I interviewed a guy who thinks it's still shocking to put swastikas on clothes.
I've never been into streetwear, the way I see it it's basically a whole scene of boring people who do boring shit all day, wearing the most boring, average clothes on the planet. With that in mind, I'm not surprised that sometimes some brainiac thinks they can switch up streetwear and make it totally controversial by typing "OFFENSIVE STUFF" into Google and then putting it on a hoodie.
Which is exactly what Californian streetwear brand Trill Lyfe decided to do. Maybe they missed the Topshop Slayer T-shirt scandal earlier this year, because they've gone and replicated the same Nazi SS logo on all their shit, in the hope that Twitter will freak out and they'll get a chance to get frowned at by an old person on Newsnight. Which is obviously really original and hasn't been going on for what, half a century, at the very least.
After a friend linked me to their site, I decided to get in touch with Vince from Trill Lyfe to find out why anyone would put something this played out on a cap, and expect anyone other than professional hecklers like me to be remotely interested.
VICE: Hey Vince. So this is original. What inspired you?
Vince Conriquez: How do I put this? I don’t care what people think. People are going to have their opinions about it, but ultimately it doesn’t mean anything. It doesn't mean anything other than being a cool image of the totenkopf with gold teeth, it’s just meant to be funny.
But haven't I seen this shit on like, a million T-shirts already this year? How can it be funny when you're telling the same "joke" people have been telling since punk?
Yeah I guess, but my totenkopf has gold teeth. I don’t feel like there should be any limits on what people make, I mean, I’m a Mexican dude, I’m in no way racist with anything, I just wanna piss people off. Obviously it’s working.
I'm a beautiful skinhead who gets heckled in the street, so I get that it's fun to piss people off. But I don't understand why you'd try to turn that into a shitty fashion range.
I don’t really care what people think and that’s just the way it is. I don’t care what people think about me, this is just a creative outlet for me to do what I want to do. Whatever people think about it is their own choice and, as I say, I ultimately don’t care. I guess it is sort of selfish.
In California, Nazi imagery is thrown around quite a bit, a lot of people go into the barber shop and ask for Hitler Youth haircuts. I’m not sure how it is out there for you…
We call it a short back and sides, here. Do you like Skrewdriver?
Yeah, I’m a fan of Skrewdriver, I think they make great music. I mean, they have their Nazi fans, but nonetheless they make killer shit.
Let's be honest, Skrewdriver make completely average music. People just flip out and say they love them because it's totally "edgy" or whatever.
Maybe, but there are a lot of more dangerous bands out there at the moment that are kept under the radar. I kind of appreciate that though; things are too accessible these days, that’s just the way things are, and I think there are too many unspoken rules. It’s cool to find bands that really don’t care and say what they think. It’s pretty rare.
Sure. Any last words?
Well as far as I'm concerned, it essentially boils down to being able to express yourself how you want to, without being judged.
K. Bye, Vince!
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @spirit_of_yoof
More fashion on VICE: