Shoulder bags have long been a niche accessory, usually reserved for UK urban dwelling youth, but this year has seen them emerge as a mainstream must-have. As vintage sportswear continues to take over contemporary streetwear, the kinds of items you would normally see consigned to shelves in stores like JD Sports, have become featured items in mainstream fashion stores like Urban Outfitters (who recently picked up a bunch of our bags) as well as fashion blogs.
While the shoulder bag has carried a bit of stigma around it – based on the notion that it has long been worn by roadmen, who use it as a stash pouch – the functionality of the bag is also the main reason its managed shake off this reputation. For some occasions the bags are irresistibly useful. Afterall who wants to carry a wallet, phone and other valuables in their pockets at a festival?
Often there is a lag before quintessentially Bristish or quintessentially American accessories are adopted on the other side of the Atlantic. For example snapback hats took an extra year to start gaining traction in europe after they killed off fitted hats in North America in 2011. We expect shoulder bags to become as ubiquitous in the US as Europe in time.
Shoulder bags shouldn’t be a statement piece, but they can certainly add something to a solid fit. Our bags are understated, and at £19.99 so you can pick one up and add it to any look you want. Check our collection here
Striped tees always have a bit of a moment as spring approaches, but this year, stripes are going hard.
These kind of shirts are particularly complimentary to the kind of colors – earth tones and pales – and fits – roomy and natural – that have become the go-to in most people’s wardrobes. So its only natural that striped tees have become the must have shirt for spring/summer 17.
Of course A$AP Rocky’s much-lauded collaboration with Guess from 2016, featuring multiple colorways of striped tees in short sleeve and long sleeves, has only catalyzed this move to all things hooped and horizontal
Our two new striped tees are understated two color tops featuring discreet chest embroidery.
Rarely do we put together a blog post to show off one or two vintage pieces, but these Simpsonswave gems warranted their own showcase. This Simpsons denim jacket is no custom piece, its a licensed jacket dated 1990 and the patchwork and distressed affections are original! The shirt is from 1991 and is printed on the back too. These garms are peak simpsons, coinciding with seasons 2 and 3.
Ringing your Grandparents can feel like a chore. Endless chats about the weather, Brexit and the underlying feeling that they are closet racists can make for a painstaking conversation. However, what you may not realise is that your grandparents could also be some of the coolest people in the world, due to the fact that the biggest trend within streetwear at the moment seems to be dressing like an old man.
Vintage has always been a big deal within streetwear; old Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren relics have always been staples. But this new trend is leaning towards more practical, basic and cozy clothing. Recently the likes of gilets, quarter length zip ups and fleeces (yes, fleeces!) have become the essentials for any streetwear follower. Clothing giants such as Supreme (who recently collaborated with the old timers favourite Aquascutum) and Stussy have also taking inspiration from this new trend, with plenty of new releases looking like clothes you would find in your local charity shop rather than a high-end fashion establishment.
Much like the palewave movement we’ve seen recently, one of the best aspects of this new aesthetic is that anyone can achieve this look. Whilst people still hunt for designer gear, the truth is you don’t really need to. Most charity shops will stock beaten up denim jackets and fleeces and if you’re lucky enough you’ll come across some absolute steals.
The tones you’re looking for are earthy ones with khaki, forest green and camel being some of the basic staples as well as checkered and plaid patterns. Pair up a Ralph Lauren fleece with a beaten up denim jacket or gilet, chuck on some cargo pants and a fishermans beanie and head out onto the streets where you’ll be one of the trendiest people about. Or, head up to the Pennines where you will be ready to take on the terrain – the choice is really yours.
Workwear is one of the key aspects of this trend and it’s part of the reason we’ve seen a recent boom in the likes of Dickies, Carhartt and to an extent Doc Martens – which have now stopped being the shoe of the choice for the alternative crowd and now are a basic staple for any streetwear blogger. I doubt the fishermen, coal miners and dock workers of yesteryear cared too much bout whether the hems in their Levi’s were turned up perfectly or whether they even thought they looked good in what they were wearing for everyday life but the truth is that these people have inspired the newest boom in streetwear.
