The Pigeon
August 3, 2008 11:49 PM   Subscribe

Designer Jeff Staple may have his name on Levis but he really made his name in 2005 when, in conjunction with Nike, he put a pigeon logo on 200 pairs of Nike Dunks. Today they sell for up to $3000. In June The Pigeon made a special appearance on a camera and now The Pigeon returns on 650 pairs of New Balance shoes that are released globally on Wednesday. Nike probably wont be impressed.
posted by meech (49 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Jeff is the brains and motivation behind his break, what started off as a small tee shirt business is now a multi-dimensional design/retail empire that produces flawless creations perfect for today’s consumers.

It's interesting to hear from the exact opposite of the spectrum, people who rather then being unnerved by obsessive loyalty to corporations actually revel, sincerely revel in brand identity and fetishism.

And by 'interesting', I mean 'painful'.
posted by delmoi at 12:01 AM on August 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


pigeon, n.

II. Figurative uses.
6. colloq.
a. A naive or gullible person; a fool or simpleton; a person who is easily swindled
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:10 AM on August 4, 2008 [15 favorites]


Fucking hipsters. If there's any silver lining in the iminent collapse of the western economy, it's that people won't be able to be that stupid anymore.
posted by Naberius at 12:49 AM on August 4, 2008 [2 favorites]



Oh, now it's the hipsters' fault.
posted by bukharin at 12:55 AM on August 4, 2008


1. Buy Nike Dunks
2. Apply Pigeon Logo
3. eBay
4. Profit!!!
posted by clearly at 1:18 AM on August 4, 2008


I bought two pairs of NB 574's. They both fell apart in 3 months. I will never buy another pair of New Balances, no matter how many pigeons are on them.

Too bad. They were comfy.
posted by no1hatchling at 1:41 AM on August 4, 2008


The New York Dunks were something of a design low point in the entire run of Dunk SBs. The price is only a reflection of the rarity and the NY connection. Jeff Staple should move on and do something more creative.

Shoes, camera, t-shirt, more shoes, all pigeon branded. Enough is enough.
posted by roofus at 2:07 AM on August 4, 2008


I bought two pairs of NB 574's. They both fell apart in 3 months.

I bought NB 975's, they fell apart after the first run in the forest, I glued them together and after 5 years they are still going strong.

Don't give up on your shoes!
posted by Laotic at 3:05 AM on August 4, 2008


This just proves that if you hype anything, absolutely anything, as "limited" or "exclusive" or what have you, some complete tool will shell out a ridiculous amount of money for it. Someone please tell me this is some kind of social experiment to prove the valuelessness of "limited editions" and the toolishness of those who covet them. I mean, it's a little icon of a pigeon. A fucking pigeon. Not even an interesting icon of a pigeon. It looks like it came out of some cheap clipart collection. This guy is no "designer", but he is apparently a master of hype and self-promotion.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:13 AM on August 4, 2008


We discussed hipsters in some detail recently, but this kind of narrows in on a particular - albeit fairly central - facet of hipsterdom that I'm quite sure has existed for a while, but I first came to understand and define a little clearer for myself watching HBO's Entourage. If you've seen it than you're likely familiar with Turtle and his unyielding quest for the coolest, most obscure, designer kicks, often costing many thousands of dollars.

I dub it "uber-consumerism," and the fact that I don't really consider the characters in Entourage to be hipsters, per se, hints at the fact that hipsters aren't the only one consumed with this malaise at this point. Its spreading.

I'm pretty sure it started around the time I was a kid. At least, that's when it started for me, I suppose its existed for quite a while now. I didn't come from a very well-off family, there wasn't enough money to go around for nice things like new clothes, but we did go to a large church where there were a lot of families that were better off. And somehow at 30 years of age I still feel some shame in admitting that I wore hand-me-downs from other families. I'll never forget being teased about wearing the Vision Street Wears by the same kid who's mom had given the same grey leather high-tops to mine, for me to have. I had wanted a pair for roughly a year, more than anything else, and I didn't care if they were lightly worn already or not, I was just pumped to have them. Until that kid told everyone that they used to be his, and they all laughed at me.

