Converse Releases Limited Edition “Election Day” Chuck Taylor All Star 1970s

Converse has reimagined the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star 1970s with the American election in mind. The hi-top uses the American flag peace sign, popular in the 1970s and tying in with the theme of the range, as a repeated pattern that’s been embroidered rather than printed onto the white suede upper. The shoe is priced approximately $116 USD and will be released on October 31 at select retailers.

converse-election-day-2

Levi’s Launches for the First Time Ever 501 Jeans With Stretch Fabric

The Levi’s 501 is such an influential icon that in the minds of most people, it serves as the default reference for a pair of jeans. However, with Levi’s affinity for innovation and upgrading, today we get our first look at a welcome addition to the 501’s tech repertoire.

For the first time this fall, Levi’s has introduced stretchability to the 501 and 501 CT. The new proprietary fabric will house all of the 501’s original shrink-to-fit fabric properties, while offering new stretchability ranging from 12.5% to 17% stretch. Typically, stretch fabrics cannot replicate the same look of its all-cotton counterpart, but with unique engineering, each pair of the 501s with stretch will offer the classic 501 worn-in finish, in washes ranging from dark to light.

Ultimately, the new 501 and 501 CT stretch is a perfect blend of heritage and innovation. To pick up a pair of the new 501s head on over to Levi’s and secure your size.

O’Neill Footwear Reveals Unique Sandals Made From Palm Leaves

80 million Areca palm leaves fall in Southern India every year and, through “The Tree of Life Project,” O’Neill Footwear is repurposing them and giving them value, creating the first-ever palm leaf sandal.

“The Tree of Life Project” pays local Indian people to pick up and carefully select fallen palm leaves used in manufacturing the sandals, benefitting communities economically and the planet environmentally. Utilizing natural materials gives each sandal an innately varied color and pattern, two pairs will never be identical.

Working with material designer Tjeerd Veenhoven, who spent four years researching the leaves for O’Neill Footwear, the Californian surf brand has designed two styles. While always unique, both have palm leaf footbeds, one natural or vegetable tanned leather strap and one palm leaf strap backed with suede for comfort. A light gray rubber outsole combined with a coral or turquoise midsole complete the construction.

Dramatically changing surfing by developing the world’s first neoprene wetsuit, Jack O’Neill founded O’Neill in 1952. Today, the brand produces functional activewear and lifestyle products, maintaining loyalty to their surfing roots.

The O’Neill palm leaf sandals will be available from July 28 for $89.95 at selected retailers.

oneill-palm-leaf-sandals-01

Design Your Own Converse Chucks From Scratch

Now that Converse is officially part of the Nike online portolio, you can design your own Chucks from scratch. You’ve been able to customize individual pairs in the past, but this process takes some of the most iconic sneaker silhouettes in history (Chuck Highs, Lows and Slips) and puts you in the driver’s seat ala NIKEiD. You want star-spangled sides and a bright blue tongue? No problem. Black rubber sidewall with an urban camo body? Again, not a problem. We’re not going to do the “total possible combinations” math, but there are 9 different shoe areas you choose with options for prints and solid colors for almost all of them. It’s a lot of combinations, and that means you get to design to the perfect shoe for you.

Suunto’s Spartan is the Smartwatch for the Fitness and Outdoor Obsessed

Suunto’s next generation sport watch just landed and its a merging of their outdoor watch expertise with smartwatch technology. From cycling to running, the watch is perfect for a multitude of athletic disciplines and built-in GPS, compass, and navigation make for the perfect smartwatch for outdoor exploration. No compromises have been made to build quality either, the watch is everything you’d expect in a Suunto with a outdoor-proof touchscreen, titanium bezel, sapphire crystal, and Bluetooth connectivity. The watch will come in four styles and will launch next month.

