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Sports Strength

Pro Skater Cairo Foster Gets Nerdy About Skating, Work and Navigating Two Worlds

Some skateboarders are known for their precision and consistency while others build off going bigger and redefining “gnarly.” Cairo Foster’s output as a professional skateboarder was neither and both at the same time—consistently gnarly, which is a rarity and something his skating communicated from his early footage to his final full-part. No drop off, no diminished skill, and always doing the hardest shit with enough playfulness to keep his skating fun and deceptively relatable in that you can’t do Cairo’s tricks, but if you could, that’s exactly how they’d look. 

There’s another constant in his career in that he’s always maintained a curiosity and engagement with the industry side of skating, eventually founding Populis which later became Popwar, as well as working on the brand side with Krux Trucks. While it’s not uncommon for a pro skater to break off and start a brand, Cairo’s curiosity and passion for skateboarding as well as his analytical perspective drove him deeper into the weeds of the skateboarding industry. Being able to traverse the streets as effectively as spreadsheets led him to working with adidas Skateboarding in digital marketing, social media, and now that he’s stepped away from the pro ranks, as the current Brand Manager for Mob Grip.

Zooming out, whether you’re watching his footage or looking at his brand work, you can see through-lines and again, consistency that reflects a lot of thought, attention to detail, and a sense of humor and lightness that grounds everything he takes on. It’s a nice reminder that whether you’re breaking yourself off to get a clip or pushing towards a deadline, getting shit done is always about finding a way to make it fun. 

That’s Cairo Foster and this is us getting nerdy about work, skateboarding, and how to navigate worlds that can feel so disparate at times.  

ONE37pm: You’ve mentioned moving around a lot in interviews. What were your parents doing for work that led to relocating so often?

Cairo Foster: My dad was in the Air Force. He did 20 years active duty and 16 years civil service. We moved a ton; sometimes I would move schools twice in a year. When I started high school, I spent a couple years in one place. I was getting into those formative years and it was split between New Mexico, Egypt then a couple years in Florida to finish high school. 

Did you notice how different the education systems were?

I was definitely too young to pick up on it. When I had my daughter and we were looking into elementary school options in Oakland, CA —Oakland has some really great schools and some really challenged schools—I was asked by a family member what my best experience was in school and I never even thought about that. I just remember being the new kid and getting in fights all the time.

But when I thought about it, in the context of my daughter, I realized my favorite school was in Egypt. It was an international school that was K through 12 and because it was private, the teachers were really invested in the students. When I moved back to the States for 11th and 12th grade, I went to public school, and then transferred into an art magnet school which was really good because it focused on creativity. 

So aside from constantly moving, you got fully immersed in skateboarding. Did that cause any friction with your parents, wanting to pursue skating instead of taking the college route?

It’s funny. I’ve thought about this a lot. I don’t really recall any moment where either of my parents were truly advocating for which college I was going to or anything like that. There was just an expectation that I was going to college because I was super-duper into everything science based. I was like, ‘I’m going to MIT!’ I look back on it and think, ‘Dude, you are so way off track to go into MIT. It takes more than just good grades.’ I had no idea.

The other reason I liked the 11th and 12th grade year at the magnet school is because there were a lot of skateboarders there who were super artistic—I never skipped school until I met all those quote unquote, “cool skaters”. And then when my parents were getting divorced, it was like, ‘I’m gonna skip school. I’m gonna go skateboard.’ It was really easy to pass all the tests or whatever.

I have this theory as to why so many pro skaters don’t go to college: it’s more than just the travel or obligations, because you can pull all that off and get a degree as some skaters have done. For a civilian, you go to school for four or eight years and it could be another four or eight before you see any benefit or even start to do what you really set out to do.

In skateboarding, you could go pro in high school, start getting checks, maybe even have a shoe or some big endorsements. Because you’re already doing it, it’s easy to think “fuck school.” Is that fair?

That’s very accurate. I dropped out of high school. I don’t have a four year degree. There’s a lot of reasons behind that. I chose to drop out of high school because they were going to flunk me completely out, even though I was getting straight As, because I wasn’t going and they had attendance requirements. I wasn’t emancipated but I didn’t live with my mom, so there were some legalities around it and I had to take care of my own shit. I thought it was better to not destroy my GPA, dropout, and get a GED. I had to start working more hours because I was living with a friend, and, to me, it was more enticing to go to California not necessarily to follow the dream of becoming a pro skater, but I knew how to take care of myself and make money, so why not do it in the best place to skate?

I couldn’t process the idea of how to work 30 to 40 hours, skate six to eight hours, because you’re so excited in California and then go to college. I eventually did go to college and completed a handful of years. I don’t have any degrees that I can be like, ‘Hey, check out this piece of paper, check out my document!’

I personally don’t like to talk about it too much because I’m a huge advocate of education but also, there’s a lot to be said about getting  that real life experience. A year of school, a year of life… could really help you rather than spending four years in a school aimlessly to get a degree you might not use and build a ton of debt. 

Uncredited

The flip side is that in skating there’s a lot of ways to monetize, but with that comes tough decisions. If you ride for something sketch people will look at you differently and that could impact all your sponsors. You managed to avoid that during your pro career. Was that hard to navigate?

To use a super tired word, I feel like it was really organic. I didn’t take a hard look at what my monthly income was from my sponsors until my daughter was coming and I had to provide for a third person and give them all the opportunities and tools for life. So yeah, that was heavy and I realized I needed to pay attention to it.

