follow us in feedly
The wild wild world of Japanese rebel biker culture
05.28.2015
11:50 am

Topics:
Fashion
History
Pop Culture

Tags:

Former bosozuku leader, Kazuhiro Hazuki
 

“I was interested in them because they were punks and they were against society.”—Kazuhiro Hazuki, Narushino Specter gang

 
Back in the 1970s the term bōsōzoku (or “speed tribes”) was first used to describe Japanese biker gangs that routinely fought in the streets with rival gangs and the police. Often dressed like Kamikaze pilots, the bōsōzoku wreaked havoc speeding through the streets on their illegally modified bikes, blowing through red lights, and smashing the car windows of any motorist that dared defy them with baseball bats. Foreigners were an especially favorite target of the bōsōzoku’s aggression.
 
Bosozuku photo from a Japanese biker magazine with modified bike and helmet
Bōsōzoku biker with illegally modified bike and helmet (taken from a Japanese biker magazine)
 
Bosozuku bikers, 1970's
Bōsōzoku bikers, 1970’s
 
Bosozuku biker with his bike and bat, 1980's
Bōsōzoku biker, 1980’s
 
Bosozuku biker with bike and bat
 
The earliest incarnation of the bōsōzoku, the kaminari zoku, appeared in the 1950’s. Not unlike their idols from the films, The Wild Ones or Rebel Without a Cause, the group was formed by the youthful and disenchanted members of Japan’s proletariat, and the gang provided a place for the emerging delinquents to call their own. A fiercely disciplined and rebellious group, the bōsōzoku once boasted more than 40,000 members. By 2003 the bōsōzoku’s numbers had dwindled to just over 7000. According to first-hand accounts from former senior members, the modern version of the bōsōzoku (known as Kyushakai) no longer embody the rebel spirit of their predecessors. In fact, some have returned to homaging their rockabilly idols by donning elaborate Riizentos, a style of pompadour synonymous with disobedience. These days many ex-bōsōzoku parade around on their bikes in non-disruptive groups and enjoy dancing, performing music and socializing in groups in Harajuku, an area well known for its outrageous fashion.
 
Harajuku Black Shadow dancers (ex-bosozuku), 2008
Harajuku Black Shadow dancers (ex-bōsōzoku), hanging out in Harajuku, 2008
 
Ex-Bosozuku hanging out in Harajuku, 2008
 
Many factors are to blame for the demise of the traditional bosozuku. A former leader of from the Narushino Specter gang in the 90s (and one time Yakuza loan shark), Kazuhiro Hazuki recalls that the police were once content to allow the bōsōzoku to run riot and no matter how many times they were arrested, a gang member never had their license revoked. Over the years, revised traffic laws have led to a rise in the arrest and prosecution of the bōsōzoku. Some also point to the inclusion of women as bōsōzoku riders, now a common sight in Japan, and a less than robust economy (many bōsōzoku bikes can cost as much as ten grand) for the drastic reduction in the gang’s numbers.
 
Modern day Bosozuku
Modern-day bōsōzoku
 
Bosozuku biker girl
 
Modern Kyushakai bikers
Modern Kyushakai bikers
 
If this post has piqued your interest of vintage Japanese biker culture, there are several documentaries and films based on the bōsōzoku and other speed tribes in Japan, such as 1976’s God Speed You! Black Emperor, 2012’s Sayonara Speed Tribes, a short documentary that features historical perspective from the aforementioned Kazuhiro Hazuki, or the series of films from director Teruo Ishii based on the bōsōzoku that began in 1975 with, Detonation! Violent Riders. If you are a fan of Japanese anime, the story told in the cult film Akira deeply parallels the real world of the bōsōzoku in their heyday. Many images of the bōsōzoku of the past and their mind-boggling motorcycles follow.
 
