nothing personal just biz-ness

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Let me tell you - I mean - You tell me

A lot happened in 1983: My best friend was born, seat belts became mandatory in the UK, the US Embassy in Beirut was bombed, Hooters opened in Clearwater Florida, and Microsoft Word was first released.

That year is also known in certain circles as the year that Katharine Hamnett launched her first ever protest slogan t-shirts. Written across the front of each shirt were message such as: CHOOSE LIFE, WORLDWIDE NUCLEAR BAN NOW, PRESERVE THE RAINFOREST, SAVE THE WORLD, EDUCATION NOT MISSILES. The shirts were designed to be copied with the objective of effecting change by being seminal. 

And copied they were. . . The shirts most recently inspired Henry Holland who put a topical spin on the Hamnett tee. The nu wave (rave) of shirts sported slogans such as: DO ME IN THE PARK MARC, TREAT ME MEAN ALEXANDER MCQUEEN, CAUSE ME PAIN HEDI SLIMANE, CUME AGAIN CHRISTOPHER KANE, and GET YER FREAK ON GILES DEACON. With the help of model Agyness Dean the slogan shirt was all the rage...all over again. 

Is the medium the message here or have we traded something valuable for a vapid rhyming slogan?

Griselda Pollock, the highly respected and valuable feminist art historian defines avante-gardism as a process that entails the three steps of Reference, Deference and Difference. 

According to Griselda, the artist must first reference the work- relate it to what's currently going on (or what was going on in the past). Then Deference, defer to the existing leader. And finally, make an original move- Difference. 

Is house of holland a perfect example of avant garde fashion  or simply a bad biting of something that was once important?

Whatever you think, there is no doubting that Katharine Harmnett started something, but the slogan tee was far from her only creation. 

Her contributions make for an awesomely impressive list, here are some highlights:

She invented: distressed denim, stonewash denim, stretch denim, parachute silk, the crumpled look, military inspired sportswear, power dressing, leggins, lycra, jump suits, retro revivals, and ethical and environmental clothing

She discovered: Ellen Von Unwerth, Juergen Teller, and Terry Richardson

Her 80s campaigns were the first for: Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer, and Nadia Auermann


Frankie said...


Frank said...


The Whole Family said...

Hooters is fast paced and lively restaurant that we deem "fun for all of us"

Hooters said...

Josh, you're fired

livery power from the ivory tower said...

the slogan and the t-shirt were intentionally (though illegally) seperated at birth, just like the twee and the inane. all born at the same hospital in st. lois obispo, which recently issued a formal apology to the siblings seperated so many years ago by one nurse goodtaste.

Geeves said...

Naturally, I am a butler by profession. So it does strike me and I would like to ask the following; is one predisposed to a career as a feminist author simply by being named 'Griselda'? Do tell.

Russless said...

Oh biz blog, how you cheer up my mornings.

white rapper (not wack) said...

"have we traded something valuable for a vapid rhyming slogan?"


But it's not forever. More like a lend.

Also, naming your child Griselda guarantees that she will be a feminist Art Historian, a witch or a non witch old lady who lives in the woods or all three.

For the record, and I'm with Frankie on this one, as fresh as it was when the shirts first came out...they didn't invent big letters, so the whole thing is pretty derivative.

Any of you scholars know who invented big letters? My guess is advertisers or government.

Who knows? Not me.

white rapper (not wack) said...

WOAH JEEVES! I just noticed your comment.

We had the same thought!

Do you want a job? You can choose marine or rural butlering in a pristine rural setting.

You WILL be encouraged to eat at the table with the family.

We probably will call you Jeevesy aka Young Jeevesy

If this is cool let me know. Uniform suggested but not supplied.

nurse goodtaste said...


Papa Roti said...

Agnes Dean looks like a boy.

Like a teenage soldier who escapes the third Reich and has to go to work in occupied France, but speaks no French and has amnesia. Taken in by a matronly French weaver, he learns to love again, for the first time.

I guess what I'm saying is...I'd blap. I've seen other pictures where she looks girlier aka blappable.

Oh, and I read on the tea on a jetski blog that she is James Dean's daughter. So, have fun with that, tabloids.

Jase said...

Am I the only one who reads this blog that remembers when Josh worked at Hooters?

Was Agnes Deene one of the Newsies? She looks like a Newsie.

dzani said...

whoa whoa whoa! josh worked at hooters?

tell me more?

hostess? server? kitchen? bar? clean-up?

bedazzler said...

i heard helvetica is huge right now.

powerdressing said...

hooters vs. the keg

Thousand Island Dressing said...


Times New Roman said...

Helvetica took my baby away

Hooters said...


He was a "grease boy"

Anonymous said...


Vaneska said...

You just answered so many of my life questions with this post.

a scrap book of sorts

We are two best friends: Sarah and Lara.

We have been collaging together since we were in kindergarten. From hilroy to apple, the medium has changed but the message remains the same.

We get by with a little help from our friends,
the biz-biz

vincent merany

vincent merany

la la la la la la live for today

"biz" means "we" in Turkish