Two weeks ago, I decided to give myself a break and purchased a last minute ticket online to fly back for my annual family Christmas get together in Fort Worth, Texas (aka “The Lonestar State”)… my hometown.
As expected with most all-American (relatively) mid-sized towns like Fort Worth, everything is all spread out. In Texas we call this spread a “sprawl”, the opposite of Hong Kong density.
Texas is SPRAWLING.
Below and Above, The Kimbell Museum designed by Louis Khan.
For this brief non-Asia specific blog post, I wanted to present my photos of Texan “sprawl” as it relates to some of Fort Worth’s most unique cultural treasures, a group of world class museums which emerge lightly like an oasis on a sea of a very flat wintery beige landscape.
First off, I find the sheer existence of these museums, with their breathtaking and unique collections set… in the middle of Fort Worth’s vast flat grassland really oddly fascinating. How did these clusters of museums get built on this site… amongst the flatness, the occasional taco stand, the gas station, and some 1950’s post-war reconstruction government edifices, in the first place?!
Well thanks to Oil Money and a very philanthropic minded Oil Family (the Bass Family), all these museums stand here today. That said, I’m thankful to have had such an access to the Kimbell Art Museum’s rare permanent collections at such formative years. The Kimbell houses a highly curated and select collection of important works by old-world masters such as, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, El Greco, Velazquez, in an intimate building designed by none other than a master, Louis Kahn. It’s no surprise that I ended up following a creative career path with that kind of cultural influence in my own back yard.
As I recently walked in and around Kahn’s introverted yet timeless building most notable for its series of barrel-vaulted roofs, I was immediately transported back to all those moments when my relationship with art and architecture first bloomed right there in that very museum.
Above, the Kimbell Extension by Renzo Piano.
Other buildings I visited in the museum complex; the newly opened glass roof extension to The Kimbell, by Italian architect, Renzo Piano. Across the street, and about twice the size of the Kahn’s Kimbell, at two full stories, my other favorite; The Modern, by Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, with a collection of contemporary masterpieces.
Below, The Modern by Tadao Ando.
Both buildings by Piano and Ando, with their repetitive roof forms, also sit lightly on a generally flat site just like The Kimbell. Both designs are strongly influenced by Khan’s Kimbell planning, the Kimbell being at the core of Fort Worth’s museum complex, tying three beautiful modern buildings together.
Lucky Forth Worth.
I just want to add that before I flew to Texas, I was graciously gifted one of only 74 limited edition travel satchels… a special red and blue colored Seventy Eight Percent ”Dimitri”, designed by an amazing person, Hong Kong based- Israeli designer, Shai Levy, a creative I covered on this blog several times before.
What makes the bag special is that it is Seventy Eight Percent’s first collaborative bag ever, this one with noted New York accessories designer, Eddie Borgo, a jewellery wunderkid who is known for his luxuriously sleek-yet-punk triangular and pyramid shaped motifs. This bag’s print of “interlocking triangles” is definitely a great example of that formal obsession with the triangle…. my favorite shape.
Below, Bag by Seventy Eight Percent x Eddie Borgo, Levi’s Jeans, Club Monaco Blazer, Watch by Daniel Wellington, shirt by J.Crew, Shoes by Ralph Lauren.
The “Dimitri” Eddie Borgo bag was a perfect travel companion to the States for me. I was able to fit everything in this stress-free and stylish lightweight carry-all… my SLR camera, sunglasses, passport, travel documents, wallet, iPad, keys, diary, and smartphone. With everything that I placed inside, it was still a surprisingly light carry.
Material of the leather is vegetable tanned (great for the environment), and the canvas a Japanese cotton.
The limited edition Eddie Borgo bag is available now at Lane Crawford Hong Kong (IFC, Harbour City, Times Square Causeway Bay) and Lane Crawford online and comes in Beige and Brown. Another collaborative line is with Brooklyn-based artist, Julia Chiang, available in all Blue and Beige and Green. A portion of the proceeds of the collaborative bags go to the Changing Lives Foundation, a foundation focused on reaching out to underprivileged youngsters in Hong Kong and Mainland.
And because it’s red and blue, it was THE perfect travel accessory for a trip to the U.S.of.A! It was good to be back, albeit briefly.
SHOP Seventy Eight Percent x Eddie Borgo . Seventy Eight Percent x Julia Chiang / WEAR Seventy Eight Percent / WEAR Eddie Borgo / FOLLOW Julia Chiang Artist / VISIT Kimbell Art Museum / VISIT The Modern Fort Worth / CHARITY INFORMATION Changing Lives Foundation in Hong Kong
Style Photography Courtesy of Travis Guba Los Angeles
New denim darlings on the scene, RPMWEST, founded in May 2012 by Manuel Rappard, a former Google employee and NYU Graduate, has successfully raised over 100,000 USD this year via their Kickstarter campaign to launch amazing jeans for gentlemen, that is democratically ethical, as much as it stylish. I first heard about the brand via my friend Paul S., a cross-continental fashion photographer, who’s cousin is married to an RPMWEST collaborator. Paul S. also shot the latest lookbook which can be seen in this blog here. The San Francisco based brand prides itself on the quality of the denim, a Raw Japanese Selvedge, and its artisan craftsmanship, 100% made-in-the-USA.
Not that “none-made-in-the-USA” items are bad, per se, it’s just that in this day and age when it’s tough to guarantee exploit-free labor practices, an investment is made to go towards building an artisan trade in close proximity to where the jeans are actually designed and conceptualized. This idea of USA made jeans is not new, but the price tag, under 100USD, makes the production of artisan jeans more accessible to a market beyond the luxury buyer… which is great!
