It's A Circle Jerk: The Illuminati Remembers Four Pins

Let these smart people tell you why Four Pins was so fucking awesome

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Complex Original

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There is nothing better than a good ol' fashioned circle jerk. Things can get borderline unbearable anytime everyone in the room is talking about how great something is while you sit in the corner contemplating suicide. But can you imagine a more appropriate way to send Four Pins off into the sunset? We loved hearing the sound of our own voice and our own words more than any of you liked reading them anyway. There were some pretty famous and cool people that read and liked Four Pins. Hand to God, James Jebbia once emailed Lawrence way back in the day to say that he liked the site. That was before it became a meme-fest though. In the spirit of things, we contacted our favorite incredibly influential people in the fashion and writing world to eulogize us and serve as a reminder of just how much life is going to suck when we shut down for good, all while showering us with praise as we sink triumphantly like the band on the Titanic. This is the result. The Illuminati remembers Four Pins. Strap in, it's a long one. 

Brian Trunzo, Co-owner, Carson Street Clothiers: "Four Pins worked because it was ours. Beholden to no advertiser, sharing allegiance with no particular style or subsect, Four Pins remained democratic 'til the fat lady reared her face. Shit, the comments were almost as entertaining and insightful as the content itself. Not only that, it ushered in a brave new world of menswear blogging, both in terms of what menswear bloggers write about and the manner in which they write it. It represents a time when Instagram surpassed Tumblr. I mean, when #menswear flamed out, it was Four Pins that stood over the ashes, picked up some of the best, most uncharred pieces and carved out this new new lane…this new voice. Unapologetic and in-your-face by nature, Four Pins truly will be remembered as one of the best places to receive one’s menswear news until the end of time. Goodbye, old friend."

Jake Woolf, Style Writer, GQ and former Four Pins staffer: "I started writing for Four Pins in 2012 as a freelancer (you may remember hits such as like for example The 50 Greatest Supreme Products of All-Time), and in May 2013, I was offered a full-time position as an editorial assistant. It was my first full-time job, and at the time, I had yet to finish college, so from September-December 2013, I worked full-time while taking a few bullshitty classes at Parsons. Maybe the fact that Lawrence and Complex hired someone without a college degree says something about the general anything-goes attitude of the site, but to me it always signified that Four Pins is—or was *breaks down in tears while making Bright Eyes Spotify playlist*—a website that always took chances in the interest of keeping it real. A lot of people probably chalk the site up to just a few bros using swear words and Internet jargon to talk about fashion but having read pitches almost daily from kids trying to write for the site who think a few F-bombs would save their sub-par writing, I can say confidently it was more about illuminating some hidden, sometimes uncomfortable truth about the relationship between modern men and culture. That often meant saying some flagrant shit like that the current "it" brand of the moment was actually in fact trash, or that we all definitely spend way too much money on clothes in an effort to feel less lonely inside. While working at Four Pins, I got to write about a ton of things I love and meet a lot of amazing people who will be my friends forever. But that honesty is what I'm most proud of, and what I hope Four Pins will most be remembered for. P.S.—If you ever said some hater shit on a post I wrote, and I say this with all the love in the world: Go fuck yourself."

Lauren Sherman, New York Editor, The Business of Fashion: "Half the time, I have no idea what the posts on Four Pins mean. As in, I cannot comprehend them. Mostly because there are a lot of rap references that go over my head, but also because the writers have essentially created their own dialect. Anyway, I've still managed to gain knowledge from reading the site. The phrase "your alphet is so fire" was probably the best thing that happened to me in 2014. And I feel so much closer to the kids who stand in line outside of Supreme every Thursday because I now know why they’re standing there.

