American Icons….

Anyone not familiar with the early 90’s skate scene will be wondering why my blog’s called Blind American Icons, well all will be revealed…

It was quite a rash decision coming up with the name, taking all of 30 seconds deliberation, but I’m an impatient fuck and couldn’t wait to think of anything better, so it’ll have to do….

Take a guess………………..no it isn’t about Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder, as awesome as they are, it’s a reference to an early Blind Skateboards graphic for Jason Lee produced around 199o by the artist Marc McKee. I never owned this deck, but it’s still one of my favourite graphics, take a good look,  you’ll soon work out why it’s called ‘American Icons’.

An original deck (above) will set you back several thousand, if you’re lucky enough to come across one. For me the next best thing is the deck below, arrived recently courtesy of good ‘ol ebay USA and will make a great place holder until the real thing comes along (dream on!)

It’s a Blind Ronnie Creager from 2007, released on an old school shape with replica graphics, only difference being Ronnie’s name instead of Jason Lee’s featured on the TV on the nose.

Cliche Skateboards are releasing an updated version of this iconic graphic, with artwork produced by the original artist Marc Mckee and putting a modern noughties spin on the graphic theme. The six pack of beers have been replaced by prescription pills, an Ipad replaces the bible, and an Iphone takes the place of the TV. Pretty clever stuff, releases in limited numbers in December, already got my order in…….

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Carrington

Spent a really enjoyable and educational day touring the Carrington fabrics site in Preston yesterday.

Carrington Career & Workwear Ltd is the largest supplier of workwear and technical fabrics in the U.K, and one of the market leaders in Europe. They specialise in designing and developing fabrics across a wide spectrum of end uses, including military camouflage prints, which I found particularly fascinating.

Until you see the whole process, from the raw cotton material coming in to the finished fabric coming out, you can’t imagine just what goes into creating the clothes we wear, from the manufacturing process itself to the chemistry involved in fixing the dye to the cotton.

My pics don’t do this place justice, I shot hundreds of images but unfortunately my camera’s playing up so very few came out, my original intention being to document the entire process from goods in to finished fabric shipping out the other end. Oh well, always next time…

Visvim Arbath Moc

Really taken with this image from the Visvim S/S 10 lookbook, in fact so taken I spent a months rent on the featured shoes, the Visvim Arbath Mocs. Luckily, instead of dropping £400+ for a pair of shoes imported from Japan that don’t actually fit, Hip in Leeds now stock Visvim, one of only 4 stockists in the UK and the only one oop North.

It’s a good job I did try before buying as they fit incredibly small, I’m a UK9 in pretty much every brand, going down to a UK8 in most formal shoes, but had to for the first time ever by a UK10 for a comfortable fit. Very strange, I already own a couple of Visvim FBT’s that fit perfectly in a UK9, as these are a slip-on style I expected, as is usually the case, they would fit large not small….. Lesson one, when dropping big bucks always try before you buy..

Lesson two, haggle hard with the sales assistant, most people are too embarrassed, I say screw that, always works for me and did this time too, softens the blow to the wallet..

Mike Vallely

As mentioned in a previous post, Mike Vallely has always been a bit of a hero of mine and was the first pro board I ever bought back in the late 80’s. My hunt for this deck (old man trying to buy back his youth!) involves daily scours of ebay, which brought me to Mike V’s personal ebay page where he sells merchandise for his band and very occasionally the odd piece from his personal archive (decks often reach $2,000+ when they are from the early 90’s when he skated for World Industries).

The Mike Vallely animal man is another early World Industries classic graphic, which came out around ’92 I believe. When I saw Mike V was selling an early 90’s World Industries Hooded top from his own personal collection featuring the animal man graphic I just had to bid, it’s a piece of skate history, to me it’s like getting hold of Diego Maradona’s boots or something.. (but better!)

I really didn’t expect to get anywhere near, expecting big bucks, so was beyond happy to find I won the auction at a mere $61, a fraction of my maximum bid. Having been outbid on loads of skate memorabilia auctions recently I was so happy to get this. Even better, as can be seen on the first photo, I struck up a bit of email chat with the man himself, resulting in the signed picture. Can’t beat that, good on ya Mr V, ‘never give up’, right back ‘atcha!

Don’t know if I can bring myself to wear it, toying with the idea of framing it along with the signed picture and the custom label that came with the package (filled in by Mike, and containing his home address in Cali)

Carhartt

I’ve always been a big fan of Carhartt going back to the early 90’s, their clothing being adopted by many US pro skaters due to its hard wearing nature and cheap price points (rip off Britain of course swaps the $ for a £, not such a bargain over here as ever…)

At first I probably assumed it was a skate brand such was it’s popularity back then (along with other US workwear brands like Dickies). Now I work in the workwear market I know far more about the brands history, adding more respect and a greater appreciation for the brand and its long rich heritage.

