Style and Music Meet on Sixth Street (and Everywhere Else) at SXSW
A look back on their many intersections in Austin.
Record labels and booking agencies (and who could possibly forget Doritos) weren’t the only brands throwing parties this past week at SXSW in Austin. In fact, as is increasingly the case, a slew of style institutions dug in during the Music portion of the festival. Converse (already a sponsorship presence at showcases curated by both the Fader, Filter, and Thrasher) set up a satellite version of their community-minded Rubber Tracks studio in Brooklyn. Just as bands passing that borough have been encouraged to use the state-of-the-art recording space to cut records of their own, Texas artists were urged to apply for a chance to record at Rubber Tracks’ pop-up setup in Big Orange and Shine Studios, which also served as a home for interviews and performances to be found soon on the sneaker standard-bearers social media channels.
Elsewhere, Vans and Nice Kicks carved out a sharp pop-up shop right in the thick of Sixth Street mayhem. Over the course of the festival’s five days, sneaker nerds and music nerds alike could snag pairs of special edition, band-specific shoes (we were partial to the all-black Slayers) while also browsing a formidable selection of both new and used vinyl, much of which was always playing. And, in addition to the Californian and Texan flags, one of the shop’s walls was adorned with a skate deck doubling as the cover art for Black Flag’s My War. So not just a righteous marriage between two states and states of mind, but a home for geeks, as well.
Such was also the case at Ray-Ban and Guess’ SXSW spaces. While the latter held court at an exclusive, fanny pack-friendly pool party (in collaboration with the cultural braintrust over at Nylon) at the W Hotel, frequented by both bands and DJs alike (see: Waters, Wallpaper!), Ray-Ban moved into a cozy spot on Rainey Street where they featured a well-timed retrospective on their classic, but constantly-evolving eyewear, while also paying homage to that which (ostensibly) brought us all together by tiling their ceiling with smartly chosen LP sleeves.
But if denim is your obsession, there was even more to be found at Nudie’s pop-up shop amid the dust and distortion at Cheer Up Charlie’s on the East Side, where choice organic tees and jeans were on display (and on sale) alongside the Lynchian explosions of Dirty Beaches and hypercolor, sweat-spackled pop ephemera of Baltimore party-starter Dan Deacon. Nearly everywhere you turned in Austin, there were reminders of fashion and music’s many intersections.