I never felt like I had the impact in skateboarding that required an agent or representation. I was making money and I could pay my taxes so it never felt like that bump was going to come. I think agents are great for advocating for their clients and finding opportunities though, because Lord knows there’s a bajillion opportunities out there. The amount of people I know that I’m surprised are sponsored by a CBD sponsor, I’m just like, ‘Oh, I would have never thought that that person would need backing from CBD.’

But hey, money takes care of our desires I guess. For me, I had to feel good about riding for someone. Can I look at myself in the mirror? That was my guiding principal. I’m not mad about anyone I rode for. 

It seemed like you were aware that you wanted to have ownership of your career really early on by starting companies. Was it that or just to have a vehicle for your ideas?

I wanted to start a company purely based on friendships and I think that’s what a lot of people do. Those super successful companies—whether it’s fabricated or real—like the Bones Brigade or Baker, they feel like a crew… they’re all homies. Riding for Real and being a part of Deluxe was amazing—everyone was super supportive. I saw how awesome Rasa Libre was and had grown from Matt Fields’ vision to working with Michael Leon and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a way to get Kenny Reed to ride for the same company as me?’

Looking back, I don’t think I would have asked Jim (Thiebaud) if Kenny fit on Real. To me, I just asked Jim if there was an opportunity at Deluxe to start a board company so that we could ride together. Deluxe had a lot going on before things changed with Rasa and Krooked was starting, so over time, I realized if I wanted this company to happen I’d have to look elsewhere. The opportunity came to talk to Giant Distribution who had New Deal which Kenny was riding for and we brought up the idea of doing a brand. I wasn’t telling myself, ‘Cairo, you got to figure out what the percentages are? What’s your business plan?’ It was just to start a brand with Kenny. 

So that ended up being Popwar which was a very different brand at the time. Can you talk a bit about that?

Popwar was originally called Populis and the idea was to inject—which was a bad idea in hindsight—a view on world politics. The name Populis was speaking to the population—let’s bring awareness to what’s really going on. It wasn’t like, based on conspiracy theories, it wasn’t based on right or left wing politics. It was trying to cut through the masses as a skate company and bring awareness to individuality.

I quickly learned you do need a plan and you do need to figure out percentages and you do need to get a team together and not just the homies you skate with. So working with Bod Boyle and Giant later brought in Yogi Proctor, and we started Popwar and got front row seats to understand how you take an idea and grow it with an actual plan. The problem was, I wasn’t fixated on running a company. I wanted to skate and travel. I think about Rick Howard. I’m the hugest Rick Howard fan and wished everyone of his parts were five times longer, but he also was able to create some of the greatest companies ever. I would imagine he had to sacrifice a handful of hours per week to focus on the company, as opposed to focusing on his skateboarding career. 

So Popwar was your first look behind the industry curtain. I’m jumping around, but you later worked for adidas which is a much more structured environment. I think something we champion almost to a fault in skating is that everything is DIY and isn’t formalized, but personally, there’s a lot of value in having both experiences. I remember walking into an advertising job with no training—not even knowing the language of advertising—and realizing I didn’t know shit and I learned so much so quickly because I was humbled.

It’s good to have that realization, because I think, whether it’s skateboarding, whether it’s politics, whether it’s religion, whether it’s sports, if you surround yourself with everyone that either thinks like you or thinks you’re the best person, you can’t learn. Sometimes you need to be around people who think 180 degrees differently than you to realize you can both cohabitate the same space of Earth, but you can learn a lot by exposing yourself to other ways of thinking and doing things. It can be weird going from a really core environment to something buttoned up, but don’t shut people off because they don’t wear the same clothes as you or have the same background.

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Grind Productivity

Bill Gates’s Leadership Style: 5 Strategies He’s Famous For

What started as a passion to bring “a computer on every desktop and in every home,” Bill Gates has become a household name, as well as one of the richest people in the world.  Through perseverance, innovation, and hard work, Gates turned Microsoft into an uber-successful software company before stepping down as chairman in 2014. 

Greatness is never by accident, and being a strong leader is integral to many businesses’ success. Rumored to be a demanding boss who makes unrealistic asks of his team, it’s also been said that Gates is reasonable and well-liked, always championing his team’s achievements and encouraging dissent. 

Here’s a rundown of five leadership strategies Gates is known for.

He adapts to any situation.

In the early days of starting his company, Gates was so focused on becoming successful that he was a grueling boss that policed his employees, making sure they were working as hard as he was.  Known for regularly pulling all-nighters, Gates would even walk around the parking lot to see what time everyone had come into the office. “I worked weekends, I didn’t really believe in vacations,” Gates told BBC’s “Desert Island Discs”. “I knew everybody’s license plate so I could look out at the parking lot and see, you know when people come in.”

Knowing that this wasn’t a sustainable model (and that his employees didn’t appreciate this), Gates relaxed as the company grew. “When I was at Microsoft, I was tough on people I worked with. Some of it helped us be successful, but I’m sure some of it was over the top.” Gates wrote in his annual letter in 2019. “Learning to deal with your anger was something we all related to. It’s an important life skill, part of becoming a mature adult.”

He encourages curiosity.
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If you’ve ever worried that asking questions might display your lack of knowledge, rest assured that curiosity is a strength. Harvard Business Review has found,, “People with higher CQ are more inquisitive and open to new experiences. They find novelty exciting and are quickly bored with routine. They tend to generate many original ideas and are counter-conformist.”

Also know that you’re in good company.  When Bill Gates went back to his former high school to talk to students, he was asked what skills they needed to acquire to thrive in the coming years. “For the curious learner, these are the best of times because your ability to constantly refresh your knowledge with either podcasts or lectures that are online is better than ever.”
As we saw in 2020, the environment we are in can change at any time, forcing us to quickly adapt with new processes, climates, and industries. Staying curious can help us adjust faster and also aid in creating new solutions for problems.  One good way to stay curious? Read.  It’s a well known fact that Gates reads about 50 books a year, and credits it as the best way he learns.

