Just over a year ago, 1 Granary – the grassroots publication run by ex-Central Saint Martins students – launched its first ever initiative connecting emerging designers with established talent, including photographers, stylists and creative directors. Titled VOID, the project aimed to bolster the fledgling…
From a Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii partnership to less public efforts at keeping beaches clean Walking along the Kaʻena Point Trail along the northwestern most point of Oahu is a beautiful sight—so long as you don’t look down. For when you do, you’ll find nearly endless stretches of bottle caps, disposable razors, toothbrushes and various shards of other plastics. Seeing the overwhelming and seemingly ordered fashion …
Netflix has revealed yet another secret Black Mirror: Bandersnatch ending. On Twitter, the official UK and Ireland Netflix account hinted that users could see a new ending if they choose to pick up the family photo twice.
think you've seen everything there is to see in bandersnatch? try picking up the family photo, ~twice~
— Netflix UK & Ireland (@NetflixUK) January 8, 2019
The choose-your-own-adventure Black Mirror film has five official endings, but fans have unearthed a host of Easter eggs, hidden scenes, and endings. The movie’s director David Slade even told The Hollywood Reporter, “There are scenes that some people just will never see and we had to make sure that we were okay with that,” with producer Russell Lean suggesting there are 10 to 12 potential endings to the film.
Have you watched Black Mirror: Bandersnatch? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
And in case you missed it, watch a behind-the-scenes look at Bandersnatch below.
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Model: Air Jordan 1 Lux “Menta”
Key Features: The sneaker is constructed using Paloma gray matte python, light gray suede, and white Japanese plonge leather. A green, blue, and red gradient Swoosh recalls Virgil Abloh’s “Menta” OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Max 97, with deconstructed and text elements pulled from “The Ten.”
Release Date: January 12
Editor’s Notes: Following last week’s Travis Scott-themed “Cactus Jack” Air Jordan 4 custom, Dominic Ciambrone aka The Shoe Surgeon has unveiled his latest project: a “Menta” Nike Air Jordan 1 Lux.
Directly inspired by the “Menta” OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Max 97, the luxurious custom Air Jordan 1 features python skin (a staple on many of Ciambrone’s creations), as well as high-quality suede, calf leather, and Japanese plonge leather.
The custom pair will be available for $3,500 online at theshoesurgeon.com on January 12 at 8 a.m. PST.
If you’re looking to splash the cash, but want to see what the sneakers look like on foot, Ciambrone has you covered. The master customizer was seen wearing the pair courtside at the recent LA Lakers vs. New York Knicks game.
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I never thought I would be court-side especially randomly sitting next to a client of mine. It was pretty amazing to see 4 Shoe Surgeon custom’s court-side. Was waiting for @kuz and @kingjames to come save the game #neverstopcreating
A post shared by Dominic Ciambrone (@theshoesurgeon) on Jan 8, 2019 at 6:02pm PST
Who did the “Menta” colorway better, Abloh or Ciambrone? Let us know in the comments below.
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After performing two new tracks at The Ally Coalition benefit back in December, Lana Del Rey has dropped another new song from her forthcoming album, Norman Fucking Rockwell. The piece is called “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but i have it.” Stream it below.
“I’ve been tearing around in my fucking nightgown. 24/7 Sylvia Plath, writing in blood on the walls,” Rey sings during the five-and-a-half minute offering.
According to NME, Rey originally teased “hope is a dangerous thing” under the titled “Sylvia Plath” back in October in a since-deleted Instagram post.
The release date for Normal Fucking Rockwell is still under-wraps (though rumors suggest it’ll land in March), but we’ll update with more information when we have it.
What do you think of “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but i have it”? Share your thoughts in the comments.
In other music news, “Jumpin on a Jet” is Future’s biggest banger in ages.
