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, he spoke fluidly from the perspective of the vast gap between youth and leadership. Dylan’s capsule was highly reflective, raw, and revolutionary.
Fast forward to 1971, when 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 a post Vietnam 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.
This is shit I know well. My existence has been in and out of recording studios and stages, and before that, being alone in my room for hours, earphones on, studying not only music, but the intrinsic soul behind every note, and the spirit that was locked in every record. I didn’t even know I was, I was just the sponge. Just because we, as a culture, forgot it was once there, and replaced substance with autotuned xanax parties doesn’t mean that it’s less of the truth. Creation, as a concept, should always be used as a vehicle for more of the truth.
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, the biggest 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 has been highly respected name in footwear for the past few years, to say the least. 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.
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.
Watch this amazing short film for #FSSP – shot by Brian Dos Reis, with beautiful cinematography from Bryan McCabe Jr, and music from hiphop artist Rome Castille. The #FSSP Playlist, featuring hiphop, neo-soul, nu-wave r&b and roots rock will be dropping soon via Wanderset’s music stream WanderWav.