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Concrete Week

Earlier this week, when I spoke with Kevin about Fuck Yeah Menswear, the notion of books as permanent works came up quite a few times and I was reminded of this video that I found a few weeks back while I was working on my post about Andy Spade.  In the video Spade gives a tour of his home in the Hamptons, which includes pieces from an art installation that he did about a decade ago titled, “An Argument for Looking at Books Instead of Reading Them.”  For the series Spade interpreted book covers as art, framing the covers and displaying them at Colette in Paris.  The internet, for better or for worse does have this sort of throwaway quality to it, which I suppose is why Spade’s work struck a chord in me, as it highlighted the physicality of books themselves.  In a way books are the opposition to the transitory nature of the internet, and as I write this from the library of my parent’s house, I like Spade, am drawn to the aesthetics of books.  The layout, the graphics, the very look of every page, and particularly the cover, is considered with much greater weight than what we’re used to dealing with on the internet.  Spade’s project worked as a different way of reading books that brought all these elements to the foreground   So, I decided to do my own take on his idea, with a collection of book covers from my parent’s library, spanning across genres and decades, as a reinterpretation of the book’s that have surrounded me for most of my life.

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As you can probably tell today’s post is on a bit of a delay. I wrote the first draft this morning in my notebook at a deli about twenty blocks from my apartment amongst scores of people fleeing the dead zone of downtown, and here I am finalizing it and posting this from a Starbucks five blocks from the bus station where I’m picking up a ride down to my hometown in an hour. As Hurricane Sandy moved in on Monday night, I quickly became one of the quarter of all New Yorkers that’s now stuck in the darkness with no end in sight. Fortunately I was able to book a bus out of the city today, and as I was getting my stuff together this morning I soon learned that there’s something undeniably eerie about packing and leaving a pitch black city. As overly dramatic as it might seem, it’s tough not to think about value during a moment like this. I choose this week’s theme based on a question: what is it about a product that makes it permanent? And so, as I packed I thought of the five things that I would consider concrete in my life, and from there I thought of two more “fives”. These five things, that I’ve picked up over the past five years are the things that I would hope to still be there in my wardrobe in five years. It’s not because they’re my favorite pieces or what I wear the most, it’s because all of these things have some value that is derived not from how they look or their cost, but because they both represent and shape a part of who I am.

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Kevin Burrows was the one I didn’t see coming.  When news broke on the identities of the pair that co-created Fuck Yeah Menswear, the National Lampoon meets Naked Lunch meets Aquemini of the menswear world, I wasn’t surprised that Lawrence Schlossman, arguably the loudest voice of this movement, was one of the collaborators on the project, but I can say that I never would have guessed that Kevin Burrows would be the other half of the duo.

Kevin works as a production coordinator for Dreamworks animation by day, but on the side he runs The Windmill Club, an L.A. based label that began as a tie company but is now branching out into other designs.  I’ve never met Kevin before, but as any blogger in this day and age I was certainly familiar with The Windmill Club, and with the Fuck Yeah Menswear book launch just about a week away, I was quite intrigued by the chance to interview Kevin about not only his endeavors, but menswear in general.  In our two hour conversation I realized that Kevin is one of the most intelligent and opinionated minds I have come across so far in this world, but it’s no wonder that he was he’s part of the team behind the wit and snark that made FYMW famous.

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