Tuesday, July 31, 2012

#2225 Don't Think You're Anything Special

To give a little background perspective on the name (and the gents who came up with it), The Jante Law is a value system created by the Danish-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose in his novel A fugitive crosses his tracks (published 1933) that forbids ego and the individual drive for success, and praises obedience to the pack. In short, it's a bit like New Zealand's tall poppy syndrome, with more of an emphasis on United We Stand, and Don't You Dare Think You're Better Than The Collective Group. Apparently it's quite famous, but I must confess my ignorance before I came across Bent Van Looy and co's clothing label.

Monday, July 30, 2012

#2224 My Week in Instagrams

If I had friends who loved me, this entire photo series would be dedicated to stills from the new Batman film, but sadly, despite the fact that it was so popular that even attempting to buy tickets was a hazardous endeavour, I couldn't find a single soul to go with me. Instead, what we have here is a jumble of menswear, meals and meetings; of drawings, desserts and drips. The week started with the menswear tradeshows, which I attended with Richard Haines (see his sketch of me at the Man Show, above), and where I saw some of the best menswear I've been exposed to in years. Everybody's favourite Filipino Bryan Boy moved into a new apartment, and I spent a lot of time eating takeout on the floor of the furnitureless living room and shooting a bunch of The Jante Law outfits (which will go live on the site tomorrow).

Saturday, July 28, 2012

#2223 Ermenegildo Zegna and the great outdoors

Functionality is at the heart of menswear – ease of movement, protection from the elements, technological advancement, materials gleaned from ready resources – but it’s that moment when functionality is fused with sartorial flair that great menswear is born.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

#2222 The facts of life

Bent Van Looy of The Jante Law and Das Pop fame, in New York yesterday.
 1. Back in June last year I was heading to the Kris Van Assche show at the Paris men's collections when I got a little lost. Spying a cool young guy whose style bore a striking resemblance to Tin Tin's, I said hello and asked if he knew the way. He was heading there too so we walked together, and as we walked, we talked. Like Tin Tin (and Kris Van Assche), he was from Belgium, and it turned out that he was Bent Van Looy, the lead singer of Das Pop (a famous electro band whose drummer just happens to be a Kiwi – Matt Eccles of Betchadupa fame). A year later, Bent sent me an email to invite me to the Man Tradeshow here in New York to check out his new label The Jante Law. Much like New Zealand's Tall Poppy Syndrome, The Jante Law is a Scandinavian set of ideals that encourages the masses to keep status quo. (Law number one is 'Don't think you're anything special'.) The clothes are brilliant, and I'm going to shoot them for the blog in the next couple of weeks. Watch this space.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

#2221 Good Question

What did you think of Moonrise Kingdom?

A month or so ago, I discovered a boutique theatre about six blocks from my house that only plays films that land on the quirkier side of the cinematic spectrum. It's called Nitehawk and you have to book your tickets at least six hours in advance, otherwise your movie will be sold out. Waiters serve you a full menu of food and drinks during the picture, and before the film starts, in lieu of traditional trailers, a selection of clips, vintage commercials and adverts directed by the director whose film you're about to see are played to delighted gasps from the crowd (which includes, but is not limited to, Brooklynites, intelligentsia, hipsters and one-time guest stars of New Zealand's Next Top Model). Before Moonrise Kingdom began, we were treated to this Japanese cellphone commercial featuring Brad Pitt.

Monday, July 23, 2012

#2220 The Likes List – My Week in Instagrams

Me, Simon Oscroft and Jenny Albright on top o' the world.
On Monday of this week, I shot the first half of a pilot for a new online TV series I'm working on with Gala Darling. I'm dying to talk about it but I can't, so all I'll say is that it was the most exciting 11 hour's worth of work I've done in months. Luckily for me, it involved the swimming pool at the Thompson in the Lower East Side. Also staying at the hotel was Australian photographer Jonas Bresnan (who shot me and Ashika for the NZ Herald story that came out yesterday), and he very kindly invited us back every day this week. Hanging poolside in 35 degree temperatures is not a bad way to kill a few afternoons. My old mate Tom Bull is still yet to come back from London, and his room is currently being occupied by Simon Oscroft of Midnight Youth fame (cue copious singalongs featuring 90s classics such as Shimmer and If You Could Only See). But my favourite thing that happened this week was the return of Jenny Albright after a four month European hiatus. I once again have a partner in rap. Happy Monday, everybody!

The kid from Christchurch taking a bite out of Big Apple's fashion

Me and Ashika in New York. Photo: Jonas Bresnan
Jack Tame wrote a story about me for yesteday's Herald on Sunday. Check it out below!

New York is the city that has crushed a million dreams. But now, a couple of skinny Kiwi kids are making it in the Big Apple. Jack Tame goes partying with New York Times fashion writer Isaac Hindin-Miller and his Vogue model girlfriend, Ashika Pratt.

