fashion

The EFFA Collection by Ebbets Field Flannels by Maxwell Young

Screen Shot 2019-07-28 at 9.56.01 AM.png

Ebbets Field Flannels, the heritage brand conserving mid-century athletic garments, debuted its fist-ever women’s line, honoring the women and girls who forged their own positions within America’s favorite pastime.

The EFFA Collection—named after Effa Manley—the co-owner of the 1946 Negro League champion Newark Eagles and only woman to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, encapsulates a time period when female executives, ballplayers, umpires, and teams were viewed as interlopers in the world of sport. Racial and gender divides attempted to exclude women from baseball, but the tenacity of trailblazers like the eponymous heroine of the collection erased stigmas and broke barriers for women to continue building their shared history in the game.

A civil rights leader, Manley set a precedent negotiating fair compensation for the rights of her players as they transitioned to Major League baseball once Jackie Robinson broke the color line, signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. She earned the respect of fellow Negro League owners and white executives within the majors due to her astute knowledge of business and sports marketing. Promotional games propping up attendance in the Major League, including the businessman’s special or “Disco Demolition Night,” are extensions of Manley’s genius. She instituted free entry for WWII veterans and sponsored an anti-lynching game, intersecting sports with socio-political conversations. “Effa is part of a much larger history,” said Lisa Cooper, Vice President of Ebbets Field Flannels on Late Bloom Radio in May—our co-produced show with Uptown Art House.

Women have been in baseball since the mid-1800s, forming teams at Vassar, Smith and Wellesley colleges, with the first recorded professional team, the Philadelphia Dolly Vardens, playing men’s teams in 1867. The collection immortalizes prominent figures from the early barnstorming days when women were tokenized for their pioneering contributions to baseball. Authentic jerseys pay homage to icons like Amanda Clement who, at 16 years old, became the first woman paid to umpire men’s baseball games and Edith Houghton, a ten year old shortstop sensation for the Philadelphia Bobbies and a couple of decades later the first (and last) female scout in the history of Major League Baseball. We can’t forget about Toni Stone, either. The first African American woman to play professional baseball with the Negro League’s comedic, showboating Indianapolis Clowns, Stone’s life-and-times defeating discrimination and sexism has been further amplified this year in a critically acclaimed off-Broadway production by play-write Lydia R. Diamond.

Although the materials and fabric are authentic to what players actually wore, the retro knits, satin jackets and hats, along with the graphic tees are a spin on what existed in history. “For a lot of the designs, all we’re going off is the team name,” Cooper said. “We can’t even find photos; there’s a nice freedom and playfulness to it.”

Channeling the legacy of crossover within baseball’s past—women creating opportunities for themselves in a men’s game—the collection’s designer Eric Johnson wanted to create a range of clothes that were non-conforming. “It was more about the quality of the designs. I didn’t go into this thinking about making this for women,” the Maryland-based creative said. “I thought about making really good shirts women would be interested in, making sure the border was non-binary.

Designer Eric Johnson at Late Bloom Radio broadcast via Full Service Radio at The Line Hotel. Polaroid by Maxwell Young

Designer Eric Johnson at Late Bloom Radio broadcast via Full Service Radio at The Line Hotel. Polaroid by Maxwell Young

Johnson and Cooper worked within a truncated timespan, executing the line over four months, when most collections can take up to one and a half years to develop. It’s a testament to their collaborative relationship, as the duo first started working with each other while Johnson was a creative lead in A$AP Mob. With hip hop being the introduction for the two and holding such a strong emphasis in vintage wear, Johnson and Cooper’s partnership has come full-circle. However, it’s the intention behind the collection that makes the project cohesive.

“The racial aspect of it, especially regarding the Negro Leagues…[The EFFA Collection] is how to have that conversation and take it away from race,” Cooper said.

For 31 years, Ebbets has served a niche clientele researching and re-producing the authentic apparel worn by athletic clubs we learn about through sports lore. Teams from Japanese baseball, the Pacific Coast League, The Negro Leagues, and now the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and National Girls Baseball League are tangible constructs in the 21st-century, thanks to Ebbets. The heavy, wool fabrics that adorned actors in Jackie Robinson’s biopic, 42, were made by the Ebbets team. Their mandate is uncompromising the quality, beauty, and craftsmanship of vintage athletic apparel to convey the context stitched through it. Such intention circumvents exploitation and facilitates transparent discussions of unknown histories in a public way. 

“I’m a white lady in Seattle and my business partner is white, so it comes up: ‘Why are you guys doing this?’ It’s an automatic distrust, but they don’t know the backstory. And the backstory is that we were the very first ones to bring about the history of [the Negro Leagues] and the awareness of it.”