Bosozuku biker, early 1970's
Bōsōzoku biker, early 1970’s
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Vintage photos of ‘drag queens’ before it was safe to be out and proud
05.22.2015
11:20 am

Topics:
Fashion
History
Queer

Tags:


Brigham Morris Young
 
Here’s a collection of historical “drag queens” dating back to the 1800s and then onwards. The reason I’m using “drag queen” in double quotes is because I’m not entirely sure if these people were transgender, cross-dressers, dressing up as women for theatrical purposes or just for the of fun it. The information is very limited for each image. Either way, they’re all gorgeous and seem quite comfortable with themselves in front of a lens during a time when society looked down on such self-expression.


 

 

 

Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton AKA “Fanny and Stella.”
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Unsettling t-shirts and skateboard decks celebrating 20th anniversary of ‘Kids’
05.20.2015
12:30 pm

Topics:
Fashion
Movies
Sex

Tags:


 
That startling movie by Larry Clark and Harmony Korine, Kids, turns 20 years old this year, indeed older than all of its characters. It’s rare to see a movie with a worldview this bleak enter the popular discourse so brazenly, and that the movie is just as bracing now as it was then would tend to indicate that the conscious act of infecting someone with a fatal disease is never going to be anything less than a massive attention-getter.

Among its other virtues, Kids introduced the world to such talents as Chloë Sevigny and Rosario Dawson.

Supreme is offering a special suite of skateboard decks and shirts to celebrate the movie. The tees feature the movie’s closing summary statement—“Jesus Christ. What happened?”—on the back. The items are already available in L.A., London, and NYC, and online consumers get their first chance to buy them tomorrow (May 21).

Here’s Supreme’s somewhat literate press announcement:
 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Larry Clark’s debut film, KIDS, the portrayal of NYC youth’s escapades in the early 90’s. Some were offended by the raw and anarchic world Larry Clark documented, for those that weren’t, the film became an important document of the time, place and culture.

Through photographing skaters in NYC, Larry Clark came to meet the film’s writer, Harmony Korine and star, Leo Fitzpatrick. The rest of the cast was pieced together with a variety of downtown New York characters including original Supreme team riders Justin Pierce and Harold Hunter. It is a testament to KIDS cultural impact that it resonates today just as much as it did in 1995.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary, Supreme is proud to release a collection of items featuring stills from the iconic film KIDS. The Collection will consist of a Hooded Sweatshirt, Long Sleeved T-Shirt, two graphic T-Shirts, and three Skateboards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
via The World’s Best Ever

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Awesome, totally awesome: They put Jeff Spicoli’s shoes on Jeff Spicoli’s shoes
05.20.2015
05:47 am

Topics:
Fashion
Movies

Tags:


 
Man, when I was a kid EVERYONE wanted a pair of checkerboard Vans just like Jeff Spicoli wore in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. At that moment in time, that was the epitome of cool.

But you know what’s a million times cooler than Jeff Spicoli’s pair of checkerboard Vans?

Jeff Spicoli’s checkerboard Vans on a pair of Vans!
 

“People on ‘ludes should not design shoes.”
 
The super-talented Alexis Winslow designed this pair for a charity art show. Her piece, “The Creation of Spicoli,” is a not-so-subtle homage to Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam,”  featuring Spicoli as Adam and, of course, Mr. Hand as God.
 

 
This pair is hand-painted and hand-embroidered.
 

 
The backs of the shoes feature the infamous Fast Times at Ridgemont High quotes, “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Dice,” and “Learn it, Know it, Live it.”
 

“What are you people? On DOPE?”

The artist’s website is here.

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Poppies, pot and flying saucers: A short intro to the fashion of Nudie Cohn, country music clothier
05.13.2015
08:31 am

Topics:
Fashion

Tags:


 
There is an impression of country music as wholesome, simple, and rooted in the conservative values of middle America and the South. One of the many counters to that argument is Nudie Cohn and his Hollywood-sewn “Nudie suits.” These fashion masterpieces are all excess, sometimes with sexy images of naked ladies, pot leaves, pills and poppies, worn by everyone from Hank Williams to Keith Richards to Ronald Reagan. On top of all of that seedy flash, the sequence and flourish is downright camp—he designed for Liberace, and check out the Nudie suit that Elton John wore in this ad for “Rocket Man.”
 

