Category Archives: Lifestyle

Mattel Is Releasing Exclusive Collectibles for [email protected]

Mr. T action figure

Mattel is celebrating this year’s virtual Comic-Con festival by releasing a series of exclusive products. Included are collectibles from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, Jurassic World, and more, all of which are available beginning today at 9 a.m. PT.

Mattel’s [email protected] exclusives — numbering six in total — can be purchased through the Mattel Creations Instagram page (@mattelcreations) while supplies last. The items are incredibly affordable, priced from just $20 to $30.

See below for a description of each collectible.






Space aliens meet a Pizza Planet delivery driver with this remix figure designed specifically in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Toy Story. The collector’s item, which stands approximately 3.2 inches tall, comes in a package that mimics the Pizza Planet truck.






Hot Wheels’ intricate die-cast starship references Luke Skywalker’s crash-landing on Dagobah when he sought out legendary Jedi Master, Yoda. As the story goes, Yoda concealed his identity, thus learning that Luke was impatient and angry, although he decided to help the young Rebel develop his Jedi abilities. In the end, however, Luke left Dagobah without completing his training.






The 3.75-inch Dennis Nedry figure pays homage to the fan-favorite Jurassic Park villain and devious programmer. Drawing from the Jurassic Park scene when Nedry meets Dodgson for the “cash for embryos” deal, the collectible arrives wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and is accompanied by the bag of money from Dodgson, a piece of pie, and the Barbasol can of embryos.






Mattel celebrates the evolution of the Halo franchise with this pack featuring Master Chief’s six iconic armors. Spanning from Halo: Combat Evolved to Halo: Infinite, each armor is attached to micro action figures with 12 points of articulation, while each Master Chief comes with a weapon that is specific to a certain game.






The Elite Collection action figure represents Mr. T’s importance to the WWE, as the pop culture icon participated in the first WrestleMania main event as Hulk Hogan’s tag team partner. Standing six inches tall, the collectible incorporates Mr. T’s signature mohawk, gold chains, and a camouflage jacket, while TrueFX enhanced facial detailing brings life-like authenticity to the figure.






Hulk and Rocket hop in the back of a Land Rover Defender 110 Pickup Truck for a scenic joyride before returning to the realities of being a superhero. The collector’s item references their recruitment of Thor following Thanos’ devastating onslaught.

Head to the Mattel Creations Instagram page (@mattelcreations) for more details.

The Future of Fun: Why Video Game Raves & Virtual Clubs Are Here to Stay

For this edition of FRONTPAGE, we’re taking a deep dive into how the array of virtual nightlife events that have sprung up in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic are seriously shaking our cultural industries. From the immersive world of video game clubbing to the burgeoning market of digital fashion, it’s clear that VR entertainment is here to stay.

The other night, I poured a glass of orange juice, arrayed a few crackers on a plate, and curled up at my desk, eagerly anticipating my first foray into what looks like the Next Big Thing in stay-at-home nightlife: a virtual rave. Combining the addictive escapism of video games with the rowdy rush of live music, it’s exactly the type of multilevel distraction you crave at a time of crisis.

The event was on IMVU, a virtual sim game where you can dress as a cartoon avatar. Logging in, I was shocked and amused; the virtual space looked more like an art exhibition than a video game world, intricately veiled in a storm of green strobe lights and covered with cryptic emblems and scary projections. I didn’t immediately grasp just how wild and far-out you can go with your appearance; I went as a bootleg Bojack Horseman, sporting a rainbow flannel and high-waisted blue jeans, along with a poncy gold chain and a proclivity for hitting the whoah (you can buy dance-moves in the IMVU shop — but I had no idea how to turn it off after hitting the button the first time and it kept repeating). Compared to everyone else, however, ridiculous garb was understated and tame. Other clubbers dressed as bloodied cat-vampires and half-human cyborgs with purple wings. Watching them freak out so fiercely inspired me, and by night’s end, I’d dressed in drag and experimented with a couple of mutant looks. Although the entire event lasted around three hours, I popped in and out. I loved that I could leave to eat pasta with my family and the party would still be raging when I returned. The entire time, the crowd was hyped as hell, and the DJs played incredible mixes.

