Read the article on page 24 here.
[The following post originally posted on HuffingtonPost.com]
In case you missed this year's Summer X Games in Los Angeles, here's the short rundown: snowboard-skate star Shaun White didn't compete, moto-turned-rallycar favorite Travis Pastrana didn't win, Jamie Bestwick six-peated with gold in BMX vert, Paul Rodriguez won his fourth gold medal in skate street and Ronnie Renner set a record with a 47-foot jump to take home the top prize in the Sony Moto Step Up competition.
Ryan Sheckler kick-flips his way to a silver medal in the skate street competition. All photos courtesy of Niraj Rai
But chances are, this information is way over your head unless you're a super fan. And that's OK because the real story of Summer X this year wasn't about the athletes, competitions or tricks. The headline of this year's Games was the fact that this year -- X Games' 18th -- marked the end of the adolescent phase for ESPN's action sports juggernaut.
X Games is no longer a teenage-only, black T-shirt-wearing, logo-all-over-my-clothes event for boys. It turns out, X Games -- and action sports in general -- are ready to come of age and ascend into full-on adulthood.
And while many teenagers enter the job market or their college years after their 18th birthdays, X Games will be getting its adult education around the world. Earlier this year, ESPN announced it would be taking X Games - oft-described as the sports network's "baby" -- abroad to Brazil, Germany and Spain beginning in 2013.
The young men who have fueled action sports are beginning to switch up their style.
But back to those black T-shirts and the logo-littered clothing seen on boys in places like L.A. and Boston... X Games is kinda over that. Well, maybe not completely over it, but let's just say that's not what's "in" (to use the fashion terminology) in action sports today. No, this year's X Games made it clear that the style of action sports is ready for a more refined look. And we have the women, young women at that, to thank.
I liken this evolution of the X Games to your son ditching his G.I .Joes and getting a girlfriend instead. ESPN must be one proud papa.
X Games broadened ESPN's image 18 years ago, and it's doing it again in 2012.
And therein lies the underlying story of X Games style: these young women are also growing up and, FINALLY, these guys have the kind of style that reflects they can keep up with their maturing counterparts. Seriously, there's gotta be more in your closet than black t-shirts.
Think about it, up until recently, X Games has always seemingly had only one core audience - teenaged males. But that was the late '80s when guys like Tony Hawk were getting their starts in the SoCal TV-less competitive circuit. That was the '90s before energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster Energy took over the sponsored actions sports world. That was before Facebook and Twitter.
Today, with an entire generation of boys and girls whom have never experienced the world before X Games' existence, are both watching and competing in action sports, there is less one-noteness of the event style-wise.
Supporting point one: skaters Mitchie Brusco (15 years-old) and Tom Schaar (12) weren't crowd favorites solely due to their age... no, these boys were laying down some of the best runs and tricks all weekend. These kids have no fear. It took Tony Hawk 20-something years to lay down a 900, but Schaar did it before his 13th birthday.
Supporting point two: at the LA Live complex and all around the X Games event were young women wearing accessories, dresses and sandals you'd be more likely to see at Coachella than X Games.
But like, hip-hop music and basketball before it, much of the expansion of action sports -- in both viewership and geographical reach via X Games -- should be credited to its expansion into something women can fully appreciate.
Multiple times over the weekend, I overheard women talking up action sports as their favorite pastime. These women are skaters and snowboarders, yes, but perhaps equal importance should be placed on the fact that they're extremely style-conscious. At least more so than the guys you'd see wearing shirts you'd expect at NASCAR events, but not in downtown L.A.
This is all good news of course, because X Games is going global next year and that makes lifestyle elements like music and style all the more important to reach those viewers. The super fans know about guys like Shaun White and Paul Rodriguez through the sport, but casual, passive fans see White's Target advertisements and wear P-Rod's Nike sneakers.
Rappers Salt N Pepa and Queen Latifah paved the way for someone like Nicki Minaj to be not just a rapper, but to be a full-fledged chart-topping pop star.
Women's basketball legends Cheryl Miller and Sheryl Swoopes paved the way for that sport to become an ESPN SportsCenter Top-Ten-highlight-worthy sport.
