Editorial

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

HYPEBEAST Approved: Pens

Written for HYPEBEAST

The pen – a resourceful writing utensil used in conjunction with ink or a similar substance – dates back thousands of years to the inventive Egyptian civilization, which to no coincidence is also credited for developing the first paper-like material from the papyrus plant. Looking to enhance efficiency when documenting their rich history, early scribes fashioned what is now referred to as the reed pen from reed straw or bamboo, serving an important role in the evolution of calligraphy and language. Future innovations saw the emergence of the longstanding quill pen which utilized bird feathers and a bottle of dipping ink. Calligraphers then fabricated pens with metal nibs, or tips, to aid writers of longer, more comprehensive texts. And lastly, contemporary creations like the fountain and ballpoint pen have aided in shaping this vastly accessible instrument into the world’s most powerful tool against chaos and injustices. (more…)

Ill-Fits

Written for HYPEBEAST

During 2012, I developed my very own advice column for HYPEBEAST, titled Ill-Fits. The above link will bring you to each of my five write-ups, while the description below accompanied each of them.

“As HYPEBEAST’s readership continues to grow, so does the size of our inbox. From props and complaints, to line sheets, aspiring brands and PR companies, we are constantly getting hit up by many of our loyal readers for various reasons. We’re making a conscious effort to respond to all of you guys and with the help of our contributing editor and native New Yorker, Robert Marshall, we’re creating a new op-ed installment titled ILL-FITS. Primarily intended to answer the messages from all of you style advice seekers, Robert Marshall will tackle one of your questions and we’ll post it up here for you to contribute to the discussion.”

HYPEBEAST Approved: Bottle Openers

Written for HYPEBEAST

This encouraging tale goes out to my amiable peers coerced into the early stages of alcoholism by way of attaining the “Social Drinker” badge in Foursqaure. Sure my leg instinctively starts twitching at my prison-like cubicle around 1pm as I begin to romanticize about bear-hugging the only man that has ever truly understood me (I need you Sam Adams). But that doesn’t make me an alcoholic (step one to the road of recovery is denial). I’m just another man that enjoys spending time with my friends adding to a long list of stale, overused, movie inspired inside jokes, temporarily freeing me from the financial responsibility we all wish would just disappear. I’m coming for you Sallie Mae! (more…)

The 101: Pocket Squares

Written for HYPEBEAST

A drastic style shift has occurred within the last few years of menswear. This current decade is now home to countless brands offering meticulously tailored, handcrafted garbs capable of standing the test of time and wear. Opening their eyes to uncharted inspirations, men began to conjure up more and more sartorial experiments that are not only seen on today’s runways but also on our local sidewalks. This transition has lead to a resurgence in traditional design, taking classics that were once branded as outdated and reinterpreting them with modern cuts, materials and of course, a modern attitude. From the Middle Ages to today, one subtle piece that has been recently reintroduced as a wardrobe necessity for every man is the once utilitarian-turned-decorative accessory the handkerchief, or more elegantly named, the pocket square. (more…)