Although this was my initiation experience, virtual nightlife has existed in various forms since the late noughties, when a slew of shows were staged on Second Life. Yet it wasn’t until recently that the concept has been taken seriously and experimented with on multiple platforms. Hurt-Free Network, the group behind the concert I attended on IMVU, started up back in 2017. Open Pit, another leader in the burgeoning virtual events industry, began to host Minecraft parties the following year. Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite, booked Marshmello for a live set in 2019 and drew over 10 million viewers. Suddenly, the long dormant concept of virtual live music seemed commercially viable — a bomb waiting to detonate.


Then, Covid-19 arrived and brought real-world nightlife and live entertainment to an abrupt halt. A substitute industry sprang into existence in what felt like an instant. Now, there are dozens of IMVU and Minecraft concerts. Another Fortnite event, this time with trap superstar Travis Scott. A swarm of Zoom clubs. Live streams galore, featuring rappers dueling and DJs spinning tunes. Even TikTok parties, plus a stray Club Penguin throwdown. There’s an event happening in nearly every video game and medium you can imagine. All day, every day. It’s an arms race to see who can innovate the best virtual space.

But can computer-mediated events ever live up to real-life ones? One of the obvious downsides to virtual raving is the lack of secondary experiences. You can’t meet up with friends and journey to the venue. You can’t mosh, you don’t get that delicious after-feeling of dizzy bliss, and you can’t grab a post-show 2AM pink-frosted donut from Dunkin. It almost feels too easy: You plop in front of a screen and click on an app or type in a URL. Even though going to clubs requires effort and discomfort, there’s seemingly more payoff for that investment of energy.

But perhaps measuring the on-screen rave against the attributes of an IRL one misses the point; they’re completely different experiences with separate functions. “There are lots of things that make these online events more accessible than live events could ever be,” says Robin Boehlen, a core member of Open Pit. “The appeal partially comes from being able to do it from the comfort of your own home… you can connect with people across the world and listen to artists that aren’t touring where you are.” Similarly, they bypass the hassles and hiccups of real-world clubbing. Say goodbye to fake IDs: virtual raves are bouncer-less and all ages. Clothing isn’t even required.

For bands, virtual shows offer an opportunity to perform without the real-life annoyances of transportation and lugging equipment everywhere. The endless build-ability of games like Minecraft, Second Life, and IMVU also give artists an unbeatable palette of resources for designing their dream space. “Performing in a virtual world feels euphoric,” says 100 gecs, the hosts of the recent Minecraft rave Square Garden, where they partnered with Open Pit and headlined alongside Charli XCX, in the process raising $50,000 for Feeding America. “It’s like the zeitgeist is shifting the paradigm all over my future.”

Modeled off a mood board that 100 gecs sent Open Pit, Square Garden’s in-game venue took a few hundred hours to construct. The result was a striking forest with a panoply of pretty mushroom huts and a hulking tree in the center, designed to reflect their new remix album, 1000 gecs & The Tree of Clues. It’s the sort of utopia that could only ever be built in the sandbox landscape of a video game. “Our ideal world is exactly like the one at Square Garden,” says 100 gecs. “But the tree would be bigger.”

Instead of the thrill of watching performers and physically merging with a crowd of buzzed-up strangers, virtual raving has its own unique set of delights. One is the ability to type in a chat — it’s a very easy way to talk to people, with none of the impediments of a noisy club. Most games, like Minecraft, feature both Global and Private Chats. The former lets you address everyone in the virtual space at once; the latter lets you whisper privately to an individual. For introverts who don’t thrive in loud and crowded environments, virtual raving is a comfy alternative.

The best thing about the Global option is the spectacle of the chat pit. Instead of bashing bodies into bodies in the mosh zone, everyone spams messages in ALL-CAPS, creating a sea of screen-spanning text. When an anticipated banger drops, the effect is tsunami-like. “We want everything to feel hectic and chaotic, we want people to spam the lyrics of songs in the chat,” says Umru Rothenberg, another member of Open Pit’s core team and a DJ who performed at Square Garden as Umru. Although this doesn’t eclipse the brutal euphoria of real-life raving and moshing, you do feel surrounded by people as passionate about the music as you are.

