A Decade of Style: Great Moments in Complex Culture, Fashion & Design Illustration by Haze

2003: What's Up, Cool Guy?

“In 2003, we founded The Hundreds as a response to the exclusive attitude of Streetwear at the time. Our mission was to open the window between Streetwear kids and Streetwear creators. no smoke and mirrors. The followers loved us for it. The leaders hated us. We didn’t really care, we figured if the people wanted it, it’d work.” — Bobby Hundreds, The Hundreds


PABST BLUE RIBBON
How one cheap domestic beer defined a cultural movement.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Circa 2003. From happy hour to last call, almost every bar within skateboarding distance of Bedford Avenue is serving Pabst Blue Ribbon faster than the beers can be chilled. It’s happening on the Lower East Side, too. And in Philly, and in Portland. San Francisco. Austin. Everywhere.

Pabst has been around for more than 150 years, but for some reason it became the go-to domestic lager for the cool kids. Why? Not because it tasted great.

It blew up because it was cheap and because the lack of marketing let you fill in the blanks other, more popular American brews never allowed for. You didn’t watch your dad drink a case of this during the game. Until recently, you didn’t see anyone drink Pabst at all. But then, for some reason, the brewing company saw unexpected sales growth in 2002. And by 2003, just as The Hipster Handbook was rolling off the presses, PBR was everywhere. The cans are colored like the American flag, and the words written on the aluminum rep Milwaukee, a long way from anything cool. And maybe that was it.

In a year when geeking out over a new Vans collab, a new mixtape, or skate video while slugging cheap beer was preferable to the pinky-up snobbery of craft breweries, Pabst signaled a movement. If the PBR resurgence wasn’t an ironic pose, it was at least a reactionary one. It was a moment when the consumer decided what was cool.

The brewery didn’t know what to do with this newfound popularity, but unlike a lot of other major companies, it didn’t fuck around with it, not really. It stood back and let all the young guys (and girls) work it out. Pabst kept its finger on the pulse by keeping its hands in its own pockets. Weird, right? But it worked. And everyone still drinks it. —Ross Scarano

BAPE x ADIDAS SUPERSTAR
A legend and an upstart make an iconic collaboration.

BAPE was never a shoe brand, but it was a brand that made shoes. Its brightly colored patent leather BAPE STA Air Force 1, uh, “tributes” had sneakerheads hunting for Japan connects while Nike focused on churning out countless white-on-whites. Meanwhile, BAPE’s camo prints and ape-head designs kept label head Nigo rolling in Bentleys and Lambos. When it came time to do a true collabo, the super-limited 2003 BAPE x adidas Originals Superstar 80s brought adidas to another level with the hypebeasts, and introduced BAPE to a whole new crowd of sneaker freaks.
—Russ Bengtson 

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