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Courtside Kicks

Courtside Kicks

A Lookback At Some Of The Game’s Prolific Forerunners

Thanks to ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ – a docuseries that depicts the mesmerizing star power of five-time MVP Michael Jordan and his team the Chicago Bulls in their ‘90s heyday – basketball’s bygone era has never felt more relevant. With that in mind and given the UK’s new-found affinity for the NBA, we’re digging through our portfolio to shine light on the shoes that first made their debut on the court, comprising the notorious Nike Blazer and adidas Superstar.

Courtside Kicks – History of the Nike Blazer:

In 1973 sportswear newbie Nike was a mere nine years of age when it launched the new kid on basketball’s block, the Nike Blazer. Dubbed the ‘Nike Blazer’ in tribute to local team the ‘Portland Trail Blazers’, the sneaker was specifically tailored to bolster game play, possesing supple leather in its upper, nylon and breathable mesh in the tongue and a robust vulcanised rubber sole underfoot. It’s construction, which employed the vulcanisation process and done so to superlative standards, was deemed hugely popular with players of the era, leading San Antonio Spurs shooting guard George Gervin to link up with the Swoosh and subsequently become the first player to front the Nike Blazer courtside.

Cool by name and by nature, George ‘The Iceman’ Gervin possessed the kind of star power that could transcend a silhouette from the hardwood and into favour with global popular culture. In fact, it’s thought that Nike and George Gervin’s partnership initiated the logistics of ‘player exclusive’ deals back then which of course are so ubiquitous these days.

Nike Blazer San Antonio Spurs NBA

Former San Antonio Spurs shooting guard George Gervin sporting the Nike Blazer during a game.

Nike Blazer Mid Vintage 77 Sketch

Nike Blazer Mid Vintage ’77 in White/Red and White/Black colourways, available now at Aphrodite.

 

Nike’s quick off the march approach to identifying players and utilising their likeness in such a way would become the cornerstone of the brand’s global operations. Just 12 years after the Nike Blazer debuted, a new courtside crep was preparing to take the NBA by storm; named the ‘Air Jordan’ after gravity-defying Bulls shooting guard Michael Jordan. This immensely lucrative and longstanding partnership is responsible for MJ’s title as the richest athlete on the globe and although the Nike Blazer’s basketball invasion was short-lived, it did lay down the foundations for future successors such as Mike’s Air Jordan.

Having paved the way for player endorsements and Swoosh-bearing status on the court, the Nike Blazer gave up shooting hoops and skated into fresh tenure. Turns out, the design’s tremendous traction came in super handy for skaters, and so the Nike Blazer was reincarnated. These days though, the sneaker doesn’t require a specific purpose to make it a modern necessity – it’s now welcomed worldwide thanks to its unwavering throwback feel and logo-laden look.

Courtside Kicks – History of the adidas Superstar:

German heavyweight adidas had already built a great rapport with NBA greats way before rival Nike and its famous Blazer hit the scene. In 1969 the adidas Superstar launched as the first low-profile basketball sneaker to feature an all-leather upper and a rubber shelltoe, this making way for the shoe’s myriad nicknames since, including the ‘shelltoe’, ‘shell tops’ and ‘shell shoes’.

Given that sneaker innovation in the ‘60s was still very much at the inception stage, the shoe’s rubber shell toe and non-marking outsole were in every way unprecedented. The striking nature of the design quickly began to garner attention from some of the game’s most accomplished players, one being Kareem Abdul Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers, whom some claim is the greatest player in NBA history. But these 3-Stripes sneakers weren’t solely reserved for the unstoppable feet of Kareem Abdul Jabbar, as by its third year of production the adidas Superstar was donned by over 75% of all NBA players. Pretty impressive.

adidas Superstar NBA History

NBA players of the past repping the adidas Superstar, including former New York Knicks power forward and Chicago Bulls Head Coach Phil Jackson.

adidas Superstar Sneakers

adidas Originals Superstar Trainers in Black/White and adidas Superstar WS2 Trainers in White/Black, available now at Aphrodite.