He gives feedback.

Sometimes it’s hard to gauge how you’re doing in a role if you don’t hear anything from your boss.  Scott MacGregor believed that was never an issue with his colleague: “A lot of people don’t like their jobs because they don’t get any feedback. You always knew what Bill thought about what you were doing. The goal, the motivational force for a lot of programmers, was to get Bill to like their product.”

Employees constantly seeking approval from their managers isn’t always beneficial either, but having regular touch bases and at the moment feedback can do a lot in aiding growth and keeping up morale and motivation.

He admits when he’s wrong.
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All leaders have made some mistakes, but it takes some real self-reflection to admit to it. 

Steve Wood, a programmer at Microsoft, believed that Gates’ ability to change his mind was unique. “He can be extremely vocal and persuasive in arguing one side of an issue, and a day or two later he will say he was wrong. There aren’t many people who have the drive, intensity and entrepreneurial qualities to be that successful who also have the ability to put their ego aside. That’s a rare trait.”
Personal matters weren’t the only thing that Gates admitted fault. When it came to business, he would admit that his greatest mistake was to allow Google to develop the Android phone. “These are winner-takes-all markets. So the greatest mistake ever is whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is,” he acknowledged during a Village Global event in 2019. He went on to say that mistake potentially cost his company $400 billion dollars. “We would be the company. But oh well.”

He promotes collaboration.

Finding a vaccine for COVID has been a priority for Gates; in December 2020, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged an additional $250M to support “research, development, and equitable delivery of lifesaving tools in the global effort against COVID-19.” Gates also took this moment to call for global commitments and collaboration from different companies in various countries to help fight the pandemic. “…creating alliances, of Indian manufacturers and Western manufacturers, or different people working with antibody capacity, these types of collaborative forums have turned out to be super important,” he said in a video interview with the dean of Stanford School of Medicine. 

Working with others and utilizing different skill sets can be the difference in success and failure.  Gates knows that he can’t do it alone, even with all the money and resources he has access to, so he encourages partnerships in working towards a joint effort.

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Leaders Style

An Ode to ‘Fruits,’ the Japanese Streetwear Magazine That Shaped Style

There’s no doubt that Japanese culture is filled with specific idiosyncrasies, some of which can be traced to its history as a deeply isolationist empire. Following World War II and America’s injection of a kind of hyper-capitalist ethos into their more traditional society, the strains of what appeared as bizarre to Westerners were hyper-boosted. Add onto that post-nuclear anxiety, impossibly speedy economic recovery and growing technological prowess, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for certain kinds of eccentricities.

This dynamic is perhaps most apparent in Japanese fashion, where elements of the country’s conservative attitudes consistently clash with a fever for newness. This extreme tension was captured most explicitly in the influential fashion magazine Fruits—a periodical that would eventually become deeply important around the globe.

Fruits was founded by photographer Shoichi Aoki, who in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s took to the streets of Tokyo to document the everyday styles he spotted in Japan’s most major metropolis. What Aoki found was a handful of ultra-specific micro-subcultures that were virtually nonexistent outside of that city—although, ironically, it was the publication’s international popularity that caused bastardized versions of these styles to be imported to the United States and beyond. In 2001, Western publisher Phaidon collected some of the magazine’s best images into books that garnered cult popularity in urban and suburban teens looking to Japan for counter-cultural inspiration. Certainly, Americans were drawn to what they biasedly perceived as “wacky”—and it was clear that these images in no way represented Japan as a whole—but its influence expanded nonetheless.

The images from Fruits remain absolutely striking to this day, and the styles captured are having a resurgence as everything from right before and after Y2K is living a second life in this current retro fashion cycle. The Japanese youths who created their own colorful interpretations of goth, grunge and punk cultures—which in some cases were morphed into their own new subcultures, like the visual kei, lolita and ganguro styles—should properly be hailed as major influences on the contemporary streetwear landscape. Harajuku, a small district in Tokyo filled with unique shopping destinations, quickly garnered a reputation as a hub of extreme fashion.

For those who grew up worshipping Fruits’ pages, it’s easy to see how deeply the Fruits brainworm dug its way into the zeitgeist. It’s not hard to spot the nods to Fruits in unfortunate places, like Hot Topic’s cheap Lolita dress rip-offs or the ubiquitous watered-down rave wear of Coachella attendees. But it also crops up in more opulent attempts at the lush and dramatic versions of dark glamor now seen in the second wave of nu-mutal and high-end haute couture—or in the revitalization of cyberpunk from brands like Dior. The gender-bending ethos of the Fruits children now deeply informs queer culture in the United States—so much so that recent pictures from New York’s nightlife scene are somewhat indistinguishable from Fruits’ more extreme imagery.

Fruits would ultimately shutter in February 2017. It was clear to Aoki that the colorful teenyboppers who roamed Harajuku’s streets had grown up—and that the youth of this new decade are far less inclined to extreme self-expression in the same way. “There are no more cool kids to photograph,” he said in an interview that announced the magazine’s end. Luckily, intrepid Instagrammers are now archiving Fruits looks on social media, preserving the legacy in a more up-to-date medium, and pages like the Tokyo Fashion Instagram continue in the Fruits tradition. 


Japanese streetwear has (for better or worse) since become much slicker, far more muted and streamlined in terms of color and construction, and increasingly organized around luxury brands. In fact, “Japan accounts for up to 30 to 40 percent of some global luxury brands’ profitability,” according to a 2017 study. The days of Fruits have come and gone, but—if you know what to look for—it’s obvious that we couldn’t have arrived at our current moment without Aoki’s vision.