The current offering of The EFFA Collection is merely an initial snapshot of the vast history of women in sports. Future iterations of the line will touch other heritage, such as that of hockey and Canadian women’s rightful place in the sports pantheon. Shop The EFFA Collection here and listen to the full radio interview below for an exclusive glimpse into Ebbets’ upcoming NFL capsule.

Tee Time by Alex Young

Emerging Streetwear Companies

“Compelling visual style, backstory and feel,” that’s the blueprint for building an influential brand according to Grailed. The buy-sell marketplace app asserted this opinion in a history piece describing the “Rise of Japanese Street Culture” through the late ‘80s and in to the ‘90s in Harajuku. Essentially, the canon of streetwear fashion, the Japanese section pertaining to Hiroshi Fujiwara, Nigo and others pivotal to the scene, all created their brands and legacies in the same neighborhood making a bridge between music and fashion. The success of one boosted more opportunity and success for another. These fashion icons asserted their “loyalty to sister brands with continual collaboration and cross-pollination,” Harsh Patel wrote in a 2010 piece for Interview Magazine. Partnerships with each other drove consumers to desire every brand involved in the movement.

Japanese Street Culture: Nigo, Hiroshi Fujiwara and Jun Takahashi | New York Street Culture: A$AP Mob

Draw the parallel. Take the model to modern day Harlem with the A$AP Mob. Members of the clique seamlessly fused hip-hop and fashion. A$AP Rocky exploded, and each A$AP member has found success whether it’s music or, particularly here, fashion. Streetwear brands grew out of the A$AP Mob without inhibiting the other’s success: Disco Inferno, Marino Infantry and VLONE. Each thrives, just as the core Japanese streetwear companies founded and remain: A Bathing Ape, Neighborhood and Undercover.

This style, camaraderie and entrepreneurship is a global culture practiced by many artists. As it happened in Japan and New York, it occurs now in Pittsburgh.

Top row:  SOSIMO  &  HeatKlub  | Bottom Row: SOSIMO x  Haven  &  Elisa Jones  | Middle: Ivan Rodriguez, Sakony Burton &  Tyler Calpin  on  Désir  hoodies

Top row: SOSIMO & HeatKlub | Bottom Row: SOSIMO x Haven & Elisa Jones | Middle: Ivan Rodriguez, Sakony Burton & Tyler Calpin on Désir hoodies

There’s a crew inhabiting and working at Social Status, using the welcoming streetwear boutique as a meeting spot to build ideas with each other and talk about the culture in a relevant establishment. Ivan Rodriguez and Tyler Calpin, while they are sales associates at Social Status, they use the store’s customer influx to build a network helping grow their personal brands, SOSIMO for Rodriguez and Calpin’s eponymous brand. With them, David Cole, Geechi P, Sakony Burton and Tutu feed off the Social Status energy, as well as their relationships with each other, which has created a budding streetwear community. Cole operates Elisa Jones, Geechi P has Haven, Burton runs Désir, and Tutu supplies graphic designs to Elisa Jones, Haven and his own project HeatKlub. Calpin spends time with all of them working in Social Status’ Downtown, Pittsburgh location where Cole frequents and the East Liberty location where Rodriguez works. Calpin adds compelling visuals and cool documentation to SOSIMO, Elisa Jones and HeatKlub, or companionship and advice to Burton. Burton and Rodriguez influence each other. “If it wasn’t for him [Ivan Rodriguez], I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing right now, and to some degree, if it wasn’t for me, he wouldn’t be doing what he’s doing right now,” Burton said.

triumverate 2.png

Calpin and Cole were the ones to draw comparisons from Japanese and New York street cultures to the current situation in The ‘Burgh. Each of the brands could eat "as long as you touch people,” Cole said during his upcoming InTheRough interview at Social Status Downtown. “We all could help each other take our moms out the hood.”

Aris Tatalovich Eyelet T-shirt by Alex Young

Product photo via  Instagram

Product photo via Instagram

Design, screen-print, cut and sew, Aris Tatalovich has the tools to keep his brand in-house.

Recently, 19-year-old Tatalovich made waves with his Sticky Note Cardholder. The wallet, made from handcrafted Italian leather, featured three individual Post-it note style cardholders that connected with Velcro. The concept and execution flexed the designer’s ingenuity.

People just want to cop and be on it because there’s a certain stigma around it. I guess that’s where people differentiate. Like people would rather have that and don’t care about quality and better product and just rather have hype. But I’m trying to change that, I guess, and make people focused on I have better quality, better product, better ideas, better concepts, everything better just no hype… I have taste is what I’m saying.
— Aris Tatalovich during his episode of the Non Disclosure Agreement Podcast

The next product coming from the Tatalovich fashion house is brand T-shirts. “Aris” text emboldens on the chest as the “i” has an embroidered, colored, eyelet dotting the “i.” Aris’ last name underlines his first. The tees release on March 31 for $78 USD. Three colorways will be available. Although which three is to be determined. Comment below to let the designer know what color you want.

