One of the world’s best parkour and free running athletes Marcus “Zyrken” Gustafsson from Helsingborg, Sweden is joining forces with the clothing and underwear brand, Björn Borg. Zyrken is known for his creative vaults and tricks with excellent acrobatic control.
Zyrken is a former gymnast that started his career in Parkour and free running when he was fifteen years old. He has been active for around ten years and runs the largest free running team in Sweden. Zyrken has been on the winner’s stand in most prestigious competitions in Parkour and Freerunning for the last 6 years. But what is Parkour actually?
“a holistic training discipline using movement that developed from military obstacle course training. Practitioners aim to get from A to B in the most efficient way possible.They do this using only their bodies and their surroundings to propel themselves; furthermore, they try to maintain as much momentum as is possible in a safe manner. Parkour can include obstacle courses, running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, rolling, quadrupedal movement, and the like, depending on what movement is deemed most suitable for the given situation.”
That’s interesting because Parkour, like skateboarding or aggressive in-line skating, tries to think differently elements from our daily lives: urban equipment, handrails, blocks. A natural match with fashion which tries to synthesise loads of cultural inspirations surrounding us.
The collaboration with Björn Borg runs as of July 1st, 2014. Previously this year, Björn Borg signed with Olympian freeskier Henrik Harlaut and Olympian speed skater Koen Verweij. Björn Borg will challenge Zyrken on a Swedish Mission later this year.
“We have followed Zyrken for a while and are amazed by his energy and skills. We immediately saw a great brand fit: Zyrken is both colourful and brave, just as the people who wear our products”, says Lina Söderqvist, Marketing Director at Björn Borg
A good move for the brand to set up more urban roots.
These past few years have seen the rise to glory of a long-underestimated and underserved market: Menswear. With a boost given by the street culture generation now on the chase for looks and design, it’s never been more exciting to be a man in fashion.
But there is a tip to the spear and it is called London (UK).
While the British Fashion Council once again sets up a platform for creativity and business called London Collections: Men – bringing together names including Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Kane, Alexander McQueen, JW Anderson, Katie Eary, Tom Ford, Moschino, YMC, Topman and Lyle & Scott; one can not be surprised when this is the proud land of Paul Smith and the mean streets of modern Tailoring.
Furthermore, who could doubt menswear would find its energy on a market where online concept-stores such as Oki-Ni, LN-CC or Endclothing have thrived in the past few years.
London like no other place is encompassing everything that inspires the modern man: a desire for excentricity mixed with extremely codified formality. The geek generation finds its closet ready for a revolution – fashion can be optimized for efficiency with creativity. Rest of the world, behold. The times of Daddy’s preppy or douchey style is over.
Mercedes-Benz teamed up with designer Haider Ackermann and directors Roe Ethridge and Andre Chemetoff to create an intriguing and fascinating fashion film starring Tilda Swinton and the Classe S Coupé. The film shows a cunning ensemble of character, wilderness and mystery. Fashion and automobile at their most special standard.
It had been a while since I didn’t have a breakthrough momentum in London. Not that the place is not energetic anymore, but things tend to sometimes look a bit the same…
And there came Steven D.R Skippen, Founder and Shoe Artisan at Shoeshine UK that I met at Monsieur London. I had never experienced such a sensation on my feet, through my shoes; I had only used automatic machines in some hotels here and there. Then I understood what bespoke and talent mean. With his own hands, Steven knows how to transform your shoes into YOUR shoes.
We can make a bet: if I were a brand collection director, I would directly hire Steven to create a capsule collection.
Hi Steven: when did you star shining shoes?
I started shining shoes over 14 years ago I literally fell into it as a stop gap but to this day am still shining shoes. For 13 years my big red chair has been installed in the lobby of The London Hilton on Park Lane, my hands have had the opportunity to dwell on the shoes of the Sultan of Brunei, The Dalai Lama, Mike Tyson, the King of Jordan, Jean Claude Van Damme and the great football star, George Best.
I started Shoeshine UK in October 2000“originally at The London Hilton Metropole but quickly transferred to The London Hilton on Park Lane. I brought a style of shoe care that the UK had never seen before and have cared for many icon’s shoes”.
Using just our bare hands and the best products available regardless of cost we are revolutionising the industry and need people to understand the difference in what we do to others.
It requires very strong skills as you have a pretty unique approach: you use your own hands. How did you learn?
I only received one weeks training as to do what I now can achieve takes years of trial and error. I have perfected The Art of Shine and patina (colouring of leather with dyes) in effect never accepting that I can never improve and always striving for perfection.
I do all my work with my bare hands a skill not seen in Europe and achieve far superior results because of this.
Shoeshining is an amazing bespoke service: can we “book” you for special events?
Yes I do many private events my past CV includes Tommy Hilfiger, Esquire magazine, Browns fashion and Monsieur London. As you can imagine we are a very sought after service due to how unique we are.
What are your favourite products for shoeshining?
I only use the finest ingredients Saphir and Angelus products renowned as unbeatable in our profession. It begins by feeding the leather with three different creams a combination of Beeswax, mink oil from Saphir, Lord Sheraton leather balsam and Ultra Creme, then a leather massage, followed by applying a multitude of colours at each location of the shoe; this can darken and lighten at will to emphasize the slenderness of the foot.
