I love fashion but I hate you.

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the Care Tags Show, episodes 3.5 and, uh, 5

The Care Tags Show is still chugging along, much to my own surprise, since, like a rhesus monkey trapped in an 80′s disco, I am easily distracted.

Episode 3.5/4 – A short discussion with one of the Care Tags/Reddit fashion dudes while I was on break in San Francisco. I took an immediate liking to David, probably because for some reason I really like Korean Irish Americans. We talk Thom Browne while sipping coffee in one of San Francisco’s hellish “parklets”

Episode 5 – The podcast decides to put on one of those reporter hats where its a fedora with the word “press” written on a piece of paper and shoved into the brim. Back then, that was considered “credentials”. Anyways, we take a leap and cover London and Milan fashion week. I found this particular episode to be pretty difficult, actually, because of, you know, content and research. A great learning experience.

Thanks to all the guests and all those who make the podcast possible. Thanks for listening, listener.

the Care Tags Show, co-hosted by some jerk.

I’ve always wanted to do a podcast. I’ve got a face for radio, and the voice of a Russian orthodontist. It just makes sense.

Care-tags is a fashion/culture forum started by a fashion buddy* of mine I met on Reddit**. It’s got the usual population of youthful, exuberant, highly-knowledgable laptop fashion experts, coupled with a surprisingly tender layer of decency. The level of insight (and the amount of free time some of the forum members have) is astounding. But it’s also rejuvenating. I jumped at the chance to co-host and produce a fashion podcast raised from the very soil of the internet.

So far, we’re just messing around with format, guests, segments. Who knows what’ll happen to the show in the future. Thanks to everyone who works super hard on this.

Here’s the pilot, an interview and game segment with an insightful Care Tags forum member.

And second episode, a discussion on gender, fashion, and the internet:
 

 

*There’s no way to say “fashion buddy” without also invoking the image of a rear end ensconced in thick denim.

**There’s no way to say “met on Reddit” and not sound like a furry convention reject.

interview: Abe Burmeister


Outlier makes clothes lumberjack fishermen would wear if lumberjack fishing were a start-up with series B funding. Functional, sleek, modern, durable, Outlier dares you to wear them through fire before wearing them to a dinner with the in-laws. I don’t own anything from them, but I like the idea that you can live, die, and leave an exquisite skeleton all in the same shorts.

I ran into founder/leader/guy Abe Burmeister at a gin-soaked launch party for one his newest projects – the Vans X Outlier OTW shoe. It’s the kind of shoe lumberjack fishermen would wear if lumberjack fishing was conducted in a half pipe.

PMG: You don’t have a Wikipedia page, which is a shame. Who are you?

Abe Burmeister: Some dude from New York who makes clothing.

What’s Outlier’s design philosophy?

Freedom and quality, we want to make the best possible product that allows you to live the simplest possible life with zero constraints.

Are you still biking around a lot? Are you ever going to do rollerblading-specific clothes or something? I need something to wear on the rink.  

I bike around the hood everyday, but I live ten blocks from our studio so I’m not sure that counts as a lot or not…

People can do whatever they want in our clothing but you sure won’t find us doing a rollerblade photoshoot…

Techwear is #trending right now. Do you think Outlier has played a role in that? 

We try to stay as far away from trends as we can, we want to make timeless classics.

I went to the Vans OTW x Outlier party. I admit I was pretty drunk. Tell me about the collab and the shoe.

We were fucking around in Vegas a while back, ran into some people from Vans and voila a shoe was born.

Did you always have that beard?

Yeah was born with it.

Do you think beards are totally #techwear?

I once endo’d, skidded ten feet on my chin and got up unharmed, but my beard was half an inch shorter, so yeah super functional.

What else are you and Outlier planning?

Can’t talk about that!

*****

Who are your heroes in real life:

Steve Jobs, James Turrell and Bugs Bunny

My favorite virtue: 

Minimalism

My idea of happiness: 

Owning nothing

My idea of misery: 

Getting caught in the bullshit

My chief characteristic: 

Learning

My favorite quality in a woman:

Transcendence

in defense of the Flyknit.

Flyknits are running shoes by Nike. The upper is made of fibers woven together by machine, creating a shoe that is very light, breathable, and moldable. Imagine a more durable, more streetworthy version of a sock.

And while the running-shoe-as-casual-shoe debate rages in corners of the internet near and far, Flyknits in particular are subject to extremes of praise and derision, in no small part due to their high profile and Nike’s juggernaut marketing. Lovers praise the techno-precision, the turn-it-up-to-11 level of racing practicality. Haters gonna hate, but their reasoning highlights on an immutable fact — it’s just a fancy running shoe. Below I’ll reason — or rationalize — the hype behind the ‘knit.

1. Comfy-ness. These shoes aren’t comfortable. They’re comfy. Like a good parent, they allow the perfect blend of support and freedom, safety net and breathing room. The Lunar Plus 1 versions, utilizing the Nike Lunarlon technology, are the equivalent of resting your feet in diminutive waterbeds made for toes and high arches.

2. Techy-ness. Techwear is a trend I’ve been noticing in the past year or so, no doubt as the 2000s millennium just has that “apocolypse” feel. Buttressing the techwear aesthetic is a worship and fetishization of practicality, protective qualities, and customization. Flyknits can be seen as a natural reaction to and extension of this tech trend. It’s not a coincidence that Flyknits play (or survive) in this post-casual, tech-inspired world. I’ve paired my Flyknits against Gibson-black jeans, shimmery Champion shorts, and splotchy desert camo cargo pants.

3. Ugly-ness. Flyknits have a face only a mother, or obsessive blogger, could love. Flyknits have an ugly-ness (attributable to their practicality) which in itself becomes beautiful.

