Mister Freedom — history and design in harmony

Following on from the hot 2010 trend for American workwear that we blogged about, transplanted French designer Christophe Loiron has started a new style digression with his California-based brand Mister Freedom‘s Spring 2011 collection, Les Apaches.

Taking inspiration from Parisien hoodlum kultchur of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Loiron’s really gone to town on this homage to his home country’s organic street style. The attention to detail is astonishing, not least this beautiful, specially-commissioned shirt box, painted by Patrick Segui. Expect the influence of the Les Apaches collection to be felt on UK high streets next year — minus the packaging!

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Winter design classics – Mary Maxim sweaters

With snow a cert for the Christmas period and chunky knits a hot high street trend, what better time to celebrate a classic design of the fashion world, the Mary Maxim sweater?

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Herb Lester Associates

Guardian Guide creator Ben Olins’ latest project, in partnership with Jane Smillie, is the self-effacingly great Herb Lester Associates, who have produced a number of gorgeous, fold-up maps designed by Montana’s Michael Newhouse.

You Are Here is a pocket-sized guide to London’s best spots for freelancers to hold meetings and work, May We Help You? details the captial’s best specialist suppliers, and their latest, Wish You Were There, is a look at the city’s hottest shops and entertainments, circa 1960-1966. The maps are available for £3-4 each here.

Creative influencers

Here’s a really well made short documentary on how trends and creativity become contagious, focussing on New York’s creative influencers (advertising, design, fashion and entertainment). Just read that back and I’ve managed to make it sound really wanky. It’s dead good honest.

Still state of the (street) art

Filmmaker, author and photographer Henry Chalfant, the director of much-loved early-1980s hip hop street art documentary, Style Wars, has just launched a new website that is set to feature his astonishing Big Grafitti Archive. Henry’s portfolio features countless breathtaking shots that effectively helped to communicate grafitti art to the rest of the world, and he plans to make the Big Graffiti Archive available as a DVD set. That’s one for the OG Christmas list, then. Click on the image above to check the subway car in all of its glory.

Another ingredient in the crucible of hip hop, New York’s street gang culture, is explored in Rubble Kings, a new documentary from director Shan Nicholson that’s currently on the film festival circuit. Check the trailer below…

Custom belts: art you can wear — from concho to emo

As you’d expect, yer average High Street emo kid has absolutely no idea of the ancestry of their nattily studded fashion belts, and why should they? Adding studs and jewels to leather belts appears to have crossed over from Mexico to American ‘Western’ wear back in the 1920s. The vaqueros’ penchant for affixing conchos and studs to their garments (all the better to reflect their wealth) had picked up native American influences by the time the style hit such mainstream retailers as Miller of Colorado and Montgomery Ward in the 1930s.

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