Friday, 28 January 2011

A Little Exercise in Compare and Contrast

Its common knowledge that DJ Clark Kent is a force to be reckoned with within the sneaker game. His distinguished achievements in both collecting/wearing his kicks, as well as reaching the lofty heights of designing them too, means as an area of research, Clark's collection has got some surprises. I've managed to plunder the images for three models of Air Force 1 from his collection, that New York staple which is his kick of choice. I guess in this round the theme was minimalism, something I believe doesn't get enough of a shout out for in the current sneaker climate but of these three we will be needing a winner. So I guess it's time to meet the final three.    

Contender no. 1:

Beijing Basketball Air Force 1's (player exclusive)
Look at those milky bottoms! These are player exclusives they gave to USA basketball team to walk around in when they went over to Beijing for the Olympics


Contender no. 2:

Clark Kent New York City pack Air Force 1 (New York Jets)
The lack of visible stitch work on the side paneling requires some close attention. Made even better by it only being visible on the swoosh. 


Contender no. 3:

2004 NBA All Star Game Air Force 1 (player exclusive)
White on whites are the most beautiful Air Force 1's ever but this sort of detailing is definitely asking some questions.

"Alive & Well" Photoshoot with TT Coles

Something to simply kicks back and enjoy... 

But here's a short intro:
"Alive & Well" is a collaborative project consisting of Liuns Den member, Ekundayo and Dead Prez member, MikeFlo. These two emcees come together to bring you that rawness that hip hop is respectfully known for. But with this clip we go behind the scenes of their photoshoot with photographer TT Coles for their upcoming project.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Just Got to Love Customisation - Air Force Huarache 'Hexachromes'

Customisation has upped its game in recent years yet with these latest pictures of the work of JGoods, the Air Force Huarache 'Hexachromes', we are beginning to see a toning down in brash outlandish even confrontational styles typical of the work of such artists as Tangible Thoughts. We are no strangers to the idea of custom kicks with their bold, mural-esque imagery and brilliant execution but these would suggest that there is an up-market move to something a little bit more minimal in design but still with an eye for detail. 

What's represented on your Air Max's

It's easy enough to simply accept the external appearance of a sneaker for granted. The choosing of colours, the material, the texture, the design, the laces, the internal and external architecture and structure, the silhouette etc are all things we considered when making any new purchase of some fresh kicks. Though it may seem a bit left field, on how many occasions does one consider how each singular part of the sneaker captures the essence of that sneaker and what does that individual element and all the other elements combine to mean? Obviously each sneaker in its own way contains within its DNA historically unique and once revolutionary traits. These traits are as much about enhancing the aesthetic of the sneaker than purely further enhancing its performance. 

Yet it is when you start to have a somewhat radical re-haul and begin to replace this genetic makeup that I have described with the emotive reactions one gets by wearing them or even how we conceive ourselves when wearing them, we get an altogether more exciting shoe. So by stripping away the flesh of the physical aesthetic and performance elements and building upon this new bare skeletal structure we start to generate up an image of the examples below. The final product is something that is historically relevant but more deeply personalized than any custom kick and is just a conceptual evolutionary advancement in the sneakers own genealogy.   

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4: The Final Product

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Renegade Advertising Monster - Nike's Secret Weapon - Part 1

Its an observation I've harbored for some time but one which I wouldn't begin to suspect as a sole note of my own, this being the coining of the concept of ‘renegade advertising’. 

Driven entirely by the independent artist and designers worldwide, who are not in any shape or form part of the make up of Nike, find themselves in a position of constantly developing and providing images that are a reminder as to what is possible by pushing the boundaries of perceived creative limits. Their intentions are seemingly simple. With the given examples below, it would be difficult to assign any further meaning to their work other than a desire to perfect an overall style, aesthetic, design and even ‘school’ of their own making. Due to the never ending popularity of Nike’s brand name, its image and the important ideology of the brand, provides the raw materials that has and always will produce independently creative conceptions that can only benefit and thus flatter the creative forces within Nike.

But what we find when these excellent pieces of creative work are displayed in their designed setting of the street, is that inevitably their using of the Nike brand and its own clear cut imagery sees these works take on a whole new purpose altogether.  This purpose is inevitably one of providing further exposure and advertising for the brand independently of Nike’s wishes or commands. So it is from this that we find use in the coining of the term ‘renegade advertising’. Crucially what is important in this example is that the association of these creative works to Nike can only be a brilliant thing and more importantly prove that Nike is very much on top of its game, if it is to inspire this level of creativity from fellow artists and designers. 

