THE STORY

 

Written by Joey A.X  [Wanderset.com]

In 1964, Bob Dylan released the legendary album “The Times They Are A-Changin’”. Covering topics ranging from the civil rights movement and racism, to Vietnam, to anti-establishment psychedelic culture, from the perspective of the vast gap between youth and leadership. Dylan’s capsule was highly reflective, raw, and revolutionary.

In 1971, the late Marvin Gaye bookended the most turbulent decade when he released “What’s Goin On?” amidst the second wave of the Civil Rights struggle, the decay of the post war American Dream, and his brilliant, haunting falsetto became the narration to an era. Since then there’s been “It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back” By NYC hiphop legends Public Enemy, “WAR” by U2 in the early 80’s that gave us anthems like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and equally as brilliant soundtracks to seasons of history from Bob Marley, 2Pac, and Rage Against The Machine.

Often we think of the word “art” and immediately picture a gallery in Paris. Our brains associate music directly behind a white space filled with pieces from Courbet, Warhol, Kahlo, Picasso, and DaVinci.  We forget that fashion is art, too. It’s living art, far more than any trust fund vegan sitting sort of still for 24 hours in a storefront in Bushwick is. 

Out of all the reasons for art, for the true justification of art, is elevation, reflection, and inspiration. Someone once told me that “If history is written by the winners, then half of history is a lie. Art tells the truth and they say it’s a lie. Art is the lie that tells you the truth.” 

Enter Freeman Plat. 

Freeman Plat is more than a line. And if it is a line, it’s this one -  "Fuck Stereotypes. Set Precedent."

Freeman Plat’s Founder & Designer, Jeremy Sallee is a highly respected name in footwear. Before he was named the Design Director of Footwear for the legendary Ralph Lauren, he was the hot young talent at Reebok who designed both the now stellar Kendrick Lamar and John Wall collections, as well as countless creative contributions to other kicks in the Reebok arsenal. As well as Sallee knows his fashion and footwear, he knows his history even better.

Sallee’s disgust with the current political and social climate, especially with how Donald Trump won the election, boiled over. He decided to make his definitive reflection piece, His version of Dylan’s “Times” and Gaye’s “What’s Going On”. 

The collection is inspired by two of the most well-mannered, diverse and honorable subjects Sallee knows and appreciates:  44th President, Barack Obama and Japanese culture. Throughout the line you will find oversized silhouettes that take cues from traditional garments of the Edo Period (i.e. the Kimono) juxtaposed with classic American apparel. He spent time in Japan absorbing the culture and design, and refers to it as one of the most aesthetically brilliant societies ever.

Trucker Haori

The impressive footwear in the capsule, named the “Jackson” is an oxford that throws it back to yesteryear, when men dressed to the 9’s, and jazz ruled the airwaves and the streets. The “Oscar" chelsea boot represents this season's hottest footwear style, but combines it with the a basketball sneaker’s soul, bounce and athleticism. The Jackson and Oscar are named after Sallee’s grandfathers. Fred Jackson trains horses for the Kentucky Derby, while Oscar Grundy is a war veteran, proudly serving the nation that now runs dangerously close to imploding. It’s almost befitting he now runs a funeral home in Indiana.

As for the Obama inspiration, every offer in the line is based off something in the former POTUS’s life. The most obvious takeaways are the use of elements from the 96' Chicago Bulls as well as the 1907 White Sox. Freeman Plat has also created a series of graphics that reference everything from Obama's high school days in Hawaii to Chicago MC Chance the Rapper's seeming ability to make the whole world smile.

All-in-all, the goal of the collection is to inspire those who are many times stereotyped to "SET PRECEDENT" (as President Obama did) and rid the world of harmful stigmas. The secondary goal is to piss off Trump by celebrating his predecessor.

We’ve had all forms of art be the “lie that tells us the truth” in the past. It’s high time fashion does the same. We are all artists, capable of channeling the light to create our own path, craft a new truth, and plant a new flag.

_______________________________

 

Walk Tall, For The Sole Of Urban Renaissance Is Freeman Plat.

Published on Wanderset.com

Written by Joey A.X

Every now and again, when the stars align, physical items become more than the sum of their parts. Corporate raiders can sell the office’s desks, computers, water coolers, and even cast iron fortifications for pennies on the dollar, but when the mission was never just the mammon, the picture becomes less visual, more theological, and more intangible. You can co-opt, destroy, manipulate and even kill the man. But you can’t ever kill the idea. Refer to every spirit of change from Braveheart to Detroit Red.

