While on a brief stop in İstanbul for his book signing at Les Benjamins, we had the chance to speak with the author of the street culture bible ‘All Gone’ and curator of cool, Michael ‘La MJC’ Dupouy. It was incredibly refreshing talking to someone with such a deep knowledge of and love for the street culture.
Since he published the first edition in 2006, the world of streetwear and sneakers have become a billion-dollar business and his bibles of street culture have become highly collectable. All Gone’s 14th edition is titled “I Want Your Love”. Well, he’s got ours!
What did inspire you to start the All Gone project?
I started my career as a journalist at the end of the 90s in France. In 2001 I realized the people I was working for didn’t really understand the street culture and wanted to stay in the mainstream. So I quit and started a communication agency with my best friend.
In 2004, everyone was saying print will be dead in 10 to 15 years and magazines will be all gone. I didn’t want to accept it and I knew I had to do something about it. At first, I considered publishing a magazine. When you think about it, magazines are good for promoting the present and the future but when you want to document the past and remember what was cool 10 years ago you need something else. You need a book. So I made All Gone to document the culture we love so much.
You’ve been collecting items in your book and now the book has become a collector’s item itself. When you published the first edition 14 years ago, did you ever imagine to reach this kind of success?
Honestly no. My goal was “Let’s try to make it for 5 years’. But in time more and more people started to care about the book. And then I found myself doing the decade edition. The first book was only 500 copies, now it’s 3000 something and this year I have 37 book signings all over the world.
A couple of years ago it was a trend to rework high fashion logos and the high fashion houses were suing streetwear brands for it, now they are collaborating with them. 10 years ago you could not possibly enter a cool club wearing sneakers, and now you’re more than welcome. How do you feel about streetwear becoming mainstream?
A lot of people complain about streetwear becoming mainstream and I understand it. They complain about streetwear losing its soul and they even DM me asking me to stop promoting this. And I admit that I complain about some stuff too. Like, limited edition makes no sense anymore and there are too many sneakers on the market.
But the thing is, 10 years ago if I tried to enter a club in Paris wearing sneakers they would have told me “Sorry, it’s not possible”. Or having dinner in a nice restaurant wearing a cap, people would have asked me to remove it. Today I’m in İstanbul dressed like this and doing this interview with you. I’m flying all over the world promoting what I’m doing. And this is just amazing. And there is no way I can complain about this. We used to be around 2000 people in the world and we are now millions. For me, it’s a victory. We haven’t lost anything, on the contrary, this is a great progress. We took something that is very niche and made it global.
There are almost thirty sneakers dropping every weekend. But all All Gone editions manage to feature the best of the best. How is the curation process of the book?
Everything that goes in the book represents my taste, this is the first rule. The story and the people behind a product matters. In the end there is a good balance between brands, colours and reason. And of course, the book can’t be all about the sneakers. Because then people would be bored. It has to have clothes, sculptures and art.
10 years ago if I tried to enter a club in Paris wearing sneakers they would have told me “Sorry, it’s not possible”. Today I’m in İstanbul dressed like this and doing this interview with you.
What are your favourites from this year’s book?
Human Made’s t-shirt. It features an image from the movie Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, specifically a protest scene in which a character holds a placard that reads “Go Human, Not Ape.” It’s very provocative, I love Nigo, I love Human Made and that t-shirt is just magic.
KAWS’ ‘Gone’ figurine. Its design portrays the popular Companion character carrying his “BFF” mascot. I’m a fan of the artist and I think this is his best work.
Supreme x Pearl drum set and Supreme x Meissen hand-painted porcelain cupid figurine.
Hajime Sorayama x Case Studyo’s sculpture entitled ‘The Midas Touch’.
Nike’s ‘Cactus Plant Flea Market’ sneakers.
Adidas’ Superstar 80s X Blondey sneakers.
Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 827 sneakers.
Wow, there are so many good products. I already had to choose from thousands of good products for the book and now having to choose again is really difficult.
You’re documenting a culture with All Gone so that all is not gone. So that people can remember and get the right answer when they want to know what was hot in 2008 or see how the street culture evolved. So how would you feel if one day Parsons want to add All Gone to their curriculum?
I would be super happy. I gave some speeches at colleges in France about my book, who I am and how I got to be the guy who turned his hobbies into a job. If one day my book ends up in museums or in auction houses I would be more than happy.
How do you feel that streetwear has evolved since you started All Gone?
Unfortunately, it has become more luxurious and pricey. Streetwear is supposed to talk to the youth and to people who really appreciate it. But when a t-shirt costs 2000 euros, it will be worn only by people who can afford it and this way streetwear will be at risk of not reaching out to its real audience with great taste.
What would you like to see from streetwear in this coming year?
My friends Ben Shenassafar and Bobby Kim of The Hundreds curated The Hundreds Family Style Food Festival. The festival combined two worlds that rarely cross paths: food and fashion. I would like to see more of this where the street culture mix with different industries like cars, computers and food, this would excite me.
We know you are a fan of Paris Saint Germain. How do you think the relationship between fashion and your passion for sports affected who you are today?
It has affected me all my life because I’ve been wearing sports-related clothes and shoes all my life. Years ago fashion houses didn’t include these products so I had to go to sports stores to buy what I liked and needed. Being comfortable has always been my priority when I choose what to wear every morning. And now dressing easy and wearing sneakers are recognized as cool. I mean I also like wearing suits but it would definitely be less comfortable to do 37 stops in 10 weeks wearing suits.
You say you’re not a gifted musician. But if you were to produce some music, who would you want to collaborate with?
That’s a very very interesting question. I’d love to do something with Daft Punk. And I’d love to do something with Frank Ocean. They are ultra mega-talented. I also love Tyler, The Creator. I think he’s a genius and he always reinvents himself into surprising characters. Making music with any of these names would be amazing!
So what’s next for a guy who has achieved what most people wouldn’t even dare to dream about achieving?
Being happy, collecting new art and finding a way to share the art I have in my office and in my apartment with the public one day. Oh and not having an alarm and only wake up when my body wants to.