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Virgil Abloh, (celebrated creative director/DJ/fashion mogul) has taken the time to show the receipts of his labor of love with the extremely detailed book ICONS on his contribution to sneaker culture through a longtime relationship with Nike.
Starting with the groundbreaking "The Ten'' series back in 2017, where Abloh transformed favorite Nike models: the Blazer Mid, Air Jordan I, Air Presto, Air VaporMax, Air Max 90...flipped them on some inside-out, rip the guts, show the stitching, add a zip-tie and bam! An all-star line-up was born for sneakerheads all around the world. The part two of that series to complete the ten were: Nike Zoom Fly SP, Converse Chuck Taylor, Nike Air Max 97, Nike Air Force 1 Low, and Nike React Hyperdunk 2017.
He explained his vision for these top price point, iconic kicks styles to Nike back in 2017 as, “in one gesture, I wanted to underscore how the design system and manufacturing of Nike are so perfect.” Abloh continued, “by combining these shoes with design that amplifies their ‘handmade’ quality, we’re intensifying the human element and expanding the emotional connection of these 10 icons.”
Having such enormous success in shifting sneaker culture with those monumental designs, Abloh's star shined even more from behind the shadows of his close friend, style mentor and former business partner Kanye West. Soon Abloh's OFF-WHITE clothing/accessories brand was doing even more high-end collabs that lead to a history making creative director position at the famed house of Louis Vuitton (view his LV Fall-Winter 2021 show here)
All of that leads us to the times of today, where Abloh is so entrenched in pop culture, his every move on social media or new world offering is met with fanfare and long lines (both physical and digital) for his lettered productions and acquired taste creations. The one constant though is Abloh's dedication to detail and the full package of explaining his process with heart and passion. Thus, ICONS being the perfect book to learn the tactics and thoughts of a true creative.
"The foundation of my practice isn’t nearly the end result — it’s rigor and process of the logic. The archive is the paper trail of those artifacts," says Abloh. "The ICONS book is, in a way, the only revealing lens to understand that the catalog of the 50-plus Nike shoes I have designed are in my mind 'one shoe.' One story."
Abloh isn't the only mastermind behind ICONS. You'll find words and descriptions by designers, historians and writers like Hiroshi Fujiwara, Glenn Adamson and Troy Patterson, respectively. There is also art direction by Zak Group which rounds out the visual connection to the words and wizardry of what Abloh has launched in our inspiration sphere. The ICONS tome will be available on January 22nd on the Nike SNKRS app and on Feb. 5th you'll be able to cop it from Off-White, Canary Yellow and the TASCHEN.com websites.
You hear the name Bob Marley and you automatically become one with all good harmonies that speak of positivity and togetherness. The Reggae superstar's legacy continues to live on in the hearts of his fans around the world and now through this new collaboration with denim brand Cult of Individuality, Marley's true comrades can show their love in style.
Meshed with the color palate of his Jamaican roots, the designs on the collection (t-shirts, hoodies, denim pants and jackets) are true to the rugged but realness that one would expect from the Marley brand. Images of a youthful Marley to a mature melody maker is mixed with bright paint splashes on the tees and well placed distresses on the jeans enhance the quality of the garments.
It wouldn't be a true collaboration if Marley's wise words weren't placed on them to be inspired by the masses. So right on the leather biker jacket we find the life lines from his classic tune "Redemption Song": "Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery/None but ourselves can free our minds."
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Cult of Individuality has been a hot brand for the people since 2009, their mantra is simple: "We craft new takes on the classics, using old methods mixed with new, producing fresh ideas, styles, washes – all uniquely worn, weathered and personalized with Cult’s particular take."
To purchase the gear and support the movement, visit cultofindividuality.com
Even before signing of the proclamation to make civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday a national holiday, families across Black America sang the Stevie Wonder's version of his celebrated song, "Happy Birthday." The 1980 released tune will usually come after the more traditional "Happy Birthday" melody, with a soulful hand clap and bounce from side to side. Wonder made the song to bring attention to King's efforts for Black people and how he should have been honored with a holiday. He and many more started the campaign for the day well before it was signed into order by then President Reagan in 1983 and then officially recognized on January, 20th 1986. The day was also just made a federal holiday by the soon to be former President Trump.
With an official song dedicated to the man that gave his life for the betterment of people of all races, the emergence of a new song was experienced by the masses when the single, "King Holiday" dropped in 1986 by the King Dream Chorus & King Holiday Crew. The ode to showing the ultimate love to Dr. King was performed by the hottest R&B and Hip-Hop stars of the times. The King Dream Chorus included: Lisa Lisa of Cult Jam with Full Force, Stacey Lattisaw, El Debarge, Teena Marie, Menudo, Stephanie Mills, New Edition and Whitney Houston. While the Holiday Crew consisted of Grandmaster Melle Mel, The Fat Boys, Whodini, Kurtis Blow and Run-DMC.
The separation of the soul genres didn't come across in the song as much as it did in the billing of it. Both sides meshed well and grooved with a digital funk and futuristic pop that captures the feel of the mid-80s while laying down lyrics that are meant to stick to your heart:
"For the future generation/Dr. King's medication/For successful operation is peace for every nation/Sing! Celebrate! Sing! Sing! Celebrate! For a King Celebrate!"
Written and produced by Phillip Jones, Kurtis Blow, Mellle Mell, Bill Adler and Dr. King's son Dexter Scott King, the song has various versions that run from four-minutes to over seven-minutes. It is also spoken of that the one and only Prince, of Purple Rain fame, paid for the production. Regardless of the ways it was pulled together, the message of unity and honoring the man with the message for us to come together, the "King Holiday" song shows us how our talents can endure generations and still inspire change in the face of the adversity of present day America.