SHEER DRIFT: The Snake America Newsletters (1-100) is a body of work about valuable and rare things (about 400 eBay auctions for vintage clothes, furniture and similar I found, researched and reported on) which I wrote between 2014 and 2018. Much of this book can be considered reference material: descriptions, stories and provenance regarding a wide variety of sportswear and American men’s vintage produced between the 30s and 80s. The info is based off my own extensive collection of reference materials and vintage samples, as well as interviews with vintage sellers and collectors, and, mostly, research.
Sheer Drift also functions as a narrative work about vintage as a product category, a substratum of the clothing market that is half black economy, half black hole; a place without rules. Taken together, the collection of items in Sheer Drift—some valuable, some properly valued, some not—show the seams in how Americans approach clothing, both new and old. Or anything that might be more or less valuable than its sticker price.
About the design: Sheer Drift was laid out, originally, to open as a double bound book—like crab claws—with one margin for footnotes and the other for endnotes. Every web link from the original newsletter is reproduced as a screen capture. The layout was conceived by the artist Nathaniel Matthews, and revises the original shaggy, web-research black hole experience into a strong visual document.
-Sami Reiss, editor of Snake America