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Kendrick Lamar x Reebok Ventilator:

Reebok and rapper Kendrick Lamar take a stand against gang violence with these sneakers. On the right heel, the word “red” is sewn, representing the Bloods street gang. On the left heel, the word “blue,” representing the rival Crips. On the backside of each of the tongues is the word “neutral.”

For example, the Adidas UltraBoost X Parley tell about ocean pollution; the Kendrick Lamar x Reebok Ventilator tell about rival gangs; and the Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour “White Cement” tell about the friendship between two living sports legends.

But even more interesting than the stories behind 100 plus pair collection is the fact that he knows those stories, which makes him an uncommon consumer. It makes him a “sneakerhead.”

A sneakerhead, simply defined, is a shoe enthusiast a person who is willing to camp in parking lots or pay 10 times the retail value for a pair of limited edition sneakers, such as Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 “Turtle Dove,” a collaboration between Adidas and hip hop artist Kanye West.

“Sneakerhead culture is a lot of peacocking,” says Barfield, 31, a self proclaimed sneakerhead and co owner of men clothing and footwear store Scout Boutique, which opened in 2014 on Chattanooga Southside.

The Turtle Dove, absent in Barfield closet, released in 2016 for $200. But, by design, the sneakers quickly sold out and now have a resale value of $2,000.

“It not about love for the shoe,” says Jorden “Juice” Williams, 22, another local sneakerhead whose own collection totals 200 plus pairs. “It about the hype surrounding it.”

To build hype, footwear companies create a demand often by partnering with pop culture icons like Kanye West much greater than the number of pairs of shoes they will supply. Shoe stores further stoke the anticipation by holding in store raffles, which require customers to purchase tickets just for the chance to purchase sneakers; or by hosting first come, first served release parties, which lead to long lines.

In May, when Nike introduced its Air Foamposite One “Metallic Red” sneakers, Hamilton Place retailer Footaction was supplied with only 30 pairs for which “door busting crowds” turned out on its release day, says assistant manager Tasha Austin.

During such events, Austin says, Footaction hires security, mostly to manage tensions that can arise among those who wait in line for hours.

“It draining. It will really mess up your day not getting that shoe, and that upsetting when you want a shoe so bad, if you can get it you pay $300 over its price to have it,” Williams says.

Even when a sneakerhead does land a shoe, the reward is fleeting. The second the sneaker is bought, it on to the next, Barfield says.

Adidas UltraBoost X Parley

Consumerism is not famous for being environmentally friendly, but these sneakers hope to rewrite that story. Parley is a global movement that encourages creators, thinkers and leaders to come together to raise awareness of ocean health. In partnership with Adidas, Parley removed plastic marine pollution, spun it into thread and used it to stitch these kicks. The limited edition line features a variety of colorways, including one pair that is solid white a statement about coral bleaching.

Both he and Williams say most of their shoes will never leave their boxes nor their closets. While the shoes cultural significance offers interesting footnotes to a sneakerhead collection, this consumerist subculture, Barfield says, is all about bragging rights.

As Williams explains, “It a pride thing: I own some shit that you don is a bonus to them that the net worth of both Barfield and Williams shoe vestments probably equals a down payment on a nice house.

The birth of modern sneaker culture is most commonly traced to 1985, and the debut of the Air Jordan, a red and black high top shoe produced by Nike and endorsed by then NBA Rookie of the Year basketball player Michael Jordan. That first Air Jordan more than showcased cutting edge shoe technology such as air pouches in the heels, said to provide superior cushioning it represented a lifestyle.

To paraphrase Calvan Fowler, director of the 2014 documentary “Jordan Heads,” what made the Air Jordan shoe so desirable was that it embodied one of the world greatest athletes and his signature “go hard or go home mentality. It aspirational,” Fowler told Newsweek during a 2015 interview.

Nike Air Jordans still play an important role in sneakerhead culture. Nearly every month, and sometimes more frequently, the company re releases a different limited edition Air Jordan featuring new materials or colorways, which is what sneakerheads call the shoe color scheme.

In fact, most sought after sneakers are re releases, Barfield says.

For example, the Puma Disc, originally released in 1991, has had 12 re releases. Likewise, the Reebok InstaPump Fury, released in 1994, has had 34 iterations. Nike original Air Jordan has had well over 300.

“Very rarely does the [sneakerhead] culture pick up on a new shoe. It really just the same shoes getting reintroduced to different generations,” Barfield says.

Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour

And the industry capitalizes on that.

“It plays off nostalgia. The kids are adults now and can afford to buy these sneakers. Companies recognize that,” Barfield says.

In 1985, the Air Jordan retailed for $125 (about $284 in today dollars). In 2016, Nike released its limited edition Air Jordan 1 Retro Bred for $160. Now, that shoe resells for $390.
vw polo vivo 'Sneakerhead' culture turns shoes into status symbols and big business

polo shirts with logo embroidered A Really Big Shoeshine

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Contact Us,Kevin Love strolls into Phillips Grooms Shoe Repair Cleaning with a thick roll of bills buried in the pocket of his black dress slacks and a need. Tall, big, built, Love has the kind of self confidence that leaves a wake of wow wherever he goes. Despite the scorching heat, his silky rayon shirt is mysteriously lacking wrinkles. On his feet, he’s wearing black dress leather oxfords, signaling a certain formality even though his shirt is untucked and short sleeved. Love climbs up into a high backed, upholstered, tweed chair and plants his feet on a wooden block. To the untrained eye, he appears one well groomed guy. But there’s always room for finishing flourishes. “Everybody’s different,” he says. “But I just don’t feel good unless my shoes are shined.”

Tyron Grooms swabs Love’s oxfords with black dye to fill in scuff marks and return the leather’s pristine finish before applying black paste wax. The two go way back. They met at what is now the Joseph C. Cotton recreation center. That’s where all black kids in Fort Lauderdale learned to swim, the 44 year old Grooms says. Love eyeballs the shoes as Grooms whips a cloth over the top to bring out the sheen. “When I shine shoes, I ask if you have sunglasses,” Grooms jokes. “Because if you don’t, I have you sign a waiver.”

Love, who’s 46 years old, says he’s been visiting the shop since he was a kid. He works in Hollywood now as a car salesman at Jumbo Auto and Truck Plaza. There’s plenty of shoe repair businesses between there and P “I wouldn’t go no place else,” says Love. “It would be like cheating.”

This repair shop, now on Northwest Seventh Avenue near Broward Boulevard, has had a shoeshine stand for the 48 years it’s been in business in Fort Lauderdale. Clients include Broward County Commissioner Joe Eggelletion, Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne, and billionaire Wayne Huizenga.

Phillips Grooms is an anachronism in a world where most repair shops whisk shoes through an electric buffer. Tyron’s father, Ross, hates those machine shines. “Most people don’t like to take their car through the brushes,” Ross Grooms says. “They like a hand wax. That’s what this is.”

