A week after news broke of the do-or-die sale of A Bathing Ape, Nigo is still in the news. Industry publication WWD ran the first post-sale interview with Tomoaki Nagao, aka Nigo, and this week also brought a preview of the Spring Summer 2011 lineup from the grown up sub-label Mr. Bathing Ape. And as Nigo says in the WWD interview, he is focusing on other projects, so fittingly this week brought a new drop from the Billionaire Boys Club 2011 collection. Another big name in Asian fashion who has been much in the news lately, Edison Chen, also deserved a bit more coverage this week with the release of two AF1's he created at 21 Mercer. Hiroki Nakamura has less star power than Nigo or EDC, but is a much-respected designer and textile savant - and his label, Visvim has been turning heads, as usual, with the steady release of Spring/Summer 2011 product. This week Freshness focused on his project with Honeyee, and several of the footwear models Visvim is releasing for the upcoming season. Slightly more high fashion, Junya Watanabe got some attention this week for the release of the COMME des GARçONS MAN Spring 2011 collection, which included a beautiful brogue, done in partnership with Trickers. There were also a few news items regarding Original Fake this week, as the label released some new products for the coming season. And among the overwhelming number of Spring/Summer collections, one standout from our coverage was from the Errolson Hugh-designed Stone Island Shadow Project, which reflects Hugh's expertise in meshing the highly technical with the highly fashionable. Nike, of course, deserves a mention for the release of the Eric Koston signature shoe, which seems poised to be a hit. Also in footwear, a cornerstone of streetwear retail in the UK, end clothing, produced a feature on the Flimby factory, the hallowed New Balance production center in Flimby, England, which included a sneaker giveaway. And finally, Freshness is running a giveaway too - two jackets produced by Puma along with artist Kehinde Wiley. Read on after the jump for a recap of the top streetwear stories this week.
Post Sale Interview with NIGO
The dust is still settling from the bombshell story on the sale of Nowhere Co., but the WWD interview with Bape founder Tomoaki Nagao showed a man focusing on the future. Nigo came across as "upbeat," according to WWD, but he also struck a self-effacing tone, saying "basically, I can't do business. I'm not suited for it. I wish I had had a partner on the business side from the beginning." The intro to the article also highlights some of the trappings of Nigo's larger-than-life personal style, and it will be interesting to see how the man behind the scenes re-invents himself in the post-Bape era. There will be much discussion about the direction of Bape as a company, but the WWD piece gets at the equally interesting question of what direction Nigo takes. He makes a non-verbal statement by appearing.
Mr. Bathing Ape Spring/Summer 2011 Collection | Preview
If Nigo seems destined to be stuck in meetings with I.T. Limited to hash out the sale terms or new business model, he at least has a go-to wardrobe in the Mr. Bathing Ape line. The spinoff collection, a project done with retailer United Arrows, revolves around formalwear pieces, including honest to goodness suits, which serve as a statement pieces for the collection. This week brought a preview of the Spring/Summer 2011 collection, which includes shirting, suiting, and ties, along with a cable knit sweater and a bowler hat. The collection is now available at select United Arrows stores (although United Arrows is probably giving serious thought to how much sense the BAPE project makes now.)
Billionaire Boys Club February 2011 | New Releases
Billionaire Boys Club February 2011 | Delivery 2
A man in Nigo's position needs to keep moving, and focus on opportunities to get back to what he does best: building clothing brands into lifestyle statements, and creating sought-after clothing. A perfect exampe: Billionaire Boys Club, Nigo's project with Pharrell Williams, which has steadily been releasing pieces from the Spring Summer 2011 collection. BBC is a project that both plays it relatively safe with the basic pieces, but also constantly pushes boundaries and reinvents itself - remember the Shooting Cape, and the Digi Camo Hood? The upcoming season is no different; there are plenty logo pieces for the streetwear set, but the brand proves it's maturity and creativity through the more evolved pieces. Standouts from the recent previews of Spring include the Blastivo coat, a sport coat with an dark indigo denim body and Native-pattern sleeves, and a heavily-distressed buckle-back denim jacket. The collection also includes a down vest with toggle fasteners, which is suspiciously similar to the Garbstore x Penfield 1930's Life Preserver vest - but a bit of borrowing in fashion is fine.