From the day he began writing, Isaac Hindin-Miller always aspired to making it into a New York newspaper. Backstage at New York Fashion Week, he achieved his dream. The winter show for the US clothing label Band of Outsiders had predictably attracted a smattering of the uber-cool celebrities and socialites, faces and names. Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour, actress Kirsten Dunst and hip-hop star Kanye West were among the society elite afforded front-row seats. And at the back of the room was this anonymous, willowy kid from suburban Christchurch. The show ended, the lights went up. And despite his relative familiarity with high-end fashion shows, and fairly regular encounters with their token stars, the kid from Christchurch couldn't help himself. For once, it wasn't worth feigning fashionable nonchalance. For once, he wanted a photo. And Kanye West probably should have said no.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

#2219 The facts of life

What's in Store at Pilgrim Surf + Supply. Photo: Noah Emrich
1. I witnessed carefree parenting at its best yesterday at the Thompson Hotel pool. We were there shooting the pilot for a new TV show (more on that later) and this six year old boy kept running round and round the pool, jumping in dangerously close to the concrete edge, and desperately trying to gain his mother's attention as she sipped gin and tonics with a friend on the orange deck chairs. One of the waiters approached the woman on multiple occasions, asking her to keep an eye on her son so he wouldn't hurt himself, and each time she laughed and said he'd be fine. Getting worried, the waiter approached the little boy and tried to explain why he shouldn't jump in so close to the edge. The message was clearly misunderstood. A couple of minutes later, the boy jumped and landed straight on the edge of the pool, badly grazing the left side of his torso. A lifeguard dove in to fish him out. When he was taken to his mother, she patted him on the head and said, "Don't worry, you're fine!" The boy attempted to tell her how badly it hurt, pointing at his bleeding ribs through his sobs. She gave him a stern look. "Use your Mandarin words." He repeated it in Mandarin. "Much better!" she said. The last time I saw him, he was being led away to the First Aid room by the lifeguard as his mother continued sipping her drink and talking to her friend. What's the bet he ends up CEO of some fortune 500 company? (Probably Apple.) Nobody ever got anywhere by being mollycoddled.

Monday, July 16, 2012

#2218 The Likes List - My Week in Instagrams

Ashika after a trip to Handsome Dan's Snocone and Candy Stand.
The most exciting thing that happened to me this week was buying an iPhone and downloading Instagram. Since Tuesday I've been going buck wild on the photo front, and it's taken me back to the days when I used to spend hours on my old Blogspot photo diary before I switched it to Tumblr. (If you haven't already, FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM! My username is isaaclikes_.) Besides that, this week has been full of good times – I hung out with Yvan Rodic at a pool party (watch him dancing to Kanye and Jay Z, here); worked out with Papa Frenchie; took a trip up to MOMA and discovered that Marc Chagall's ponies bear a striking resemblance to Charlie the Unicorn; smashed some doughnuts at Smorgasburg; watched Cruel Intentions with two and a half thousand Brooklynites at McCarren Park; went to the opening of the Mondrian Hotel's new rooftop bar managed by Jason Cousins of The Meatball Shop fame; caught up with Bryan Boy and discovered that he now dresses like an 80s rapper; ate candy at Handsome Dan's Snocone and Candy Stand; got the best haircut of my life at a Puerto Rican barbershop for $12; watched Jack Tame do his Breakfast TVNZ spot live from a studio off Lexington Avenue; and shot Pilgrim Surf + Supply for the New York Times with Noah Emrich of NOVH fame. Check out all the fun and games, below.

Friday, July 13, 2012

#2217 Recipe for men is the GOAT

Photo: My Instagram!
Skincare is a secret obsession of mine. I'm that guy who uses all your products when I'm having a shower at your house, and who kills time by reading the back labels when I'm bored in the bathroom. Besides Burt's Bees, though, it's not something I've ever written about; mainly because I've never found a product worthy of an entire post. But Recipe for men's Anti-Shine Moisturizer is genuinely the greatest thing I've ever used. In layman's terms, it has a very small amount of the type of powder found in ladies' makeup, which ensures that you won't get shiny no matter how hot it gets outside. I've been using it for about three weeks and I'm hooked for life. Hide it away from your roommates. And your impolite shower guests.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

#2216 I bought an iPhone! (And joined the 21st Century)

A few of my favourite things – Moscots, Burt's Bees and my new iPhone.
It's not often that I'll be embarrassed into spending exorbitant amounts of money, but yesterday I had a meeting with some savvy social media types who took one look at my Blackberry and started laughing. "So... You're not on Instagram?" they asked. I shook my head. Then they started talking about Viddy and I had to admit that I'd never heard of it. (If you haven't either, don't feel bad, it's like Instagram for video.) At that point I realised what a bad blogger I've become. Usually bad bloggers are the types who don't get round to posting for a few days, but I'm way worse: A bad blogger stuck in the social media world of 2008. It's easy to justify, but the fact of the matter is that if one is to make a solid go of this job, then one must keep abreast of what's happening. A plan of action was hatched. Phase One involved buying an iPhone, and Phase Two saw me signing up for Instagram (username isaaclikes_) and Viddy (username isaaclikes). FOLLOW ME! It'll be worth it, I promise. Feel free to leave your social media tips, app recommendations, life coaching and/or complaints in the comments. So this is what 2012 looks like. Feels good to be home!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

