Virgil Abloh: The Newest Artistic Designer for Louis Vuitton

By Jake Motto

Virgil Abloh has become one of the top names in the world of fashion. He founded the fashion house Off-White in 2013 and, most recently, was appointed to the artistic designer of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear collection this past march. Fun fact, he was a dj before he started making clothing.

Abloh entered the world of fashion as an intern at Fendi in 2009, working alongside rapper Kanye West. They soon grew a collaborative relationship when West asked Abloh to be the artistic designer at his creative agency, DONDA. Abloh was then asked to design the cover art to the Jay-Z/Kanye West album Watch the Throne.

In 2012, Abloh started up his first company, Pyrex Vision. A boutique where he purchased deadstock Ralph Lauren that he got for $40, screen printed designs on them and sold them for about $600. He closed Pyrex Vision down after a year because he claimed it as being an artistic experiment.

virgil x kanye
Kanye West (third from the right) picture with Virgil Abloh (far right) at the Paris Fashion Week

Then the empire was born, Virgil founded his first fashion house, a Milan based company, where he designs the highly demanded high-end streetwear known as Off-White. The clothing has stunned the world with its simplistic, yet versatile look. Off-White began as a brand seeked out only by hypebeasts for its “cloutness”, but has spread to fashion connoisseurs.

Abloh is one of my favorite fashion designers, I’m very excited to see what he has in store for the public at Off-White and Louis Vuitton. He has the ability to blossom both companies into something greater than they are now. I hope he takes the show away with his performance at Lollapalooza this summer. God this man can do it all.

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The History of Coogi

By Jake Motto

You may often times find me walking the halls in a very vibrant sweater. This sweater is no ordinary sweater, it is a Coogi sweater.

Most kids born in the 2000s do not know the importance of Coogi or their sweaters. To give a little background on the brand, Coogi is a fashion brand founded in 1969 in Toorak, Australia known for their iconic colorful silky fabrics. They were originally named Cuggi, but changed it to sound more indigenous to Australia.

Biggie-Coogi

They started out only making sweaters but in recent years have moved onto other pieces of clothing: pants, hats, shoes and underwear, to name a few. The brand started gaining popularity in the ’90s when rap god The Notorious B.I.G. started wearing and rapping about these one of a kind garments.

Biggie was the trend setter and the reason why Coogi is so successful today. Without him, Coogi wouldn’t have blown up for another five to ten years.

Another big advocate of the sweaters is the well known sitcom actor Bill Cosby who wore them constantly on his tv show. Other rappers who have been seen wearing the crazy pieces of clothing are Snoop Dogg, Drake and A$AP Yams.

coogiCoogi sweaters will be worn for decades and never go out of style. You can really impress any fashion connoisseur by wearing and knowing the history behind them. Know your facts people.

Mid March Madness Update

By Jake Motto

The Round of 32 came to a conclusion on Sunday, March 18th leaving many brackets, including two of mine, destroyed. On the other hand, My third bracket is dominating the leaderboard.

This March is full of madness with sixteen seed UMBC crushing one seed Virginia by an astounding twenty points — the first time in history a sixteen seed has beaten a one seed. My future university Loyola Chicago, eleven seed, has been tearing it up with an insane buzzer beater over six seed Miami (FL) and a crazy win over three seed Tennessee.

Some other big upsets were Buffalo, thirteen seed, taking out Arizona, four seed, with a big twenty-one point win, Marshall, thirteen seed, barely scraping by Wichita State, four seed, and Florida State, nine seed, eliminating Xavier, one seed, out of the tournament. These games ruined a lot of people’s brackets.

march madness

I decided to make three brackets: one with teams I thought would win, one with higher ranked seeds and one autofilled at random. The autofilled one I hit random about twenty times and it turned out to be an amazing bracket, so far.

My random bracket has 490 points with an 100.0 PCT performance. My bracket isn’t perfect, PCT means the percentage of your performance graded against all other entrants in the game. This has been the best bracket I have ever made. The bracket is currently ranked 1,652nd out of 10+ million on ESPN.

