Friday, 24 February 2012

Sneaker | Art

In an age of transnational manufacturing, congenital designs within Asian manufacturing powerhouses like China have historically offered idiosyncratic takes on foreign things. By dissecting the physical detail of foreign designs and newly assigning them in a style reflective of a different culture, the process of reappropriation is complete. Chinese shoe company Feiyue is an apt example. It has been a footwear staple in China for generations, accoutering all classes in much the same way that Converse has achieved equal success in the west. Fundamentally, they are the same shoe but are alien to one another due to their cultural manifestations. These differences are best illustrated by the work of artist ZXEROKOOL. The ‘Golden Star Destroyer’ is an embodiment of the unyielding spirit of Chinese ambition coupled with a sense of forward flying contemporary ideas courtesy of its pilot Evel Knievel, a bastion of stunt culture and risk taking. The result is a cultural mashup illustrating the strength of cultural difference within a universal shoe design available the world over.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Lights, Camera, Action!

It has always proved somewhat of a mystery to me as to why Nike or any other sneaker manufacturer for that matter has not fully experimented with lights in their shoes. I hasten to think that maybe this is because within the grand narrative of recent sneaker memory it was too young an audience that genuinely cared about whether they owned a single pair of flashing sneakers.

This generation has now grown up and is readily susceptible to a targeted dose of nostalgia. In the same way that retro releases act as a constant reminder of the classics of old, isn’t it time that the same treatment be prescribed to the ideas of old even if the original executions don’t quite merit it? If flashing lights in shoes will prove to be a creative dead end then these two videos might suggest the relationship between lights and shoes still might have a bright future. (VIDEOS AFTER THE BREAK)

Monday, 6 February 2012

Heaven | Hell

Super Bowl Madness

You cannot help but sit up and take notice of the Super Bowl. Regardless if you're a sports fan or not, an American or not, the opportunity to partake in one of the biggest showtime events in the world and so celebrate with a self congratulatory America is simply a must do. 

Beneath all the pomp and circumstance, it is slim pickings from a footwear standpoint. But just when all might have seemed to be lost, two big men have stepped up to the line and delivered. Defensive Linesmen Dave Tollefson and Linval Joseph will be sporting the standout Air Jordan III Cement/Black cleat respectively. Call me shallow but with these Air Jordan cleats being at the top of the pile (proving the biggest of underdogs can succeed) the same must be said for the G men's chances of ending at the top of the pile this Sunday. 

Friday, 3 February 2012

Footwear Odes | Part 2

Mashing up a whole bunch of cultural signifiers, this '90s TV advertisement was based around hip-hop's self proclaimed Teacher, the rabble rousing KRS-One. In the true spirit of hip-hop's sampling culture, Gill Scott Heron's 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised' gets updated by flipping the song's sentiment into an ode to basketball's (then) new wave of talent. Much in keeping with the tone of the advert, all of the chosen few are symbolically stamped with the Nike swoosh logo that gets its fair share of air time with some slowed down, zoomed in sneaker shots. I always felt that during the NBA lockout there should have been a re-run of this advert with an updated cast, as its message is as relevant now as ever. But then again, Nike has tied up all the big name players with their own signature shoes forcing a conflict between the unifying message of the original and the selfish individualism of both the sport and shoe games alike. Then again these differences should be put aside as after all we are treated to reminisce about the golden years of Nike sneakers and hip-hop.

Digressions aside, somewhat unexpectedly the self-righteous KRS caught an unexpected wave of criticism when it first aired. People must have simply failed to appreciate his sentiments reflecting his unwavering attitude towards the idea making a point rather than the cogency behind that point. Most importantly of all, was the result was far more palatable than starring basketball player Kidd's own attempt at rapping in 'What The Kid Did' that same year.