 

Just like the Nike blazer, the stellar adidas Superstar eventually, and gracefully, made its way off the court and into the city streets, picking up recognition from Hip Hop’s elite rap group Run-D.M.C. – with the trio paying tribute to the design in a song titled ‘My Adidas’ which aimed to redefine b-boy culture. Later down the line the 3-Stripes label struck up an advertising deal with Run-D.M.C., in turn, marking the first major sports company / hip-hop partnership of its kind. In the decades since this fundamental link up, adidas has frequently employed celebrity industry crossovers as a formula to its success, notably with this very Superstar style and rapper Pharrell Williams, not to mention Kanye West’s dollar seizing Yeezy line.

So there you have it, two of the globe’s most crowd-pleasing footwear styles unearthed from their basketball origins. Shop the featured colourways by checking out our Nike and adidas departments now.

How To Relax Your Home Wardrobe With Barbour Beacon

Barbour Beacon SS20

If you’re feeling like your sense of style is pretty limited at the moment, don’t stress – the whole world is with you on that one. Just like the rest of the globe, here in the UK a state of lockdown has imposed a ‘new normal’ for almost six weeks now, which has presented a whole host of unprecedented circumstances.

While we all continue to strictly follow the government guidelines and adapt to this new state of being, it seems that in the madness of it all, our wardrobes have hit the back burner. I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s only so many pieces which can be deemed ‘appropriate’ for home office working or that daily exercise allowance we all treasure… In fact, does anyone remember the last time they donned a pair of jeans? No, us neither.

Fashion at the moment is certainly not the pressing priority it once was, and nor should it be within the grand scheme of things, however, it is just one of several adjustments that we’ve all gotten used to in recent weeks. With that said, we’ve taken a brief break from our new reality to help you implement a more relaxed approach to dressing with a helping hand from our trusty North-East neighbour, Barbour Beacon.

So, what exactly is on the agenda? Well we’re leaning on comfort, comfort and, you guessed it, a little more comfort. For the time being we recommend that you put the restrictive traits of denim, tailoring and outerwear to the back of your mind in favour of clobber that’s stretchy, soft on the skin and cosy – because let’s face it – downtime is the only memo scribbled on our calendars right now.

Barbour Beacon T-Shirt

To start off we’re placing our attention on finding the ideal base layer. Whether short-sleeved or long-sleeved, a comfortable t-shirt is the foundation of any great loungewear ensemble, so you’ll be pleased to hear that Barbour Beacon have plenty in their SS20 vault for you to feast your eyes on. For the most part, the Barbour Beacon tees here at Aphrodite are crafted from comfy cotton, opt for a short-sleeved cut and bear iconic credentials from the South Shields native.

In case you didn’t know, South Shields is nestled just up the road from our base here in Sunderland, with the region’s coastal backdrop informing many of Barbour Beacon’s garments, not to mention their entire global identity, which is why you’ll see a lighthouse emblem across the sub-brand’s whole collection. Below we’ve picked out a selection of breezy, unrestrictive t-shirts that will add a dose of Northern heritage to your rotation along with no-nonsense reliability.

Barbour Beacon Lighthouse T-Shirts

Of course, you can’t always rely on the days and weeks ahead to deliver t-shirt weather, so it’s always a good idea to build up your layers, whether you’re lounging around the house or seeking a breath of fresh air – warmth and comfort should be key during quarantine. Thankfully, #StayingAtHome with Barbour Beacon means exactly that. The brand’s SS20 offerings boast the perfect balance between versatility, insulation and street-ready styling, although the streets may have to hold on until they can claim their turn.

Barbour Beacon Fleece

Below we’ve picked out three snug silhouettes that will come in handy while self-isolating is still advisable. Our personal favourite is the Barbour Beacon Foley Fleece, not only does it have an outdoorsy, retro vibe to it, but it’s also reversible, meaning it can take you from one place to the next with ease. In the case of lockdown, opt to interchange between the textured sherpa fleece side and the smooth, cobalt poly face as you juggle working from home, your weekly food shop and accompanying man’s best friend for his daily stroll.

