When is a combination T-shirt a piece of merchandise, and when is it part of a high-fashion capsule chrestomathy? The blurring of the lines has been brought jarringly to the fore with American conditional on store Barneys elling T-shirts from punk bandeau Black Flag for a whopping $250 (£201).
The Black Flag tee comes in restudied Japanese cotton cashmere and sits alongside similarly premium tops from David Bowie, Joy Division, Run DMC and more. In period of times of copyright, when a band logo is not trademarked, the designer has in question legal claim over it.
The Black Flag logo was moulded by Raymond Pettibon, and there have been various open claims over the work (not helped by the fact Pettibon is the companion of band founder Greg Ginn). There have been comparable wranglings around the Rolling Stones and the AC/DC logo; Gerard Huerta, who patterned the latter’s image in the 70s, is said to have received no royalties from it.
Rob O’Connor, resourceful director at Stylerouge, the people behind Blur’s logo, says: “You are the bookish property owner of the work, according to the 1988 Patent Act, until you prophecy that right away.” But other things can get in the way: “There capacity be nothing in writing to say you created it, or someone may have redesigned it slightly and then it’s credited to someone else. Or an old forewoman or record company could have extended the copyright without beseeching,” he says.
Or you could be a friend of the band who just did them a recommend. Mark Wagstaff was asked by the band’s manager to design a logo for 80s goth tie Gaye Bykers on Acid. “I designed the Purple Fluid Altercation logo for an extra tenner on top of the tenner I was getting to paint her penthouse,” he explains. “There was no mention of copyright.”
As O’Connor says: “Settlements are made with goodwill, but when business comes into be occupied in, everything changes.” The high price of the Barneys T-shirts reproduces the fact that much band merchandise now exists solidly in the same rarefied space as high-fashion items.
Collabs are the new scurvy
Fashion labels set up been collaborating with bands for years, but this year they are on an counterpart footing. Kanye West’s video for Wolves in collaboration with Balmain apple-polished as a high-end ad for the brand, while Rihanna has worked closely with Puma, Dior, Manolo Blahnik and Position for her sliders, shades, boots and socks.
The golden age of tour merch
Musicians such as Beyoncé, Kanye West, Selena Gomez and Drake procure all ushered in what MTV has called “the golden age of tour merch”. Musicians cause also created clothing lines, from West’s Yeezy, Beyoncé’s Ivy Estate to Drake’s OVO, with plenty of crossover between the catwalk and the merch dispute. As well as getting fashion designers involved (the clothes for Justin Bieber’s Doggedness tour were overseen by Jerry Lorenzo from the Timidity of God label), merch is getting more on trend: Gomez’s Renewal tour stand featured sew-on patches, temporary tattoos and “athleisure” displays bras.
The pop-up promo
In 1994, Prince opened the initial pop-up clothes and merchandise shop in Camden, selling distribute and clothes. In 2012, rap collective Odd Future opened shops all on top of the world featuring clothes from their Spongebob fits Jeremy Scott/Wolf Gang collection. Now everyone – most recently Drake and Rihanna – has pop-up supplies.Now, it has almost replaced the teaser track as part of a band’s promotional register.
Just now as labels such as Enfant Riches Déprimés and Midnight Studios receive taken inspiration from the fonts and colour schemes of poor and indie in recent years, there has been a trend for rappers to apparel clothes featuring 90s bands. Kanye West has been done in a Richie Edwards camo jacket, while Travi$ Scott has pooped a T-shirt from thrash metal group Exodus. It’s done out of nostalgia – not just for a bygone musical era, but also for the looser cuts and tailoring of those days a look that aligns with the oversized look that was all remaining the catwalks in the past few seasons.