For years, band t-shirts have meant many things to many people: memories of the most amazing gig you’ve ever been to, a way for you to declare your love for a band or artist that have made an impression on your life and of late, a fashion statement.
Recently it seems that the band t-shirt is increasingly becoming more of a fashion statement than a show of support of your favourite band. You can get them just about anywhere these days thanks to major online marketplaces and franchise high street fashion stores.
Does anyone remember the last time you bought a band’s t-shirt because you enjoyed their gig? But the question is does anyone care? Is it not a good thing that you can now buy your favourite band’s t-shirt more easily? I would be inclined to disagree mainly because it’s changed the motivation behind buying them.
Somewhere down the line, a celebrity has been spotted wearing one (in support) and fashion brands have seized a marketing opportunity and well and truly ran with it. A brilliant example of what I mean is a piece ran by Amplified Clothing, a supplier of vintage band t-shirts.
They’d spotted some celebrity children wearing some very iconic band t-shirts including Pink Floyd and The Ramones. There must be someone who agrees with my assumption that these children have literally no idea who these bands (who were in their prime a good few decades before their birth) are.
People are no longer buying band t-shirts because they support the band; they’re buying them because they think it makes them look cool. So much so, that some genuine fans may now be reluctant to wear their own shirt at risk of appearing to jump on the bandwagon.
I suppose part of the blame should be passed on to the bands themselves for allowing such brands and chains to use their imagery. But when you think about it, it is a great form of advertising for them and they are just trying to make a living. (I don’t think musicians have great pension plans).
I suppose that as long as there’s enough money entering the music industry one way or another to keep it going we shouldn’t really complain. Without music there would be silence and silence is boring.
Asha Kandiah is a music technology graduate from the UK and a blogger for Eyesore Merch. A guitarist and avid festival-goer, Asha also presents a radio show for an internet-based, country radio show.