I was one of those adolescents that couldn't afford the Nike Air's - I could get new Nike's, from the outlet mall, by then - in a real box and everything, but Nike Air's were what the cool kids were wearing and they were way out of reach. And you learn fast as a kid - wearing new shoes that weren't as cool was certainly safer than wearing someone else's hand me downs and the associated risks of that. So yeah, in Junior High, I tried to write the "AIR" part under the Nike symbol on the back of the heel. And yeah, sooner or later somebody noticed, and pointed that out, and I was returned back to the social status that I belonged to - the bottom rung of 7th grade.

Of course it gets worse in your teenage years. You begin to understand more and more the absolute central importance of being considered "cool" and all the requisite clothes you need to wear, cars you need to drive, movies you need to have seen, concerts you need to go to, and on and on and on. And if you can't afford those things, you're relegated out of the groups that can.

I'm not sure how it works for those kids that always could afford the cool stuff, but the $3,000 sneakers make me think that things, overall, haven't really changed much.

One thing did change, though - sometime around college. I stopped caring. Fortunately for me it was an incredibly good time to stop caring, because not caring was incredibly cool. And so I wore thrift-store clothes on purpose, had a very plain skateboard deck on purpose, and even preferred to listen to my Pearl Jam and Nirvana and Weezer on tapes recorded off of friends' CD's because I didn't care enough about affording cool toys anymore. And it was a time that somehow that, in and of itself, was somewhat cool. It was an interesting time but it didn't last very long - soon everyone was trying not to care, and then you realized we all cared about not caring, and it was suddenly cliche.

I think I moved back towards a healthier balance after school. I entered the working world and had to wear a suit to work. I bought a truck not because it was cool but because I knew it would be fun to go off-roading. I lived in a nice town-home that had way more space than I needed. I shopped at Ikea. My consumer choices still defined me, but they became much more about personal comfort than they were about what others thought.

They're still mostly that way, I think. Living in Manhattan it can be easy to see - just by stepping out your front door - that there are still people who wear the coolest clothes, who get into the coolest bars, and talk with the other coolest people. And, theoretically, I could enter that strata, if I really dedicated myself to it. I could find the most obscure and expensive designer clothes, and I could probably find my way into some of those clubs. I might even get some of those girls to talk to me.

But you know what? If I have to drop a couple grand on tennis shoes to make that happen... I doubt the conversation's going to be very interesting.

If I ever have kids, I hope to help them avoid some of the things that I had to go through, and I'll consider myself blessed if I can do that. But there will always be a part of me that takes pains to make sure I'm not giving them the absolute best things money can buy. I don't want them to be the kind of people that grow up needing that. There's nothing wrong with having it, I just want to make sure they don't need it.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:29 AM on August 4, 2008 [8 favorites]


Who the fuck cares about this shit?
posted by Skeptic at 3:52 AM on August 4, 2008


Who the fuck cares about this shit?

Some people cared when the Pigeon Dunks were first released. SNEAKER RIOT!
posted by meech at 4:20 AM on August 4, 2008


Personally, I can't even get past the fact that there's a website with such intense design devoted to "sneaker culture." I can't even say "sneaker culture" without giggling. I think the extent to which I've examined one's sneakers in the whole of my entire life boils down to that one time in second grade I first saw a pair of "The Pump" basketball shoes and a couple of times when I smelled shit and was checking to see if I was the one who stepped in it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:57 AM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Chapter-11'd Steve and Barry's are still selling good quality superstar-endorsed sneakers for $8.98. You could draw a pigeon on them.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:22 AM on August 4, 2008