The internet – along with the fashion world, actually – is really into monobrands right now, so it makes sense that Complex thinks it’ll be easier to sell ads against fashion content that lives under its well-known moniker rather than working super hard to shill the more esoteric Four Pins. Also, the site did such a good job of capturing a specific moment in fashion—the pinnacle of #menswear—that I think maybe it’s better to let it float into the digital ether before things go completely downhill. Instead of being angry that this wonderful thing is disappearing, I’m just going to just be happy that I was around to enjoy it. You guys are great."

Shea Serrano, New York Times Best Selling Author and Four Pins contributor: "As I write this eulogy, I want you to know that I am wearing a pair of sweats. It's the same pair of sweats I've had on for three days. I also have on a dusty black t-shirt that used to be much blacker. I got it from a shoe store. It was part of a bundle. I paid $25 and I got four shirts. Four black shirts. Four of the same black shirts. For $25. I mention that to say this: I'm not a very stylish person. I never have been. There was a brief period of time where my clothes looked cool, but that was less cuz they were actually cool and more because I was very thin and had nice hair and so everything looks better when you are thin and have nice hair. And I say that to say this: There's no reason I should have ever been allowed to write for Four Pins, the best fashion website. But I was. I was because the people who ran it (Lawrence Schlossman, specifically) thought I would not be the worst at it.

So each week I'd write a column about whatever and then link to some rap music at the end. That was it. That was the whole thing. I remember when I first started I asked what I was supposed to write about. Lawrence said something close to, "Just do dope shit and if it ain't dope I'll tell you." That was our relationship. I'd never talked to him (or anyone else at the site, for that matter) before that moment, but it was of no concern. He just let me breathe and then paid me for it. I'll always be grateful to him and to Four Pins, the best fashion site, for that.

I'm sad that it's shutting down. It's sad for fashion but it's more sad for humans. Humans are dope. Four Pins is dope. Four Pins "was" dope. Dang."

Chris Black, Done To Death Projects: "Four Pins was a timely platform and sounding board for a specific kind of men’s fashion. Under the staunch leadership of its first and only EIC, recovering fraternity brother Lawrence Schlossman, and his not-so-secret Detroit-based weapon Jon Moy, it was a community for dudes that really, really love Kanye West. They wear sweatshirts with zippers on the sides, black jeans and ugly Adidas sneakers. The Complex Media empire knew they could capitalize off dorks on forums who talk about clothes instead of meeting girls and doing drugs, so they let Schlossman run wild. What they didn’t know is that Four Pins would become a sort of language. The Four Pins voice was very funny—think: ridiculous memes combined with completely over-the-top slang (RIP "alphet")—and always made for an interesting and entertaining read. The Twitter account was a force to be reckoned with and had a reach far beyond its target audience. Four Pins, you will be missed. Back to the forums, guys."

Sean Hotchkiss, Freelance Writer: "The birth of Four Pins was blessed with excellent timing. The blogs, Tumblrs, and Twitter handles that had powered #menswear for a few years (2008-2011) had slowed a bit, but menswear as a collective consciousness was crescendoing. Lawrence was the perfect guy to lead what essentially became the one-stop shop on the web for instantaneous hyper nerdery. He (and subsequently everyone who came on board afterwards) lived and breathed the lifestyle and never ever apologized for it. In fact, they berated you for NOT caring as much as they did. And thats why it worked so well. It wasn't forced and it was really, really funny.​"

Will Welch, Editor-In-Chief, GQ Style: "Fuck man R.I.P. I will miss "read once" especially​"

Mark-Anthony Green, Style Guy, GQ: "Four Pins was ok."

Chris Wallace, Senior Editor at Interview: "For fuck's sake. Can a style site live? Where's this herb gonna get his kultcha now? I mean, kudos to Complex for giving a bunch of style nerds spending money, and giving them a leash long enough to make something that, A) the great William Gibson quoted, B) the rest of us idiots wasted valuable work hours "reading," and, C) gave birth to the only meme there ever was. I worked with LAS about a billion years ago and I probably owe him money, so I'm obligated to say this, but, really, who else gave voice to the #menswear of it all once, let alone twice. Bravo Lawrence and all y'all Pinners."