I expect my bracket to be ranked lower after the sweet 16. Both UVA and UNC were in my elite 8, but they are already out, so I can’t get the points for two games. My final game consists of Kansas vs Gonzaga with Kansas as the champions. So, if all of you could wish me luck in the next coming weeks, it would greatly appreciated.

Dapper Dan: The Curator of Hip Hop Culture

By Jake Motto

Bored one day, I hopped onto my favorite online store, Grailed, to check out some clothing. About to search for sweaters, preferably mustard color, when an article caught my eye. It was about a man named Dapper Dan. I was intrigued.

The article didn’t catch my attention as it should have. As my dad’s old Italian work friend says “There was no fantasy.” But there was something special about this man. Something profound. I didn’t really know what. I was left wondering about this mysterious human being and his importance. I wanted to know more. I had to dive deeper.

Seconds later I found myself searching Google for any extra details about this enigma. Scouring through hundreds of pictures, watching useless film after useless film after useless film, I couldn’t find the one. But then it hit me. Why don’t I just hit the “All” tab under the search box? It was brilliant.

Merely six links down the page I stumbled across a link. This was the one. It had me captivated. It had “the fantasy.”

I really understood who this man was now. He was a fashion outlaw. No. He was THE fashion outlaw.

Growing up in Harlem, Daniel Day, or better known as Dapper Dan, didn’t have a lot of money at all.

He only had one pair of shoes, but they were falling apart. It got to the point where the soles were gone, he had used them so much. He complained to his mom and the next day he went to a Goodwill with this brother to buy new shoes. This was the start of his sense of style.

As a young kid he broke into haberdasheries and jewelry stores with his friends. His group was known as “Ali Baba and the 40 thieves” because there were 40 to 50 of them and they always yelled “Ali Baba” as they broke into the stores.

As he got older he started to gamble. He was a “professional gambler”. He would win all the craps games on the street corner.

Gambling was how he gained his nickname: Dapper Dan. First because he was the flyest kid on the corner, and second because he started beating an older kid who had his nickname. The older kid gave Day his nickname and replaced his name with Tenor Man Dan, he was a great tenor saxophonist.

After a life changing trip to Africa, he decided to become a clothier in his neighborhood. He already knew all of the boosters — shoplifters at department stores — so he bought clothes from them and resold the clothing with profit. He started selling out of his car and later opened a boutique.dapper dan

After a dispute with a rival salesman, he realized how important the brand is. This was the moment everything changed. He started making whole outfits of designer brands and selling them to rappers and other well known celebrities. People would come from all over the nation to shop at his store. Dapper Dan was the doorway to hip hop fashion.

However, every empire has a demise. Dan had designed a jacket for the Olympic sprinter Diane Dixon with the use of a Louis Vuitton logo. Louis and other big name brands got wind of his boutique and sewed Dan’s business to the ground. It was no more.

Ironically, 25 years after his business got shut down, Gucci designed the same jacket but with interlocking G’s instead of the LV logo. A post on the brand’s official Instagram was made with the caption “a homage to Dapper Dan.”

A$AP Rocky’s Album: Nowhere to be Found

By Jake Motto

The fashion guru himself, A$AP Rocky, announced that he would be dropping his third album before 2017 had ended. However, he did not and I can not find an explanation why.

My favorite rapper, fashion icon and leader of the A$AP mob has yet to release his album, which I have ever so been patiently waiting for. He started this project a while ago, probably around a year ago, in his studio in Londontown. Rocky has done a great job keeping this a secret from the public. He hasn’t put anything on his Twitter, Instagram or any social media platform.

rocky set list

The only info I’ve found about the album is a leaked set list and a couple Instagram videos saying false details about the drop date. One of the videos said it was dropping in three weeks, but that was at the beginning of January and the other one was of Rocky in Berlin saying the only reason why he was there was to finish his album but that was two-three weeks ago.

I have heard snippets of a few songs but not enough to tell how the album sounds. There are a couple of featured artists that I have never listened to before: Lenny Kravitz, Mos Def, FKA Twigs, Devonte Hynes and Steve Lacy. I am excited to hear how they sound, if the album ever comes out.

