With temperatures plummeting and our Snow Shop open for business, we can think of no better way to set the stage for ski season than to gaze upon the stunning, strange, retro-futuristic glory of perhaps our favorite piece of Nordstrom memorabilia of all time. Behold, WinterSki ’77-’78: Saga of Light.
Continue reading for more skis in space, naked people modeling eyewear, and cryptic quotations. (Sample: “We drifted, transported through the essence, nearly weightless.” Huh? Long live the late ’70s.)
Huge congratulations to our friend and one of our favorite designers, Todd Snyder, on scoring a cool feature in the New York Times’ Style section, below, as well as opening a brick-and-mortar pop-up shop, City Gym, in New York’s Nolita neighborhood.
As the name would suggest, City Gym centers around the Iowa-born designer’s Todd Snyder + Champion collection, a tough yet tailored take on archival pieces from the 94-year-old American athletic brand. You can also pick up some Snyder-approved accessories—like medicine balls by Leather Head, bike pumps from Kaufmann Mercantile, and a midcentury-modern Stephen Kenn couch made of Army blankets. As Snyder states in the article, “It’s not just about me and my brand, it’s about my filter and how I view things.”
Snyder’s accolades are adding up, with a recent full-page GQ spread devoted to the Champion collab under his belt as well. Check out a few shots from that article below, then shop our Editor’s Picks from the collection.
You might remember Gorgui Dieng from a previous post—in which we helped the 6-foot-11 Senegalese center get suited up for the biggest night of his life: the NBA Draft. Now that he’s in the league, he’s busier than ever, both on and off the court—and needs to look the part.
Luckily, Nordstrom Men’s Shop and brands like Hart Schaffner Marx make owning perfect-fitting suits easy—even if you’re not exactly an off-the-rack size. The key is our Made-to-Measure Suits program, which allows you not only to personalize your fit, but also to decide every detail, from rare fabrics and custom linings to adding grippers to the pants that keep your shirt tucked in. Starting at $795, custom suits are within reach for every man—whether you do your best work at a desk or in the paint.
The photos below document our latest fitting with Mr. Dieng—who carved out time to visit our store at Mall of America between rigorous pre-season practices with the Minnesota Timberwolves—as well as a trip to visit Hart Schaffner Marx in Chicago, where they’ve been making suits for over 100 years.
For a deeper look at Gorgui Dieng’s inspiring origins in Senegal, Africa, check out the remarkable photo essay below. Shot by NYC photographer Alessandro Simonetti for innovative sports publication Victory Journal, the imagery documents life at Senegal’s SEED Project, “a non-profit that uses basketball and education as tools to develop responsible and thoughtful leaders committed to the betterment of themselves, their communities and their continent.” Dieng attended SEED (having not picked up a basketball until his teens)—and parlayed lessons learned there into an NCAA Championship, an NBA career, and a chance to encourage new generations of kids in his home country to dream big. Visit www.seedproject.org to learn more and get involved.
Broncos versus Colts. Bengals versus Lions. Patriots versus Jets. You versus your girlfriend for control of the nacho plate.
Are you ready for a weekend filled with intense match-ups? Get your snack strategy locked down with Bon Appetit magazine’s Five Keys to Nacho Nirvana, and launch a dual-pronged attack of team spirit and coziness with one of the Mitchell & Ness NFL hoodies pictured above.
And now for a moment of hometown pride: Aka bragging. Our local-hero Seattle Seahawks beat Arizona last night through feats of sheer strength and zen-like focus. Although it aired on a non-basic station, those of us cutting back on cable bills were still able to enjoy the game via animated GIFs, posted in real time on killer sports site the Bleacher Report.
Click below to see the best ones—and watch an impressive trick throw by Seattle QB Russell Wilson in the short video above.
Style Profiles. In honor of our twice-a-year Men’s Shop Catalog dropping this month, we decided to profile 6 real men of style and substance. Here, Big-Apple BMX rider Nigel Sylvester.