NASA-Themed Clothing Is Touching Down in Your Closet

How many of us dreamed of being an astronaut at some point when we were younger? We begged to train at space camp during sticky hot summers. We watched Matt Damon, Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Matthew McConaughey, and Bruce Willis become galactic pioneers, at least for an hour or two. It’s something that is unfamiliar to most in reality—almost everyone, actually, now that NASA no longer sends people into space—but that hasn’t stopped journeys beyond the atmosphere from captivating generation upon generation, an accomplishment once seen as the apex of human achievement. Our summers spent bouncing around in rocket simulators may not have amounted to trips to the moon, but, as a recent influx of NASA-inspired clothing proves, it has clearly lingered in the hearts’ of both fashion-minded individuals and less style-oriented clothes-wearing people everywhere.

The simplest manifestation of our childhood desires is seen in the glut of space-themed T-shirts produced by the likes of Urban Outfitters and Topshop; the fast-fashion retailers are both currently providing the nostalgic masses with tees printed with NASA’s logo. The logo has been played with by brands like VFILES, and Pintrill has used old NASA patches and pins on jackets. Y-3 is creating spacesuits that finally look like the type of apparel we were promised in every futuristic movie. Teen Vogue‘s June/July cover even features Gigi Hadid’s brother Anwar in a full spacesuit. In the fashion-adjacent art world, artists like George Henry Longly are exploring the themes of space exploration, the duo behind Standards Manual are reproducing the NASA manual, and famed architect Daniel Arsham is always up to something similar.

Alpha Industries (which produced Anwar’s spacesuit) worked to design a more authentic reproduction of NASA gear suitable to wear down on Earth. AI’s own NASA jacket, resplendent with patches for a customizable touch, was originally made in the ‘90s expressly for the Kennedy Space Center gift shop and has become especially popular lately.

Nostalgia is perhaps the biggest reason for the resurgence. “What child doesn’t want to be an astronaut?!” Alpha Industries’ CEO Mike Cirker says. Cirker attributes the success of the Alpha Industries NASA jacket to the brand’s shared qualities with our country’s space explorers. “NASA is an elite program with a breadth of American heritage, just like Alpha Industries,” he stated. “Our rich histories connect us, and, with all of the recent achievements and landings, there is resurgence in interest and ‘cool factor’ surrounding NASA.”

The gravitational pull (pun intended, of course) toward heritage clothing is, of course, undeniable. Just look at the the MA-1 bomber jacket, which started out as outerwear for pilots in the military before flying onto the backs and runways of anyone who ever read Four Pins even just once. With a similar vibe and functional design as that evergreen style, NASA apparel is appealing to people who’ve picked up military-inspired clothing with an element of American history for years.

“We hear all of the time from customers that they want one of our jackets because their dad or grandpa always had one from their military days,” Cirker says. “When it comes to the adults, nostalgia and heritage definitely play a key role—so adding NASA into the mix just lends to that heritage even more.”

NASA is also benefiting from the same trend that is motivating people to experiment with floral prints and palm tree-printed jackets. “Escapism is really a big, big theme,” Catriona Macnab, head of fashion at trend forecasting company WGSN, stated. “People want to get away into different paradigms and away from man-made worlds.”

And if a getaway to the sunsets and palm trees of Los Angeles is a selling point, how much more is a trip beyond the atmosphere worth in the mind of consumers? More than enough to blast NASA into fashion relevance and be the basis for the new go-to T-shirt for hipsters everywhere, apparently. After all, there’s nothing quite like cuddling up with 100% cotton when it’s printed with a symbol of your childhood dreams. The T-shirts are one small step, but a combination of nostalgia, heritage, and escapism is helping NASA make one giant leap toward becoming a lasting trend.

Converse Brings the 1920s All Star Into 2016

Hiroshi Fujiwara, Tinker Hatfield, and Mark Parker are at it again with a new HTM release and this time they’ve grabbed a pair of Converse’s latest model: the All Star Modern. Based on 1920s All Star, the new version gets a modern upgrade complete with Nike Hyperfuse, a full-length Phylon outsole, a TPU-fused overlaid toecap, and a neoprene split tongue. This all combines to create a lightweight sneaker in a minimalist interpretation of the All Star silhouette. The HTM version we’re highlighting here will feature goat leather uppers and is the first shoe from HTM to not wear a Swoosh. The shoe will be available at NikeLab online and NikeLab retail stores on June 9th.

converse

$180, nikelab.com

Ray-Ban Launches Limited Edition Aviators for Summer

For the next few days, Aviator is making available a limited run of its iconic Ambermatic aviator sunglasses. Optioned are the Ray-Ban Classic Aviator, the Ray-Ban Classic Aviator with curved temple tips, the Ray-Ban Shooter and the Ray-Ban Outdoorsmen.

