Best Of Brands 2007 Feature
2007 was a big year in Streetwear, a transition into a new generation of streetwear brands making their mark, an older generation moving into a new direction and of course further growth of our niche economically and demographically, we don’t just cover streetwear here at Slam though, when we speak of brands and those who made a big impact in 2007 we have to consider all aspects of Pop culture, Apple’s moves within the year are an example of a brand name going from strength to strength. Have a look at what some of our friends and bloggers thought of the year thats been as far as which brands had a great year and why….
Fuct, I can’t think of a brand in my lifetime that has made as big an impact in one year than Fuct did throughout 2007, and interestingly kept its high standard of quality and respect throughout all that growth. Erik Brunetti’s decision to restrict production to Japan and availability of cut and sew to Japan has ensured that the brand will be kept in good steed in years to come as it continues to make one of the most impressive comebacks from any fashion or streetwear brand in some time.
Visvim, in an era where streetwear has become criticised for its lack of quality and inventiveness, Visvim has done nothing but provide the highest standards of quality and continue to create strong trends and a brand which has acquired a cult following. 2007 is merely a continuation of their good work, but with ongoing colaborations with the likes of Comme Des Garcons and others its obvious what direction they are headed, finding that gap between streetwear and fashion so sorely needed, as I expect the likes of Soph, Headporter Plus and Uniform Experiment to be a part of this movement too. Im always a big fan of Undercover, Margiela and Comme all had great years, it was great to see comebacks from Fergadelics Tonite and Moncler also.
One of my favorite brands every year is Visvim. They have great quality, witty twists to conventional pieces and inovative/ imaginative design. Not to mention the fact that it’s rather hard to find so you can usually rest assured that there aren’t too many other heads out there bitting! I am also a big fan of Wtaps and I feel like this season was one of their best. They did a whole season around the rude boy look from the late 70′s early 80′s scene in the UK… and they killed it. A lot of old W)taps dudes who hadn’t been shopping lately, came out the closet for this season (nohomo).
In June I visited New Orleans and it blew my mind. Unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons. As you know, Hurricane Katrina utterly devastated a city and with it, its inhabitants. Yet nearly two years later the city is still a living, breathing disaster. Everywhere you look there are remnants of what was once one of the most vibrant and culturally important cities in the US. Now, a barren wasteland bound and gagged by an absent government that is more focused on destroying foreign lands rather than rebuilding its own, there is little to no hope that it can be reformed to its former state. That said, there is one brand that is trying to piece it together one house at a time.
Make It Right is a non-profit organization that is committed to building affordable, green housing in the heart of the Lower 9th Ward. Built from the ground up through public donation the program is an attempt to bring a level of normalcy back to the city and the lives of those who live there. In addition, it also serves a model that can be replicated across the city.
I would choose 10Deep reason being the band width the brand has is ridiculous. The gamut of people who wear the brand is as diverse and eclectic as any I have ever seen in "Street Wear" and the innovative designs and heady graphics make them my personal fav. I also really dig there new line Division, which is headier, more mature and totally fresh.
An honorable mention would be Haze. Seeing his brand remerge has been a tremendous thing to watch.
Best brand is so hard but as a t-shirt label Rockers NYC have made the best most directional tees this year for sure.
I would have to say Supreme.
I am partial to brands that offer both consistency and longevity: Supreme has both. James and Eddie have done a great job of keeping the brands image and integrity intact over the years (since its conception in the early 90′s). The brand only aligns itself with other respectable brands in the US and over seas; ( i.e. NBHD, WTAPS, etc…)
Supreme has produced, in my opinion, the best artist-label collaborations, and have integrated the brand into the real art world. (Terry Richardson, Richard Prince, Larry Clark, Vincent Gallo, Barbara Kruger…etc..) Supreme has repeatedly worked closely with artist and brands that are unattainable for most other brands in this industry. They are one of the few brands that started out as a skateboard related brand, and have been able to maintain facets of other subcultures without ever losing the respect of the skateboarding community. I have been wearing Supreme since the 90′s and still do today. Supreme is the blue print of a great streetwear label.
Best Brand this year has been Visvim at least for me. I think they are managing to carve out a place of their own, that lies between high fashion and street that has a simplicity, attention to detail and wearability that suits a slightly more mature customer like myself as well as the younger crowd.
In a market dominated by graphics and loud statements it just feels more appealing and a progression, although for some perhaps younger consumers it may be a little too subtle or even seem boring. Other honorable mentions would be Undercover, Junya Watanabe, and I have to say Nike is beginning to move in the right direction beginning with Tech pack which still can and will evolve and get stronger.
Uniqlo is the clear cut winner for me. Each and every trip I make to Tokyo or Hong Kong I load up on the essentials from Uniqlo. Cardigans, crews, tee’s, jeans, underwear, polo’s, dress shirts, and socks?my closet is almost entirely Uniqlo. What I like so much about Uniqlo is the fact that they consistently make quality timeless clothing at prices that allow you to buy more than one piece at a time. To top it off, there is zero branding, which is very important to me right now. I’m getting older, stuck somewhere between wearing Visvim and some goofy streetwear line, with nothing feeling quite right. Uniqlo comes the closest. Another reason that Uniqlo makes it to the top of my list is the fact that the nearest store to where I live is thousands of miles away and in some weird way feels exotic to me.
Right now I’m not wearing graphic t-shirts. There are so many awful tee brands out right now essentially making the same shirt. Limited edition, collaborating with some other stupid tee brand, referencing the same pop culture shit. Its horrible, its played out, and its boring. RockersNYC stands out in this world of streetwear mediocrity with meaningful graphics and quality cut & sew. Sean is so passionate about what he does, and it shows in his products. EvolEyes was hands down the best print of the year.