As is true for any argument around aesthetics, the above  qualities of Flyknits could easily become its offenses. Comfy-ness can give way to slouchiness, techy-ness to esoterica, ugly-ness to, well, ugliness. It’s up to you, beholder, to judge Flyknits for yourself. Just don’t go running in them.

 

interview: F.E. Castleberry of Unabashedly Prep.

Unabashedly Prep, in terms of internet years and influence, is practically Old Testament-level text for the menswear world. Guy was one of the first who showed that a viable business could be spun out of taking pretty pictures and talking about vacations. Also, you think the photo above was staged? No. DUDE LOOKS JUST LIKE HE DOES IN PICTURES. He practically wakes up with a tie on.

Castleberry, whose busier now than ever with various projects, answered a few questions sitting, I imagine, at the helm of his old clipper ship.

Who are you and why should we care? 
My name is Frederick Egan Castleberry. I’m a father, brother, son, photographer, fashion designer, all-around A-OK guy. Why should the Post Modern Gentlemen readership care? Well I suppose it might be for the same reasons they read your blog…a specific point of view on living and dressing.

How did Unabashedly Prep first come about?

Unabashedly Prep was born out of boredom. I was bored one day and looking for something to do.

Describe your photography style.

My photography style is best represented by what you mostly don’t see on my blog Unabashedly Prep. Much of my work is about beautiful people having fun…it’s often bright, happy, in motion. “Commercial lifestyle” is probably the correct term.

Describe your personal style.

My sense of style is rooted in a classic approach to dressing but I like folding the old into the new. It’s preppy, classic…yet tongue-in-cheek. Classic with a wink.

You sometimes get into some heated discussions on your blog’s comments. How do you handle the occasional derision?

There is this really cool function in the back end of my blog called the “delete” button. I just hit that.

I’ve often read others argue that prep is intrinsically tied to region. Do you think that true prep can only come from certain geographies?

Yes, I do. Palm Beach, New England, the South…it is those places in which Preppy in it’s purest form is seen in the context of a community. Individual preppy style could feasibly be seen anywhere in the world but as a whole, its roots will always be regional.

Photo via Tommy Ton.

Where do you think Prep is going?

I can honestly see the it going baggier, looser, easier. “Slim fit” seems a bit long in the tooth at times.

If you had to dress in a non-prep style, what would it be?

Late 1800s cowboy. Think [the film] “Tombstone.”

Many street photographers shy away from the camera but you’re often in front of the camera as well as behind. Is this something you planned?

One of the primary motives of creating Unabashedly Prep was to inspire men (and women) to simply dress better. I have a specific point of view on how that should look. Showing other people’s style can only convey so much before showing what/how you’re wearing it is most effective.

What do you think of #menswear and its direction?

I hate that hash tag and everything that it drudges along in its wake. This seems like a trend question and I really don’t pay too much attention to that.

You have a lot of projects going on at once. Would you describe yourself as a photographer first? A designer? A dad? What?

Professionally, I’m a creative. Photography, fashion design, writing—they’re all outlets. I like the mix. It keeps things interesting.

Who are your role models? Professionally, personally, whatever. Why?

I don’t have one living person that I often think “I want to be just like him in every way.” I take bits and pieces from people I come across in my life…that list would be too long to list here and probably far too mundane. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say my character isn’t formed through infinite (though often failed) attempts to be like Jesus the Christ. He was the perfect human being.

Who is the most stylish person you know? What makes them so damn stylish?

The most stylish gentleman I’ve had the pleasure of meeting is Sid Mashburn. He pays attention to fit (then forgets about it), approaches dressing in a timeless yet timely manner, and polishes it off with being comfortable in his own skin.

F.E. Castleberry Interview 3

Who are your heroes in real life?

My sons. They reveal more about myself than anyone else ever could.

My favorite virtue: Hope.

My idea of happiness: A world with no advertising.

My idea of misery: repeating the same day five days a week.

How I wish to die: With purpose.

My motto: The better you dress, the worse you can behave.

My favorite prose author: J.R.R. Tolkien

My chief characteristic: passion.

My favorite quality in a woman: an uninhibited laugh.

courier.

They teach the brush pass in the second phase of field training. It’s as it sounds. The first man carries the package and walks the predetermined route. At some point the courier will come by, usually walking the other way, and “brush” past, picking up the package without ever the two drawing attention. You do it in public, at a busy place like a train station. It’s the rabbit in the hat trick of field operatives — as basic as it gets. You do it at busy places like train stations. Not bus stops. At bus stops people are bored. Their minds and eyes wander and anything even slightly unusual, like two guys bumping into each other, becomes as interesting as Lady Godiva.

Jeremy’s had forgotten his handkerchief back at the bureau office. He was not a field man. He had not performed a brush pass in years. The courier was late, which made things immensely worse.  A man in a black suit (how could he be wearing a black suit in Hong Kong in August?) fiddled with a pack of cigarettes. Jeremy clutched at the package.

At home, his wife was cheating on him. He was sure of it. It was deeply ironic, he thought, that a clandestine agent could be hoodwinked by his own wife. It was probably his neighbor, the accountant. The man was fat and balding but Jeremy had caught him and his wife sharing a vibrant laugh once in the lobby of their building.

The downtown bound G bus came. The door opened but no one got on or off. Frustrated, the bus closed its door and huffed off.

The courier was now inexcusably late. Jeremy reached for the handkerchief he didn’t have. It wasn’t like couriers to be like this. Couriers were usually astute, cunning, ruthless people. Couriers were never late.

Unless, of course, Jeremy thought, the courier wasn’t late at all. He suddenly didn’t feel the need to wipe his brow. Meanwhile the man in black smiled at Jeremy.