February 24, 2022

The Metaverse. After the past two years of cotton clad sameness, the promise of a neon Never-Never land, awash in all the colors and sensations so long denied us sounds like a teenager’s fever dream. And certainly, given the patterns of tech adoption, it will no doubt be the land claimed by the young. But as Vans, Coca-Cola, Nike, and all the usual suspects race to stake their claim on this fresh and shiny new prairie, I sense a deep and unsettling rumbling underneath it all. Not everyone is looking for a ticket to ride. Newton’s Third Law tells us that for every action, there is a reaction – as strong a pull in the opposite direction as the force it opposes. And so, for every future-naut, blithely suiting up in a sparkly Gucci space suit, there is their doppelganger, turning off their phone, setting aside their headset and simply walking outside. It seems the same generation that brought us Finstagram and the dark social net are now playing an even more radical hand: they are going offline. Social media for this group has been a tricky game of DDR, with every step measured and monitored, every click and swipe breadcrumbing to some shrink-wrapped, fully baked life on offer. All before they know who they are, and what they might possibly want in a world untested and untried.

And so, right now, perhaps we are seeing the start of a quiet revolution, a soft and subtle disconnection, the radical act of being simply unplugged. It is but a murmur, but it is there, if you listen. From burner phones, to bricks and mortar, the rise of barter and bespoke, there is a growing hunger for a taste of what it means to be human first. In the 90’s, grunge gave a name to a disconnected cohort, one that rejected the brightness and shininess on offer. Maybe our current love affair with that era runs deeper than fashion. Today, to be naked and unplugged is the ultimate act of rebellion, and it seems the only place now where we can’t be found, is in the real world. Today’s seekers, the new pioneers may not simply be willing to play in pretend. Instead, you may find them heading out, hand in hand, looking for the places and spaces to call their own.

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

– Robert Frost

Adventure on, my friend! Fortune favors the bold!


It’s Getting Real

Tik-Tok is on the block! No – it’s not for sale – it’s for real! In the latest shift from VR to IRL, Tik-Tokers who have been scoring big $$ selling vintage finds on their channels are now committing to concrete. Over the past several months, as Omnicron eases and the world steps out, some of the biggest names in the 90’s resale game are opening up real doors in the NYC. Rogue, a vintage store on New York City’s Lower East Side is owned and operated by TikTok influencer Emma Rogue. The shop is decorated like a teen bedroom dream from the ’90s, with its walls covered in Spice Girls posters and old-school Furby and Tweety Bird toys. Rogue started selling on Depop in 2018, flipping platform Skechers sneakers and vintage Guess tees before building her massive presence on TikTok. Videos of her thrifting and recreating her parents’ ’90s outfits amassed millions of views and funneled shoppers to her Depop account. Now she is finding even more money and fame through her club-meets-shop set up. Next door is the Bowery Showroom, owned and operated by Matt Choon, 25, who began flipping sneakers on eBay when he was 13 and later built a following on TikTok as well. His new shop is jammed with Japanese denim, 1980s band T-shirts and Chrome Hearts pieces from the ’90s. a stone’s throw away, there’s Funny Pretty Nice, a vintage boutique from Natalia Spotts, 25, who built a serious following selling ’90s fashion online too.

Virtual sellers like Choon, Rogue and Spotts have taken the plunge into brick-and-mortar, as secondhand marketplaces like Grailed, Depop, Poshmark, StockX and Goat have become increasingly crowded. They are also capitalizing on the boom of those who see secondhand as a more sustainable way to shop as well as way to more tangibly connect with each other.

“Gen Z … aren’t just about buying the product. They want to collectively meet up with people who have similar interests,” Choon said. It’s a whole new generation of club kids, people. Shop on!

Tailor Me Mine 

The latest sartorial stars may not be those who make fashion…. They might just be the re-makers. As the world tilts ever more aggressively (and virtuously) to resale, the latest big names are the ones who can reshape – and customize – the items shoppers are increasingly seeking on resale sites – or even in their own closets. It seems the answer to the question of how to stay fresh and fly in this time of no-buy then is to re-work it, (bitch)! Indeed, the ultimate fashion flex takes us back in time. Tailors are the new stars, and the ones with names are running game. Top stylists around the globe are playing arbitrage in suggesting repair as a means of reworking our broken relationship with clothes, or, at the very least – they are playing matchmaker with rental and resale outlets as a kinder means to an end. Some names to know? Sasha Iglehart – a former fashion editor, has created A Shirt Story, selling reworked vintage shirts with cool new collars and cuffs. Giovani Contrada, an LA based tailor, has found Tik-Tok fame (1.4M fans!) through his magical re-rendering of blazers and jackets. He now roams the globe, setting up shop in various hot markets, slashing cuffs, fraying hems, and leaving his signature ‘Imp of the Perverse’ logo nestled inside once tired garments. DTC brand, TheNamesake, is bringing its custom-made leather jacket practice to the pop-up game, measuring, making and remaking the leather that will make for new legends, no doubt. These owners are finding big business in creating destination events for the custom-hungry crowd. The trick in feeding this new fashion frenzy? An optical restylist signature – a wink to the world that shows off individual style as well as the best of intentions. Style or restyle – fashion will always be about standing out, in order to truly fit in.

Non-Fungi-able Tokens?

Truffles are perhaps one of life’s greatest luxuries – and certainly rank among the most prized ingredients grown on the planet. Bernard Planche of Sarlat, France, has been cultivating and hunting truffles for decades. When he discovered a 1.265-kilogram winter black truffle earlier this month – one of the largest specimens ever recorded in Europe – he knew he had something extremely valuable on his hands. So, he did what so many enterprising business people have done recently: he decided to sell the truffle in an NFT auction. The sale has now set a record for largest truffle NFT ever recorded – both in the size of the truffle and the size of the price tag. Planche, who has been growing truffles for over 30 years, believes putting the giant fungi on the blockchain would prove the truffle’s provenance, quality, and authenticity. And the price tag of the process definitely seems to demonstrate how new technology can be used to support and even strengthen long-standing cultural traditions. An interesting twist to a world seemingly relegated to capturing moments, not mushrooms. And one that opens a whole new door to the measuring the things we value, Non?

Table for None? 

Celebrity owned restaurants are certainly nothing new. But those that come with a crypto-based lifetime membership certainly are a whole new train to Flavor Town! Enter Flyfish Club, Gary Vee’s private membership club. The concept merges hospitality with modern technology tossed with a smidge of good old-fashioned exclusivity. And yup, they are using NFTs as a new way of handling private club memberships. At Flyfish Club, interested parties can purchase a lifetime membership (available to lease or sell on the secondary cryptocurrency market) at two levels — Flyfish, a membership to the 150-seat seafood restaurant and lounge listed at 2.5 Ether (a popular cryptocurrency) that translates to approximately $8,500, or Omakase, a membership to the restaurant, lounge, and 14-seat private omakase dining room listed at 4.25 Ether, or approximately $14,500. Right now, these memberships are listed on the secondary market for thousands of dollars more. What is on the table here is access to the latest form of an exclusive experience: membership at a private club, with money minted in cutting edge culture. Oh, and how’s the food? No restaurant has been built yet 🙂 stay tuned!

Need a little palate cleanser after that? Here is a colorsmash of vintage craft and ka-POW personal style that gives us ALL the real feels!!

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