Barbour Beacon

Although it remains unclear when exactly we’ll be granted the green-light back to our old lives, we hope that for now you can find some creativity through the crisis by striving to relax your home wardrobe with Barbour Beacon. As always, thanks for taking the time to read this feature and be sure to stay safe through these extraordinary times!

Stepney Workers Club Brand Guide

Stepney Workers Club, the East-London brand on a mission…

Stepney Workers Club Brand Guide

Easily identifiable thanks to its liberal tagline of ‘Freedom of Sport, Freedom of Thought’, Stepney Workers Club is a London livin’ label hell-bent on delivering some of the most timeless kicks you’ll ever lay eyes on.

Now well-regarded for churning out vulcanised classics in their thousands, this relatively new footwear brand has proved itself quite the conversation starter since joining the ranks of the industry a mere two years ago in 2018. But where did it all begin for the proud East End native?

Well, the concept behind the brand was actually established through a genuine link to the original ‘Stepney Workers Sports Club’ – an anti-fascist, anti-war group born in the heart of Stepney Green many moons ago. In more specific terms, one of the brand’s founders uncovered that he is, in fact, a descendent of this exact sports club… his own grandfather turns out to be one of the original members of the 1920s startup! The connecting of these personal dots would lead the label to dig deep into the cultural significance of working men’s clubs, hoping in turn to cultivate its own unisex interpretation of the movement with a contemporary footwear offering.

Stepney Workers Club Varden

While delving into the ‘Stepney Workers Sports Club’ archives, head of design Roger Pereira and his peers came across a photograph – dated 1936 – which coined the slogan ‘Freedom of Sport, Freedom of Thought’, and so the now-famous SWC mantra was surrendered to a fresh purpose. The phrase itself gave birth to the brand’s ‘liberal undertone’ from the outset. This matched with the desire for an all-inclusive image, and a strong determination to fill a gap within the vulcanised market set Stepney Workers Club up with a foolproof brand strategy from the get-go.

Stepney Workers Club Dellow

Working as an antithesis to the frequent sneaker drops and unattainable hype of the current climate, Stepney Workers Club’s aesthetic is with all its being timeless and free of unnecessary fuss. Clean lines, emphasised proportions, and not an unsightly ‘Dad sneaker’ insight; the label’s portfolio proves immensely wearable among many generations. Centreing solely on just two silhouettes, either low-profile or high-top – to which the brand resists over-expanding for fear of endangering their appeal, the latest capsule toys with a multitude of versatile but dependable colourways whilst also experimenting with unique textural elements.

Stepney Workers Club Footwear

To get the SWC ball rolling here at Aphrodite the brand has kindly acquainted us with its signature ‘Dellow’ and ‘Varden’ silhouettes. Both designs are the result of a vintage reference point; paying tribute to the vulcanised styles that were so ubiquitous between the ‘50s and ‘80s. Each is crafted using a combination of traditional and bygone methods, with a cotton drill canvas upper, vulcanised rubber sole, high-wall foxings, and the brand’s symbolic handshake logo which represents the unity and liberal mindset from which the brand is born.

If you’re on the hunt for a staple and refined sneaker that won’t age, look no further than the realm of minimalisation that is Stepney Workers Club shoes. Hit the brand up via our online roster now.

Stüssy SS20 Drop 2: Preview

Stussy SS20 Drop 2 First Look

Hot on the heels of its inaugural 2020 collection, Cali born and bred label Stussy returns to Aphrodite this month with a fresh batch of spring/summer preened offerings. Building on the comfort-rich constructions and patterned palettes of preceding issues, Stussy SS20 Drop 2 sees a number of essential fits find their way onto our shelves.

Designed for when balmy climates set in, the capsule’s t-shirt assortment is both breezy and vibrant; expect a kaleidoscope of hues, ranging anywhere from candy pink to sunshine yellow. Of course, there are more subdued iterations too, navys, whites and other pared-back colourways can be picked up within the offering, teamed with striped silhouettes and seldom hits of colour blocking for an unexpected dose of colour clashing.

