In his GQ cover story, Frank recommends a curious style upgrade: this, uh, paramilitary gilet.
If you know Frank Ocean, you know he’s a diehard fashion obsessive. He only furthers the point today in his GQ cover story, dropping references to ’90s legends Marithé + François Girbaud in one breath and revealing that he’s still trying to track down a pair of Balenciaga python pants in another. But when Blonded Radio’s Roof Access asks Ocean if he has advice for how men can dress better in 2019, Ocean’s answer is not exactly “fashion” advice. “The SCOTTeVEST! Men need to get hip to the SCOTTeVEST,” Ocean says. “You can put anything in it. Your water bottle, your cell phone, your motorcycle helmet—you can put all that shit inside the SCOTTeVEST.”
Plenty of fashion brands have riffed on the multi-pocketed, utilitarian fisherman’s vest in recent seasons. Let’s be clear: The SCOTTeVEST is…not that. If you’re not already in SCOTTeVEST’s targeted advertising demo (Facebook interests include “survivalism”), the brand is based out of Ketchum, Idaho. Its hallmark product is a travel vest with 26 (26!) internal pockets for stashing your phone(s), passport, camera, airpods, beef jerky, and even iPad. It even includes an RFID blocker to protect your passport and credit card info from hackers, which is apparently a thing I need to worry about now. If that’s not enough pocket power, SCOTTeVEST also makes one with 42 internal stash zones. Luckily, the vests come with a map to guide you to the eyeglass-cleaning chamois pocket, camera pocket, and water-bottle loop.
Aesthetically, the SCOTTeVEST looks unremarkable, which is the point. Despite their ability to carry dozens of pounds of gear, the designs are quite slim and unassuming. (The secret behind iPad concealed-carry technology is something called NoBulge™ pocket design.) A key customer appears to be the travel pro: Don’t want to pay $50 to check a bag? Just put the entire contents of your bag in your vest.
None of this explains exactly why Frank Ocean co-signs the SCOTTeVEST. He’s a frequent flyer, yes, but presumably Ocean is cool with tossing a few Rimowas in the belly of a plane. Perhaps he keeps his hard drives in an RFID-blocking SCOTTeVEST pocket wherever he goes? That said, Ocean has never been photographed in a SCOTTeVEST product, as far as we know. (Or has he? The brand also makes hoodies, sweaters, and shirts with secret pockets.)
Maybe Ocean truly appreciates the SCOTTeVEST’s utility. But the object exists well outside of the normcore matrix, and in fact actively dismantles it, suggesting that the most stylish clothing is the stuff that doubles as lifehack. Perhaps its appeal lies in its middle-American minimalism. SCOTTeVEST is advertised on infomercials but isn’t all that conceptually dissimilar to, say, Errolson Hugh’s futuristic Acronym gear: It’s all about the thoughtfulness of its design, and its ability to improve your life, rather than a branded aesthetic.
In the cover story, co-interviewer Vegyn attempts to clarify Ocean’s advice: “You’re a gilet advocate?” Ocean continues: “Right, but it’s modular, too. You can also zip the arm on—it’s like a paramilitary vest. It’s also a name that’s ready for rap lyrics.” Perhaps Ocean simply wants to introduce the SCOTTeVEST to the culture, lob an irony grenade just to see who dives on it first. (Demna Gvasalia? Insta kids wearing Skechers? Lil Uzi Vert?) He could also just be fucking around. Frank Ocean’s power is his inscrutability. As Roof Access says at the end of their SCOTTeVEST digression: “That’s how you shift the culture.”
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