Classic or Trash: Needles Track Pant
Classic or Trash: Needles Track Pant
- Words Grailed Team
- Date April 24, 2019
”Classic or Trash” is a recurring franchise highlighting a specific item and asking exactly that question: is it classic or trash? Granted, each member of the Grailed community is entitled to their own opinion, and while the Grailed editorial staff does its best to judge items objectively, we more than encourage you to disagree and sound off in the comments below.
While most hype items are considered hot well before they drop, others sit in relative obscurity for years before suddenly being “discovered.” That’s exactly what happened to Needles patented track pant. Before everyone from A$AP Rocky to your 13-year-old cousin had a pair, the luxe take on the classic athletic warm-up was just a small part of Needles Sportswear. The Japanese brands’ dedicated activewear division, Needles Sportswear produces elevated versions of classic vintage American warm-ups and activewear, including irreverent takes on running shorts, athletic tops and, obviously, track suits.
While Needles Sportswear is a newer addition to the label, Needles itself dates back over two decades. The in-house line of Nepenthes–the Japanese based select shop with outposts in both New York and London—Needles was founded by head honcho Keizo Shimuzu, who alongside Engineered Garments designer Daiki Suzuki began the label with a single blazer in 1997. In the 20 plus years since, Shimuzu has transformed his obsession towards different periods in American fashion history into a brand that’s quite literally a patchwork of vintage Americana, psychedelia and eclecticism. While items range from military cargos to the cult favorite 7-cut flannels, the one item the label can’t keep in stock is the track pants.
Although the track pants have been in production for years, everything changed when a few notable fashion impresarios began traveling and shopping in Tokyo during the latter half of this decade. When notable tastemakers Tremaine Emory (aka DenimTears) and Acyde of No Vacancy Inn and Luka Sabbat began wearing the luxe track pant as an alternative to sweats, the style soon caught wind and suddenly everyone from Rocky to Playboi Carti and even Kanye had a pair. Featuring a ribbon with five interspersed stripes running along the side (as opposed to adidas’ three), the only notable difference between Needles’ and your average iteration is the embroidered butterfly, the brand insignia based off of Steve Mcqueen’s chest tattoo in Papillon. While the pants come in various colors, materials, choices and fits, the overwhelmingly popular option—the “Narrow” cut—was a cult hit amongst Japanese fashion enthusiasts and voarcious hypebeast alike. With limited international stockists, pairs sold as quickly as they hit retail and for a good portion of the last three years were no doubt a fashion essential, a perfect response to elevated yet relaxed aesthetic dominating menswear. The style eventually hit fever pitch when Needles launched a highly-limited capsule in collaboration with AWGE, the A$AP Mob’s creative agency.
As we finally begin to leave athleisure in the rearview, and sweatpants are no longer in favor amongst the fashion set, will the Needles track pant be left behind? Resell prices—which at one point hovered near $400 for certain colorways, a far cry from the $185 retail price in Japan—are beginning to stagnate, and a trend towards more formal trousers and cargos has many abandoning the track pants. The way we see it, while the favorite Narrow cut may be past its prime, you can never have enough good casual pants, and the Needle Track pant is one of the best quality takes on loungewear out there. Now that men are beginning to embrace wider cuts, you may want to consider opting for the more versatile straight leg versions. Still, as long as we need comfortable pants for a flight—or even the office—Needles track pants are here to stay.
Disagree? Whether you think Needles Track pants are classic or trash, let us know in the comments below.