As for all those teenaged boys with logos all over their black T-shirts and their contribution? Well, they paved the way for the X Games, the 'World Series' of actions sports, to be fully embraced by women (competitors and spectators), international superfans (Brazil, Germany and Spain to start) and style-savvy viewers around the world.
ESPN, perpetually in a balancing act of part-parent, part-coach, has to be proud to see its dare-devil, high-flying, risk-taking, son mature in such a way. Eighteen years-old and ready to see the world. And, just maybe, broadening action sports style and finding some cool girls to ride with or date in the process.
X Games' style has evolved into something you'd see on fashion blogs as much as you'd see it on action sports blogs.
All photos courtesy of Niraj Rai
[The following post oringally posted on HuffingtonPost.com]
If you missed Part I, make sure to read it here first. To read the post below first, would be like experiencing Labor Day weekend before you've done the Fourth of July.
Rogue Wave combines owner Rhett Boyd's eye for art, menswear and surfing.
Rogue Wave owner Rhett Lightfoot Boyd, Jr., got his start in Charleston after spending several years in Costa Rica with his wife where he, "surfed his brains out." Upon moving to Charleston, Boyd worked for a local surf company before breaking Rogue Wave into the town with a series of pop-up shops, including a pop-up in Billy Reid's shop, before investing in a brick-and-mortar location. Today, the surf-themed location is a place where you'll find some of the top emerging American brands in Imogene + Willie and Apolis Denim alongside Yellow Rat's "Surfing Ruined My Life" T-shirt, which always seems to attract attention to whomever wears it, surfer or not.
Boyd says he's never paid for advertising or developed any marketing plans for the shop; instead he relies on word of mouth. "If we treat people right... if our vision is clear... people will tell their friends," he said. Sure enough, it was Larry Luk, co-founder of We Are The Process, and KJ Kearney, the creative behindH1gher Learning, who put me up on Rogue Wave. I guess I just saved Boyd some money from Facebook ads.
Just down the block you'll find Indigo and Cotton, the most well rounded men's boutique in town, with items from Mark McNairy, Raleigh Denim, The Hill-side, Levi's Vintage and Jack Spade. Owner Brett Carron, like Boyd, was an out-of-towner who moved to Charleston with his wife -- Carron worked in the art industry in New York -- and saw a lack of independent menswear shops in the town. "I thought I could bring something fresh to the scene... a lot of new folks are moving to Charleston and bringing something from where they came from. Fresh eyes, creativity and not afraid to take chances," said Carron. Sounds like the making of a great menswear shop to me. Make sure to check out upstart brands Jed & Marne, makers of Guatemalan hand-woven shorts, and Topo Designs, which makes environmentally sound and heavy-duty leather bags.
Indigo and Cotton pays homage to Charleston's past, and hints at its future.
Another Southern shopping hub, Atlanta, is home to one of the nation's best minds in the sneaker industry in Standard ATL owner Farshad Arshid. His shop has been profiled in just about every possible publication of merit when it comes to sneakers and street wear due to Arshid's longstanding connections to the heavyweights (Stussy, ALIFE) in the industry. Case in point, Arshid has teamed with G-Star Raw to expand the brand's US imprint, and G-Star just opened next door to Standard in one of America's best shopping destinations, the Lenox Avenue Mall.
"Standard are one of G-Star's oldest partners in the U.S., and we have built an extremely positive relationship which has led us to this point. G-Star and Standard now have an agreed growth strategy in place and we're excited to watch this unfold in the short term future," says Stuart Millar, CEO North America.
Needless to say, when you have the CEO of a major, cool-kid brand talking you up like this, you have to believe it's a must-see shop for the street style savvy guys around the world.
Photo Courtesy of Sid Mashburn.
Atlanta isn't just a street wear capital, though, as evidenced by the prep style promoted at Sid Mashburn's elegant Atlanta shop. Mashburn, a Mississippi native, got his start in local garment houses before spending time designing for J. Crew, Ralph Lauren and Lands End. To say Mashburn understands men's design, fitting and tailoring would be a gross understatement. He's built a place that gets rave reviews as a hub of Southern sartorial delight and expert suiting, but don't let the Southern tag full you. Mashburn has lived all over the country and traveled in Europe extensively giving this shop a much broader perspective. All the better, given the real focus of the boutique according to Mashburn.
