Cover of Dancehall: The Rise of Jamaican Dancehall Culture by Beth Lesser published in 2008
The style within early dancehall culture of the late seventies and early eighties is really inspiring. Once again it's that effortless cool that is engrained in the music and the fashion of the times. Beth Lesser's book Dancehall: The Rise of Jamaican Dancehall Culture captures the essence of the lifestyle brilliantly.
I love the candid honesty she captures. The natural confidence these artists exude in their clothing and environment is amazing. It also goes to show you steez has less to do with money and more to do with creativity. The style has just as much influence on me as the music. The kid's inspiration is Broader Than Broadway...
In the early part of the decade the term metrosexual, coined by Mark Simpson in the early nineties, gained huge popularity as the poster boy, David Beckham's fame increased stateside. There was always a bit of a negative connotation associated with the word. As if you're a man and you actually care about how you look, you're imploring a certain weakness about yourself. I never really understood that.
As the end of the decade brings us closer to a tough, rugged, blue-collar sensibility I wonder how the metrosexual fits in, if at all. Now putting man in front of any slightly questionable idea has become the satirical norm. For example mandate, manbag, mandals.
I'll admit these are broad strokes as the average man probably doesn't really give a fuck about any of this. But it's more interesting how linguistics play a role in what is accepted into society as the standard quo. And I believe the standard quo should always include a gentleman being well groomed. And I'm pretty sure the ladies are with me on this one. Baxter of California is doing a great job of making men feel a little tougher when it comes to the aforementioned...
"She lit a burner on the stove and offered me a pipe. I thought you'd never say hello, she said. You look like the silent type.
Then she opened up a book of poems and handed it to me. Written by an italian poet from the thirteenth century.
And every one of them words rang true and glowed like burnin' coal. Pourin' off of every page. Like it was written in my soul from me to you, tangled up in blue."
If you're reading this and you own or you've owned a keffiyeh or shemagh and now you feel way too trendy wearing it but still love them, here's an interesting alternative from R by 45rpm. And if you're one of those kids claiming you rocked yours first and you're not in the military... Sorry that illustrious title goes to Chris Gibbs and Thugmoki from Japan. They wore them over ten years ago and got made fun of so outlets could sell them to every kid on Broadway today.
I've never been into trends but I am into individualism. And it kind of bums me out when really interesting pieces of style get oversaturated in the marketplace. But that's what's special about influential innovators they're onto something else before the rest of them...
“I never think of myself as an icon. What is in other people's minds is not in my mind. I just do my thing.”
- Audrey Hepburn
I love looking to photographer's portfolios for inspiration and Richard Corman's collection of Icons is no exception. Corman has photographed some of the most celebrated icons, fact and fiction, of our time. It's definitely worth a closer look. I didn't post it but he took a picture of Mike Tyson and Joan Jett air guitaring in front of a white seamless. It's pretty amazing...
My man Chris Gibbs of Union Los Angeles breaks down the current state of streetwear via hypebeast. It's a good interview filled with gold nuggets on how to survive these tough economic times in the retail game.
Things have not been the same below Houston since he left for the west. Maybe this downturn is exactly what's needed to push the culture forward a bit...
"Oh, I lie now and then, I suppose. Sometimes I'd tell them the truth and they still wouldn't believe me, so I prefer to lie."
- Antoine Doinel
The films that have resonance and I continually watch over and over not only have great stories, characters, and direction but there's always an element of style. François Truffaut's 1959 classic The 400 Blows is one of the defining films of the French New Wave.
One of the most understated stylish characters in cinema is the teen Antoine Doinel. It just goes to show you no matter how young or old, trends come and go but style is forever...
One of the most beautiful endings in all of cinema. Even out of context it exhibits everything I love about filmmaking... the truth...
Cover of Jamel Shabazz's Back In The Days published in 2001
Counter-cultures are always spawned from the outskirts, the ones that don't fit into the mainstream, the risk takers, the true rebels. History shows eventually those counter-cultures get bastardized by Corporate America in one way or another, good or bad, and lose their truth and innocence.
My particular story is birthed in the golden era of hip-hop, as a youth being lucky enough to hang out at sessions at D&D Studios with Premo, being on the sets and edits of music videos for Afu-Ra, and directing videos for the living legend DJ Roc Raida.
For whatever reason I was lucky enough for those moments to be a part of my life at such a young and impressionable age.
The times have changed and much like a lot of the kids today have a reverence for that (early to mid-nineties) golden era that I was able to be a part of. I will always have a really strong love and respect for the (late seventies to early eighties) birth era of hip-hop that I only know from books, films and stories.
Like every counter-culture, when it's born and the purist we see some of the most original and creative styles that will be copied, reappropriated, and bastardized for generations to come.
For me Jamel Shabazz's "Back In The Days," Martha Cooper's "Hip Hop Files," and Johan Kugelberg's "Born In The Bronx" serve as capsules for a moment in time that didn't know any better but to be who it was...
Miles Davis photographed by William Claxton in 1971
The age old question, the boxer or the brief... or the boxer brief? Another one of those essential basics that everyone has a personal preference.
I've always been into boxer briefs. But now there are so many different variations of them from fit to fabrication to length. So I want to hear from you as to what is in your top drawer. All different price points and styles. Who makes the best underwear right now? And if you're more of a commando kind of guy that's cool too. But here are a few gold standards for those that prefer a little support...
One of the most highly anticipated albums this year is Grizzly Bear's Veckatimest. They're one of those amazing bands that I'm dying to direct a music video for. They're sound is really beautiful and hard at the same time. I think they also have really great understated style. This new track Cheerleader is errily soothing... Give it a listen while I go harass my rep to set up a meeting with them...
The most exciting book about modern filmmaking is the soon to be classic Cinema Now by Andrew Bailey from Taschen. Covering all continents and all genres of film, it's a definitive source for inspiration. I often look to it for inspiration for my own work... Framing, color compositions, concepts... And if you're not that into reading or looking at pictures it also comes with a DVD.
The section on Alejandro González Iñárritu is reason enough to purchase it. "I don't care about the chronological order of the facts but rather the emotional impact of the events, because after all is said and done, cinema is just a fragmented emotional experience."
I admittedly know nothing about manufacturing or distributing shoes. But can someone please explain to me why a shoe as perfect as the Clarks Lugger is still not available to purchase in New York.
It's an amazing combination of a Wallabee and a moccasin. I've been trying to get a pair for almost twelve years but it's never worked out. Is there anybody else out there that can't understand why certain things are so easy to come by and others not?
Is it the Lugger's lack of availability that makes it so appealing? What sets the Lugger apart from the readily available Desert Boot, Desert Trek, Natalie, or Wallabee?