 
Nudie’s beginnings were far humbler than the “country luxury” aesthetic he came to create. Born in 1902 in Ukraine, Nuta Kotlyarenko was so poor that he often had mismatched shoes collected from cast-offs (an indignity he later paid homage to by intentionally wearing mismatched boots—though generally of his own high-end custom design). After immigrating to America and changing his name at age 11, Cohn followed in his boot-maker father’s footsteps and apprenticed as a tailor. In 1940, he and his wife moved to LA and started Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors in their garage, quickly becoming the preferred couturier of the country music scene.
 

Hank Williams
 
Nudie Cohn’s influence went way beyond country though. As he adapted with the 1960s counterculture, his work became even more subversive—the “pot, pills and poppies suit” he made for Gram Parsons (see below) is one example, but was not the only time Cohn used druggy imagery. What made his work impressive though—be it the (supposedly $10,000 suit that cost $50 to make) gold lamé suit he made for Elvis or his own insane custom 1964 Pontiac Bonneville—was not only the over-the-top styling, but the sheer attention to detail and quality craftsmanship of a custom Nudie suit festooned with rhinestones or embroidery. His work has been so influential, obvious imitations rarely measure up, and the glitz and eccentricity of the Nudie Suit was essentially retired after his death in 1984. Nudie suits are highly collectible. Notable collections of Nudie suits have been amassed by actor Vincent Gallo and the late Dennis Hopper.
 

 

Helen “Bobbie Nudie” Cohn in custom gown
 

Roswell-themed suit with UFOs made for Keith Richards
 
More Nudie after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
See Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe, locked away for 50 years
05.06.2015
11:43 am

Topics:
Art
Fashion

Tags:


Traditional Tehuana dress
 
Anyone with the remotest familiarity with the paintings of Frida Kahlo will have noticed that one of her primary subjects is her own physical pain and the fragility of her own body, especially after a life-altering accident with a bus that occurred in 1925. In that accident, the bus she was riding on collided with a trolley car, and the list of the ailments that resulted would give even the staunchest stoic pause: a broken spinal column, a broken collarbone, several broken ribs, a broken pelvis, eleven fractures in her right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, a dislocated shoulder; an iron handrail pierced her abdomen and her uterus as well.

It wasn’t just her paintings that referenced her broken body (Tree of Hope, 1946, is a good example); her wardrobe inevitably did as well. Her clothes were an expression of her indomitable will as much as anything else—she was determined to live a fulfilled, independent, and creative life, and thus created for herself ad hoc clothes that fused skirts and corset or prosthetic leg and boot, and accommodated her misshapen, asymmetrical legs (as a result of which, she wore long, traditional Tehuana dresses to conceal her lower body). She painted on her body casts (one of them has the Communist hammer and sickle on it).

After Kahlo’s death in 1954, her husband Diego Rivera shut her belongings in a bathroom at their Mexico City home, the Blue House, the marvelous house they shared—and then insisted that it be locked up until 15 years after his death (which, in the event, happened in 1957). In fact, the room wasn’t opened until 2004, when Ishiuchi Miyako was given permission to photograph its intimate contents. The photographs will be on display at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London from May 14 through July 12.

The best thing that could happen to the Internet right now would be for Etsy to become infected with Kahlo’s distinctive clothing aesthetic. This is a style icon!
 

