Some of our favorite people in the fashion/media industry started it, so let us finish it. Four Pins was very much a time and place, appealing to a very specific and surprisingly loyal group of people (nerds) who loved clothing and talking about it in their own way. So let us say goodbye to this creation that borders on more of a Frankenstein monster than anything else. Take one last trip with us down memory lane.
"Man, Four Pins, like Linguo, is dead.
Do you guys ever think about just how fucking weird it is that Four Pins existed at all? I joined the team after the site had been launched so I’m not sure what Noah J, and NCB and all the higher ups at Complex had in mind for the site, but I can’t believe in their wildest imaginations it would become what it did. But thank god it did.
I still can’t believe that I get invited to fashion week because I wrote about pretending to be best friends with designers and professing a love for bucket hats and gray sneakers. It still feels like I got let in through the side door. The fact that we’ve all carved spaces for ourselves out of the menswear industry using Four Pins as a platform is fucking insane the more you think about it. When I first met Lawrence he was living in North Carolina working at a job that was decidedly outside of the fashion world. Jake was like in 7th grade when he started writing for us. Skylar came from Fast Company, where he wrote about…quick corporations? What I’m trying to say is that other than a few bylines here and there and a book that annoyed every Urban Outfitters floor manager in the country by taking up sales space forever, none of us were industry insiders. We were just nerds. That really wasn’t that long ago. Now we’re nerds that made a website that a fair amount of other nerds read and sometimes liked but mostly mocked. People always ask me why I’m always smiling in photos and honestly, it’s because covering menswear for Four Pins was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in my life.
YOU GUYS, I MET ROBERT FUCKING GELLER BECAUSE OF FOUR PINS.
And I owe it all to Lawrence.
Thankfully after he got the editor position he realized he didn’t really want to write a bunch of posts about pants and let me have a job.
To me, Four Pins has always been really personal. Whenever the site got press, whenever someone told me they read the site, I was always genuinely surprised. It just always felt like Four Pins was this lost, uncharted island on the internet that we governed ourselves, Lord of the Flies style. And it wasn’t until the rest of the internet discovered us, and we felt their gaze surveying the wreckage of the comments section and the abomination we call a timeline from circling helicopters and rescue boats, that we all realized just how savage we’d become. I can’t tell you the number of emails I’ve gotten from bemused PR reps relaying the fact that their clients couldn’t tell whether we liked them or were making fun of them.
One of the best things about Four Pins was that it really felt like all the regular contributors had a rapport with the readers. Even if that rapport was incredibly antagonistic, it was still a rapport. I’ll never forget the first time one of you guys called Jake “Teen Woolf” in the comments section.
I’ll probably never have as free and untethered a writing experience as I had with Four Pins. Lawrence really gave me free reign and I can only think of a handful of times he completely Mutomboed something I’d written. And every time I realized after reading his “Nah this is trash lmao what were you thinking? Stop wearing those struggle prefontaines too” emails, that he was right.
Shout out to emails from Jake calling me on using “obfuscate” and “recalcitrant” way too much in posts. Shout out to Skylar for kind of defending my taste in sneakers when LAS would roast me in front of everyone in the office. Shout out to Lawrence and NCB for not firing me.
Since Four Pins is dead and this is its funeral you guys have to indulge me in some posthumous coke dreaming. Over the past four years I really do think we created a unique voice and point of view here that, for better or worse, had a strong impact on the industry. The Four Pins voice definitely lightened the mood in menswear. Nobody was really cracking jokes in their sales copy before Four Pins. The general discourse of menswear changed. Or at least its tone shifted. Maybe for the worse but it fucking changed. Yeah, I’m saying it. Four Pins had some real actual IRL influence.
I mean Ders from Workaholics retweeted us. Sean Avery retweeted a link to a story that was titled “Sean Avery is a Dickhead”. Our Shinola beef has been covered on The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, The New York Times and quite frankly I don’t want to hear about it ever again. Gary Warnett said we were cool. Didn’t Lorde follow Lawrence on twitter once?