I get these floppy shoes called Zig-Zags from an old Russian who runs this shoe repair shop in the East Village. There's always more models on display than he actually has in stock, so you basically have to get whatever color and size he has, which means mine are always too big. Also he makes you stand on a stool and get them down yourself. And if you try on more than one pair he gets really pissed. But they're like $18 and they're really comfortable and look good. Does this mean I'm into sneaker culture? What the hell is sneaker culture?
posted by bukharin at 5:30 AM on August 4, 2008


I'm selling my Wu Tang Kicks if you're interested - they're box fresh and a steal at $6999.
posted by meech at 6:12 AM on August 4, 2008


Expensive Sneaker+smelly foot+ground into the dirty pavement=idiot consumer with self esteem issues

now, y'all go buy some more shoes, 'cuz those are dirty and went out of style the day after you purchased them (or maybe, the day before)...

/puts on 10 year old pair of nameless sneakers covered with paint, grass stains from mowing the lawn, grease from working on the bike, you know, the ones where one of the soles is split...
posted by HuronBob at 6:38 AM on August 4, 2008


This guy should team up with Michael Graves to sell grey and pink things shaped like pigeon eggs at Target.
posted by designbot at 6:46 AM on August 4, 2008


From the Wu Tang sneaker auction...

The pair has never been worn or even laced up. Aly kept the pair in a cryo chamber to maintain it's luster.

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME. It sounds like a joke or an embellishment, especially since I'm pretty sure no one has a "cryo chamber" (whatever that's supposed to be) in their house for storing shoes, but then again, that's no more ludicrous that a $7000 pair of sneakers.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:48 AM on August 4, 2008


I'm going to embroider a little Honus Wagner on my sneakers.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:53 AM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's a complicated sadness that overtakes me when I see a 11 year old project kid wearing $220 Air Jordans.

But seeing a 24 year old parents-are-doctors Williamsburg hipster wear these may balance out my suffering. Until I think about the 11 year old in the Queens sweatshop that is applying the pigeon stitching.
posted by plexi at 7:01 AM on August 4, 2008


Jesus, the links in this thread have revealed to me a whole hilariously moronic subculture that I had no idea existed. The "sneaker culture" site linked above has a gallery of the most outrageously dorky shoes I've ever seen, all of which probably cost as much as a car payment. I think I had these in the third grade, apparently they're now available as a "retro" re-release that probably costs in 2008 dollars two or three times what they did in 1988 dollars. These have got to be the ugliest things I've seen in recent memory, yet some idiot will probably pay $250 for them. Unbelievable.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:19 AM on August 4, 2008


I'm kinda glad there's a sneaker subculture. Fools and their money should be parted. Short of an actual "FOOL" branded into their forehead, this is the best thing.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:10 AM on August 4, 2008


I really only know about the sneaker culture thing because of Turtle from Entourage.
posted by padraigin at 8:10 AM on August 4, 2008


I don't think hipsters are the market for this. Hipsters don't wear Nikes or New Balance. They wear Vans or Pumas or Adidas. I think this is for hip hop kiddies, no? Or, as one of the links states, 'sneaker culture'. It's for people like Turtle in Entourage, as stated above. Now, if it was a 'limited edition' t-shirt silk screened with a pigeon and selling for $250 dollars, it would be targeted for hipsters. And, I've seen them.
posted by spicynuts at 8:33 AM on August 4, 2008


These have got to be the ugliest things I've seen in recent memory, yet some idiot will probably pay $250 for them. Unbelievable.

Ok I take back what I said about hipsters not wearing Nikes, because I've seen these on a couple of acquaintances at a Williamsburg party recently. I still think the pigeon one though is not targeted at hipsters because it doesn't have the 80s nostalgia element like this one does.
posted by spicynuts at 8:37 AM on August 4, 2008


why the hate, unless people are robbing banks to buy those sneakers it's just a hobby -- it make more sense than buying the latest iPhone after chucking awta the older iPhone that cost a shitload only 11 months ago? And whose batteries can't even be replaced? Really?