The shop got its start in Fort Lauderdale’s original black business district along Northwest Fifth Avenue between Second and Fifth streets. That was the heart of segregated black Fort Lauderdale, says Gwen Hankerson, whose grandfather moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1902. The first black movie house, the Victory Theatre, was there. Entertainers such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie performed at the Windsor Club in the 1940s. Businesses lined the streets.

Matthew “Bud” Walters opened Bud’s Community Shoe Shop which later became P at 301 NW Fifth Ave. in 1955. In the six blocks between Second Street and Sistrunk Boulevard on Fifth Avenue, the 1956 city directory lists a string of places that hints at the life in a bustling business district. Tucked between single family homes were a luncheonette, a couple of sandwich shops, a drugstore, a dentist, the medical offices of James Sistrunk, two churches, a beer garden, a couple of pool halls, a radio and television repair shop, barbershops and beauty parlors, a grocery, a department store, and a slew of other establishments.

Walters moved the business to Northwest Seventh Avenue in 1976 as urban renewal swept through and tore down most of the businesses on Northwest Fifth Avenue. Many of the black businesses moved west, Hankerson says, as did the homeowners in the area.

Ross Grooms and his brother in law Thomas Phillips bought the business from Walters when he retired in 1988. Grooms says they were schooled by Walter’s long time employee Leon Smith. He taught the finer points of the shoe business to Grooms, who was semiretired from the construction business, and Phillips, a longshoreman. Smith has worked at the shop for 31 years.

When Ross Grooms and Phillips took over, they kept the homey feel of Walters’ shop. Behind the counter, they sell bags of roasted peanuts for $1 each. In the back of the shop, they still use Walters’ Landis shoe stitcher to attach a sole to a shoe. A church pew and a couple of chairs are placed near a small color television. People bring their footwear here because it’s where their mothers and fathers came. Word of mouth and that long history in the community still give the shop its core customer base. “It’s kind of a landmark to people now,” says Tyron. “They come in here to hash over old times.”

When you have a customer up on the stand for 10 minutes or so, conversation is part of the art, Ross explains. “You don’t have to be Einstein,” he says, “but you’ve got to keep up with the papers. If a conversation starts, you want to be able to carry it on a bit.”

When Tyron Grooms moved back to Florida from Detroit in 1996, he thought the shop was missing out on a potential new customer base. Tyron sat on a bench near the main library downtown, watching businesspeople bustling around downtown during their lunch hours. All those shoes, Tyron thought. So he convinced his father that the shoeshine part of their business had become a luxury practiced by the fastidious few.

It didn’t seem as though the suit and tie and high heel and hose crowd had acquired the habit of having their shoes hand shined. So P decided to evangelize. Tyron set up a stand on the first floor of the then First Union bank building at 200 E. Broward Blvd., right beside a bank of elevators that most of the employees used.

But even though plenty of people passed by Tyron’s stand, only a handful climbed into the chair. At $4 a shine, it hardly made it worth his time. Tyron began asking people why they didn’t step up and have a gleam put on their shoes. “No time,” he says was the usual response.

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That gave the P owners an idea. “There’s a market for anything you want to do,” Ross says. “It’s just a matter of finding the need for it.”

In the next several years, Ross developed a mobile business while Tyron managed the shop. Ross has a regular gig on Mondays at the Hollywood law offices of Becker Poliakoff. When business slows down at the stand the company set up for him, Ross strolls through the offices picking up shoes from people at their desks. On Tuesdays he sets up a stand in the breezeway between the parking garage and the offices at the SouthTrust bank building at 1 E. Broward Blvd. But he does the most shines when he wheels his mobile cart on Wednesdays through the 14 story 450 E. Las Olas Blvd. building where Huizenga Holdings has its corporate offices. It’s perfect for the computer tethered worker. “They turn around, kick their shoes off, and keep working,” Ross says.
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UNION SPRINGS Tiffany Sennett loves a bargain, and as a mother of three, understands how clothing expenses can add up.

Combining her fondness for resale shops and garage sales with the joy she feels when she’s around children, Sennett planted the seed of one day opening a toy store and children’s clothing consignment shop of her own with her husband, Kevin.

This summer, after a year and a half of planning, with little fanfare, but with some good timing, the couple opened The Growing Tree Boutique on Union Springs’ main drag.

“We didn’t really do a lot of advertising; we just wanted to open quietly,” Tiffany said. “But people definitely saw us and checked us out.”

Syncing the shop’s opening in the same month as the nearby MacKenzie Childs Barn Sale and50 Mile Garage Salemeant shoppers had one more stop to pick up a good buy.

“I don’t want to pay full price for clothing for children,” she said. “I want people to leave here saying, ‘Man, I got a good deal.'”

The boutique, located at 151 Cayuga St., brings a brightness to the town’s commercial district, which appears to be on the upswing. This May, Karen Luziani celebrated a one year anniversary of Karen’s Country Confections, and in June, Liz and Aaron Hoskins brought burgers to boaters when they opened The Burger Boat in Frontenac Harbor.

“The locals have been really pleased with the store and the storefront,” Sennett said. “Karen and I are constantly scheming ideas to bring people into the village.”

The Union Springs entrepreneur and resident sees an opportunity for other enterprises to sprout next to the Growing Tree Boutique.

“It’s an exciting time here,” she said. “I hope the Union Springs storefronts start filling up with restaurants and shops. There’s no reason we can’t have all those things.”

Inside the boutique, which was formerly the gift shop Copperesque, the Sennetts’ clothing displays are an eye catching marvel of clever utility. Kevin’s reuse of old barn shutters combine with water pipe infrastructure to create racks exhibiting colorful clothing for ages newborn to 14. The child centered tone of the shop is reinforced by a whimsical mural left by the former retailers and revamped by Sennett, depicting a hillside landscape.

“I chose Melissa Doug to be my only new items. I love their classic wooden toys,” Sennett said. “They’re timeless.”

A toy market, complete with a tike sized shopping cart and cash register, and within sight of the adult sized cash register, will occupy the littlest customers as parents make selections of clothing and other, gently used necessities, such as strollers, bassinets, playpens and activity seats.

Maureen Riester, business development specialist with the Cayuga Economic Development Agency, worked with the Sennetts to find the right spot to open the consignment shop.

“As a mother, Tiffany understands the need for affordable, quality childrens items and saw the opportunity to open a boutique in this area,” Riester said.

Sennett relishes the hope her store stays put for years to come and becomes a locus of activity for Union Springs families. The warmly lit shop’s spacious back room will begin hosting yoga classes in October “for moms and children.”

“As the kids grow up, we can grow up with them,” Sennett said.

