10 years ago by

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?


Add yours
  • Franchement, je pense que j’aurais réfléchie comme toi… Et au final je l’aurais porté.
    MAIS je l’aurais customisé avant, en faisant une grosse croix rouge sur le logo pour montrer que oui, ce t-shirt est beau mais que je suis aussi contre la contre façon donc je barres cette fausse marque ;)

  • WELL LIVING BLOG October, 14 2013, 10:39

    I find it really fun !

    XX Luba

    Fabulous Michael Kors bag GIVEAWAY, if you have a minute stop by and have a look

  • With skinny jeans and heels? No hesitation!
    Xoxo! Cory

  • Comme Salomé, je le customiserai!
    J’ai eu une réflexion de ce genre avec un sac Vuitton. Lors de vacances en Italie, il y avait plein de vendeurs à la sauvette et je cherchais un sac pour y mettre un de mes projets… du coup je me suis dit pourquoi pas un faux que je tagerai? mais au final j’ai pas trouver de modèle qui me convenais et j’ai fini avec un sac H&M…

    PS: T’as vu cette vidéo?

  • Yes, would definitely wear it! So cool with a blue jean’s!!!

    Le monde des petites

  • i’m not a fan of the whole feline and comme des fuck down thing…it’s just leeching off big houses. it may be a little fun but i still don’t really like it…

  • Multi-inarticulate October, 14 2013, 9:22 / Reply

    Great post! But I think there’s a typo on the English translation of “jouer au ballon” :-) Easy to fix.

  • non je ne porterai pas ce t shirt . je prefere un t shirt uni sans aucune inscription

  • No, I would not wear it for two reasons. The first one is that I don’t like tees with writings. If I want to say something I prefer to communicate it in another way, writings on my body are not straight and not too much intelligible! I find them not elegant (especially because I’m not a teenager anymore).
    I don’t like original logo tees. I like fashion and creativity. They seem to me a too simple way for the big brands to catch money. And I think that who really loves a brand for the research work and its own way to express cannot buy a logo tee. It’s luxury, not fashion.
    I don’t like fake logo tees for both the two reasons above!

  • I agree with everything but I suppose I never put so much thought in it. I just don’t like logos.
    I have to admit that although i wouldn’t a wear a straight copy of something (with the fake brand and all) I would not say no to a strongly inspired good looking piece (and I mean good looking per se). AND I wouldn’t feel bad about it. It’s always been like that in fashion: a few creators inspire all the rest. And it’s not because I buy the zara version that i don’t buy the original. I just could NEVER afford the original in the first place. so it’s my way of showing appreciation.


  • Yeah, pretty much my stance too!

    But I have to admit though, when someone working in the fashion industry is wearing them, I do kinda like it, just because it means they don’t take themselves (and their work) too seriously and I like that. For us mere mortals I think it’s a no no.

  • I agree with Ana. Is Vuitton losing money because I cannot buy a bag? No – I was never going to be able to buy that bag. Even if I could find several thousand dollars, there are other things I would need to spend it on, because that is the life I have. It seems harsh if that means I can only appreciate from a vast distance, though. What if that bag has the silhouette that speaks to me? When I love a designer piece it is usually not about the designer (not about wearing the “it” piece), it is about the piece. It has some shape or concept that resonates with me. I think it is then my right to find whatever I can to approximate the inspiration, even if this takes many years of patient searching, or I have to cobble something together…that is part of how a personal style comes together. It’s obviously a difficult issue…intellectual property theft, etc. But I appreciate some of these impostors….it is hard to find exactly what you want and then learn that you can never have it (maybe it is too expensive, or maybe it was limited edition – so often the case), just like any story where love is involved.

  • Nope. I have some tees that gave me a similiar feeling. It seems fun, looks kind of cool, but once I put them on, I feel embarassed and would never wear them outside. When it comes to tees, plain black and white please. It’s the cut tha matters. And I am still looking for the perfect one.

  • I think it is fun and ironic. It looks hip and street. I say go for it! It actually brings attention to the brand in a tongue and cheek sort of way….. besides you are ballin !!!!!

  • I love this tee and would wear it. I respect designer goods because I know how well these things are made. But I’m that girl that won’t pay $100 for a tee, when it comes to certain items I have a price point that I will not cross. I’m from a third world country maybe that’s why. So that would be my way to pay tribute see even Olivier wears it and I love him for that. It’s not that serious.


  • C’est le genre de plaisir régressif qu’on adore :)

  • Je ne suis pas fanatique des logos et autres marques visibles: J’aime les choses qui durent et qui sont en ligne avec mon style; Mes vêtements sont la partie visible de mon iceberg, ma peau pour sortir…alors, NON, NON et NON aux marques qui s’affichent sur mon “dos”!
    Bonne journée!
    F de

  • Je ne porte pas (ou, plutôt, n’ai jamais porté, car c’est moins tendance aujourd’hui) les tee-shirts à gros logos des marques… Je ne porterai pas non plus ces tee-shirt fun. Mais, je pense que ces tee-shirts ironiques ne méritent pas les attaques des marques: c’est un peu comme le droit de citation et de caricature, de pastiche en littérature. Pas de la contrefaçon (qui est une copie servile), une façon de s’amuser, de critiquer des marques… qui ne peuvent tout de même “geler” tout l’espace public!
    Donc, je trouve la réaction de certaine marque de luxe éclairante! (Oui, “certaine marque de luxe” au singulier)

  • Bof, c’est certes très à la mode aujourd’hui mais ce n’est vraiment pas selon moi une tendance de fond qui durera plus d’une saison. Et ça j’évite. Les tops peplum j’ai évité l’année dernière par exemple. Le total look tartan cette année, j’évite.
    Les conversations avec moi même en fait me poussent plutôt à essayer de déceler les tendances de fond, qui méritent même un investissement, et les gros pics où tout-le-monde-porte-la-même-chose-6-semaines-d’affilée-et-puis-s’en-va.