So, call up your granddad tonight. Ask him how he’s doing and see if he’s got any clothes he fancies chucking away – he probably will. My granddad recycles the same ASDA George jumpers, Levi’s and DM’s for as many years as he can whilst having a full closet full of bangers hidden away in his bedroom. The clothes that he has will more than likely be extremely fashionable now, so chuck them in a bag and put them on when you get home, take a snap in the mirror and hashtag ‘#OOTD’ and watch the likes roll in. But remember, your granddad is a fashionista now and he’s probably cooler than you.
For the last few years streetwear has been awash with men wearing drop crotch pants that made them look like they’d shat themselves and blacks on blacks on blacks was the in thing. The fuccboi movement (as it was commonly regarded) involved replacing all vowels with X’s and V’s – LVKX THXS – and religious listening to Trap Lord on repeat, whilst desperately trying to pretend to your friends that you liked it. Thankfully, the days of the fuccboi seem to be over as streetwear makes the steps out of the dark and into the light. This year, the ‘palewave’ movement is having a real moment with pastels and earthy colored tones beginning to dominate lookbooks.
Agora Sand Coach Jacket w/Tonal olive hoodie
Rust Boucle 6 panel w/mint coach jacket
Palewave is exactly what it says on the tin: a movement based on pale, clean fitted clothing. It’s a step away from the previous over-saturated and monochromatic styles that have dominated streetwear for years and invites its followers to take the look into their own hands. The main perk of the movement is that unlike the recent boom in sportswear or the current trend of vintage high fashion brands is that the palewave look can be achieved easily and cheaply. White/Cream and Pale tees can be bought from anywhere with the likes of Gildan and Fruit of the Loom stocking them for less than a fiver a pop to form the basic staple of the look. White trainers are available from most brands and if you’re looking for the cheaper alternative then the likes of Reebok Classics and Workouts are always a shoulder to lean on, as are the fashionistas favorite – Adidas Stan Smiths. Team these up with a stone coach jacket and a neutral coloured dad hat and you’re in business. All you need now is an industrial background featuring plenty of greys and whites and VSCO Cam to edit your pictures and you’re basically a fashion blogger.
Palewave’s status as the ‘in-look’ within streetwear highlights a growing trend within the creative industry in which a ‘back to basics’ look is strongly rising to prominence. Minimalism is the in thing and brands are moving away from the Aztec and floral patterned garms worn by the Topman Lads of yesteryear in favor of striped back, basic and high quality pieces. The fact that the whole premise of the movement is based upon basic and untouched clothing means that it can’t become over saturated in the way the fuccboi movement was, whereby brands like Primark and market stalls across the country were selling t-shirts and hats with ‘DOPE’ and ‘TRVP LXRD’ printed across them. The cheaper brands selling items that fit the Palewave aesthetic may not be made with the same quality as the higher bracket of clothing, but it will look pretty much the same and that’s the beauty of it all – anyone can achieve the Palewave look.
Palewave is clean, it’s fresh and it doesn’t look like you’re on our way to the Watch The Throne tour that happened 4 years ago. It’s time to drop the Been Trill, step away from the ‘Commes de Fuckdown’ beanie and burn the ‘Cocaine and Caviar’ tee. Get yourself some jeans that fit, a couple of crisp white tee’s and trainers and join the wave.
In 1993, scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute built the world’s first virtual shrink ray. Their first testing subject was a .WAV file of “Tom’s Diner,” “a pop song about a little-known New York restaurant. Through the magic of compression, a retro 80’s beat and catchy lyrics compacted to 1/11th their original size – but the sound quality remained. Big enough to fill a room, yet small enough to fit on a floppy disc. Fraunhofer celebrated: their shrink ray was now a portal to the future. “Tom’s Diner”, (which later because “the restaurant” in TV’s Seinfeld) became the world’s first ever MP3 file. And so, Internet music was born.