In 2016, 21 Savage released the collaborative EP Savage Mode with Metro Boomin, and if it is remembered for anything, it was that of fetishizing its brutality. Metro’s dark beats and atmosphere made for the perfect match of 21 Savage’s cold, calculated delivery. Issa Album came the following year and sought to rewrite 21 Savage away from the evil territory towards something more mysterious, residing in a grey area. I Am > I Was is a sophomore album that’s a welcome step up in both musical quality and shapelessness. Because it is amorphous in its sound and honest with its intentions, I Am > I Was is Savage’s most moving body of work thus far. He isn’t rushing off in bold new directions, instead choosing to zero in on what people dig about him, making it easier to understand while sounding more expensive.
The title reads I Am Greater Than I Was, and it’s a bold statement that reflects the constantly, visibly evolving 21 Savage. Last year, he avoided brandishing bejeweled teeth while jamming out to one of his own songs in a car and, instead, released a documentary about financial literacy. That’s just one extreme example. But there’s no hint of regret that exists in this statement, or the album. Each character trait and action that 21 Savage exhibited in the past is a piece of what makes him who he is now. He builds off of yesterday’s profits and lessons to figure out what will happen in the future. Because of this, he’s better than before.
If he’s better, then the album is great. Issa Album often felt glued together artificially, the mark of a record label seeking to make sure that their new rap project manages to hit all of the necessary marks. There were street songs, there were songs for the ladies. Then there were the introspective ones that fit neither category. Not quite boring, but definitely not original. But for what it’s worth, the album was heavy with style. I Am > I Was shares its spiritual dividers with its predecessor, but the lines between each type of song feel much more transparent than before. The album flows with a tightness and cohesion that makes even its most disparate beats flow together like smooth river water, seemingly moving from anxiety-inducing chaos (“a&t”) to tenacious space-claiming bass hymns (“out for the night” and “gun smoke”) without so much as a snap of a finger. But it works, largely because of 21 Savage’s dominating tone and delivery, and makes things stick that may ordinarily not work.
Thematically, 21 Savage isn’t Nas. He’s not Lil Pump either. He rides his own aesthetic wave, talking plainly about doom and gloom in such a way that isn’t shocking but mundane on purpose. In his world, he gets aroused at gun smoke. His fascination with violence has long been a running theme in his music, but this time around it doesn’t have as wide of a space as it held previously. The cartoonish depictions of crime scenes and comic book style shootout bars have been toned down to quick vignettes of grotesque scenes. Without his usual crutch, 21 Savage leans more into introspective territory. “a lot” is the kind of album opener that’s common for other rappers who play into the whole “heavy is the head that holds the crown” spiel that they devote entire albums to, but when 21 Savage is the one offering his turn on the trials of fame, it sounds more sincere. “I rather be dead and broke than in jail and rich” he says, and it’s a telling statement on the mental standing of the 26-year-old rapper and millionaire. He sounds stressed, yet content. In a recent interview with the Breakfast Club, he revealed that if someone had a gun to his head, he wouldn’t beg for his life, instead telling them to “get on with it.” You can hear that tiredness on the first track of the album, and it only goes deeper from there.
Don’t get it twisted. I Am > I Was isn’t an album obsessed with boredom and sorrow. It’s like Issa Album in the best of ways – wide, varied, and, to a degree, adventurous. “1.5” features a tenacious, slightly off-kilter beat that Offset makes his own. “all my friends” follows and switches up the style tenfold, being a clear play for the charts, featuring Post Malone for a somber song about losing friends when the money comes. It’s earnest with its tired subject, but ultimately works because of the pre-established chemistry of the two artists. And then from there, the body flips again. “can’t leave without it” is a sexy, ominous beast with enough dark piano keys and flute runs to soundtrack a ten-hour marathon of noir films. It’s essentially a song about the tenets of the modern gangster, and Lil Baby and Gunna are in tow with album-standout verses. Bottling the three extravagant personalities on the same track without anyone stepping on another’s toes is a feat in itself.
If you missed whispering 21 Savage, he’s back again on “asmr” in quick glimpses. It’s a nice touch, something that makes the album feel even bigger than what it is. “ball w/o you” digs a little deeper than a regular breakup song for something that feels pointed and personal, like a flurry of subtweets at ex Amber Rose (he’s denied the song was about her). But flourishes like these are necessary extra touches that add flair to the familiar structure. It’s not groundbreaking on purpose. He’s showing that he has the capacity for it by zeroing in on what he already does well. This doesn’t detract from the overall package by making it feel expected – it actually enables the album to sound like a logical step forward, the necessary evolution to show that the best version of 21 Savage is the one that exists today.
