The main problem with slogan T-shirts is that they're never as shocking as you want them to be. As I understand it, the whole point of having huge words scrawled all over your body is so that people can instantly tell what an outrageous person you are. But the old standards just aren't cutting it any more. "Female Body Inspector"? We're living in a post-Thicke world now, misogyny's moved on. "Drop Beats Not Bombs"? Last time I checked, it wasn't a hugely remarkable opinion to prefer music to war. "CLITCOCK CRAPDILDO FUCKHOAR SEXKUNT MOTHAFUKKAH PUSSYSLUT"? Yeah, I guess you'd have to be a pretty awful person to wanna walk around with that on your chest.
The time for idiots to rejoice has come, for CoolCat clothing – a kind of Dutch Topshop – just released a bunch of unnecessarily explicit designs that are sure to make a wearer's loved ones abandon them forever. It's a weird move on their part. Their designs are usually family friendly, their website's "About" page even says they make clothes for "young people aged 12 to 18 and kids aged 6 to 12". What sort of 13-year-old wants to be known as a CRAPDILDO FUCKHOAR?
I called the director of the men's department to ask what the company's motivations were. Because of the PR issues the company have had this week, he said he'd rather not be mentioned by name.
VICE: Hi there. So how did you choose the designs for your new shirts?
CoolCat director guy: By listening to the words that our customers use regularly. There’s a combination of words that are commonly used on the streets, and words used by icons in the music world. Our graphic designers make these words into artwork and then create a selection of pieces that are put into production.
How do you think your customers feel about your new designs?
They're based on our sense of commerce. On the [CRAPDILDO/FUCKHOAR/etc] sweater it was because the black and white combination is popular nowadays, and you also see big texts a lot in the market.
Okay, so you're always trying to give the customer what they want, basically?
Yes. We work with trend panels and ask patrons for their opinion. That way we can understand what they want and get behind it. We want to give the customer what he wants, not what we want.
"This jersey is for the boy who wants to be the coolest guy in the schoolyard"
So what type of people want a design like the PARTYSHIT ASSBITCH CLITCOCK CRAPDILDO FUCKHOAR SEXKUNT MOTHAFUKKAH PUSSYSLUT one?
We focus on teenagers. This jersey is for the boy who wants to be the coolest guy in the schoolyard. The words on it are indeed quite rude, but we often push the boundaries, or even cross them. This sweater sold more than average, so you could say it was a success.
Cool. Now, some words have been misspelled, like "hoar", for example, and "kunt". Why is that? Were you not allowed to print certain words with the correct spelling?
There's no real reason. On this particular piece, it's a spelling mistake made by our graphic designer. It wasn't noticed during the development of the product. We need to be sharper internally about things like this.
Yeah, you should maybe be more careful with that. Finally, this sweater seems like a pretty great way to confront the bourgeois Dutch society. Was that the intention?
That is not the premise of CoolCat, no. We inspire and encourage our customers to be themselves. This isn't necessarily an item of clothing that you'd wear to rebel against the Dutch bourgeois; it's just the customer’s choice to wear this sweater.
Okay. Thanks for the chat.
Update: we just noticed that the "FUCKHOAR etc" T-shirt has the words "I love to talk bull shit" at the bottom. Always read the fine print.
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