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  • You Need Us

    You Need Us

    You’re a contributing writer for one of the world’s most circulated menswear magazines. You wake up every day, brush your teeth and pick out your version of a fire outfit. You write about celebrity style, fashion forecasting.. you know, cool guy stuff, in general. You’re not corny. You make allusions to popular rap songs every now and then. You’re not lost or without rhythm on the dance floor. You can spot a pair of Air Max 95s.. hell, if your editor asked you to run a piece on ‘em, you could probably do it… but you still don’t get it. You’re not all the way there.. and it’s okay.

    See, you’ve had some ethnic friends, fulfilled your ethnic studies course requirements in college. That’s all cool… But you still don’t get it. You don’t get why The Bellwether Project is necessary.. the gap it fills, the people it speaks to. You don’t listen to “Suck It Or Not” in front of housing projects while wearing selvedge denim and Italian-made loafers. You don’t got the club going up on a Tuesday – hell, you could’ve sworn Bobby $hmurda was the name of a cartoon character.

    We need people like you. You reach a worldwide audience that is hard to even quantify. You provide them with fire information and give them pretty good advice. Again, you are needed. But.. you need us, too. You need us for the actual trend forecasting. You even need us for your street style shoots. So, as we ready ourselves for the scramble that is New York Fashion Week, just know.. equal footing is a beautiful thing.

    With Love,

    Jorge Courtade

  • Calling In Drone Strikes in Taupe

    Calling In Drone Strikes in Taupe

    I gave up on presidential politics years ago.. and apparently the president gave up on sartorial common sense too. I'm sure you've seen the photos and memes, Obama addressing conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine while wearing a taupe suit. It's a testament to our attention spans. It's also a testament of the little weight placed on words delivered by the president, political figures in general.. but that's for another day.

    (via: http://www.dailynewsen.com)

    Anyway, all of these pictures make us wonder - who styles Barack Obama? Is Obama checking his favorite style blogs at this very moment, disgusted with his stylist who was so sure people would like the new look? Does the president get fitted while calling in drone strikes on a presidential iPhone in an Otterbox case? How should we feel about the filtered and misleading information you're giving us when we can't even trust you to pick the right suit, fam? Get it together.

  • Willful Ignorance or Blatant Disregard

    Willful Ignorance or Blatant Disregard

    Imagine a world without cultural appropriation… Imagine a world where frat boys never throw “ghetto”- themed parties. Imagine a world where Sofia Vergara doesn’t have to play the “spicy” Latina in every role she snags. Okay, now snap out of it because that world doesn’t exist, fam.

    We’re in 2014 and dominant WASP culture still finds ways to mischaracterize, exploit, and demean people of color.. like, say Indians (and yes, I said Indians because most Native Americans have appropriated the term for themselves). We work in a fashion industry that likes to consider itself ahead of the curve, in tune with the world, all that good stuff. Fact is, whether it’s just willful ignorance or blatant disregard for the culture, design houses really don’t care – they’ll pimp out a traditional Chimayo design if the money’s right.

    What else are we to expect, though? I mean, the majority of U.S. citizens don’t believe the Washington football team should change their name from “Redskins” to something a little less… disrespectful? You throw a traditional, sacred design on a rustic-looking flannel and sell it at Urban Outfitters for the pack of frat boys in khaki shorts that sit above the knees… well, you’ve got a damn good business plan.

    Jorge Courtade

  • Award Shows Are Weak

    Award Shows Are Weak

    Award shows are so weak. With everything going on in the world, it’s only fitting that the majority of us spend a large chunk of our day watching drugged out celebrities accept irrelevant awards. That being said, it is kinda our job to critique style so here go our thoughts on a few choice outfits from last night’s VMAs (that’s what it’s called, right?)

    Let's start off with everyone's boy Usher. He actually doesn't look bad. Plus, I still know all the words to "That's What It's Made For" so I can never harbor any ill will towards the man. The look is... crisp(?) without being overdone - something that can't be said about a lot of the night's attendees.

    LOL. I'm not mad at Jason Derulo for having Jordin Sparks on his arm but dawgy.. this picture does not suit bruh at all. Maybe I'm out of the fashion loop but those look like some custom Creative Recs, man. Either come out with a single I can listen to beginning to end or step your footwear game up, G.

