Yes, there was another major snowstorm this week, but most places took it in stride and moved on. In Freshness culture, it was a pretty busy week in Nike world (which isn't that remarkable in and of itself). The Swoosh announced releases covering SB, ACG, Jordan, and Sportswear, plus a Black History Month collection. Nike also kicked the week off with a media summit in Shanghai to showcase the Sportswear line for Spring/Summer 2011. This offered glimpses at a number of forthcoming shoes and apparel, including some vintage themed runners, some Athletics Far East and Athletics West apparel, and a number of interesting ACG items. Moving east from Shanghai to Japan, we saw the release of the Bapeon scooter. Yes, a Bape scooter, which should surprise absolutely no one, after the Bapesmoker released last November. And sticking with Bape, the label announced this week that it's combination sale and pop-up Pirate Store concept is making a stop in London later this month. Sale prices on another sought after brand here in the States made news this week too, as Supreme announced one of it's rare sales. In art this week, Terry Richardson brought his leering eye to Opening Ceremony, to shoot the retailer's lookbook for the coming Spring/Summer season. Plus we saw the second short video of KAWS at the Aldrich Museum, from Steve Schinnerer, aka Paper Fortress. Finally, two interesting items from the Japanese apparel industry this week, as OriginalFake released the largest collection to date for Spring Summer 2011, and Loopwheeler announced their most colorful project to date, with a collection of patchwork style cardigans.
Nike Sportswear Spring/Summer 2011 Greater China Media Summit
The first Nike item this week was the PR supernova held in Shanghai, to showcase a huge amount of product coming in 2011. Truthfully, everyone is still sorting through all of the offerings, and detailed looks at the products featured are still coming, thanks to Freshness Mag co-founder Dan Hwang, who was on hand to cover the event. But in general, ACG apparel and footwear might have stolen the show, with probably the most interesting mash-ups of styles and technologies. However, Nike isn't leaving anyone behind - the AF1 Supreme "Year of the Rabbit" garnered a lot of attention, plus we saw some upcoming All Court Classics with the Fragment Design imprimatur, and a Lunarlon sole with a full heel air cell. For 2010, Nike's revenue was $4.8 billion, and stock up 10 percent versus prior year, and for 2011 Nike again proves how it's products drive these numbers.
Converse + Jordan Brand + Nike Black History Month Collection
The second Nike story of the week was the announcement of four shoes which commemorate (or exploit, depending on how cynical you are) Black History Month. (This is in addition to a KDIII shoe released for MLK Day). Nike has been doing this for a few years now, and this year brings in shoes from the Nike-held Converse, as well as a Jordan brand shoe. From Converse, a leather Dr. J-inspired high top; and from Nike proper, the pack includes an AJ III, a Kobe VI, and and AF1. The theme this year is black and gold, with the Pan-African colors also worked into the Kobe. It's a pretty attractive collection of shoes, and there are plenty of nice details evoking Black history, culture, and art - especially on the Kobe.
BAPE x AEON BAPEON Scooter Launch | Event Recap
It would be strange if a clothing label made a scooter. But when BAPE makes a scooter, no one should be too surprised. It's a long way from a full-zip shark hoodie, sure, but BAPE has pretty much destroyed the clothing label paradigm by now - note the Modernica side chair, and, of course, the Bapesmoker. Scooters have always been cool, but combine urban congestion and concern about the climate, and they are more relevant than ever. This scooter got its own launch event, at the flagship Bape store in Tapei City, at which Nigo rolled up in a Lamborghini Gallardo, and was then surrounded by models. The Bapeon, produced with Aeon, features a 120cc engine, and an all-over Bape 1st Camo pattern (of course) in green or pink. At $2,750, they are quite a bit cheaper than any of the uber-cool Vespa models - if you get a chance to buy one of the 500 models being produced.
BAPE Pirate Store London
If Nigo, Lamborghinis, etc, represents the glitzy end of the Bape world, the Pirate Store might represent a bit of the lowbrow. The stores sell some overstock, and some seconds, at a discount. Any company as image-driven as Bape might prefer to burn it's overstock rather than sell it at a discount, but in the bizarro universe that defines Bape, liquidation works (in the short term, at least). Of course, it's not all bins of old product; the Pirate pop-ups are full on concept retail, and are helped by their own limited edition shirts (which have gotten plenty of attention on the blogs this past week). The London Pirate Store will open next Saturday, Janaurary 22nd, at Dray Walk Gallery, just until January 30th. If the New York Pirate Store is any indication, Londoners who want some discount Bape should start lining up early.
