Favourite Fives: Kiya Babzani

If you’re a fellow denim geek then you’ll be more than aware of Self Edge, a holy trinity of stores based in New York, LA & San Francisco that specialise in vintage American style clothing made by the Japanese. Self Edge has a well earned reputation for being the ultimate place(s) in the world for quality denim, leather jackets, eyewear, and more. Though I’ve yet to make the trip you only have to look at the list of brands they stock or check out their Union Special chainstitching machine on their site to know that these guys are onto something pretty special. San Francisco based Self Edge co-founder Kiya Babzani is a passionate authority on vintage clothing, denim and yo-yos, so what better reason do we need to get a favourite five from the great man?


Vintage Clothing
Remember when music dictated the way you dress?  This started in the 1950’s with rockabilly and the merging of cultures in America.  The clothing produced in the 50’s can’t be beat, they were inventive and expressed what Americans were going through after the come-down of the war.  We now have the Japanese recreating (and to a sense, improving) the vintage styles of clothing from the 50’s and early 60’s.  It has come full circle and there is comfort in knowing there is nothing new, because its all vintage.
Andrew Weatherall
Nobody has an ear and better understanding of such a wide array of genres as the legendary Andrew Weatherall.  From his early work with Primal Scream to his Sabres of Paradise releases early on in the Warp days to his newer rockabilly mixes and Asphodells album with Tim Fairplay.  He has a body of work that encompasses an original sound from every musical style imaginable.  There is this idea that there is no such thing as musical genres and nobody has ever proved that better than Weatherall.
The Designers Republic
Ian Anderson was a huge influence on me and the way i treated both my businesses and creative output for a majority of my conscious life.  Anderson saw design in a way that nobody else did at the time; that design is part marketing, part image, and part pushing your clients to be scared of what you may deliver.  His ideas on consumerism and playing into (not against) the idea that capitalism was a good thing was against the grain, especially for a design agency that got it start doing record covers for obscure British labels (Warp) and acts (Pop Will Eat Itself) and ended with having clients such as Sony, Nike, and Coke.  There will never be another Designers Republic.
(Fast) Cars
I have never found anything in life that requires as much concentration as racing a car on a track.  There is a level of zen that i haven’t been able to achieve doing anything else, being in that state mixed with the idea that at any time you can make a mistake and die is an amazing feeling.  Cars are beautiful objects and can be works of art even at stand-still.  Being into cars at an early age normally means you’ll end up living in your garage wearing a full denim outfit (hello Jay Leno) by the time you’re 50, i’m looking forward to being that guy.
A toy so simple in design but extremely dynamic in nature.  I’ve spent the last fifteen years playing and collecting yoyos, going to contests around the world, and even started my own manufacturing company in 2004.  It came before nearly everything i’m into now in my life.  Putting the yoyo into words is difficult for me, pick one up.

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