16 December 2017

Daniel Arsham: Colour & Blueprint






Crystal Toys Exhibition
Daniel Arsham
(Galerie Perrotin, Seoul, May-July 2017)

I really enjoy Daniel Arsham's cast works and sculptures. There are so many pieces that I would love to be able to see in person and touch. I find his use of colour really impressive, employing natural sources such as the volcanic ash, amethyst, selenite gypsum and quartz in the Future Relic teddy bears above, but also super saturated pigments for his solidly coloured pieces. This is given an extra dimension given the fact that Arsham is actually colourblind. As such I thought it would be interesting to share the first video on his perception of colour, and experience with Enchroma glasses (which many of you may have seen in those videos where colourblind people see additional hues and colours for the first time).

I found it interesting that so many of the comments on YouTube took umbrage with his reaction to them, but I can understand how overwhelming such a sensory change would be. Indeed it would require years of relearning to adapt to the newly perceptible hue changes, and even then, because it is so late in life, it would never feel quite 'natural'. I think studies have shown that generally you would have to be under the age of seven to be able to fully adapt to such dramatic sensory (and resulting cognitive) changes without any issue. And so it is even more fascinating hearing the experience of a visual artist with something that many of us will never have firsthand experience with.  

The second video is from the Blueprint series on Complex. I always enjoy hearing artists talk about their processes, and so I think that it is a fun little interview for those unfamiliar with Arsham. And given that it is a Complex interview, I might as well add that his first Adidas sneaker was not particularly to my taste, but the second current New York model is actually right up my alley. I even think that the Boost soles work, and usually I hate all these polystyrene looking soles.  

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15 November 2017

SS18 Favourites: Undercover

Spring/Summer 2018












This was by far my favourite collection of the season.

Jun Takahashi had his eyes set on the future of youth culture with his Spring/Summer 2018 collection. But he was not thinking of next year, or a few years from now - instead, think band merch commemorating records released in 2075. It was a collection inspired by his own experiences and memories of 1980s Tokyo, where he was studying as a fashion student towards the tail end of that decade. However he also reached back even further with references to Masayuki Yamazaki’s Cream Soda clothing label.

Yamazaki founded the rock and roll Kaijin Niju Menso bar (named after the mysterious Fiend with Twenty Faces in Edogawa Ranpo's Kogoro Akechi series of novels) in the Shinjuku district in 1968. It was decorated with Yamazaki’s impression of a cool 1960s America, attracting bikers, rock kids, and even designers such as Kansai Yamamoto. In 1976 Yamazaki would go on to launch his Cream Soda label, inspired by 1950s American style, albeit as seen through the lens of London youth subcultures. So think of the Americana elements that were adopted by the Mods and Rockers at the time.

Jun then took these references as part of his imagined future, placing it alongside fictional band merchandise and punk styling, to imagine what kids of the future would wear. I appreciated the fact that there was German text (including some stylised to look like Arabic text), allowing for an interesting musical direction in his imagined future. What with street culture and youth culture being so popular right now, it was nice to see Jun show us just what is possible within that realm - looking to the future and being creative with the ideas and pieces, rather than adding to the instantly forgettable cookie cutter pieces we see so much of right now.

I thought that the casting and styling was on point, but then it is always interesting to see how Jun puts his collections together to create a “lived in” narrative, in that these look like organic outfits to me. I also find it interesting to see how he created fictional bands, working on music merchandising as an aesthetic component inherent to the style, and purely as a creative concept. Given that artifice and fantasy are a given in fashion, I always like it when designers come up with such a strong story and narrative to accompany their collections. Indeed for me the clothes really did feel like they would be fitting for a cyberpunk future. If that is what kids will be wearing several decades from now, I just hope I am around long enough to see it.

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23 October 2017

The Idle Man: AW17 Review




Denim jacket: The Idle Man
Reverse weave hoodie: Champion
Relaxed tapered "dad" jeans: The Idle Man
Sneakers: Converse 70s



Padded gilet: The North Face
Oxford shirt: Supreme
T-Shirt: SHIRT Comme des Garçons
Straight leg chinos: The Idle Man
Sneakers: Converse 70s x PLAY Comme des Garçons



Wool coat: Yohji Yamamoto Pour Homme
Cotton corduroy shirt: The Idle Man
T-shirt: SHIRT Comme des Garçons

Disclosure: I was sent some pieces from The Idle Man Autumn/Winter 2017 collection to review. Product links are not affiliate links, but purely for informational purposes.