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Leaders Style

Inside Tyler, The Creator’s Intriguing Style Evolution

When I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to watch Tyler, The Creator grow from a rebellious teen that was making outrageous music to a Grammy Award winner. While I enjoy his music, what really grabbed my attention was his style. It’s no secret that Tyler has been setting trends ever since his first televised appearance on the Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon. The Supreme box logo hoodie would go on to become a wardrobe staple—and one of the most desirable pieces in streetwear. But this wouldn’t be the only mark Tyler would leave on the fashion world.

Tyler, The Creator’s Style Come Up

During his come-up as an artist, Tyler rocked bold colors paired with doodled Vans Old Skools. Patterns were a staple in his wardrobe: Whether it was polka dots, checks or stripes, he would wear it. The multi-media artist isn’t afraid to express himself, and his style shows that. What I love about him is that he dresses for no one but himself.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The Golf Wang Phase

Later on, the artist started venturing more into fashion by introducing his own brand label, Golf Wang. The company became a lifestyle to his hardcore fans, which allowed them to dress like Tyler. There was a period where Tyler was a real poster boy for Golf Wang, and knowing what kind of effect he had on his fans helped him grow the brand to what it is today. To this day, you can still spot him wearing Golf Wang, his staple “G” logo hat never leaves his side, and he always wearing in one-of-one pieces that don’t get a public release.

Golf Wang
Golf Wang Fall/Winter ‘14 Lookbook

Post ‘Flower Boy’

Fast forward to 2018, and Tyler shows a different side of himself. After the success of his album Flower Boy, it felt like he evolved overnight into a more mature figure that would pivot from extremely loud colors and patterns to a more sophisticated yet fresh streetwear look. More elevated footwear paired with cropped pants would become a staple look for Tyler and naturally would become one of the most popular style choices across his fanbase.

Tyler, The Creator from his song ‘What The Fuck Right Now’

I know they see me. Pants got a flood, lil’ bit Katrina. Oh, you wearing Vans and Supreme this season? Stop lying to yourself, me the reason.

Tyler didn’t make any media appearances until he announced his newest project, IGOR. Once published, Tyler was ready to come out of the shadows and do his press run for the album. I was thrilled to see how his style had shifted. Seeing him go from loud T-shirts and wild patterns to tailored blazers and sweater vests signaled that Tyler had reached a different level. Don’t get me wrong, he still keeps it casual by pairing polo shirts with sneakers, but the way he was executing these looks were still more mature than anything we’ve seen from him before.

Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Dior

Nothing lasts forever, and in the current stage of streetwear’s popularity in the mainstream media, we are bound to see a shift. Sneaker culture is shifting towards more formal footwear like loafers, hoodies are traded for blazers and wearing suits is cool again. Seeing Tyler follow this progression just solidifies that this shift is really happening, and I am here for it.

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Leaders Style

The Impeccably Clean Japanese Streetwear of Netflix’s ‘Terrace House’

In 1992, the idea of filming strangers living together in a house was a radical postmodern revolution. MTV’s The Real World would change the course of television history, essentially catalyzing the creation of a new Warholian genre, now somewhat ironically known as reality TV. Almost 30 years later, as producers struggle to spin reality TV into something fresh, it turns out that going back to the basics was what the medium needed all along. Terrace House, a Japanese reality TV program co-produced by Netflix, returns the genre to its roots with its endearingly minimalist conceit.

Modern Reality TV Style

Terrace House and The Real World are almost identical in premise—what happens when people from different backgrounds are forced to cohabitate?—but while most Western reality television focuses on bombastic conflict and spectacular explosions of emotions, Terrace House offers the quieter moments of contemplation and serenity. Instead of fighting, the characters spend most of their time making small talk, cooking together, planning friendly outings and sometimes falling in love.

There’s a hypnotic dullness to the show for sure—Refinery29 writer Cory Stieg even compared its soothing qualities to ASMR—but there’s something compellingly predictable about how perfectly boring the program can be. And the emotional payoff is often devastatingly heart-wrenching: Viewers have been blindsided by the sincere romances that, although often banal, through gorgeously shot cinematography are rendered as existential parables of the human condition.

Netflix

Terrace House has been almost universally critically acclaimed, but in all the reviews of the show, I couldn’t help but notice that one aspect was starkly under-examined: How the hell is everyone on it dressed so well? Nylon and Jezebel have covered the delightfully eccentric womenswear of the commentary panel (Japanese television shows often have a group of hosts dissecting the action between scenes), but the topic of Terrace House menswear is wildly under-examined.

The topic of Terrace House menswear is wildly under-examined.

Fashion Brands on Netflix’s ‘Terrace House’

The oversight is a shame because Western streetwear aficionados would do well to study the shockingly clean and often starkly simple fashion choices of the Terrace House roommates. Because the show takes place largely inside their bizarrely brutalist living space, much of what the cast is seen sporting is cozy and comfortable loungewear—and the omnipresence of sleek athleisure also reflects Tokyo’s growing fitness fanaticism and the city’s specific obsession with cardio workouts. Although clothes are seldom the topic of conversation for the characters, it’s stunning how unequivocally put-together everyone looks at any given moment. 

Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Nike and Supreme are the brands that are most often on display in the show. Still, the mixing and matching of labels are consistently depicted with a kind of effortless cool that Americans (who tend toward flashier forms of conspicuous consumption than Japanese fashionistas) have trouble approximating. Muted color palettes (most of the outfit choices don’t venture beyond white, black, beige and gray) keep these expensive labels from seeming too ostentatious.

