Cult Streetwear | a book by Josh Sims

I’ve got to be brutally honest: while the title of this book is probably the best way to sell it to a mainstream audience, the term ‘streetwear’ makes the bile rise in the back of my throat. Maybe it’s the non-committal nature of the word, maybe it’s because every leisure brand claims to fit into the category… I’m not sure.

But, that said, this book by Josh Sims does include a fairly broad range of brands and goes beyond the usual high street selection. I picked the book up out of curiosity (and the sharp 123 Klan illustration on the cover was certainly another reason) and once I started flicking through, I realised that the content was actually much better than my first assumption. Old, jaded and sceptical: that’s me.

Google the book and you’ll simply find a load of hype blogs copy-and-pasting the press release from the publisher’s website, which isn’t very useful. Let’s take you through some of the contents…

Split into three sections – Streetwear, Sportswear and Workwear – there’s a good selection of brands, profiled in alphabetical order. Kicking off with our friends at Addict, you get a one page bio of the label, with quotes and background information, before launching into a series of spreads showing design elements, garment shots and other interesting paraphernalia.

Other featured brands in the streetwear section include A Bathing Ape, Fuct, Goodenough, Maharishi, Neighborhood, One True Saxon, Stussy, Triple 5 Soul and X-Large. There’s a great section on Zoo York, which shows some of their old adverts (pre-Ecko involvement), along with some board graphics and I liked the unexpected Mambo showcase, with the page of original display cards and adverts too.

Moving into the Sportswear area, we kick off with a little section on adidas, before moving to Burton (the snowboard brand, not the UK high street retailer), Converse, Fred Perry, Lacoste, Nike, Puma and Vans. Nothing really unexpected in there, but it’s well-chosen and nice to see all in one book for once. The Workwear section is one of the most interesting (if short) parts: I liked seeing the Carhartt catalogue covers from the ’60s and the Dickies pages particularly.

The book doesn’t try to cram misinformed statements or cultural observations down your throat, preferring to stay factual and present easy-to-digest breakdowns. For that reason alone, I think it’s well worth picking up – a real asset to the bookshelves.

The only copy-and-pasting I’m willing to do on here are the book details, so here they are for you:
Paperback / 900 illustrations / 208 pages
292 x 220 mm / ISBN 978 1 85669 651 7

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