I bought this t-shirt for $10 the other day on Broadway, with a friend.
I bought it a little bit for fun, a little bit for “wearing at home, or at the gym, or maybe just to mess with people some day”. Or maybe it was just because it was so cheap that I could just buy it and figure it out later.
Since then, the t-shirt has been sitting here and I don’t know what to think of it – and here is the type of conversation that is happening between… Well, me and myself.
[Warning: this post is schizo to the max.]
“Ooaaaah, this tee is FUN! Don’t take it so seriously!”
“Yeah, but the parody of a logo is still considered a copy, isn’t it? We are against fakes, aren’t we?”
“True, but it’s not really a fake… It’s more like a tribute. I mean, even Olivier Rousteing thinks it’s fun. He posted a picture of himself wearing one the other day. He’s way more chill that we are.”
“Okay, fine… Yet still, wearing a t-shirt with a logo on it is poor taste anyway because whether or not it’s a fake, you’re still glorifying a brand.”
“Oh, come on, it’s just a fun trend!!! Like when Mom used to wear t-shirts with giant Chanel logos on them – okay, and those giant shoulder pads. It was cool back then, right?”
“Yeah… Not soooo cool. It was the 80’s, the decade of money and bling bling, so maybe not so cool now.”
“Exactly! That’s what makes it so cool wearing a parody tee-shirt. You’re not glorifying the brand, you’re having fun with it. You’re being ironic.”
“So is it better to wear a fake logo on it rather than a real one then? Is it even like…rebellious?”
“Mmmm. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Yeah, so it’s pretty much a tribute. For me, I love Balmain and I think their logo is amazing or else I wouldn’t have bought this t-shirt. And parody tees are worn by lovers of fashion. I saw a lot of fashion editors wearing them during fashion week! Féline, Célfie, Homies, Bucci (Okay maybe a little less with that last one…), all of ‘em.
No, no, I really think it’s like an act of love.”
“Oh yeah? Then here’s my question: Would you have bought the t-shirt if it was at Balmain prices? Your little act of love is great and all, but aren’t you just appropriating the brand without paying the real price? So we’re back to the question of counterfeit…”
“Hmmm, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be able to appropriate a brand. It’s it’s like a healthy return to the street from which they’ve garnered so much inspiration. And it doesn’t get in the way of our romantic vision of the brand.”
“I guess what would be interesting is to see what the brands themselves have to say, don’t you think?”
“As far as I know, every brand has a different point of view on the subject. Some of them are suing about it because it damages their image (understandable, given how much money they invest in it), and others just turn a blind eye or have a sense of humor about it. Which doesn’t really help our conversation.”
“… Do you even know what Ballin’ means? It seems like a rather suspect term, does it not?”
“Yeah, I asked around. It means to play with a balloon. But also it means something like “living the life”. It’s super cute!!!”
“Oh yeah? So why haven’t you worn it yet… ???”
“I just can’t bring myself to…”
Voilà, after this little mind trip, maybe you can understand all the mental tribulations this little t-shirt as put me through. So I’m wondering… What do you all think?
Would you wear it or not?