EPMD Week Part 3: Hobie Alpine

Before Raekwon wore the Polo Snow Beach piece, some other rap luminaries took the piste with their choice of outwerwear. EPMD’s defining moment on wax showcased the duo in some eccentric garms. This was a pivotal moment for Erick and Parrish – only the best outfits would do. That’s why they broke out the Hobie Alpine pieces.

Coordinated, albeit in different colours, this curious cotton-looking snap-button varsity number was an odd pick. Even odder than Marvelous’s adidas Surf sweatshirt for an LP sleeve… not as strange as their boy Stezo’s visible chest, gurning and stonewash for his LP art. It’s somewhere in between. Long Island’s a stronghold of eccentric style, eschewing some of the Harlem, Bronx and Brooklyn staples. How the Hobie brand got involved is a mystery.

Hobie Alter’s left coast brand first arrived in the 1950s with some handcrafted surfboards. It was pivotal in the spread of the commercially available skateboard too… we can consider it the forefather of Hang Ten and Quiksilver. What’s tougher to ascertain is what the Alpine line was all about. A short-lived attempt to move from summer to winter sports too?

We know they made sunglasses that would make Officer Ricky envy as well as these coats, but precious little else. The ‘Alpine Skiing’ text on the chest and back is lavish-looking, and the script on the arm is pleasantly excessive. Was Alpine King some sought after grail for future Hit Squad crew? Who needed North Face Steep Techs when you had these jumpoffs?

Lest we dwell too much on the Alpine steez, Parrish’s inexplicable Russian Hat Wear adds to the oddball nature of this seemingly straightforward shot. Did he steal that from Drago’s girl? And K La Boss complements his colourful cohorts by going all black everything. Cardigan over a turtle neck? Deep. Milk Tray casual in full effect. The denim on display looks like a wearable blizzard… it was an eccentric time for sartorial oneupmanship among crews.

Before EPMD broke out the fisherman’s hats and Nike Flight 89s, this was our perception of them — gaudily dressed hardrocks. Still, they stayed jacket-centric for Unfinished Business by trying to sell us extortionately priced Sleeping Bag records branded apparel in the sleeve of the album. Alas, if you’re in the market for a Hobie Alpine of your own, you’re a (eBay) customer and sellers know the cultural cache of this garment, namechecking the Green Eyed Bandit himself in the listing and setting reserves that get the bozack.


4 Responses to "EPMD Week Part 3: Hobie Alpine"
  1. Reply brian beck February 17, 2011 13:17 pm

    Best 12″ sleeve of the 80s.

    Ain’t gon’ lie, though, I thought Parrish’s Ushanka was an afro for years.

  2. Reply Toilet February 17, 2011 17:39 pm

    I bugged my mum to get me one of those Adidas surf sweatshirts from the Freemans catalogue. I didn’t get it.

  3. Reply Rich February 17, 2011 19:27 pm

    I believe that one of the reason’s for EPMD’s break-up was wardrobe differences during the original cover shoot for Business Never Personal. Erick wanted the duo to be draped in Hot Tuna gear, while Parrish had been offered a back-hander to rep Fat Willy’s Surf Shack.

  4. Reply Jaz February 17, 2011 21:04 pm

    lol Rich.

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