Netflix

Indeed, Japan has become one of the largest markets for luxury brands in the world. “Over half of local luxury executives surveyed by McKinsey viewing Japan, which accounts for as much as 30 to 40 percent of some global brands’ profitability, as a growth engine and profit generator,” concludes Business of Fashion writer Kati Chitrakorn. This trend is apparent not only in the cast’s clothing but in the rather chic ready-to-wear of almost every civilian in the background as well.

Where Terrace House cast members excel is in both emotional and sartorial restraint. Whereas American style gurus often bask in power-clashing, color-blocking and excess, Terrace House members are wise enough to pick only one statement piece per outfit—usually a smart jacket or hoodie or dashing hats and berets with slightly louder sneakers. Unlike in the United States, ill-fitting or boxy loungewear seems rare—even their joggers are mostly slim fit. And on the infrequent occasions in the show where formal wear is appropriate, the group’s men prefer skinnier cuts and streamlined silhouettes. Boldly patterned button-downs with splashes of brighter colors—the kinds the Queer Eye men are such unfortunate proponents of—in general, are avoided.

Influences on Japanese Menswear

One big influence on Japanese menswear seems to be skateboarding, snowboarding and surfer culture, the ubiquity of which was a surprise to me in the series. Western urbanites have certainly become fixated on the trendiness of brands like Thrasher and Stüssy, and the fad has rubbed off on the cosmopolitan men of Tokyo, as evident in the well designed graphic imagery of even non-branded items (although without the sometimes Satanic imagery).

Gaijin tend to put a lot of misplaced emphasis on utility, as evidenced in perpetually sloppily dressed cities like Boston and Philly, who excuse their bad fashion by pointing toward neverending inclement weather and their slavish devotion to local sports teams. Japan’s more temperate climate allows for more exploration in terms of functional outerwear—but what Terrace House teaches us is that there’s plenty of ways to stay comfortable while still looking stylish.

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Leaders Style

Who Knew the New Pope Was a Style Gawd?!

The clandestine operations of The Vatican are largely obtuse to those without faith. Still, the organization’s opulence remains an object of fascination for fashion scholars and style industry insiders, as evident with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s ostentatious Heavenly Bodies gala and exhibit in 2018. Only two years before that, Paolo Sorrentino’s bizarre vision of Catholic leadership enraptured audiences and critics alike. His HBO series, The Young Pope, explored a world in which a trendy but deeply fascistic and power-hungry American (played by Jude Law) ascended as the leader of the Church — but as he introduced sweeping conservative policies and performed a slew of miracles, a more moderate wing of the Vatican plotted to have him removed. The show abruptly concluded when Pope Pius XIII inexplicably collapsed. Now, Sorrentino is revisiting his transgressive interpretation of the spiritual world with a continuation of Pius’s story in a follow-up miniseries confusingly titled The New Pope.

HBO

What made The Young Pope stand out as a TV show was its high art aspirations: Sorrentino’s absurdly gorgeous cinematographic eye complemented the dark tale of corrupted faith. The story explored the Catholic Church’s entrenched global power and their history of atrocities, including sex crime coverups and the persecution of homosexuals while simultaneously investigating the existential turmoil of spiritual leaders—all set to a soundtrack of sweeping orchestral music, minimalist synthpop and contemporary disco. It was Sorrentino’s sleek styling that made the show stand out—and the extravagant costuming throughout the program was a huge part.

Now, in The New Pope, universally beloved thespian John Malkovich has taken on the part of Sir John Brannox, an uber-wealthy cardinal who, through a series of internecine manipulations from Vatican higher-ups, has become Pius’s unlikely replacement. Brannox acts as a perfect foil to Pius: where Law’s character had been bombastic and despotic, Brannox is melancholic and whimsical. But will Brannox’s new position of power drive him mad?

HBO

“When we read the new scripts, we noticed that each character had evolved so much that we were forced to renew the type of costumes and go in completely different directions,” costume designers Carlo Poggioli and Luca Canfora told GQ, adding that the “boisterous and accursed” aesthetic inspirations for Brannox included Oscar Wilde, the Duke of Windsor, Prince Michael of Kent and David Bowie. 

From the moment the audience is introduced to the harp-playing Brannox, it should be immediately apparent that this vaguely queeny character is an emerging style icon. Dripping in wealth and regality, Brannox’s stylistic smarts perfectly compliment his depressive personality and display a smart, mysterious sensibility. 

Brannox’s color palette exudes majesty: maroons, beiges, arrogant blacks, deep blues, eggshell whites, purples, mauves, and forest greens are the dominant hues — all colors that have traditionally been associated with royalty and poise. The textures: lots of expensive velvets, shiny silks, and thick wools. Accessories: abundant, but somehow not tacky. The fit: Either billowing or slim-cut—harking back to the gothic tropes (no wonder he’s a Marilyn Manson fan!) of vacillating agoraphobia and claustrophobia. The patterns: Ornate and hyper-intricate paisley and houndstooth.

HBO

“The prints were made by one of the last craftswomen who still carry out fabric printing by hand using wooden molds,” Poggioli and Canfora explained. “It was made in a small workshop in Venice by two elderly sisters who work very little nowadays, but who accepted to produce it for us because they’re both devoted Malkovich fans!”

Similarly, much was made of Pius’s red Louboutin’s — but Brannox couldn’t be bothered with such garishness, which is why he switched out the loud red leather for a softer and subtle velvet damask.

