Retail giant Urban Outfitters has somehow done it again. For years, they've pushed the envelope flooding the marketplace with faux vintage t-shirts into pop culture, which has devalued fans of the true vintage concert shit, like myself. However, nothing could have prepared me for their bastardization of punk and everything it once stood for.
As you can see in the above photo, Urban is using the name of preeminent punk bands the Sex Pistols and the Clash to sell vintage “punk” leather jackets for the low sum of $375. Yes, a jacket that in 1976 that punk rockers made themselves for probably next to nothing now costs as much as a car payment.
It would be one thing if Urban sold this as a one of a kind item or even an extremely limited run. At minimum that would save some face and not make this as blatant of a rip off as the Led Zeppelin 1977 U.S. tour shirt. But no, it seems like these jackets are readily available, which not only cheapens the brand of these bands, but the store as well.
Punk originally started off as not a musical movement, but as a fashion statement. For those of you who don't know, here's a quick history lesson. Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood were at the forefront of punk, not because of McLaren's astute ears, but their knowledge of the scene and putting the entire package of a band together. From music to wardrobe to everything, he was the force behind punk (having a store named Sex, especially in London, didn't hurt his cred with regards to this either).
That's why it's a bit appalling to see the retailer try to capitalize on something so far removed, like punk rock, that it's kind of weird. Not so much that they're trying to make a quick buck, that's understandable, but the timing. Yes, fall is about to be in season, but who in their right mind would plunk down the bucks for something like this when they could get something less offensive (and probably a better product) for much less. You can even pin your own punk band or your friend's band's logo on your jacket and have more street cred than wearing this. Instead of being laughed at for wearing faux vintage gear, you'd be cool.
I've seen already on several social media outlets of outraged music and style fans who have called this jacket a disgraced, which is impressive because I didn't think I had stylish friends who knew about music. Nonetheless, they're right: if you see a doofus who is dumb enough to buy this abomination, feel free to smack 'em in the head.
This is a sign of the times in a sense. Using the logos of bands that are long gone, and meant something, is the problem at hand. Seeing the Sex Pistols and Clash being used to hawk a product as tasteless as this isn't surprising, but instead a sign of how absurd the blurred line between fashion and music has become. I wonder what Joe Strummer would think of this.