You can’t stream music directly into games like Minecraft — to attend a virtual rave or concert, you keep the game open on one tab, and in a separate tab, tune in to the music running on the event’s Twitch or YouTube. As for the performers, they create their sets in advance. These are then live-streamed at the intervals advertised on the event’s flyers. Because it’s all pre-recorded, the schedule unfolds exactly on time, with no delayed switch-overs between performers. Another advantage is that people who don’t have the game can listen to the audio. And artists can attend their own shows, bopping around the dancefloor and interacting with the crowd. It’s not every day you get to see Charli XCX as a blocky avatar throwing diamonds into the audience.

It’s these interactive qualities of the virtual rave that make it so entrancing and memorable, a real event — unlike more passive forms of entertainment, such as tuning into a rapper’s Instagram live or watching a DJ or band as a YouTube stream. For those who attended Club Quarantäne, a 36-hour virtual rave organized by Resident Advisor, there was an array of rooms to check out, including “Bar” and “Cloakroom.” The bathroom was subdivided into multiple stalls, each of which worked as a private chat room. Decked in trees, ramps, and posters, the dancefloor itself was a three-dimensional space to explore.

“We gave ourselves the opportunity to explore virtual spaces using Unreal, a game engine, which, in communication with our HTML website, allowed for users to affect our worlds in a multitude of ways,” explains Sam Aldridge, one of Club Quarantäne’s visual directors. “The main question was: How could we create a virtual club space that not only resembles the experience, but transports it into the web, embracing a technology that gears the viewer to think about the future of clubbing?”


The culture surrounding an event is practically as important as the event itself. Club Q, for example, is one of the largest queer clubs on Zoom. Creatively misusing the videoconferencing app, Club Q has devised its own set of freaky features. One of these is what co-founder Andres Sierra calls “the jumbotron,” a sort of virtual rave equivalent to a sports stadium screen. Zoom allows the host of the room to choose which webcam to stream in the middle of the screen, making it both the biggest visible image and literally the center of everyone’s attention. When a club participant’s webcam gets selected, they become a momentary celebrity and freak out — just like with the blown-up shots of surprised spectators at a baseball match.

“It’s less about the celebrity who’s playing, and more a whole entire experience. The hierarchy between performer and audience is gone, and now the audience is part of the show,” Sierra says. “You have to see it in a different way from a real-life club… people come in and say, ‘I didn’t think it was going to be like that!’ Or, ‘Oh, this is way better than reading about it.’”

Inside Club Q, or any virtual rave or music event, you also benefit from an anonymity that physical clubs can’t offer. For example, while your real-world face may pop up on the jumbotron, your identity and location aren’t revealed. In a sense, this is no different from the Keyboard Warriors that inhabit message boards and online forums, talking shit and disrupting threads with impunity, because they’re anonymous and there’s no real-world repercussions. Except in this case, it’s a more positive and liberating form of anonymity: the Keyboard Raver. Being able to hide behind your screen is emboldening, allowing you to express your identity in ways that you might be too inhibited to do in real life. You don’t have to put your physical identity on the line.

“Whether they are chronically ill, have some sort of disability or mental issues, are closeted or living in a place with no queer representation, they now get to log in everyday and feel the energy of all these beautiful queer people,” Sierra says. “We created a safe space, a community of people… where we can actually be.”

This is perhaps the defining trait of digital raving: the unparalleled scope for self-expression some of these platforms offer its players. On Minecraft, for example, you leave behind real-world properties like height and weight, race and gender, appearance, and physical fitness — you’re simply a block, and you can design that block’s “skin” however you want. “When you introduce the idea of an online avatar and the ability to customize it, you open all these doors to let people portray who they really want to be, or who they idealize themselves as,” says Elena Fortune, one of Open Pit’s designers.

