What’s On My Mind (August 2020)

It always shocks me to watch people on the internet levy ad hominem character attacks toward people they barely know. Sure, lots have been said about how the anonymity of the platform and disposability of ideas on it are able to fan the flames of online hatred, but I still regularly get taken aback by it all. That’s not to say that some clapbacks aren’t justified, though. The internet is filled with bad takes, and in keeping with the marketplace of ideas, bad takes should be countered with good ones. However, I believe that some semblance of courtesy and respect should be maintained in such discourse. It’s so easy to unleash the attack dogs on people, which makes it all the more noble to engage with others on a purely idea level.

But that’s not what I’ve been consumed about. What’s really on my mind as I anxiously pace through my empty apartment is the stuff I could be buying next.

Cool Guy Sunglasses

Jacques Marie Mage, eyewear brand to the stars, has been on my radar for a while now. Its maximalist, sleazy aesthetic is unlike anything I’ve seen in sunglasses recently, and is both literally and figuratively a spectacle in itself. I’ve admired the frames from afar for months, but I’ve never had the impetus (nor the disposable income — they cost $600 and up) to get a pair.

Recently, on a podcast with Dean Delray, Jerome Mage, the owner of the brand, explained in elaborate detail the various design, sourcing and production considerations that go into a pair of their cellulose acetate frames, and that got me seriously thinking about getting a pair. I then realized how susceptible I am to product marketing from French designers; beneath the veneer of the smart writing I’m actually quite dumb.

I’m at a really great spot with my wardrobe. I haven’t been craving a new purchase in a while, and there isn’t a big ticket item I really want. Maybe these frames could be that.

Camp High Spy Dye Sweatshirt

One beautiful thing about the internet is that once disparate communities are able to congregate, far from the judging eyes of others. However, this has also led to the increased prevalence of distinct hive minds and in groups. Typically, people who identify within a particular group are incentivized to like all the same things as everyone else, thus limiting the free flow of discourse and even ostracizing people as a result.

In the subcultures that I’ve been into, it has never been cool to like John Mayer music. John Mayer has always been seen as too soft and squishy for the people I surround myself around, and as such, I’ve been a closeted John Mayer fan for years. When I first heard that he — a well-documented menswear enthusiast –collaborated with hippie sweats specialists Camp High for a sweatshirt, I knew it was going to be good. The result is an ongoing series of sweatshirts that play on Mayer’s signature peeking tie-dye look, in which the sweatshirt has just the collar and waist hems of a tie-dyed tee sewn on, creating the impression of a sweatshirt over a tee without the heat retention and mobility interference of the lower layer.

The latest iteration, the most compelling one yet, comes sun-faded either in green or pink and printed with a creamy Cooper Black. It’s almost sold out, so I have to make a decision fast.

Dover Street Market Fearless Initiative Tees

Dover Street Market, the Commes Des Garcons empire’s avant-garde take on the multi-brand retailer, recently collaborated with some of the coolest designers and artists on the planet for a capsule of “charitees”, with all the proceeds going to supporting healthcare workers. Graphic tees are not usually my thing — I’m partial to the super soft loopwheel feel — but I can’t seem to get the Better Gift Shop ones and Wes Lang ones out of my mind. The latter in particular I find interesting as it’s the perfect confluence of the artist’s signature style and the hand-drawn aesthetic (popularized by Bode) that’s so hot right now.

11 by Boris Bidjan Saberi x Salomon Bamba5 Object Dyed

Of the recent menswear trends, the crunchy, outdoorsy gorpcore is the one that speaks to me the most. While the footwear of choice for folks of that style tribe has always been the Salmon trail runners, I’ve never really rated any of the colorways the brand has put out. From what I’ve seen, the runners only come entirely overdone, exceedingly pedestrian, or starkly minimal in their choices of colors.

The 11 by BBS versions, on the other hand, are extremely compelling. In particular, the Bamba 5 model is object-dyed in wonderful shades of grey or brown, resulting in a preworn yet artsy look that the dark fashion brands do so well. The panelling of fused material on the upper is also proportionally well-balanced and pleasingly organic-looking. They’re a lot pricier than regular Salomons, but it’s a fair price to pay for artisanal handiwork and a completely unique aesthetic.

Ann Demeulemeester for Serax

I, like many others preparing to go back to school in the Fall, and like many whose lease cycles line up with the summer because of school, am thinking sprucing up my new pad, ideally with an aesthetic sensibility that matches my outfits.

While I used to despise black in my outward presentation of self, going so far as to contemplate dyeing my hair a mature-yet-directional wolf grey, it’s been the color I’ve been leaning into the most recently. There’s something about the mystery and anonymity of the color black that really speaks to me now that an invisible, merciless, and deadly virus is in the air.

Ann Demeulemeester, GOAT-fashion-designer-turned-plate-designer, has partnered with Serax to produce and distribute her new line of tableware, ceramics and lighting. The entire collection is incredible, but I’m specifically after this dinner plate that’s hand painted in radial black striations.

Published by Brian

Reviewer Extraordinaire

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