Sportswear and Fashion
Sportswear Introduction

I decided to write this piece based on a predisposed idea I have found myself pedalling. Sportswear brands have been an emblem for so many generations, so many icons and so many trends. With this in mind I feel reluctant to be anything less than embarrassed for my wardrobe omissions. I am in no way annulling my style convictions; you won't catch me not too dissimilar from a Jimmy Savile shell suit any time soon. Integrity intact, I always introduce the idea that a man who approaches life with anything less than an open mind deserves nothing more than what he is presented with. That still, I do not blame myself.

At my young age I feel conditioned into connotating sportswear brands, outside its propriety of the gym, with the negative aspects I am exposed and refer to all too often: Cocaine abuse, teenage pregnancies and a resounding illiteracy, (the cheap cider had been dropped due to a tax rise).

How can I take inspiration from something I am literally being chased by? Albeit those fashioning that which I avoid make objects less desirable; I can't help but to refer back to an earlier insight I posted to a Style Shrink question.

MrBump123 (via @fashionbeans twitter) asked:

“Do you have to live in somewhere like London to be able to dress well without prejudice?”

To which, in a shortened version, I replied:

“The best way to respond to this question would be to ask another question. If my answer was yes. You are strictly banned from showing effort in yourself, dignity in how you show yourself and pride in how other perceive you. How would you go about solving this? Would you wander the streets and local bus shelters taking inspiration from the youths who inhabit them? Those whose idea of fun is to throw empty cans of cheap larger at passersby (and by the way, it still hurts!).

If this was the case we'd have an out-of-London population of thousands wearing nothing but shell suits and knock-off YSL. Fashion is the medium you take to express yourself and you should not be stifled by anyone by any means.”

If you're lost amongst my reply, the important part is the closing sentence and more importantly, the final ten words. Regaining this sense of self-awareness about my style lead me to look at how sportswear brands are avoiding my conditioned reaction that others may put to them.

All said; do not lose faith in me. A few of you may be partial to screaming into your screen at my disregard for anything along the route of hi-tops, joggers, caps and even baseball jackets. This is not so. I think most of you understand my point and reasoning. My wardrobe has become knowingly accustomed to pairing hoodies with blazers, and I wouldn't claim a rounded wardrobe should it not contain the odd hi-top. However, in this article it is the brands I am focusing on. Sportswear plays a huge part in every aspect of the American trend for SS10 and here are a few who will help you connotate runway classics over bus-stop chic.

The Brands
Adidas

Adidas Originals

Adidas recently launched their new Adidas Originals campaign that contains key pieces not unrecognisable to us all. Their campaign staples words that define so many people's style aspirations:

“Welcome to the street where originality lives; the Adidas originals neighbourhood. This is where athletes, musicians, skaters, artists, entertainers and more all come together to show their colours, their style and their originality.”

The idea that they can define their campaign using the words that surround this sometimes all too pretentious industry is an incredible eye opener that I hope reaches further than beyond myself.

The campaign strives to reinvent the sportswear that made them an icon in the past decades. They have gained the subtle help of multiple (style icons and not so style iconic) celebrities such as David Beckham, Snoop Dogg & one half of the Gallagher brothers. She how many you can spot in somewhat of a where's Wally contest…

Here are my top Adidas picks that will make the girls swoon (editor Ben claims not to remember the last time he saw a girl swoon. Maybe we need to give him a swooning 101 lesson?):

GIPFEL LeatherVintage Football BagTeam Shirt

Stadium JacketAdidas Nizza Hi Rider Series TrainersAdidas Neon Green Digital Watch

Nike

Nike

In recent months Dazed digital proved they were not beyond recognising Nike's premium division as a mainstream fashion house in an inspiring collaboration.

The collab' spanned from Nike's celebration in launching the limited edition London Destroyer, a 50's American icon of collegiate menswear. The jackets were found at Selfridges and Nike's own 1948 concept store. Dazed recognised Nike's contribution to menswear and celebrated by gathering a new kind of 'London team' which they describe as, “A group that reflects the attitude and irreverence of London now. 8 individuals who in their own diverse fields (sport, music, art, fashion) are pushing boundaries with an unmistakably 'London Attitude'.”