OK, you can call people with iPhones, but you can't wear it on your feet (unless they're very small and you have a leg missing).

Nikes are sweatshop-made? Yes. What about technology, all those China-made gadgets are put together in non-sweatshop, unionized environments? Really?

Come on, it's simply another way to throw money away. What about that 23 dollars Blu-Ray disc you'll only watch once and you'll resell for nothing on eBay? What about the Blu-Ray player -- how much will it cost a year from now, half what you paid?

Other people's gadgets are dumb only when you don't like them. When they're your kind of gadget, it's all OK. Big double standard. Would I spend that money on sneakers? No, because I like cheaper ones. But I'll spend that money on something else I don't REALLY need, certainly. And you, too, unless you're a Buddhist monk.

Now, if it was a 'limited edition' t-shirt silk screened with a pigeon and selling for $250 dollars

it's not a bad idea.
posted by matteo at 9:06 AM on August 4, 2008


We mock what we do not understand and in this case you all do not understand why a pigeon embossed on the back of a pair of New Balances is very exciting. The divine_wino personally endorses New Balance sneakers, they are my shoe of choice, based on my wide, high-arch, pronated, jacked up gargoyle feet, I can't even wear Nikes without slitting the sides like some kind of rail-riding hobo.

My personal limited edition NB's are the 574's in gray with black and red accents, they are embossed with dirt, city funk, subway effluvia and what appears to be a grease stain from a glob of mayo, I can let you have them for $1000.00, but you're gonna need to lend me some flip-flops or something, so I can get home.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:26 AM on August 4, 2008


it make more sense than buying the latest iPhone after chucking awta the older iPhone that cost a shitload only 11 months ago? And whose batteries can't even be replaced? Really?

No one would throw away a $400 iPhone when you can resell it to someone who wants to jailbreak it for $300, and the new iPhone is $200 -- which means upgrading pays you $100 back. It's rare when an upgrade gives you extra features and puts money back in your pocket.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:38 AM on August 4, 2008


What's so great about the pigeon?

(That's an actual question. Why were the Nike Pigeon's so 'cool'?)
posted by djgh at 9:42 AM on August 4, 2008


Argh, "Pigeons". Damn you, apostrophe...
posted by djgh at 9:43 AM on August 4, 2008


Apparently being a hipster = loyalty to the wrong brands.

*cough*Apple*cough*Linux*cough* etc.
posted by Justinian at 9:44 AM on August 4, 2008


Chapter-11'd Steve and Barry's are still selling good quality superstar-endorsed sneakers for $8.98.

I still have and wear my Starburys from last April, which is more than I can say for some Nikes I have owned.
posted by drezdn at 9:46 AM on August 4, 2008


I still have and wear my Starburys from last April, which is more than I can say for some Nikes I have owned.

The thing with those shoes is that they (the ones I saw) are those fucked up plastic spaceman sneakers, I won't wear those unless I'm trying to get HAL to open the podbay doors.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:48 AM on August 4, 2008


why the hate

i bought a pair of new balance shoes for 40 bucks at meijer's last year - they were cheap and they fit me well

how much were these again?

it make more sense than buying the latest iPhone after chucking awta the older iPhone that cost a shitload only 11 months ago?

i have two phones - they both plug into the wall and cost about 5 bucks a piece at goodwill - most of my time on them is spent listening to tape recordings tell me that the non-existent warranty on my car has expired, that my non-existent credit-card account has not got a problem, that my non-existent captain would like to take me for a cruise and my unfortunately existent republican candidate for office stands for non-existent family values and cheap governance

who needs to pay big bucks for that?

But I'll spend that money on something else I don't REALLY need, certainly. And you, too, unless you're a Buddhist monk.

or working class and trying to save money
posted by pyramid termite at 9:53 AM on August 4, 2008


it's not a bad idea.

Matteo...t-shirt from roofus' post above.
posted by spicynuts at 9:57 AM on August 4, 2008


The thing with those shoes is that they (the ones I saw) are those fucked up plastic spaceman sneakers, I won't wear those unless I'm trying to get HAL to open the podbay doors.

They actually had a bunch of styles that looked more normal. The CTX and Cyclones looked a bit like a New Balance sneaker, while I thought the Bowery (which I'm wearing right now), was pretty cool. IIRC, they even had a style that looked like late 90s airwalks and vans-style slip-ons.

Some of the styles are getting hard to find now in the wake of the bankruptcy.
posted by drezdn at 9:57 AM on August 4, 2008


CTX= SXM apparently.
posted by drezdn at 9:58 AM on August 4, 2008


Oh hey, I like those Bowery's. I didn't see them at the store I was at, just acres of camo shorts, I'm wearing a pair now. That 8.88 price makes me feel like these shorts must be the moral equivalent of blood diamonds.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:01 AM on August 4, 2008


or working class and trying to save money

good for you. who knows how much of America's appalling credit card debt is due to necessities (health care, food, etc) and how much to non-that-necessary items. and by the way, speaking of T-shirts, Alexander McQueen's tees retail for 365 dollars, eBay has them 50% off though.
posted by matteo at 10:08 AM on August 4, 2008


I am generally an animal lover, but I hate pigeons and the people who feed them. I know it's irrational, but I hate them. I'm OK with rats, mice, spiders, bats, etc. I don't even kill bugs, but I admit when I see a splattered pigeon I don't feel much sorrow.

That said, I also hate the people who put spikes on their houses to keep pigeons away. We end up with a city full of deformed, disgusting pigeons with one gnarled stub of a foot. I wouldn't be surprised if they dripped blood on people from oozing sores on their feet.

As far as sneakers go, the cheaper and more fairly sourced, the better. Does anyone know what's up with No Sweat? They've stopped making their old shoes, but don't seem to be making new ones. Frowny face!
posted by mrgrimm at 11:09 AM on August 4, 2008


What's so great about the pigeon?

I initially thought of Pigeon Street but i doubt that's the reason it's being used.
posted by tnai at 11:47 AM on August 4, 2008


December Boy: YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME.

Not at all. Nike now commissions design towards keeping sneakers unworn - for instance the concept Cave developed by designer Dominic Wilcox. It's made out of (Subbuteo) people!

Oddly enough, this is not far from the sort of thing I write about for a living.

I thought hipsters wore Converse.
posted by WPW at 1:15 PM on August 4, 2008


Not at all. Nike now commissions design towards keeping sneakers unworn

I was more reacting to the idea that he kept them in some kind of temperature controlled "tank" to "maintain their luster" or whatever. Buying shoes that you never wear is goofy, but only a bit goofier than, say, buying action figures or whatever and never taking them out of the packaging so they'll stay in "mint condition". The "cryo tank" is too much to take, though. Before today, I would be sure that the seller made that part up, but after the levels of goofiness I've been exposed to in this thread, I'm not so sure.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:44 PM on August 4, 2008


I thought hipsters wore Converse.

Converse is the same as Nike (i.e. dubious working conditions), but you're right. This is not the "hipster" demographic (unless it shifted again while I was sleeping).
posted by mrgrimm at 1:54 PM on August 4, 2008


Converse:Nike::Saturn:General Motors
posted by drezdn at 2:13 PM on August 4, 2008


December Boy, I swee your point. I assumed that "cryo tank" parrt was an exaggeration on the part of the interviewee or the journalist, and meant "fridge" or "cool box".
posted by WPW at 2:26 PM on August 4, 2008


Swee? Swee? I see your point.
posted by WPW at 2:27 PM on August 4, 2008


Cryo tank? But of course. Who doesn't keep their sneakers in liquid nitrogen?
posted by Quietgal at 11:44 AM on August 5, 2008


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