The infamous and enigmatic Steven Vogel of Black Lodges offers a comprehensive response to Bobby Hundreds’ 2013 Best and Worst List. Catch an excerpt below and read on to see where these two personalities see eye to eye, and the topics they go head to head on at The Reference Council (hint: Kanye is one of them).
I completely agree with Bobby on this one; I don’t get it. Coming off the back of a heritage wave, in which everyone was churning out classic basics with a contemporary twist, this sort of reactionary, pseudo-avant garde stuff was perhaps inevitable.
The antithesis to stuff like this was, for me, brands like Needles, the array of work by Rig Out, Kiko and SHOWStudio’s collaboration with Stussy and Engineered Garments; all of whom exhibited progressive ideas without coming with some nonsensical, shock-tactic stunts. Three of the four entities have successfully shed the “heritage” tag and shown that they’re better than a singular trend. And the Stussy collab was the best thing I’ve seen in streetwear for over a year.
Personally, I think Been Trill sucks. I mean this on a purely aesthetic level; I don’t think it’s clever or flattering. This isn’t to say I have any hate for the guys involved, I honestly don’t; I just have a completely different mind-set when it comes to taste. Fair play to Heron Preston and Virgil Abloh, they have undoubtedly been one of the most recognisable aspects of streetwear in the past year. Their influence has been unquestionable and unparalleled; they have undoubtedly shifted the zeitgeist. However, I would pose these questions; is this shift due to them bringing fresh and innovative ideas to the table or simply because the financial precariousness which surrounds so many brands requires them to hop on any trends for fear of being left behind? I’d hazard a guess that it is the latter and largely a case of the blind leading the blind.
The standard riposte from Been Trill proponents to any criticism of the brand is “yeah, but they’re getting money.” Sales are not a hallmark of quality design. Do you know how many units UGG shift each year? Furthermore, if I was best pals with the most famous rapper on the planet and couldn’t shift some t-shirts off the back of his co-sign, I’d give up. And therein lies the problem I have with Been Trill, it will never be judged on its quality of design or ability to position itself within a market, because it operates in a realm where the obsession with Kanye West from the streetwear community is unlike anything we’ve seen before. It’s not a level playing field and because of this elevated status, I feel people are too scared to say that it sucks.