Quadruple Branding of Cheap Stuff

May 22, 2008

From the Image section of the Sunday L.A. Times comes a 2 page spread for limited edition t-shirts, including a Babara Kruger Whitney Biennial GAP limited edition t-shirt worn by Shalom Harlow. This one caught my eye – maybe its the small white text in red: PLENTY SHOULD BE ENOUGH.

As BleedSnoot has previously noted, t-shirt’s typically go from Texas to Asia and back again for a couple bucks. Most people have dozens of t-shirts and probably will go through 100’s of t-shirt’s in their lives. So with some quadruple branding a commodity item is magically transformed into a limited edition with some red and white text. The largest U.S. clothing retailer leverages Babara and the Whitney’s “brand” and Shalom get’s some modeling work with a credit line. The bloggers take note and praise the result.

Now don’t get me wrong – Babara Kruger has done some great work and while I don’t really know who Shalom is and I guess everyone should be able to make some extra money as the experience economy is mashed up with the collector mindset at the latest intersection of art and commerce, I can’t help but think of the lampooning of NASCAR for logo festooned, polybranded cars. What does it mean when the largest US clothing retailer gets into “limited edition” clothing? Is there some hidden meaning or cleverness when the creator of the “I SHOP THEREFORE I AM” graphic has her latest creation ‘worn’ by a multi-millionaire model in an advertisement in the Image section of a major newspaper? How long were those feverish conference calls between the GAP and Whitney folks with Barbara and Shalom’s assistants hashing through the specifics?

What’s next – a Walmart limited edition Art Basel Merlin Carpenter plastic storage bin lifted up by Marcus Schenkenberg?

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5 Responses to “Quadruple Branding of Cheap Stuff”

  1. BleedSnoot Says:

    I think you are a good candiate for a discounted subscription to Lucky Magazine

  2. pfmagic Says:

    No wonder Gap’s clothes are so expensive – they have to pay royalties to 27 people for 1 (lame) slogan t-shirt.
    The mind boggles.

  3. boldlentil Says:

    Discounted subscription? How much of a discount?

    As for expensive t-shirts, OK they exist some of them are even all right but the irony of the Kruger text is just too much in this context…

  4. p.f.magic Says:

    It may have been at Adbusters that I saw an image of someone wearing a Gap Athletic shirt that had a few letters blacked out so as to spell ‘apathetic’.

  5. Oscillate Says:

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Oscillate!


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