"We have a pretty cool shop, but what we really love doing is sowing confidence in guys and girls -- we have a women's shop next door - -who are looking for some help, sartorial and otherwise... we get young, earnest, nervous men and old, wiser, nervous men," said Mashburn.
It's not just Mashburn behind the scenes though, as he has a team of gentleman handling shirting and shoes, sportswear and tailoring, accessory selection and customer service. This is the kind of shop that single women would want to go in to find their future husbands. It's worth noting that Mashburn's wife, Ann, runs the aforementioned women's shop, having spent time styling at J.Crew as well as working at both Vogue and Glamour in previous years. The two have five daughters, so perhaps father Mashburn is making sure those prospective suitors are well suited, pun intended. "We have a fantastic in-store team -- if you ask, we can almost always make it happen," concluded Mashburn.
Not to be overlooked in the South, Houston has significantly stepped up in the menswear division in the last year or so with the openings of Reserve Supply Co. and The Class Room.
Reserve Supply Co., is located on the up-and-coming Washington Street next door to Catalina Coffee, one of the beloved caffeine spots in Houston, and the blend of emerging locale and liquefied shoppers makes this shop a nice jolt in an otherwise mall-dominated city. What you can't find at the Galleria Mall -- long boards by Sector 9, Tellason Denim, RVCA button-downs -- can easily be found in owner Jason Bruen's year-old boutique.
Similarly, The Class Room offers up what Houston's style game has been missing with emerging brands such as Bridge & Burn, Unis, Shwood and long-time Texas favorite-turned-menswear star Hamilton 1883 shirts. And once you have the shirt and tie, you may as well take up that offer from co-owner Jon Caballero to complete your Don Draper look with a glass in hand.
Just a few of my summer-ready purchases. Socks by Happy Socks (right) & Stance (left), hat by Quiet Life Co., shirts by Yellow Rat Company (top) and Rogue Wave (bottom) and tie by The Hill-side (purchased at Indigo and Cotton).
So to wrap this into one nice bow(tie, maybe), fellas, it's important to remember that traveling often and knowing where to shop can make all the difference in how you remember this summer. You'll remember what shirt you were wearing when you met the girl you had that fling with on the cruise or in Vegas or what shoes you had on when you walked around in New York or at that music festival or what trunks you had on at the pool at The Palms or in Miami or Brazil.
Here's a suggestion: wherever you go, tweet at me @joahspearman and I'll make sure and suggest a good spot for you.
[The following post originally posted on HuffingtonPost.com]
Now that the NBA season is complete, we can move onto bigger and better things. Like travel shopping.
I've never added it all up, but I'm 100 percent certain that the number one thing I've spent my time and money on in the last five years is traveling and shopping. And it just so happens that summer, officially underway this week, is my favorite season to travel shop. Why? Because I get to pack very lightly and stock up on simple, lightweight things like sunglasses, ties, socks, suspenders, swim trunks and hats while on the road. By summer's end, I'll have visited more than 30 cities, 11 states and five different countries in 2012; don't even ask me about the latter part of the year.
That said, if there's one thing I know about enhancing one's personal style it's that traveling is a great place to start; especially during summers. After dedicating my last post solely to the ladies, I wanted to help my fellas out by sharing a few more of my favorite shops around the country (and London) -- in addition to these -- that I think could elevate anyone's personal style this season.
In this post, I'll share some favorite shops in more traditional summer stops like Las Vegas, the Hamptons, New York, and Miami along with London where the Olympics will take place this year. I'll then take you to Atlanta, Charleston, S.C., and Houston in a follow-up post. So, starting with an easy one...
