When I first saw this $68 Marc by Marc Jacobs t-shirt going around my social media feeds yesterday, I took a bet with myself as to whether or not Marc was going to defend it. As you can see, it bears a striking resemblance to a t-shirt made by infamous neo-Nazi skinhead band Skrewdriver, what with having the exact same image and all. On the one hand, I could see Muscle Man Marc adopting some sighing postmodern pose of “I don’t have to explain my art to you/how could a gay be a Nazi?” On the other, Nazi shit is still pretty taboo, even in the ideologically incoherent world of fashion.
It would seem I lost the bet, as Marc claims he had no idea what he was copying. In a statement given to The Cut today, the Marc Jacobs company said any resemblance to “a band”‘s imagery was purely coincidental:
It has been brought to our attention that the imagery on a T-shirt of ours is similar to that used by a band. We were not trying to make a connection to that band or make a statement of any kind. We have removed the stock of the shirt from our own stores and offer our retail partners the same opportunity.
That’s all well and good, but it still doesn’t explain how the Skrewdriver logo got into Marc’s brain in the first place. (Let’s not pretend he just happened to imagine the same image “a band” imagined, independently thereof.) Fashion tries to appropriate punk rock all the time, so it’s entirely possible he just saw the image on the street or at a bar, thought it was bad ass and copied it without knowing that this band sang about the Zionist media conspiracy and keeping the “screaming monkeys” out of England. Whoops!
Or maybe he saw it somewhere a little more intimate? Skinhead fashion has been a part of gay culture for a while, so maybe he was making an inside joke about how rich gay dudes will pay skinhead punks big bucks to stomp on their chests, etc. But maybe he wasn’t paying enough attention at the fetish party to know that this particular t-shirt—worn by a stomper, natch—means Nazis. (Not all skinheads are Nazis…it actually started as a multicultural movement. Confusing, I know.)
We’ll probably never know how this particular image wormed its way onto a $68 t-shirt sold at Saks Fifth Avenue. But if you’d like to own an embarrassing, potentially valuable piece of Marc Jacobs-alia, it’s still on sale in some places as of this posting.
(Via The Cut)
Photo: Marc Jacobs and Skrewdriver via Brooklyn Vegan