    Et le détournement des marques avec des mots à la sonorité proche : tout-le-monde-porte-la-même-chose-6-semaines-d’affilée-et-puis-s’en-va.

  • Au début j’adorais ce genre de t-shirt, mais on dirait que plus les gens commençaient à le porter, je me suis un peu écoeurée, maintenant on le voit partout! Mais si toi tu commences à le porter alors là il est carrément cool!

    Sandrine xx

  • even as an intellectual property attorney, i would say go ahead. have fun.

  • Lol — really made ME laugh! Perhaps I’ve had to “clear” a few too many things :)

  • Je pense qu’il faut arrêter d’y pense. Garance, j’adore rentrer dans ton cerveau, mais il faut le débrancher de temps en temps ! Porte-le sans y réfléchir vingt minutes et tout ira bien ;)

  • Tu trouveras toujours un moyen de le porter, en soirée ou pour descendre les poubelles!
    Mafalda ?

  • I would wear it! Fashion was made to have fun and sometime make fun since people take it so seriously.
    Wear it! after all… you are ballin!
    PS. New post on my blog: :)

  • Just no

  • Salut Garance, ma stagiaire le portais vendredi dernier… Au debut j’ai pas compris l’interet et en fait elle etait plutot cool avec sa petite jupe en cuir. Je trouve ca marrant finalement!

  • Trust you initial “oh it’s fun” instinct and wear it! No need to over think it! I can just see it with your sweet new haircut – so cute!!

  • Si on tient compte du fait que la pub nous envahi; sur les wagons de métro, sur les murs, dans les programmes de théâtre et de musique et partout ailleurs, je dis NON! Saut à Cuba et au Turkménistan!

  • Wear it! Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

  • Sorry to say that but i am socked with a few comments ….
    c’mon guys it’s just a tee shirt, why do we have to take fashion so seriously???! Fashion is about fun and play!
    For you buying this Garance it means you liked it and thought of wearing it in a specific occasion like the gym etc….
    Go for it and wear it and do not think of it that much, seriously, it’s the way you will wear something rather what it means …at least that’s how i feel about fashion.


  • I love the shirt soooo much! So chic!

  • I would definitely wear it, basing my decision only on whether it looks good on me or not. I agree with you totally that a brand invests a huge amount of time and resources into actually building the brand, but on the other hand, consumers should also have a say. Especially conscious consumers like you (and I guess a lot of your readers) that have actually spent small fortunes in branded clothes, accessories etc. It’s as simple as that: logos are “in” for the moment, therefore ok to wear them. As soon as they are “out”, no fashion-conscious person will want to wear them. Plus, I don’t see this as a classic “counterfeits” issue. Paying 10 dollars for something that said “Balmain”, that would be the problem. To turn this into a legal argument: No likelihood of confusion for the customer – very few people would actually think that you’re wearing an authentic Balmain looking at this tee :)

  • Oulala! Te prends pas la tête comme ça! C’est qu’un tee-shirt! :D
    Tu n’auras qu’à le porter pour tes cours de yoga! Donne-lui quand même une utilité ou donne-le à quelqu’un qui le portera…Faut pas sacraliser les marques comme ça! ( Et les marques n’ont qu’à en prendre de la graine…parce que beaucoup manquent sérieusement d’humour…)

  • Oui, oui, je suis d’accord! Ne prenons pas tout cela trop au sérieux…
    J’aurais voulu l’exprimer aussi clairement que Florenz ;-)

  • I wouldn’t wear but mostly because I prefer quality to logos. But enjoy yourself! Have fun! Be free!

  • Oulala il t’a fait drôlement cogiter ce petit t-shirt!
    Perso j’ai une casquette Homies que j’aime bien, je trouve ça fun ces détournements!

  • Yes, I would wear it…if I could find one! I think parodies all in good fun are…fun, especially when readers see fashion bloggers wearing them, which just validates a purchase. It’s nice to know that they don’t take it so seriously. So, yes, I think that you should start wearing it. But once it gets worn down, then maybe you should stop ;)

    Your Friend, Jess

  • I love it. I would have had as long a mind conversation as you, and I’m still not sure if I’d wear it myself, but I hope you do. It would also not look as good on me, because I’m not really in the fashion world and in my town most people don’t even know what Balmain is.
    But for you, I do think of it as a tribute. It’s not a counterfeit logo, because it’s not really set out to replicate Balmain, rather twist the idea around. It’s just postmodernism, and postmodernism is very street!
    It’s the only way I’d consider wearing a logo – it’s the twist that matters!
    As for the fact that it’s not made by Balmain and they don’t profit from it – well, they’re doing good, even without your T-shirt money.

    So I say you are ballin’ and I hope you go for it.