Topman -- Chicago and Las Vegas
Topman just opened up massive shops in both Las Vegas and Chicago so whether you have bachelor party plans with friends or plan to check out the Lollapalooza Music Festival in August, you shouldn't miss out. Topshop and Topman are making an aggressive push -- alongside European and Asian brands Allsaints, H&M, Uniqlo, and Zara -- into the U.S. I must say, you have to be happy to live in the States when all these awesome brands and retailers decide to spend their profits expanding to make it easier for us to shop!
Here's a tie I picked up at Topman Las Vegas.
Jack Wills & Aubin and Wills - UK & New England
Speaking of Brits headed West, popular university-inspired brand Jack Wills has open eleven stores in the U.S. in just two years. Still, CEO Peter Williams says the brand will remain "British, British, British" despite global expansion. Jack Wills started its U.S. outreach with stores in the, somewhat, safety net of Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and Boston in 2010, but the brand expanded further south in 2011, reaching into the Hamptons area of New York, and now as far south as Philadelphia, D.C. and even the college town of Charlottesville, Va.
If you find the brand a bit too college-esque for your taste, check out the brand's more mature collection at Aubin and Wills. Though they are not yet in the U.S., you shouldn't over pack for the Olympics if you're heading over the pond since they have eleven locations spread over London.
Tenet -- Hamptons
While Jack Wills begins expanding further south from the Hamptons, there is a smaller, independently run shop which calls the town of Southampton its home worth visiting: Tenet.
StyleCaster CEO Ari Goldberg called Tenet one of the best shops in America. (Photo Courtesy of Lea Winkler.)
Fulfilling the promise of its name, Tenet brings together some of the pillars of a man's summer look from casual beachwear by Olasul and wallets by Makr to button-down shirts by Gitman Bros. Owner Jesse Warren got his start advising fashion brands on the finance side of things, but wanted more.
"I had always known I was more interested in being an entrepreneur and being in the industry," said Warren. "I think [Tenet] speaks to the most diverse range of people... on any given day we'll have someone coming in who's 20 or someone who's 65, someone who's a local or someone in from the city or even people coming in for a week from Europe."
Like a financial portfolio, Warren prides himself in the range of the shop. The ladies should check it out too since Tenet's brand selection and taste for women's clothing is equally impeccable.
I scooped this super comfy, uber cool sweatshirt in Tenet.
Epaulet -- New York
While many New Yorkers flock to the Hamptons and Montauk come summer, the tourism season booms in the city too. And since a great summer look is often known to start with white pants, Epaulet in both Brooklyn and Manhattan, is a good place to get your fix.
Constantly regarded as one of New York's finest boutiques, Epaulet carries Alden shoes, Comme des Garcons fragrances, and shirts by Gitman Bros., but the heart and soul of this operation is their own private label of menswear. When I was planning the aforementioned trip to the Hamptons, one of the first places I looked was Epaulet where I snapped up some extremely well-crafted and crisp white pants to go along with a pastel-colored, plaid-styled button-down shirt (below).
I found the perfect pants and shirt for my weekend in the Hamptons from Epaulet.
Shoe Gallery -- Miami
Further down the coastline, you should make your way to Miami's Shoe Gallery where owner Danny Waserstein is third in line after his grandfather, Abraham, and father, Jamie, in running the popular sneaker and clothing boutique. The shop opened 1979 making Shoe Gallery not just a veteran in the sneaker retail business, but a pioneer. Still, it was Danny, whose frequent trips to New York City helped him get ahead of the Florida fashion curve, eventually expanding the shop's clothing offering to give the somewhat-hidden boutique a more complete look for men. The store regularly gets a bevy of celebrity athlete, rapper and entertainment clientele so don't be surprised to see plenty more tag-popping here now that the Miami Heat are the reigning NBA champs.
I have gone to New York City something like 17 times in the last 18 months. I'm in Manhattan so much that I've even started to vacation like them, at least in part. This past weekend, with an invitation from my boys - Ari and David Golberg, the co-founders of StyleCaster - I went out to the Hamptons for the first time. Here's my photo diary.
Tenet became one of my favorite shops in the country.
I bought this amazingly comfortable and soft coral-colored sweatshirt by Olasul.
We all got all fancy - and I put on my new shirt and pants by Epaulet - for the Forevermark-sponsored dinner at Georgica.