Jon Caramanica, The New York Times: "Never read it  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯"

Robert Geller, Designer: "I, as everyone, feel great sadness about the end of Four Pins. They have been such great supporters over the past years that some commenters even wondered whether they were actually working for me. Well, they weren't, but Skylar and Jon are my all-time best friends and that's just what you do for your best friends. I will miss you guys and the smiles you put on my face while reading your posts.​"

Angelo Spagnolo, Four Pins contributor:  "I’ve said often, and I stand by the statement: Four Pins is the only non-corny menswear publication in the world. That is meant entirely to throw shade at every other group of no-taste cornballs working in our (sadly shrinking) industry. What Lawrence and co. did—bringing the self-aware, high taste, hilarious, insightful and progressive coverage that flourished in the tight knit world of #menswear to the a major media organization—is a testament to the strength of their vision, and to Complex’s role as arbiters of emerging culture. Four Pins wrote about killer, coveted brands you would never see in a mainstream menswear pub. Four Pins published writers you’d never heard of who are better than the tired scribes writing for crumbling print magazines. Four Pins covered the intersections of fashion and culture in ways the olds at legacy media never would have considered. Personally, Four Pins gave me my first consistent, paying writing job. They let me write weird ideas nobody else would have green lit. In no small way, Four Pins helped me move to New York and eventually sell out. I am eternally grateful and I am sad to see it end. Time to hit the bodega, grab a 40 of HG800 and pour one out for the boys."

Joe La Puma, Director Of Content Strategy, Complex: "During its time, every style site on the Internet wished they could write with the voice Four Pins did. My favorite piece of all time is this. I'm highly anticipating the 30 for 30 on the very public fallout of James Tirado and Lawrence Schlossman."

Foster Kamer, Executive Editor, Mental Floss, Former Editor, Complex: "Here lies Four Pins, finally fucking dead. Like anybody read this website in the first place. What's amazing is that nobody's actually sure how Four Pins managed to last this long to begin with. The first time I spoke to Lawrence Schlossman, I was snitching on him for a Tumblr. He now has a job at the online version of T.J. Maxx for #menswear so clearly he's fulfilled all the promise I knew he would.

Sadly, with Four Pins' demise, one thing that'll now apparently forever go unanswered is: Who the fuck really is Jon Moy? I know this: He was the beardo from Detroit whose general appearance can only really be characterized as #ColumbineCore who dropped by, stood at various desks for a day, and left. Then we didn't see him again for six months. Say what you will about Moy, but he never took a full time job at the site, which makes him the genius of the bunch. Congrats.

Poor Skylar. Jesus christ. I'll never forget the day he walked into the office and I learned that he showed up from an actual workplace, Fast Company. Here's a guy who went from writing about the meditation secrets of Fortune 500 CEOs to picking up after Schlossman and Talmudic-level studies of dropcrotch pants. Hopefully when he ascends to the Great Pitti Uomo Wall In The Sky he'll never have to see any of you shitbags ever again.

And shout out to Jake Woolf. Don't think because you're at Jawnde Nast doesn't mean we don't still have the pictures of you fitting that entire loom of Kaiahara denim in the mouf. 

But guys, I wouldn't worry—know that the death of Four Pins is brought to you by the same company that brought you Sugarstring, shut down Triangle Offense, continues to employ James Harris, puts Kid Cudi on the cover of the magazine every time he has a bowel movement, and recently made a documentary that's Fahrenheit 9/11 for assholes who wait in line to buy Supreme. Anyway: Here's to Four Pins, a website that once was. You were a weird noble beast and you leave this earthly internet as you came into it: on a wave of fire content, burning bright like the phoenix of fire alphet bullshit whatever that you are. Bye."

