The cruel bastards at Yep run a regular feature called Top Chumps in which they deconstruct the many cliched looks seen around London today. Click below to read a couple of their brutal fashion autopsies.
The streetwear nerd look
I remember, in 2005, seeing people queuing for days and days outside the Bape shop in the West End to buy an overpriced hoodie that Pharrell Williams once wore in a video. The hoodie in question was disgusting – it was some type of red camouflage number with a hood that was shaped like a shark. But the appearance of the garment was of very little importance to the people who wanted to buy it; what they wanted was the kudos of owning a rare item of streetwear clothing that had been endorsed by someone famous. These days, the clothing choices may have (slightly) changed but the people wearing them are just as obsessive. They have a stringent list of brands (Supreme, Neighborhood, Visvim, Fenom etc.) they must own and display to fellow streetwear nerds. I have a theory that they think the word “collaboration” is a protraction of the word “cool” because they are so keen on owning collusions between two or more brands (a G-Shock x Bape watch is a popular one). They are obsessed with hoarding material goods, no matter how pointless they are. They collect stupid little plastic toys and their bedroom looks like a shrine to the god of rare trainers – with every pair neatly encased in the original shoe box. Read below for a breakdown of their look.
Hair: Short and unremarkable – so as not to detract attention from the myriad labels on show. They are basically a mannequin for their expensive clothes, a vessel to sail through life displaying expensive streetwear labels.
Hat: A Supreme cap is the calling card of the streetwear nerd but don’t be surprised to see them wearing something ridiculous like a cap made from the skin of an endangered species of zebra, if it’s made by the right label and is suitably limited edition.
Tattoos: Big anchors and skulls, or anything to cover up the now embarrassing graffiti-style tattoos from a few years ago.
Jacket: The varsity jacket seems to be very popular at the moment. It must not, however, be from a vintage store. It has to be worth at least £600 and, ideally, a “collabo” between someone like Stussy x Nike x Undefeated.
Top: T-shirt with logo or stupid cartoon animal on the front. Extra kudos if it’s hand numbered.
Trousers: £800 Japanese selvage denim jeans made by Levi’s x Fenom x Fragment x Maharishi – pin-rolled so they don’t get dye on their limited edition trainers.
Favourite phrases: “Totally took a piss next to Mark Ronson at YoYo last night. Totally saw him look down to check out my Kid Robot Air Max 1s.”
Footwear: Visvims are bafflingly popular at the moment (especially the pair illustrated above, which look like the result nine months after a violent rut between Venus Williams and a pair of wallabies). Any Nike Quickstrike release is also popular, but definitely no Adidas (“their limited edition releases are a joke, bruv”).
Accessories: A really expensive backpack that looks exactly like the ones Eastpak make (for a fifth of the price), a massive carabina (which wouldn’t be out of place on the belt of an abseiler attempting to descend the Grand Canyon), a vast array of toys made by idiots like James Jarvis and Kaws.
Girlfriend: Any Japanese girl wearing Ray-Ban frames with no lenses and knee-length socks. Extra long t-shirt with swear words she doesn’t understand (“FUCK NAZI FASHION”) are optional.
Plaid shirt? Reluctantly worn, but only because streetwear labels have produced them so consistently for so long now. Ideally, it will have a label on the sleeve or on the breast pocket to show the wearer didn’t just get it for £10 in Uniqlo like most people.
Fixed-gear bike? Yes, as long as it’s colour coded to their outfit. For example, white-rimmed tyres to exaggerate the whiteness of their trainers. It will have stickers on it too, with in-jokes to prove they were into “fixies” before they were fashionable.
The art collective look
You’re nobody in east London these days unless you’re in an art collective. These gaggles of “artists” – who have names that make absolutely no sense, like Golden Mirage or Neon Futurism – skulk around like twee Malcolm McLarens, thinking they’re part of a decade-defining movement, when all they’re doing is putting on exhibitions with grown men who draw pictures of stuff like an alien playing a guitar. Although their look is quite understated, they are very easy to spot since they all have the appearance of someone who has been dressed by their parents for a day trip to see their grandfather in the countryside in the spring. Read below to find out how to get the look while it’s hot.
Hair: Short, cropped and very neat – like a child on their first day at school. Some of the more adventurous/posher devotees have shaved sides and a quiff.
Hat: Rolled-up beanie that sits on the crown on the head, almost like a yarmulke. Must be worn at all times, all year round.
Tattoos: A big no – these guys were never into hardcore, since it doesn’t have a funky enough bassline and has no discernible connection to Africa.
Jacket: The waxed Barbour used to be a defining feature of practitioners of the art collective look, but since this garment wriggled into the mainstream it has been dropped in favour of stonewash vintage denim jackets and sand-coloured American hunting jackets.
Top: T-shirt with one of their own illustrations on the front or a denim shirt buttoned all the way up. In the winter, expect to see them wearing a cast-off from Bill Cosby’s jumper collection or one of your dead gran’s cardigans.
Trousers: Beige Uniqlo jeans or chinos rolled up above the ankle to show off their quirky choice of socks.
Favourite phrases: “Come to the launch of our new T-shirt range at the opening of our secret pop-up gallery in Dalston. Free (warm) booze all around!” “Have you read my new blog post on the unappreciated electronic mood artist Jironechi Sushimunchi?”
Footwear: Lace-up Vans (any colour), (black or white) Reebok Classics or Clark’s desert boots.
Accessories: A tote bag filled with CD-Rs of their latest favourite genre: African chip-disco. Vintage thick-rimmed glasses they bought off a convicted paedophile on eBay.
Girlfriend: A fellow “artist” – often a Scandinavian – who claims to be an illustrator but is unable to draw anything without tracing.
Plaid shirt? Used to be almost essential but they are slowly being phased out in favour of the more quirky and creative Aztec-print shirt.
Fixed-gear bike? Very likely. As long as it’s retro it will do, though.
For more Top Chumps, go to yepwecan.co.uk