Sep 22, 2017 | By Samuel Trotman
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This week, our good friend, Antonio of Blue Blanket sent us on a copy of Transportation, the limited edition book he collaborated on with author and photographer Nick Clements. We take a look inside this book of boats, trains, planes, bicycles, motorcycles, and cars in revival subcultures.
Denim has been firmly rooted in traditions of cars and motorcycles since the early 40s and 50s. Not only were jeans the staple uniform of hotrods and bikers alike, they were also the core of a lifestyle — the ultimate symbol of personal expression and youthful resistance. The iconic style of these renegades has continued to live through the ages and remains as relevant today as they were back then. Revivalist subcultures and reenactment groups (found sporadically throughout U.K., Europe, America, and Japan), as well as a select number of “spearhead stylists” like Nick Clements of Men’s File Magazine, are among the small number of key initiates that are keeping these vintage traditions alive today.
In tribute to these motor enthusiasts, Clements compiled an exclusive photography book dedicated to the beauty of transportation in its various forms. The first book in the Men’s File Archive series, Transportation, provides an insightful and personal look into the revival of subcultures that surrounds these revival scenes. Photographed by Clements with support from Antonio Di Battista (Blue Blanket), the book showcases three decades of photography on these active groups. As Clements states in the book, “This is all presented in the style of a stream of consciousness and reflects my intention to give the reader a feeling of constant movement.”
Inside you will find over 190 pages of lavishly framed photographs, each in Clements signature style of revival based image making. The beautifully re-enacted photos are defined by the acute styling, attention to detail, and novel refinements that seamlessly transport the reader to a bygone-era. Moreover, the publication comes in a collector’s presentation box with two prints signed by the author (Nick Clements) and a selvage-edge denim banner from artisan jean makers Blue Blanket.
We spoke with Antonio Di Battista of Blue Blanket to talk bikes, denim, and his involvement in the Transportation project.
Explain how you got involved with men’s files on this project. Did you know Nick Clements beforehand?
“Nick and I met at the last Inspiration Show in L.A. We were located in the booth in front of Men’s File and we started to speak about business and passions, and we discovered that we had a great feeling and many things in common. He told me about his Men’s File Archive book project and in a very short time we had set out plans to collaborate. Today we are good frieds and continue to collaborate together.”
Can you talk a bit about the link between these transportation sub-cultures with denim?
“The connection between a kind of denim and trasportation subculture is related because both have the same attitudes in terms of customization and personality. Each pair of jean is different depending on the person wearing it; the way it fades depends on the person’s job and lifestyle. The same is for bikes and cars — everybody has a special vehicle personalized in a different way. Your vehicle and your jeans speak about your life and the way you see things.”
How does car and bike culture influence what you do at Blue Blanket?
“I have been a bike lover since I was a teenager and this passion has influenced the Blue Blanket project because the collection is not based on following the trends or on the market requests. My jeans are something that must be functional, everyday, durable, and stay the same for all the seasons. In other words, I project my jeans as something that has to carry you around and not the contrary.”
What modes of transportation do you own?
I own a 1969 Chevy el Camino and a 1952 Triunph Thunderbird.
What’s your favorite item of denim that complements this?
“My favorite item that connects denim and vehicles is the application of materials. In both cases, the use of the best materials and manufactures will create the strongest character, and the difference is you don’t need to add anything special.”
If your looking to pick up a copy of Transportation, head over to The Curator to get yours before they all go!
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