Rocky even released a single, Cocky, featuring Gucci Mane and 21 Savage last week but, in my opinion, it wasn’t his finest work. Which makes me a little scared for the album. However, with every big artists, there’s always that moment before the drop when I think it will be bad. I’m sure the album will be psychedelic. There is hope, even though the song isn’t on the set list, whenever artists drop singles before they release an album it usually means the album is coming soon.

So hopefully, in the near future, Rocky will drop his album and I’ll be blasting it on my way into school with my doors off my Jeep in the warm spring air.

 

My First Experience at The Mockbee

By Jake Motto

My friends and I were planning on exploring the abandoned subway system downtown on Saturday, but my friends went the day before to scope it out and said it was locked. Searching for a plan B, a suggestion went up in the air: The Mockbee.

The Mockbee is this vibrant event venue in Over the Rhine where people can go to have a good time and listen to local artists show off their talent. When you enter, you are charged with a $5 entry fee and given a wristband depending on how old you are, yellow for under 21 and pink for over. There are two sections of the building, the left side is where the bar and sitting area are and the right side is where the stage is located.

The doors open at 10pm but the performers don’t go on stage until 11pm. I knew the two rappers that went out first, we met through a mutual friend. They were all over the place, they brought people onto the stage, they rapped like crazy and overall had a great performance.

There were a couple of other performers, but one that really stood out to me was a rock band that shook the building. I really enjoyed them, but I had to leave early to make it back for my curfew. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any of the artist’s names, how sad.

By this point you’re probably wondering if this is a blog on Jake’s Journal? There are no clothes! That is where you are wrong, to my surprise, there was a pop-up shop! There were two full racks of vintage clothing. I knew the people running it, I had met them at Pixel 19, a thrift store in Price Hill, a couple weeks prior. They recognized me and were super kind. If you want to follow one of them on Instagram, his username is @suiciderascal.tommy retro

Everything was valued with thrift store prices, so it was super cheap. I looked through both racks and came up with 2 pieces, a retro Nike lightweight jacket and an old Tommy Hilfiger rugby. They were great finds for the price, $15 each, and I’m happy with what I came out with.

nike retro

I recommend The Mockbee to whomever wants to have a great time and listen to some awesome music. Maybe the pop-up shop will be there, maybe not. Just go, you’ll have a dope time.

Appointment-based Stores: Terrible

By Jake Motto

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, when something caught my eye. It was a picture of some guy with recent purchases from a thrift store I had never heard of. I was highly intrigued. I texted this friend who posted the image to find more details about the store, shortly to find out that I need to book an appointment to shop at this place.

This isn’t the first time I have encountered something like this before. Last winter break, I was in Laguna Beach, CA and there was this store with its insides covered in Supreme and Bape. But the guy who ran it, you had to get in touch with him via text message/phone call. It was very difficult to reach him.

I hate this so much, people who run their stores like this is shouting “you’re on my time, so don’t waste it.” Which is pretty rude in my opinion. Also, If you make an appointment and don’t end up buying anything, it only pisses the owner off even more.

What frustrates me even more is that stores that are appointment based have really great stuff, but it’s understandable for some stores. Stores with typically hypebeast or streetwear clothing run out fairly quickly, so appointment based is actually quite a good idea. But a thrift store that’s appointment based, that’s just the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

This place looks so cool I’d actually shop there on a regular basis, but since I need an appointment and the guy is bad at responding, it completely ruins everything.

2017 Christmas List

By Jakob A. Motto

Christmas is upon us, it’s the beginning of December with less than three weeks left until the 25th. A time of cheer and happiness, but also a time to receive and exchange gifts with your friends and family. Without further ado, in no particular order, my Christmas list for 2017:

Bape bed sheets:

bape bed sheets

Now you already know, from who I am, there will be a lot of street wear items on this list. My room is pretty dull with gray walls and bed sheets with a couple posters hung up, so I have taken this as an opportunity to pimp out my bedroom. What other way than to change where I spend most of my time when I’m in my room.

Sonos Play:1 speaker:

sonos speakerI often times find myself wanting to tear down my house due to songs that slap so hard they’ll blow your ears off, but unfortunately I have nothing to do so. The speaker can connect to your phone through Bluetooth and which is pretty neat.