This week sees the release of the 4th volume of their Brand Book, highlighting the Fall/Winter 2010 Collection, including the A.P.C. collaboration (APC being another of my fave brands it’s a great partnership for me). Film director Matthieu Kassowitz also gets an extensive feature in the magazine.

New wood……………..

My once spanking new Girl Guy Mariano shark attack board is now past its sell by date, ready to retire it for a new board, what a shame, hate having to buy new boards (yeah, right!)

Decided on something different this time, I’ve always been loyal to the Girl brand but fancied a change so went for flavour of the month brand, choosing a Real deck. Still kept things old school though by going for an old pro model, James Kelch’s tribute deck reissuing a graphic from the early 90’s based on one of the ‘Madchester’ band James old T-shirt graphics (which I also funnily enough owned in black around 1990, never liked the band but anything Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets, Charlatans related was the shit back then..)

Things haven’t been good for Kelch lately, touched on in a recent episode of VBS TV’s Epicly Later’d, which makes the note on the top graphic of the board make sense having watched the episode..

Adidas Skate Mark Gonzales

I picked up a pair of the new Mark Gonzales Skate the other day from the always great Endemic in Huddersfield,  can guarantee they’ll always have something new in stock whenever you visit, never disappoint.

They have a great shape, just on the right side of protected, offering a slim silhouette but with the right amount of padding on the tongue to make them function as a skate shoe (nothing worse than chunky skate shoes…)

Always worth supporting the Gonz, anything with his name attached is gonna be quality in my book..

Mark at his finest in the 1991 Blind video, video days:

looking forward also to the new colourway of Silas’s first pro model & the skate in dark navy/Argentina blue colourway (available to pre-order from Scene in Preston). Adidas are killing it lately, ahead of Nike SB in new model design for sure.

Travel – Morocco

Above, Mick Jagger in a portrait shot taken by society photographer and painter Cecil Beaton in Morocco, March 1967. Keith also photographed in the same location, the El Minazh hotel in Tangiers. ‘Keith Richards, in 18th-century suit, long black velvet coat and the tightest pants, and of course Mick Jagger. He is sexy but completely sexless, he could nearly be a eunuch’ wrote Cecil Beaton.

I’ve always wanted to visit Morocco, as a Stones obsessive I love reading about their adventures driving down in Keith’s Rolls in the mid sixties, above pictures and text taken from the excellent book Mick & Keith by Chris Salewicz, highly recommend to any Stones fans..

I finally got the opportunity to visit Morocco last month whilst visiting factories for work, staying for 3 days in the capital Rabat’s only 5 star hotel, super nice. Happy to report Morocco didn’t disappoint, I’ll certainly be visiting for pleasure as soon as possible. For a relatively short flight, around 3 hours from Paris, you really feel like you’re in another world and time. There aren’t many parts of the world that still give you that feeling, but Morocco is certainly one of them..

As a buyer I couldn’t resist partaking in the local sport of haggling with the locals at the market, bagging myself a quality toy leather camel with rider for a souvenir for around £3.50! I would’ve bought one of the incredible locally produced rugs had I been able to get the thing home, amazing quality & craftsmanship at bargain basement prices.

The only down side to the trip was the hassle of immigration at Rabat airport, it really is like going back in time, very rare to get your passport stamped anywhere these days, here they stamp it on no less than 3 separate occasions for no discernable reason (plus flying from Paris always sucks, Charles De Gaulle airport has to be the worst major international airport, always a chore spending any length of time there..)

The local beer, Casablanca, is well worth all the hassle though when you finally arrive at your hotel…………….


Vans Zero Lo

I love parcels, nothing better, so you can imagine my delight when these beauties showed up courtesy of the good folk at flatspot (always impeccable service)

I’m a sucker for a pair of Vans ever since my first pair of chukka’s, couldn’t count the number of pairs I’ve had over the years, but these ones are a little special…

The Zero Lo is a completely new model designed  by Luke Meier of Supreme fame, taking as inspiration classic features usually found on formal dress shoes. Premium suede has been used on the upper (buttery smooth), with the side reinforcement ollie patch made from a beautiful premium leather.

All comes packaged perfectly in a white draw style box with white cotton shoe bag. I went for the tan colourway, but sorely tempted by the dark burgandy too……