Take 2

The latest issue of h(y)r collective includes a photo shoot recreating the legendary Japanese book “Take Ivy,” which chronicles American college students in the late ’60s.

For the shoot the magazine used contemporary clothing not sourced from manufacturers of traditional American apparel. They also had the audacity to recreate the contents of a tome some consider a breviary. Most odious, they shot it in Canada. Your point of view will determine whether you see the photos as a clever contemporary homage to collegiate style, or the equivalent of painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa.

Note: h(y)r collective is a Flash site. To find the photo spread, start here, click Features, and then click the bottom link: “Take Ivy Revisited.”

We asked founder and creative director Ryan Willms how the shoot came about. Here’s what he said:

I suppose the idea was mine. Although I don’t consider myself a trad specialist or anything that serious, I fell in love with the composition of the “Take Ivy” photos — the outfits and white tube socks. I really loved how natural everything feels when looking at the images. So I thought it would be fun to try to recreate a similar feeling and looks with products that are for sale today, since it felt like things have been quite influenced by this aesthetic lately.

It was my idea to shoot it, but Simon Roe really helped a lot with the details and styling, Matt Savage shoot it and we rented a beautiful Hasselblad camera for the weekend to give the film a nice older feeling.

The clothes were from Roden Gray and Jonathan+Olivia in Vancouver. The brands that showed up most were Engineered Garments, Our Legacy, Band of Outsiders, Comme des Garcons and our Gitman for h(y)r oxford shirts. The rest of the clothing was either vintage finds like the football shirt, or from my own closet like the Allen Edmonds, Sperry and Visvim.

We shot the feature in Victoria, BC, Canada, which is where I grew up and went to school. The city is one of the oldest on the West Coast and there are some beautiful old buildings at my old high school, the oldest in the city. While the original was of course shot in the US, we felt it was an interesting touch re-shooting in Canada, and in our home town.

The goal was really to have fun. We never try to take fashion or clothing too seriously, and we just wanted to produce something as a bit of a tribute and see what we could come up with ourselves. We basically put the shoot together in two and a half days with our friends and family. It turned into a one of the most fun weekends I’ve had, and I think the result sort of shows the positive feeling and approach to the concept.

16 Comments on "Take 2"

  1. While the photo you chose to include within the article is intriguing and something of merit, I felt the others on the website reek of being contrived. The lack of charm and authenticity is grossly apparent. It was a great idea, with poor execution.

    However, I must compliment the staff of Ivy Style for continually producing quality posts, with a pleasing amount of updates. This blog now tops my list!


  2. Old School | May 25, 2009 at 8:42 pm |

    Two things that attracted my attention:
    a) How grim the facial expressions of the models are. People knew how to smile in the authentic Take Ivy times.
    b) How super-cool the models seem to think they are, as contrasted with the naturalness of the authentic Take Ivy students.

    Why didn’t the photographers just go to L.L. Bean and Lands’ End for the clothing, rather than those upstart sources?

  3. Equivalent of painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa.

    I don’t think Ryan Willms gets it – I bet two years ago he was sporting a keffiyeh, and I bet that two years from now he’ll be sporting some other look of the moment.

  4. I thought it was pretty darn good.

    Not to speak for him but… Ryan is a young buck, a wee 23 yrs old I’ve heard– and as such he was probably attempting to make it relevant to him and his peers by using modern brands, as well as classic brands, which also further underscores the contributions that L.L. Bean, Lands’ End and the like still make to today’s menswear style.

    I don’t think any of these guys are actually professional models either, so it’s easy for me to understand how one could come-off as “grim” or “stiff” when they’ve got a camera pointed at them and they now it’s going online– all anyone in that position would want to do is not look like an idiot, so they might get a little tight.

    Give the guy a break.



  5. Christian | May 26, 2009 at 3:40 pm |

    For the sake of argument, I don’t think it’s fair to compare the naturalness of any candid shot against one in which the subject was posing for a photo shoot.

    Also, Jose I think you may want to make sure it’s you who gets it. Mr. Willms is the creative director of a magazine, so I don’t think your remark makes much sense.

  6. Are these brands Canadian? That’s what he should have done….used traditional Canadian brands, shot photos at the old Canadian colleges, etc…….eh?

  7. I thought it was a nice homage to the original. I honestly regard h(y)r as something of a masterpiece because it really seems to be a labor of love, created with little financial backing, but done in such a polished way I really wouldn’t be surprised if we someday see editors at major publications. Because of what I assume is limited financial backing, I’m sure they couldn’t afford to stage a shoot at the original locations. And I understand some may say if you can’t do it exactly, don’t do it at all, but I think that misses the point–the shoot, as I read it, is a way to realize how one can adapt the aesthetic into your style, wether it’s wearing smaller brands in the northwest, Ben Silver and Ralph Lauren in the south, or the original brands in New England.

    I can’t recall, but this might be my first post on Ivy Style, so I just wanted to note that I really enjoy the posts.

  8. Deserved that.

  9. I do not mind the shooting in Canada, but yes, an old Canadian campus would have been a nice touch. The localisation is not so bad I guess – the stiffness of the models is what really kills it. Some pictures are ok, but a good third should be thrashed.

    What’s up with the socks in the loafers anyway?

  10. Not to be pedantic, but painting the mustache on the Mona Lisa was a welcome and long over-due statement. So…I’m not really sure how that question is meant.

  11. Christian | May 28, 2009 at 12:04 pm |

    Long overdue? I think it happened right on cue, right when it was necessary (“necessary” as synonymous with fate) for art to become an ironic, self-referencing meta gimmick.

  12. Fair enough, Christian, but we agree then that it was a necessary development. I’m curious, how do you see these photos? I personally have a difficulty forming an opinion.. If it is but a lighthearted, playful tribute, as described, then I like it. They don’t take it too seriously, and that, in my view, is the best attitude.


  13. Christian | June 4, 2009 at 1:07 pm |

    I think they did a great job. They definitely conveyed the atmosphere of the original while making the shoot (and the clothes) relevant for the audience of a style magazine in 2009. They had no obligation to cater to the small number of curmudgeonly zealots who consider “Take Ivy” sacred.

  14. Does anyone know who makes/where to find on of those yellow rain slickers that are pictured?

    As far as the re-creation, I think it’s fantastic.

  15. Just spotted this post. Email the guy who runs this blog:


  16. I can’t find the photos, I think h(y)r collective is changing their name. I don’t think remaking Take Ivy is a good idea, especially in Canada (despite being Canadian). It lacks the history, the style, and the confidence that allowed New England to create and maintain the prep look. Not a good fit in my books.

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