For a handful of American companies that have managed to stay in business for over a century, their names immediately conjure up some kind of mental bookmark, whether a familiar logo or catchy jingle. Harley-Davidson enjoys a similar level of brand recognition, but beyond their distinctive black, orange, and white emblem, the company has established an instantly identifiable visual language. A singularly unique style, the look usually involves leather, patches, and heavy boots, a postwar phenomenon that has since become universal, frequently referenced in media ranging from film to fashion.
Pre-WWII imagery of Harley-Davidson riders, however, has typically been a bit harder to come by. Enter Rin Tanaka, a Japanese writer and irrepressible vintage aficionado who’s channeled his passion for American heritage brands and subcultures into a series of self-published, cult-status* books under the publishing name My Freedamn.
Harley-Davidson: Book of Fashions, 1910s-1950s is the result of Tanaka’s time spent in the massive Harley archives. Sifting through over 100,000 photos, he managed to whittle down H-D’s extensive history into five decade-specific chapters. The results are equally informational and inspirational—images of cloth and leather helmets mingle with rarely seen photos of African-American and Japanese-American bikers. Customization has long been a staple of the Harley community, and images of studded kidney belts from the ’30s and club shirts from the ’40s and ’50s are among the stunning catalog-style photos presented throughout the book. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a casual admirer of the Harley-Davidson style, this book is an essential.
In addition to his prolific bibliography, Tanaka is also the man behind Inspiration LA, an annual vintage clothing and Americana trade show that attracts thousands of visitors from around the world. For vintage devotees, the event is more than worth the trip, but we have it on good authority that Inspiration may be heading east to New York next year—fingers crossed.
*Speaking of cult status, only 10,000 copies of the H-D Book of Fashions were printed, and according to Tanaka, Milwaukee’s Harley-Davidson Museum may have a few copies left, but otherwise they’re completely sold out. You’ll definitely want to get your hands on a copy at Love, Adorned before they’re all gone.
Before there was aquamarine, there was bloodstone. Deep green with flecks of red-orange, the stone was believed to have been created when Jesus’ blood dripped down onto the gravel beneath his crucifix. From that violent origin story came a strong association with courage and battle, as referenced in this traditional verse: “Who in this world of ours their eyes/ In March first open shall be wise/ In days of peril firm and brave/ And wear a bloodstone to their grave.”
During the early twentieth century, the the National Association of Jewelers—followed by the general public—demoted the bloodstone to secondary status, putting aquamarine in its place. A blue or turquoise variety of beryl, aquamarine translates to “water of the sea,” and depending on who you ask, the gem comes from mermaids’ treasure chests, can summon the dead , may increase intelligence, and/or was worn by sailors to prevent seasickness.
Mined in Brazil, Madagascar, and Kenya, among a few other far-flung spots, there’s a chance that you may discover some of your own here in the United States, in Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains. A better bet? Stopping in to Love, Adorned, where there are a number of aquamarine pieces just waiting to be picked up (plus a few bloodstone pieces, for all the traditionalists out there).
What’s in store:
1) A 14K gold and aquamarine ring—made in the ’80s, just right for today.
2) Multifaceted teardrop earrings set in 18K gold, made by Lola Brooks.
3) Raw bars of aquamarine wrapped in gold and strung onto a Lou Zeldis necklace-cum-art piece.
4) An 18K gold single trident earring, punctuated with an aquamarine and created by Chad Ypon.
Since we seem to be stuck in a never-ending New York winter, the custom color palette California ceramicists Kat+Roger designed for us is definitely causing daydreams of a warm beach by the ocean.
The duo (in work and love) throw, detail and paint each of their ceramic pieces by hand. And though they look pretty enough for mere decoration, don’t be afraid to eat, drink, be merry and then put everything in the dishwasher. If you stare long enough at the blues and greens maybe you’ll start to feel like you’re here…
We are pretty excited to be making room for some new friends from the UK, so come by Elizabeth St. to welcome our own selection of Bobby Dazzler dolls.
All of the dolls from Bobby Dazzler are made by hand in south London by Rosie Short & Fumie Kamijo with reclaimed fabrics. They’re available in human and animal varieties, but we stuck with humans for now. Each one is unique in its own quirky, special way and can make you wonder how you didn’t know you wanted a stuffed pirate.
Tattoo’s may seem ubiquitous amongst the cool kids now, especially if you live in a city like New York or Los Angeles, but they are far from a recent trend. In Spiritual Skin: Magical Tattoos and Scarification anthropologist and photographer Lars Krutak takes a serious look into the ancient rituals of tattooing and scarification in tribal communities from Papua New Guinea to Sub Saharan Africa.
In his work that began about a decade ago, Krutak explains that tattoos and scarification are not merely for looks or to demonstrate status or accomplishments. For these cultures they are imbued with magic that provides strength, protection, and power with the universe. The Author gives a brief explanation here:
Whether or not you think tattoos are magical the photos are stunning and give a peek into worlds that, while they seem far away, are filled with people that have hopes and fears.
Photos by Lars Krutak