  • En plus c’est pas du plagiat ni de la contrefaçon, ça relève du bel art du détournement (…discipline dans laquelle excellent les français en général…)

  • Salut Garance,
    En fait, ce t-shirt est une copie du Brian Lichtenberg, le créateur californien à l’origine des fausses copies Homies, Bucci etc..
    Une copie d’une copie, donc :P

  • Vrai logo ou non…trop moche (je sais mon argument est complètement subjectif).

  • o.k. j’avoue-ce post est un peu schisophrenique,a un cer point j’ai perdu le fil:) de toute facon j’aime bien l’ironie dans ces faux logo-donc j’approuve la tendance;) et j’en veux un tee Bucci

  • Oui, définitivement ! Pour le décalage justement. Mais je ne porterais jamais un vrai logo par contre, pas cool du tout.

  • yess, just wear to brunch when you’re hung-over and call it a day!

  • Et si le mot ballin était plutôt à intendr dans le sens Ballin’ = Balling = To full of money,
    To be rich.?
    ça devienrait pas alors une dénonce contre le marché de la mode de luxe? à réfléchir!

  • I would never, under any circumstance purchase a ‘fake’ ‘counterfeit’ item…. I don’t care how good it looks and even if it could fool a specialist!… I just wouldn’t do it… why?… because even if the world didn’t know it was fake… I WOULD KNOW. With that said… the t-shirt in question is NOT in my view consider a ‘fake’.. it is indeed a parody! ….. the term ‘ballin’ is a hip-hop term for ‘living large’…. taken from the lifestyles of basketball players (ballers)… they private Jet and have an excess of cash etc. Brian Lichtenberg is clever in where even those who could afford Balmain would wear his designs simple because they are just ‘fun’ inexpensive garments. I love the irony of it all… A lot of fashion for me is about having fun and not being so serious and this shirt is the epitome of that. I say wear it…. even if its to take out the garbage honey!.

  • Yes, I would wear that bad boy WITHOUT ANY shame! Wear the top with some strappy heels and harlem pants and with your hair tied up in a top bun… or wavy to your shoulders. And don’t forget sunglasses.

  • Margaret October, 16 2013, 1:07

    Haha, is that a suggestion for Garance? Wavy to your shoulders?

  • I know what you feel, as a fashion design student and technically an artist, I am also 100% against counterfeit items. I don’t like someone copying my work and earn more money from it. But these logo parodies is such a debate! Is it a tribute or is it a counterfeit?

    If it is okay with Olivier Rousting then I guess it’s okay. It’s cheap and quite funny, I understand that’s why you impulsively bought it. So my conclusion is, WEAR IT WHILE IT’S TRENDY AND OKAY. It’s gonna be a waste if you just stored it on your closet anyway.

  • Mais ouiiiiii !!! C’est fun, il faut assumer le fun

  • Ce n’est qu’un t-shirt a 10 dollars ! Wear it for fun !

  • i think you should wear it first, see how you feel in it~ see how others react to it~ then decide whether to keep to toss =)

  • I would wear it. I disagree with designers who sell there name on tshirts for expensive prices not fair to their customers.

  • “Living the good life” what a grate thing :-) I don’t really like to wear brand names, also with bags I don’t like, when you can see a logo too much. But this t shirt I would totally wear, because it’s fun and has some irony, I would wear it at home and to go to Yoga…. not sure if I would wear it during the day…. well…. after 3 seconds of thinking…. I actually would wear it even for other occasions… I think fakes are an other story and I’m totally against them, but this one is fun :-) Can you buy one for me in NY?…. haha, just kidding ;-) xxx

  • oh… you just described my brain most of the time a decision is involved–an affliction! So glad I am not alone–next time I will channel an inner Garance to try to envision myself as charming and funny instead of over thinking it. Thank you for a new perspective :-)

  • Interesting. I like that T-shirt.

  • Chère Garance,
    Ca me fait un peur rire car ce T-shirt est marant mais quand j’habitais à la Côte d’Azur il y avait Vintimille tout près et cet endroit pullulait de ce genre de “contrefaçons”. Je me souviens d’un type que je voyais en sortant du lycée et il avait un sac estampillé: ADDAS. C’est à la fois ingénieux et un peu cheap car moi ça m’évoque Vintimille!

  • Je n’en pense rien, je n’ai pas d’avis et je n’avais même pas reconnu le vrai faux logo (ça commence mal :) et en plus ça montre l’étendue de ma nullitude fashionesque), mais ça me fait penser à deux trucs très différents.

    Le premier c’est une casquette que j’avais achetée pour mon gamin aux US et qui disait “In Tacos we trust”. Le détournement de slogan suprême. J’adorais et j’en étais malade quand il l’a perdue. Comment ça ça n’a rien à voir?

    Le deuxième truc, c’est la schizophrénie très similaire qui s’empare de pleins de participants à des courses dites “prestigieuses” et très dures, avec le même genre de questions existentielles. Dans mon cerveau schizo à moi, ça va de “ouais mais quand même je l’ai gagné à la sueur de mes mollets ce T-shirt donc j’ai bien le droit de le mettre nan mais ho” à “mais qu’est-ce que je vais avoir l’air con de courir sur mon circuit habituel avec plein de gens que je connais qui vont penser que je suis très très prétentieuse”.
    C’est quand même avant tout un problème d’être raccord avec nos soit-disants valeurs et une question d’image qu’on voudrait donner non? (ou ne pas donner)

    Bref, je cogite tout autant et les miens restent aussi dans mon placard!

