The Brilliance!


We’re really internet and we’re really back. A website about things Benjamin , Chuck , Virgil , and various friends & guests think are interesting. Little-to-no specific focus, a bit odd, speling errors, and incredibly culturally relevant.

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I’m about to be in NYC, whats up??!

I haven’t taken a vacation in a while - this really isn’t an actual vacation as I’ll be doing a bit of Boxed Water business while in town, etc, but I’m hitting the museums this time. And eating better too. And hitting Topman’s. I’m headed out there with a good friend of mine here in town, Neil Hubert (check his work), he’s never been to the Big Apple so it should be a good look. And, and!! Virgil and I’s friend Gabe is opening his new restaurant Joseph Leonard too, check the link below. Crazy - I can’t even wait for the behind the scenes look on that one. So yeah, I’m going to be somewhat busy - but hit me up on twitter or here and we’ll see what’s up. We’ll be staying in the Lower East Side so we’ll be around all those spots, etc. Yeah - direct flights from Grand Rapids, kind of excited about it.

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JAK and JIL went to a Fashion Show!!!

Fashion blogs are a dime a dozen now. The runway shows are glittered with a group of street photographers. In my mind none as good as Jak and Jil. Their motto is “HERE AT JAK & JIL, EVERYDAY IS FASHION WEEK.” genius. Superbig-well-compositioned photos go along way in telling a story. Even in the photos where someone is wearing something totally crazy, this sites lense somehow makes it make sense. Also it looks like JAKandJILL went to the same school of design as CHUCKandBEN. Bookmark business!

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Build something! I’m pro-manufacturing 2.0!!

Ah, the lost art of actually making something. A physical product. And even more so, doing it here in the US. Let me clarify that in no way do I feel any other country is less superior than ours - its quite obvious that when it comes to production of products, its quite the opposite, you know? Anybody remember that line in Back To the Future 3 where Doc Brown was like ‘Here’s your problem Marty! All these circuit boards were made in Japan!!’ And of course Marty quickly explains to him they’re known as the best, etc. Anyway, I’ve been really consumed with the idea that we simply don’t make enough stuff here in the US (duh, I know). But more so that my generation and under doesn’t seem to think its possible. I grew up ‘hustling’ html and code like a lot of other like minded people in the late 90’s cause it was super easy to make money doing it - you didn’t even need a computer, you could borrow one and start making sites, apps, etc. Basically out of thing air. It was a pretty amazing thing. But somewhere in there I think the concept of manufacturing seemed to become old and archaic almost, right? So yeah, I’m obsessed with it - making things. I love software to death, and I don’t I’ll ever step away from it - its got an almost magical thing about how it can be created from nothing but knowledge. That said - I’d love to see kids start exploring the creation of physical products more - dreaming that way a bit more. Want to make an eco-friendly fridge? A beautiful USB key-fob thing? A new bike seat? A faucet you’ve been dreaming of? A car?! A tablet computer (crunch tablet!)? Even food products, etc. Whatever you want!! Whatever it is - we’ve still got some amazing resources here in the US, plants, etc, that could use the work and can are more likely to help you with small runs in this current economy. I’m not sure if this post was as concise as I wanted it to be - just one of those things thats on my mind. So yeah man, manufacturing 2.0, as Jeezy says: lets get it.

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Super good interview with A.P.C.‘s Jean Touitou!

Hypebeast did a really good job on this one - and by the way, I’m loving the huge new interview header thing they have on their site, great design. So yeah, I’m pretty fascinated by brands like A.P.C. that seem to keep things so simple but maintain such a ‘rich’ or ‘thick’ brand, you know? I think sometimes the smaller (not that APC is super small) brands rely so heavily on some crazy cut, or cool graphic, or something that is super temporary to set their tone instead of really kind of letting the clothing simply represent the image/idea that they started with in the first place. Does that make sense? Anyway, funny cause Jean Touitou touches on this a bit in regards to ‘rock and roll’ based brands. I love this guys candor too, just very matter of fact, very to the point. His comments about why they do collbaroations, specifically with Nike are so nice to hear - they did them so they could have a shoe people could afford to buy instead of doing all the work themselves at a smaller scale of economy. Love that. No cool guy answer, no ‘synergy’ stuff, etc. So yeah, check the interview - full of really great insight.

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OJ Da Juiceman!!1

Man, I know how it works with me now - if I think something is ‘weird’ I’ll probably like it a week or two later. Fashion, music, etc. OJ Da Juiceman is the latest iteration of this. “I tell my car to make a phone call - it does it!” Hip-hop is such an ever evolving thing isn’t it?? I’m sure they’re kids mad I’m even calling OJ ‘hip-hop’ but seriously…whatever, get over it and have more fun!! He is hip-hop. Hip-hop was built on getting your thoughts/scene out there and having fun with it. I think OJ Da Juiceman is having fun, and I’m having fun listening to him. So there you have it, right? True story, Virgil and I were requesting him at Tonic room or wherever we were in Chicago like 2 weeks ago. I love the evolution, I respect dudes who do whatever they want (his adlibs?!!?), and half the time all I want to do is dance and vibe out anyway, so dig it!!! I don’t have much more else to say, thats my post. I actually have to drive home from my office now and I’ll be chirping out my AYE’s and OKAY’s on the way!! Have a good Saturday everyone.

