Launched in 2016, HBX Archives has become a go-to place for sourcing unique pieces from the fashion and streetwear world. From brands like Gucci to sacai and Burberry, we often ponder the stories these sought-after items were once attached to.
As a nod to their past, Artifacts seeks to document the memories behind a collector's prized possession -- or as many call it, their grail. For the latest installment, we talk to Garret Louie, also known as GMAN, who possesses an entrepreneurial spirit like no other. From streetwear and sneakers to music and skateboarding, the Vancouver native has not only dabbled in subcultures beyond these areas but also built communities that helped set the Canadian creative scene's current standing.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Garret Louie but my friends call me GMAN. I own a distribution in Canada called @timebombtrading @fbombtrading, a live music venue called @fortunesound, and a brand called @taikaneverything.
What is your artifact?
A Toshiba BomBeat WX-1 Boombox.
When did you get it?
Around 20 years ago.
Where did you get it?
I found this gem when I was vintage shopping.
Why did you get it?
It’s interesting to see how technology has changed over the years. You can now have a speaker that probably plays louder than this radio that can fit into the palm of your hand. That said, you pull up to the park with this and it’s a much bigger flex [laughing]. The sheer size of this is wild and they say it’s one of the biggest portable stereos ever made. I also have a collection of cassette tapes so it’s great to have something to be able to play those. Having dual cassettes, you can make your own copies and mixtapes, which is always a bonus.
What’s an important memory attached to it?
Some of the music that I grew up with was hip-hop music and I had many friends that were b-boys. Having this reminds me of the LL Cool J Radio album cover and I play that song. This is one of the soundtracks that shaped my early life and I guess this boombox reminds me of that era even though I couldn’t afford one at the time.
Would you sell it and why?
I’ve really tried to not be attached to material things, so yes I would sell it. I’m not actively trying to, but I would. It’s probably not too hard to find on e-bay and you can almost find anything on the internet these days.
Whose artifact do you want to see next?
I’ll go with Raif Adelberg. I know he’s got a lot of cool old things kicking around.