    Common stays with the sweater vests, man. Common probably got sweater vest pajamas. This sweater vest looks like some next level business though. Like the type of sweater vest people that wear sweater vests will be wearing in the year 2031.

    Jorge Courtade

  • Stop Painting With Dry-Erase Markers, Dawgy

    Stop Painting With Dry-Erase Markers, Dawgy

    Las Vegas, Nevada… The Bellwether Project was in town to check out the tradeshows at the Sands Expo. There was free stuff everywhere – there usually is. There were totes and glossy magazines and shirts and liquor and a ton of stuff I couldn’t even fit in my bags. Plenty of cool people, plenty of handshakes, and lots of love. It was a good time. Despite all that, the tradeshows usually turn out to be the Fashion Gawd conventions. I’m not mad either.

    I began this article with the premise to roast the hell out of the followers in attendance.. and trust me, there were plenty. But not everyone gets it. Which is fine. We found solace in our regular ass outfits. No frills. So what if the struggle fits were out in full force? If you want to wear a Pharrell hat with Hood By Air, go for it I guess.

    If you like joggers that match your oversized poncho that match your hat, that’s your right. If you like to wear all black, the all too familiar oversized top with crazy graphic, that’s all you, fam.

    What we really took away from the event, once you sift through the booths, hooks and gimmicks, is that the real power players of the industry transcend trends. The McNairys, the Woosters - they've carved their names into the Mt. Rushmore of modern menswear... the rest of you guys painting with dry-erase markers, dawgy.

  • Convincing Ourselves Not All Humans Suck

    Convincing Ourselves Not All Humans Suck

    Between Ferguson, Gaza, Iraq, and the local street corner, there seems to be a looming cloud of negative energy draping over us all. That being said, good news and positivity can get lost in the mix. In an effort to combat our own anxiety about recent events (and convince myself that not every human sucks), The Bellwether Project would like to highlight tonight’s (Aug. 21) Pop Up Swap at Soma StrEat Food Park put on by the folks over at Score!. From 5-8, Score will be turning a food truck into a department store that dreams are made of… you know, where all of the merchandise is free.

    (image via www.heyscoreswap.com)

    Now that’s all cool but how does this make me feel better about the world?’ you might be asking yourself. Well, in order to raid our closets (oh did I mention that The Bellwether Project is a Score! style partner?), attendees are asked to buy a $10 advance ticket (or a $15 ticket at the door) and bring clothes, shoes, art supplies, music, etc to swap. The proceeds from ticket sales will go to Hack the Hood, an organization that provides low-income youth (*cough* Black and Brown kids *cough*) the tools needed to create an intuitive, professional website… and then they do just that, helping out local small businesses in the process.

    (image via www.hackthehood.org)

    That just.. makes so much sense, no?

    So, to recap, we’ve got free clothes, a great cause, and a DJ. Come out, shake some hands, grab some threads. Be 1% cooler. You owe it to yourself, not everyone gets a chance.

    Jorge Courtade

  • A Very Reasonable Fear of Losing My Wallet... Gone Forever

    A Very Reasonable Fear of Losing My Wallet... Gone Forever

    Zippers are clutch. I don’t remember exactly when my parents starting blessing me with zippered jeans but I do remember bits and pieces of the struggle before the Zippered Age. I was easily flustered as a child. Pair that with my push-it-to-the-limit mentality (*cue Scarface soundtrack and/or Rick Ross remake*) and you’ve got a kid stressing out trying to take a piss in the public bathroom.

    Anyway, I bring this up because I read a recent piece on John Elliot and realized that zippers really are life, man. Especially well-placed ones. You ever buy a secondhand jacket, any jacket really, only to find a random pocket perfect for stashing drugs..err, storing coins? John Elliott’s Fall/Winter collection reminded me of a time before I took zippers for granted.

    (all photos via www.johnelliot.co)

    Two RiRi zippers help conceal a kangaroo pocket on a burgundy, slim fit hoodie? And it's terry cloth. Apparently, you're not a cool guy in 2014 unless you've got some terry cloth poppin'.

    Then we've got the crewnecks.