Within walking distance of area schools, the Sennetts’ three children will have a spot to meet up with their mother after classes. The Sennett’s eldest, Gabrielle, 11, earned enough money this summer to buy an iPod by helping her parents sort the clothes people sold to the store at 40 percent of their resale value, or at 60 percent store credit.

The family also credits Gabrielle with choosing the shop’s location. Saturdays and Sundays; closed Mondays

WHERE: 151 Cayuga St., Union Springs

There are three ways to exchange items at Growing Tree Boutique in Union Springs:

40 percent of the resale price for cash

50 percent of the resale price for consigned items with higher resale value, such as strollers, bassinets, swings and high end goods

60 percent of the resale price for in store credit

Clothing and shoes must be freshly laundered and stain free; matching outfits should be together; shoes must be wiped clean. Walk ins are accepted, but for items totaling more than a laundry basketful, call ahead for appointment.
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polo store locator ‘Game of Thrones’ Season Three Set Visit

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“You’re wearing the wrong shoes” a member of the Dragon Unit production team politely informed me as I squelched through some Northern Irish puddles. Straight ahead in a puddle of his own stood Frank Doelger, the Hollywood super producer dressed in fisherman style rain gear equipped with John Lennon sunglasses and Crocodile Dundee head gear.

This wasn’t a remake of a muddy battle scene for ‘Braveheart’, but instead the set of one of the decade’s most hotly anticipated recurring series, ‘Game of Thrones’. Located way up the north of Co Antrim, season three of the HBO fantasy adventure is currently filming scenes at Shane’s Castle, the historical landmark which now lies in ruins, surrounded by 2,600 acres of greenland. Despite the torrential rain, ankle length mud and the odd location change, Dragon Unit had been tented up and ready to shout “Action!” from 6am.

On set in full costume, provided by Michele Clapton (Sense Sensibility), were stars of season two Gwendoline Christie and Nikolaj Coster Waldau, who play skilled warriors Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister. Both characters’ season three plot lines continue on from season two, with the pair filming intense scenes for episode two at Shane’s Castle bridge yesterday. Executive producer Doelger said filming is usually 10 12 hours per day, with just one scene being filmed between five and 10 takes each time. Episodes one and two are being directed by Daniel Minahan.

Both Christie and Coster Waldau ploughed on through their four takes, with grass mounds, scattered leaves and ropes among their props. With a hair dryer on standby for Coster Waldau, not even an ever so slight wardrobe malfunction with his tarnished robe could dampen their spirits.

The location, Shane’s Castle, formerly Eden duff carrick, is a ruined castle from the 14th century. Its former proprietor was Baron William O’Neill, and a descendant of his, Shane MacBrien O’Neill, renamed it Shane’s Castle in the 18th century. Shane’s Castle was previously used for ‘Game of Thrones’ seasons one and two.

Doelger, the Emmy Award winning man behind the scenes, has worked as an executive producer on a variety of productions in Hollywood, from HBO TV series ‘Rome’, to Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s ‘Into the Storm’, starring Brendan Gleeson and Iain Glen. Commenting on filming at Shane’s Castle, Doelger said he prefers the combination of filming both on location and in the studio: “If you’re in the studio everyday it gets very claustrophobic and it’s not as much as a challenge. At the same time, if you’ve been in the rain and the wind and dealing with all those problems then going to the studios is great. The two new stages they’ve built for the Titanic Quarter are absolutely fantastic, they’ve really been a great, great benefit to us”.

The studio Doelger refers to is Belfast’s Paint Hall Studio, which has been the centre of action for the two previous ‘Game of Thrones’ seasons. It offers state of the art green screen facilities which were used extensively for water scenes for season two, and continues to be used for the more technical scenes of season three. The Titanic Quarter is the most recently built site at Paint Hall, which is set on an eight acre site, equipped with five workshops, a green room, and an electric al substation.

Doelger refers to the Irish crew as “terrific” to work with, and says “70 per cent of the people on the crew are local this season. I think Belfast really wanted us here, they did everything they could to make us feel welcome. In a lot of places where you film people are a little bit jaded, they’re not particularly welcoming, and you get a sense that they’re in it just for the money. I think here you really did get a sense that people wanted to build an industry and really wanted to make it work”.

A large part of enticing HBO to Northern Irish shores was down to Northern Ireland Screen and Head of Marketing Moyra Lock, who travelled to the US to meet with HBO chiefs in a bid to market the Northern Irish locations. Speaking earlier this year, Lock said Northern Ireland Screen “mounted extensive marketing campaigns to position Northern Ireland as a worldwide location for production.” The organisation then got Antrim born producer Mark Huffam on board, who invited Doelger himself over to Northern Ireland.

Doelger recalls: “I came here for the first time when I was invited by Mark Huffam, who was trying very hard, and was instrumental in getting the production here. He invited me early on in the conversations when HBO was deciding where to do the show. I think there were various cities being considered and he asked me to come take a look around and I was very impressed in what he did and what he had to show us. I think he found us a perfect match between material and city”.

Huffam went on to produce 10 episodes of season one, and obviously left a lasting effect on HBO and Doelger who returned to Northern Ireland two years in a row. Naomi Liston, key assistant locations manager to HOD Robert Boake, was in charge of sourcing Northern Irish locations once the production had gotten the green light to film there. Liston told IFTN sourcing the right locations can take hours of driving around the countryside until you find the exact spot. Reading the scripts is a big part of her job, and matching Northern Irish countryside to Riverlands, North of the Wall and South of the Wall can sometimes result in getting “lost down a lane”, or she may find “there’s a tumble down of what looks like medieval building or barn and you’ve got your location there”.

Liston continues: “It’s about knowing what’s out there. The estates, and all the estate owners are great, they’re so helpful, they love us, they keep asking us back and they get phone calls from friends from other estates and they phone us up and say ‘we’ve got this estate come and take photos’ so we come and take photos of them which is great”.

Doelger echoes this statement: “Because Belfast is not a place a lot of tourists came to, a lot of people in our crew either from the UK or United States, even if they’ve travelled, have not been here, so I think the fact that everybody came here and were very very impressed with the crew, how welcome they were made to feel. It’s changed their attitude towards the city. It’s been very good for us and I’m hoping it’s been very good for Belfast as well”.

Back on set, the Dragon Unit was carefully filming scenes for episode two of season three, by mounting a camera on a crane at the side of Shane Castle’s bridge to get a shot which went from the water of Lough Neagh right up to over the bridge where Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister continued their scene. Production assistants were on hand to carefully place mounds of grass along the characters’ walk way, checking that each mound of grass was the same colour as the last to ensure continuity. Brown leaves were scattered along the path and walked on by production crew to give an autumn feel.

These scenes are due to be aired at the end of March/early April in 2013. Post production will be carried out by Yellow Moon in Co Down and a US based post production house in spring of 2013.