This malleability of the self is taken even further on sim platforms like IMVU, which allows users to represent themselves as endlessly editable, semi-realistic human avatars. “There’s suddenly an option to go all-out and have every possible way to express yourself at your fingertips,” explains Jane Angmar, also known as Mithril, a co-founder of Hurt-Free Network. “So many people that started playing back in the day came out as queer afterward, because they were able to express themselves in ways that they were never able to before.”

The self-styling capacities offered by digital platforms feels like an evolution of vogueing, drag, and the sort of everything-goes spirit of pride parades. These spaces allow you to become how you feel inside, externalizing through fantasy clothing and genderless avatars.

Technology has long been used in various ways to express queer identity in music. Producers like SOPHIE and Arca use Autotune and other digital processes to reach pitches they couldn’t with their regular voices and explore synthetic inflections — robotic, nightcore — that aren’t gendered like human tones. Sasha Geffen, author of the new book Glitter Up the Dark: How Pop Music Broke the Binary, has described this kind of vocal experimentation as blurring “the line between ‘natural’ and synthetic — which relates to the trans body… a lot of trans artistic practice focuses on that confusion.” Just as digital technology can play games with gender by altering the pitch and texture of the voice, avatar customization allows you to obscure your identity and create a self that has no relation to your real-world appearance.

Even without the unexpected boost caused by the virus lockdown, virtual clubbing would be deeply in tune with the digital way of life. As individuals, we are sometimes more invested in how we look on Instagram or come across on Twitter than we are in our everyday life. Nowadays, our lives are lived as much online as IRL, perhaps even more so.

Enter virtual fashion. A vanguard breaking open a new frontier for the industry, virtual designers create 3D models of clothes that are mapped onto images of the body. You can “wear” a garment without its fabric ever touching your flesh — indeed without it ever even existing in fabric form. In 2018, Carlings, for example, released a digital-only line called “Neo-Ex.” Purchasers would send in a picture and the garment would be molded onto this image and then returned. For each item, you’d get one fitted image back.

That might not sound like a good deal, but virtual fashion has one big thing going for it: sustainability. It proposes a pixel-sized alternative to the over 32 billion pounds of textiles generated every year, 22 billion of which end up in landfills, according to the EPA in 2017. “Virtual clothing is a product of information technology, which means it’s made out of data and uses no resources except the electricity to keep the machines running,” explains Florian Mecklenburg, co-founder of the design studio Goys & Birls. He recently formed NEW FORMAT, a digital group dedicated to exploring virtual fashion. “Once a piece is created, it can be multiplied—limitless. You can copy and paste the data, and everyone has access to it. If people accept digital clothing, they will rethink their consumer behavior.” Obviously, virtual clothing could never outright eliminate the need to wear fabric in real life, but it could help reduce the mammoth waste caused by empty, vacuous practices like fast fashion.

While buying and valuing clothing that you can’t touch may seem to some like too radical a departure from today’s mania for material, many people are already doing it without realizing it. Skins, the cosmetic additions you can buy for characters in video games, have been a staple of the gaming industry for ages. Fortnite makes billions of colorful skins every year that serve no practical purpose besides prettying your portion of pixels and perhaps giving you a little prestige among other players. Just as nightlife and style culture have always been intertwined, virtual fashion could become an integral part of the virtual rave experience. Open Pit has experimented with making merch in Minecraft, like vibrant band T-shirts, mushroom pants, and a Charli XCX wig. “I’m a fashion design student, so I’m able to find really cool ways to transfer real-life designs into the 128-pixel set,” Fortune explains. “It’s been fun to make things that people will recognize and enjoy, rather than just normal Minecraft gear.”

“In one of our earlier events, we had a whole line of streetwear-Minecraft creations with funny names like ‘Off-Wheat,’” adds Rothenberg. “We make all those items findable in the world, or we can have them automatically applied to you when you donate, because we have a software set-up that integrates donations with your Minecraft username.”