#2215 The facts of life

A still from To Rome With Love.
1. I spent the best $11 of my life last night, and it was on a ticket to Woody Allen's new film To Rome With Love. We watched it at the Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg (where waiters serve you food and drinks while the movie plays), and the film was a barrel of laughs, beautiful sights, and Woody's five cents on the cult of meaningless celebrity, acceptable adultery (when in Rome),  and the fickle nature of love. Amazing. Go see it immediately.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#2214 Good Question

Hedi Slimane*.
I'm an 18 year old guy who wants to work in the fashion industry but I am by no means a social person. It's not that I don't like people I'm just very insecure. With fashion you've got to network and I feel I'm going to have a real tough time. I've always admired how you are so confident of yourself and have so many pals from all over. This is kind of a loaded question but any tips?

Confidence is entirely relative. I always made a point of following Woody Allen's advice that 80% of success is showing up, but once I got there I didn't always seize opportunities as best I could. For example: I did the Milan and Paris menswear shows for three or four years in a row, but it wasn't until my seventh season that I got up the guts to go and interview all the industry guys who'd been my heroes for years and years. When I did, I kicked myself for not doing it earlier – not only did I realise how approachable people are, but the contacts I made were instrumental in my moving to New York and getting a lot of the work I'm doing now.

Monday, July 9, 2012

#2213 The Likes List – Obnoxious Colour Edition

One of the things that's been most interesting for me throughout the Little Brother design process has been working with colour. As a general rule, guys stick to the tried and true: Navy blue, charcoal, black, white, khaki etc. But as evidenced by the sheer amount of men walking the streets of New York in loud shorts right now, that rule goes out the window the moment temperatures explode. (At time of writing, it's 32 degrees outside.) When we were selecting fabrics for our shorts programme, I couldn't believe the variety on offer. "These are crazy," I said. "No New Zealand man is going to rock mustard yellow shorts." Murray Crane laughed. "Men love shorts. You wait and see – these will end up outselling everything else in the range." Despite that one exception courtesy of Outlier, I prefer going loud on the top half, and wearing this reversible Zambesi shirt ensures that I'm always the most obnoxious guy in the room (when I'm dressed more quietly, my personality takes on that role). The shorts are Crane Brothers, and they're a fit we've appropriated for Little Brother – look out for a rainbow variety of options this September.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

#2212 An update on Little Brother S/S 2012/13

Little Brother Spring/Summer 2012/13 trouser samples.
Little Brother Spring/Summer 2012/13 is 95% signed off and will very shortly be going into production. It's been a seven month rigmarole, and I mean that in the kindest possible way – nobody ever tells you how difficult it is to make clothing, and if anybody realised, they'd probably think twice before getting into the business. Like my mother always used to tell me: "Those poor designers slave away putting everything they have into a collection and then some schmuck like you can go to the show, look at it for a couple of minutes, and point out everything they did wrong." She was so right, and here's why.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

#2211 The facts of life

Ash Stymest backstage at Lanvin F/W 2009.
1. I have a serious air conditioning problem at my house – when our puny unit is blowing full blast it'll still be a good 10 degrees hotter inside than out (and outside is fecking hot) – so my productivity levels have hit rock bottom over the past couple of weeks. My parents keep suggesting I leave the house to work, so yesterday I took myself to Toby's Estate, an Australian cafe on North 6th in Williamsburg. I'm writing this from there right now and they were right: It's nice to get out of the sauna that is my apartment; I can already feel my motivation multiplying. Not only that, but I'm discovering that the more I leave my house, the more I enjoy my roommates' company when I arrive back home. It would seem there is some commonsense to the strange tradition of being gainfully employed in a job that requires one to shower and walk out the door. Who knew??

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

#2210 Good Question

Photo: The Sartorialist
Hi Isaac, Looking for a recommendation for the perfect university/going out in cold weather/ throw over anything bomber/ anorak jacket that I feel is black (though I could be swayed), that is kinda of simple/has multiple textures/fabrics/has some kind of quirky detail that I can appreciate. And super durable. I have taken to just trying on every jacket I see but still can't find it. Help?

I reckon you can't beat an olive green canvas parka – you'll find it at any army surplus store (every city in the world has about 50 of them), it'll cost you less than $100 and it's warm, durable as hell and it'll go with everything, as evidenced by the gentleman above. Throw it on over a suit and you'll look like a fresh Italian dude; wear it with a fisherman's sweater and rolled up jeans and you'll look like a cool kid from Berlin. It's the perfect student jacket!