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Thom Browne Short Suit is on my Must Have List!!!

So I am in the midst of “upping” my taste level of designers. Going beyond the knee-jerk reaction of saying “that’s weird” and really studying what they are trying to say. Coming from adolescent-Polo growing up, you figure Purple Label is the epotime of American “dressing up”. I had always known Thom Browne’s take on menswear but no I see how it is super revelant in this moment in time. The “suit” is no longer the working uniform… why not have fun with it. Thom Browne is made famous by his “short-suit” flooded trousers, shorter sleeves and little tweaks to a traditional suit. The end esult is something refreshing. If you have the confidence to pull it off, you get to have all the fun. Isn’t that what fashion is about? Wierdo or status quo. Word on the street is the company is in limbo, I have a feeling that won’t be the case for long.

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Tim Walker’s photography for Hermes!!!

Ben and I email a lot…just constantly sending emails back and forth about design, music, art, life, emoticons, splash pages, internets, e-viruses, www’s, and so on. I would say that of all the links I send Ben, about 20% either get no response because they were just really not that interesting, or I get one of the following: “Meh. ha.”, “Ehh…”, “Hmm…not for me”. 79% of the time I get “crazy dude…” or “SO cool man…” or “HA” (a capital ‘HA’ means it was a really, really funny video I must have sent). The other 1% is reserved for links like this: Tim Walker for Hermes, upon which I receive an incredibly rare (think Honus Wagner T206 baseball card rare) response of: “Holy crap, those are awesome! Make a post man!” Keep in mind, for Benjamin to say “Holy crap” about a link I’ve sent must mean it’s really, really special. Tim Walker is a 39 year old photographer from London who honestly is doing some of the most beautiful, simple, elegant, and downright cool work out there. It can’t hurt that he was a full-time assistant to Richard Avedon in the 90’s and started out working for Vogue at 25 either…sheesh. So, this post is wholly about Tim Walker’s photography in general, but more specifically this set for Hermes I found on Booooooom. First of all, that first picture with the guy in the window in the field is just ridiculous. I love it. Took me a second to wrap my head around it. And the African tribal stuff and those giant snails!? I love it. So creative. The fact that this stuff is for Hermes makes these even better. As Ben said, “Awesome to see a really, really old brand like hermes doing something like that. they’re one of the only luxury brands that isn’t owned by a holding company - they’re literally still like super small.” So yeah, there you have it. Tim Walker. A true master…

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“So Sweaty”, my favorite blog right now!

“Coffee on the menu was 47 cents.” So a good friend of mine/riding partner, Geoff Holstad and his lovely girlfriend SarahDarnell set off on a trip from downtown Grand Rapids, MI all the way to Portland, OR on their bikes. They started about a month ago and they’ve been steadily updating their blog, So Sweaty, along the way. I love how Geoff puts it all together on the blog, seriously, love the short quips, little details, tone, etc. Funny, its one of those things, how do you update a blog about riding a bicycle across the country? Seems like you either write a book when you’re done or you do a blog just as Geoff has with the simple and super fun to read updates. Well done my man. So yeah, check the blog out and get inspired to do your own trip/adventure. And to: Geoff and Sarah: we miss you guys here downtown, and yes, I’m riding the Madison often, seriously!! Have fun, ride safe, can’t wait to hear all the stories.

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Water Parkz!!

I love water parks man. And why not - they’re super fun, right? I need to have more fun. I haven’t been to one in forever, but I was just watching some show on the travel channel and it reminded me how I used to doodle water park designs when I was in like 6th grade - I wanted to open a water park. And this was pre-indoor water parks too I think, which is what I wanted to do being from the midwest. As much as I love really beautiful natural parks - the idea of like a Willy Wonka/Peter Pan water-land stirs the imagination a bit. And actually, another true story, my good friend Kevin (Boxed Water operations) and I are planning on a water park tour as a bit of a vacation as a bit of celebration once we get national distribution. No trips to the Four Seasons in the islands, etc, for us. We’re hitting like Orlando, the Wisconsin Dells, and a bunch of the Schlitterbahn locations. Popping corks on the lazy river!! So yeah, thats my post. Super random. Catch me at your local water park with the short Vilebrequins on! ***Why are water park websites always so terribly designed??

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Double the Creative Trouble - Dee & Ricky Interview!!!

If there is ever an obvious interview we would do it would be the one we just dropped. Dee & Ricky, Coolest Individuals, making up The Streets Most Famous Twins just hit on all the topics we wanted to know. Get familiar!!! (that DJ Drama drop is effecting my posting style, ha!) Anyways, I’d put my money on these kids to make in impact on this things we call lifestyle for years to come. You know the drill…the kids you went to high school with who you were with-or-against turns out to be kind of a big deal. It’s sorta THE BRILLIANCE!!! moto. So enjoy the read. Get inspired, make something that Marc Jacobs and Murakami can’t live without!!!