Tag Archives: band of outsiders

on designer footwear collaborations

It will be interesting to read about the current era of mens fashion in twenty or thirty years.  Although it’s difficult to put an exact date on it, something that I think is particularly worthy of investigating and praising is the rise of designer footwear collaborations.  Whether or not this is a trend or a shift in menswear remains to be seen, but I am capitalizing on its benefits while I can.

As I mentioned above, dating the rise of footwear collaborations is hard.  For me, I was first exposed to the phenomenon through Band of Outsiders retooling some of the classic Sperry Top-Sider silhouettes.  The first seasons they had classic boat shoes, but over time they’ve also done chukkas and boots (seen below) as well.

I succumbed to the genius of Scott Sternberg on multiple occasions.  Thanks to the rise of some other great things for thrifty shoppers (Gilt Groupe anyone?), I’m on my fifth pair.  Once you own a pair, it’s hard to go back to other boat shoes – the details are that good.  What’s not to like about a unique taste on the iconic offerings of Sperry?

Take the particular pair above (which I coincidentally own).  Laces have been replaced with safety pins, hemp is used and the leather is top notch.  While most of the models are changed with only reversed details (notice the tongue) and better materials, they all come in at a very reasonable price – $150 to $200 region for most pairs.  In my opinion, this is fair considering the materials used and the designer influence.  While other designers might charge a couple hundred dollars for their version of a boat shoes, you get the best of both worlds with a Band of Outsiders x Sperry shoe.  My eyes are currently set on the shearling pair of boat shoes:

If boat shoes aren’t your style, enter my most recent obsession – Mark McNairys collaborations.

While Mark McNairy’s line of shoes isn’t all that expensive, they’re still an “investment” for most people who aren’t used to dropping $350 on a pair of brogues.  As a college student that doesn’t wear dress shoes all that often, I couldn’t justify spending that amount of money on shoes I’d only wear a handful of times during the year.  What I really was hoping for was casual shoes that I could wear to class, that wouldn’t necessarily break the bank.

Enter in Keds.  Not a brand that was on my radar at all, but I’ve been paying attention every since they got “McNasty” to do some collaboration work.  The first collection was with the Royal CVO, redone in suede with a red brick sole:

With Mark McNairy New Amsterdam shoes coming in around $400, I think the collaboration with Keds are a steal at $100.  Seeing as how they weren’t very popular, I know of at least a few ways to get them for cheaper (as low as $40/pair).  Regardless of what price you pick them up at, they

I bought the navy pair (swap out those white laces and use the navy ones) and I’ve turned plenty of heads.  I never thought I’d see the day when a pair of Keds is responsible for turning heads.


The bottom line is designer shoe collaborations are a great thing.  I can’t help but hope that this isn’t a trend – that Scott Sternberg and Mark McNairy won’t be the last but rather the first of designers to properly transform classic shoes and reinvent them.  If you’ve got the money, Band of Outsiders clothing is fantastic (I can attest) as is Mark McNairy mainline shoes (as I hope to attest to soon).  But sometimes you don’t need to be dressed up, and these great collaborations with Sperry and Keds fit the bill.

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website spotlight: gilt groupe

One of my favorite websites to visit is Gilt Groupe.  The basic idea is that they feature a few designers a day and sell limited quantities of their clothing at huge discounts.  The website more aptly describes it as,

Invitation Only Shopping

Gilt Groupe provides access, by invitation only, to Men’s, Women’s and Children’s coveted fashion and luxury brands at prices up to 70% off retail. Each sale lasts 36 hours and features hand selected styles from a single designer.

First Come, First Served

All sales take place only on http://www.gilt.com and our full collection of merchandise is always available at the start of the sale, so be sure to log on early.

Advance Preview

To introduce each brand, our designer bios and reels give you a preview of upcoming sales, must-have pieces and featured designers.

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I joined about a year ago and at first was kind of suspicious that the site would only feature little known brands.  Contrary to that belief, I’ve been incredibly impressed with the selections (Helmut Lang, John Varvatos, Polo, Alexander McQueen, etc.), and they only seem to be getting better.  My purchases from the website include:

Band of Outsiders Hunting Shirt: (Original $242, Gilt price was $108)

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Band of Outsiders x Sperry Top-Siders: (Original $260ish, Gilt price was $98)

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D.L. & Co. “Momento Mori” Collection Set: (Original $75, Gilt price was $28)

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I really have nothing but good things to say about the website and can’t wait for a few collections to appear on the site (more BoO!).  I heard that they moved from open membership to invitation only membership, so if you’d like an invitation, click here.  I get a “referral incentive” if you use my invitation and buy something from the site, so please use mine if you’re going to make a purchase.

A few tips to make your experience better:

  • Subscribe to the emails/RSS feeds to know about the sales in advance.
  • Log into the page for the brand before the start of the sale (there will be a small description of the brand on the page).  If you reload the brand page leading up to 11am CST, the sale will appear as soon as it goes online.  This saves you from logging in from the main site at 11am and then navigating to the brand which wastes time.
  • Use the filters on the upper right to only show your size.
  • Purchase quickly!  Once you add an item to your cart you have 10 minutes to checkout before you forfeit your items.  If the item you are looking for sold out, you can go on the wait list in case someone deletes it from their cart (or forfeits the item).
  • Don’t hold out.  Once the item is sold out, it’s sold out.  The prices don’t get lower as the sale goes on and after the 36 hours, it’s all over.

brush your shoulders off

Transitioning from a very Hypebeast look to ultra lux, it seems as though Kanye West has gone full circle.  Constantly in the headlines for one thing or another, lately it has been for his recent fits and girlfriend Amber Rose.  Here are a few of my favorites:

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With the Monogramoflage bag and Louis V Don’s for their unveiling in Paris.

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Rocking his ever present denim jacket and the same duffel as before.  This fit definitely persuaded me to get a pair of the Sperry x Band of Outsider boots.

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More streetwear-vibe with a varsity jacket and CDP (presumably) Jordan Bred IVs.

‘Ye blends street fashion and hi-end fashion in a way most people would look like idiots doing.  And 97% of the time, he is looking very fresh.  Whether or not you like his music or politics or persona, I think you’ll have to agree that he is one of the best dressed celebrities (and definitely best dressed musician).

another boo x sperry collabo is shaping up nicely

I can’t believe that I once thought Sperry and Band of Outsiders would only have one collaboration together.  They are at it once again and reinventing the boat shoe with some interesting twists:

Notice the safety pins?

Great colorway, hemp laces, traditional deconstructed style.

My personal favorites with the tassles.

Prices should be mid $200s to $300 and available at Tres Bien, courtesy of Hypebeast.

sperry x bob spring 09 dropping!

I really thought after the seemingly low sales of the last Sperry x BoO collaboration for SS08 that they wouldn’t continue the line but I was proven wrong this morning.  In all they look fairly similiar to the last collection, featuring a lot of deconstucted looks and a few new colorways.

I wouldn’t mind picking up another pair that looks like this:

I can’t seem to insert the new videos but you can check them out at Elevated Sky.