15 episodes

A recurring podcast digging deeper into the most relevant brands, manufacturers, and specific products in the Highsnobiety universe and why our audience cares so much about them. The show dissects what it’s like for brands like Dickies Work Trousers to “have a moment” in pop culture, to how perennially hot items like the Air Jordan 1 stay relevant.

Why It's Cool Highsnobiety

    • Society & Culture

A recurring podcast digging deeper into the most relevant brands, manufacturers, and specific products in the Highsnobiety universe and why our audience cares so much about them. The show dissects what it’s like for brands like Dickies Work Trousers to “have a moment” in pop culture, to how perennially hot items like the Air Jordan 1 stay relevant.

    Why It's Cool #14: Birkenstocks

    Why It's Cool #14: Birkenstocks

    Once deemed ugly or uncool among the fashion-conscious crowd, Birkenstocks now grace Paris Fashion Week runways and are the subject of some high-profile collaborations.
    But why, all of a sudden, are Birkenstocks considered to be cool? How did they become what they are today, which is a sandal your grandparents wear while gardening while simultaneously also being worn by some of the most stylish people around? 
    What better way to start than to go way back, to 1774, which is where it all started for the German sandal manufacturer. I think that alone is pretty cool already. That this brand has been around for almost 250 years, and is not only STILL active, but actually considered cool.
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    • 12 min
    Why It's Cool #13: Dragon Ball Z

    Why It's Cool #13: Dragon Ball Z

    Nothing got hyperactive 90’s and 2000’s kids to settle on the couch better than the intergalactic battles, valiant heroics, and epic animations packed into every episode of Dragon Ball Z.
    Following the adventures of a good-natured alien named Goku, Dragon Ball Z is the sequel to the original Dragon Ball story written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama.
    Between the inspirational tales of Goku defending the Earth from extraterrestrial villains and an immersive world of additional physical and digital media inspired by the franchise, Dragon Ball Z has become regarded as of the most influential anime of all time.
    These days, you don’t even have to be a fan to at least know that spiky blondes mean business or have at least met one little kid who would clench their fists and try power up into “Super Saiyan” form.
    In 2019, we see Dragon Ball Z referenced in more places than anyone could have ever imagined. The thirty-year-old series is as influential as Star Wars and Marvel Comics. Its blazing battles, mind-blowing transformations, and distinct visual tone can be found beyond the anime and now within contemporary lifestyle realms like fashion, music, video games, and even sports.
    So *how exactly did this story about a monkey-tailed alien evolve into one of the most relevant and highest grossing media franchises of all time?
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    • 25 min
    Why It's Cool #12: Ray-Ban Wayfarers

    Why It's Cool #12: Ray-Ban Wayfarers

    When did the Space Age begin? In terms of astronomy, you can nail it down to 1957, when the Russians hurled a 183-pound polished sphere about the size of a beach ball away from Earth and into its orbit. Sputnik 1, the earth’s first artificial satellite, sparked a race to the cosmos between the United States and its Cold War adversary. NASA was established a year later, and in 1969 the US secured the crowning achievement by putting the first man on the moon. This period was a boon for technology and pushing the limits of humanity. But if you look at design, you’ll see America’s obsession with space predates these remarkable achievements. 
    Established in 1936, Ray-Ban had made its name by designing sunglasses specifically for the Army.
    In 1952, designer Raymond Stegeman shifted the companies eyes to the future with the Wayfarer. They were the first sunglasses to be made of plastic, and its lines were a reference to the iconic Cadillac tailfins. Another point of reference was the Eames Chair, another classic design born of the era. According to design critic Stephen Bayley, the “distinctive trapezoidal frame spoke a non-verbal language that hinted at unstable dangerousness, but one nicely tempered by the sturdy arms which, according to the advertising, gave the frames a ‘masculine look.’”

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    • 10 min
    Why It's Cool #11: Levi's 501s

    Why It's Cool #11: Levi's 501s

    In his 2003 novel, Pattern Recognition, William Gibson creates the coolest character ever to grace the pages of a book. Cayce Pollard is the world’s best coolhunter, and her highly astute ability to judge brands is largely due to the fact that she’s literally allergic to corporate logos and mascots.
    She wears a series of uniforms referred to as “Cayce Pollard Units,” or CPUs. Gibson describes these as “things that could have been worn, to a general lack of comment, during any year between 1945 and 2000.” Her go-to items include shrunken Fruit of the Loom T-shirts, a Buzz Rickson MA-1 bomber jacket, and black Levi’s 501s with the arcuates on the back picked out and the branding on the buttons filed off.
    It’s just one of many testaments to the humble jean’s ability to transcend trends. Its straight leg, regular waist, and enduring appeal will truly never go out of style. Of course, the main leg up Levi’s has on its competitors is a big differentiation point: They literally invented the modern jean.
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    • 16 min
    Why It's Cool #10: adidas Stan Smith

    Why It's Cool #10: adidas Stan Smith

    Timeless is a word so overused nowadays that its meaning has almost become redundant, but the Stan Smith is one of the few products that’s design has really stood the test of time, transcending trends, music genres, and subcultural movements. So many other brands have tried to copy its minimal aesthetic and adidas itself has dropped countless versions and collaborations, but almost 50 years since it first hit the court and it hasn’t lost any of its character.

    In the fickle world of fashion, the Stan Smith opened up the floodgates for a new generation of female sneakerheads. You can pinpoint the moment when the stereotype of the so-called “fashion girl” went from Jimmy Choo heels to comfortable sneakers. It was those ten seconds when Phoebe Philo walked onto the catwalk to take her bow for Celine’s Fall/Winter 2012 runway show wearing an olive green turtleneck, straight cut black pants, and a pair of Stan Smiths. 


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    • 24 min
    Why It's Cool #9: Margiela Tabi Boots

    Why It's Cool #9: Margiela Tabi Boots

    The Margiela Tabi Boot celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Along the way, it's become a membership card among fashion's most elite dressers.
    How Margiela's Tabi Boot Became a Status Symbol for Fashion's EliteThe “uncanny valley” is a robotics term dating back to Japanese professor Masahiro Mori in 1970. It hypothesizes that as a robot takes on more human characteristics — eyes, a face, five fingers, weird Terminator-esque skin — there’s a certain threshold where your response to the automaton turns from empathetic to strong revulsion.
    In other words, there’s a line between barely human and fully human that tends to gross people out. And one particularly polarizing Japanese-inspired shoe from designer Martin Margiela may prove that fashion has an uncanny valley too.
    Let’s go back to Paris in 1988. A time before the Internet and Instagram turned fashion into an integral part of pop culture. Back then, the industry was still a closely-guarded secret, only accessible to a privileged few. But even then, fashion had its iconoclasts, and Belgian designer Martin Margiela’s debut show marked a paradigm shift.
    Margiela’s tabi boot, largely based on the affordable Japanese “jika-tabi” shoes still worn by Japanese construction workers, features a circular heel, metal clasps known as “kohase” at the rear closure, and a signature split toe at the front. The big toe goes on one side, with the remaining four housed in the other. They’re essentially upscale ninja shoes that give the foot a cloven hoof appearance.
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    • 14 min

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