Favourite Fives: Johnny Diamandis

Not only does our mate Johnny have quite possibly the coolest name in the business but he also makes some of the coolest bags around via his Brooklyn based label the J Panther Luggage Co. Originally from the UK but now living on the other side of the pond, check out his favourite five which like all the best lists involves a 76 year old lady, a wounded man, some Skinheads and the pain of heartbreak.

Item of clothing

Red Wing boots from 1993 

As a designer I’m always inspired by products that didn’t set themselves up to aim for a fashion crowd or specific demographic. They just did the very best product they possibly could and put it out there and the customer showed itself to them. I am trying to do that with JPLC, so was delighted to hear that a recent Ruc Tote customer was a stylish 76 year old lady from NYC. Red Wings to me epitomize this notion; I love the way they come in and out. I bought these in ’93. 

Book

American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis

An extremely clever parable and black comedy, and more relevant than ever given that Wall Street and The City have recently raped our economies. The analogy (or at least in my interpretation) speaks of the blindly selfish, black-hearted, narcissistic, vulgar behavior of certain individuals in society/commerce and what they are capable of as a result. It never encouraged me or any of my friends to decapitate our girlfriends and put their head on a stick. Quite the opposite. 

Music

The Specials – The Specials

I’ll never forget the first time I heard The Specials’ first album. I was around 13 and five skinheads (yeah I’m that old) were walking throughStevenagetown centre blasting out ‘Do The Dog’ on a boom box. I was fascinated and followed them just to listen. I later discovered it was The Specials; a band whose music and especially lyrics underlined better than anything the nature of growing up in crap towns in England in the ’80s whilst avoiding getting a kicking as best you could. 

Art

Wounded Man – Daniel John Gadd

I bought this piece at Daniel’s graduate show for a few hundred dollars. He is such a talent, a pure soul and still so young. The painting is I suppose autobiographical as it depicts the pain Daniel went through post addiction and trauma in his life. Ironically I bought this when I was going through a heavily painful break up and both the image and the title reflect completely how I felt and what I was going through at the time so I feel it is a shared self portrait kind of. 

Something else

My gum shield

Boxing has been a constant on-off passion and I have taken to the ring again recently to spar and train. There is no sport where you are so exposed; it’s so primal and addictive. The gum shield is an essential accessory if you are getting into the ring and there is a ritual to fitting and molding your own gum shield. Gloves and kit are essential of course but the gum shield in your mouth means you are going in the ring to hit and get hit, to fight. Whenever I see my gum shield it reminds me of the rawness of the sport and combat, and headaches when I didn’t do so well.  

 

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