IFTN can exclusively confirm HBO does have plans to ask Armagh native Brian Kirk to return to the director’s seat for future seasons. Kirk directed three episodes of season one and his latest TV project, ‘Gilded Lilys’, is currently in post production. Doelger said: “Brian is not coming back on season three, he’s been busy on other projects, but actually all of our directors are always invited back depending on their schedule and our schedule. We hope to see him, he’s been very busy since he left us, I think the episodes he did got a lot of attention and were very helpful to him, so we hope he comes back.”

IFTN can also exclusively reveal season three will move production to Redhall Estate next week, a privately owned country house located in Carrickfergus in Antrim. Production will then move to the Quoile Pondage Nature Reserve in Downpatrick which is situated on either side of the River Quoile. The set designers are currently building a jetty for these scenes, which has been described as “quite tricky and hard going”, as a boat of light will be used for the scenes.

Previous Northern Ireland locations used include Audleys Tower in Castleward in Co Down, Tollymore Forest near Newcastle, and the Mourne Mountains. When production is complete on season three this November, all six counties of Northern Ireland will have featured in ‘Game of Thrones’ from seasons one to three. Production will move to Iceland after it wraps in Northern Ireland to take advantage of the authentic snowfall.

Doelger said production will begin on season four in April 2013, and he is hopeful HBO will return to Northern Irish shores again, despite the media giants requesting a financially friendlier location.

“Every year HBO ask us to examine all the various options out there because there are places with more generous tax credits [than Northern Ireland] and I think that as the show gets more expensive that pressure will mount. But if in fact the [UK] tax credit does pass, I think our future here will be assured,” said Doelger. Although he admitted to not knowing the official budget himself, he did say the show’s budget was “significant”. ‘Game of Thrones’ received funding from the Northern Ireland Screen Fund supported by Invest NI and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Other regional links include newly announced cast member from Armagh, who joins returning cast members Aidan Gillen, Michelle Fairley and Jack Gleeson.
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A Hooters is coming to AmeriPlex at the Port in Portage.

The restaurant chain, which has locations in Schererville and Merrillville, is known for its scantily clad female servers and chicken wings. A plan to bring a Hooters to the business park in Portage dates back to at least 2006, but construction only recently began.

Schererville based commercial real estate firm Latitude Commercial sold the property where the Hooters is under construction to a local investor for $3.3 million.

“The property comes with a long term lease that was signed at closing and is backed by a very reputable company,” Latitude Commercial Senior Vice President Brett McDermott said. “It is a strong investment for the buyer given the price point and the length of the lease.”

South Bend based Holladay Construction Group is building a $2.2 million stand alone sit down restaurant and sports bar at 1665 Olmsted Drive in the AmeriPlex complex, which already includes dining options like El Salto, LongHorn Steakhouse, Taco Bell, Starbucks, Subway, DQ Grill and Chill, and the Islamorada Fish Co. at Bass Pro Shops.

The mixed used business park on Ind. 249 between Interstate 94 and the Port of Indiana Burns Harbor in Portage also is home to many large industrial employers like MonoSol, Fronius and Graycor.

Atlanta based Hooters of America LLC will own the new 5,600 square foot eatery, which is expected to be finished by January. It will be south of the Country Inn and Suites hotel on the southwest side of the park.

Hooters operates more than 430 restaurants worldwide.

The first vacancies Gordmans and Firehouse Subs have opened up in Schererville’s Shops on Main shopping center since construction began in 2013.

But two more waves of construction are planned at the new shopping center at Indianapolis Boulevard and Main Street, which is home to Whole Foods, Nordstrom Rack, Pier 1 Imports and Tomato Bar.

Retail developer and manager Regency Centers said the 254,107 square foot retail hub at the border of Schererville and Highland has eight vacancies totaling 76,851 square feet of available retail space, including 18,472 square feet that has not been built.

There’s also land available for outlot construction along Main Street directly across from the Target at the four way intersection that leads into the neighboring Highland Grove shopping center just north of Shops on Main. Any development there potentially could be larger than the largest anchor store at Shops on Main, the now vacant 50,134 square foot former Gordmans big box store, according to Regency Centers.

Regency Centers also is looking to build out another phase between the original back row of stores that includes Ross Dress for Less, DSW and Home Goods, and the new section to the south that include Nordstrom Rack, Talbots and Bentley’s Pet Stuff.

The future development will include four storefronts, ranging in size from 3,436 square feet to 7,475 square feet. Other spaces also are available for lease in the new section and the strip mall along Indianapolis Boulevard.

Rosati’s Pizza, known for its thin crust and deep dish Chicago style pizzas, will soon open a second location in Schererville.

The Warrenville, Illinois based chain, the second largest restaurant chain in the Chicago area after Portillo’s, has a sit down family style pizzeria that seats 100 at5504 Lincoln Highway in Schererville. It plans to add a second, smaller Schererville location atShoppes on the Boulevard on Indianapolis Boulevard, near the borders of Highland and Munster.

The new shopping center is currently under construction just south of Steak Shake. Rosati’s will lease space in the new development, which also will include aMcAlister’s Deli and aBuonaBeef.

“We are excited for Rosati’s to join the already strong lineup of tenants within the development,” Latitude Commercial Senior Vice President Brett McDermott said. “This leaves us with about 4,000 square feet remaining in which we are in talks with a few potential tenants on.”

The new Rosati’s leasing space next to theMcAlister’s will focus mainly on takeout and delivery, according to a Latitude Commercial press release. Customers will be able to order pizza, pasta, sandwiches, salads and appetizers like garlic bread and fried ravioli. 30 in Schererville focuses more on the dining in experience and offers beer and wine.

Rosati’s, which has been “keeping it real since 1964,” also has Northwest Indiana locations in St. John, Munster and Valparaiso.

A new resale shop in Hammond’s Hessville neighborhood sells is selling furniture, general merchandise, collectibles and other sundries.

Danny Schuster, his girlfriend Julie Poremba, and their mothers Aleene Minard and Diana Keller, started 219 Resale Shop at6647 Kennedy Ave. to find new life for used items. It had long been Poremba’s dream to open a resale shop.

“We have a lot of experience in resale, in garage sales and antique shows,” she said. “Plus I’ve done merchandising for Pier One. It’s coming together quite nicely.”

The store carries a wide inventory that includes kitchen ware, men’s clothing and collectibles, including windup toys and miniatures cars still in the box, mostly acquired from estate sales and storage sales. Items frequently change, and 219 Resale is currently stocking a lot of Christmas decorations.

“There’s a lot to rummage around,” she said. “It’s well done and well put together. There’s a lot of merchandise that’s pleasing to the key. We try to be over the top with customer service and roam around to help customers. We want people to leave the store happy and come back.”

They thought the Hessville neighborhood could use a good thrift store.