Growing up in Jamaica, Queens—where dirt tracks are a rare sight, to say the least—a young Nigel Sylvester says few people supported his obsession with BMX bike riding. He doesn’t mind though, insisting it just gave him a thicker skin for criticism.
After getting his start pulling daredevil burnouts on Big Wheels, Sylvester soon graduated to two wheels—helped pioneer and popularize a unique East-Coast, in-city, free-form riding style that grinds on NYC concrete rather than launching off So-Cal clay—and despite (or perhaps because of) his alternative approach, has risen to the forefront of his sport.
We caught up with Sylvester to find out what every man can learn from a BMX master—like how to fail with dignity, sweat the small stuff, and follow your gut at all costs.
STICK WITH IT. “With BMX riding, you want to be the first one in your neighborhood, or even in the world, to land a trick. You’re going to fall down. It’s all about getting back up. I feel like those setbacks just help build character. If you’re determined enough, you’re going to get back up and do it again.”
LEARN NEW TRICKS. “I’m competitive by nature, mostly with myself. I always want to outdo myself and be better than yesterday. So I’m always looking at, how do I progress? How do I learn new tricks—on and off my bike? Be a better brother, better son, better person in general.”
KEEP IT PROFESSIONAL. “Being a pro BMX rider means that you ride on a professional level. You’re doing tricks on a professional level. And you conduct yourself in a professional manner off your bicycle, as well.”
VISUALIZE SUCCESS. “Bike riding, for me, is very mental. I like to think about what I’m doing, envision what I do before I do it. I want to make sure it looks good. Presentation is so important. The details are what separate the good from the great.”
MY TRAINING REGIMEN. “Riding is my training. I don’t go to the gym and life weights or whatever. I do some cardio, a bunch of stretching, push-ups, sit-ups, but mostly bike riding is the actual exercise and training. When I go out on a ride, let’s say I’m bunny-hopping. I’m lifting up my body weight, plus the weight of the bike—so that right there is 200-plus pounds every time—and I may do 100 bunny hops in a day.”
MIND & BODY. “Riding is a full-body exercise. You need your full body to go out and ride. As well as your mind—so it’s like [exercising] everything.”
FULL CIRCLE. “It was crazy for me, because the first time I saw the X Games on TV, Dave Mirra won. And I guess it kind of came full-circle for me when it was him who turned me professional. He signed me to his company at the age of 18. This is my childhood idol, and then he comes and starts off my professional bicycle career. I’ll never forget that.”
SEE WHAT HAPPENS. “The advice I give people is to follow your heart and do what you love. Don’t let anyone deter you from your dreams and your goals—because you already know what’s going to happen if you don’t do it. So you might as well find out what’s going to happen if you put your mind to it.”
GOING GLOBAL. “As professionals, we strive to be the best at what we do and to do things that stand the test of time. So if I do a trick here in New York that people in Japan or Beijing or Africa are going to go on YouTube, watch it, and then talk about it around the world, that’s an incredible feeling. There’s nothing better than going to a new country, and people are like, ‘I saw your video, and you did this trick, and it was awesome.’ You’re touching people all around the world.”
BLAZING A TRAIL. “Growing up in New York, we didn’t have many [BMX] competitions. New York City riders, our style is a little bit different. We’re more just about going out free-riding, filming video parts, and kind of just doing whatever feels right. That’s one of the best things about action sports—that you can be a contest rider or a video-part rider, and still be successful.”
IN THE ZONE. “I listen to music all the time. Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt, Lauryn Hill, Young Jeezy, Kanye West’s new album. Most of the time when I’m riding, I have my headphones in. Music helps me just zone in and block out all the other distractions around me—planes, ambulances driving by, people talking sh–. Music helps me just zone out and focus on the task at hand.”
NO PLACE LIKE HOME. “I wanted to do a video series that gave my fans a different perspective of my life. We did a series called Get Sylvester—we shot in Chicago, Barcelona, Dominican Republic…[But] there’s no feeling like coming back home. Go see my mom, see my friends, go hang out. It makes you appreciate the things that you have in life that you can’t buy.”