Matt Breen, Co-owner of Carson Street Clothiers: "Good riddance. Four Pins has been nothing but a source of depression lingering in my otherwise awesome fucking life. A couple examples to illustrate: The only reason I ever appeared on the famed Street Style posts was because I always happen to be walking next to Trunzo's pretty boy ass. The result of this circumstance you ask? Even though the comments have been lost to the ether since the new site was introduced (Editor's Note: you can view the old site with comments here)—I now know the following: A) I am the most swagless person at Carson Street (June 2015), B) I am 25 pounds overweight (July 2014), C) I am an abortion (January 2014) and D)—my personal favorite—I suck, I'm fat, and I should kill myself (Jan 2015). On a slightly more serious note, Four Pins was the first and only menswear blog I've ever read (or will read) on a daily basis, mostly because friends worked there (I love you Moy). Its irreverence in this industry we call our own will be missed. Love you guys!"

Trey Kerby, Host, The Starters on NBA TV:  "Every summer, once it's warm enough to start meshing out your fits, I like to text all my bros, "It's Jersey Season." Just as a reminder that it's OK to wear (mostly basketball) jerseys now, and also to kind of hint at the fact that they need to step their jersey games up and to not be afraid to wear a jersey out in public as long as it looks chill. But this advice often falls on deaf ears, leaving just a select few of us to bravely wear jerseys in ways people usually wouldn't wear jerseys.

Jon Moy loved a jersey, Skylar Bergl did too. And really, I'd say Four Pins was a generally jersey-positive environment, all things considered. Whether it be some sort of stylish jawn or an actually dope vintage Champion replica you found in an old bin that your mom saved, you could generally count on the Four Pins jersey co-sign. So shoutout to Four Pins and shoutout to jerseys. It's cold now but Jersey Season is on the way. "

Josh Peskowitz, Co-founder, Magasin: "Much love to Four Pins. I’ve known Lawrence for a few years and had the good fortune to work with him for a couple of those. He helped put together a smart, sometimes funny (but not that funny) website that talked to young men’s varied interests and how they manifested in this community. It was one of the most general, yet granular websites to explore men’s style and fashion and I checked it out frequently. It will be missed, but not forgotten. It’s a feeling I know well from my days at I’m sure everyone will go on to great success."

Nick Grant, Complex and Four Pins contributor: "Damn, man. I can't believe you're really gone. It seems like just yesterday I was pontificating about being a token black in a predominately white industry, then you helped revolutionize the re-appropriation of black slang. Now everyone is black. You introduced the world to the national treasure that is Jon Moy and his extremely rare and obscure jawnz fetish. God bless him. Can anyone tell us what Lawrence did? Nope. And that's what was so great about him. He made Skylar do all the work while he basked in the glory. And there were the commenters. Fuck all y'all."

John Elliott, Designer: "We love Four Pins, and are sad to see them go. The ironic thing about Four Pins snarky fucking sarcastic voice is that you knew what you were going to get and it made learning about and following menswear more approachable and entertaining. The fact that the writing was interesting and hilarious made it really enjoyable for most guys to follow what was happening on any given day. Four Pins and their extended community have been incredible to us and we’re sorry to see them pass."

Mimi Fukuyoshi, Former VP, Director Of Men's Sportswear and Shoes, Bergdorf Goodman: "Four Pins was very much a product of its time. It felt that menswear had finally been validated with its own site, a confluence of the best in obscure Japanese streetwear, street style shots of our favorite menswear editors, hip hop news and the latest sneaker drops. But inevitably, what was once subculture reached its peak and what might have seemed revolutionary, started to feel tiresome. Oh - another drop crotch sweatpant? I see. The time has come for change. I don't work in menswear anymore. Eugene Tong isn't @detailseugene. Pesko is spending time on the West Coast on his own store. And Lawrence moved on to Grailed. I for one am looking forward to seeing the next evolution of menswear and all of its players. R.I.P. Four Pins.​"