Stussy Logo TShirt

Also amidst the lineup, and sitting perfectly within the utility-wise zeitgeist, is a checkerboard black and blue gilet. Though not your average menswear staple, this sleeveless piece will assemble effortlessly with neutral tones, while adding texture and industry-approved credentials to your outfit. Below we’ve opted to style the off-kilter garment with Stussy’s signature Snooker Ball tee – also available at Aphrodite when Stussy SS20 Drop 2 launches later this week.

Stussy Gilet SS20

To finish, the brand’s iconic typeface hits garments in their dozens. Discover Shawn Stussy’s emblematic scribble across the entire Drop 2 capsule, surfacing on tees, sweats, outerwear and accessories, with added punctuation from the imprint’s main hotspots, comprising New York, Los Angeles, Londo, Paris and finally, Tokyo.

Get your hands on Stussy SS20 Drop 2 when the collection becomes available in-store and online from 13/03/2020 at 9am.

Polo Sport

Polo Ralph Lauren: Sophisticated Sportswear

Polo Ralph Lauren New In

If you have a thing for bold branding, eye-watering colour blocking and smartly dressed bears, you’ll no doubt be filled to the brim with excitement at the first glimpse of this all new Polo Ralph Lauren gear. Providing a preppy twist on athleisure sensibilities you can find almost everything you need to satisfy that yacht club certified itch with technical fleeces, pockets aplenty jackets and low key embroidered essentials ready and waiting to deliver a substantial slice of collegiate cool. Take a glimpse below and shop the full collection here. 

 

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

DSquared2

Achieve ICON Status With DSquared

DSquared In Focus

Known for their high-quality denim, intricate embellishments and larger than life attitude, DSquared are a brand that certainly needs no introduction. Having spent years outfitting a selection of some of the most well-known celebrity figures and more recently football players, the brothers employ a wealth of global influences throughout their all encompassing collections, resulting in easily wearable clothing with plenty of visual punch. Take a look at some recent DSquared snaps we put together below or shop the collection here.

DSquared

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DSquared Icon Caps

DSquared Hats: Status-Heavy Street Style

DSquared Hats Set To Dominate SS20

When streetwear locked down the menswear industry a few years ago, no one could have predicted its long-standing stature, but like any stark shift that occurs within fashion, designers were to waste little time gaining access to the movement, turning out myriads of slick garments and accessories that spoke to the scene’s most stylish denizens.

Quick off the mark, luxury clothing label DSquared uncovered a penchant for the resurging urban landscape, and with that came a new-age in the street-ready zeitgeist. The brand’s products, which regularly carry the now-synonymous ‘ICON’ slogan, quickly gained immense traction, and DSquared hats became a standout style across the board; turning into an essential access point for every customer hoping to grasp the imprint’s sartorial prestige.

Utilising a classic baseball design, DSquared’s cap range can be found through almost every corner of the globe, gracing the crowns of athletes, celebrities, millennials and the fashion world’s elite, and luckily for you, we’re found ourselves in the possession of some of the designer’s latest headwear styles. Take a look below at what DSquared hats are on offer for the SS20 season, and if you find one that particularly pleases, don’t waste too much time deliberating, these caps don’t hang about for long!

DSquared Icon Cap – Black £135

Melding Dean and Dan Caten’s Canadian-Milanese aesthetic perfectly, this DSquared cap is crafted to exacting standards in Italy, employing a five-panel cotton-twill construction to frame the wearer’s head in a range of branded credentials. To the face, the design is headlined with the label’s ‘ICON’ mantra, while to each side, further wording spills out onto the base in a contrasting tone of white.

DSquared Icon Hat

DSquared Denim Cap – Blue £149

Perfect for anyone hoping to announce their arrival at casual occasions, this DSquared hat will add a statement touch to every ensemble. Built with a reinforced crown and five panels, its bold, decorative branding is mirrored symmetrically across its base which also features embroidered eyelets in tonal hues for heightened breathability under balmy temperatures.

