Monday, April 22, 2013

Reproduction Reeboks

Every time I see a reproduction retro pair of Reeboks for sale I get the grins. 

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I have an old pair of Workout Mids so I have a personal connection to old white Reeboks. There’s a hole in the toe and they’re just about retired after 5 years of wear. I guess I am overly sympathetic given my connection but I will pretend I am unaware of my tangentiality. 

But you usually see middle aged men in cheap Hustler denim -- with a rise that never lowered for the Millenium -- wearing an old pair of beaten Reeboks. They work in autobody shops or maybe at hardware stores. Reeboks are their weekend wear and the grass that the lawnmower pitches up stains the sole a green that is green like America during the summer: baseball and watermelon and brauts and Miller Lite and screaming children and grouchy wives and community swimming pools. These are the guys that wear old Reeboks. The funniest part is that the Reeboks that these men wear are not reproductions. It’s been their weekend wear for two decades. This is brilliant. This is Michael J. Fox. This is allegedly authentic caricaturism.

You can buy reproductions of old Reeboks. They’re cool. I like them (which makes them cool?). But know this:

Clothing doesn’t make you another character, as Patrick Swayze is never laced into a pair of jeans. It doesn’t connect you with the past, you’re not suddenly imbued with proletarian sentiments when you wear old selvedge. It doesn’t make you cool (duh, duh, and duh). Clothing makes you fictional. You are still you. But you’re projecting a fiction to others.

That’s why clothing is so cool.

And why I get the grins when I see that I can purchase something like this.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Decade Later: When Broken Is Easily Fixed

In about a month, Silverstein’s When Broken is Easily Fixed will have been out for about a decade. My brother bought it for my birthday a few months after it came out. I was twelve years old and, being a whiny piece of crap (little has changed), I was all about every track on the album. It was Silverstein’s debut full-length and it did not disappoint. The production is certainly poor. The guitars seem to slide into a tone that fluctuated between notes and are amplified with amps that have no low end. The bass sounds like it’s cheap. The tone is dead and sometimes appears to be there just to supplement the drums, which could very well be the case. The drums sound like they were recorded quickly, maybe in only a few tracks. The vocals are scrapey and have little depth. Some of the songs are pretty weak -- err, maybe half. But despite all this, the twelve year old me did not have a developed enough taste to discern that this album is off. This album was my angst.

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I have no doubt that When Broken is Easily Fixed had a major impact, along with albums like Sing the Sorrow and Deja Entendu, on my life but it is uncertain on how much impact that When Broken is Easily Fixed had on culture at the time. Actually, we’ll say that When Broken is Easily Fixed is a reflection of culture at that time rather than an influencer, y’know, Hegel ‘n shit. Plus, it's not like every kid ever sat down and listened to this album. The Beatles Silverstein is not.The singles and the videos accompanying them are crap. We’ll take a walk-through.

 Silverstein is wearing what Express has been trying to sell us for the past decade in the “Smashed Into Pieces” music video. There is something to be said about this and I think that it’s that culture as a whole has been trying to wear ties and jackets for about a decade now, probably more. Trying to, at some extent, work a image of formality into a youth culture of rebellion. We’re not particularly good at it, as Told’s white tie and red shirt tells us. We’re buying our rebellion within capitalism which doesn’t work. The oil, a reference to the album cover, continues to show that extraditing yourself from culture is a self-sacrificial action -- or something along the lines of that. The ties in the video are cheap and in bad taste. The shirts, as mentioned previously appearing to be the sort of thing Express has been selling for years, look... so... unhealthy -- like Banker’s Vodka, Cheez-its, and a new found appreciation of other people’s prescription medications.

When Broken is Easily Fixed helped Victory Records begin their upswing into relevancy. Over the next two years they would release albums from Spitalfield, Streetlight Manifesto, Bayside, Atreyu, Hawthorne Heights, Straylight Run, Taking Back Sunday, and Aiden. Victory made money off of Warped Tour and an increasing disposable allowance of 13 year olds. Victory was an early tween and teen exploiter and they did fairly well for themselves. Though now they’re stuck releasing Terror albums which is the equivalent of releasing new Iron Maiden albums.