  • Hey,
    You should check the brand 5 preview : all their image is based on that concept. It’s quite interesting to make business on the others logo brand without copying them…
    Smart, ironic but Very risky !

  • Skinny jeans or tight and you’re all set!

  • C’est ce qu’on appelle se torturer l’esprit. Think it easy Garance …

  • Its only a deal because you , yourself, are a Fashion personality, what YOU do has an impact, means something. I could wear this shirt and not give a eff what it meant. But you’re semi famous, and what you wear impacts somehow the world of fashion, amirite?

  • Haha, I felt like I was going a little crazy too, reading that!

    I think that if you can’t poke a little fun at the fashion greats, then fashion can’t really be that much fun. Why so serious, yes?

  • Bernadette October, 14 2013, 12:23 / Reply

    I love these inner debates.This conversation you’re having with yourself very much
    reminds me of the first time you were attracted to birkenstocks.

  • lionsinhollywood October, 14 2013, 12:30 / Reply

    wear it with your birkenstock’s and socks – while your at it maybe tie dye it – now that’s a mixed message ;)

  • I’m all for it. It’s ironic and fun. I love how it’s an appropriation of an appropriation of an appropriation. At the first level is Balmain, who’s logo was then appropriated by Brian Lichtenberg (who also did all the other Hermes-Homes, Celine- Feline, Burberry-Burrr etc shirts), and now you can get one of the BL re-appropriated logos on the street for $10!

    For me it’s not about the original brand, but about how a symbol (logo) takes on new meaning as it filters down through the market.

  • If you like something you just like it why over think it?

  • oh la prise de tête. OUI !!
    C’est marrant de voir Olivier s’en amuser ainsi.

  • Mon vote= cuuuuUuute!! Un peu de second degré chez les fervents adeptes des marques = bienvenu. Et puis Garance, à mon avis, les marques qui se sentent menacées parce qu’on les copie en imprimant trois caractères noirs sur un t-shirt blanc bas de gamme ne méritent pas que tu te poses ttes ces questions!!

  • Je ne comprends pas trop le problème puisque c’est clairement “humoristique” et pas de la copie (comme dans les années 90 ), il n’y a qu Hedi Slimane qui manque apparemment d’humour !!! :-)

  • I think what bothers me so much is that those kinds of shirts are everywhere right now… they’re supposed to be funny and original and now every teen wears it. So I think one should keep the rest of the outfit very classy and ladylike unless you want to look like a sixteen years old who actually thinks Féline is a brand. By the way as I am typing this I am wearing a Louis Vuitton/ Lord Voldemort sweatshirt.

  • Valentine October, 14 2013, 1:07 / Reply


  • Celui ci est vraiment réussi comparé à d’autre, tu devrais le porter. Surtout avec ta jolie nouvelle coupe :)

  • Internal dialogue, how recognisable :)

  • C etait des jolies photos et un truc sympa a regarder de temps en temps…. Mais maintenant votre blog est devenu pour moi de moins en moins attirant…. Pour poster tous les jour apparement il faut poster n importe quoi…. Le monde (celui de la mode compris) a des choses plus interessants a montrer et vous restez a tourner autour de votre petit etre…. Dommage!

  • Um, I’m kind of confused – BALLIN is a Canadian company, which was founded in 1946 by Charles Balinsky and is active since. You can google them. Sorry, I guess the question will sound stupid, but BALMAIN is promoting BALLIN why?

  • Je trouvais ça marrant au début tous ces logos détournés mais je dis STOP, je trouve qu’il y en a beaucoup trop on en voit partout, tout le monde en porte, et je trouve que ce n’est même plus un effet de “j’honore la marque” comme tu as pu penser c’est “je mets ça car c’est à la mode, la marque je sais qu’elle est connue et que c’est cher donc je porte mais je connais pas plus que ça”. Tout le monde porte des t-shirts avec des logos de marques comme ça et je trouve que ça devient un peu n’importe quoi surtout que beaucoup de contrefaçon se font autour. Mais sinon je trouvais ça sympa, mais avant, quand peu de gens en portait et que c’était un signe de respect ou d’honneur pour une marque.

  • where it in side out…mess it up .. wash 100 times lol if u still feel funny put in on a dog

  • Me gustaria con una falda midi de vuelo y un buen par de tacones.
    Un beso

  • Me yes!
    And if you wear it, it will be a trend from now on!!!!

  • HAH, I’ve had the same schizo talk with myself every time i see these mock-logo tshirts. I get the fun in it and I’m fine with others wearing them, but you know… I’ve decided it is too fashion-conscious for me. That’s the thing – although I am a big fan of clothes (somehow I like saying that word better than fashion) and the crazy-elaborate stories we kinda to tell with our outfits – but this t-shirt is almost too verbal, everyone will notice that shirt as the first thing about you and there is no way back.

  • Je ne le porterais pas, mais je l’afficherais dans mes toilettes. Le changement de nom est trop drole.

  • hahahahha the headline are we ballin or what is just hilarious!!! :D

  • Totally Wear It!!! It’s fun and ironic… plus you liked it enough to buy it, so who cares what anyone else thinks!!

