Thursday, June 1, 2023

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    The Rare Nike Grail That Reminds GQ’s Sportswriter of His Roots

    Welcome back to #GQStaffStyle, a peek inside our coworkers’ closets.

    At what point in the winter do you wake up, check the weather, and think to yourself: It’s way too cold to get a fit off? For less dedicated dressers, that point is probably right around now, when the wind chill is so sharp stepping outside feels like a slap in the face and wearing anything but your bulkiest puffer means risking a digit or two to frostbite.

    But for Tyler Tynes—proud son of north Philly, your favorite sportswriter’s favorite sportswriter—plunging temperatures aren’t an excuse to phone it in; they’re an opportunity to flex the rarest jacket in his closet. Tyler comes by his passion for grail-level outwear honestly. “Growing up on the East Coast, a lot of natives, particularly a certain brand of roughgoing Philadelphian, loved to romanticize frosty climates. The snow, the biting cold and rain—it can exemplify our region, especially as we get into the darker days of the calendar.” So, naturally, during the pandemic he became obsessed with tracking down some of the most coveted jackets on the market today: vintage Nike ACG joints from the ‘90s.

    ACG, or All Conditions Gear, refers to the cult-y sub-label the Swoosh launched in the late ‘80s, and the era Tyler’s zip-up hails from is widely considered its heyday. Before Nike was a multibillion dollar sportswear juggernaut—beholden to consumers from Portland to Perrysburg—it catered to hardcore outdoor enthusiasts, proto-gorpheads who snapped up the kind of punchy ACG designs today’s Swoosh fanatics are clamoring for.

    It’s not for nothing the aesthetic hallmarks of the era are enjoying a resurgence. (For proof, look no further than the ‘90s-indebted tendencies of labels like Aimé Leon Dore or Supreme’s particular brand of winking nostalgia.) For Tyler, the appeal was obvious. “My thoughts were simple: the more vivacious, the better. I just so happened to be lucky that it matched my hair.”

    Jonesing to score an ACG gem of your own? Start by exploring the line’s current offerings (mercifully, its designs hew fairly close to their ‘90s predecessors) and then make your way to eBay—similar options abound. Bonus points if you match your come-up to your coif.

    For a closer look at Tyler’s vintage Nike grail—and for every installment of #GQStaffStyle—be sure to follow @GQ on Instagram.

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