“Some stores go to upper scale neighborhoods where they know they can make money,” Poremba said. “We want something for the residents. I came from Hessville, originally.”

The store has however proven to be a destination for those who like treasure hunting at resale shops.
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By Catherine E. SchoichetBENSALEM, Pennsylvania (CNN) It wasn’t something Msgr. Edward Deliman expected to find inside the church offering basket: an angry message, scrawled on the back of a check.”No more Spanish in the bulletin,” the note said. “Tell them to speak English.”Deliman’s parish, Saint Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church, is more than 100 years old. It began in 1903 with a small church built in memory of a railroad contractor who was the son of Irish immigrants and had a summer home nearby.Over the decades, a lot has changed: the names of priests in the pulpit, the size of the church and the number of people in the pews. But one thing stayed the same: Nearly all of the churchgoers were white.Now that, too, has started to shift.Last year, the Philadelphia Archdiocese announced that the church would merge with Our Lady of Fatima, a largely Latino parish just a few miles down the road.Deliman is easing his church into a new chapter.The note was left in the offering basket a year ago, when news of the merger was fresh. Since then, Deliman says, most parishioners have been more open minded. But to help them adjust, he’s trying to take it slow.It wasn’t until this summer that the two parishes started regularly celebrating Sunday Mass in the same space.Fatima remains open for special ceremonies, and a Saturday night Spanish Mass is still held at the church. As parishioners practice their faith at both locations, Deliman knows feelings of fear and uncertainty still bubble beneath the surface.Tensions and misunderstandings are inevitable when parishes merge even when the parishioners come from similar cultural backgrounds. It takes up to five years to combine two congregations smoothly, experts say.In time, Deliman believes his parishioners will come to understand each other. Right now, it’s his job to lead the way.And so, in late July, St. Charles celebrated its first Mass entirely in Spanish.”The face of our Church is changing,” he says. “The face of our nation is changing. The face of this parish is changing.”The priest plans to keep the church bulletin bilingual. And last year, he ordered new books for every pew. On the cover is a painting showing the face of Jesus in a collage of pink, brown and cream colored hues. The title is a message he hopes his parishioners will embrace with time: “Unidos en Cristo/United in Christ.”Faith and familiaritySolemn mourners file into the long wooden pews at St. Charles on a muggy summer morning.A soprano voice echoes through the huge hall as the funeral Mass begins. When the cantor announces which song she’ll sing next, few people open a hymnal. Almost everyone already knows the words.Here on the outskirts of one of America’s most Catholic cities where even Protestants have been known to describe their neighborhoods by the name of the Catholic parish nearby the words, music and rituals of Mass are a thread in the fabric of daily life.Deliman tries to offer solace as he begins his homily, pointing out that praying in the “familiarity of our parish church” is a source of comfort.In the past several months, he tells them, he’s presided over several funerals for “old time parishioners” from St. Charles. And 86 year old Claire Gradel, he says, was one of them devoted to the church and “unquestionably loyal.” For years, she helped with adult religious education and brought communion to the home bound. Claire, he says, has now been “freed from the knots of age and sickness and human frailty.””Don’t grieve and I know you won’t don’t grieve like those who have no hope,” Deliman says. “We Catholics can be a little quirky at times, but I truly believe that we are at our best when we gather together to pray.”He adds that in addition to grieving the loss of longtime parishioners, many mourners are pondering a larger question: “Who will replace them?””It’s a good question to ask,” he tells them.He pauses for a moment, then continues with the Mass, leaving the puzzle unsolved.Differences, and tension, in the pewsPopulation growth in this suburb just north of Philadelphia was once fueled by the arrival of European immigrants and their children. Now the demographics are shifting.
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That up 30 percent from the same period last year.

And while many were small mom and pop stores, dozens of major national retailers are on the list, including Toys R Us, Payless Shoes, Gymboree and Rue21. Those chains all remain in business, but The Limited shut down, and RadioShack closed almost all of its remaining stores with its second bankruptcy filing.

At a time when employers hired nearly 2 million workers and unemployment reached a 17 year low, retail was one of the biggest job losers employment fell by 36,000 jobs. Only telecommunications lost more.

But those in the industry say this was not what others referred to as a “retail apocalypse.” Instead, it a normal evolution.

“There is always going to be winners and losers in an industry like this. It constantly in a state of flux,” said Tom McGee, CEO of the International Council of Shopping Centers, a trade group of mall owners. Penney and Macy have closed some of their anchor locations.

But while it true that store opening announcements are also up compared to 2016, according to Fung, those openings total only 3,433. That just under half of the number of store closing announcements. And most of those opening plans were announced by Dollar Tree and Dollar General, two bargain brands.

As for the job losses, some of them are due to retailers using more automation, such as self checkout lanes, as they struggle to control costs and find the workers they need in a time of low unemployment.

Traditional brick and mortar retailers are shifting more jobs to their online operations, where the workers are counted as warehousing or logistics jobs rather than retail jobs, said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation.

“It true that 2017 has been a challenging year. But things have picked up,” he said.

Kleinhenz said the biggest problem for retailers now is that customers can comparison shop so easily that even when they buy in the stores, “there very limited pricing power for retailers.”

“Margins are getting thinner and thinner,” he said. “Some of the closures are due to that.”

By all indications, this will be a good holiday shopping season overall. Sales are expected to be up about 4 percent compared to last year, according to industry experts.

He said he expects a rash of new store closing announcements and perhaps bankruptcy filings early in 2018 when the dust settles from this holiday season.

“There are A and B students out there who are worth celebrating,” he said. “But not everyone can be an A student.”
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The concept of acculturation, conceived in the fields of anthropology and sociology early in the 20th century (see Park Burgess, 1921; Redfield, Linton Herskovits, 1936), has been used to explain dynamics involved when people from diverse cultural backgrounds come into continuous contact with one another. Throughout the years, theories of acculturation have evolved from the unidirectional school of thought with an emphasis on assimilation to bidimensional and interactive perspectives which posit various acculturative outcomes (see Berry, 1980; Castro, 2003; Chun, Organista Marin, 2003; Gordon, 1964). Acculturation theories could potentially offer insights into multifaceted and often versatile interactions between immigrants and the dominant culture. The processes of acculturation are, however, complex and have often been dealt with in the literature in confusing and inconsistent ways (Berry Sam, 1997). The interchangeable use of the terms assimilation and acculturation in many acculturation theories also points to the persistent melting pot discourse. Furthermore, many acculturation theorists have not explicitly reflected upon their ontological and epistemological orientations and biographies, and how these impact their work. These contexts call for the use of an anti oppressive and social justice lens to critically examine the prominent acculturation theories and their usefulness to understanding of interactions between immigrants and the dominant culture.