LIGHTS OUT. “One essential item, whether I’m riding, going out, or going to a meeting, is black jeans. I wear black jeans almost every day. They’re a definite staple in my closet.”
PROPER FOOTWEAR. “Sneakers—I got a lot of those. I probably have, in my house right now, maybe 300 pairs of sneakers. In New York, you pull up, one of the first things that a lady looks at is your sneakers. Yeah. Sneakers are important. Got to have a good sneaker game.”
MY MOST PRIZED POSSESSION. “My bicycle, first and foremost…I’m going to ride my bike until I can’t ride it any longer. BMX riding is such a big part of my life that I will never, ever take it for granted. I put my heart into it as much as I possibly can. I wake up thinking about it. I go to sleep thinking about it. It just makes me feel like nothing else on this earth can.”
In important sports news, our guy Russell Wilson made the pages of GQ. The star quarterback of our home team, the Seattle Seahawks, overcame crazy odds last season (he was a third-round pick) to tie the record for most passing touchdowns by a rookie, throw for three TDs in the Pro Bowl, lead his underdog team on a valiant playoff run, and be named the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year. Seriously though…GQ!
Oh, and Wilson also made the cover of ESPN magazine this month. (Read the article about coach Pete Carroll’s new-wave school of hard knocks here. Hint: It involves more yoga and less yelling. How Seattle.)
Not to brag, but people are even predicting Seahawks for a Super Bowl win. First things first, though: We’ll be tuned to CBS tonight at 8pm ET, to watch the ‘Hawks take on Green Bay (in a preseason grudge match sure to pick up where last season’s substitute-ref debacle left off).
Which team are you pulling for? Check the full schedule here, and pick up some new gear to show your allegiance. Our current favorites are these understated fitted caps, in a wind-stopping wool blend ideal for frigid bleachers (or your living room).
Last night outside our flagship store in Downtown Seattle, retired speed skater Apolo Ohno—the most decorated US Winter Olympian of all time—joined the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Ken Griffey, Jr., Bill Gates, and other highly esteemed Northwest natives, receiving his own plaque on our ‘Seattle Walk of Fame.’
While other plaques on the sidewalk surrounding our store depict imprints of our Walk-of-Famers’ shoes (a nod to Nordstrom’s origins as a shoe store), Ohno’s captures the motion of his ice-slicing skates:
Having won eight medals over the course of three Olympics, Ohno’s no stranger to high honors—nor avid fans, as was apparent from his easy demeanor in greeting an adoring public following the brief induction ceremony (which was hosted by none other than Pete Nordstrom, pictured up top on the left).
Before reading our exclusive Q&A below, check out a video of Ohno in action, gliding for Gold in a 1000-meter showdown decided by milliseconds. Come February, you can catch him in action again at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia—this time as an analyst with NBC Sports.
MEN’S SHOP DAILY: Having grown up here in Seattle, do you have memories of Nordstrom? APOLO OHNO: “I have many memories of Nordstrom. My dad used to take me here shopping growing up, back-to-school stuff—and I shop at Nordstrom now. So it’s always been a part of my life. To know that it’s a Seattle-based company is awesome.”
MSD: What does it mean to be immortalized outside our flagship Seattle store? APOLO OHNO: “It’s an honor, it really is. We have so many international tourists come through our great city all the time, and they see these people, and these footsteps. Some really amazing people have been cemented forever in history here, so for me to be named next to them—it’s an honor.”
[Ohno mingled with fans young and old after the unveiling.
Cool Quiksilver shirt, kid.]
MSD: You’ve accomplished a lot of amazing things in your life. What would you say has been your proudest moment? APOLO OHNO: “The Olympic space, for me, is one that has always touched my heart, because it was the one single focus of my life for 15 years straight. It’d have to be the Olympic Games.”
MSD: As far as fitness and exercise—what training advice do you have for average guys at home? APOLO OHNO: “Stick to the circuit training. Leave the slow cardio alone. We all don’t have a lot of time—I’d say on average, most of us have an hour or less in the gym. So just hit it hard. Always change up your routine, keep it fresh, keep it fun—and always challenge yourself.”
