27 June 2011
423. The Explorer
In what began as a small but powerful rumble at the earth's core, a new movement captured the attention of the fashion industry. This trailblazing first wave of style bloggers has redefined the way we absorb culture, much like the British invasion nearly 50 years ago.
If I'm marking the timeline correctly, the domino effect started toward the end of 2009 with Twitter playing the catalyst. With each new tweet and blog post, relationships were being formed and some others further solidified. A following was created.
2010 marked the first chapter in a series of breakthroughs. "Sewn From The Soul" and "Black Ivy" were both a commercial success with appearances in GQ. Menswear label Run Of The Mill launched. Blogger Cons and roundtable discussions commenced. Before long, avenues that were once difficult to explore suddenly became within a shorter reach.
There is something to be said about a bunch of creative twenty (and several north of thirty) somethings being able to band together organically in this fashion. Our respective blogs were the platform from which to be seen and heard much sooner, demanding attention from the established editors, stylists, writers, photographers, you name it.
There are parallels between these first generation style bloggers and downtown New York during the late 1970's and early 80's Punk/New Wave/Early Hip Hop scene. Aspiring filmmakers, actors, musicians and artists alike claimed the desolate blocks below 14th street as their playground to creatively express themselves with barely any permits, budgets and just a dream.
In less than ten years, many household names sprouted out of that era: Basquiat, Glenn O'Brien, Fab 5 Freddy, Debby Harry, Russell Simmons, Steve Buscemi, Talking Heads, Patti Smith and countless other notable figures who not only had a significant impact on creative minds locally or stateside but globally.
The significant advantage we have in New York City today, versus circa 1981 is the ability to document our every move in real time via social media and advancing technology to further enable that. Having people from other states and countries actively watching and getting involved only drive that point home. Our 5 borough playground isn't as rough around the edges as it was 30 years ago but more than anything else, that downtown energy remains as prominent and addictive as ever.
In five to ten years from today, the world will look back on this sub culture as new and established household names and stars: Travis Gumbs and Joshua Kissi. William Yan, Lawrence Schlossman, Sean Sullivan, Adam Christopher, Nchimunya Wulf, Jake Davis, Ali, Justin Chung, Ouigi Theodore, Jessie Boykins, John Jannuzzi, Sean Quincy, Lala Lopez, Mikael Kennedy, James Wilson, Phillip Annaund, Antonio Ciongoli. I can go on for months.
Nothing short of monumental greatness is expected out of these names I just mentioned. The ones not mentioned who also have supporting roles in this movement, myself included and you the reader.
We hope to inspire others to take advantage of their talents, chase dreams, find like-minded individuals who are also forward thinkers and go to war together. This image before you represents exactly where we are at the present time: not quite where we want to be but still fighting our way to wherever our hopes and dreams dictate.
Words: James E. Jean
Art Direction & Photography: Ali Of A Noble Savage