Please Stop Making Those Ironic Fashion T-Shirts

By Bobby Viteri

 

One thing you should understand before you reblog that Margiela mask is that you’ll probably never ever see it in person, let alone purchase it. And if you are fucking with that sort of fashion, you probably have better things to do than waste away hours in the dark on Tumblr. (See: Real life.)

I know it sounds stupid, but high fashion is art, and art is a spectator’s sport. I know you’re probably thinking that you don’t fit into this paradigm, but let’s be real for a second—you own one piece of ready-to-wear that cost you a month’s salary and a few of the welfare H&M designer-collaboration pieces. I treasure the few expensive garments I own, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world, but the gap between the fashion players and the fashion fans has created a monster. People despise sitting on the bench, so logically they have done what outsiders always do: They made their own game. Various smaller brands have started coming out with half-ass designs that combine some tongue-in-cheek remark with iconic imagery from major fashion houses.

These iconic-turned-ironic parodies seem to have stemmed from veteran streetwear brands like SSUR and its Comme Des Fuckdown* range. Now let’s get something straight, back when SSUR dropped Comme Des Fuckdown*, streetwear kind of meant something. In the 80s and 90s, OG brands like FUCT, Stussy, and SSUR organically promoted rebellious youth culture and blazed a trail for hundreds of other brands to follow. So those early streetwear brands pretty much get a pass for house ripping. It’s kind of like that first time Jackson Pollock decided to lose his mind in front of canvas... The first guy always gets a pass.

Then came the various Yves Saint Laurent rips—like the one that read "ASL." Instead of YSL, "ASL" was written in Adolphe Mouron Cassandre’s classic typeface, referring to the old school internet acronym for, "age, sex, location." The Chanel logo has been played on many times over and is by far the most nauseating. The worst might be instances where the classic Chanel logo is used twith classy words like "cunt" emblazoned in all caps on a garment. And then there is Les Plus Dores, the small NYC clothing brand whose name is French for “give us your money.” They started producing jersey team shirts adorned with designers’ surnames and their birth years, like "Tisci, 74," "Margiela, 57," "Slimane, 68," and so forth… Spanish fashion house Balenciaga got its own caricature from the brand Conflict of Interest, who tweaked the storied fashion house’s name to be "Ballinciaga"—the prefix referencing a catchphrase from Jim Jones’s 2006 hit “We Fly High.” Other one-hit wonders include Giraunchy, Ill Slander, and Brawlmain.

The awkward part is that these house rips are priced as if they truly were designer products. Should these lazy graphics that are probably printed on Gildan T-shirts really set you back about a hundred bucks? Should Les Plus Dores rake in cash on an idea that took them five minutes to think up and even less time to design? These con artists apparently have the same attitude as the people behind the super hyped Pyrex Vision brand, who were recently outted for throwing their brand name and the number 23, part of their log, on cheap Ralph Lauren Rugby flannel shirts and marking them up 700 percent. The case of swagger-jacking was so egregious that designer Mark McNairy poked fun at them in his latest fall/winter 2013 collection for New Amsterdam’s fall season by designing a similar flannel shirt that simply had the word "Tupperware" printed above an equally obnoxious number, 13.

What these bootleggers need to realize is that unassuming irony is what works, not the awkward “I know who Raf Simons is” vibe they’re giving off. But I have to applaud these brands for exploiting a bunch of girls on the internet who “like fashion.” Even though they are littering the world with more ugly clothing that will undoubtedly end up being worn by some kid in a third world country alongside those Livestrong shirts and Crocs. These house-rippers are basically the equivalent of the Garbage Pail Kids in the fashion world, but without the great art and thoughtful design. It was cool for a bit, but it’s time to knock it off—no pun intended.