[How dapper is Ohno's dad (center)?]
MSD: What are some of your personal style essentials (besides a skin-tight bodysuit)? APOLO OHNO: “You always have to have a good jacket—a sports jacket, that fits—no matter what. You have to have a nice pair of shoes. Jeans and pants for me are always difficult, because my legs are so big—so they’re tight, even when they’re supposed to be baggy.” [Shop special sizes: Big & Tall]
MSD: You look sharp today. What are you wearing? APOLO OHNO: “Let’s see…I’m wearing Armani. Zegna pants, Louis shoes.”
[One of many surprised passersby.]
MSD: What’s your favorite thing about hosting the GSN game show Minute to Win It? APOLO OHNO: “On Minute to Win It, the number-one thing is, I get to see people win real money. And the excitement you see, and the stories you hear about how that money’s going to change their life, or what they’re going to put it towards, are pretty amazing. We’ve seen people get married, we’ve had people want to put money towards a charity in memory of their brother, we’ve had ex-military people who served our country—there’s really an incredible array of stories on the show. So I’ve gotten to meet some really amazing people.
MSD: What are you most looking forward to at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia—where you’ll be breaking down the action as a member of NBC’s broadcast team? APOLO OHNO: “In 2014, I’m looking forward to short-track [skating]. All the speed skating events, that’s my favorite. I mean, I also love downhill events and skiing, but short-track, to me, is the ultimate. I’ll be there, every single day.”
[Our blog editor, asking the tough questions.]
MSD: You’re the most decorated Winter Olympian in US history. What advice do you have on being a gracious winner—and on your approach to life and work in general? APOLO OHNO: “I definitely haven’t won every single race—so I know what it feels like when you don’t win, and I know what it feels like when you do. And I think you appreciate it that much more. I lived in a sport where you’re not guaranteed to win every single time, no matter how good you are. So when you do, and those medals get hung around your neck, it feels pretty amazing. And towards life? I’d say: Work hard, play hard, and just enjoy every single step of the way.”
[A plaque on the wall outside our flagship store, shedding light
on the 'Seattle Walk of Fame' installation.]
[A few of Ohno's fellow Seattle Walk of Fame alums. Clockwise from top left:
Jimi Hendrix, Mariners legend Ken Griffey, Jr., Microsoft's Paul Allen and Bill Gates, NBA great and former SuperSonic Lenny Wilkens.]
Special thanks to Apolo Ohno.
Follow him on Twitter here.
[Photos by Jeff Powell. Interview and first photo by Justin Abbott.]
HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Mr. Gorgui Dieng, who entered the NBA as the 21st pick in the 2013 draft last night.
Our Nordstrom Men’s Shop team was there with him the whole way—from early-morning fitting sessions at Joseph Abboud HQ in NYC, to styling out Gorgui’s perfect Draft-night look inside his hotel room mere hours before the event, to cheering him on from the stands at Barclays Center in Brooklyn last night.
Things we saw: Diehard NY Knicks fan Spike Lee repping orange and blue in the front row, rowdy fans booing NBA commissioner David Stern every time he stepped on-stage to announce the next team’s pick (and Stern egging them on to boo louder), and scores of dapperly dressed draftees—of whom we are hands-down confident Gorgui was the most well-appointed.
Admittedly, we might be biased—but just look at that subtle windowpane-plaid suit, crisp white shirt, smart mix of patterns between his tie and pocket square, perfect pant break…we could go on, but just see for yourself.
Perhaps most impressive is the fact that our friends at Joseph Abboud turned Gorgui’s two suits (one for draft night, one for the next-day media frenzy) around in just two days—an impressive feat, especially considering the star center’s 6-foot-11 frame. Better still, the suits were crafted right here in the USA, in Abboud’s factory in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Score a made-to-measure suit of your own at any Nordstrom store.