  • It’s so fashiony and trendy that it’s alienating. Unless it’s in your personality to be trendy (like Rihanna, who looks awesome in her own way) or you’re from LA where everything seems to be a nod to street culture, it seems obnoxious. (And even in those aforementioned cases, it can still look obnoxious.) For the majority of people who aren’t hyper-trendy/urban and are just parodying that of which they know little-to-nothing about, it serves as an easy way out of actually coming up with an outfit with exudes *style,* that trait that seems so elusive and enigmatic but actually appears when we least expect it to. That style, which should be your essence, your scent, your distinct mark that indicates you are an interesting human doing amazing and interesting things in this world, seems to me subverted when one wears a BALLIN tee (again, assuming you’re not Rihanna, or another Ms. Flashy-Trendy). Wearing these type of logo-related tees also suggests that it’s* who you are as a person, which is disquieting and unappealing in its own way (*”it” being logos and thinking about logos and brands…we only make fun of it because we have an attraction to it, and while that may be the case, it seems unattractive to most personality types to reveal this so readily through your clothing choices). People who wear clothes a particular way are intriguing because it suggests something about their values, their thoughts, the secret life behind their bodies, so when people wear these logos or ironic-takes on logos (which also reference a history of counterfeit in Harlem in the 1980s, which is compelling and provocative in its own way, but again not really a history that most people identify with or even know that much about) it seems like a substitute for real style and falls more in the realm of fashion victim. To me at least.

  • Ouais ! C’est un t-shirt, il est fun ! Il va avec tout (et surtout avec une veste de costard noire), bref, ça vous le savez… Mais ça reste un t-shirt avec un graphisme fun (et surement un message derrière), mais, outre le prix, ça reste un t-shirt !
    Désolée pour ce commentaire dérisoire, mais il y a pire et je vous envie (et je vous adore) d’avoir ce genre de questionnement. Et pour être tout à fait sincère, quand tout roule, c’est le genre de question que j’aime me poser, par ce que ça prouve que tout roule… CQFD
    Il est parfait ce t-shirt, car il pose des questions…
    (je vous ai déjà demandé pardon ;-) )

    Merci Garance de me permettre de relativiser quand ça va moins bien que d’habitude, quand ça va bien ou quand ça va pas du tout ! Oups, ça c’est de la responsabilité (à l’insu de votre plein gré) envers des êtres humains que vous ne connaissez pas !
    Continuez à me faire rêver !
    Mille excuses (je suis comme ça)

  • Love your blog!!!!!
    I’m posting looks from L.A. and accessories:

  • Moi, je l’aurais mis sans problème, sans y penser, sans me prendre la tête, justement son coté fun m’aurait permis d’alléger des tenues un peu plus strictes , comme une jupe crayon, ou un tailleur strict! j’aime son coté décalé, avec cette pointe d’humour! tu devrais moins te prendre la tête! les fringues, c’est aussi fait pour s’amuser! :-)
    Bises, Hindie.

  • Kristina October, 14 2013, 2:30 / Reply

    I think playing with logos is fun, as long as it is obvious that is not pretending to be the real thing. Mainly due to respect for the designers and their brands, but also because the copies that are made to sell as the real deal, are produced under the worst circumstances for the workers. The copycat fashion business may seem innocent looking at the clothing side, but they pay less attention to dangerous dyes and chemicals than the cheap high street fashion production….and it sometimes supports copycat production of more expensive commodities, like medication, electronics and car spare parts. The high street fashion producers need to start thinking about their suppliers’ working environment, but that is another story….I am all for the fun of playing with logos….. Remember a guy in high school that had a pair of brandless sneakers, that he wrote CONVERSE on with a marker pen. It started a lot of discussions and triggered many laughs. All the best /Kristina

  • J’ai exactement le même! Et je le porte! Avec un skinny jean noir

    J’ai customisé le ballin en le mettant entre parenthèse. J’ai mis une petit étoile à la fin (à la façon publicité avec pleins de conditions tu vois?)
    Et j’ai écris en petit en dessous: “balmain je t’aime”

    J’en suis hyper fan :)


  • Just bought my own “Homies New York” sweatshirt (parody of Hèrmes Paris). And I love it and I will probably be wearing it multiple times a week for the next couple of months.

  • Send it to me if you decide you don’t want it.

  • Saint Laurent a blacklisté Colette pour avoir vendu les tee-shirts “ain’t Laurent without Yves” !
    Donc oui il y a controverse !!!

  • I love graphic tees…they dress down any outfit in a cool way.

    Love your blog as always!!

  • Another thought: When I was in high school, once upon a time, the term ballin’ was synonymous with screwin’. Maybe it was just a Philadelphia thing.

  • Oh que OUI!
    Pcq comme tu dis, j’en ai vu plein à la FW, et j’ai trouvé ça stylouuse!
    Naan plus sérieusement, j’aime la mode, mais je n’attache pas une place aussi importante que toi aux marques, car pour moi, cela doit être accessible. Et quand on atteint les 3 chiffres pour un Tee-Shirt, je me dis que ce n’est pas abordable et donc la mode n’est pas à la portée de tous.
    Moi je suis pour les Zara et H&M qui permettent une vraie DEMOCRATISATION de la mode. OK, je te l’accorde, c’est pas très “fair” de s’inspirer des collections de maisons renommées, mais c’est pas très “fair” non plus d’être autant élitiste!

    Je comprends parfaitement tes interrogations légitimes sur le sujet. Mais je pense qu’il faut être un peu DECOMPLEXEE!! Si tu l’aimes, alors porte-le!!! Et fais péter l’instagram! (et le mail à Olivier pr te déculpabiliser!)

