that hit Tōhoku's Iwate Prefecture, killing over 15,000 people, with a further 2,537 missing.
Dressed in a plain black shirt, sleeves rolled up, with black-rimmed sunglasses, Shawn Stussy cut an inconspicuous figure at Kim Jones's recent debut menswear show for Dior. Not that it would have mattered much what he wore, at a show where most photographers would have had their cameras trained on attendees such as A$AP Rocky, Kate Moss and Skepta.
I didn't learn of Adam Kimmel by seeing one of his oddball fashion presentations. Nor did I fall in love with his clothes by touching and trying them on in a perfectly merchandised boutique. (Well, not really.)
Throughout the late 1970s and the 1980s, Cooper's images of New York City told the story of a new, disruptive form of art. Three decades later, she joins Berlin graffiti crew 1UP to witness its mainstream implosion and radical renewal. "We went back to being underground," Cooper says. "Which I like."
Part of the charm of Comme des Garçons' vast empire of brands and sub-brands is that it has always allowed for nooks and niches for labels to exist in.
Virgil Abloh, the new artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, absolutely loves It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. "In the last 2 days I have watched like 6 episodes... and I am hooked."
Everything AnotherMan knows about The History of Hip Hop Style in Four Brands
Photograph by AFP for Getty Images. Fashion and football-sorry, soccer-have always made uncomfortable bedfellows. It is a sport in which the star players are cocooned from an early age: no parties, no normal teenage upbringing, none of the elements typically crucial in developing one's own sense of style.
Black camo and a whiff of violence. Lovely stuff.
Issue 32: Spring/Summer 18
When Virgil Abloh launched Off-White in 2014, few could have predicted the Chicago-based designer's meteoric rise in the world of fashion. In that short period, he has become a regular on the Paris Fashion Week schedule, showing collections that blur the lines between traditional luxury and streetwear; launched a groundbreaking collaboration with Nike; and, as was announced this morning, been appointed the new artistic director of Louis Vuitton 's menswear line.
In 1999, then-nascent New York label Supreme wanted to make some sneakers. They didn't have the resources to make their own, so they approached someone who did: skate brand DC Shoes. The result was sold in Supreme's Lafayette Street store to little fanfare-no snaking queues round the block, no incessant online coverage.
You don't expect to find a gallery or museum's most radical works in the giftshop. But what if you could? What if, by changing the medium, you could spread the art, or ideas of an artist, further than a typical gallery space ever could?
One of the first things you notice about Julian Klincewicz, after a few minutes speaking to him, is that he is really nice.
"The devil doesn't wear Prada, I'm clearly in a fucking white tee," rapped Tyler, The Creator on the opening track of his sophomore album Goblin. The line was the denouement to a six-minute diatribe where the 19-year-old delivered a slew of shockingly candid insights into his life, from his father walking out when he was a child, to thoughts of committing suicide.
As this year winds down we've recapped its highlights to bring you the best of 2017 in fashion, sneakers, music, movies and more. I know it's uncool to talk about what's "cool." But I'd like to. For streetwear, where the concept of cool is imperative to success, the past year has posed somewhat of an existential paradox.
"I actually met Joe years ago at a wedding, he was taking the piss out of what I was wearing," remembers Gill Linton, co-founder of vintage fashion retailer Byronesque. "I said, 'What do you know?'
In 1987, New York City was home to two gangs, both utterly obsessed with the fashion label Ralph Lauren - and neither was made up of WASPY, country club types. There was Ralphie's Kids from St John's and Utica in Crown Heights, and the amusingly titled United Shoplifters Association hailing from Marcus Garvey Village in Brownsville.
Long after the polls have closed and the celebratory ticker tape has been swept away, the iconography endures. Shepard Fairey's 2008 'Hope' poster, created in support of Barack Obama, has a continued relevance today, and it's hard to think of last year's U.S. Presidential Election without thinking of Trump's red 'MAGA' cap.
Cam'ron is no stranger to the world of fashion. Last month, as New York designer Telfar Clemens debuted his collaboration with fast food chain White Castle, the Harlem rapper was scheduled to perform on the roof of the restaurant's Queens location, before the NYPD preemptively shut it down.
When looking at pictures of Stüssy t-shirts and campaigns, it's often hard to distinguish what's from the past and what's current. The handwriting is the same, literally. In Shawn Stüssy's inimitable scrawl, the brand has a rich visual language, one that feels slightly nostalgic - created long before the days of Photoshop, but still relevant.
