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Branded gear and questionable collabs used to make brands seem desperate—now it’s making them cash

We’re used to taking unlimited Ls on Jordan reissues. We’re used to Supreme drops getting botted and cleaned out within minutes. But we didn’t expect other brands to get in on the action — let alone find success with it. Over on our sibling pub MARKER, Adam Bluestein dives into what he calls “Merchmageddon”: a world in which companies responded to the pandemic by unleashing a damn torrent of branded gear and goods. Think Dunkin’ allover-print joggers; Ca$h App brand streetwear; Chicken McNugget-shaped pillows.

Are these the exact kind of things that would have made companies a laughingstock just a…


The luxury fashion house tried to appropriate Caribbean culture and instead disrespected Black history

Design by Felton Brown

Any clothing item made of 49% polyester with a $1,340 price tag is a commerce crime. That’s the ask for Louis Vuitton’s newly released Jamaican Stripe Pullover LV Intarsia. Yet, sadly, marking up the price of inexpensive materials to match one month’s rent in many major cities isn’t the fashion brand’s biggest, most recent transgression.

The shirt’s design consists of three horizontal stripes: green on top, yellow in the middle, and red down bottom. This colorway, according to the item description, was inspired by Jamaica’s national flag. The problem is that the Jamaican flag is not green, yellow, and red…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

The Chucky doll for sale today is the latest ridiculous merch drop from the streetwear brand. Here’s what they haven’t brought to life… yet.

Photo: Matt Stroshane/Getty Images

5. Wet wipes

They’ve already done toilet paper. And you’re basically wiping your ass with your money by spending on this shit in the resale market. Might as well go for the real thing.

4. Portable NBA regulation-sized basketball hoop

Who cares about who’s nominated to the Supreme Court when you could have a rare AF Supreme court in your own driveway! Slam dunks replace slammed gavels, and defenders get tripped up on crossovers instead of cross-examinations. Ball, like precedent, is life.

3. Combination washer and dryer

No better way to take care of your drip than a literal machine for laundering all those box logo pieces. DO NOT BLEACH, for chrissakes!

2. Space shuttle

Could you…


The Only Black Guy in the Office

Am I the only one having withdrawals from wearing my fall fashion work wardrobe?

Illustration: Michael Kennedy

I don’t know about you, but head-to-toe loungewear has officially lost its appeal. The home office perks of all-day PJs, pantless video calls (no Toobin), and sporting the same sweatshirt three days straight don’t hit like they used to now that cooler temperatures have become the norm. Autumn, my friends, is where I thrive. I don’t love fall only because of the balmy weather and omnipresence of pumpkin spice (don’t knock it ’til you try it) — it’s also the season when I get my best ’fits off. And I’m bummed that I’m missing out on it this year.

Even…


As with so many other men, the quest for personal style charts a long and twisting path through my life

Isaach De Bankolé at the 66th San Sebastian International Film Festival in 2018. Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

I’ve watched the movie Limits of Control maybe 15 times since it premiered in 2009. In Jim Jarmusch’s zen-meets-travelogue-meets-hit-man feature, Isaach De Bankolé strolls through Spain in sharply tailored earth-tone suits and shirts that mirror the dusty elegance of Madrid and Seville. In Jarmusch’s own words, the film is “an action movie with no action.” De Bankolé spends the movie’s 116 minutes listening to a crew of international stars (and one naked temptress) spew stories and philosophy over cups of espresso.

As its 42% rating on Rotten Tomato suggests, Limits of Control is not a film for most folks. …


Fall has arrived, which means it’s time to pull out what is potentially the most dangerous item in your wardrobe: sweatpants! In a recent Dear Level column, “A Woman’s Case…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

With the XXXV getting unveiled yesterday, it’s hard not to think of the iconic brand’s greatest misses

Photo: Nike

7. Jordan XXXII

These cartoon villain-ass kicks are an aerodynamic mess. If you copped these, hope drawing throwing stars and death-metal band logos in your Remedial Earth Science textbook is going well!

6. Jordan XIX

We’re all the way here for incorporating different fabrics into footwear. but you can’t turn a Goadome into a dress shoe by clapping a mesh gaiter on the instep and some patent leather on the toecap. Clunky and needlessly genteel? These are definitely the joints Stanley in Friday wears while he asks you to stay off his frigging grass.

5. Jordan XX2

Stormtroopers, your perfect sneaker has arrived. …


We’ve too often disregarded his gift. He’s actually no joke.

Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

This weekend, clothing label Supreme dropped a promotional video that Spoke To the Moment. It wasn’t the first; days after the killing of George Floyd, the hypebeast favorites posted a clip of jazz legend Pharaoh Sanders playing sax in a box-logo tee, next to a boilerplate corporate statement about standing with victims of police brutality. But this one hit different: comedian Katt Williams, his signature perm dyed and plaited into a Tekashi 6x9ine Fruit By the Foot spectacle, doing a six-minute monologue about everything from the “perfectly suitable clown” in the White House to Black Lives Matter.

Much like Dave…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

It’s a ’90s streetwear time capsule — back when sizing started at XXXL tall

Photo: Sean Drakes/Getty Images

7. Akademiks

There’s only one Akademiks we acknowledge — and it doesn’t have a Twitch account.

6. Enyce

This streetwear brand’s flavor was New York City to its core, if not its pronunciation (out-of-towners, say it with us now: en-EE-chee), but its appeal was universal.

5. Cross Colours

With its loud, pan-African color palette, Cross Colours was the perfect garb for hip-hop’s early-’90s love affair with Black nationalism, its rise dovetailing with that of acts like X-Clan and Public Enemy (and, for some reason, Marky Mark). There were no better threads to fight the power.

4. Karl Kani

Long before Khalifa Kush became stoners’ green standard, there was a sartorial…


By telling on themselves, Virgil Abloh and Don C accentuated a growing disconnect with consumers

Virgil Abloh backstage at Paris Fashion Week in February 2020. Photo: Richard Bord/Getty Images

In 2020, what we mean by the term “streetwear” is virtually unrecognizable from its origin. At its genesis, the confluence of skate culture and hip-hop created a means for people to express themselves aesthetically outside the conventions — and prices — of mainstream style. This aspect fostered the community Virgil Abloh lamented in comments he made during the first weekend of demonstrations following George Floyd’s death. “Streetwear is a community,” he said. “It’s groups of friends that have a common bond. We hang out on street corners, fight with each other, fight for each other.”

Left unsaid in this statement…

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