Belts, Bags, & Bricks
Text - Ian Farmer / Model - Wade Novotny / Photography - Alfredo Contreras
During one of my first nights in New York, I learned a new use for a towel. I walked into my University Center, I was prepared to drop 30 meal-plan dollars on what would end up being a rather subpar roast beef sandwich. I ate it alone. I scrolled through my phone, “A night to myself,” I whispered- probably half self-serious, half apathetic. I finished my sandwich and got up to leave.
On my way out I ran into one of my friends, a tall sort clutching a cigarette in his hand. He lit the tobacco and then looked at me before saying, “You wanna get stoned?”
Now, I was already stoned, but because I have never been one to say no to a good stoning, I lit a cigarette in agreement. He told me we were meeting his friend before going to his apartment near Central Park. We met his friend somewhere near the train before I gathered enough change from my pocket to pay the fare.
There was nothing notable about the friend’s style when I first saw him. He was well-dressed, put together, but nothing extravagant. Perhaps the most eye-popping thing was his Supreme-Vans with the printed pattern, “Fuck ‘Em” all over. He had a Supreme backpack as well, I considered it to be innocuous in comparison. It was utilitarian, a backpack is meant to move something from one place to another- a single function.
We finally reached his apartment, which was decorated with clear, vinyl-wrapped furniture, and framed family photos, it did not exactly look like an apartment three teenagers were about to get severely stoned in. Perhaps my biggest question was this, “Where’s the weed?”
Suddenly, the friend whipped his backpack off and opened it, producing a Supreme camo towel from within. He then proceeded to unroll the towel, revealing a bong, papers, blunt wrap, and perhaps the world’s largest mason jar full of weed. When I thought this magic towel was done, he grabbed a Supreme ashtray from the bag and told us not to get ash on the covered furniture.
Accesories, by their nature, can do just about anything. The term itself ranges from the most utilitarian and everyday items something in which the entire purpose may be to hoist up your pants- to the most superfluous and absolutely batshit of ideas- the $50 Supreme brick crosses my mind.
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Pins, studs, even bags and jewelry, become the part of an outfit that is not necessarily essential, but instead a personal expression. Sure you can throw together a nice looking ensemble with the same three ingredients; a shirt, pants, and shoes, but if you throw on a chain, some rings, or even a recognizable pin somewhere onto the outfit, suddenly you stand out. It is in this way accesories become the part of the outfit that truly reflect who you are.
In my sophomore year of high school, I bought a pin. I was a greasy little shit who had discovered Supreme earlier that year and had been in an extreme state of infatuation with anything heralding a box logo. At the time, I could not buy Supreme, money was still a relatively foreign concept to me- still is- but I was obsessed nonetheless. I remember buying a pin because it was the only thing I could afford, a cool $20 dollars. I waited a week or so until it arrived in my mom’s mailbox. It was small, enamel, and in big red and white lettering it read, “Li’l Fucker.” I looked at it and let out my excitement, “Holy fucking shit!”
I wore that pin almost every day throughout high school, some days on hats, jackets, and other days it would be in my pocket after a teacher yelled at me for wearing it in public. When class ended and the bell rang, you bet I pulled it right out and stuck it on myself.
Accessories are strange, and at this point, branded accessories can range from a bag to a fucking brick. Any home-good, work tool, and even some Martial arts weapons have been touched by designers across the globe. They become superfluous in nature, surpassing their original more utilitarian purposes. Dormant pins, studs, linings, things that do not do anything- serving no function to the rest of the outfit- become a distinguishable feature to how you may remember a person.
When I wore that pin, no one complimented on the jacket beneath it. The attention was always to that little enamel tag. I did not feel any different, and most days I forget it is there, in fact I was wearing it earlier today. It follows me around even if I do not go very far, but every once and awhile someone looks at me and immediately compliments the pin, and for a few moments I feel like that same little fucker who bought the pin three years ago.
This new era of accessories are no longer meant to just shield your brow from the sun or hold your pants up. It is not about the normal stuff, it is about the other stuff; the incendiary pins, the tools, the fucking bricks. The fact of the matter is, accessories have become what you want and what speaks to you- they do not have to serve any intended purpose. Accessories have become the accents and details to our daily lives, you can throw a pin just about anywhere on your outfit and suddenly it becomes more meaningful and personal.
© 2017 A-W Project