With the success of their Kickstarter campaign, the RMPWEST guys are now able to not only make their dreams (high quality fancy homegrown jeans at a not so fancy price) come true, but also implement a “Home Try On” program, where they can send three pairs to anywhere in the world (including Hong Kong), and you keep the pair that fits you the best. Right now, RPMWEST is shipping single pairs to kickstarter investors and brand supporters (including me!) and will open their website (hopefully) in November to a growing wait list, just in time for the Christmas shopping season.
A few more details… i’m wearing the New Classics with a stiff raw selvedge. (Less stiff over time.) The name “Selvedge” is reserved for denim made on vintage shuttle looms, which is how it was usually produced by classic brands prior to the 1970’s. This selvedge is usually heavier and higher quality than other denims you’re used to. Another thing that most brands these days get wrong with new Selvedge or Selvedge reproductions, is that the cutting is all wrong for the material. Thank God the moment I tried RMPWEST New Classic’s on, I immediately loved the fit. It’s roomy where it needs to be (around the thighs and knees), and fit snuggly where you want it to be (around the hips, bum, and calves.)
Photos above also show the details that come along with the Jean; Chain Stitching, 100% Leather brand patch, Metal Tack buttons, reinforced front pockets, reinforced back pockets (plane with no crazy design), and tucked belt loops (Will not rip off.) I’m truly proud of these guys’ Kickstarter project, and that they’re actually making less of a brand profit with zero retail markup, in order to make socially conscious jeans more available to a market looking for high quality that doesn’t break the bank.
Photos of me in my RPMWEST Jeans taken at the old lanes and the playground in and around Hong Kong’s Wing Lee Street off Bridges Street. Check out RPMWEST’s successful Kickstarter page here for more information on their brand and videos.
Sometimes I wonder how my love for fashion began, especially because I grew up in Forth Worth, Texas, where I had very limited access to style and trends. As i look back at that (relatively) small city, and where my love for self-styling actually began, it’s even a wonder how I was able to literally “scrape” by and be content with just what we had there for choice. My taste in Fashion was shaped by the STYLE sections of the Dallas Morning News, and copies of Details or W Magazine, that was available at the local Wal-Mart. Sure local Department Stores; Nordstroms, Neiman Marcus, and Dillard’s, carried my then favorite brands; Prada, DKNY (very different in the 90s), and Hugo Boss, but they never carried any of the styles that were at the time deemed too edgy for that Texan market.
Looking back, I was one of those weird boys in High School that put together runway looks via re-appropriated GAP and Banana Republic wares, and additionally… I spent hours at the Vintage Thrift Shop. Anyway, I was thinking about all of this as I was modelling Thom Browne on the roof of Hong Kong’s Woolloomooloo Bar in Wanchai for a Mr. Porter Profile on Hong Kong’s “stylish” gents. I wouldn’t say I’m the most fashionable guy in the city, I think the rest of the guys in the shoot are way more fashionable than me… (Looking at you Sean and Roger!)… and definitely I’ve had my regrettable phases (one whole year wearing nothing but neon in HK as an homage to DIPLO, for example), but definitely its nice to know that my “style” obsession does not go unnoticed. Alot of people may say, “who cares about style or fashion?”. But I say, “I Do. I care.” I want to look good, I want to feel good, and it makes me happy.
PS. Oh and by the way, my camera I take on vacation is my tiny Fuji X-F1 NOT an X-S1 as the article states… but thanks Tom M. Ford for the interview, Dan May for the amazing styling, and last and the best, Jason Capobianco for the photographs. Grace Lam you rock for putting my name in. It’s really cool of you.
Here’s some behind the scenes photos from the shoot!
Jason and Mr. May having a chat on concepts.
The most stylish gents, Sean Fitzpatrick and the fabulous Dickey Blue.
Roger Ouk looking dapper and very serious!
Met this Boy Wonder, a 17 year old professional Race Car Driver, named Matthew Solomon, whose father owns Electric Sekki.
Jason’s wife, Voguechina Editor, Grace Lam, came by to take a peek with the little one.
And a little preview!
Now that i’ve finally got some personal time to do nothing on a Sunday… (no traveling, no lunches, no brunches, no meetings, no dinners, no events, etc.), I find myself wondering what it is I CAN do with this personal time that would make it the most effective use of the time that I do have to myself. I can’t possibly do Nothing? But I can’t possibly do ANYTHING because that would defeat the point of personal time. So trying to figure out what to do during a moment’s peace just ended up stressing me out big time. HASHTAG WORKAHOLIC.
So instead, I decided to call it quits on worrying and for today’s actually sunny Sunday I decided to just enjoy Hong Kong’s rarely pleasant Autumn weather. While some friends were out on a junk and others were meeting family, I took this “personal time” and met up with my pal Katrina to take a meander around the Tai Hang hood to our favorite coffee joint, Unar Coffee Company, for some late arvo chat with some caffeine (probably the best in town).
I love sitting outside at Unar, especially on a beautiful Autumn Hong Kong day like today. Reading the Sunday International New York Times on the iPad and chatting with the neighbors is the best idea ever. Hope you had a great Sunday doing nothing as well! Loving the season already. Ready to dress like a grandpa until March.
#JJStyle Notes: Cardigan by LEE Jeans, Jeans by LEE Jeans reTHINK Eco-Friendly Denim Collection, Shoes by VANS x Liberty London, Sunglasses by Subcrew x MIKLI, Watch by NIXON, iPad Case by Hammer & Needle
DRINK Unar Coffee Company . GF, No.4 Second Lane, Tai Hang, Hong Kong . +852-28385231