DR. Romanelli. Hands down. DRX continues to innovate through design, premium materials, and brilliant collaborations. With each collection, he manages to tell you a story. Whether it be the vintage Nike reconstructs, the June 13th collab with Jose Parla, DRX-Maharishi-Andrew Brandou collection, Surgical Strike, the Maharishi and Lupe colection, the FCRB, or the Sophnet collection. The list goes on and on and on. Asides from looking fresh, his jackets feel like butter with the silk printed linings. The juxtaposition of vintage against the new is amazing. I always look forward to seeing each collection come out and am consistently amazed at the freshness of his work. When you think of fashion designers as artists, then Dr. Romanelli is at the top of the list.
For me the term "best" is quite difficult to grasp. What does "best" actually mean? Taking this term seriously – maybe a bit too seriously
- this would involve:
* distribution and
* consistency – in all of the above.
Even though some of my favourites are actually the best in design, production, and pricing, communication and distribution could still be improved a bit. I think that with today’s global high-speed information culture, this is a very important aspect. Sometimes products are shown too early, or shown to people who will never be able to get what they see, even if they tried. This can get quite frustrating.
Acronym is the brand that is performing quite well in the mentioned categories. The people behind it have a good perception of the market and how to communicate (or not communicate for that matter). It is always a surprise to see their new products and, yes, the clothing is just fantastic. One might argue that pricing is their weak spot, but
when considering that it’s almost bespoke tailoring, then it is quite reasonable.
I’d say, W)Taps. Tet’s philosophy behind the brand is awe inspiring "Placing things where they should be" evident in the brand’s output. Need i really say more? Attention to detail, quality, over-all feel and placement is apparent with the many high-end japanese street brands but with WTAPS there’s just this lil "UMPH" that consistently pushes it to the front for me.
Its hard to pick one brand that covers all the things I like in a brand, I usually like some for the logos and illustrations as well and others for the cut of the clothes. If i had to pick only one I would choose two W)Taps & Neighborhood for the typography and designs on the garments as well as the cut & sew of the clothes appeal to me. I like Answer because its graphics always have a message and the brand is produced by some of my favourite people. RVCA for its typographic executions on garments as well as the artists showcased. Rebel 8 I like for its typography and illustration. Honorable Mentions in no particular order include Supreme, Visvim, Alife, SSUR,Stussy, PAM, Bounty Hunter, Maharishi
Independent Trucks, file this under ‘Holding it Down’. For around thirty years Indy has built a legacy based on integrity, quality, and rock solid branding. The history of skateboarding runs parallel with this companies own story. I can’t remember an era when Indy fell prey to a fleeting fad or fashion of the day. The design of their ads is the best in Thrasher every month (OK, maybe second to Anti Hero). Being someone who has been a part of building several brands, I am in awe of how they have managed to build around this one product, a skateboard component, based on a few principals…
1.Trucks are metal, make them strong.
2.You need to turn, make them turn the best.
3.Guarantee them for life against defects.
4. Offer a range of sizes for every type of skateboarder.
5. Sponsor the best, most core skaters in the world and use them to represent commitment
6. Don’t stop doing 1-5
‘I see kids on tour and everywhere I go, I look at their board and right away I’m like “What are you doing? You gotta ride Indys from this day on…Promise me!” – Andrew Reynolds
Visvim: They have elevated basic gear up a notch or two, or three.???
A perfect mix or luxury and wearability. The clothing and shoes have all the correct reference points matched with a great sense of material use blended with a design awareness that is at the pinnacle of contemporary taste.
Yes yes world…I would have to say my favorite brand this year is Phenomenon!!! The reason being I love the way they use color…plus they use the illest fabrics & they are really good with details! What’s really important to me is that they have fun with what they create, & this can be seen in their creations. Fashion should be fun!!!
I’d say Maison Margiela. The Margiela team has consistently created thoughtful quality product with carefully considered details. I find it the perfect blend of form and function.
THAT & they also intelligently incorporate world issues and trends into their design process as well… For instance – recycling old mittens into a winter coat & creating shoes for men that look like they’ve been worn for 20 years. In my view, Maison Margiela are a designer’s design. I’ve seen it first hand – in my fashion work… especially in regard to consulting brands in advertising and style trend analysis – I’ve consistenly seen and heard Designers reference the work and standard that Martin Margiela do. Frequently they are cited for their craftsmenship!
Flat out, Garbstore, by a long shot.
I find this a hard question to answer though, as I am not particularly interested in fashion per se. I like what I like no matter what brand it is from, I have little to no brand loyalty. Garbstore, I must admit though, makes clothes that I like, a lot, the fit me very well, I feel comfortable in them, the quality is superb and like the whole vibe about it. Other brands that need to be mentioned though are: Idiom, Tenderloin, Levi’s Vintage, Carhartt Europe-I tend to wear those brands a lot.
In my opinion, I will choose Mastermind Japan. Maybe many people didnt know, 2007 is already 10th anniversary of Mastermind Japan. Although they are not the brand grow fast within few years, but they still keep on their idealism, keep using skull with little bit rock style as their signature piece. They are selling expensive with high quality. At First, not much shop willing to carry their product, only Maxfield at LA and Loveless at Japan (some high class fashion selected shop). Finally, their hard work become successful. They made some skull graphics and pattern become popular in year 2007, they wake up the trend of skull again, many fashion brand had using some skull graphics and pattern in there collections. I really respect of their hard working.
For me it would have to be Visvim, for their attention to detail and understated, beautiful production. Their collborations with Undercover were very nice too.