Edison Chen Bespoke Air Force 1s
Edison Chen put his stamp on a Destroyer Jacket last month, but this past week we saw that he gave his considerable creative attention to a set of Air Force Ones, at 21 Mercer. EDC created two versions, both tied together by a unique cork-inspired leather. One version uses cork leather for the Swoosh, and gets wild with a variety of denims and textured synthetic materials, plus a zebra-stripe horsehair tongue. The other uses the cork leather throughout, and is set off by a classic gum rubber sole. Both are examples of how interesting things can get when very creative people are given the carte blanche at 21 Mercer, and definitely an inspiration for those aspiring to visit Nike's customization lab.
honeyee x visvim Capsule Collection
Among the many things Hiroki Nakamura is known for, chief among them is his deep love and knowledge of textiles, fabrics, materials, and dyes. For a project being released exclusively by Honeyee, Hiroki is taking inspiration from an ancient cultural tradion - specifically the carpets which have been woven for centuries by the Tekke tribes in Afghanistan. The visvim products used are the Skagway Canvas Hi and a Homer Canvas Tote, both of which are rendered in a beautifully woven burgundy, white, gold, and brown carpet pattern. As seen in recent visvim lookbooks, the Hiroki is heavily influence by native patterns - a trend that is at risk for becoming it's own worst enemy. But as usual, visvim can do no wrong, and these pieces are sure to be as sought after as anything the label produces. Both of these items are available exclusively at the honeyee online store through a ballot system. Orders can be placed until February, 14th, after which the "winners" will be notified.
visvim Spring/Summer 2011 Footwear Collection | Preview
In addition to the Honeyee capsule, visvim also released a preview of what is on the horizon for it's mainline footwear in Spring 2011. Three styles were highlighted this week: the Gris Moc Mid-Folk, Flynt Lo Suede and the Flynt Lo Canvas, each available in four colorways. The Gris Moc Mid is the most instantly recognizable as Visvim, while the Flynt Lo is a more casual boat shoe silhouette, ready for a warmer season. As usual, there is a fanatical devotion to quality in construction and materials. The shoes will be available at UNFTD in Harajuku soon.
Junya Watanabe COMME des GARçONS MAN February 2011 | New Releases
While Junya Watanabe is firmly established as a cornerstone of haute couture, anything from Comme des Garcons is news in streetwear. This week brought a preview of her Spring/Summer 2011 CdG MAN collection. It features a few of the items that have been most successful in the MAN line: button up shirts and crewneck sweatshirts. The button ups in this preview are Spring-ready gingham, with slimmed down straight collars. The crewnecks feature the collar details that are a Junya sweatshirt signature: subtle contrast ribbing and stitching. One item to highlight is the the brogue done with Tricker's, the British maker of bespoke shoes and boots which has been in business since 1829. The shoes have a cream/white suede upper, with a lining and sole that might be called Nantucket Red. They are versatile enough to be worn with rolled up chino pants, or for formal occasions. The collection is available at by Intention and Junya Watanabe COMME des GARçONS MAN stockists around the globe.
OriginalFake February 2011 | New Releases
OriginalFake Spring/Summer 2011 New Releases
Not one but two releases from Original Fake this week. The label, which has Tomohiro Konno from NEXUSVII at the design helm, is still making use of the KAWS chomper teeth; this season they are seen at the chest pockets of plaid shirts, the rear pockets of a selection of chinos, and at the hems of sweatshirts. Like any smart streetwear brand that is maturing, OF keeps some graphic tees in the mix, but on the whole, logos are kept to a minimum. One piece that includes both logo and evolved style is the varsity style jacket, done in blue with white contrast stitching and buttons. There are also some engineered gingham shirts, which incorporate the KAWS X in contrasting fabrics. The collection is now available at the OF flagship store, with select pieces also available at HAVEN.
