The Vintage Band t-shirt trend and its effects on bands and artists

Vintage band t-shirts have come a long way from an ordinary method of advertisement to a globally known fashion trend. But how does it affect and change the way we perceive different bands and artists?

By Arshi Banerjee
It is safe to say that Rock n roll somehow has found its way to modern streetwear. A popular fashion style known as grunge wave was introduced during the late 90’s and is still prevalent during the modern times. Rock n roll essentials such as leather jackets, ripped or shredded jeans and chelsea boots are heavily incorporated in casual chic clothing nowadays. Many edgy brands have also made the grunge waves a reality by selling merchandise of underground bands from the Bay area Thrash, London punk and Seattle grunge areas. The evolution of such styles and fashion has put a heavy mark on today’s streetwear. This was a great idea in the 90s and even today because that would give advertisement to these bands before and now these t-shirts and accessories would also make those bands relevant since the popular music has changed drastically within the decade.

The vintage styles and aesthetic has become such an influence in the fashion world that you would also see them in magazines and tabloids. As the trend to incorporate 90s clothes and accessories have become extremely prevalent now, vintage band t-shirts of rock 80’s to 90’s rock bands such as Guns N Roses, ACDC, Metallica etc., has become a must have in everyone’s closet, even though they do not listen to the bands.
Celebrities have definitely had a hand in making vintage t-shirts a comfortable yet stylish fashion trend. Popular artists and television stars such as Justin Bieber, Rihanna, The Kardashian/ Jenner Clan and Kanye West all have been seen wearing vintage band t-shirts which seems like a good choice as it is easy to wear and roam around in the city but is also not very fitting for mainstream celebrities. The pop artists and television stars who wear these t-shirts often seem phony in the eyes of the public because they would not expect someone as Kendall Jenner or Justin Bieber listening to bands like Metallica or Slayer.

Supermodel Kendall Jenner and popstar Justin Bieber stylishly sporting vintage Metallica t-shirts on the streets.
These fashion statements were soon taken too far when The Jenner sisters, Kylie and Kendall, decided to take a different route on their clothing line. In a recent collection, the sisters came up with a unique set of oversized t-shirts where they printed their faces and initials on popular images and album cover arts of artists and bands like Tupac, the Doors, KISS, Metallica, Pink Floyd and the Notorious B.I.G. They soon got major backlash from the public as it seemed disrespectful to the legendary artists. Volleta Wallace, The Notorious B.I.G.’s mother criticized the sisters for their overpriced t-shirts.

She said on her social media “I am not sure who told @kyliejenner and @kendalljenner that they had the right to do this. The disrespect of these girls to not even reach out to me or anyone connected to the estate baffles me. I have no idea why they feel they can exploit the deaths of 2pac and my son Christopher to sell a T-shirt. This is disrespectful, disgusting, and exploitation at its worst!!!”

Sharon Osbourne, reality celebrity and wife of popular rockstar Ozzy Osbourne also took to twitter to say this “Girls, you haven’t earned the right to put your face with musical icons. Stick to what you know … lip gloss.”

However, there is not only negative feedback to this or the popularization of the vintage band t-shirt trend in general. Many rock and metal artists actually see it as a good way to gain relevance in modern times when pop music is now different from what people used to listen to in the 80s and 90s. People wearing the vintage band t-shirts is a great way to advertise these legendary artists and it also gets people of the current generation to listen and appreciate the popular and renowned musicians of the past. Famous lead guitarist  Slash of the renowned rock band Guns N Roses said in one of his interview “ In a way it is sort of carrying the torch, it might be a fashion statement for some but in a way it sort of keeps the band alive so it is cool”

James Hetfield, the lead singer of the popular thrash metal band Metallica also said in his interview when asked about kids nowadays sporting their band merchandise “When I see some kid out on the street with his parents and he’s got a Metallica shirt on, whether he’s heard of us or not, it’s a statement, you know? It is a statement, so I love that.”