Just because I said so, I’m gonna spend the rest of the week doing a 2006 Year in Review. I’ll be posting up different Top 10 lists that you will enjoy. I am gonna subject you to this against your will, you will remain passionately engaged, and you will laugh maniacally. Like a cackling witch. Got that?
First up, let’s just say that as far as our little scene is concerned, it was quite the year for The Web. But if you step back, it’s clear that in 2006, the Internet dramatically altered every industry, social scene, and (sub)culture around the world. Of course, the Internet has been loud and proud since Prodigy and a/s/l chatrooms, but this year, the personal landscape opened up a universe of possibilities thanks to sites like Myspace, Youtube, and Fight Collection.
As far as “streetwear” and “street” culture is concerned, the online revolution was both embraced and shunned out of embarassment, like the Teddy Ruxpin you sleep with every night, cooter. While regularly-updated weblogs (kinda like ours..?) were initially scoffed at, by year’s end, most the major players were sharing their internet diary. And even if they didn’t have one, they had a regularly-updated website of some kind. What was once an offline desert has blossomed into a digital oasis. From streets to screens, for better..or for worse.
These are my top 10 streetwear-related websites of the year, for varying reasons. Whether due to street-cred or screen-cred, design, contribution to the culture, functionality, or providing a haven for office boredom, these are all up there on my bookmarks bar (and most likely yours as well).
Okay, so I know it’s a cheap move to put 3 as 1, but let’s be frank, you visit all 3 at the same time, right? They’re all side-by-side on your list of Things to Do (Every Hour), and to be stark, if it’s not up on those sites, it’s not making noise. Big ups to Kevin, Adam, and David for keeping us informed, and keeping us un-bored in 2006.
In a community nurtured by snobbery and elitism, the only thing surprising about DBTHB’s long-winded tirades against streetwear’s most noted brands/designers was that it hadn’t been done before. Initially heralded for its barbs against streetwear’s most-celebrated, and balancing out the high-five lovefest that other news-blogs showered upon top-shelf brands, DBTHB’s eventual demise came by way of the very thing it fought against: monotony (and the unveiling of the brand-associated writers behind the site might have had something to do with it). No doubt, there were some nuggets of truth that all of us needed to hear (and will hopefully spurn more thoughtful critique), but unfotunately, they were lost in the ruthless bitter onslaught. Everyone listens to the critic. No one likes the constant complainer. DBTDBTHB, anyone?
The walls dividing brand and consumer are breaking down, and the Bostonians behind Weeklydrop are holding the hammers. Building off of the momentum of online-generated owner/customer interactivity, the logical progression in Screenwear beyond the blogs was an actual internet radio show giving the t-shirt-wearer aural access to their favorite brand. But it’s not just the medium and A-list guests that boost WD, it’s the personality and dynamics between slap-happy hosts Jeff, Heppler, and the Butcher that truly capture the essence of a growing community. #1 response from every first-time WD listener? “Wow, this is..like.. a real, really good, radio show!”
 Alife Myspace
A Myspace page in itself isn’t extraordinary. And to be honest, New York-based Alife‘s Myspace isn’t earth-shattering by any regard. But the simple, miniscule, fact that they (along with Married to the Mob) have posted their Myspace link on the frontpage of their website says something,.. that most street heads either smirk at confusedly, or just completely overlook altogether. 2 years ago, websites were contraband in this game, and any internet association was a blemish on your resume… Let alone an online networking community that achieved popularity by way of 14-year-olds and perverts. But for a brand such as Alife to post a Myspace link is a forward-thinking move, in a market that’s riddled with hesitant, deliberate, coolguy-conscious steps. Of course, the funny part is that like most of Alife’s projects, most heads won’t figure it out until the bandwagon scoops them up off the Duh corner years down the line.
Before there was EverythingElseTalk, there was Niketalk. Streetwear didn’t really have a strong presence in the online community until the co-branded sneaker tie-ins took off a half-decade ago, and worked their tentacles into the Nike-oriented discussion boards. With the introduction of milestones like the Alphanumeric Dunks, Supreme Dunks, and Diamond… Dunks, in the new millenium it became impossible to ward off street culture’s association with sneaker fanaticism, and the NT kids were front and center. Niketalk provided a homebase for the sneakerfreaks and subsequent streetwear enthusiasts alike, cultivating a flourishing audience of foot-fetished collectors, and a springboard for a burgeoning t-shirt-based industry. Sure, you got Supertalk for the more fashion-heavy denimheads, and Hypebeast Forums for the fresh generation, but NT is the Coca-Cola of the street messageboard world. Always classic.
 Digital Gravel
While everyone else decided this year that there were plenty of ends to be made in online sales, Nima and the DG crew actually struck oil years ago. 1999, to be exact. The first true online streetwear boutique, for the past decade, DG’s had to deal with the minor annoyances that come with innovative success. Such as biters, corporate pirates, and undercutters. But DG’s managed to stay rocksteady through it all, coming out the pipe unscathed, and establishing itself in 2006 once again as the ultimate web boutique for the streetwear cream of the crop. Yeah, I guess sometimes, keepin’ it real really does win out in the end.
I’ll be the first to admit that it took a while to warm up to this one. The problem with the flashy webmag Cliquenmove is that it’s just too nice for an anti-techno industry/scene that’s years behind in the internet game. But once you’ve got your head wrapped around the literal bells and whistles, you won’t be able to let go. I haven’t even had time to move onto #8 because I’ve been sitting through their Nike Air retrospective for the past 20 minutes. Sheesh.
 Inquiring Mind
Sometime last year, before the blog explosion, there was another online trend around online street-centric magazines. Much like the current blog-frenzy, every writer and brand figured online magazines were an easy setup, but within a few months, most had withered away. Inquiring Mind is the only ‘zine out of the litter that outgrew runt-hood into a massive beast; the only online ‘zine that’s done it right. Easy navigation, nice on the eyes, and the substantive and relevant content to boot. Michael and the crew are reppin’ Canada right.
Never say never. It’s always been assumed that Supreme would just never have an actual webspace. But when rumors circulated earlier this year that SupremeNewYork would soon be translated as a dotcom, it signified the most impactful online debut of any streetwear brand in 2006. The icing on the cake was the site was formulated exactly how you’d expect/want Supreme’s webpage to be. Classy, clean, and to the point. No blogfoolerly here.
Hey, we’re not usually up here tooting our own horn, but..