Bethlehem Shoals, Four Pins contributor: " Last week, I was walking back from lunch with two work friends talking about Norse Projects and someone made a joke. I don't remember what it was, or if any of us even laughed, but even in defeat, this was a total Four Pins moment. We'd gone from earnestly discussing pieces and fit to taking the piss out of the whole idea of fashion. As snarky and twisted as it could get, Four Pins didn't break the men's style blog mold, it created a new one. This was talking about clothes as life, not lifestyle. This was what it felt to look in the mirror in the morning and feel pure swagger coursing through your veins, not just view an outfit as an accomplishment. This was also embracing that time you bought that thing and put it on once and realized you'd made a terrible mistake. Well, Four Pins had your back. This place wasn't about clothes, it wasn't about you, it wasn't even about the intersection of the two. It was an invitation to ask yourself "if I'm not dressing strictly for the hell of it, then what am I doing with my life?" and really believe it."

James Harris, Senior Editor of Content Strategy, Former Fashion Bro, Complex:  "Fortune was founded by Time co-founder Henry Luce in 1929 as "the Ideal Super-Class Magazine," a "distinguished and de luxe" publication vividly portraying, interpreting and recording the Industrial Civilization." The news that Fortune is shuttering its doors adds uncertainty to an already shaky landscape, and editor Alan Murray moving onto a digital consignment shop rocked the business world. With Fortune closing down, how will investors know what 500 companies are raking in $17.4 trillion? How will we understand why it's getting harder to return gifts at Sears and Costco?

The questions go on, but one thing is for certain: Fortune has left its indelible mark on the world of premium goods and services that its readers simply can't afford, and it will surely be missed until three months from now when we forget it existed, only to be reminded when Complex does 10 Business Sites That Should Be Brought Back, with Fortune landing at a solid #7."

Editor's Note: This is James's attempt at a joke. 

Noah Johnson, Narc Dad and Founding editor, Four Pins: "We launched Four Pins to be an "upscale men's style" site because that seemed like the wave at the time. Turns out the wave was and still is really just memes, alphets, and roasts. It may have only lasted four years, but the debilitating impact the site has had on the poor, simple minds of the jawn-hungry youth will last forever. I apologize for my involvement in that. R.I.P. Pins, bruh."

Jian DeLeon, Freelance writer: "Noah Johnson, the guy who was crazy enough to hire me at Complex in the first place, was the one tasked with creating an upscale menswear site that skewed towards a luxury customer. I think the initial vision was something that blended Hodinkee, Monocle, and that hoity-toity old-money side of menswear that perpetuated a stuffy white hegemony in the world of sartorial fineries. So of course, we ended up hiring a white dude to run things. Lawrence worked at Park & Bond (R.I.P.) at the time and came to the office to interview with Noah Callahan-Bever in a tan double breasted sportcoat, a spread collar oxford shirt of his own making, I'm pretty sure a pair of white jeans, and brown double-monk straps with the back strap left undone. I think he thought it was sprezzatura. He got the job, and less than a month later Nick Schonberger tasked one of the Four Pins interns with making a list of the best menswear Air Jordans. Four Pins had interns!

A year later, I think my favorite thing I ever wrote for the site was when we discovered Virgil Abloh's Pyrex Vision line had used RL Rugby Flannels and screenprinted them for the collection at an insane mark-up. As someone who's interviewed Virgil several times since, it's interesting to see how that's been retconned into an experimental art project. If a guy can go from blogging about eating at the Polo restaurant to selling screenprinted Rugby flannels at an insane price to being a world-class LVMH-nominated fashion designer, anything's possible right? And really—that's the special thing about Four Pins. It was supposed to be this super high-end site that asserted its own identity from the jump. Hérmes belts? Fox umbrellas? Pick-stitched suits? Nah. We're gonna talk about jackets from obscure Japanese brands and post lookbook photos with the most esoteric headlines."

