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Tote bags are the new flex, Arthur Ashe's tennis brand, and understanding why J.Crew chinos sold out
Some free flowing thoughts week.
Tote bags are the new flex
Something I’ve been thinking about for a while (that’s been around, but it finally materialized for me)… media and podcast merch have become a signal to show what consumer group you belong to.
Where handbags and sneakers used to be the ultimate flex of spending power, it’s almost counterproductive to flaunt a Louis bag or Travis Scott’s when you can rock your favorite podcast or bookstore.
This is not objective, of course. But, it’s no longer just about proving that you paid a lot of money for something. It’s about showing someone where you stand intellectually, or the social class you sit in.
The New Yorker has always done a nice job extending part of its brand on the merch front for consumers, and we’ve seen NYTimes, Vogue, and NPR do the same.
This trend is moving more niche, and here are some of my favorites to highlight…
One more thought.
There’s also a trend emerging where one’s personal brand is built upon tension. It’s as if what one wears has competing signifiers of what that person values.
It used to be about having a clean put together uniform look. But now, tension is the norm, which creates confusion for the onlookers, but the reality is that the person creating tension wants it that way.
Tyler, the Creator is a fantastic example of this, both stylistically and philosophically.
Any thoughts or feedback on this? Curious if anyone else has examples they like!
Rowing Blazers launches Arthur Ashe tennis brand
The continued evolution of tennis apparel is cool to see.
In the streewearification era of sports brands, most new ones have started lines of merch on their own and evolved into full apparel (Furi Sport and Palmes are good examples of this).
That said, this is the first one I’ve seen where an existing brand like Rowing Blazers takes a namesake like Arthur Ashe and builds on its existing legacy of Ashe in the form of a new brand.
Here’s a look at the first collection RB and AA dropped together ahead of the US Open.
J.Crew baggy chinos and what they say about us
J.Crew wid-leg chinos sold out, which is awesome and also not entirely surprising considering the more recent mainstream shift back to looser fits. Someone on Twitter tried to make the comparison that baggy trousers accompany recessions, and honestly, I think that’s a stretch to draw a direct correlation.
But also, who cares?
It doesn’t have to be that serious. We can simply say that trends are, well… cyclical. Stuff goes in and out of style. All the time. Part of what happens with emerging consumer groups who dictate trends and style shifts.
Back to trousers. J.Crew sold out, so here are a few of my favorite options to cop from right now. All different price points; check ‘em out.
First Sprezza meetup in NYC in the books
A couple of weeks ago I hosted the first Sprezza NYC meetup, and it was fucking awesome!
Remembered to snap a photo of the crew; this was a smaller portion of the group, had a ton of folks coming and going throughout the night not pictured.
It’s cool to think about how this community exists because of the newsletter.
I’m staying focused on building and growing this even more. Meetups in new cities coming soon.