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Denim Blunders, Reflections and General Nonsense.


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2 hours ago, Maynard Friedman said:

I remember fashionistas wearing black DMs (shoes I think rather than boots) with the toecap leather removed to reveal the exposed steel underneath in the late 80s. I think these were JPG.

Ironically, if you’d have gone to West Ham or Millwall about a decade before that, you may well have seen homemade versions of these in a 10 hole boot version on the terraces! 

I vaguely remember something like that - good chance it was JPG

The quality of shoe available around that time was really good.

I had these (90s Bikkembergs) and wore them to death … loved them:


… and these were the shoes I mentioned earlier but mine had a buckle strap (similar to engineer boots as I said)



Edited by Duke Mantee
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Brief on point observations on the aforementioned posts.. 

Like Neal, looking back my style hasnt changed that much, other than when mind altering substances increased my desire for  Hem width to 20 inches.... 

MA1 have featured at more than one point in my fashion past as have jeans and DMs ... I have 4 pairs of DMs in rotation now, 3 MiE and a pair of Chelsea boots for mud/rain stomping. 

501 in blue and black (DMC and Beastie Boys influence vs Nick Kamen dropping his kegs in public...) and black wranglers ( as in Public Enemy: black wranglers = rap stranglers....)

I also had the split hood version mentioned earlier , god they were all the rage!! Seemed to last thru the hip hop days into the dance era IIRC. 

Talk of B3 flying jackets in the other thread, I  recall either me or one of my mates buying an absolutely battered one of a much older kid who was much cooler than us as we entered into acid house days...can't remember who actually owned it first but at one stage I think each of the friend group owned it at one point as we flogged it to each other. Each failing miserably to look as cool in it as the original (probably already 5th hand by then) owner. 

A photo of a young me wearing it does exist I'll try and locate it. 

I do clearly recall it meeting its demise while I was wearing it during a very poorly executed attempt to urban surf on the running boards of a suzuki vitara which ended badly.....but that's another story...



Edited by Geeman
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And don't forget the perennially entertaining 'penis shaped vegetables' 🫣

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15 hours ago, MJF9 said:

For all those who don't know what That's Life is... sausages... comedy gold...


We still have to say 'sausages ' as above in dog voice in our house every time they are cooked. 

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Style change, within the denim fora time, it went from “western” fedora, mister freedom drover, whites boots, to more rockabilly esk, engineers, newsboy hat, Cossack jacket, to what it is today , whatever that is.

i guess I’m influenced by the scene, unfortunately the last few yrs it was my boys schoolyard.

what I look for in other peoples style is some effort, but it has to look effortless.


for me, I associate the ma1 with football supporters/ hooligans. In the early 80,s I guess. My town/team wore green ones, so I had to have one. Walking with my mom in the city trying to find one , she even stopped a guy that wore one where to find it.

i don’t remember if we did, but I didn’t get one that day.

later my friends mother who owned a jeans store sold them, so I got one there, I choose light blue.

still would like one today.

in my mind , my town (den haag) had green, Rotterdam had a dark reddish and Amsterdam had blue ma1.

at the time you could recognize people from where their from , by their hair cut, shoe , bomber etc. 
 similar elsewhere?

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I don't think I can really recall such obvious details that would distinguish areas so clearly. Sure the Northwest/Manchester areas had a  "look" and London would be similar but usually better dressed, due to access to shops, than most in my younger days but no clear identification like yours. 

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The film Tish gave some escapism on Friday, with flashbacks to the late 70s and 80s in Britain suffering from Thatcher's policies.  We didn't know any different as kids, but in hindsight, it was tough going for the working class back then and pretty bleak at times.     

Tish Murtha was a social documentary photographer from Newcastle who documented the area she grew up in.  She captured some powerful images of the time. 

The blurb...

'Driven by a commitment to document the impact of deindustrialisation on working class communities in Northeast England in the 1970s and 1980s, Tish Murtha used her camera to expose societal inequality. She felt she had an obligation to the people and problems within her local environment, and that documentary photography could highlight and challenge the social disadvantages that she herself had suffered.  However, despite early acclaim for her work, she was unable to make a living from photography and died in poverty.'

The trailer...


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I’ve seen some of her photos before, my favourite is the kids jumping out of windows of abandoned houses on to piles of mattresses. The sort of thing I used to do with my mates many years ago.

The Finnish photographer Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen produced some similar photos around the North-east from the late 60s onwards.

