The sick vintage sweatshirts no one talks about
Cheap, U.S. made, vibey. Plus: Our exclusive Manresa drop
Welcome to Blackbird Spyplane.
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Every issue of Concorde is here.
— Jonah & Erin
Every week millions of people read Blackbird Spyplane and feel inspired to wear cool clothes as a result. But on extremely special occasions, people read Blackbird Spyplane and feel inspired to MAKE cool clothes, too. As a “pro-creative flourishing” sletter, this makes us happy.
Case in point: In January 2022 we dug up and resurfaced a “fire Carhartt alternative nobody’s checking for” — a beautiful deep-cut vintage HARDBODY BANGER that pops up on eBay and other resale platforms every now and then, often for not much dough, which you can read about here.
One person whose life changed forever when we sent out that sletter was Mike McLachlan, the very nice guy behind the small Connecticut line Manresa. Seeing these coats in the sletter, and realizing “they don’t make them anymore,” he told me the other day, he set about whipping up his own top-notch homage, cut from super heavy washed-canvas with satin lining, a corduroy collar, ribbed cuffs, and tuff YKK snaps and zips:
He called his version the Bittner jacket, put it out in a few colors, and watched them sell out PRONTO, because it’s a fantastic coat and cool people recognize greatness.
Tomorrow, Friday 2/3, Manresa’s new capsule will go live to the general public, and it includes two new colors of the Bittner: a faded-charcoal black and wonderfully warm “rusty ~ coral red” (both below). There’ll also be fisherman’s sweaters; flannel button-ups; Camber logo hoodies; and JUMBO double-knee self-belt pants in gray and blue (all of which are below), among other pieces…
AND GET THIS — today, Cla$$ified Spyfriends get early access to all of the above, plus a “homie price” that’ll be good for the whole weekend !
Yes!! Mike is setting aside a Special Spyfriend-Only Allotment today, ahead of Friday’s public release.
The early-access window will start today, Feb. 2, at 8 a.m. PST. / 11 a.m. EST. It will run until 11 p.m. PST / 2 p.m. ET. The Spyfriend Homie Price will be 10% off everything through Sunday night — i.e. it’ll still be in effect when the drop goes public, too. So if a piece you’re angling for sells out today, you’ll have another shot tomorrow.
This is an exclusive for our Cla$$ified Tier subscribers. You can find the access info below — enjoy !
SPEAKING OF SLEPT-ON UNDERPRICED SECONDHAND TREASURE —
Modern history is full of “format wars,” which is what it’s called when different things that do the same thing vie for market supremacy. The classic modern examples are “data storage and playback” formats such as 8-track cartridges, which lost the war against cassette tapes; Betamax video, which lost the war against VHS; and HD DVDs, which got STRAIGHT WASHED by Blu-rays …
Incidentally, that particular format war inspired an incredible illustration which I recently discovered sits at the top of the Google Image results when you do a search for “format wars”:
All of those media formats are of course essentially irrelevant curiosities today, and very possibly outright unknown to our younger Spyfriends who almost exclusively encounter “cloud-based” media… (although we are big team Blu-ray because we do not trust these streaming devils to safeguard the treasures of cinema baby!!)
What is extremely relevant to Spy Nation, though — yet not often discussed — is that the history of cool clothes also contains several massive “format wars” of its own — such as the war between dope hoodies and crewneck sweatshirts.
We’re of course talking here about the classic showdown between Champion and Russell Athletic, the two best-known contenders in a “sweatshirt format war” that raged heaviest in the ‘90s. Champion emerged victorious, but Russell proved a “sleeper hit” to the point that now they’re enjoying a renaissance among young Mach 3+ jawn-rockers (including SpyFriend Mac DeMarco !) whereas blue-chip Champion has been licensed, relicensed and “relaunched” to the point that, while still fire, they risk a touch of “over-familiarity” …
BUT there’s a third major SWEATSHIRT CONTENDER, largely forgotten today, that held its own throughout the ‘90s when this s**t really heated up…
We’re talking about a line that came through with a bunch of Made in the U.S. heat … We’re talking blanks in great faded colors; with very appealing colorblocking; and which often served as the canvas for wild GRAPHICAL and EMBROIDERED designs…
No, this brand was never more than a “bronze medal” contender at the time. But if you look at it now?? The long-term swag powers prove so formidable that doing a mere eBay search for their name turns up page after page of highly vibey, low-priced, deep-cut hoodie & crewneck U.S.-made SLAPPERS !!
And that name is…