Words of wisdom never to be forgotten

A true and fair message for any sneaker head 

Digital Nike taking it back to the 90's

Nothing other than one of the best Nike murals to have been created in the last five years 

A taste of my childhood

Friday, 21 January 2011

Nike re-run exhibition

 A small sampling of over 300 unique panels for Nike's re-run exhibition graphic design by Keith Scharwath

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Kicks and Caps: The Importance of Colour and More...

Any street cat will tell you that running a colour code from head to toe is all part of the game. Yet the importance of colour combinations has become a staple on the streets worldwide and thoroughly undisputed but kicks can reflect subtler references of one's fresh game. Model, name and date of first release is knowledge that needs to be appreciated in any kicks and cap set up. Let these examples explain:

New Era & Alife collaboration with the Wu Tang Clan
Nike Waffle CRS
The 1993 Nike Waffle CRS which is a much later version of the famous Nike Waffle 
series, though has nothing to do with the real old school waffle sole design of Nike in the 70's and 80's, has got the all important red and white colouration that is mirrored on the cap. The inclusion of the yellow on the highlights on the sole, the embroidery on heel and tongue and visible on the leather Nike tick isn't superfluous detailing due to the lack of yellow on the cap. The shoe's 1993 release coincides with the release date of Wu Tang Clans debut solo album 'Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers)'. At this time the Nike running models such as the Waffle CRS, which were commercially less of a success, was the footwear most abundant and practical when worn by the stick up kids of the housing projects all across New York City throughout the early 90's. Only by referring this model of running shoe with the Wu Tang logo on the cap would such a specific cultural reference be drawn out. The yellow in a current contextual reading would be referential to the Wu Tang Clans more recent creative output of 2002, Wu Tang Killa Beez and their album 'Sting' which is adorned exclusively with black and yellow text and imagery. So on the canvass of just this one shoe, both past and present are seamlessly quoted and crucial for making the cap & kicks combo hold tight.

Nike Air Max 1 Urawa Dragons
These were inspired by a Japanese football team called Urawa Dragons. This may not seem to be of any significance but then again we have to address the Wu Tang Clan element present on the cap. We would be covering old ground again if we were to go through the colour similarities between this kick and the cap but the extra inclusion of black lacing and hint of yellow on the eyelets follows much of the same observations made over the Nike Waffle CRS. The point of interest beyond the colour similarities is the Japanese story line. The Wu's association with Japan is long lasting, with one of their earliest influences coming from the film 'Shaolin and Wu Tang' from which they eventually took their name from. Also RZA's pupil teacher relationship with SIFU SHI YAN MING (34th generation shaolin temple warrior monk) means the influences of Japan and the Orient are never too far away from the creative output of the Wu. Continual referencing of the 'Slums of Shaolin' and excerpts from Samurai films riddled throughout the Wu's lyrics and beats means that these Air Max 1's with their own Japanese influences, elevates these kicks above any others to be partnered with a red and white Wu Tang Clan cap.   

Air Jordan V - Raging Bull

Sometimes there is nothing more to it than just an unbelievably fresh pair of kicks to go with that cap. Proves an exception to be found to every rule in the sneaker game

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

From the sublime to the ridiculous

Nike Air Force 1 Laser Mark Smith

The game never tasted so good: Concept Nike Air Max 90  (courtesy of McDonalds) 

An Ode to Bobbito Garcia

The message is simple Bobbito... where you get those?

Pro-Keds Bobbito: Royal Flash Mid (signed)

Saturday, 15 January 2011

One shoe in the grave

You wouldn't see me dead in anything other than a crisp white uptown! (Tinker Hatfield?)

Friday, 14 January 2011

Let's take it back to the 80's

Converse ERX 360 White & Red

Condition report:
Age: 30yrs+
They've gone more sticky than crumbly having never been worn. They will handle a little wear, if they were 15 years younger.
Strictly for display only. 
A piece of iconic footwear.

Its Time to Wear Your Heart on Your Kicks

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Remember these days c.1991

What a sneaker mag used to look like.... there's a little something everyone's gotta like!

Gerard Wilkins? Gerard Wilkins!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

LeBron's Place in History

So what has changed of serious note....
Nike Air Max LeBron VIII South Beach

You build a player from the bottom up:

From the streets to the studios

Julien Renault sneakers: Love Air Force 1

Nike Air Force 1 barcode / should be part of a new zebra safari pack

Some Street Lovin' for Street Cats

Street cats & Sneaker heads... its all the same game

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Codes of conduct

A fresher solution to the whole remembering to tie a tie around the door handle 

Air Flight School

Monday, 10 January 2011

It's time for a re-release

Nike Air Pressure: one of only two styles that Nike manufactured with an adjustable fit air chamber, they came supplied with a separate hand pump which fits in the back of the shoe.

Nike Air Sonic Force Flight 1993