The anti oppressive and social justice perspective has served as a critical lens for feminists, critical race theorists, queer theorists, and proponents of the rights of persons with disabilities, among others, to examine social structures that favor certain groups in society and oppress others along social divisions of class, race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and so forth. Philosophically, proponents of the anti oppressive and social justice view position themselves in the transformative paradigm (Mertens, 2004), also known as the structuralist or socialist collectivist paradigm in social work literature (see Payne, 1997; Poulter, 2005). They reject the notion of consensus in the nature of society, and attempt to deconstruct apparently democratic notions of and individualized power as convenient illusions which mask a more complex reality in which some are more able than others to exert influence (Tew, 2006). Instead, they see society as changing and evolving not through cooperative endeavour, but through conflicts of interest, power and resources (Howe, 1987).

According to the anti oppressive and social justice perspective, complex, multifaceted oppressive relations at the personal, institutional, cultural, local, national, and global levels permeate all physical, psychological, cultural, economic, political and spiritual domains of humanity (see Dominelli, 2002). Oppressive relations divide people into dominant and subordinate groups along social divisions. It also exerts, reinforces and defends its status quo through various oppressive mechanisms, such as normalization of dominant values and priorities, curtailing activities of subordinate groups with social control systems, attacks on formation and reformation of identity, aimed at dehumanizing people and ascribing to them a subordinate status, creating myths of superiority and inferiority, and cultural alienation and annihilation (Dominelli, 2002; Freeman, 2006; Mullaly, 2002).

With respect to social justice, the anti oppressive perspective is critical of conventional notions of distributive/redistributive social justice, which focus solely on the distribution and redistribution of income and other resources, often defined in terms of some kind of social minimum (Mullaly, 2002). Rather, it advocates for procedural justice with greater emphases upon social structures, processes and practices (see Duetsch, 2006). As a profession, social work has articulated its commitment to social justice and human rights (see Abramovitz, 1998; CASW, 2005; NASW, 1999). It is, thus, necessary to put a spotlight on the theorists ontological and epistemological orientations and histories before delving into the theories.

Ontologically, many influential acculturation theorists, including Milton Gordon and John Berry (see Gordon, 1964; Berry Sam, 1997), have firmly planted their philosophical roots in realism, which posits an objective, knowable and universal reality (Williams Arrigo, 2006). Berry and Sam (1997), for example, insist that although there are substantial variations in the life circumstances of the cultural groups that experience acculturation, the psychological processes that operate during acculturation are essentially the same for all the groups. They go on to state explicitly that adopt a universalist perspective on acculturation (Berry Sam, 1997, p.296, italics in original). Such an empirical, universalist stance on acculturation has been responsible for a significant body of theoretical work that denies historically, politically and socially situated realities facing immigrants and fails to explain varying experiences in immigrants lives. The field of acculturation has been dominated by white males of European descent, who often do not speak immigrant languages (Gans, 1997). Yet, these scholars do not readily discuss their limitations with respect to their understanding of languages, cultural nuances and histories. They seldom offer a critical account of the effect of their own biographies, worldviews and ideologies on their work with people of diverse cultures and on their own theoretical development. Further, they often do not articulate their awareness of the social, political and cultural contexts in which they are living, and how these impact their work. Consequently, their analyses of acculturation have been ahistorical, gender neutral, and apolitical. Most ironically, their views on culture have been rather monolithic, overlooking diversity within cultural groups.

In summary, the existing body of knowledge related to acculturation theories has been bounded by the prominent theorists relatively uniform ontological and epistemological orientations and histories. It is important to keep these limitations in mind as we proceed with a critical examination of the prominent acculturation schools of thought, namely unidirectional, bidimensional and interactive acculturation.

In the unidirectional tradition, acculturation is synonymous with assimilation, or absorption of subordinate groups into the dominant culture. Early in the 20th century, Robert Park drew upon the hallmark ecological framework of the Chicago school of sociology to describe the process through which ethno racial groups progressively and irreversibly experience contact, competition, accommodation and assimilation (Park, 1950, p.138). Building upon his mentor work, Gordon (1964, 1978) proposed an assimilation model that describes the gradual process of absorption of immigrants and members of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture at the individual and group levels. Gordon classified assimilation into seven types and their sub processes: (1) cultural assimilation and acculturation (change of cultural patterns to those of dominant culture); (2) structural assimilation (large scale entrance into institutions of dominant culture); (3) marital assimilation or amalgamation (large scale intermarriage); (4) identificational assimilation (development of sense of peoplehood based exclusively on the dominant culture); (5) attitude receptional assimilation (absence of prejudice); (6) behavoural receptional assimilation (absence of discrimination); and (7) civic assimilation (absence of value and power conflicts).

According to Gordon theory, cultural assimilation and acculturation is the first step of the absorption process that would take place and that would continue indefinitely even when no other type of assimilation occurred (Gordon, 1964). Gordon vision for intergroup harmony, however, rests in the centrality of structural assimilation. He states, structural assimilation has occurred, either simultaneously with or subsequent to acculturation, all of the other types of assimilation will naturally follow (Gordon, 1964, p.80 81, italics in original). Gordon rationalized that structural assimilation would facilitate opportunities for interethnic relationships, which in turn provide opportunities for interethnic marriages. Marital assimilation then would result in the loss of ethnic identity of minority groups, promote stronger ties with the receiving society, and over time reduce prejudice and discrimination. Gordon made it clear that the culture, in the American context, that represents the direction and eventual outcome of assimilation is the cultural patterns of, largely, white Protestant, Anglo Saxon origins (Gordon, 1964, p.72). Acculturation, in his view, would require the extinction of any form of ethnic identity in favor of an exclusively national identity.

Subsequent efforts, notably by Gans (1973) and Sandberg (1973), addressed Gordon somewhat static formulation of assimilation with their explicit elaboration of the notion of assimilation. Again, immigrants and members of ethnic minorities would be involved in a sequence of intergenerational steps, progressively stepping away from ethnic zero and moving toward assimilation (Alba Nee, 1997). Portes Zhou (1995), conscious of the importance of socioeconomic factors in immigrant adaptation, challenged the notion of homogeneous acculturation, and offered a segmented assimilation theory. They outline several distinct forms of adaptation, including: (1) acculturation and integration into the white middle class, (2) assimilation into the underclass, and (3) preservation of ethnic cultural traditions and close ethnic ties through social networks in the community.

From the anti oppressive and social justice perspective, the unidirectional acculturation school of thought is pervasively and devastatingly oppressive. Its assimilation framework, both as a social process and an ideology, mirrors the deliberate colonization of the so called World nations and cultures by European imperialism over the course of hundreds of years. It involves the sociopsychology of superiority and domination of Eurocentric ways of being, the assignment of inferiority and otherness to non European people, and the gravitation toward expansion, exploitation and subjugation. The prevalent assertion among the unidirectional acculturation theorists that the ultimate aim for acculturation of immigrants is their assimilation into the dominant culture, involving their eradication of any form of ethnic identity in favor of an exclusively national identity (Gordon, 1964), is parallel to the final act of appropriation in the chronology of imperialism (see Smith, 1999).