Fuck it, I’m proud of Four Pins. I think it’s great we had a readership that was just as interested in reading about a fanfiction account of visiting Kanye’s apartment as an essay about depression. I think it’s great I got to write for a site and an editor that let me write about a road trip from 2005 to describe a trench coat. And I think it’s great that some of you liked what you read.
I’ll be honest and say that Four Pins was the platform that gave me the confidence to try and write for a living. I’m going to miss it. But I’m glad for opportunity and for the fact that however fleeting or however small, we made something cool for people that see the humor in taking anything as seriously as we take alphets. I’m glad I got to work with an old friend and make two great friends along the way.
I’m not even sure what the future holds for my byline, let alone the future of menswear. But I’m not pessimistic. Four Pins proved that as long as you approach this shit with a sense of humor and self-awareness you’ll be able to stick around for about four years. And four years is way better than no years.
So pour out some wi-fi for Four Pins and take solace in the fact that we will haunt your timeline for eternity and that you can always dip into the archives for some Four Pins deepcuts.
Whether you loved or hated us, thank you for reading.
Fuck, now I gotta change my twitter bio.
Ps. Four years of this shit and I can’t even get verified. They never let me have a @four-pins.com email address either."
"Well, it’s about that time. Four Pins is finally drawing to a close. It was a longer ride than I think any of us expected it to be and it was a moment in time we won’t soon forget. Not to get sentimental on your asses, but Four Pins was my foot-in-the-door to the fashion industry, which I wanted to be a part of since I "discovered" fashion in 2010. I met Lawrence for the first time at his book signing for Fuck Yeah! Menswear at a bookstore in Brooklyn in October 2012. I paid my $20 for it, had the schmuck sign the fucking thing all while I was surrounded by guys who I thought were #menswear legends.
Over the next couple of years I met more and more of them and eventually Lawrence offered me a job at the Pins. For about a year and a half we chilled on the internet, cracked jokes and occasionally wrote about fire menswear, roasting all sorts of ridiculous shit along the way. The operation was completely ramshackle and unplanned. It was three dudes, two of whom actually wrote on a regular basis and, for some reason, people read it. We were supposed to plan out big stories a month in advance but that never actually happened. That may be why Four Pins is shutting its doors but we'll pass over that for now.
While our organizational skills were never A1, the site was still dope and something I’m proud to have been a part of. Take a look at all the shit we published. Some of it is actually impressive. It was almost always funny and occasionally smart. Sometimes we even left the comfort of our keyboards or picked up the phone to do an interview like journalists or something. We had a stable of writers that were fucking amazing and some of them aren’t even “writers.”
People point to the voice of Four Pins as its defining characteristic. While the brand would be nowhere without it, I tend to think of another element that set the Pins apart: everything ever posted was something that could be made fun of, something we actually fucked with or something we thought was worth a look. There was barely any filler. If you read a product post by Moy, you could guarantee he really liked what he was writing about, for whatever random reason. If we pointed out an interview or weird news story, it was because we figured you would want to know about it. If the commenters hated it, all the better—on the first story I ever wrote for Four Pins, someone Googled my name, found a photo of me and called me “the face of gentrification.” I will never forget it.
Complex wanted us to do all sorts of bigger, broader shit with Four Pins. But at the end of the day, we were pretty much just interested in the jawns. So in a way, we died because we stayed true to our hearts. That’s all we could hope for really."
"Some time between four and five years ago (my memory is dog shit), I sat down with Noah Johnson—then an editor at Complex and now the artist affectionately known as Narc Dad—for some coffee outside of Madison Square Park, right around the corner from the old Flatiron Complex offices. Noah had been tasked with launching a new and yet unnamed owned and operated men’s fashion and lifestyle site and was looking for its eventual editor-in-chief. Apparently a buddy of mine had actually already accepted the position, but ended up reneging due to whatever reason, so Noah was back at square one. My name had been floated by whoever so there I was, listing off my bonafides.
