Tuesday, May 10, 2011

On the Street....Tompkins Square Park, New York

I saw this gentleman playing basketball yesterday at Tompkins Square Park.

The mix of the black tights, the long (almost skirtlike) shorts, the wave cap pulled tight over a low bun at the base of his neck, the tight white tank, had me thinking more of a Givenchy Men's collection than the Knicks. I mean really, just change his tank to a white poplin shirt and it could be a Rick Owens or Raf Simons look.

I've always said that sports is at the forefront of what "real men" (read: macho men) would wear. There's a very simple reason...men will do or wear anything to win a game.

They will shave off all their body hair, they will wear skintight lycra bodysuits, they will wear shorts that look like skirts if they think it will help them win or fit in with the team.

I know a lot of young designers and design students look at the site. A great self-challenge is to step outside of the fashion world and go to a basketball game or football game without any preconceived notions and just see it for the actual design elements. The advanced sport-specific fabrics, the color themes of team jerseys, the proportions, the graphics; they all are fertile material for modern design inspiration.

I remember back in the Eighties, football players like running back Greg Pruitt of the Browns wore tear-away jerseys. They would go through several jerseys a game. Just imagine how Goth Warrior those guys looked in there heavily padded uniforms with jerseys covered in slashes, tears, and gaping holes. Just think how those uniforms helped reinforce the imagery of alpha masculinity that they wanted to portray.

As I was working of this photo it reminded me of a shot I took in Sodermalm, Stockholm a few years ago. This shot is evidence of the very direct influnce sports can have on even the most advanced street/runway looks.
August 2007

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