Many games have also begun partnering with real-world designers. Last year, League of Legends collaborated with Louis Vuitton on a set of skins. Animal Crossing recently worked with Valentino, Marc Jacobs, and the DJ Yaeji to release collections of clothing in the game’s shop. As long as humans fetishize commodities and care about appearances, a sizable portion of hypebeasts and shoe fiends won’t care if the items they buy exist in solid form. If a brand like Supreme or Saint Laurent creates enough mystique around an item, consumers will lap it up. The hallucination of cool that comes with owning a rare item from a chic brand has always been what these people were really purchasing — virtual fashion simply keeps the image and jettisons the solid product.


“I think at the moment we are in the middle of a race,” says Mecklenburg. “I feel like this is how the ’90s must have felt to the web developers of that era. Nobody has set up the rules, nobody has explored it before. Who will be the first one to get the technology ready to make digital wardrobes accessible? Who will be the first one to build the iTunes or Spotify for digital clothing?”

Right now, virtual rave and virtual fashion are at a fledgling stage of development that only hints at what’s to come. The next wave of innovation will involve video games and apps specifically designed for live music. This platform will offer an infinite range of ways to style and modify your appearance, while also enabling the feeding of audio directly into the game and to other players. Like an amusement park, there will be a delicious excess of simultaneous events — museum-sized art shows, branded fashion shoots, exclusive music video premieres, influencer meet-and-greets, addicting mini-games — all of which you can enjoy while listening to the music. The experience will be interactive and ever-evolving, sending you surging through snowy taigas and underwater temples that sparkle in sync with the beat of the track. Most likely, it will integrate a combination of AR and VR to enhance its realism, and use 3D scanning and modeling to allow you to put yourself, as a 3D figure, directly inside the game experience with shocking realism. It might even involve a coordinated merger of the physical and digital worlds: a concert happening online and in-person at once. The physical space would live-stream the in-game activity on a giant screen — a jumbotron — and players in the game would do things to affect the concert space. And vice versa. There would be a completely two-way cross-contamination between the real and the virtual, a true back-and-forth.

For club owners and app creators, the challenge will be to create a loyal base out of fleeting visitors, who are less concerned about the club’s ethos and more about simply having an amusing activity to do with their friends while locked indoors. Given the overload of options on offer, there’s no impetus to stay at one event for an entire evening. Accompanied by a friend from another continent, you can hit up a noise-rock Minecraft concert, then slide into an electro-pop Zoom function 10 minutes later. Everything is flexible and customized to individual impulse.

Club Quarantäne is clearly doing something right, having “spawned independent fan groups, where people who met in the club are continuing to talk and share,” according to Finbar Mostyn-Williams. “It’s really succeeded in bringing people together rather than just delivering content to them.” That higher level of engagement is what creates the sense of community, making participants feel like they are active co-creators of the atmosphere, rather than consumers being serviced with a commodified experience.

As social distancing measures loosen up, there will most likely be a drop in virtual attendance as everyone savors the ability to waltz drunkenly in public again. But in the long run, virtual entertainment will only expand. It’s already shattered what many thought was possible to do on the internet. In the past decade, digital entertainment that simulates the tactile and surround-sound aspects of real-world existence has grown exponentially, from the rise of ear-panning, 8D slowed-and-reverb music remixes to convincingly three-dimensional YouTube videos. Now, experiments mashing together music and video games have created an entirely new form of digital entertainment. The virtual rave isn’t a fad — it’s a point on a much larger, longer timeline, a timeline tracking humanity’s slow, hazy descent into becoming totally techno-human, where everything we do in real-life can be done online with equal efficiency and enjoyment level, and we never have to move or leave our bedrooms at all.

Elon Musk Says You’ll Soon Be Streaming Music Via a Brain Chip

Elon Musk suit tie smiling

Elon Musk is currently working on a way to listen to music without the need for headphones or speakers. With Neuralink, a startup co-founded by Musk, the idea is for a brain chip implant to stream music directly into your head.

Neuralink is in the process of developing “computer-brain interfaces” that would “help humans keep pace with advanced artificial intelligence.” To accomplish such, gossamer-thin wires — thinner than human hair — are implanted into a person’s brain, TechCrunch points out. The wires would then be connected to an external computer, although the ultimate goal will be to achieve a wireless connection.

Musk revealed last year that successful experiments have already been conducted on mice and apes. He plans to share new information on the technology on August 28. In the meantime, however, he has been teasing bits and pieces on his favorite platform, Twitter.

When computer scientist Austin Howard recently asked the Tesla CEO “If we implement neuralink – can we listen to music directly from our chips?,” Musk simply replied, “Yes.”

Yes

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 19, 2020

Neuralink isn’t solely focused on music streaming, however. Musk intends to develop the technology to eventually help cure mental health issues such as depression and addiction, while also allowing those with paralysis to control the device.

The Weeknd Goes Full-On Anime for Official “Snowchild” Video

The Weeknd Snowchild video

The Weeknd has just released the latest video in support of his fourth studio album, After Hours. The anime-style clip for “Snowchild” was directed by D’ART Shtajio, Japan’s first Black-owned animation studio.

As The Weeknd reflects on his career throughout “Snowchild,” we then see the singer-songwriter transform into his many personas in the video. He begins by referencing his early days of Trilogy in Toronto, before making his way to Hollywood for the Starboy era and finally donning the signature red suit from After Hours.

Prior to the release of his “Snowchild” video, The Weeknd shared After Hours visuals for “Blinding Lights,” “Heartless,” “In Your Eyes,” and “Until I Bleed Out.”

The aesthetic arrives as the Toronto-born entertainer is slated to appear on the season 10 finale of Robot Chicken this Sunday, July 26. Press play below to watch the “Snowchild” animation.

Kim Kardashian Opens Up About Kanye West’s Bipolar Disorder

Kim Kardashian has issued a lengthy statement regarding Kanye West‘s mental health, following a series of erratic Tweets and the rapper/designer’s first presidential campaign rally over the weekend. The 39-year-old businesswoman took to Instagram this morning to publicly discuss her husband’s bipolar disorder for the first time ever.

Kardashian began by touching on the affects of mental illness on an entire family. “Anyone who has this or has a loved one in their life who does, knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand,” the statement reads. She then addressed how a family is essentially powerless in the situation unless the individual is a minor.

“I understand Kanye is subject to criticism because he is a public figure and his actions at times can cause strong opinions and emotions,” she continued. “He is a brilliant but complicated person who on top of the pressures of being an artist and a black man, who experienced the painful loss of his mother, and has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bi-polar disorder. Those who are close with Kanye know his heart and understand his words some times do not align with his intentions.”

During his presidential rally in South Carolina, Kanye revealed that he and Kim considered getting an abortion after finding out she was pregnant in 2012. He also insisted that Harriet Tubman did not free slaves, much to the dismay of those in attendance.

West followed the rally by issuing a barrage of tweets on Monday and Tuesday, proclaiming that his wife and mother-in-law, Kris Jenner, were trying to lock him up due to his behavior. Kardashian, however, is calling for compassion and understanding in light of her husband’s actions.

“Living with bi-polar disorder does not diminish or invalidate his dreams and his creative ideas, no matter how big or unobtainable they may feel to some,” she added. “That is part of his genius and as we have all witnessed, many of his dreams have come true.”

“We as a society talk about giving grace to the issue of mental health as a whole, however we should also give it to the individuals who are living with it in times when they need it the most. I kindly ask that the media and public give us the compassion and empathy that is needed so that we can get through this. Thank you for those who have expressed concern for Kanye’s well-being and for your understanding,” the statement concludes.

Kim’s statement on Kanye: pic.twitter.com/yWuxSVcBgV

— Dave Quinn (@NineDaves) July 22, 2020

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, you can text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

Converse Unveils the Sustainable Chuck Taylor All Star Crater

Three sneakers reference Nike’s Space Hippie effort, but remain true to their iconic silhouette The 100-year-old Chuck Taylor All Star remains not only Converse‘s most popular offering, but also one of the most universally recognizable sneakers. The brand’s desire to develop the shoe with more sustainable materials could have comprised the classic style, but designers decided to “preserve the DNA of the world’s most iconic …

Here’s How You Can Participate in a New Mac Miller Tribute Project

Mac Miller studio

Mac Miller‘s friends and family are initiating a new tribute project that you can be a part of. Warner Records made the announcement this week on social media, revealing that a toll-free phone number can be accessed by fans to participate in the project by sharing “stories, thoughts, and wishes.”