A key aspect of Brannox’s character is his lilting and ambiguous effeminacy; he regularly receives calls from Meghan Markle asking for outfit advice. When an advisor notices his sartorial supremacy, she asks if he’s gay—to which he responds with a resounding and inconclusive belly laugh. And Brannox’s styling matches this kind of quizzical androgyny, calling to attention the already confusingly gendered nature of most papal robes: He’s usually seen sporting heavy emo-inflected eyeliner (a detail which had been emphasized in the script itself!), and his flowing coats are almost dresses. Is he intentionally genderfucking—or just pleasantly eccentric?

HBO

When Brannox is elected Pope, taking on the name Pope John Paul III, he is forced to swap out his moodier outfits for more traditional robes, which are (despite the solemn martyrdom required of his position) dripping in gold and jewels. The color palette changes to crisp whites and robust reds, colors that indicate his purity and power.

Brannox begins his Papacy with a message about love, but questions remain as to whether his socialite proclivities will turn him into more of a celebrity than a leader. Considering the excellent costuming the series showcases so far, it will be interesting to watch as John Paul III’s outfits change to reflect what’s happening in the rest of the story—or if he’ll abandon his Louboutin’s in search of something more.

HBO

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Leaders Style

The Best Concert Merch from Recent History

While modern fashion seems to be a force that is ever-changing and always evolving, the concert T-shirt is a piece that has stood the test of time—and remains in the wardrobes of the most fashionable. 

A quick scan of the current “it girl” or “it boys” Instagram account will likely highlight a few vintage Grateful Dead or Rolling Stones T-shirts. And while the fabric may be a bit distressed or possibly frayed on the sleeves and necklines, these pieces seem to get cooler with age. 

Now, just as classic rock concert tees have become staples in mainstream fashion—so has tour merch from more contemporary musical acts over the past few years. Artists like Drake, Kanye West, Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky and others have all contributed to the fashion world with their own tour merchandise.  We take a look at some of the best in recent times.

6. Chance the Rapper’s 3 Hat (2016)
Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for EIF

5. Drake’s REVENGE shirt (2016)
Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

The “REVENGE” T-shirt (with the yellow font) is one of the more iconic pieces of Drake-related merchandise. Dropped in the midst of his iconic “Summer 16” tour—one year after his notorious beef with Meek Mill—Drake’s choice of font style and color on this tee gave me serious “Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western” vibes. And, as for the choice of “REVENGE,” with regard to Drake merch? I’m not sure any artist’s music makes me want to ruin an ex’s day like Drizzy’s. Well done.

4. Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DAMN.’ shirt (2017)
Grailed

All over the DAMN. LP, you can find references from K. Dot (to himself) under the moniker of Kung Fu Kenny. And that’s why I love this piece so much. Kendrick went with a yellow shirt with mandala designs and Chinese logograms. With tour merch being so commonplace, it isn’t easy to find originality and a message within pieces. Neither is the case with Kendrick’s merch from the DAMN. tour.

3. Kanye West’s ‘Jesus Is King’ (2019)

While Kanye’s Jesus Is King album didn’t get much fanfare, the merchandise surrounding the release was much more well-received. Kanye did a great job capturing the vintage “soul” style he was going for—with the minimalistic design, font choices and inclusion of catalog numbers. The (royal) blue West chose is quite similar to Yves Klein’s “international bleu,” which is nice on the eyes, and the navy—contrasted with the gold text— lends itself well to his vision, as well.

2. Travis Scott’s ‘Astroworld’ (2018)
shop.travisscott.com

For an extremely limited time, Travis “La Flame” Scott released a ton of merchandise to promote his new album Astroworld—and from soup to nuts, this is some of the coolest music apparel on the market. Including a tie-dye tee, a denim jacket (with motorcycle patches) and a variety of tee shirts, sweatpants, ballcaps and more (like grinders), Travis Scott’s big Astroworld release is still one of the most in-demand tour merch packs out there.

1. Kanye West’s ‘Pablo’ (2016)
Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Bravado

I’m not sure there’s a single bigger merch release than Kanye’s The Life of Pablo tour gear when it hit the streets four years ago. Kanye opened around 21 pop-up shops around the globe, which is truly a feat in moving merch. According to Kanye they moved more than “$2 million worth” in just two days at a pop-up sale. In typical Kanye fashion, the Life of Pablo clothing line and album were debuted at Madison Square Garden during NY Fashion Week. As I’m sure you know, the resale on these pieces—which were created in collaboration with artist Cali Thornhill DeWitt—was through the roof.

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Leaders Style

Brkln Bloke Is the Sidewalk Streetwear Brand Making Waves

A bloke is a British slang for a man or a fellow. If you’ve lived in Brooklyn in the past ten years or so, you’ve probably seen or run into the Brkln Bloke himself. His real name is Wayne Fortune, and he is the man behind one of New York City’s most unique streetwear brands. 

Fortune hails from London, where his entrepreneurial spirit was born out of a love for performance and dance. He earned his first check at 13 by dancing for Adidas and immediately spent it on Jordans, which he enjoyed on the walk home from the store—until his mother made him return them because of their absurd price tag. 

Brkln Bloke has built its brand presence through a series of pop-up stores around New York and has become well known its disruptive street pop-up concept in multiple Brooklyn locations. Fortune creates an engaging and compelling boutique shopping experience that stands alone in this format. His raw hustle and “ground-up” style of connecting with consumers has embedded the Brkln Bloke brand as next in the minds of customers, locally and globally.

Fortune is one of those guys who naturally exudes a balance of self-confidence and humility that draws you in. His clothes, brand and the decisions he makes about where and when you see him embodies this aura. 

The designer and founder has lived in Brooklyn for a decade and has resided in many different neighborhoods but now calls an apartment within walking distance of Prospect Park in Prospect Leffert Gardens home. We tracked Fortune down on the streets and asked him our most pressing questions.

Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm
https://sarahjacobs.photoshelter.com/index

ONE37pm: You’ve lived in the states for a while now, what was growing up across the pond like?

Wayne Fortune: Growing up, hip-hop culture was everything. If I had any extra cash, I was buying the latest Big Daddy Kane album or trying to get my hands on some Jordans. Hip-hop culture was so expressive with colors—graffiti on the jeans. It’s certainly changed a lot, but the ability for customization is always something I understood.

You were living in Atlanta before New York. What made you move north?


Fortune: It took me three tries to live in New York before I found the right rhythm. In order to get that, you have to understand your community and feel the energy of the people. I was looking at the cultural evolution of Brooklyn, thinking, “Where is this going to go?” But in Atlanta, I spent a ton of time on Peter Street. You’d be in the studio and Nas would be right there, Young Jeezy is over there and the manager is in the car listening to new music. You can actually feel and touch people. I always wanted to maneuver in a way that was through genuine connections, because I believe you can move quicker and smarter that way. I used that energy and took it to Brooklyn.

Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm
https://sarahjacobs.photoshelter.com/index
Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm
https://sarahjacobs.photoshelter.com/index

How did you come up with the name BRKLN Bloke?

Fortune: I always liked Bloke because it’s an old British slang and it’s inclusive. It’s a love for your fellow man, speak-to-everybody type of vibe. I wanted to offer a modern statement. I had the chance to live in multiple places in Brooklyn and really connect and touch the people in different neighborhoods and communities.

What was the inspiration behind starting your own clothing brand?

Fortune: Growing up, I always wanted to dress clean. My mates and I were always competing to one-up each other. Eventually, we graduated to a real clean and simple look—that became the identity. That’s what success meant: where you got to a point where you didn’t have to pay so much attention to all the accessories of what you’re wearing you just simplified it. That’s the background for Brkln Bloke aesthetic and how I found my lane—just trying to be myself and what I thought brought cultures together.

What makes Brkln Bloke different from other streetwear brands?


Fortune: I really built the brand about the people, and I only want to showcase the people. That’s been my approach to everything that I’ve done. I’m from a time period where your uniqueness was everything. Everything I do at Brkln Bloke is more of a classic and sustainable look. The brand should represent the people, that’s who I’m doing it for. I’m doing it for the idea of culture, creativity and community.

Wayne Fortune of Brklyn Bloke

I’m doing it for the idea of culture, creativity and community.

Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm
https://sarahjacobs.photoshelter.com/index

How competitive is the New York City streetwear market?

Fortune: Unbelievably, stupidly competitive. I’m not an exclusive brand or a trendy brand. I don’t want customers lining up around the bloody building—my environment is all about something much more approachable and meaningful connection. My goal is to sustain that throughout the brand’s lifespan. I don’t want to compete with the Supremes of the world. The only way I can describe it is a classic and sustainable style.

What is your morning routine?

Fortune: I am up between 5 to 6 a.m., and I read or listen to an audiobook right away. I read a page a day of the author Og Mandino. After that, it’s going to be black coffee followed by a minimum 5K run outside. I get really focused on the run; I need that runner’s high. There’s just something I get out of running that I need. Then it’s off to work to do what I got to do.


What do you do to relax?

Fortune: To be an entrepreneur or a person that is driven by their passion is to live in a state of anxiety. Your mind is always triggered by something, especially if you’re doing it for yourself. So for me, it’s running—that is what allows me to keep me being Wayne and keeps me being able to do what I do.

What’re you listening to right now?

Fortune: Freddie Gibbs, Bandana; Dave East, Survival.

What advice would you give a future entrepreneur looking to get involved in streetwear?

Fortune: Try not to rush and try to soak up as much of the process as possible. Even guys that are technically ahead of me are making mistakes I would never make. Get one idea going and see if you can sell it 1,000 times. Then you know you’re in business. Once you have the product, all you should think about is positioning. I’ve only met people by being visible.

Where can someone find you?


Fortune: I’m currently in Williamsburg on Bedford Street and North 7th. You can find me on social media at @BrklnBloke.

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Leaders Style

Your Favorite Music Celeb’s Creative Director Just Dropped a Fresh New Collab

Jide Osifeso, a Southern California native, is the founder and designer of HYMNE, a Los Angeles-based clothing brand and design studio. Osifeso is most known for his work with mega music stars and global brands like Kendrick Lamar, Jaden Smith, SZA and Nike.

Now, Osifeso collaborated with Reigning Champ on a limited-edition release called “Weeping Eye.” Inspired by the Pacific Northwest—Reigning Champ’s hometown—the collection is utilitarian and athletic. 

“I wanted to explore what it means to become a victor,” said Osifeso in a press release. “I’m interested in the internal struggles to become a champion of your own life. You know the term ‘smile now, cry later?’ I started this project during a time in my life where I was at the ‘cry later’ part,’ and it’s often here where one starts the process of realizing a change is needed.” The limited-edition collection will be available starting Nov. 21 and retails for between $115 and $550.

ONE37pm had the chance to ask Osifeso a few entrepreneurial questions about what inspires his grind and how he finds inspiration. Take a look.

Photo Courtesy of Reigning Champ x Jide Osifeso
Photo Courtesy of Reigning Champ x Jide Osifeso

ONE37pm: How did this collab with Reigning Champ come together?

Jide Osifeso: I had conversations about products and processes in a general sense several times over the years with Reigning Champ. Our approach to design and business seemed to be pretty complementary. One day, the then brand manager at Reigning Champ asked if I’d be open to doing a guest designer line. We then pretty quickly got to work. 