Freeman Plat is less mammon and more mission. Even if they’ve chosen the subtle over the aggressive to convey such. Because when you’re elevated, you’re truth. The creation is pure. The influences are correct. And you never need to scream like a teen. Light begets light. 

Freeman Plat is best defined by the etymology of the name itself. Freeman refers to a man unbound from the constraints of society due to a God-given competence to learn, overcome and accomplish in all walks of life. Plat originates from the root word platypus and refers to a cultured individual who is knowledgeable in a variety of fields. In short, it’s both the Harlem Renaissance, and the futura progressive. And upon deeper investigation, although the looks and face value package of both appear to have a crater between them, they’re the same at the root.

Progress. Create. Craft from love, not fear or anger, and disregard any and all hoodoo and naysayer. No matter what you do, or what your station in life may be- your business card title will always read “Righteous Rebel”.

The righteous need no boasting post. The inspired need no affirmation. There’s a creed of bold encouragement, motivation and belief that one can and will become the individual that he/she was meant to be. No man holds dominion over another. So, if work is done, goals will be attained.

 

“God sells us all things at the price of labor” -Leonardo Da Vinci

 

Freeman Plat was founded in 2015 when Jeremy Sallee, the super talented footwear designer from Reebok who designed both the Kendrick Lamar and John Wall collections, as well as countless creative contributions to other kicks in the Reebok arsenal  wanted to lace his own vision. A year and change later, he met and connected with Brendan Boyd, Co-Founder / Marketing Director behind the super popular, cult favorite streetwear line Society. 

Jeremy Sallee while Lead Designer at Reebok

Marketing Director Brendan Boyd

To say “the rest was history” works on several levels. By digging into the past, they designed the road to walk into the future. Sallee spent time in the Daikanyama section of Tokyo – which is more or less Japan’s version of Brooklyn. By experiencing the progression, tech, and highly structured chaos of a society that had one foot firmly planted in the neon future, and one foot steeped in proud tradition, while reeling to recover from a nuclear nightmare. But as a student of history, and a man who sought wisdom, he embraced the trail blazers and recognized that art can, and does, exist on many pallets. Out of all the mediums and methods, change and growth – and the ability to paint the way forward is perhaps the most Sistine. Because you can only know where you’re going if you know where you come from. And crafting the future may be the highest level of art. It’s beyond a field of study. It’s culture.

The well read man will pick up on this immediately. Elements of “Renaissance” eras are there in each shoe. The “Urban Dandy” of the Harlem Renaissance – equal parts Langston Hughes and Bumpy Johnson, Charlie Parker and Alain Locke. Without them there is no Jidenna. There is no “Classic Man” in record or DNA form.

The post WW2 Japan saw a renaissance of it’s own, out of pure necessity. They championed the greater good without the rigid political systems of Communism. Their renaissance was one of collective discovery and progression, rather than the individual. Tech and futurism became the order and mantra. The suppression of self identity allowed them to create and progress at a miraculous rate, and also created underground subcultures that range from surreal to the twisted. Just like Japan itself, it’s just alot of alot. Uber creativity given limitless pills by tech advancements. 

Freeman Plat embraces the walk of fearlessness. Both founders sought to make statements on the walk onward. Sallee is currently the Design Director Of Footwear for Polo Ralph Lauren, ushering in a new era that may be less New England yacht club and more Jeremy Scott in St. Mark’s Place. Boyd’s Society did a ton to break down the lines between hiphop, skate and vintage Ivy League/Americana prep “look guidelines” and embraced the era, which proved to be a multi-cultural, hiphop fueled, internet convergence youth wave that was a renaissance period in it’s own right. The era that was ushered in by Kanye, and then crowned by varsity jacket wearing Drake, and now pushed even farther along by Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Tyler The Creator, Macklemore, Frank Ocean, A$AP Rocky, and many other indie as shit, genre blending urban eclectics.

Both partners believe that Freeman Plat can be their magnum opus. They share the belief that magic, true physical alchemy, happens when creativity meets function, past meets future, and the journey, or what you actually walk in, is just as important as the destination.