Theorists of the unidirectional school of thought gravitate toward an existentialist functionalist orientation, putting a strong emphasis on social equilibrium, stability, and free will. They have not adequately and justly examined the structure of the dominant receiving society and its role in the social construction of socioeconomic inequities facing immigrants. Specifically, they fail to position acculturation in the larger social, political and economic contexts of intergroup relationships and interactions, to question the role of power and domination in the marginalization of immigrants in the assimilation process, and to understand the historical influence of colonization and imperialism in modern day immigration. Even some progressive segmented assimilation scholars, such as Portes Zhou (1995), have only discussed the issues related to social class in deterministic, consensual terms. Unidirectional theories, then, view acculturation as a one way, psychological process relevant only to immigrants in their journey toward cultural shedding, behavioural shifting and eventual full absorption into the dominant culture. Embedded in this view is the inflated notion of free will exercised by immigrants, and undeclared structural determinism with respect to the dominant culture. Psychosocial and economic struggles of certain groups of immigrants are, thus, viewed as their failure to shed their cultural inferiority and to acquire the aspired to Eurocentric, middle class norms and standards.

With a few exceptions (see Portes Zhou, 1995), the unidirectional acculturation school of thought perpetuates the pervasive myth of equal opportunities. Immigrants are assumed to be able to achieve a good life, similar to that of the dominant culture, once they shed their cultural identity, norms and practices and achieve full assimilation. This myth serves two purposes. First, it reinforces the myth of fairness in an unfair society in order to justify the status of the dominant culture. Second, it masks the fact that social position and resources will give some people preferred access to these so called (Mullaly, 2002). The myth of opportunity, therefore, helps to put blame on immigrants who fail to achieve Eurocentric, middle class life patterns. Those who experience socioeconomic hardship are seen as people of inferior, inassimilable cultural groups who fail to take advantage of the equal opportunities available to all citizens. The myth of equal opportunities, of course, has been proven untrue. It has been well documented that immigrants do not have equal access to opportunities in various aspects of their lives, including education (Ngo, 2007; Watt Roessingh, 2001) and employment (Statistics Canada, 2001), and that second and third generation children of immigrants have experienced differential rates of poverty and social alienation (Portes Zhou, 1995; Reitz Banerjee, 2007). If there were such a thing as equal opportunity for immigrants, it would be the equal opportunity of becoming unequal.

Finally, the monolithic view of culture, inherent in the unidirectional acculturation school of thought, refuses to examine the diversity within cultural groups in terms of gender, age, sexual orientation, ability and so forth. It further attacks the very identity formation and reformation of immigrants. By presenting Eurocentric middle class cultural patterns as the goal, the monolithic view has reinforced inferiority and subjugation of non European immigrants by the dominant culture. Unidirectional acculturation theories ignore the devastating impact of the extinction of ethnic cultural identity in the process of assimilation on the wellbeing of immigrants, and its potential role in creating bleak socioeconomic realities for some immigrants. Unfortunately, the oppressive intent behind the unidirectional school of thought has often escaped scrutiny in the existing literature. Many scholars, particularly those who focus on measurement of acculturation of immigrants, have uncritically incorporated the established unidirectional acculturation theories into their research efforts. They have contributed to the imperialistic discursive field of knowledge that pathologizes the complex and often unjust experience facing immigrants (see Cuellar, Harris Jasso, 1980; Padilla, 1980; Szapocznik, J. Scopetta, Kurtines, Aranalde, 1978; Wong, 1999).

Criticism of unidirectional acculturation theories led to the development of the bidimensional acculturation school of thought. Prominent, and perhaps most influential, in this school of thought is John Berry, a Canadian scholar of cross cultural psychology. Berry (1974, 1980) proposed a quadric modal acculturation model outlining acculturation strategies that individuals and groups use in their intergroup encounters. Central to this model is the concept that there are two independent dimensions underlying the process of acculturation of immigrants, namely maintenance of heritage, culture and identity, and involvement with or identification with aspects of their societies of settlement (Berry, 1980). Projected orthogonally, an acculturation space is created with four sectors within which individuals may express how they are seeking to acculturate: assimilation, separation, marginalization and integration (see figure 1). According to this model, assimilation occurs when there is little interest in cultural maintenance combined with a preference for interacting with the larger society. Separation is the way when cultural maintenance is sought while avoiding involvement with others. Marginalization exists when neither cultural maintenance nor interaction with others is sought. Finally, integration is present when both cultural maintenance and involvement with the larger society is sought. Other scholars have also proposed similar bidimensional acculturation models (see Phinney, 1990; Bourhis, Moise, Perrault Senecal, 1997).

Figure 1a: Quadric modal acculturation model (Berry, 1980; 1984)

Like its unidirectional acculturation predecessor, bidimensional acculturation theory gravitates toward the functionalist perspective. In a recent publication, Berry, Phinney, Sam Vedder (2006) stated, we seek to avoid the extra baggage that often accompanies terms such as mainstream, majority, dominant, minority, non dominant and host society (p.11). This is as much a declaration of their apolitical, ahistorical and overall functionalist stance in viewing intergroup relations as a statement about their choice of terminology. Without a willingness to engage in critical examination of domination and institutionalized oppression (legitimizing the dominant group power through established social structures in all social, political, economic and cultural domains), bidimensional acculturation theorists focus solely on how immigrants, in a one way process, acculturate themselves into the dominant culture. Even though the bidimensional school of thought offers various acculturation outcomes, its notion of acculturation, with a strong focus on changes of identity, life patterns and adaptation of immigrants, carries remnants of the assimilation school of thought.

Without being grounded in social justice, bidimensional acculturation theories have faced some serious conceptual limitations. At issue are the two foundational dimensions, namely maintenance of cultural identity and characteristics and relationships with the dominant culture. In the context of intergroup relations, identity is a site of struggle that involves ongoing negotiation, creation, deconstruction and re creation (Dominelli, 2002). Depending on their dominant subordinate experiences and subsequent effects, struggles and resilience, immigrants may view their cultural identities differently at various points in life, and at times even experience a false sense of identity, as in the case of internalized oppression. race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and so forth) among immigrants. Similar dynamics also challenge the construction of the second dimension of immigrants relationship with the dominant culture in the bidimensional framework. A sole focus on immigrants perception of their relationships to the dominant culture as individuals possessing free will undermines the dominant subordinate interactive processes that involve exclusion, negotiation, acceptance, accommodation, and so forth, and have varying impacts on immigrants relationships with the dominant culture. Without a deeper understanding of social justice involved in formation and reformation of multiple identities of immigrants and their interactions with the dominant culture, the bidimensional acculturation theories at best cannot provide a holistic explanation of inequitable socioeconomic realities facing some immigrants, and at worst pathologize a marginalized population.