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^ this one... great photo, also a favourite (the dummy the fella is holding on the far left could easily be missed)... childhood ingenuity... these days it would only happen as a game on their phones


Edited by MJF9
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I listened to a podcast about the life of John Aspinall last week.. which lead me to Adam Curtis's 4 films on the Mayfair Set.. equally fascinating as it was tragic.. how a small group of the uber-rich caused the collapse of british industry.



Only bit of tinsel-escapism i've had...

Edited by Double 0 Soul
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3 hours ago, MJF9 said:

However, despite early acclaim for her work, she was unable to make a living from photography and died in poverty.'

This is, or rather, mostly was my field - I do hope to return to it a bit more at some point (though I couldn't hope to make work like those above). A living is still nearly impossible for most people doing most of the important work like this. It's not really so different from trying to be a poet or a painter. The people who make work generally string together some assemblage of jobs that go directly against the mission they have in their pictures, or they have other good fortune in life. Thatcher and Reagan were terrible for the middle class. Reagan was quite literally demented for most of his presidency, anyways. We are still struggling with his legacy today. 

I am grateful for each and every person who sets out to do this work anyways, the world would be much poorer without it, even as the photographers generally already are. 

@Double 0 Soul The one thing I collect (intentionally - as opposed to jeans, which I try not to) is photo books - looks like the Cohen one you have there is a bit pricey these days. I thought I might pick up a cheap used copy, but that won't happen. A quick search says I can't even track down Murtha's books. I will keep an eye out. 

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I wanted to share a post made by Jonah of Blackbird Spyplane, who I had the pleasure to meet on our motorcycle trip through the Bay this summer and have been really enjoying reading since. His blog and paid newsletter cover topics throughout the fashion world, primarily focusing on smaller-'artisanal' brands, which places them somewhat adjacent to us here, at least ideologically. In a recent newsletter that I want to discuss a bit, he asks: Should clothes never go on sale?

Jonah outlines several reasons for his position -- that sales are often contrived marketing tactics by larger luxury brands who can overinflate their base price most of the year and then trim during 'sale' season, a game which smaller brands with smaller margins have trouble playing; that clothes coming in and out of "season" is an arbitrary distinction that pushes people to make unnecessary purchases for the sake of helping clear stores' inventory; and that lower market prices for clothing fuels the race-to-the-bottom epitomized by fast fashion, where workers and the environment are endlessly exploited in an effort to maximize the bosses' bottom line.

An additional point that I have spent some time reflecting on comes from Daniel Garrod, a designer for the brand James Coward, who Jonah interviewed for the article:

“Maybe there’s a brand you like that costs a lot,” he said, and when sale time hits “you decide to buy in and get yourself a piece, but it’s not your choice piece, and — as much as any object can create a sense of fulfillment — you don’t feel fulfilled by that object at all.”

This is a striking and relevant reminder to me because it's something I have felt somewhat often in my time as part of this community. As someone who has worked at or around minimum-wage for the past decade, I feel it's necessary to either budget for weeks to get a piece that I want, which often rules out jumping on the really excellent low-volume brands like Ooe, Roy, At Last, etc., or to find my clothes secondhand, which often leads to the exact situation Garrod describes above: you compromise on the exact piece you're after to get something more accessible, and aren't able to form a meaningful relationship with the piece you ended up with as a result.

I'm curious what your experiences are with this issue, whether or not you agree with the points made in the newsletter, how you factor things like price and availability into your purchases of specific brands, and would love to also hear which items you have that feel meaningful to you in a way that justifies the cost and effort to procure them.

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Might it even be so bad that the tactic is that you eventually buy the item you wanted in the first place but wasn’t available at the sale. So the company gets rid of old stock and gets you pumped to buy later at full price.

i agree with the points made. I don’t pay attention to sale and buy something when I want it, not so much the last few yrs 

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That sort of echoes something I've tried to be more deliberate about over time. Most of my career I've really lived pretty simply and I wouldn't have dreamed of spending $200 on jeans. Not before I'd saved for retirement, paid loans, rent, and made sure I was eating well first. There was more, but this was not a priority. I'm still certainly motivated by sales by I try not to be, and have been better at it the past few years. It's better to have one piece you really like than a bunch you're meh on. But also, on some level, the idea of loving a certain piece is a little silly, because you can learn to love them. Some pieces I have were sale pieces I felt meh about and over time they really grew on me. Nothing, or very little, is perfect. The more you know about what's out there, the less satisfied you are with what you have, too. I have better clothes than I'd ever dreamed of but very few of the pieces have reached the level of something that is really one of my favorite articles I've had. Some are getting there, with time, but I only got my first pair of nice jeans in 2016.