Modeling and Styling, Meech Loves Himself and His Clothes by Alex Young

A5B811C3-C9B9-4958-9ACA-3CA4D565841D (1).jpg

Meech Mackey

“What you see on the Internet isn’t what you see in real life.”

‘The culture’ hit the broadside of IKEA. Meech, a 19-year-old who called Ian Connor, Luka Sabbat, Virgil Abloh and Bloody Osiris his style idols, played a similar fashion role at the furniture store. He might as well been shopping for his dorm room as he plans to attend college next fall. But really he displayed his outfit against the varying decor in the showroom, a bright yellow IKEA shopping bag in hand to look the part. He called himself and the mentioned fashionistas different. “Being themselves actually,” Meech finished. “I love being myself.”

Likewise, the Moon Township, Pa. native, also loves clothes. Officially named Demetrius “Meech” Mackey, he wants to become a celebrity stylist, and in the meantime, he’s a signed model for Docherty Agency.  Finding a balance between high and low-fashion while supporting upstart designers is what helps his taste be “fashionable.” Meech began in seventh grade as a self-described sneakerhead though.

Photos of Meech by Alex Young

Photos of Meech by Alex Young

The pure blue IKEA facade caught cool looks with Meech in front of the camera lens and the building. He donned an Angelo Numa tie-dye puffer coat with exquisite sleeves. Numa studies at SCAD in Atlanta, Ga. Unlike his accessories, the top and trousers were subdued fresh with a black-white stripe shirt and black jeans with a red stripe down the outside leg. The Off-White™ Air Jordan 1  Chicago with neon green and orange laces covered his feet. Four chains on his neck. Gucci pouch across his chest. Louis Vuitton phone case.

If you’re worried about what people think, you’re not gonna achieve anything.
— Meech

Bringing up the Off-White™ x IKEA collaboration, Meech seemed to be aware of fashion’s current climates. He called the Bloody Osiris swag “outrageous” and applauded A$AP Rocky for delivering fashion to a new generation of rappers like Playboi Carti. “That’s a pretty mothafucka,” he said about Rocky.

Meech also knew what’s what in Pittsburgh citing designer Aris Tatalovich as a hopeful peer. “That’s why I was at the party [Year End Review with DJ Based Grvce]. I thought he was gonna be there,” Meech said. Remember Bloody Osiris in the lookbook for Tatalovich’s Stingray backpack. Meech also noted designer John Geiger and model Donovan Green as other people from the ‘Burgh who contribute to the broader fashion scene.

Additionally, Meech connects with local photographers like Devon Colebank to support his image. His goal is to work with well-known photographer Jordan Beckham. More exposure will come from his episode on the “I’ll Call You Right Back” podcast.

Despite the Pittsburgh praise, Meech acknowledged that culture moves slowly here like "Mo Bamba." That song’s "been a hit. I was into that six months before it was a hit,” he said.

The power of the Internet is a “controlling” influence Meech said. “What you see on the Internet isn’t what you see in real life. People don’t get that yet.”

When Travis Scott came to Downtown, Pittsburgh for his “Wish You Were Here” tour, Meech got a standing room only ticket because “I love raging, enjoying the time,” he said. “I’ve been with him since day 1, not like these hypebeast people saying ‘Sicko Mode’ is the best song on the album. ‘Houstonfornication’ fire. ‘NC-17’ fire,” Meech said. That’s his young energy, linking with other artists through Instagram DMs for photoshoots, prowling to various events starting mosh-pits dripped down with a Gucci pouch or Supreme this Supreme that, but he’s got enough taste to wear a tie too.

Still excited about the home furnishings in IKEA (first timer), Meech shared the advice, “If you’re worried about what people think, you’re not gonna achieve anything.”

Geechi P's Award to The Most Stylish by Alex Young

As Part of Commendations for Pittsburgh 2018

Screen Shot 2018-11-01 at 10.15.55 PM.png

To kickoff Commendations 3 by InTheRough, Geechi P sponsors the award he won last year, the most stylish award. Now, it is called “Geechi P’s Award to The Most Stylish.”

Geechi spent 2018 flying under the radar, but his influence still present. He collaborated with photographer Sarah Bader and streetwear gurus Social Status and Nike forming a lookbook to promote the Nike Air Max 270 sneaker. Additionally, Geechi P was an ambassador to his friends’ clothing brands like SOSIMO and HeatKlub. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh style icon readies to release his own label, Safe Haven.

The nominees for Geechi P’s Award to The Most Stylish people from Pittsburgh are as follows:

@artbrown

@igbohippie_

@pixburghcam

@tamiablue

@unamericandragon

@uncleden_

Look forward to commentary and interviews for all nominees of Commendations for Pittsburgh 2018 soon at intheroughstyle.com/year-in-review. The Commendation voting polls opening date is TBD. Keep working.