Stone Island Shadow Project Spring 2011 Collection Lookbook
In the 1980's, Stone Island was firmly part of the uniform of the British football hooligan, along with other brands that have matured into respected streetwear labels - including CP Company, Aquascutum. In recent years though, the label has become more synonymous with high end boutiques, high tech and high fashion. The Shadow Project from Stone Island has taken a slightly different tack from the main line of the Italian fashion label; it has been emulating the brand at the pinnacle of deep functionality and fashion - Acronym - no surprise, as the creative direction for the Shadow Project comes from Acronym designer Errolson Hugh. The Spring Summer 2011 lookbook preview that was released this week shows that the Shadow Project continues to evolve along the lines that Acronym pioneered - functionality inspired by special forces equipment, masked by a pseudo-formal outwear skin. The collection will be available at SI Shadow Project dealers soon, including HAVEN.
Nike SB Eric Koston Signature Model
While the monthly onslaught of Nike SB releases can make even sneakerheads numb, it is still an event when a brand new pro model shoe is released - as this week, with the Eric Koston signature model. Koston, who created his place in the skateboarding Hall of Fame by a solid stint as a young buck playing the big handrail game, cemented that place by maturing into an icon of smooth skateboarding style. Koston has also emerged as one of the most design-forward members on the athlete side of Nike's SB family. Koston also has a true interest in Nike's SB engineering process in an early video for SB, he weighed in on the variations in rubber compounds used in Dunk soles, and he was an early adopter of the technical Zoom FP. Now Koston's first dedicated pro model shoe under the SB umbrella is set for release this summer, and it incorporates Koston's appreciation for technical enhancements with a double Lunar insole and nearly one-piece upper and his appreciation of the classic with styling cues taken from the Bruin. Three colorways are slated for the initial release, including one based on his Thailand Dunk Low.
end clothing Behind the Scenes at New Balance Flimby Factory
You can call it corporate window dressing, but New Balance's choice to maintain an active manufacturing center in Flimby, England, is a major source of pride for sneaker lovers in the U.K.. In conjunction with the release of the New Balance and end Lake District Pack - which pays homage to Cumbria, the location of the Flimby factory - end produced a behind the scenes tour of the factory where the shoes are produced. The pack is a collection of three M576 sneakers, each of which is based on famous Cumbrian landmarks :St. Bedes, Scarfell and Derwent Water, each referenced in subtle details throughout the shoe. The pack also has a strong outdoorwear influence, in keeping with the popular Cumbrian pastime of hiking and sailing and each shoe comes with a specially made map of the Lake District, unique to the series. The behind the scenes factory tour shows the famously high-quality production line at Flimby, which simply cannot be matched at cut-rate factories in developing countries.
Puma x Kehinde Wiley Jacket GIVEAWAY
Kehinde Wiley first started to make waves in the art world with his faux-renaissance portraiture of young black men, against flowery backgrounds, or in Napoleonic poses. But Wiley's reputation was firmly harnessed to the global popularity of soccer, and as World Cup 2010 become the focal point of much of the world last summer, Wiley built a much broader name recognition and fan base. Puma retained his services for their marketing efforts ahead of the 2010 Cup, and the partnership has continued to produce some interesting work, including "Legends Of Unity" exhibition at the Dietch Projects and a series of down jackets, featuring Wiley's abstract patterns. Freshness is giving away two of the jackets, in a random drawing, and entries can be submitted until February 27th. All you have to do is Like Freshness on Facebook, answer three questions on the Freshness Facebook Discussion Page, and then share the contest with your friends. It's a wild jacket from an up and coming artist, so enter now!