Earlier this decade, when I was working as an editor for the website of the TODAY Show, I was occasionally afforded the opportunity to write for an ultimately short-lived fashion blog there called The Look. Don’t bother looking for it now, as they seem to have dismantled all the blogs by this point. But being that I sat next to the style editor and had some, suffice it to say, pointed opinions about rock t-shirt etiquette, I was periodically assigned short pieces that spoke to my wafer-thin areas of style expertise. While I never felt entirely comfortable writing about such things, it was still an amusing exercise.
In any case, I spotted an item recently amidst the wilds of the 'net that, were The Look still a going concern (let alone were I still toiling thanklessly at TODAY), I would summarily pitch. But, it isn’t and I’m not, and that’s probably all for the best, anyway. Good luck to them in their endeavors.
Regardless, I still feel compelled to write about this, so here goes…
By the point, as much as it frequently makes me frown, the fashion industry has inexorably entwined itself with all things rock. I mean, the culture of rock music — in all its permutations — has always had a visual, tonsorial and sartorial element, but I’m talking about the fashion industry endeavoring to adopt same for its own purposes. Frequently, this comes out in embarrassing, ass-backwards ways, like, say, TopShop attempting to sell $700 leather jackets emblazoned with the logos of various punk bands. As cited in my long-standing complaint with John Varvatos, too often it seems that fashion folks are too caught up in the idiocy of their own skewed little realm and ultimately just don’t get it. But, y’know, whatever.
This isn’t to say, however, that folks in the style world get it exclusively wrong either. While I’m not 100% sold on the odd merger of music and clothing of this kind, I was struck by a new line of admittedly fetching plaid shirts by a company called JCRT. Calling themselves “The Lumberjacks of Fashion,” JCRT is basically a duo of two avowed hipsters who are somewhat dubiously credited as being a large part of “the Brooklyn Movement.” That wince-inducing boast notwithstanding, the gents recently unveiled a new line of plaid shirts (or, simply, “plaids”) that were inspired by their favorite albums.
Umm, wait ….what?
Yep, you read that right. Plaid shirts inspired by specific music.
As incongruous as that might sound, the end results are actually kinda nice. Being fans of seemingly very specific Anglophilic, post-punk, alternative and indie music of the 1980s, their designs come tastefully adorned in the color schemes that graced albums like Meat is Murder by the Smiths, Disintegration by The Cure, The Kick Inside by Kate Bush, The Age of Consent by Bronski Beat and a few others. And whether you’re a fan of the music in question or not, the shirts are genuinely quite nice.
Those looking for more musical inspiration from a wider palette might be disappointed, as — at this stage — their selections are pretty genre-specific (i.e. no Reign in Blood by Slayer plaid just yet). While, personally, I’m waiting for a Killing Joke shirt (maybe rife with the blues, purples, oranges and blacks of Nighttime, gentlemen?), I do like this one….
I mean, seriously, even if you think Joy Division are slavishly overwrought, you have to admit that this is a nice goddamn shirt. My only grievance with it, of course, is that the album in question — that being Substance from 1988 — is a goddamn compilation. As the Kids in the Hall once sagely asserted, “greatest hit albums are for housewives and little girls.”
That quibble — and the garment’s somewhat weighty price tag — aside, I’ll concede that this is kind of a fun idea. If you care, find out more here.