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From the Web: Rediscovering sportswear, Losing a sense of place, Tattoos on tees and tattoo sleeves

January 1, 2010


I admit that I usually skip over the local Honolulu papers and send my browser right over to the New York Times. This is one area in life where the former New Yorker in me refuses to give up control. But the articles are just too good. This past week, I enjoyed in particular…

  • Suzi Menkes’ “American Beauty”, a meditation  on the passage of classic, simple American sportswear : in an interesting exchange of roles, European designers are taking up the simple and practical, while formerly pragmatic brands like Donna Karan and Calvin Klein are delving into the details. Fascinating.
  • I was moved and disturbed by Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert’s opinion piece, “Times to Remember, Places to Forget” about the progressive disappearance of any local flavor in the American landscape. This particular passage got me:

When they [Americans] remember the Starbucks where they met the one they married or the Gap where they lost the one they didn’t, they will be marinating in memories that happened everywhere but not somewhere, reliving experiences that are located in time but dislocated in space.

From a Hawaiian perspective, I find it even more disturbing to see it happening right here in Hawai‘i at an accelerating rate. Burial grounds literally covered by a Walmart, the continual progression of generic SoCal-style suburbs across the ‘Ewa plain, where we can over our beds in Hawaiian-syle quilts that were actually made in Southeast Asia.


So it seems just about everyone has an Ed Hardy t-shirt. But honestly, when Jon Gosselin  (of the now defunct reality series Jan and Kate Plus Eight) is donning them (see here), perhaps it is a sign to move on. I first heard about Horiyoshi the Third via The line is based upon the work of Japanese master tattooist Horiyoshi III. Born Yoshihito Nakano, the master was bestowed the title from his teacher. Collections are available for both men and women, covering basics like t-shirts, sweaters (yes, cardigans too) and scarves—all emblazoned with designs inspired by Horiyoshi distnctive aesthetic. While some of the oni designs were a bit too menacing for us, this groovy sweater in light blue from the new Spring 2010 collection seems less intimidating but seemsnevertheless stylish and bad-ass at the same time. Pieces are meticiously done in limited runs in Japan, making a Horiyoshi tee more of a luxury buy. But don’t the finer things in life usually cost a bit more? Distribution is currently limited, but the Horiyoshi brand is in the process of adding an online store to their site.

Oni Sweater from Horiyoshi the Third - Spring 2010 Collection


While we’re on the subject of tattoos, I’ve been considering getting one for a few years now. But as I always have to go for the complicated and arcane, I have . Though I have a few different ideas in my head—I’m going to have to get my Hawaiian genealogy down before I get a traditional kākau—the one design I’ve been contemplating is a dragon. Well, actually two. A Chinese flying dragon, fei long zai tian, in a sleeve, completed by a Nordic dragon either on the other arm or on my back, as a nod to the other half of my ancestry. Ideally, I’d get one from Colin Dale, Canadian-born tattoist of Nordic origin. He draws his inspiration of Viking tradition as well as the indigenous Inuit of northern Canada where he was born. The only problem is that Colin lives in Copenhagen. So for now it seems, I will have to wait for one of his tattoos when I finally visit Scandinavia. In the meantime, I will continue to check out Colin’s portfolio on MySpace.

Viking-style Dragon sleeve by tattooist Colin Dale

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