  • No thank you !!! I’m such a no logo fan. Two weeks ago i was at Balmain showroom in Paris…I just can’t imagine me wearing that tee in front of all those magnificent creatures wearing some Balmain out of price garments… even for fun !!! By the way Olivier Rousteing wasn’t very cool !!! He was really really serious. Fashion is a pretty much serious field than it pretends to be !!!

  • This post really made my evening, can’t stop laughing!
    I don’t know if I would wear it outside because I think about it in the same way you do.
    Is this really a fake or just something like a tribute, a little fun and somewhat trend that crosses our paths these days? It’s kind of amusing and a funny parody and not just a parody of the brands I guess but most of the people that wore these shirts day by day to show the whole world that they can wear expensive clothes/shirts. I love brands like Chanel, Balmain etc. and I also like these shirts because they’re simple yet chic in a special way. But fashion should be a way to express yourself and the way you feel day by day shouldn’t it? Not just a way to show how expensive your clothes are. That’s what I’m thinking of when it comes to fashion and my own style. I think it’s important to keep that in mind!

    xo Deborah Chloé

  • If you only paid $10 for this shirt you bought a fake of shirt you consider to be fake.

  • Aaaah, j’ai les mêmes dialogues sans fin dans ma tête ! Merci de nous transcrire les tiens, je me sens moins seule ! Je crois que tout est dit dans ta première phrase :« il est fun ce tee-shirt !

  • Où sur Broadway?!

  • I also have one similar but with “BELMAN Paris” written … so funny!

    ?With love,
    Elisa – ?My Fantabulous World

  • This t-shirt is hilarious!!
    But, I wouldn’t wear it.

  • Bonjour Garance,
    Si il te plait alors porte le !
    Nous avons toutes nos doutes entre l envie de porter un vetement et le fait de savoir si c est bien ou pas, cool ou pas, respectueux ou pas.
    Personnellement ma limite se situe sur les vetements de createurs, hors de prix, fabriques en Chine et là je dis NO WAY! Meme si le produit est magnifique, il ne valorise aucun savoir faire.,il est a mes yeux le symbole de l exploitation de la souffrance et du desespoir pour augmenter les marges commerciales de maniere scandaleuse.les marques qui ont ce genre de pratiques se decredibilisent totalement, à moins que cela ne s accompagne de meilleures conditions de travail. et losrque c est le cas , elles savent le communiquer.
    Bon voila pas sure qu il y ait un lien avec ton t shirt ( que je trouve plutot cool bien que probablement fabrique en Chine :-)) mais c est ce que ca m a inspiré…
    D ailleurs je m interroge, est ce que la souffrance est plus acceptable lorsqu elle ne nous coute que 10 $?

  • princessglee October, 14 2013, 4:32 / Reply

    Well, I wouldn’t wear it because I didn’t get it until you explained it. Now that I understand its origins I still wouldn’t wear it because it complicates a mere t-shirt. A t-shirt shouldn’t be complicated. A t-shirt should remain simple as originally intended.

  • My problem with it–and I might just be too pedantic–is that I don’t think the play of words works. I love witty t-shirts and I work in fashion but I think ‘Ballin’ from ‘Balmain’ is a streeeeeeeeeeeeeetch. Not so clever so no, I wouldn’t wear it.

  • Having a bad day and this post put such a smile on my face. On wearing the shirt? You are damned if you do — and damned if you don’t….clearly by LOTS of people. LOL

  • Porteriez-vous un tee-shirt avec le logo “KIABI” ou “C & A” ou “MONOPRIX” ou “ERAM” ????

    Quel message donne-t-on en portant un tee-shirt Balmain, Chanel, Céline, et Cie….??

    Pour moi pas de logo ! et pas de contre-façon !

    Mais bien sûr que oui ! cela fait avancer la réflexion : c’est une contre-façon d’abord c’est illégal, et puis aussi ce vêtement est peut-être fabriqué dans des conditions humainement inacceptables –
    Que celles qui veulent (ou ont les moyens) de s’acheter un tee-shirt de luxe avec un énorme logo – l’air de dire “moi” je porte telle marque ! eh bien tant mieux si elles aiment ça ! mais ce n’est pas le logo qui va apporter qq chose d’original (surtout pas) ou stylé à leur tee-shirt en coton.
    Je pense qu’il y a un côté immature dans cela, et en plus un côté….”pedzouille” !

  • It was fun to read it all…
    But at the end, it’s just a tee! You can wear it while you’re painting or something, if it make you feel so anxious about, and for the next time, no compulsive shopping dear, even if it’s just for $10!

  • Juridiquement parlant, les parodies sont une exception acceptee au droit de propriete intellectuelle et ne sont donc en aucun cas de la contrefacon, juste pour mettre les choses au clair. Et puis j’aime bien ces petites references en clin d’oeil :)

  • First off, “Ballin” is a phrase that means, either on the basketball or in football, you are having a great game, you’re on a roll, so you “Ballin”. Or it means that you have a lot of money and you can spend it on whatever you like, which many ball players do.
    I don’t like many of these kinds of shirts because I feel like it’s both appropriating Hip Hop culture and the brand that created the logo in the first place. If anyone of us created something, and someone else stole it and made a lot of money on it, we would be mad. Though, I’m pretty sure the money that these shirts are making is no where near what the original sees, and their image is not as tarnished as the person who hasn’t even had a chance to get their name out there yet. So, I say, make even more fun of it and go try and play basketball or tennis or flag football in it, THEN it’ll be incredibly ironic!