When I was on less money my wardrobe was mostly stuff I felt "meh" about because that was all I really knew, it was affordable, and if I saved I was saving for travel, or other sorts of things, and it was totally fine. 

If clothes never go on sale we're gonna have to start making sure minimum wage is a living wage, otherwise we're taking an ideological stance that I think disproportionately affects the less well off, like many of these things often do. They sound good in  theory but only work in a markedly remade society, imo. And I don't think that society is feasible for various reasons. 

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Great article, lots of interesting points raised. I'm a pragmatic guy, if there's a shirt or something I've been eyeing and want to get anyway, and there's a sale for Labor Day or Black Friday or whatever, then I might pull the trigger on it. But rarely if ever do "sales" make me want something I didn't previously just because it's cheap. I hate that kind of artificially contrived demand. I'd rather pay full price for something I really like than get a deal on something I don't.

Something I like about buying things from the kinds of specialty shops that sell the stuff we like around here is that it feels outside the mainstream consumerism infrastructure. I don't watch TV, I don't know what music or movies or whatever are "popular," what clothes are "stylish" or "on trend," pretty much everything I "consume" and involve myself in, is far beyond the city limits of what constitutes mainstream "consumerism." So keeping-up-with-the-Joneses "sales" feel like a concession to the typical normie consumer treadmill, now that I think about it.

This is the operative quote for me:


The way Dan himself tries to square this circle is to not buy pricey slappers on sale but, rather, buy them secondhand. “It’s fun to feel like I’m hunting for things,” he said, “it’s fun to engage in a different layer of commerce, and I feel better about buying a piece from another person, rather than from a huge store where I have no idea who the money’s actually going to.”

This really resonates with me, I've had more "fun" hunting for personal grail Flat Head shirts and such on Japanese sites over the past couple years than anything else, and I've gotten great deals in the process. It's much more thrilling to me to get a great looking flannel made fifteen years ago, than most new stuff coming out. And I've gotten some great deals on these things too. Specialty secondhand is one segment of this whole thing that gives me some hope, I guess, and feels like a mode of operation outside our usual dichotomy where you're a Marxist who wants to tear down The System or a Capitalist who loves them big corporations. It's like a throwback to an older, pre-industrial, more honest sort of commerce. Good retail stores manage to preserve some of that vibe, I think. S&S sold out a new $340 Ooe release today in about five minutes, from a pragmatic standpoint it's easy to see, "Pfft, these guys suck at business, they should be selling these jeans for $550, supply and demand bro!" It takes some integrity to say, this is an awesome product and we want to offer it at a fair price and not just shake you down for as much as humanly possible.

But at the end of the day I'm not making a huge sacrifice paying full retail, if I want/need to. I'm buying jeans and shirts, not a Rolex. The cost of the clothing items I'm into is a lot more than buying a shirt from H&M, but not really that much of a sacrifice, especially considering I'll resell things I don't like as much over time and get some of that money back. I feel like I get a lot more out of it than I'm putting into it, even at full price.

Edited by Cold Summer
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When I worked retail in the city I loved SALE WEEK! back when there was only 1 or 2 sales a year. Because on my way to work I'd see my favorite designers put their signs up (they were never advertised in advance) and could get in early to get sample pieces and seconds. Pretty much everything I've ever purchased ON SALE I've regretted and not worn much before reselling because as mentioned above it wasn't THE PIECE. I figure if I didn't love it enough to buy it at full price, I don't need it.

After I stopped working in the retail fashion machine, and stopped doing WAYWT I pretty much stopped shopping. I've got rules now that I first had to stop me retail therapy shopping. 

1. only 5 new garments per year 

2. I need to be able to meet the maker if I wanted to, keeps me supporting local or flying to LA to go to Mr Freedom

Excludes socks, undies and exercise clothes, although most of my cycling clothes fit the rules.


Still love a bargain at an op shop, the worn once then sold or donated but the shop didn't know that label kind of find.


Out of my 3 wardrobes and numerous storage boxes of clothes, I pretty much wear my Byborre baggy pants, one pair of jeans, the same 8 t-shirts on rotation, Mr Freedom denim jacket and workshop denim jacket. Every now and then I'll wear a dress to work and everyone freaks out.


I get my dopamine kick from going plant shopping now and convincing Steve to let me dig up more lawn for more garden.

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