The column by fashion academic and writer Pearl Westwood, which takes a look at current trends and delves into the past. Discovering that today’s style influences can come from decades ago and worlds gone by, it will have you exclaiming ‘Fancy that!’
Homies, Feline, Canine, Burrr (so icey), Ballin, nonsense right? Unless of course they are read as slogans emblazoned across t-shirts, sweaters and caps by Brian Lichtenberg. The L.A based designer recreates well known designer logo’s replacing the brand names with cheeky slogans. Read again as Hermes, Celine, Burberry and Balmain. His designs are favoured by the likes of Rihanna, M.I.A and Cara Delevingne; also seen on editors and bloggers at London Fashion Week. A cheap access point to a celebrity staple for younger fans, the t-shirts costing around £40 as opposed to the designer counterparts they are imitating which can be anything from £200+.
Imitating designer goods however is nothing new, as Stephanie Talbot discusses in her book ‘Slogan T-shirts cult and culture’. In the 80’s a trend erupted that saw the appropriation of status-led logos such as Chanel and Gucci engaged with as ‘street fashion’, bootleg versions of designer t-shirts were created. Barnzley Armitage (co founder of A Child of the Jago) famously screen printed t-shirts with logos from magazines and sold them on the Kings Road. The trend snowballed and soon knock-off designer t-shirts were being sold all over the country.
The aim with Barnzley’s t-shirts, as with Lichtenberg , was to poke a little fun at these huge designer conglomerates. Perhaps reminding them that the world of fashion isn’t theirs alone, that there will always be room for fashion originating from the streets. Where these fashion parodies sit in the eyes of the law is still under dispute, however Conflict of Interest, another brand who create spoof designer merchandise told the Daily Mail it is ‘Kind of flattering in some ways – you don’t get bootlegged unless you are kind of cool, people have to revere you on some level.’
One brand which certainly did not share the joke is Saint Laurent, who demanded Parisian stockist Colette stop selling the tongue in cheek ‘Ain’t Laurent without Yves’ slogan t-shirts by What About Yves. Colette responded to the demand by removing stock from the e-commerce site, but retaining stock in store until it had sold out. Unhappy with this, Saint Laurent cancelled Colette’s order for the next season. It seems Saint Laurent designer Hedi Slimane did not get the joke, or perhaps he is still sensitive of the criticism he has faced since taking the helm at the brand.
Love them or hate them there is no denying this trend isn’t going away any time soon!
By Pearl Westwood (@pearlwestwood)