Unlike Issa Album, the faults are few and far between, but they do exist. “a&t” is a club night anthem for fast movements and bouncing body parts. City Girls’ music exists firmly in this atmosphere, but for 21 Savage it feels like he’s grasping at straws. His brooding flow is at odds with the frenetic atmosphere that the song brings. Similarly, “good day” is a tad bit much for the criminally bare aesthetic of 21 Savage, featuring Project Pat and ScHoolboy Q who deliver the unique charismatic inflections that make them who they are. In contrast, 21 Savage’s shrugging delivery doesn’t cut it.
Even when it strikes out, you can see and hear the intent. 21 Savage never said that he was perfect, nor is he pretending to be. I Am > I Was is nothing but a statement saying that who he is now is better than he was before. The music backs up this declaration of improvement, zeroing in on aesthetic choices showcased on his label debut while cutting down on some things and embellishing others. The overly violent shtick has been largely cut, replaced with a frequent tendency to journey inward and record the results. Because of this, I Am > I Was is a near masterpiece. 21 Savage revealed on this album that the best way to showcase improvement is to provide examples. What’s gifted here makes it clear that 21 Savage’s bold declaration is completely true.
In the two short years since we last spoke to Belgium-born and now Suffolk-based Stevie Dix, the artist’s unconstrained works encouraging spontaneity have piqued the interest of both the art and design community. As a result, Stevie is currently exhibiting her largest solo show to date, The Devil’s In The Details, at L21 gallery in Mallorca.
As a designer, the ability to create things which adapt over time can inject an energy and longevity to your work like nothing else. It’s an approach which graphic design and programming duo – and couple – Carla Peer and Karlis Krecers endeavour to bring to every project under their pseudonym Carla and Karlis. Having met while studying at Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, the pair are now based in Zürich and are “drawn towards structures and bringing order to things”.
“Same Damn Lo Sweater / Times is rough and tough like leather.” Raekwon’s lyrics on Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)” from 1994 provide an early insight into hip-hop’s ongoing love affair with Ralph Lauren Polo sweaters, or “knits” as Lo Heads refer to them. My own love affair with the Polo Bear started not long after.
Before Marc Ecko had the rhino and BAPE had the Ape Head, Ralph Lauren had the Polo Bear. Originally drawn by Richard Tahsin and introduced in 1991, the Polo Bear is a beautiful, weathered, cuddly character, much like Ralph Lauren himself.
The Polo Bear was the ultimate in masculinity yet there was nothing more feminine than a grown man wearing a sweater with a teddy bear sewn on it. The origin story, at its simplest, goes something like this: for Ralph Lauren’s birthday in 1990, he got gifted a Steiff teddy bear done up in traditional Polo clothing. Lauren loved the gift and the rest is history.
Growing up, Polo Bear sweaters retailed out of my price range, so we in the Lo Head community chose deals, trades, and cash meetups to get our hands on what we wanted. Over the years, our investments appreciated because we appreciated the garments. And as the Bear grew in popularity, the icon appeared on everything from T-shirts and sweatshirts to accessories and bed sheets.
Since then, many people, myself included, started cutting and sewing Polo Bear fabric to make unique custom pieces. Why? Simple: the Polo Bear is anything and everything for us, so we make the Polo Bear into anything and everything.
What follows are, in my opinion, the five greatest, rarest, and most coveted Polo Bear pieces of all time. And before you ask, no, the Palace Skater Bear is not on the list. Despite its recent surge in value, that Bear is still a rookie. This list is for veteran Bears worn by veteran Lo Heads. Real value doesn’t come from limited production runs and long lines on release days, it comes from history, tradition, and iconography — that’s what made the Polo Bear iconic in the first place.
A classic piece originally released in 1994 as part of the RL 2000 collection. This is a beautifully designed bear, wider than most other Bear designs due to the skis and poles. Crafted from wool and built to last, this sweater has stood the test of time.
Details like the “POLO” stitching on the Bear’s pants are based on actual RL 2000 ski pants from 1994. Back in the ’90s, these were considered “throw-ins” (a low-priced piece to be named later) by some Lo Head traders of the era. However, the knit has grown in value and popularity over the years.
Fabolous rocked this sweater in his music video for “Baby” back in 2004. I sold it to Fab and his stylist before the shoot. They were looking for sweaters for the slow jam’s video and I recommended this knit because ladies love the Polo Bear.
I also sold one of these knits to Kanye West in 2004. He tried to trade me the snare drum sound of a beat he had produced in exchange for the sweater, but I preferred PayPal. Looking back, I should have taken up his offer. Overall, this is one of the rarest pieces in my collection.
The “Grandpa” is definitely one of the largest bears on the market and a piece that’s gotten more and more attention over the years. In this design, the Bear is wearing a sweater with “POLO” stitched in.
In the ’90s, there were even rumors that OG Lo Lifes were picking the “PO” stitches so only the “LO” was visible, a nod to the Lo Lifes. Fast forward 20 years and the question has become: damaged sweater or urban myth?
Values skyrocketed on these recently, even though they weren’t power pieces in the ’90s.
As if to solidify its legacy, the Polo store in SoHo recently honored this particular knit by placing the sweater on a mannequin behind glass as part of Ralph Lauren’s 50th-anniversary celebrations. This came about after a conversation I had with Ralph Lauren’s son, David, in 2006, when I presented my proposal at Polo HQ to put vintage Ralph Lauren items back in stores.
This was always the ultimate classic. While many designs feature “stand up” Bears, often playing a sport, this Bear is the most like the original concept: a teddy bear on a sweater. In the ’90s, this knit was incredibly important among Lo Heads and collectors, arriving in three colorways: red, navy, and cream.
Its value has fluctuated over the years mainly due to the sweater being one of the first Ralph Lauren items to be given the retro treatment in 2002, as seen on Kanye West during The College Dropout years. Unlike the retro, the original featured “RL 92” in the lower right corner. Most other details were an exact replica, however.
The “Downtown” is perhaps better known as the gray cashmere Bear turtleneck. Its release date is believed to be 1994 and it was nicknamed the “Downtown” because of the Bear’s Downtown art gallery look. I first heard about this piece in 1998 and it was always in the upper echelon of Lo pieces.
I got my first gray cashmere from my friend Joe Einhorn, who started NYC retailer Fancy. Prada Sport had just popped off, so I traded a brand new Prada Sport abstract tennis graphic vest, very similar to a Polo graphic, plus $100 cash and a $100 MetroCard, and in return I got my first cashmere Bear.
I’ve since acquired two more “Downtown” Bears, with the XL selling for $3,000 in the early ’00s. The other one I wound up renting to Fabolous and his stylist for the final scene of the “Baby” video. I still own and wear that knit.
Supposedly released in very small quantities in 1992 at the Polo Mansion on 72nd Street and Madison Avenue, the Martini Bear was an urban legend in the ’90s. Here’s a rare Polo Holiday 1992 catalog showing the turtleneck version of the knit with a retail price of $1,499. My version is the crewneck.
In the ’90s, this was always the most valuable, talked about, impossible-to-find piece. Some Lo Heads would say it didn’t exist, and many thought it was a women’s item because of the sizing, but this tag is a size 40, as often seen in men’s suit sizing. This gentleman Bear comes on the softest cashmere sweater you’ll ever see or feel. Notice the “RL” insignia on his slippers and the detail of the olive in his martini glass.
I sold one for $2,000 in the early ’00s and it continues to be one of the highest-valued Lo pieces of all time.
These days, Ralph Lauren regularly releases retro and new versions of its iconic Polo Bear. It’s hard to say which ones will become classics 20 years from now, but the five listed above will live on forever. Although the Ralph Lauren brand has been around for 50 years, it feels like it’s just getting started. There’s no telling where the Bear will go from here. With NASA’s newfound popularity in fashion, here’s hoping the Polo Bear makes it to the Moon.