Glenn O'Brien, Former Style Guy GQ, Editor-at-Large, MaximGeneral Fucking Legend: "Four Pins has been kind of a guilty pleasure for me and has helped me keep up with things that otherwise might have escaped me because I am trying to finish writing a book and finish reading about four. All I can say is good run and thanks for aiding and abetting a good rant. Now I’m going to have to ask my 15-year-old son who made that shirt."

Rachel Seville, Four Pins Contributor: Most Four-Pins readers have met a woman, maybe, I think. They’ve certainly seen one—probably—even if they haven’t shaken hands with or even spoken to one. This could easily have made a woman's role here that of a high priestess of mediocre sexpot authority. But I was never asked to be like, a representative of the great unknown, dispensing The Gospel to a mentally swagless mass of stuffed sweatshirts. Four-Pins was a rare corner of the internet that reveled in a singular point of view. It can be very exciting to be compensated for your madness.​

Ronnie Fieg, Designer and Founder, KITH: "Famgods, it’s been a ride. I first and foremost want to thank you for your support over the past four years. Your unique brand of insightful fuckery will be something dearly missed from the blogosphere. There are few sites today that are entirely dedicated to menswear, and even fewer that can poke fun at themselves in the process. One of my personal favorite things about Four Pins was the lack of official titles for the articles, such as calling Kith’s last summer collection “Designed for Aspiring Kingpins” (LOL). I don’t enjoy checking most of the blogs today because they are so repetitive with overly-regurgitated info. However, Four Pins always spun it their own way, which consistently kept them at the top of my reading list. Lawrence, I know you’ve moved on, but I wish you nothing but the best. Skylar, your bars were always appreciated. Over the past year, Four Pins held the most exclusives for Kith releases over any other website, and that was no mistake. To my entire Four Pins family, you will be missed. Stay up and stay dressed in fire fits."

Moksha August, your least favorite Four Pins writer: "I could talk about Jon Moy's seemingly endless compendium of latently relatable high school anecdotes. I could talk about the groundbreaking discovery of Woolf’s Law—“as a Jake Woolf article grows longer, the probability of comparison involving Kanye West approaching increases." I could talk about the absolute freedom Lawrence gave writers and the subsequent effect that had on the approachability of content. But none of that shit really matters. Ultimately, we loved Four Pins because Four Pins didn’t give a fuck. It got memes off. It published a jorts manifesto. It acknowledged the ridiculousness of it all; spending thousands of real-life, actual dollars on organic Japanese ponchos. Four Pins is dead. Long live Four Pins."

Matthew Lynch, Deputy Editor, Vanity Fair: "This was in Q2 2012 some time, I think, back when Four Pins was just a gleam in the eye of some poor 24-year-old accountant's projected Complex Media P&L sheet. Noah Johnson and I were at some craft brew spot in on North 7th, the only virtue of which was a backyard, when he mentioned that Complex was hatching a site to catch all the bros then in the midst of chucking their double monks for Roshe Runs (Editor's Note: *vomiting*). Cool, I remember thinking, not knowing the thing would turn out to be the Mizzle skits from Purple Haze, but about dudes' clothes and stretched out for almost one whole half of the Obama administration. I can say that with love cause the men's fashion venture I happened to be working at at the time spent even less time on this cold earth.

So what did we get? Noah's Realtree Crocs went into the Narc Dad Hall of Fame on the first ballot. The homegirl Pizza got talent scouted. Lawrence definitely wrecked the early action applications of three to six Westchester County teens who insisted on writing their entry essays in A.A.V.E. The M magazine Twitter got off a pretty good subtweet of Moy once, but I can't find it right now. On a personal note, I got my current LinkedIn profile pic out of the deal when one of your street style shooters caught me skier's right of my man Alex Badia walking into a Michael Bastian show. Net positive on the whole, I'd say. Seriously though, it's a rare trick for any of us content cowboys and cowgirls to rustle up anything so strange and singular as Four Pins out here on the digital media range. So salute, you dummies."

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