I discovered The Idle Man online store at the start of last year while looking for somewhere to buy a pair of Dickies 874 trousers from, because at the time all I could seem to find elsewhere were the slimmer cuts. Since then I have shopped from there a few times because they stock a good array of menswear brands and I find the customer service pleasant and efficient (which sounds like a small detail, but you would be surprised at how many retailers fall short). However I had never really had any great amount of experience with their affordable own label until recently. I bought a fluffy teddy bear hoodie (that some of you may have seen on my Instagram), which I absolutely love. So when I got an email from the team soon thereafter asking me whether I would like to review some of the clothes from their current Autumn/Winter 2017 collection, I thought it would be fun to see what other clothes they offer and whether they could actually work with the clothes in my wardrobe.

I tried to get pieces that would allow me to create quite a few different looks, just to see what sort of diversity was possible in terms of styling. Indeed I liked the fact that their lookbook for the season, while small, was varied enough to show what routes one could go down or find in terms of dressing. So I have been wearing the various pieces in my own daily outfits to get used to how they feel, how they move, and overall to get a good idea of what I like about them, and what could do with some improvement. I have broken down the review into sections, which hopefully cover my key impressions and findings. Overall, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

Design

The collection as a whole has a pretty diverse array of options to choose from, with a decent offering for basics and layering pieces, meaning that it caters nicely to a wider audience. I think that all of the pieces that I chose were solid in terms of design. I tried to stick to more foundational pieces so that I could use them as a spring board for different styles - a very casual look, a more refined casual, and then a relatively smart look. I thought that the corduroy shirt was interesting in terms of material choice, because it was a very fine corduroy, meaning that in person it looks almost like velour. I enjoy wearing different textures of black, so that was nice. In terms of materials, I think that the fabrics chosen lay well, flowed well and felt comfortable. I do wish the denim was a heavier weight, but that is personal preference I suppose.

Fit

I thought that the shirt would be a hard sell, because I usually have difficulty in finding sleeves long enough, but this one fit surprisingly well. I could have done with an extra half inch of cuff and perhaps a slightly longer collar, but otherwise it was fine. I went with two different pairs of trousers just to get an idea of the cuts. The straight leg chinos fit comfortably, with a good amount of space around the seat, which was nice, because I really dislike anything tight up top (I usually size up because although I have a small waist, my bum is relatively large, and this was no exception). The relaxed tapered "dad" jeans were something I was curious to try because I have been seeing them everywhere lately. I went with the long leg, rather than the standard, because I am quite tall and did not particularly want three-quarter length jeans (I have made that mistake with cropped trousers before!). They fit as intended in that longer length, and overall were roomy and comfortable, although I wish they had a sharper taper.

Construction

For such an affordable offering I was not actually sure what to expect, but thankfully everything seemed solidly built and up to daily wear without any issue. The stitching was a bit hit and miss in terms of tidiness though, so I did spend a few minutes before wearing things for the first time just taking some scissors to them to clean things up. The chinos were finished nicely and well made though, so that was nice to see. Given more time I would be interested to see how they hold up after multiple washes, but I might edit this post later on down the line with an update.

Value

I have said it already, but I was pleasantly surprised. The label is on the affordable end of the spectrum, and as such I do think it is worthy of consideration at that price point. I also think that it would be a good way of experimenting, for those wishing to explore different styles or looks without necessarily spending so much. One small note though - I paid for next day delivery on these, well before the cut off time, and it ended up taking two days to arrive. This was more to do with the fact that Hermes delivery is rubbish in my area, but even so, something I have to mention.

Conclusion

Overall I think that The Idle Man's own label is a solid affordable option for those wishing to add some nice basics into their wardrobes, or simply experiment with their style without investing so heavily, monetarily speaking, into the process. I enjoyed the fact that the pieces I had worked relatively seamlessly with the rest of my wardrobe, and felt natural in terms of styling.

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The Idle Man, a menswear based retailer, catering to the style conscious man. Hosting brands such as Herschel, Dr. Martens and Laboratory Perfumes, The Idle Man is a go-to destination for men. Alongside the online shop, The Idle Man Manual is a blog dedicated to offering style advice as well as stories and guides about music, grooming and lifestyle.

The team over at The Idle Man were also kind enough to offer readers 10% off their orders with code DAPPERKID10

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