“Mac Miller’s team is working on an untitled project to celebrate Malcolm and his music,” the statement reads. “His art touched so many lives, in so many ways.”

Warner did not specify if the project is a posthumous album. If so, it would account for Miller’s second, following Circles, which released in January of this year.

Miller’s team has set up a website where you can submit your information and then receive the toll-free number to leave a message. All you have to do is provide your first and last name, email address, and phone number.

Head here to begin the process today.

https://t.co/bPcSAWlmBj pic.twitter.com/FAI0ExmsYs

— Warner Records (@warnerrecords) July 21, 2020

From Classic to Coveted, Shop Our Favorite Nike Blazer Sneakers

nike blazer sneakers

Picking the most iconic silhouettes from Nike’s abundant archive is no easy feat. But when discussing the true OGs of the brand’s roster, the Nike Blazer undoubtedly deserves a mention. One of the Swoosh’s longest-standing silhouettes, the Nike Blazer first entered the footwear world in 1973, when the sportswear giant was just nine years old.

Designed to be a basketball shoe first and foremost, the Blazer was able to compete with the handful of brands already dominating this arena at the time — Converse and PUMA to name two — thanks to its cutting-edge sneaker technology. NBA star George “The Iceman” Gervin was the first player to sport them on the court, introducing the silhouette, as well as Nike’s recently-created Swoosh, to NBA fans across the globe.

New technologies in basketball sneakers meant that the heavy-leather, rubber sole Nike Blazer was soon out-performed. However, skateboarders found its build to be perfect for bearing falls and scrapes, thus inducting the shoe into another subculture, one in which it still has a place.

Another reason for the silhouette’s enduring presence is that its strength lies in its simple aesthetic. An easily-styled sneaker, and an ideal canvas for Nike’s striking logo, the Nike Blazer has barely changed since its inception. And why should it?

To modern remakes of the ’70s classics to hyped collaborations with the likes of Off-White™ and sacai, we’ve picked out some of our favorite Nike Blazer releases, all of which can be shopped at Stadium Goods.

Paying respects to its own ’70s roots, the 77 VNTG edition of the Blazer is a good reference point for the silhouette’s enduring popularity. Understated and clean, this sneaker will slot into pretty much all rotations with ease.

As you’ll see through this selection, the Blazer is a versatile canvas that’s open for interpretation. Some are more pared-back than others, though. Case in point: this black and white colorway.

Nike and sacai lay claim to one of the most in-demand sneaker partnerships of recent years. In 2019, the pair combined for this double-Swoosh take on the Blazer.

Another colorway from the Nike x sacai collab, this sneaker got the layered treatment, too. It also makes use “University Blue,” an iconic shade in basketball folklore, in homage to its origin.

As well as sacai, Virgil Abloh and Off-White™ also brought a healthy dose of attention to the Blazer, first through the rework as part of “The 10” collection in 2017. The pair teamed up again for this Halloween-themed Blazer from 2018.

Another one that stays true to the classic form of the OG basketball silhouette, this release from 2019 bears a bold yellow Swoosh, perfect for a hot summer.

After the Blazer’s favor on the basketball court faded, Nike made modifications to the Blazer in response to its new-found place within the skateboarding community. The Nike SB Blazer “PRM” is one of the models born out of that shift.

The 2019 Nike x Soulland collab, which dressed the Blazer in an all-over snakeskin print, sold out quickly via limited release and now attracts a high price at resale. This snakeskin Swoosh iteration is a smart alternative.

Dutch artist Parra teamed up with Nike SB for a two-sneaker capsule in 2019, comprising a joint-effort Nike Dunk and this Low Blazer. Pink, red, and blue shades combine with a quadruple Swoosh for an interesting take on the classic.

Released in the run-up to the 2018 US Open tennis tournament, this special edition of the silhouette was produced in collaboration with, and honor of, Serena Williams. Translucent materials, pinks and purples, and a neon green Off-White™ tag make this one unique Blazer.

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