Brushes to me have no effect. If you applied cream to your face would you use a brush? I like to penetrate the leather with my bare hands giving care and a deep shine at the same time”. Believe what you see not what you read, redefining a dying artform.
I know you have dozens of projects: when will we see your own range of products?
You are right my projects are endless. Establishing my patina service is paramount and trying to make people understand that not all shoeshiners are the same.
Regarding a product range this is just around the corner and has taken a long time due to getting it perfect.
What can we wish you?
Why use a service that gives you a result that you could get yourself at home when you could use a service that would change your perception of shoeshine forever? The public are not aware of the differences and this is why shoeshine is sadly at the lowest point it has ever been. Its time people saw what shoeshine really could be like”.
Steven D.R. Skippen in brief:
Years in profession -14 years
Favourite shoe company – Berluti, Santoni, Gaziano Girling, Giacopelli, Pierre Corthay, Stefanobi, Septieme Largeur, Edward Green, JM Weston, Cleverley, Marc Guyot, Carlos Santos, Aubercy, Emling and Loding
First job in profession – London City Airport in 2000
Favourite products-Saphir, Angelus, La Cordonnerie Anglaise and Lord Sheraton
Greatest inspirations – Dandy Shoecare, Landry Lacour and JM Le Gazel for patina and Stephen Reynolds for shoeshine.
Experience – London City Airport, Bloomberg, Lehman Brothers, KPMG, Harbour Exchange Tower, London Hilton Metropole, The London Hilton on Park Lane, Dunhill, Marks club, George club, The Office group, Whites Club and Goodwood festival.
Do you think Pharrell should not have worn a Native American head-dress on cover of Elle UK? We don’t.
Although this sparked understandable and respectable outrage from communities and commentators alike, resulting in a sincere apology by the cultural icon, we believe this new controversy shows society has figured fashion out all wrong.
As a matter of fact, the base of controversy seems far-fetched to us, or at least most of commentators express it with little concision: most of the tweets bear judgments such as “it’s not ok”, ‘what’s wrong with you” and “this is scandalous”, only a few mention the reasons of anger:
Cultural appropriation seems to be the problem, as highlighted Refinery29. But the real question is where is the line to draw for offensiveness?
We believe blackfaceing a model is a mistake, but criticizing a graphic and photographic fashion job made with respect (at least benefit of that doubt can be given to the team in charge, right?) seems way over-crying. Why did fashion teams like this one chose this item? Because it bears positive symbols, it also has impeccable visual style and it may remind us that some cultures should not be lost in contemporary moments.
This cover is beautiful. It has character. It does not depict a community in any negative way. Let’s stop underestimating the fashion industry’s capacity to curate cultures. Fashion is not a superficial discipline, whatever twitter might say.
1 year ago, we started to work with Flavie Trichet Lespagnol and Marion May on a crazy project with the agency. We were having a chit-chat and Chris looked at his feet. And he said: this is our topic.
Everybody has a story with feet; and feet tell a lot of stories about people. Very surprisingly, when it comes to shoes and brands, not so many products are really dedicated to feet. Is it because marketers think they have ugly feet?
We discovered many crazy insights: when you are pregnant, your feet grow. Women walk more than men every day in the world. We are a vast majority to buy shoes that are not at the right size for us.
Flavie and Marion went to Spain, France, travelled the UK; and interviewed a lot of interesting people. Asking questions about our feet was actually a way to talk about deeper topics: love, anxiety, self-esteem. Style as a bone of contention of our humanity; skins as the features of our journeys.
It’s always tricky to wear a nice pair of shoes which fit all our needs; when we’re at the office, we sometimes need to feel comfy but not too idle. When we go out, we need to suit up but not too much as we’ll have to wear our shoes during the day.
The beauty of the new Lacoste Essential Design collection for Autumn Winter 2014 is to flirt between classic designs and a twist of audacity. Elastic gussets, russet orange, cable stitch are nice details to explore…
As Lacoste states:
LED is designed to give the discerning gentleman quality designs that can be worn day to night
Sàn in vietnamese means ground. Sàn Art Gallery is a unique space in Ho Chi Minh City that has provided a platform for art and creation for 6 years. Yesterday was the opening for a group exhibition called Mind, Flesh, Matter.
We have been impressed by the rich atmosphere offered by the space – formerly a reading space / library, but also with the diversity of works and the precision of curation by director of gallery Zoe Butt.
Mind, Flesh, Matter is the work of 3 vietnamese artists: Lai Dieu Ha, Le Phi Long and Nguyen Van Du and was part of a process called Sàn Art Laboratory. The residency program allowed the artists to exchange and find talking partners to further their research, resulting in quite an achieving set up.
Materials and ideas seemed to collide in a very subtle way. Installations were meant to provide depth to paintings and drawings, echoing how Mind, Flesh and Matter coincide. In a reserved way, we could think performance art would have in some way contributed to deepen the experience.
In our very specific way, we have ended up stumbling into hints of pop culture here and there, most probably unintentional or better totally unrelated.
Organic side cuts reminded us of recent imagery from Hannibal (TV version with Mads Mikkelsen), when the man in the wood somehow reproduced the post-apocalyptic post-human postulate of Danny Boyle heroes Di Caprio in The Beach or Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later. There was also this distant memory of Six Feet Under’s legendary tree…
Art and design are making their way into the hectic life of the fast-growing metropolis. We Boulevardiers could not love it more.