Ambermatic is a special yellow lens that darkens, depending on light and temperature conditions by transitioning from yellow to brown to in turn block glares and then highlight outlines and shapes.

The frames on all of the limited edition aviators remain timeless and untainted, appropriately featuring their signature teardrop design.

Again, you can shop the limited edition (100 units) aviators today through June 5 on Ray-Ban.com.

Time For Work… What Do You Consider Dressing ‘Professionally’?

What would you think if a coworker or employee showed up to work in loose ripped jeans, scuzzy sneakers, the same shirt she wore yesterday, frizzy hair, dirty unpolished nails, and a band-aid hanging off her arm from a recent tetanus shot? Would you judge me? Should I buy new clothes? Probably?

In an article for the New York Times, fashion director and chief fashion critic Vanessa Friedman explored the uniquely non-corrective and, relatedly, somewhat confusing moment we are inhabiting when it comes to dressing for work. Friedman quotes Susan Scafidi, founder of the Fashion Law Institute, who notes that as our work lives and lives-lives become increasingly intertwined, there’s naturally far less interest in a wardrobe that arbitrarily separates the two:

“There’s a strain of thought that says an employee represents a company, and thus dress is not about personal expression, but company expression,” Professor Scafidi said. “But there’s a counter argument that believes because we identify so much with our careers, we should be able to be ourselves at work.”

Friedman also cites recent uproars over various sharply gendered dress codes—the heel requirement at British temp agency Portico, and, allegedly, at Cannes; the weather forecaster who was recently handed a sweater to cover her dress (she later said it was a joke); Kansas State Senator Mitch Holmes’ public apology for releasing guidelines that deemed low necklines and miniskirts “inappropriate” but had no equivalent restrictions for male dress—as well as new guidelines from the New York City Commission on Human Rights prohibiting enforcing dress codes “based on sex or gender,” to make the argument that as the lines of gender increasingly blur, the concept of what clothes are “appropriate” does as well.

I started an editorial assistant job at Glamour Magazine in fussy outfits and statement necklaces and high heels that sprained my ankle twice; two years later, my Birkenstocks and jeans heavily signaled a swiftly loosening commitment to the world of women’s magazines, and to the idea that a woman should stand on her tippy toes to be taken seriously. When I came to TwinStar Media, everyone was dressed like this, and I essentially stopped buying clothes.

It should probably be noted that there are a lot of parts of the country and world where this individualistic, dressed-down, post-gender vibe is nowhere near a thing yet, and many professions, as well; not everyone works at a start-up or an extremely casual media organization. But it does beg considering—what do you consider appropriate workwear? Has that idea shifted dramatically depending on your job, or even as you become more comfortable in (or less serious about) one particular job?

Levi’s Celebrates the LGBTQ Community With New Pride 2016 Collection

Levi’s has launched its third Pride collection and the first for 2016 in partnership with the Harvey Milk Foundation. A long-standing ally to the LGBTQ community, the Levi’s brand is commemorating the election and legacy of Harvey Milk through a range of gender-neutral product.

The collection features a series of distinct design details including a trucker jacket emblazoned with Harvey Milk’s historic “Hope will never be silent” quote, stonewashed shorts with a rainbow embroidered watch pocket and Harvey Milk patches, and Levi’s Rainbow tabs throughout.

An entire collection of gender neutral staples, the Levi’s x Harvey Milk Foundation Pride Collection recently launched on Levi.com and is currently available at select locations through the U.S. The collection will also launch in Europe on June 1.

levis-harvey-milk-pride-2016-collection-06levis-harvey-milk-pride-2016-collection-08levis-harvey-milk-pride-2016-collection-17