Cats-eye glasses
 

Full body cast/skirt
 
More of Frida’s fashion, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Super sexy, futuristic couture cosplay
05.04.2015
11:25 am

Topics:
Art
Fashion
Pop Culture

Tags:

Divamp Mohawk Helmet
 
Designer Boyd Baton has been crafting his dystopian designs for over 20 years in Barcelona, Spain. While attending school in his native Holland in the early 90’s, Baton found himself smack in the midst of the emerging Acid House dance scene and started making hand-painted T-shirts and costumes for his friends and the club kids. One of Baton’s first creations was a bra made from mirrored PVC, a fab fabric that he still incorporates into the futuristic looks that are a part of his label Divamp Couture which Baton launched in 2013.
 
Divamp Alien Helmet
 
While Baton says he admires the work of designers like Thierry Mugler and Jean-Paul Gaultier, he credits Mother Nature as his true muse. Since I’m pretty sure Barcelona is located on planet Earth, I find Baton’s nod to nature a bit confusing. Sadly, the truth is that I’ve never been to Barcelona. So I must suspend my disbelief that some areas of the city are inhabited by extras from Mad Max. But I digress.
 
Divamp Mohawk Helmet and Armor
 
Baton’s extreme duds are made from flexible mirrored PVC sewn onto a fabric lining. So they only look like they would repel bullets or protect you from a surprise roadside attack by The Acolytes. Also, if while looking through some of the images that follow of Baton’s sci-fi handy work you think that you’ve just found the perfect get up for Halloween this year, forget it. Baton’s more involved designs cost over a grand, and smaller pieces like this spiny armor for your arm will run you a few hundred dollars. Let’s face it, if you want to look like the alternate universe version of the Plasmatics (and who doesn’t?), it isn’t going to come cheap. If you’re currently in Barcelona, Baton’s work can be seen and purchased in at his brick and mortar store located on the popular shopping street, Carrer Petritxol.
 
Divamp Mask and Armor
 
Divamp Mirrored Hair
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Movin’ with Nancy’: Go-go boots, miniskirts, eyeliner and Nancy Sinatra
04.27.2015
01:28 pm

Topics:
Fashion
Music
Television

Tags:


 
Although it certainly can’t hurt when your father owns the record company, Nancy Sinatra wouldn’t have sold millions of records in the 1960s if she wasn’t putting out great pop music. In fact, had Sinatra not met songwriter/producer Lee Hazlewood, she might’ve been dropped, even by Reprise. Nepotism only goes so far (just ask her brother) and Sinatra’s early attempts at the pop charts went nowhere. Hazlewood had her sing in a lower key and tailored her material for a straight-talkin’ sassy “hip” image that was closely associated with go-go boots, eyeliner and miniskirts. Together they had a long string of chart-topping hit records, most sung by Nancy, but still some were duets they recorded together.
 

 
1967’s NBC TV special Movin’ With Nancy was produced at the height of Sinatra’s career and featured guest appearances from her father, his pals Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., as well as an onscreen appearance by Hazlewood. Written by Tom Mankiewicz (who’d go on to the James Bond films and the Superman franchise of the 70s) and directed by Jack Haley Jr. (son of the “Tin Man” actor, one-time husband to Liza Minnelli and future producer of That’s Entertainment!), as far as variety specials went, Movin’ With Nancy was considered quite “different” for its time. For one thing, it’s not shot in a studio, but mostly outdoors, on various locations like a travelogue. The set pieces simply drift from one to the next and each is like a music video. Haley won an Emmy for his directing.
 

 
The show was sponsored in its entirety by the Royal Crown Cola company (“It’s the mad, mad, mad, mad cola!” as you will be reminded over and over and over again) and their commercials are in the video below, so we get to see Movin’ With Nancy exactly the way it aired on December 11, 1967. Of special note is the premiere of that classic oddball psych number “Some Velvet Morning,” which made about as much sense then as it does today. If that doesn’t send a special thrill up your leg, I don’t know what would. Also, at the very end of her bit with Sammy? That innocent peck on the cheek was apparently the very first (non-scripted) interracial kiss on network television. This proved to be controversial, but was done spontaneously as Davis was actually saying goodbye to Sinatra in that shot and leaving the set for another job. There wasn’t a second take.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Square people gawk at Haight-Ashbury hippies from the safety of a tour bus, 1967
04.24.2015
08:55 am

