As established by the topic’s own section here on Flaming Pablum, I have a longstanding issue with band t-shirts. I take strenuous, bug-eyed exception to them being worn ironically or to have their iconography repurposed with other intention. It’s a very silly preoccupation, but it’s a tenacious one. I’m not proud of it, but I’d be remiss not to acknowledge it. Sport a band t-shirt, and be ready to have me march right up to you and quiz you on its true provenance and backstory. If you can’t name at least three songs by the artist emblazoned thereon, you should be prepared to be sneered out. Again, it’s stupid, but there it is.
Back in 2012, when I was still toiling at TODAY.com, I volunteered to pen a piece for their “fashion” blog (that being The Look, ... long dead) about how Disney stuck their foot in it by crafting a Mickey Mouse t-shirt design that cribbed liberally from Peter Saville’s iconic sleeve for Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures. I posted about it here, but TODAY.com exhumed the story from the now-dormant Look blog, and plunked it into a story page. You can read that here, should you give a damn.
Similarly, I blanched when someone pulled a similar stunt, only with Versace instead of Mickey Mouse.
Sure, the Unknown Pleasures sleeve has become exploited to point of abject cliché. It’s as much a signifier of hipsterism as beards and cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. But, as far as I’m concerned, its roots still have to be respected and acknowledged.
….which is precisely why this next item makes me a hypocrite.
Over the course of Memorial Day Weekend, we were out running errands, and I happened upon this child-size-only t-shirt. Is it guilty of exactly the same charges I leveled at Disney, Versace and The Gap? Surely, but … for some reason … it doesn’t bother me at all.
And, y'know, just so we're all clear, ....THIS is Joy Division...