Despite having written a book that nobody bought (though my grandma would say that is an accomplishment in and of itself), being deep in the menswear blogging game for a minute by that point and faking my way through various entry level fashion gigs, I remember leaving that initial meeting thinking I could absolutely get the job, but much less clear on if I could actually do it. I remember lamenting to my girlfriend about my lack of confidence and how much harder it would be to launch a real, actual fucking website than just hitting reblog all day. Either way, some blind sense of belief in myself spurred me forward and I signed on the dotted line.
Those first strategy meetings with Noah, NCB (Complex’s EIC) and Rich Antoniello (Complex’s CEO) paint a much different picture than the Four Pins that ended up drone striking the web almost immediately. The plan was to create a high-end, journalistic, almost magazine-like site that treated men’s fashion with the utmost respect it deserved. Rich kept talking about profiling Alexander Wang. Like, A LOT. Either Rich loved Wang or he was the only fashion designer he was aware of. Like any good new employee I yes man’d my way through it, all the while foolishly thinking I could curb my own unstoppable fuckery and do something professional for the first time in my entire life.
It wasn’t long before I sat down at my desk to start backlogging launch content that I realized I was gonna have no choice but to blow our plans up before they even started. I mean, that’s really all I have ever been able to do, just be myself: the outsider who loves this shit more than any healthy person should. And it was that voice, that enthusiastic healthy distrust, that has always served as patient zero and guided Four Pins since before the URL was even live. For me the question has always been, "What do we really talk about when we talk about menswear?"
At our best I like to think we were the most honest, most entertaining, most hated and most underrated in the game. If you hold a gun to my head, I will go down believing without a fucking doubt we were the funniest. I got to work with and, more importantly, pay all my friends and favorite writers to do the kind of stuff nobody else in their right mind would ever even consider publishing. Nobody felt like extending invitations our way so we formed our own club that welcomed with open arms every single kid who read the site religiously or just once. We would never be caught dead rocking FUBU, but “for us by us” might as well have been the motto.
From the ridiculous, esoteric headlines (of which I have too many favorites to even think about highlighting here) to the clinically insane op-eds that nobody but the name in the byline agreed with and dope products no living human could afford, no one could hang with us because, sure, we were crazy, but we knew we were. Self-awareness, taste and integrity were our currency and we had more riches than we knew what to do with even if at times we were cash poor in readership, advertisers or whatever other totally valid metric you use to represent any rational measure of success.
While the name "Four Pins" comes from some French saying that nobody gives a shit about, its desired intention was to denote some semblance of being wholly put together. Think our own English equivalent of “dressed to the nines,” or speaking in 2016 terms, “fitted af.” Despite that, we always played fast and loose, the beauty of anything we did coming out of some sort of batshit ramshackle chaos. Regardless of how many memes went viral, Four Pins always felt like the best inside joke amongst friends. To this day, our peak roster was just three dudes, subbing in our all-star freelancers when we could.
As you can imagine, reflecting on our legacy is an especially tough undertaking for me personally. Since the beginning I’ve never been able to separate Four Pins from myself or myself from Four Pins, for better or for worse, though many who know me would probably side with the latter. On days like today I find myself reaching for a phantom limb that while no longer there, feels like it’s never going to go away. And maybe that’s for the best. I’m not sure I want to forget what we did here whether or not anyone else agreed with it. I guess my mood can be best described as overwrought with pride, if that makes any sense. Like almost everything Four Pins, the instructions are simple: Please laugh through the tears accordingly.
Four Pins’ inevitable shutdown coupled with a few other menswear publications closing and layoffs across the board have some speculating on what it all means for the future of the industry. I don't have the answers. And while I could pretend that I do, then you’d have to pay me my hourly rate. All I know is that our special little corner of the Internet will be missed.
As long as there are dudes wearing clothes on the Internet, the spirit of Four Pins will never die. May the fire jawnz stay forever lit. Goodnight, sweet prince. See you on the timeline."