Music has played an outsized role in the history of the Internet. From Napster to Limewire, iTunes to Spotify, trillions of notes have found ears thanks to the World Wide Web. Peer-to-peer MP3 sharing drove the music revolution to new heights and to new audiences. The democratic nature of file sharing communities meant a big break for indie artists: using communities like SoundClick (1997) and MySpace (2003), they could circumvent traditional record labels and publish music themselves, regardless of genre. From Justin Bieber to Soulja Boy, a new generation of artists would harness this new technology to spread their creative vision worldwide. However, it wasn’t until the early 2010’s – nearly 20 years after Fraunhofer’s shrink ray – that the Internet would truly begin to create for itself.
This reliance on the Internet for all parts of the music creation process fostered a deep sense of nostalgia for the optimism that defined the early years of the web. In practice, Vaporwave was both melancholy and celebratory – a “Greatest Hits” album of the irrecoverable past. Songs were titled after retro game consoles. Artists took names like Macintosh Plus and Saint Pepsi. Album covers featured both marble statues and Arizona Iced Tea. Everything from elevator music to Windows 95 start-up tones were fair game for sampling. Even cassette tapes (a victim of the very innovations that made vaporwave possible) were included, as both art object and ironically, recording device.
To a nostalgia-focused generation raised in a time of shrink rays and globalization, Vaporwave was the best of the old distilled into something wholly new. The result? A millions-strong following spread across every social network imaginable. For the Internet, by the Internet. Best of all, it looked cool.
While the idea of Vaporwave will always remain rooted in music, the visual aesthetic that the music portrays would grow to overpower even the loudest speakers. Thanks to the spread of image-driven social networks like Tumblr, a Vaporwave album cover could now reach exponentially more people than even the hottest MP3 torrent. The Internet’s first music genre had gone from curiosity to front page news. Even established artists like Yung Lean and the Sadboys took influence from the rise of vaporwave: the music video for “Hurt” (2013) is every inch vaporwave, in sound, look, and attitude. Twenty years after Fraunhofer, the YouTube video currently has more than 8 million views.
It was a recipe for success: cool graphics with an emotional appeal, coming of age with the dawn of visual social media. The same deeply appealing ideas that made the music so popular were present in the visuals – but suddenly, those ideas had a stage. And given the music’s audience (young, Internet-saavy creatives), everything from fan art to custom clothing came right behind. Suddenly, vaporwave wasn’t just a genre – it was an all-encompassing stylistic expression.
Even the recent popularization of “aesthetic” (#aesthetic, A E S T H E T I C, etc) can in many ways be traced back to vaporwave, specifically the popularity of the song “リサフランク420 / 現代のコンピュー” by Floral Shoppe.
In the present, vaporwave is known for both its aesthetic and musical expressions. However, because of its growth, the ultimate legacy of vaporwave music may indeed be the graphics that it spawned. Today, everything from subreddits to clothing lines exist to celebrate the same nostalgia-driven ideas first represented by the Internet’s first music genre. Need further proof? Typing “vaporwave” into Google autocompletes with “vaporwave aesthetic” and “vaporwave music”… in that order.
While its current expression may celebrate the past, the history of internet music is ultimately the story of progress. Just think: it took a little under 20 years to go from CD to an Internet-only music genre that memorializes the very world that it ended. In that time, a song about the diner from “Seinfeld” went on to inspire a stylistic movement that would influence the destinies of both music and fashion alike. One can only imagine what the future holds.
Sportswear is having a moment right now and there’s no denying that “chav” is definitely the new chic. Reebok classics, Airmax 95’s and Nike Tn’s are now more commonly found on the high streets of Shoreditch than the markets of Lewisham.
