The other day, someone followed me on Instagram—it was a fan site. For a jacket. Made by an internet retailer called Ain’t Nobody Cool, it reads INSECURITY across the back in big block letters (like SECURITY—get it?) I was pretty sure it was a Vetements parody—after all, the so-buzzy-it’s-deafening brand has a T-shirt in its Spring 2016 collection with the same slogan splashed across the front (retail price: $330, sold out; resale price: $400).
A quick Google search, however, revealed that the $42 nylon jacket predated Vetements’s version by at least a year—and was, in fact, something of a Tumblr meme already—which I guess shouldn’t have come as a surprise, considering the fashion collective’s penchant for taking “inspiration” from such diverse sources as “Titanic” posters and DHL uniforms. But it did get me thinking: Does it even matter anymore what came first?
Today, you can buy a parody T-shirt inspired by Justin Bieber’s sold-out Purpose Tour merchandise (which in turn was inspired by streetwear labels such as Fear of God, Off-White, and Vetements), a $59 raincoat reading Vetememes (which even got the seal of approval from the Vetements camp), and a T-shirt featuring a photo of an androgynous model wearing Vetements’s $920 Snoop Dogg T-shirt (which in turn looks identical to the one the rapper sold on his 1993 tour). Confused? Here’s a visual:
Last year, pastel pink 1-800-HOTLINEBLING parodies flourished—see 1-800-SUICIDE baseball caps and 1-800-I-DON’T-CARE hoodies—but with the fervor over Bieber’s and Kanye West’s merch, pop-culturally aware riffs by fledgling online boutiques such as Urban Sophistication and enterprising Etsy sellers have hit a fever pitch.
It’s not just fashion types wearing these as an inside joke, either: Hillary Clinton’s campaign staffers recently got tees reading “I Feel Like HRC” in the “I Feel Like Pablo” font (the style won’t be going on sale online, though—naturally, they were limited-edition), and an NYU sorority reportedly has T-shirts inspired by cult streetwear brand Supreme’s box logo.
Fashionception is real, you guys.