DSquared Logo Hat

DSquared Mirror Logo Cap – White £125

Refreshing in all white, the next DSquared hat calls upon warmer times, making it the perfect accessory to pack away into your suitcase this summer. Sure to shield you from sun-drenched locations, this iteration is adorned with vibrant embroidery, whereby DSquared’s moniker is playfully turned on its head, while at the reverse, brand founders Dean and Dan Caten literally sign off the design.

DSquared Mirror Logo Hat

DSquared Icon Cap – Black / White £115

Hit with frayed accents at its peak for a distinctively lived-in look, this monochrome DSquared cap is emblazoned with the brand’s instantly-recognisable ‘ICON’ signature at its crown, while embroidered eyelets and an adjustable slider both promise to support needs for fit and function.

DSquared Icon Hat Black

Wherever you’re heading to this season, don’t leave the decorative edge and sought-after status of DSquared hats behind. Shop SS20 styles in-store and online at Aphrodite now.

Stussy SS20

Stussy SS20 Collection: First Look

Brand Staples Are Steered Into A Subversive New Direction.  

Informed by the breezy, laidback living of America’s west coast, Stussy’s SS20 offering is exactly as it states; a capsule that perfectly personifies the two warmer seasons simultaneously, utilising myriads of saturated hues, psychedelic prints and an assortment of comfort-heavy silhouettes.

It goes without saying that this season’s collection is wholly littered in Jan Stussy’s iconic signature; a scribble now so recognisable that it’s almost become a byword for the tranquil vibrations of Laguna Beach – Shawn Stussy’s Cali native – and the streetwear scene as a collective. In addition to the label’s unwavering, seasonless typeface, an abundance of habitual designs also resume their tenancy within the Stussy SS20 collection; think loose-fitting, fleece-lined sweats that call on Stussy’s longtime skating credentials and bucket hats designed for shielding Orange County’s sun-drenched visage.

Stussy SS20 Collection

Presenting a welcomed twist on the norm, this exemplary SS20 Stussy hoodie (pictured below) comes draped in blacked-out cotton, featuring the brand’s printed logo minimised to the chest, accompanied by a trio of surrounding colourful dots. To the reverse, the hooded garment boasts a series of abstract illustrations, including an image of a gorilla and nature visuals, which merge to the tune of ‘Stussy International Design Corporation’ wording, demonstrating and then elevating the idiosyncratic taste of the streetwear stalwart – as we’ve encountered a number of times throughout previous seasons.

Stussy Hoodie

For those with a penchant for Stussy outerwear, these next two styles are sure to please. Bundled in a shade of mustard with overlays of eye-catching tie-dye, Stussy’s latest polar fleece is guaranteed to turn heads; as well as its super-soft texture, the garment is also equipped with a mock neck for sealing out cool drafts, while its three-pocket construction wears the label’s moniker on its sleeve like a badge of industry honour. And for those not brave enough to wear the previously mentioned pullover? Turn your attention to the collection’s more pared-back anorak, available in both all-black and this diffused yellow colourway (pictured below), featuring a half-zip closure with storm flap, concealed chest pocket and unmissable branding.

Stussy Polar Fleece

Stussy Clothing

On the whole, the Stussy SS20 collection is leisurely and dynamic. Conventional, comforting shapes are imbued with a range of off-kilter accents, accessories are practical and weather-ready yet remain band on-trend, while hues are varied in tone and vibrancy, promising, in turn, to command an audience down in the streets without over-stepping the mark. Accumulate a dependable, Cali-endorsed rotation from this entire Stussy SS20 serving – available at Aphrodite in-store and online from 21/02/2020.

Kenzo

Kenzo SS20: Eye of The Tiger

Known for their bold unapologetic graphics and hyper-luxurious quality, Kenzo present the latest instalment of their largely anticipated SS20 collection. Playing with juxtaposing themes, the collection sees function focused outerwear pieces imbued with reversible contrast prints, sophisticated shirting treated to bold back branding and casual sweats emblazoned with iconic tiger monikers. United by their display of pinpoint craftsmanship, Kenzo hold no punches when it comes to showcasing the unique intricacies that have sat the core of the brand since their beginnings almost 50 years ago.

 

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