You can read the full article on Dazed Digital HERE

Time to showcase my top Nike picks to see you through spring/summer:

Nike National 98 Track JacketNike Heritage Small Items BagNike Deuce Canvas Plimsolls

Nike How Many TeeNike Oregon Runner Hoody<img src="http://jdsports.scene7.com/is/image/JDSports/main?layer=comp&hei=400&crop=1200,0,1400,1400&fmt=jpeg&qlt=85,0&op_sharpen=0&resMode=sharp&op_usm=1.0,1.0,8,0&iccEmbed=0&$layer_1_src=is{JDSports/01867a?hei=1134}” alt=”Nike Twilight Mid” width=”220″ />

K*Swiss

K-Swiss

K Swiss is what I admire in so many menswear brands, heritage. To show heritage is to show pride and not to discourage what lead the way in your brands success. The K Swiss classic original was the first American leather tennis shoe. Off the production line in 1966, the shoe was and remains known for its characteristic five stripes and the D-rings. Like the women at the end of the bar at last orders, these remain untouched and I can't help but declare that on both occasions, it's for the best!

Gather round children for a few choice picks including the timeless classic trainer and some colours new takes to help you rock any prep look:

ARVEE (02453-917-M)THE CLASSIC (0001-100-M) K-Swiss Nicko

K-Swiss Skimmer Canvas PlimsollsQUIET PLEASE TEE (100496-100)CLASSIC POLO (100481-602)

Puma

Puma

Sportswear endorses but is not limited to the American and prep looks of SS10. Puma endorses but is not limited to your average gym-go'ers style. Another huge look coming through from the catwalks this year is the bohemian and tribal trend. This trend is all about the native prints and colours that effortlessly inject colour into your wardrobe.

In 2009 Puma collaborated with Alexander McQueen (RIP) to produce an amazing collection dubbed 'Ghost'. For 2010 Puma have teamed up with New York based painter Kehinde Wiley for their latest collection. Kehinde is known (artistically speaking) for his paintings of contemporary urban African American men in poses taken from the annals of art history. Nevertheless Wiley's paintings often blur the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation. In this case Wiley is blurring the boundaries between sportswear and mainstream fashion desirables.

Puma Graphic Trucker CapPuma Untitled Limited Edition Hi-Top TrainersKehinde Africa Lifestyle Track Jacket

Kehinde Africa Lifestyle Bomber JacketTekkies World Top Lifestyle ShoeKehinde Africa Lifestyle T-Shirt

Reebok

Reebok

Reebok have been hard at work reeloading, reeworking and ree-reeleasing (I think that's enough ree's) their footwear ranges. Since being bought by Adidas a few short years ago, their focus has been primarily on their gym-wear appeal. They have recently released some innovative new lines as well as promoting their ree-classic range.

In my opinion the Reebok brand plays a huge part in the nostalgic 90's trend and my best advice would be to get your hands on a pair of classics, and I mean real classics. Shop around for a truly vintage pair that you can pull off with some acid wash or pastels! If you prefer to avoid the smell of the 90's kick back then ASOS are stocking the best of the hi-top range.

Time for you to reevamp the 90's look?

Reebok Ex-O-Fit Strap Hi-Top TrainersReebok Ex-O-Fit Strap Hi-Top TrainersReebok BB4600 Hi-Top Trainers

Graphic TeeBerlinGraphic Track Jacket

Sign off…

Far and few take the time to assess their style influences. Many put their style down to their individuality or the 'torn from the pages of a magazine'. You can tell the world and his sister it's the former rather than the latter when in fact, it isn't, well, not that alone.

Why does your individualism lead you to your aspirations, your opinions and your style? Now I'm not suggesting everyone lacks the individuality they have polished for so long. In fact the definition of individuality is the qualities and characteristics that distinguish one person or thing from others. Yet the etymology is defined as the aggregate of one's idiosyncrasies. So rather your style being a pre-defined trait of individuality, think of it as the journey that builds that independence of self; conditioned not through the cards you are dealt but how you to chose to play them where you choose to hide the ace. In replacement of our individualism being directly who we are, it is the eventual leading to who we are, who we aspire to be and who we take along with us. So why should your style be inspired or conditioned by anything other than your journey of individualism?

Don't forget to check back to Ben's incredible manifesto of the American look and my nostalgic niceties of the nineties era.

Also, before the feature goes live on site in a few months, I am going to be running another phase of sartorial benevolence with a second Style Shrink article. This is your chance to ask the fashion questions facing you and your wardrobe! Anything from 'what to wear' to coordination tips and gentleman's etiquette advice to 'jizz-smelling' moisturiser (a personal favourite from the previous encounter).

Email all your Q's to luke@fashionbeans.com and I will let you know if yours is featured in the upcoming article!

Happy Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday,
Luke x