Can you elaborate on what the collection’s title, “Weeping Eye,” means in your life and your daily grind? 

Osifeso: Weeping Eye is two things: It’s about the rainy climate of the Pacific Northwest and the way I feel when I’m there; It’s a somber and calming place, I love it. Weeping Eye also represents the theme of loss or defeat. When I sat down and thought about what I wanted to say with the Reigning Champ partnership, I tried to dissect what it is to be champion. I found that the formula contains both wins and losses. A hero is a victory preceded by a fair share of defeat. Weeping Eye is the first step. 

What’s your top advice for young creatives looking to blaze a similar trail?

Osifeso: Don’t be afraid to go your own way. There’s a “follow the leader” mentality that is easy to imitate when you’re just starting. I still believe that having your perspective is the way to achieve real success. True success is to be great, not necessarily to have the most money or accolades. Hopefully, those come with it, but first, you must master your craft your way.

Lastly, what are your go-to books and mentors you lean on for inspiration and motivation when you need a spark?

Osifeso: There’s so many, but I’ll name a few. At the moment, I’m reading a book called The New Black Vanguard by Antwaun Sargent that I love right now. It captures the new wave of influential contemporary artists doing great work. I get inspired every time I open it up. For real clothing inspiration, I loved a Japanese magazine called HUGE in the early and mid-2000s. I have an unreasonable amount of their print issues in my garage that I go back to and reference often. I read a book by Kenya Hara called White a while ago that I often reference when starting a new project. It details the design and communication ethos that I share. I use it as a point of reference when I need to clear my mind.

Photo Courtesy of Reigning Champ x Jide Osifeso
Photo Courtesy of Reigning Champ x Jide Osifeso
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Leaders Style

7 Streetwear Brands with Lasting Power

Hypebeast culture is anything but a marketing ploy. In October 2018, Fashionista reported that resellers like GOAT, Grailed, Stadium Goods, Hypebeast and more had received approximately $179.8 million in investor-backed funding collectively over the past few years.

Streetwear has transformed our sense of what it means to be high fashion, and hype is a reflection of modern culture. With the drop business model built on a paradoxical sense of perceived scarcity and inclusivity, streetwear brands underscore the fundamental purpose of fashion: to express our needs for individual and communal creativity. 

Today, few brands are forging the path for other streetwear companies and designers to follow. Here are seven brands that have succeeded in the streetwear space and aren’t going to disappear any time soon.

7. BAPE

Otherwise known as A Bathing Ape, this beloved label is one of the original streetwear brands. The company was founded in 1993 by DJ and record producer Nigo, who said the brand’s name is a sarcastic reference to the Japanese idiom “a bathing ape in lukewarm water,” a phrase describing someone who overindulges. 

From belt bags to bomber jackets and home decor products, the site is swarming with all things camouflage this season. With this pattern set to be one of fall’s hottest trends, it’s easy to justify making another purchase—and why BAPE is a leader in the space.

6. Billionaire Boys Club

What brings more joy than new clothes and ice cream? It seems that Pharrell Williams always knows how to keep his fans happy. Founded in 2003, the artist partnered with Nigo to create an international streetwear brand known as BBC Ice Cream. 

Comprised of staple graphic tees, elevated tracksuits and hoodies, products from the brand’s core lines and frequent collaboration drops are sure to be staples in your transitional fall wardrobe.

5. Kappa

Best known for its logo-embossed tracksuits, the Italian sportswear brand has made a strong comeback over the past few seasons. Aside from the core collections, the company often collaborates with brands both within and outside of the fashion industry. The label has created capsule collections alongside the likes of Disney, Gumball 3000, K-Way and Marcelo Burlon. 

This brand’s products are a must-buy for those wanting casual streetwear clothes that are equally comfortable and chic.

4. Keiser Clark

For those who prefer a more refined, elevated style yet still want to partake in the streetwear hype, look no further than this emerging label. Only in its second collection, this brand quickly is proving that its one to watch. With a dark aesthetic, Keiser Clark’s brand codes are instantly recognizable: leopard print, crisp piping, glitter detailing (that doesn’t transfer) and the signature

“Creatures of the Night” slogan. 

In sharp silhouettes, these edgy pieces surely will be staples in your wardrobe for years to come.

3. Kith

Starting his career in the footwear industry at 13 and becoming the head buyer by 25 at his second cousin’s store, David Z, Ronnie Fieg has long understood which styles resonate with consumers. The young entrepreneur ventured out on his own in 2011, bringing a fresh approach to the sneaker market. 

Fast-forward eight years and Kith is one of the fashion industry’s most influential brands, shaping modern streetwear culture. Through the brand’s creation and curation prowess, the retailer has mastered the art of the exclusive, collaborating with many organizations ranging from Bergdorf Goodman to Disney and Coca-Cola. 

Whether you’re in the market for a novelty soft serve ice cream experience or some new clothes, you’re always in for a treat when shopping at this retailer.

2. Noah

Founded on sustainability, transparency and social responsibility, Noah brings a refreshing, much-needed voice to the streetwear market. Aligning with the label’s mission to “promote goodness” and “challenge conventional wisdom,” the brand continuously educates its consumers on its supply chain. On Noah’s blog, the company covers various aspects of the business ranging from how they price their items to the production conditions.

Noah is made to last, and buying into this streetwear label is good for your closet and conscious.

1. Supreme

As the category’s OG brand, no list of must-know streetwear brands would be complete without the inclusion of Supreme. With a new drop every Thursday, it seems that label loyalists cannot get enough of the company’s merchandise.

Whether you decide to queue up on the corner of Bowery in New York City or visit the various reseller listings, Supreme is a must on your streetwear radar.