Amidst all the excitement, we also had the great opportunity to sit down with Gorgui to discuss his humble beginnings in Senegal, his admirable work ethic, and his experiences as a Louisville Cardinal—which of course led to an NCAA National Championship last season. Watch our exclusive video up top, and read on for the full Q&A.
MEN’S SHOP DAILY: Where did you grow up? GORGUI DIENG: “I’m from Kébémer, Senegal. It’s in West Africa. A little town, about 22,000 people.”
MSD: What kinds of values did your parents instill in you? GORGUI: “Oh, I think I’m very blessed to have the family that I have. They are great and they support me in whatever, and I think my dad and my mom spent a lot of time to raise me and make me the person I am today. I am very happy that they did that for me, because I left them six years ago, fairly young, and in this big country—if I wasn’t educated to have morals, if they didn’t instill cultural things in me, I probably would be lost. I probably would be today on the street, or in jail, or doing some crazy stuff. So I feel very lucky to have the parents I have.”
MSD: What were some challenges you faced in Senegal? GORGUI: “It was fun growing up there, but when it comes to economy and school and stuff, it’s tough. Things that I wanted to do, I could not do back home because there was no stuff to go to school and play basketball or go to school and play a different sport, so I was home, but I didn’t have much help. We didn’t have a lot of infrastructure up there and it was just very tough. School is nothing compared to here. When I came to this country, I had everything I needed. People take care of me, I have tutors and studied on computers, and everything is completely different.”
MSD: How did you first start playing basketball? GORGUI: “Honestly, when I first saw people playing basketball I thought it was just a good sport. I thought, ‘It’s not hard, you just catch the ball and put it in the basket.’ You know? [Laughs]. And then a lot of my friends that I used to play soccer with—the soccer field and the basketball court were close, so my friends, they started quitting playing soccer, and playing basketball instead until there were just a few guys left. So I just joined all my friends and started playing basketball.”
MSD: How did you continue from there with your basketball playing? GORGUI: “I just got taller, and someone saw me and said, ‘Do you want to go to school and play basketball for free?’ I said ‘Yeah.’ They said, ‘I will take you to the United States.’ And I said ‘I would love to do that.’ And I went to SEEDS [Sports for Education and Economic Development in Senegal] Academy for one year, and I went to Basketball Without Borders in South Africa, that’s an NBA camp, and after that, they brought me here. I went to one year of prep school at Huntington Prep in West Virginia, then I went to Louisville for three years. So I’ve played like six years overall, of organized basketball.”
MSD: What do you love about playing basketball? GORGUI: “It’s very fun and I always enjoy it. I love playing basketball more than anything. I like just playing basketball and making friends.”
MSD: What was it like when you first moved to the US? GORGUI: “When I first got here, it was very tough. I could not speak English. Like, when you say ‘Hello’ to me, I just stare at you, you know? [Laughs]. I wouldn’t know what you were saying. It was very hard, and I knew I had to go to prep school and make a great score for my SAT to go to college—and I wanted to go to a big school. So I just would spend all of my time studying. And sometimes, I would just stay in my room and get very frustrated and start crying. I was just young, and I couldn’t see my family, and I couldn’t talk to anybody. I wasn’t scared, but I was just frustrated. And I fought through all of that, and I went to college, and today I’m talking about getting my degree—and I think that’s pretty exciting.”
MSD: What was it like the first time you met Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino? GORGUI: “The first time I met him, we could not talk, because I could not speak English. [Laughs]. I just shook his hand, and he was talking to my coach and stuff, I didn’t get it. Everybody was laughing. Two months later, he came to see me, after I started to speak English a little bit, and that’s when he started recruiting me.”
MSD: What lessons have you learned from Coach Pitino over the years? GORGUI: “Coach always said, ‘There’s a lot of people that go in the gym and work, but there are few people that go in the gym and work hard.’ He said, ‘I just want you to be one of those.’ And since then, I get it—and he pushed me hard, and kept pushing me, and always asked the best from me. And that’s what I’ve been doing. On the court, when I’m the one that just got yelled at and pushed hard, or something happened on the team and I’m the one to blame—he just wanted to prepare me, you know. And I can’t thank him enough for that.”
