To many, Amsterdam is an enigma of blue haze and narrow alleys, all bathed in the patina of the old Dutch masters. Few visitors see beyond its central spots, and even fewer visit the borough of Bijlmermeer. At a time when anti-immigration demagogues are knocking on the door of major political positions, it has become more important than ever to look at the fashion innovations stemming from places like Bijlmer, cultural particle-colliders on the fringes of Europe’s cities. In a project for New Balance’s new silhouette – the 247 – Sam Jarou and Lee Stuart returned to their teenage summer hangout with photographer Maxwell Tomlinson to explore the neighborhood’s distinct sense of style. 032c asked Jarou to narrate the editorial:
Sam Jarou: When I first saw the silhouette and heard the name 247 (24/7), it reminded me of my 1990s childhood and my elder brother. During our holidays, we would always go to Amsterdam’s Bijlmer neighborhood where my aunties, uncles, and cousins lived.
Jarou: The style my brother and the local boys of the Bijlmer wore was dope, different from other cities. They were never dressed baggy with big logos and lots of color, which was a common look of that time. It was the 90s and these guys spent a lot of time on the streets, most of them were involved in street business, but style-wise they always had a solid look. They were young and hanging out in the blocks of Bijlmer but would wear brands like Prada, Gucci, Missoni and even Jil Sander. Leather jackets, Rolex watches, chains, and bracelets worth a couple of grand. At the same time, they would wear simple and classic 501’s or track pants.
Jarou: Their shoes were always comfortable – sneakers with a running base silhouette or a lifestyle sneaker that had sport features. These guys always looked fly, but at the same time, they were always ready to run. We took these memories back to Bijlmer with the 247.