  • Pour la génération juste avant la tienne balling = baiser (le verbe…)

  • princessglee October, 14 2013, 8:02 / Reply

    C’est drôle, je me souviens que trop.

  • Mara Glad October, 14 2013, 9:23 / Reply

    I love it! It’s an admiring nod at the label, but also a laugh at the fact that they can charge upwards of $200 for a t-shirt. Oh, and its a way for us not so fortunate’s to wear a “label” without handing over a chunk of a paycheck.

  • Yes, and where can I get it?


  • Anne-Laure October, 15 2013, 2:04 / Reply

    Ce qui m’empêcherait de le porter c’est que…Ballin est une marque de chaussures Italienne.
    Du coup impossible de ne pas penser à celle-ci, avant de penser à Balmain!

  • Don’t get me wrong but at the end it’s just a FUC!@#$ T-shirt !

  • I actually work with intellectual property and here comes the boring legal answer. (maybe someone has already given you this, if so I am sorry.)

    Firstly, the law on trademarks are different in almost all countries. But I would say that it is infringement, because your using someone elses logo or name, you have made changes to it, but it the reference is still clearly visible. And we consider all the Prara and gocci products as counterfeit products, don’t we? Legally there is no difference between these product, even it there is a sense of humour..

    Secondly, the trademark holder often define what is infringement or not, since in most countries they have to take some sort of legal action in order for the police to take action. Which make it even more complicated.

    But if you do not care about what the products do to a brand. The textile workers manufacturing counterfeit product are often the ones with the worst working conditions. Even though I can be provoked by the prices of high end brands, especially since many make most parts of their products in low cost countires (but the final assembly in italy or france, hence the made in france mark) It does not excuse me buying a counterfeit product where I have no control of the working conditions or chemicals used.

    Thank you Garance for starting this discussion, it is much needed!!

  • la piapia October, 15 2013, 4:43 / Reply

    I actually think it’s funny.
    and that settles it: no need to make such a drama of it (it’s not a copy, it’s quite far from Balmain. Would have prefered it mentioned BROOKLYN, like Olivier R’s version, rather than PARIS though), it’s funny (balling!!), with an additional “insider’s” joke for the fashion world (the reference to Balmain would not come up to the mind of the average person).
    That being said , I would not wear it myself… I don’t like wearing clothes with writing because 1/ I am not an advertising board and 2/ I am looking for more subtlety and probably wouldn’t be able to pull it of.

    But really, Garance, whatever: it’s not illegal. Do what you feel like and ENJOY!

  • on en voit partout de ces tee-shirts à faux logos, donc non, je ne le porterais pas, je déteste faire comme tout le monde.

  • that we should seriously invest our time and thinking capacity into other problems in the word – but I like it because it’s ironic and mixes two art industries – fashion & music.

  • Heck yes! I want one too! It’s just having fun with fashion, which tends to take itself too seriously anyway. It’s not offensive. I think the ballin’/Balmain association is great for the brand. But seriously if you’re having second doubts, I’ll always be happy to take the tee off you :P

    Love your posts so much Garance! xx

  • I blogged about this predicament a little while ago too when considering buying some sandals clearly heavily influenced by Isabel Marant.

  • I’ll wear it without batting an eyelash.

  • D. Korneliussen October, 15 2013, 7:50 / Reply

    Since I have “issues” with the Hedi Slimane/Yves Saint Laurent topic… I bought the t-shirt that has “it ain’t Saint Laurant without Yves” on the front. I read recently that there has been a lot of hoopla around the sales of that particular t-shirt at Collette in Paris. I am totally aware of the fact that when I wear it, that is is ME – not the t-shirt – who is trying to communication something. I suppose it is a sort of juvenile way of telling those who pass you by on the street that you are in some way geeked up on fashion. Regardless… It’s mainly for fun and I love the graphic look of the design. Oh, and the Word “ballin” goes back to the sixties Woodstock era as well as an even earlier jazz and blues era, and it means “doing the down’n dirty deed”.

  • Marbeille October, 15 2013, 8:16 / Reply

    Tout a fait vrai!

  • Je le trouve chouette ce t-shirt :)

  • C’est pas beau les noms de marque sur un vêtement
    Ca fait blogueuse cheap, le côté je détourne, je me marre, ah ah ah.

  • Je porterais ce tee shirt car pour moi le terme “Ballin'” est attachée à la culture Hip Hop et je suis fan de Hip Hop .. et de Mode. cqfd.

  • Garance we think alike!!! I also wrote a post about parody tee last week too!!!!

    my post:

  • Je te comprends tellement Garance ! Je suis vraiment déchirée entre le fait que des ”copies” du genre soient un hommage à la marque ou genre des copies des grandes marques…. Je suis d’accord que d’un côté c’est un hommage mais j’ai toujours l’autre côté de moi que ça dérange, par respect pour les créateurs et la marque elle-même… En fait, je pense que ça dépend vraiment en fait de l’esprit dans lequel ça a été fait… Et avec ça, les choses n’avancent pas vraiment… mais bref. Je crois que je ne le porterais pas au bout du compte mais je comprends tout à faite ton dilemne. :-)

  • I was just thinking about this topic the other day when I ran into this horrifying t-shirt at Forever 21 reading “Pom Des Garcons” with a pomeranian dog on the front . My thought was immediately “what does that even mean!?”. I love the idea of the parody shirts for what they are, but like most fast-fashion’s starting to water itself down to the point where it’s lost it’s original intent. I love the Celfie tee, and it really captures what is happening in fashion and street style right now. A high end label being translated into every day street style and then further washed down to be a weird Forever 21 version. I say, wear the Ballin tee..and dress it up with real designer pieces. It’s not a fashion crime to have a little fun after all!