Takashi Murakami pillow:

takashi murakami pillowI’ve grown up with many Uglydolls, Kidrobot figures and various other cool collectibles. Takashi Murakami, both as a designer and a brand, has helped remind me of my childhood with his crazy, colorful artwork. For this, Murakami is one of my favorite Japanese artists.

Vlone baseball jersey:

This item is a must have, not just because it is a piece of clothing, but because it is from a brand created by my favorite rap group: A$AP Mob (specifically Rocky and Bari) and it is such a hard jersey.vlone baseball backvlone baseball jersey

 

TV wall mount:

tv wall mount

My TV in my room takes up a lot of unnecessary space on my dresser that could be used for other things. so a wall mount would be perfect. Plus I could swivel it towards my desk, where it is kind of hard to see the TV.

 

Oh Saint Henry

By Jakob A. Motto

WOODSTOCK, VERMONT — Flying through the icy hills, it was 11:30 pm, high up in the trees, there was no one else I wanted as the captain of the ship, my mentor. It was pitch black, we were engulfed in a hazy fog, I felt as though I was floating, but I knew I wasn’t gonna fall, I was in safe hands.

I am currently celebrating Thanksgiving week with my whole family in Vermont, where my older brother goes to school. Straying away from my normal blog posts, this one is about my older brother, Henry. My brother is a renaissance man. He is passionate about everything he does.

There is no other man that I’ve seen who has over 10,000 songs in his library. A man who is the epitome of rock music, I think he was the very first person to shake their hair in the wind. He is an expert in mosh pits, an avid polish folk enthusiast and has mastered the art of jazz music.

His favorite hobby is to drive. Most people despise those 10+ hour drives to get to wherever they’re heading for vacation, but he lives for them. He loves to drive so much, his dream job is a semi truck driver because he would get to drive all across North America.

henry

In his spare time, he writes poetry about his adventures at University. He speaks in such an abstract, grungy voice when he puts it to paper. I don’t know any other person that could make a trip to Wing Stop so captivating than him.

His wardrobe consists of nothing over $5. He believes that no article of clothing should cost more than how much he has in his wallet. He only shops at thrift shops, he even worked at Goodwill.

No-shave November lasts all year for him. He keeps his hair and beard long enough, my little brother and I swear he’s a wizard.  

Henry is one of the smartest people I have ever met. He not only knows any fact about history, he some how knows exactly what to do in any situation ever. Even if he told me a lie, he tells stories so well that he can make anything sound true. He one time told our whole rowing team stories about his life at a regatta once, even if some weren’t true, but it didn’t matter, everyone loved them.

Henry has taught me to: be nothing but respectful to people of all backgrounds, not be so serious about things all the time, and especially, rock my ass off at concerts. Henry is my one and only true mentor. And will always be until the day that I die.

It’s More Than a Hobby

By Jake Motto

Throughout my time as a high schooler who likes fashion, I have always been asked questions like “Why would you waste your money on that?” or comments like “I would never buy something that expensive.” I have one thing to say to these people: it’s one of my interests, so why not.

People who play sports spend hundreds of dollars on customizing their equipment and to play the sport alone. For example, new lacrosse heads come out multiple times every year. Every lacrosse player begs for the newest and greatest lacrosse head the same way I beg for clothing. All of my expensive clothing is bought for my birthday, Christmas and, if I get lucky, vacation. I have the same type of clothing everyone else has but just cooler brands.

That brings me into my next point, I am not a hype beast. I just happen to like the clothing that hype beast companies provide such as: Supreme, Bape, etc. and buy it for retail prices. I prefer designer clothing way more though, it’s usually more suave.

On the other side of the spectrum, I really enjoy thrift shopping — one of god’s greatest creations, just under poutine. With thrift shopping you can find one of kind pieces for very low prices. Sifting through bins full of old Tommy Hilfiger and Guess would be a dream come true. I love coming across old 90’s style clothing: large over sized sweaters, color block jackets and faded bleached jeans.

I love clothing that is worth $10 and I love clothing that is worth $1000. I don’t buy things just because they’re expensive or rare, I buy clothing that I like and I know that will keep me looking cozy.