MSD: There’s a famous video clip where you’re on the bench, it looks like Coach Pitino shouts in your face, and after he walks away you kind of laugh—do you remember what he said to you? GORGUI: “Yeah I remember that. But I don’t think I can repeat it! [Laughs]. You know, I don’t take Coach too serious because I know how he is. When he’s on the court he just wants to go all out—he doesn’t care what he does to win the game, he will do it. He has so much passion for the game. But, the player needs to understand that, too. So, even when he says some stuff, you know, I just laugh, because I think that’s the best way I can handle it.”
MSD: Who was your roommate on the road with Louisville, what’s his nickname…and did he have any strange habits? GORGUI: “When we’re on the road I room with Russ Smith. You know him—he’s crazy. ‘Russdiculous.’ He’s my guy. He’s like someone I will really miss in college, and I miss him already. He is always fun to be around. Like when you’re on the road, he doesn’t sleep. He would take my iPad and my laptop, and his phone in his hand, and would have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram sitting on the desk until 4:00 in the morning. I would go to sleep and wake up and be like, ‘Russ, what are you doing? We have a game tomorrow!’ He’d say, ‘No, I’m good.’ He just doesn’t sleep. He has a lot of energy—especially in the way he plays.”
MSD: What are some lessons you learned from Louisville’s championship season last year, that you think might help prepare you for the NBA? GORGUI: “Just to never quit, no matter what happens. We won like 14 games in the beginning of the season, then lost three in a row, and we never hung our heads. We played a game that started at 9pm and went until 1am—five overtimes—never quit. It’s just mental toughness. I think guys need that in the NBA—if you’re not tough in the NBA, you won’t survive. And I think I will be ready for that.”
MSD: How important is it to look good and feel confident on a night as important as the NBA Draft? GORGUI: “It’s very important. It’s all about showing people who you are. If I just go there with shorts and a T-shirt, people will never forget that. If I go there and look very nice, people won’t forget that either. It’s all about your legacy. That’s how I take everything I do—whether it’s playing basketball or not, I want to carry myself as a professional and do everything in the right way.”
The Nordstrom Men’s Shop is thrilled to have the opportunity to assist Gorgui Dieng—star center of NCAA national basketball champs the Louisville Cardinals—as he preps for the biggest night of his life: The NBA Draft.
With pro basketball players stepping up their style game across the league, this is no time to go half-hearted in the sartorial department. That’s why we teamed up with famed American suit-makers Joseph Abboud to create two impeccable, made-to-measure suits for Gorgui (who happens to be 6-foot-11)—in a span of only 48 hours.
Our Men’s Shop team met with Gorgui Tuesday morning at the Joseph Abboud showroom in New York, to select fabric swatches, see him through the fitting process, and ensure he has all the tools he needs to pull it together—from ties (he prefers slim) to custom shirts to size 16 shoes.
We’ll also be there for him this afternoon, when the finished suits (one for Draft Night, one for the whirlwind press tour the following day) arrive at Gorgui’s hotel room, to help him suit up for his big night with the utmost confidence that he’s never looked better.
CHECK BACK TOMORROW for an in-depth Q&A with Gorgui,
to see his custom suits in all their splendor, and to find out which NBA team
will be lucky enough to have him on the roster next season.
Well, all the underdogs we’d been pulling for (Grizzlies! Warriors! Pacers!) have officially fallen, and the perhaps-inevitable grudge match between the high-flying, reigning-champ Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs’ methodical phalanx of wily veterans is set to tip off tonight.
We have a general idea of whom Rihanna (above) will be rooting for. What about you?
For our part, after the cringe-worthy tantrum 2013 MVP LeBron James exhibited below—upon being called for an offensive foul during Miami’s failed comeback against Indiana in that series’ recent Game 6—we’re not sure we can feel good about having his back at the moment. (Pat Riley’s face at 0:15 says it all.)
Whichever bandwagon you’re ready to jump on, we have the appropriate gear to show your team spirit: