My book, Sheer Drift, is out
Buy it from Shining Life Press
I started this newsletter eight years ago as a way to write about vintage in a way that I didn’t see when I was selling vintage clothing a few years before. And today the book that collects all of this writing, SHEER DRIFT: The Snake America Newsletters (1-100), is available for sale from Shining Life Press.
Sheer Drift collects my first 100 newsletters, written between 2014 and 2018, with a foreword by Joe Pera, who is touring this year, and a new essay/intro from me. The Shining Life webstore link for my book:
And a flip-through video of what it looks like inside. The book is perfect bound, 8.5x11”, 460pp, full color, and has 400+ images.
About the book: Recent newsletter subscribers may be surprised to know I have been doing this a long time. I originally conceived Snake in 2014 as a way of writing about vintage in a way no one stateside did when I was selling the stuff a few years beforehand at flea markets:
Photo of author above pulled from 2011 baseball opening day edition of NY Daily News.
And so SD is a collection of writing different from newsletters I have published this year — they are longer, more literary, maybe more deranged, more emotional, shaggy. Officially, SHEER DRIFT: The Snake America Newsletters (1-100) is a body of work about valuable or rare things: Around 400 eBay auctions for vintage clothes, furniture and similar I found, researched and reported on, from a different time, though not that different. The vintage info is based off my own extensive collection of reference materials and samples, as well as interviews with fellow sellers, archivists and collectors, and, mostly, research.
Thanks to its design, described below, much of the book can serve as reference material: Photos, details and provenance regarding a wide variety of sportswear and American men’s vintage produced between the 1930s and ‘80s:
About the design: Sheer Drift was laid out, originally, to open as a double bound book—hard to explain, like crab claws, or a W—with one margin for footnotes and the other for endnotes. Every website linked in the original newsletter is reproduced as a screen capture. The layout was conceived by the artist Nathaniel Matthews as part of a design agreement with R&M Corp., and revises the original shaggy, web-research black hole experience into a visual document. Nat says it was intended to recreate the experience of reading my newsletters and to equalize the footnotes and hyperlinks found in the original emails with the writing itself, and show how those aspects develop over the life of the newsletter more clearly. Even if the writing sucked ass this would be a good book.
As a body of work, SD is a narrative about vintage as a product category, a substratum of the clothing market that is half black economy, half black hole; a place without logic or sense. It is the edge of the market. Maybe the future, maybe the bottom. (Some of these ideas are hinted at by my newsletters this year: No one, still, is properly pricing these items.) Taken together, the collection of items in Sheer Drift—some valuable, some properly valued, some not—show the seams in how people approach clothing, both the professionals who work in fashion, and the people who no longer want what they have; both clothing new and old. There are no rules, and no one knows what they’re doing. This is why I gravitated to old clothes, and why I still sometimes do. I think the letters showed this, and I know the book does.
Again, you can buy it here:
Thank you from the author:
For reading. Eternal thank yous to John and Zack at Shining Life, and Nat and Joe.
Auctions, my work and the like return next week.