There is nothing innovative about a T-shirt as a marketing vehicle unless, of course, it challenges the nature of marketing itself. And suddenly, a T-shirt becomes much more…
What separates an article of clothing from a “piece,” beyond a price point? Materials? Hardly. It’s really what goes into making it (and, yes, that’s meant to be as vague and open to interpretation as it seems). In one way, production can mean physical production, hours spent working on the product, but production can also allude to the back-story behind the piece, it’s raison d’etre—which is, hopefully, far more interesting a tale than bead placement.
So, what stories are worth paying for? In sports, fans might tell you that relics of remarkable careers are. But, unlike garments in the rest of the fashion world, sports jerseys are not about a hot image, or a look. And when we combine a hot image, a look, and not only a story, but a two-fold story, we do we get? A $55 limited edition Kate Moss tee, inspired by the short-lived “The Virgin Mary” installation, once called “the emblematic piece of the (Whitney) Biennial 2006″ and the infamous Daily Mirror cover that signifies the fall and rise of perhaps the most visible supermodel of this decade.
Yes, upon first glance the story of this “piece” seems to be about a girl, some blow, and a photo, which for some, is add to cart-worthy (and if you want to, click here). But, the informed consumer should note it is really about two guys, a doormat, a museum, and deducing what the Kate Moss image actually represents.
In 2006, “an artist” known as “Coup d’Eclat” decided to play a game. The goal: to smuggle a doormat adorned with this image into the Whitney Biennial on press day along with a note describing the purpose of their prank, to create “new media art” and “the most publicity friendly work of art ever.” In essence, unknowns deconstructed the hierarchy of the Biennial exhibit by using a controversial and relevant imagine to be initially noticed and, eventually, by conjuring media attention based on the freshness of their stunt. It was “a standout piece.”
The prank persisted in the cyberworld both in the form of a “mysterious viral website,” on which visitors were encouraged to leave voice recordings for Moss and on a fake eCommerce site, Carte Blanche, “a new luxury products company pioneering ‘cocaine-chic’ couture,” where the Moss image T-shirt made its debut.
In the wake of GAP pairing with the Whitney to design and sell Artist Edition T-shirts and other smaller, similar endeavors, the time is now to join the art/fashion discourse, in threads that truly stand for something. In wearing this piece, you are inviting commentary—get attention, tell the stories, and play along with us.
p.s. Learn more about Fame Game’s PLAY blog by clicking here