Pop-Ups Shut, A$AP Barry the Plumber, and the Next Generation of Tyler

Some quick thoughts on a few things that have happened this week. Might try and make this a more regular thing in the absence of Ulysses-esque streetwear rambles. Who knows.

Louis Vuitton Announces Cancellation of Future Supreme Collaboration Pop-Up Shops.

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So earlier in the week some emails emerged from Louis Vuitton representatives saying they’d be cancelling any further pop-ups. Since then, some other sources have suggested that the stores will be going ahead at locations outside of the USA, so who knows.

In my opinion, the first thing to consider about this is that, for two prestigious brands well-known for their pretty watertight organisation, this is a total shitshow. I asked myself once or twice if this might have been some orchestrated drama to maintain the hype after the initial drop, but I doubt it considering how bad it looks.

What’s going on, then? I’ve got a few theories, and they mostly trace back to the lines. Any brand that collaborates with Supreme knows what they’re getting themselves into – long lines, resellers, and so on. And if anyone in the fashion world knows it, it’s Kim Jones, who’s got some pretty deep roots in the British streetwear scene.

But what’s different here is that this isn’t happening within Supreme’s infrastructure – it’s in Louis Vuitton’s. Their stores, their supply chain, their customer network, and so on. If a bunch of spotty teenagers in expensive trainers and hoodies (said with all love – I used to be one of them) are lining up outside a Supreme store any day of the week, it’s hardly news.

But that same thing happening under Louis Vuitton store signs is something different, and even if Kim Jones knew what was coming over the horizon, it really wouldn’t surprise me if there were some people higher up at Louis Vuitton looking at the hype kid frenzy and wondering if this was a good look for their brand. There were a few stories going round about VIP LV customers showing up to the pop-up events and basically being messed around – so if you’ve got someone who might spend hundreds of thousands with you every season getting mugged off for a few kids buying £500 hoodies, you might start reassessing your priorities.

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The other thing that’s happened is the same thing that happens with every Supreme collaboration – the stores opened, people bought stuff, and it’s up on Grailed and eBay half an hour later for a crazy mark-up. I’m sure one or two pieces will sell in the immediate frenzy, but with the product already expensive enough, I’m not convinced the resale market for this stuff is going to be as promising as people think. So you’ll end up with a bunch of deadstock Louis Vuitton sitting on Grailed and eBay for months, maybe eventually selling for just above retail or even below. Again, not a good look for Louis Vuitton at all.

And then of course there’s the simplest explanation – Louis Vuitton probably got loads of pre-orders and purchases from VIP customers and ran out of stock. Again, they’re a luxury fashion brand who make a large bulk of their sales with customers barely setting foot in a store. This massive, international retail spectacle was a bit of an anomaly, and it’s possible the stock just sold out.

But I’ll return to my previous point; if you’re a VIP Louis Vuitton customer, and you’ve dropped anything from 20k to 100k on the most prestigious and talked about fashion collection of the year, only to see loads of it showing up on eBay and with every Tom, Dick and Harry getting their hands on it, you might be a little bit turned off. Let’s be real; elitism and exclusivity is a massive part of fashion, and I wonder if there wasn’t even a fraction of Louis Vuitton customers experiencing some disappointment that their exclusive streetwear collection has effectively turned into a free-for-all.

Once again, if I’m not mistaken, Kim Jones has given us exactly what we thought he would. So those are my thoughts on that.

The A$AP Bari Saga

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Earlier this week some footage surfaced on the internet which appeared to show A$AP Bari, “fashion” “designer” and one of the least talented members of A$AP Mob, sexually harassing and assaulting a woman in a hotel room. Like all innocent parties, Barry the Plumber took the usual route of dismissing the video as fake, going silent on social media, then releasing a statement that him and the girl are friends and nothing happened, despite her saying he’d been arrested by the London Met Police and was currently in custody. Who to believe?

There’s a lot of different angles to discuss here, but what really struck me quite quickly was how comment sections and Twitter feeds, at least to begin with, were pretty unanimous in their condemnation of Barry from Eastenders and his behaviour. This seems like a positive thing, but then you consider that many of these young men are the same ones that would have defended individuals like Ian Connor, Ched Evans, Bill Cosby, Johnny Depp and so on when they were facing similar charges. Indeed, I’ve seen a lot of individuals tying this back to Barry from Burnley and Ian Connor’s beef last year over the accusations surrounding Connor’s own behaviour, as if Big Bald Baz’ emergence as a sex pest is some sort of vindication of Ian.

Hot Take #1: It’s absolutely possible, and more than likely, that both Barry’s Auto Repair and Ian Connor are both unpleasant individuals. The two already have a complete lack of talent, toxic masculine attitudes and cynical opportunistic tendencies in common, so don’t be so surprised that those things converge like this.

But secondly, bear in mind that the initial condemnation of Barry Big Bollocks was the result of that video – a fifteen second fucking video. So many of these guys that will do anything they can to dismiss and invalidate women’s claims of abuse and assault completely changed their tune once they were confronted with a tiny glimpse of the kind of behaviour they try to defend. It’s a vile video, and I’m not surprised that so many of these naïve young men had a change of heart once they had their values checked.

But it’s depressing that it should take a video, one that exposed the victim far more than it did the perpetrator, for people to start calling this shit for what it is. This is a problem that affects all men, whoever and wherever we are. And if you’re a guy, and watched that video, and couldn’t identify even a fraction of yourself in the footage, however small, then you’re either a saint or a liar. There’s an attitude of sexual entitlement, power and dominance in that video that affects all of us as men, and we need to start putting each other in check, because that shit is toxic, and we’re a danger to women, children and ourselves as long as we allow it to continue.

Needless to say, conversations have already begun to shift toward “well, girls know what they’re getting into when they go with these guys” and other shitheaded, victim-blaming tactics. It’s depressing, but not surprising. That’s why it’s even more important for us to start getting a grip on this, and have the courage to call out guys around us – friends, family, work-colleagues or whatever else – when they behave like this. It’s toxic, pure and simple.

Tyler’s Back!

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jason L Nelson/SIPA/REX (3790104c) Tyler the Creator Tyler, The Creator in concert at the Stage AE, Pittsburgh, America - 04 Jun 2014

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jason L Nelson/SIPA/REX (3790104c)
Tyler the Creator
Tyler, The Creator in concert at the Stage AE, Pittsburgh, America – 04 Jun 2014

As you probably heard, Tyler, the Creator’s new album, Scum Fuck Flower Boy, leaked earlier this week, and there’s been a lot of talk about the content, subject matter and particular lyrics.

I’m not going to speak on that, as nothing’s really been confirmed yet, and it’s all just media speculation and conjecture. But I will say that Tyler really does just seem to get better and better as time goes on. This new album is something special, and I think he’s going to go down in history as one of the most influential musicians of our generation.

Outside of that, he also announced a new partnership with Converse this week, and I wrote a piece for Sneakersnstuff looking at the broader context of the partnership and how Tyler’s a perfect fit for Converse, so feel free to click through and read that here.

Safe.

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