Streetwear brands like Palace, Supreme and Gosha have all recently produced identikit lookbooks headed by nameless bald lads; draped in baggy sweatpants and track tops, with simian-like expressions. And as mainstream stores like JD sports continue to revive dead 90s brands like Ellese and Kappa, the lines between honoring sportswear and straight up copying have become blurred with some brands seemingly running low on fresh ideas.
Streetwear has forever been in debt to sportswear with most brands replicating, celebrating and honoring the brands that helped shape their identities and collections. Supreme collabs with Nike have always been clean, innovative and a mixture of two different brands that when conjured together can bring out some of the hottest clothes on the market. The most recent partnership brought with it the Airmax 98’s in 4 different colourways including the highly sought after snakeskin pair. These trainers were a bold, statement piece and were exactly how these collabs should work with supreme taking and old school Nike trainer, giving it a re-work and instantly switching the shoe from a sportswear trainer into something more in keeping with their streetwear aesthetic.
Palace have done it multiple times with Adidas and Reebok – taking classic designs, touching them up and turning them into premium, statement pieces that turn heads across the streetwear world. However, are we now seeing a shift in the tide? Are brands now going to start ripping off the founding fathers? If the recent teaser from clothing line of Pastelle is anything to go by, the answer could be yes.
Remember Pastelle? The birth child of Kanye West. Before Yeezy was all about earthy tones and body suits he was obsessed with colours and high school stylings. Pastelle was his vehicle of getting into the world of fashion, but we only fortunate enough to see fleeting concepts pieces from Ye, with the brand never getting off the ground.
But that’s soon to change as Yeezy has handed the reigns of Pastelle to the omnipresent, Instagram celeb, Ian Connor.
The self-dubbed ‘King of Youth’ previewed the first piece – in three colorways – from his Pastelle collection and to say it’s disappointing is and understatement.
Connor – who has mixed it with high fashion, urban hybrid kings such as Wiz Khalifa and A$AP Rocky -has proceeded to outright copy the styles and designs of legendary NCAA sportswear tees by brands like Champion, Nutmeg and Trench .
Connor -the man who has 1000’s of designers at his feet pleading to work with him – chose the obvious and uncreative route. For those who follow streetwear, the return of Pastelle was a bit of a Holy Grail moment, so to see Connor just copy and old brands designs was highly disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got time for brands that tweak old logos and satire them in order to get their name out there, plenty of small brands do. But when it comes to Pastelle, we’re not talking about a small time operation, we’re talking about the return of an urban myth, a brand that so many people wanted to happen but never did. Pastelle doesn’t need to mimic the legends to get its name out there, it already is. The truth is you can pick up the t-shirts Connor has ripped for most likely half the price – it’s a no brainer.
Fortunately, Connor’s explicit copying seems to be a stand alone moment, but with the boundaries becoming more and more between what is Sports Direct and what is Hype Beast you get the feeling it won’t be the last.
R & B crooner Chris Brown can be seen wearing the agora polo bear 5 panel cap in his new video for “Little More (Royalty.)” The hats are made from genuine vintage ralph lauren fabric and are reinforced to keep them crisp. Shop polo bear hats, tees and more here
MA-1 bomber jackets emerged as a strong trend for AW14 and their popularity hasn’t waned as we enter AW15. The owner of a big military surplus store recently told me that his company have been selling the same bomber jackets for 22 years and he has never experienced anything like the demand over the last 12 months.
But MA-1 jackets aren’t some flash in the pan. Like a nice parka, or a pea coat the bomber is a timeless and essential piece, that was crafted and honed for practicality. First made in the 1950s for the US Air Force, MA-1s were made as an intermediate weight flight jacket, using a high quality nylon shell and polyester filling. This is why true MA-1 jackets appear a little puffy.
A few companies have been certified manufacturers for the US Air Force, like Rothco and Dobbs but Alpha Industries are the largest and well known UK distributors of the classic flight jacket.
Like the real thing, our MA-1 bombers are made from a tough nylon shell and the fit is closely modelled on the alpha industries bombers. Shop our full collection here