Alessandro Michele's Gucci Cruise 2018 collection was a roaring success in terms of publicity. Forget the criticism that followed, forget the questionable ethics of appropriating the work of Dapper Dan (a designer that Gucci, among others, effectively put out of business in 1992), because the second that side-by-side picture comparing the two began to spread on Instagram and Twitter, Michele had achieved what he set out to do.
The old adage is that you should never meet your heroes. Raf Simons, of course, has never been one particularly enamoured with conventional ideals.
Drab coloured suits, knitted v-necks, cycling shorts, hiking anoraks - if there was one thing that was noticeable about this past month of fashion shows, it was just how unfashionable it all was. On the back of the past few seasons, where we saw shifting calendars and brands trialing 'See Now, Buy Now', SS18's menswear shows seemed to welcome the respite of banality.
And so it begins. You knew it was coming from the moment you first saw Louis Vuitton and Supreme's logo-orgy in January that others would soon follow. The template for Luxury Brand x Streetwear label had been forged and, really, the only question that remained was just how far it would go.
Yesterday, the first Calvin Klein campaign of Raf Simons' tenure as the brand's chief creative officer was unveiled. Shot and styled by his long-time collaborators Willy Vanderperre and Olivier Rizzo, respectively, the series of images act as a statement of intent for the New York brand under the Belgian designer.
In New York in the 90s, it was wheat-coloured Timberlands - Jay Z would famously pull up every weekend to David Z, a Manhattan shoe retailer, to purchase a fresh pair, giving his week-old shoes to some lucky passer-by. On the West Coast, it was Chuck Taylors, with gang members declaring their Blood or Crip allegiances through their chosen colourway.
On the 8th of August 2011, the staff at the Carhartt WIP outlet on 18 Ellingfort Road in Hackney received a phone call from looters telling them, out of courtesy, that they should vacate the premises. They did.
Rightly or wrongly, Kanye West has never been judged by the fashion world by the same metrics that we would judge any other fledgling designer.
On the corner of Mulberry Street in Nolita, the historic slice of downtown New York's Little Italy, sits Noah, with a whitewashed façade accented with red and blue. The store is the home to Brendon Babenzien's nascent clothing label, which he launched little under a year ago after leaving his post as design director of Supreme.
Grime is dead. At least according to photographer Ewen Spencer, who says that today's scene bears little resemblance to the one that first sprung up in the early 2000s. Despite being white, in his 40s and a Geordie, there are perhaps few more qualified to make this assessment.
Unless you live a life of extraordinary privilege in a bubble somewhere, 2016 has rendered politics something that cannot be ignored, brushed off or waited-out for four more years. Post-Brexit, post-Trump and post-any semblance of normality, the assumed rights of many - ones that have often taken years of struggle to obtain - have been plunged into uncertainty by the events of the past months.
Last Friday night, down a side street in the heart of the Marais, New York designer Heron Preston revealed his first eponymous collection, somewhat conveniently titled "For You, The World". It felt like a truly global affair, as kids from New York, London, Paris and Instagram mingled, their conversations drowned by waves of cacophonous trap music.
American writer and cultural critic Glenn O'Brien passed away at the age of 70 in April of 2017. To many, O'Brien wasn't simply a figure that wrote about pop culture, he was pop culture. Blending music, art and style, seamlessly bridging both mainstream and underground, O'Brien was a trailblazer that paved the way for so much - including publications like this one.
Last month a small slice of Mancunian history appeared in Miami. Conceived in collaboration with Ben Kelly - the architect responsible for Manchester's iconic but now defunct Haçienda club - designer Virgil Abloh presented his own homage to the historic nightclub venue at Art Basel, in the form of a portable DJ space.
On Saturday morning I received a text from my mum. It was a picture of the queue outside London's Supreme store last Thursday, and an article about the branded brick (yes, brick) that the New York streetwear label was selling.
There is no longer any doubt over who will be heading up Calvin Klein, but one question does remain - what will the label look like under Raf Simons' direction? The initial whispers of the designer joining the house elicited mixed reactions, ranging from scepticism to near-tangible excitement.
There's nothing inauthentic about fashion's current love affair with fakery. Maybe it's the zenith of post-irony, but something over the past 11 months has led labels to examine the value of what's authentic and what's not.
If you follow those that Kanye keeps in his inner circle - Virgil Abloh, Theophilus London, Heron Preston - you'll likely have seen a phrase repeated again and again over the past few weeks: Art Dad.
Nomadic culinary collective Ghetto Gastro probably do not look like your typical chefs. In fact, there are likely few chefs who would know the name Rick Owens, never mind be dressed head-to-toe in his clothes.