Topics:
Drugs
Fashion

Tags:


 
Between January and April 1967, the following albums were released: the Doors’ first album (January), Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow (February), Donovan’s Mellow Yellow and the Grateful Dead’s first album (both March), and the Electric Prunes’ first album (April). Four of those albums were recorded in California, and as a group the albums helped define the psychedelic scene of the Bay Area; just a few months later San Francisco would be immersed in the Summer of Love.

Something was brewing in the city, and the word had gotten out. The Human Be-In took place in Golden Gate Park in January; for the April 26, 1967, issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, reporter J. Campbell Bruce and photographer Art Frisch collaborated on an article by embedding themselves (to use much later terminology) on a tourist bus that would cruise by the Haight-Ashbury district so that regular folks could see real hippies in action. According to Brian J. Cantwell, the bus was called the “Hippie Hop.”

In the pages of the Chronicle, legendary columnist Herb Caen sniffed with bemused contempt at the tour buses:
 

 
What’s striking about the pictures from the perspective of today is that the ostensible “hippies” seem indistinguishable from most young adults today. The “little old lady” cited in the original article as saying “You’re sure they’re not beatniks? WE have beatniks in Cleveland” surely had a point. My guess is that the intervening 48 years (!) have made it difficult to see what was so gawk-worthy about these young people; also, by the end of the summer, things were likely looking quite different on Haight-Ashbury.

The tours were well known at the time. Just two weeks later, Hunter S. Thompson wrote about them in the pages of the New York Times Magazine, in an article titled “The ‘Hashbury’ Is the Capital of the Hippies”:
 

The only buses still running regularly along Haight Street are those from the Gray Line, which recently added “Hippieland” to its daytime sightseeing tour of San Francisco. It was billed as “the only foreign tour within the continental limits of the United States” and was an immediate hit with tourists who thought the Haight-Ashbury was a human zoo. The only sour note on the tour was struck by the occasional hippy who would run alongside the bus, holding up a mirror.


 
That article appears in HST’s collection The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time. The first thing I thought of when I saw this story was Renata Adler’s 1976 novel Speedboat, which is mostly set in New York; it includes the following passage:
 

At six one morning, Will [the narrator’s boyfriend] went out in jeans and frayed sweater to buy a quart of milk. A tourist bus went by. The megaphone was directed at him. “There’s one,” it said. That was in the 1960’s. Ever since, he’s wondered. There’s one what?


 
All pics except the Caen column will spawn a larger version if you click on them. Be sure to see the full gallery at SF Gate. All photographs by Art Frisch.
 

 

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Douchebag denim company sells $298 jacket and $348 jeans with fake heavy metal patches on them
04.23.2015
12:53 pm

Topics:
Fashion
Music

Tags:


 
Apparently “Heavy metal Chic” is the hot new look, whether you like the music or not! First, retailer H & M created an affordable line of metal vestmentss for bands that have never existed, including a few pieces that appear to reference white supremacist imagery (you’d think as a Swedish retailer, they’d know better). It was an absurd stunt, and we all had a laugh, but at least we all learned something. Right?!?

Wrong! Diesel—commonly known as the denim line of Guido douchebags—is now selling a $298 jacket and a pair of $348 jeans, both covered in “metalesque” patches. Again, these are not real bands, nor do they sound even passably cool—“ACAB” is apparently an acronym for “All cats are beautiful?!?” You know, at least with the H & M stunt, this stuff was affordable, but these prices for phony bands and “70% Cotton, 26% Polyester and 4% Elastane-Spandex?” The denim isn’t even real!

If I may dust off an old chestnut: death to false metal! (And death to false denim!)
 

 

 

 
Via Metal Sucks

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Page 2 of 62  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›