Supreme Winter 2010 Sale
Another brand that rarely holds sale events is New York icon Supreme. The label's famously tight control over supply has been loosening in recent years - even the advent of web sales was a pretty big deal for the brand. It's either a sign of the times, or a sign that the brand is confident that sale prices won't tarnish its image (or a sign that the shark has been jumped - but we're definitely not saying that). Anyway, Supreme lovers have come to expect these sales now, and the forums usually have quite a bit of speculation as to what products might still be available at sale time. This year, there were a few gems left at sale time, among them this year's N-3B, and the leather down jacket. (Neither of which are still available as of now.) And really, this is last week's news - but if you're desperate, there are a few items left.
Opening Ceremony -Spring/Summer 2011 Collection Lookbook | By Terry Richardson
If you hire Terry Richardson to shoot your lookbook, you know the focus might not be strictly on the product. Opening Ceremony took that risk for the Spring Summer 2011 lookbook, and the results are typical Richardson: sexualized, with a definite hint of hipster porn. Which isn't a bad look, but it raises the question of whether it's time for Richardson to explore a new artistic direction, or whether he should keep continuity in his work. But even those who are a bit sick of Richardson's work can't deny it's a fun lookbook for OC, and one of the best in contemporary retail for the season. The shoot features star-of-the-moment Lindsey Wixson, and yes, there are clothes too - OC works in some nautical stripes, geometric patterns, and a definite Bedouin drapey look for some of the women's pieces.
KAWS COMPANION "Passing Through" Hong Kong To Connecticut | Installation Video
Visitors to the first ever solo museum show by KAWS last Summer might have noticed Steve Schinnerer shooting the event. And shortly after the show, his media company Paper Fortress released the video he produced, which took place at the idyllic Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Schinnerer was also on hand for another KAWS moment at the Aldrich, as the artist's 16 foot tall Companion sculpture was installed on the grounds. The cast in this video isn't the art world glitterati, but a no-nonsense team of workmen, installing the sculpture piece by piece using heavy machinery. The sculpture, which KAWS first unveiled in Hong Kong (and which is formally titled "Passing Through") is on display through June 5th, 2011, with an official dedication to take place on January 30th.
OriginalFake Spring/Summer 2011 Collection
Sticking with the KAWS theme, this week brought a three-part release of clothing and accessories from OriginalFake. In the most comprehensive collection from the Japanese label to date, we saw a full line of outerwear, a full collection of T-Shirts, and knits, button ups and sweatshirts. Outerwear from the label focused on the more technical side of things, and standouts include a Gore-Tex Windstopper Gingham tailored-style jacket, and a 2 Layer shell jacket with an OF print. In the T-Shirt collection, there are a number of baby-t cuts for women, and graphics draw from some classic KAWS drawings and image mash-ups, which evoke his earlier graffiti work. The other apparel works in some OF all-over prints - which are for the most part tastefully done - and the standard "Chomper" tooth pattern. As always, production numbers are limited, but it looks like the label may be targeting a larger audience this year, based on the breadth of the collection. There are a few pieces that aren't exactly smash hits, but they are more than made up for by some gems.
Loopwheeler Multi Colored Cardigans
And finally this week, a company based on an age old technique of weaving cotton has been infusing it's collection with some new inspiration, with very positive results. Loopwheeler produces its cotton in Wakayama prefecture, on machines which are no longer in production, and which work at extremely slow speeds. The extreme limit on the amount of material that can be produced make this production a labor of love. Loopwheeler is a sought-after partner in collaborations, having worked with Nike, NEXUSVII, and Clarks Originals - among others. But the products the company produces under it's own label have a sense of amazing simplicity and pure, old world craftsmanship. Loopwheeler isn't stuck in the past though, and recent collections have included some playful colors, as seen in these patchwork cardigans released this week. Pastel cardigans have been done to death, but Loopwheeler's creations are a dose of welcome color in January, and are absolutely beautiful garments.