Finally, the language attached to various acculturation modes requires analysis. In the consensual perspective, the bidimensional acculturation theories assume horizontal hierarchy in power relations among groups. This unexamined and biased assumption is in direct co
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This spring, belly shirts and slip dresses have become the apparel of choice among stylish teens. We have our heads shaved, noses, eyebrows and other body parts pierced, wear stars on faces, platform shoes and dye our hair bright colors. We also dress in a lot of old clothes from the 1970s. I used to be preppy, wearing jeans, tennis shoes and little tops.

I think it turns off guys the way I look. But I’m not out to impress guys. Maybe I’ll calm down when I want a boyfriend. Some guys think I’m daring.

My friends and I try to be different in a good way though, not a raunchy way. Most girls who dress like sluts want to show off their bodies. But how they dress does not necessarily represent who they are.

My mom tries to pick out clothes for me, but she’s OK with anything. She thinks I should dye my hair two colors. She likes that I’m different. We share clothes too. My dad does not approve of most of my look, like the little shorts and tight clothes. When I go to parties in Pasadena, I buy the clothes I see on people over there and bring the styles over here.

My parents pay for my clothes. They might give me $100. They don’t want me to dress like a gangster, just get some party clothes. My brother is always telling me to dress right, tuck in my shirt, because he knows I’ve had guns pointed at me for the way I look and the people I hang around with.

I don’t think there is anything that would be trampy on guys. But on girls, platform shoes, short shorts,
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mini shirts look trampy. I like girls with tight Levis and a tight shirt. At parties, they look pretty when they wear their little outfits.

17, Sherman Oaks

I prefer a girl who dresses with more class. If I see a girl in a mini outfit, I look twice. But I’m thinking, “She’s probably not that smart.” If I had a girl who showed up for a date like that, I’d tell her she looks great, but I would think she looks ugly.

I asked one girl to change. We were going to my parents house and she was wearing a body suit that was mesh and see though in parts with just a jacket over it. It was something that would have been OK for her to wear out, but it was too revealing for my parents.

When guys wear T shirts that are a little bit too small or really tight tank tops, it’s not slutty. They are just trying to get attention. Unfortunately, there is a double standard: Guys are not considered sluts.

Personally, a guy’s wardrobe is much more complicated because guys have much more peer pressure.

16, Santa Monica

I am influenced by what I see in magazines and on other people and that are comfortable when I wear them, like jeans and tops. I feel I look sexy in jeans and a really cute tight top.

My parents won’t let me wear my bra showing through a tank top or exposed at all. But I’ve worn it that way.

If I’m going to a party and I want to meet a guy, I’m not going to purposely wear revealing clothing. But I won’t go in a turtleneck.

Guys have like three options: shorts, pants and different kinds of shirts. Women’s fashion is way more diverse. A guy in jeans and a tight tank top at the Santa Monica Promenade on Saturday night is just trying to say, “Hey, baby I’m a stud.”RANDI GRAVES
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Her grandfather, James Brown of Baltimore, sold his big, rather goofy looking blue and black basketball sneakers, which to Rachel’s giggles had once doubled as uproariously funny clown shoes.

Guess a kid has to find out sometime what a grandfather will do for a quick $150.

Brown surrendered the shoes, a pair of 1985 Nike Air Jordans, to a company that will sell them to kids in Japan who are trying, in desperately expensive ways, to be cool. Dozens of people did the same thing as Brown yesterday, lining up in the Sheraton International Hotel in Linthicum to trade their old, sweaty basketball shoes for cash.

“Rachel, God bless her, she’s a smart little thing, and she knows things don’t remain static,” her grandfather attempted to rationalize after counting his money. “We’re talking a highly intelligent baby here.”

The company that bought the shoes, Small Earth Inc., travels around the United States, holding buying sessions about every three weeks. Based in Grand Rapids, Mich., Small Earth buys the shoes, photographs them and sends the pictures to dealers in Japan, where particular shoes are all the rage. The dealers then order the shoes, which are sold at a considerable markup.

“The Japanese kids wear blue suits to school,” said Andy Drasiewski, president of the company, trying to explain the inexplicable fads of youth. “See, the only way they can show how cool they are is by what they put on their feet.”

That, of course, only partly explains why some of these basketball shoes are sold in Japan for up to $1,500. What Japanese kids want are old shoes, specifically old Nike shoes, and more specifically, old, uncommon Nike shoes. A new pair of Air Jordans are unwanted, but an old pair can sell for $900 if they’re black and white and not red and white, which brings in only about half as much. A 1985 pair of Nike University Dunks can sell for $1,500. An Adidas brand or two will also sell, but are not in as high demand.

Drasiewski estimated he will spend $30,000 on shoes turned in at the Sheraton by the time he leaves town, after buying sessions today and tomorrow.

He doesn’t buy every pair of Nikes that walk in the door. Newer shoes just won’t sell in Japan. So, while some people were paid $250 for a pair of shoes they bought 12 or 13 years ago for $60, other people were offered $10 for shoes that cost them $130 a year ago.

Still other people were told their shoes were worthless in Japan and to keep on walking.

Frank Brown of Baltimore, for example, along with his buddy Earl Brown, filled four large garbage bags with shoes and lugged them to the Sheraton. They couldn’t sell a sole. “I just wanted to clear my closet and make some money, and I come up here, and MAN!”

Keith Jack, 22, of Columbia felt somewhat the same way, but he was willing to unload a pair of 1995 Air Jordans for $35. He had paid $140.

“You know, you don’t pay $140 for a pair of tennis shoes and go around wearing them,” he said without a hint of irony. “You don’t wear them unless you’re going on a date or something.”

Drasiewski said he has run into problems in several cities, facing hordes of people who arrive certain they will be paid big money for their shoes.

In fact, he pays top dollar only for a handful of brands from a few scattered years.

The Nike shoes most in demand are the first six editions of the Air Jordans, made from 1985 through 1991, University Dunks, and the Georgetown Terminators. French made Adidas basketball shoes will also earn some cash. ( Drasiewski is also paying for pre 1970 Levis).

“We’re after fashion, not function,” he told one person who had hoped to sell a pair of 1994 Air Jordans, a remake of the much in demand and original 1985 Air Jordans. “To them, it’s like the original is the Picasso and you have a reprint of the Picasso.”

Drasiewski said sellers should not try to hide scuffs or glue a sole or even change insets, because all of those fixes decrease, rather than increase, the value of the shoe in Japan.

As for Grandpa Brown, he was laughing so perhaps he was only kidding but it could be he was feeling a little guilt over his beloved granddaughter Rachel. He had his own plans for the day.
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