When it was announced at the tail end of last year that burgeoning streetwear brand Stüssy would mark its 35th anniversary with a collaboration with Comme des Garçons' seminal Dover Street Market, the irony would not have been lost on Shawn Stüssy.
In the start of a brand new series for Highsnobiety chronicling the lives and careers of prominent figures in the street fashion industry, we kick off with the godfather of them all - a man who helped birth the scene - Mr Shawn Stussy. How do you write an introduction for a man like Shawn Stussy?
"When you can make jeans better than Levi's, that will be the time to start talking about national pride," wrote one young, disgruntled reader of (the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) in 1984, as reported in The New York Times.
To many, a mention of the brand The North Face conjures up ideas rooted in middle-England homogeneity, like warm pints, Land Rovers and thinly-veiled racism. It's something your dad would throw on with wellies to walk the dog on a grey Sunday. Because that's what dads like in their clothes - practicality, comfort, items that require no thought.
When Kanye West appeared on a spate of radio shows in late 2013, seeking out investors for his new fashion line, he frequently referred to himself in typical braggadocios fashion as a "rockstar," and he was not wrong.
30 years ago this month, six designers travelled from Antwerp to West Kensington to show their clothes at a trade show at London's Olympia Exhibition Centre. It's remarkable to think that in the days that followed, the trajectory of fashion would be altered irrevocably for the next three decades.
"I look at my job, or mission, or passion, as defining streetwear," remarks Virgil Abloh. "It's a term that I always say could end up like disco if not handled well... I'm trying to see how far I can push it."
Heron Preston is a product of the internet. Operating in the creative sub-genre of "What does that guy actually do?" - a decidedly post-internet phenomena in itself - the 32-year-old explains that he now "identifies as an artist."
Following our first edition covering the life and times of Shawn Stussy, we bring you the second of our Fashion History Lessons, this time following a legendary figure from across the ocean - the one and only NIGO.
"Hopefully I can retire to a beach from doing stuff I really love - that's my mad plan," says Fergus Purcell. Tall, long-haired and head-to-toe in tattoos, Purcell is sat in an East-London office talking me through his latest collaboration with Californian skate label KR3W.
Rei Kawakubo, founding mother and chief designer of COMME des GARÇONS, shrouds herself in mystery. It's a cloak, to be worn much like one of her own avant-garde creations. One that inspires intrigue, even if you're not quite sure you entirely "get it."
Judging by the rate at which we receive pitches in our inbox, we'd say that roughly every five seconds someone, somewhere has the idea to start their own streetwear brand. Some never make it past this initial mental incubation period, but many do, and the result is a market bloated with mediocrity, awash with rehashed ideas and copycat, trend-led design.
The world of COMME des GARÇONS is exceedingly complex; a luxury juggernaut that includes operational bases in Paris and Tokyo, over 20 sub-brands, three Dover Street Market multi-brand retail behemoths and a slew of worldwide stockists. And yet, the Japanese fashion giant feels decidedly uncommercial, giving off the impression that they care far more about creativity than sales figures.
Summer collections always present a difficult challenge to designers and this past week in the French capital was no different. With fall/winter, all manner of interesting layers can be employed to creature fuller, more fleshed-out looks.
"Hip-hop is not the problem, our reality is the problem." These were the words of Kendrick Lamar last Thursday, in reaction to media criticism of his performance at the BET Awards on June 28. Following the event, Lamar was lambasted by Fox News commentators for performing his track "Alright" atop a vandalized police car.
There are few movements within men's fashion that have changed its landscape so irrevocably than what was the heritage trend. Roughly spanning between 2008 and 2012, #menswear, heritage, Americana -whatever you want to call it - reshaped our collective consciousness when it came to our wardrobes, placing a greater value in craftsmanship and provenance than ever before.
An interview with a number of names* founder Craig Ford on his new store and its collaborations.
A feature interview with professional surfer Maya Gabeira.
Last Thursday, Maison Margiela's newest creative director, John Galliano, made his latest, and perhaps most pronounced, public apology for his 2011 racist tirade which cost him his job at Dior. Speaking at a Jewish educational event, Galliano told the audience of 200: "I am an alcoholic. I am an addict.
A feature interview with Goodhood co-founder Kyle Stewart
A feature interview with Rav Matharu, documenting his journey from professional footballer to fashion designer.
A feature on Celtic's ultra fan group The Green Brigade
Feature interview with Cannes-acclaimed filmmaker and photographer Will Robson Scott
An interview with renowned artist Russell Maurice a.k.a Gasius
Feature interview with fashion designer Kenneth Mackenzie