  • Salut le Garance Studio!

    Depuis que cette mode est arrivée, j’ai jamais eu aucune envie de m’en acheter, c’est sympa mais ça fait quand même mouton… Mais ça devient déjà bien plus drôle lorsque c’est toi même qui le crée. C’est un bon exercice de créativité et d’humour. Je me suis amusée à détourner le logo Chanel avec le double C, qui est pour moi un des logo les plus fort et brillant des marques de luxes. Ce qui est sur c’est qu’en soit les gros logos c’est naze, alors t’en qu’à naze faisont ça avec humour!



    Le resultat:

  • It’s my first time posting Garance! so excited to see a post that talks about t-shirts (I’ve noticed a few in the past but never commented before)
    My two cents: Wear it!! Graphics are fun, message is ironic, and if you bought it in the first place, somewhere inside your brain your fashion instinct said, go for it! (even if it is to wear to the gym) And like everything in fashion, trends come and go, and now is the moment for this “parody logo” graphics. If you think about it too much, next season or the season after, they’ll be other tees you’d prefer to wear.
    Also, if you are into graphic tees, I would love for you to check out our super soft collection of fab sweatshirts and t-shirts at:

    :-) I’m pretty sure you are going to find some graphics you’ll love

  • j,ai eu exactement la mêm conversation dans mon crâne dit donc, Je pourrais l’acheter mais le porter j’hésite

  • I really don’t get the issue here. I know of a lot of rich kids who wear this shirt. It’s fun!

    The younger crowd isn’t really over thinking it. If anything it’s probably your age that’s hesitating you lol

  • lol. In my mind, one should complicate everything that is shallow, and then one should immediately don the garment in question. Obviously, the question, “Is Irony wearable?” has an answer. “Only if it’s unfashionable.”

    Unfortunately, that means that as soon as you yourself don that t shirt, Garance, you run the risk of inhabiting its ironic appeal so perfectly, that it becomes just plain appealing to everybody else.
    What to do? Treasure your irony and bin the top?

  • Dejar, in Spanish (México) ballin=balín=fake !!!!

  • Amuses toi !! Je pense que ça ne vaut vraiment pas la peine de se prendre la tête pour ça :) Belle journée !

  • eggleston October, 17 2013, 12:54 / Reply

    I wouldn’t wear it only because BALLIN makes absolutely no sense to me. If I had thought it were clever, I would wear it.

    I have an APC tee which says Fashion is for Losers and I wear it lots because I actually do love fashion and the tee throws people off.

    But if I don’t know nuts about Star Wars and I wear a Luke Skywalker tee, I’d feel inauthentic and a fashion victim.

    Does this make sense?

  • moi, ça me fait juste penser à ça à chaque fois que j’en vois un

  • Hello Garance,
    Comme toi mon coeur balance! Au vue des défilés SS 2014, il y a un grand retour du t-shirt à inscription. J’ai d’ailleurs bavé pendant des mois devant le “Homies” . Je suis une fan inconditionnelle d’Hermès et je trouvais ce clin d’oeil super drôle. Mais comme tu le dis, on les déjà beaucoup vu! Ce n’est pas de la contre façon mais juste de l’humour de modeuse ;-) Pour ma part, je le porterai plutôt avec une jupe crayon et des talons.

    Xoxoxo from Paris

  • Where on Broadway can you find these?

  • This isn’t a counterfeit or fake item. It doesn’t say, like “Balmin” or something. It says “Ballin,” and obviously the design of the shirt is a copy of the Balmain logo, but it’s not meant to trick anyone into thinking it says Balmain. So, it is not a counterfeit item. Actual counterfeit items should never, ever be bought as replacements for the real things; the counterfeit trade is such a horrible thing, and is tied into drugs, human trafficking, etc., so counterfeit items should never ever be purchased. It’s not like they fool anyone who knows fashion, anyway.

    This shirt, though, is not a counterfeit. Fashion is essentially a free market industry. You tout Zara on this blog quite often, and Zara definitely copies styles off the runway. Everyone copies everyone; even the runway designers themselves show similar prints, cuts, etc. I would never buy a knockoff Moschino belt, because it’s obviously fake so it’s just stupid and, as mentioned, feeds the terrible counterfeit black market. This shirt, though, is just a cheeky nod to Balmain and street style. I say wear it.

  • If you had to think about it this hard, then maybe you should pass. Doesn’t sound like you have much room for fun in your wardrobe, all serious and all designer all the time makes Garance a dull gal. It’s also interesting that in the event it were an actual Balmain t-shirt and you did own it, you wouldn’t feel stupid spending that much on it? Get off your high horse and have some fun!

  • Ballin is my real last name – so hell yeah! I want one, but of course the Balmain would be preferred ;)

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