Pop culture turned fashion statement
Bookworms rejoice in new garb
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 00:01
“It’s what you like, not what you are like,” declares John Cusack’s signature character in High Fidelity, a movie based on a book about people who work in a record shop. As the characters in this film define themselves by the obscure songs they listen to, books, movies, and music are no longer just things we use for entertainment or intellectual stimulation; they have become statements of fashion, and we buy and parade them like designer sunglasses or new shoes.
With the easy access and customization provided by the internet, cultural media has started to occupy a space similar to early 2000s brand names. Although it’s become less common to sport t-shirts with “Hollister” or “Billabong” splashed across the chest, numerous websites and stores now sell t-shirts and accessories bedazzled with book covers, movie logos, and album artwork.
Out of Print Clothing features shirts and accessories printed primarily with art based on book covers, with the occasional classic film thrown into the mix. Out of Print Clothing’s site even features a page where users post pictures of themselves wearing their Moby Dick and Edgar Allen Poe shirts.
Café Press has a similar section of clothing, mugs, and other items inspired by books, movies, music, and philosophy.
Brick and mortar stores have also jumped on this trend, with places like Tattered Cover and Barnes and Noble selling tote bags, mugs, and occasionally shirts with classic book cover designs printed on them.
Purchasing pre-printed clothing and accessories featuring favorite literature, movies, and music can be a cool fashion statement or conversation starter, but browsing through websites like outofprintclothing.com and cafepress.com reveals that items sold pretty much stick to the expected classics: books like Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, The Great Gatsby, and Pride and Prejudice, and movies like Star Wars and A Street Car Named Desire. One has to acknowledge the irony of such conformity within a style dictated by pride in individualism and art.
Literature and film fans who really want to amaze with the things they like can design their own shirts and accessories at websites like zazzle.com, where users can upload images, put in text, and choose colors and cuts. Shirts start at around $14, but graphics and colors add to the price. A basic colored t-shirt with an image and some text runs around $20.
Band t-shirts have been around for decades, purchased at concerts, Hot Topic, or secondhand shops. Social cliques have been formed around music preferences for a long time, but with the increasing popularity of book and movie fashion, people are defined more and more by their choices in literature and film as well; music no longer holds its monopoly on social clique formation.
Companies like those listed above allow us to define ourselves by more artistic, intellectual, and entertainment preferences rather than just our taste in fabrics or the wash of our jeans, because even if what we like might not be more important than what we are like, it is certainly a reflection of our inner-selves; and that’s what we want to show the world.