“Giving Up” has to be included for entertainment purposes. There is little to be learned from it, other than that you’re a mean person and will laugh at other people’s work when given the opportunity. Why are they using that camera-lens? Why is that guy in the video so ugly? Why did they shoot this video? Were cassette tapes still used in 2003?

Notice the baseball t-shirt on Boshart (lead guitar). Every couple years a clothing brand tries to sell these sorts of things as essential or useful for a summer wardrobe or American because BASEBALL. They’re not really warm and they don’t keep you cool. They’re like mid-weight suits. GENERALLY USELESS is the phrase that I am familiar with. They’re OK if you like having lots of things in your closet.

Silverstein is a “growing pains” band. They’re pretty bad right now. Sometimes they try to bring back a more hardcore sound to their albums but they tend to fall short. That’s OK. I still enjoy the old stuff because it reminds me of 7th grade. There’s nothing wrong with taking a look at the past every now and then. I mean, you do it every day when you check in on ACL.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


#menswear likes to pick up its oddities. Y’know, shawls and antiquated hats are very of-the-moment #menswear. Something recent that I’ve noticed, are the inclusion of Chacos in S/S lookbooks. What’s a Chaco? Like a Chaco-Taco? Or wait, Choco Taco? Those things are alright but kinda’ dumb (it’s an ice-cream taco, so... there) and don’t count as anybody’s culinary essential -- unless you’re 16 and you learned recently that, you too, can spend money at the grocery store. Chacos, like Choco Tacos, do not fall into anybody’s essentials -- unless you’re in college and going through that phase where you like things just because they cause people to rethink society’s definitions of normal or acceptable. Far out man; like far out and above other people.

Wait, what’s a Chaco?

You don’t know?

Where do you shop? JCPenny? Woost’s new pantheon?

Aight, aight, I’ll back up.

And from there we’ll go.

So, you know Tevas, right? Their sandals that have the three strap system that is held together with velcro. They’re definitively dorky. They were developed by a geophysicist so claiming their dorkiness would make sense if we extend the inventor’s profession to his rafting footwear creation. Tevas have a fairly thin sole and wear our rather quickly if you spend loads time trapesing around in stream-beds and grassy dales (I know you #menswear dudes do a lot of this). However, they’re more useful for outdoor activities than the regular thong sandal and more useful than hiking boots as boots can really suck in the summer and when participating in any activity where water is involved. Athletic sneakers would be a decent substitute for summer trapesing activities but, hey, Nike is the modern day Ba’al Zabul. Their run-ins with the media during the 90s for their sweatshops in Asia would have been occurring as water sandals, and the cultures that were accepting them, were gaining popularity. So is there an alternative that lasts longer than a pair of Tevas? You fucking bet there is.

Chacos, man. Chacos have a sole the size of Tristan Thompson’s ass, which, for those who don’t know, is so big you couldn’t park it in downtown Cleveland and nobody -- absolutely nobody -- parks in downtown Cleveland. There’s something about Chacos -- the JNCO appeal perhaps. 

They’ve also started to appear in #menswear lookbooks. Do you remember how Wolverine stormed into the scene to compete with Alden Indy boots? Wolverine appeared (and was) very ready to compete in the menswear world as they offered a pair of boots for a bit less than a pair of new Indy boots. There was a large marketing push of the 1000 Mile Boot and I am under the impression that it was reasonably successful given the amount of men I see instagramming their feet with Wolverine boots on -- though my sample size is not ideal. Wolverine is owned by Wolverine World Wide (WWW). WWW purchased Chacos in 2009. Most Chacos featured in the lookbooks I’ve seen probably aren’t brand-name Chacos but it’s funny to think that WWW has been pushing their product the same way they were pushing 1000 Mile Boots. Check out The River’s (Japan) lookbook from S/S ’13 where they appear to be using some derivative of Chacos extensively.

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Also notice the larger brand Beams using Chacos in their S/S ’13 lookbook. Still, Chacos are not permeating menswear, as I’ve only pointed out 2 lookbooks where they have been featured. 

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A Patrik Ervell version of the Chaco is featured in the Manu and Pascal photoshoot from Four-Pins. One could argue that this could be a Teva derivative but given the thickness of the sole I’m leaning towards Chacos. Either way, the Patrik Ervell version is a “reinterpretation” of a stupid-strapped-sandal.

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They’re probably not good. But they’re there.

So, who wants to do a product round-up? 

Photos from Selectism