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Made in America: What Does It Really Mean?

Written for HYPEBEAST

Since plummeting into the “Great Recession” of the 21st century, the vast majority of America’s population has spent time prioritizing their financial values. Not only have many Americans become more conscious of their spending levels, but they have also become aware of where their purchases are originating from. Case in point — fashion’s affinity for classic, domestically-made garbs. We interviewed Richard Liu for this piece and the founder of DSPTCH put it simply by saying, “Every single American has a connection to the working class in some way or another and I believe this is helping guide consumer behavior to really think about how they spend their money, rather than just finding the cheapest item.” Now, although this heritage trend has died down a bit since its peak a few short years ago, we began wondering, will American-made clothing continue to hold weight in an always-evolving industry, and if so, how does it currently compare to overseas production? To help validate our findings we asked a few industry stalwarts to provide their opinions on the matter at large. (more…)

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The Review: Nike Kobe 8 System Elite 2.0

Written for HYPEBEAST

When perennial All-Star Kobe Bryant ruptured his Achilles back in April it undoubtedly brought an end to the Los Angeles Lakers and their already improbable title run. As an endangered Orlando Magic fan from a forgotten era I can cold-heartedly say I couldn’t have cared less about their series of unfortunate events. Yet looking back on a Kobe-less postseason I can’t help but dream of what could have been different had the Black Mamba been healthy enough to take on the Spurs in round one of the playoffs – a setting that brings out the best in number 24. What also catches my imagination is the visual of Kobe adding to one of his finest statistical seasons to date with a stellar playoff push heightened through the utility of his performance-based Nike Elite sneaker – a spare-nothing model designed specifically for the grueling postseason. Although we’ll likely never see the Kobe 8 Elite reach its intended playoff potential, we did get a chance to see Kobe sporting the above black and gold Elite model in a must-win game against Portland two nights before tearing his Achilles. The result; a Lakers “W” and a historical stat line that read: 48 minutes, 47 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 4 blocks and only 1 turnover. Needless to say, Kobe’s play that night offered an excellent recommendation to my next on-court sneaker. (more…)

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Is the Internet Making Us All Dress the Same?

Written for HYPEBEAST

Since ancient times, trade has organically positioned itself as a catalyst for trans-cultural diffusion. Its centralized marketplace is more than just an arena for the trading of goods and services; it also creates a forum for the inquisitive to share in the transmission of ideologies, religion, history, customs, art, etc. So as buyers and sellers become more familiar with one another – as in trading more frequently and sharing more product – the proverbial floodgates give way to a river of cultural content exchange that over time travels to the remaining respective populations, thus blurring the lines that once distinguished these particular groups from one another. This phenomenon is often referred to as acculturation or assimilation, where the Western world’s impact on developing nations can be seen as a prime example. Moreover, its effect on particular industries sees the birth of a globalized market in which people from various walks of life share similar wants, values, choices and even purchasing habits. (more…)

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Can Uniqlo Set the Agenda for Affordable Technical Clothing?

Written for HYPEBEAST

As the world watched golf pro Adam Scott button up his newly awarded green jacket to become the first ever Australian to win The Masters in its 77th year, one couldn’t help but notice the subtle Uniqlo embroidery peeking out from behind his notched lapel. Some would attribute this unusual endorsement as well as Uniqlo’s partnership with number 1 ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic as a calculated brand awareness campaign in an alternative market. Especially when one considers the Japanese retailer is in the midst of aggressively expanding its global presence with hopes of bringing in $50 billion in sales revenue by 2020, a fifth of which will come from its North American brick and mortars alone. Instead Uniqlo’s confidence resides in a strategy unlike its fast fashion competitors, where product is built around value and technical innovation, rather than rapidly changing trends – an ideology that has brought much success to both the automotive and tech industries respectively. (more…)

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Does Kickstarter and Crowdfunding Affect a Label’s Branding?

Written for HYPEBEAST

From defining a clear identity to developing a strong retail presence, independent fashion start-ups will encounter a mountain of obstacles in the way of a successful future. Before any of these initiatives are delivered to the doorstep of the marketplace however, a label must first secure the necessary funds that will enable it to bring its ideas to realization. Unfortunately, due to the industry’s recognizably low profit margins, as well as the extreme difficulty in pairing like-minded backers with justifiably stubborn artisans, finding eager investors may be the most challenging task for any emerging designer. As many inventors — not just those within fashion’s realm — face a similar entrance barrier, crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter provide an international platform that links virtual capitalists to those financially-inept endeavors. Now, although Kickstarter has brought patronage to new heights that promotes awareness while reappropriating liability, we couldn’t help but notice its effect on both a start-up’s image as well as that of an established clothier. (more…)

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reaLation – Alright Music Video

For this video I served as an assistant director co-writing its treatment, scouting locations and most challengingly, curating its wardrobe. Because the video itself travels through different time periods in which the lead character chases an unrequited love, wardrobe had to match that of the specific era. Working with local boutiques, thrift stores, and even my very own closet, we were able to produce a video that I’m very proud of.

Check out the video after the jump. (more…)

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Ronnie Fieg Discusses Kith’s East Coast Project for HYPEBEAST

In this video interview for HYPEBEAST, I visited the Kith headquarters in New York to talk with its founder Ronnie Fieg about the brand’s “East Coast Project.” A capsule collection that includes everything from a collaborative snapback hat with Just Don to two new pairs of Asics sneakers, the capsule collection reveals itself as a homage to Ronnie’s two favorite towns – New York and Miami. Within the 4-minute interview we discussed Ronnie’s inspiration, his favorite pieces, the details behind the collection and having creative control over it all.

Check out the video after the jump. (more…)

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A Conversation About Timepieces with Benjamin Clymer of HODINKEE for HYPEBEAST

As part of an ongoing HYPEBEAST video series, I interviewed the man behind one of the most respected blogs in fashion, Benjamin Clymer. In this piece, the native New Yorker and I talked about the inception of HODINKEE, his fascination with wristwatches and the hopeful future of the watch industry in America.

Check out the video after the jump. (more…)