    The damn crewneck has zippers and a hidden kangaroo pocket too?! Those slicksters..

    Wait, don't tell me....

    The sweatpants are not only beautifully tapered but they've got a RiRi zipper at the back pocket. Hella RiRis, bruh. This literally solves problems for me. I haven't worn sweats outside since I ran pacers in high school, mainly out of a very reasonable fear that a wallet or loose singles or a ziploc bag of... oregano will fall out. Now I can be #comfyboyz while my most prized possessions are safely secured on my person. It's a dream come true. So, thanks zippers, for making this all happen. You the real... Nevermind.

    - Jorge Courtade

  • Cracked Mirrors and Broken Clocks

    Cracked Mirrors and Broken Clocks

    About a week ago, on payday, I bought my first pair of selvedge denim jeans from a local thrift shop. I know, I'm late to the party. Anyway, I don't know why I was so fixated on getting a pair, I didn't really have a point of reference to convince me that having a pair was even that crucial. I scoured through the racks on my lunch break. I found two pairs that could work - black All Saints and bright indigo Naked & Famous. My slight inner-hypebeast was rooting for the Naked & Famous jeans to work - they didn't. In any case, I ended up with the dopest jeans I've ever owned. Made of the heaviest damn Japanese denim, these jeans have been worn every day since that fateful (pay) day. Hell, I've even slept in them on my drunker nights (aka last night).

    They got me thinking about all of the life upgrades I've slept on. How do I not own nice cologne? Why do I continue to deal with the cracked mirror in my room? Why is a broken clock still hanging up here too? I'm ready to make a change. So, thanks, selvedge denim, you changed my life - not only can I now say my jeans cost a car note (and believe it) I'm also thinking of ways to improve my life (through material goods like a real Amurrican). The super flex and introspective thought - what else can you ask for from a pair of jeans?

  • Bodega Boyz

    Bodega Boyz

    New York Fashion Week is quickly approaching and we’re brimming with excitement. There are no guarantees for us there, nothing imminent waiting for us on the East Coast. We don’t know what shows we can get into, which parties are the better look for us. None of that. What we do have is unbridled confidence in our ability to make sh!t happen. That’s why we’re brimming with excitement.

    You might recall an article posted on this site about San Francisco’s Fashion Week. It was a call to arms, a wake up call, if you will. New York Fashion Week is a different ball game. So, while we’re looking forward to roaming the streets of Gotham in search of Dominican food and bodega sandwiches, we’re just as excited at the opportunities we plan on opening up for ourselves. This trip is the culmination of (somewhat) careful planning and sheer will. Just a few weeks ago, we had a…. spirited conversation with an airliner giving us a hard time. These past couple of weeks have been wrought with change. We’re at different parts of our lives now. What has stayed the same is our commitment to each other and to an idea we came up with at the MAGIC tradeshow two years ago. NYFW is the next step. Keep the bodega open for us.

  • I Ripped My Jeans On Accident and I'm Okay With It

    I Ripped My Jeans On Accident and I'm Okay With It

    (all photos via George Elder on Four-Pins)

    So I'm hella drunk wearing an old pair of jeans and an unfortunate series of events leads to me stumbling into a bush. Hilarious. As I get up, a branch or twig or something else snags onto my pant leg. Now, I get up quickly because no one wants to be the drunk guy laying in the bush. As you can imagine, snagged pant + quick movement = ripped jeans. So I'm bummed out for a second but then I'm like... FASHION.

    I have an interesting relationship with ripped jeans. Well, as interesting as a relationship with an inanimate object can be. I'm a fan of the look. Done well and you're golden.

    There's always the flip side though. The dark side. The Kanye stan that rips waaay too many holes in their jeans. The Tumblr chick that rips her jeans so she can wear a wide brimmed hat and stand in front of a tree while her suspect homeboy snaps flicks. Basically the walking Eye Rolls of the world.

    One more thing. Rip the damn jeans yourself. That's pretty much the point, right? To add that bit of personal flare to an otherwise standard article of clothing. What kind of personal flare do you expect to portray by rocking holes in your jeans that were probably carefully crafted in a sweatshop overseas. Not the kind of flare you want poppin' off, fam.

    Jorge Courtade