Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 10: Denim Shoulderless Shirt, and More Urban Outfitters Dismay

As I started to conceptualize this blog post about my #5 top Black Friday thrift store find--this super sexy $1 shoulderless denim shirt--my head started to spin. Where to begin? I was super pumped about this shirt. It seemed truly bizarre and I was ready to embrace its bizarreness with open arms...and bare shoulders.

That all changed the other day, when I was clicking through the Urban Outfitters website, as one does for whatever reason every now and again. That was when I stumbled across this:

My exact shirt! Kind of! But not really! And not just another sad case of thrift store style co-opting (illustrated brilliantly here by Holly). This instance truly opens up a whole new can of worms.

What makes it more complicated is that UO's variation of my shirt is a part of their Urban Renewal series. For those of you who don't know about the concept of Urban Renewal, it is a line of clothing where UO takes a bunch of thrifted/dead stock/vintage clothes and alters them for you to make them "unique", i.e. the lazy man's thrifting. Essentially, you are paying for the service of them somehow managing to buy massive quantities of vintage clothes that are somehow almost identical, and then individually altering them for you, in a uniform way, to make each piece "one of a kind", in a mass production sort of way.*

Rather than appropriating the design of a thrifted/vintage garment and mass producing it, UO is directly applying the appropriated design to massive quantities of vintage garments. This is an attempt to capitalize on not only the design of a vintage garment, but also the mystique of the one of a kind-ness of a vintage/thrifted garment. For this they charge $48, whereas my shirt was $1.

A particularly nefarious case of thrift store style co-opting, if you ask me. But I hold fast that my shirt is far cooler anyway! Cutting all the way to the collar of the shirt, as is done in mine, is far more dramatic a sexy than weird little shoulder holes. And it has pearly buttons. So there.

*I defend the use of this run-on sentence as being totally necessary to proving my point


  1. this post is so amazing in so many ways. shoulder-less denim! HUZZAH!

  2. I love this! So true, so true.

  3. YES! thank you for posting about "urban renewal". even before i understood the joy of thrifting, i knew then that urban renewel was the biggest tomfoolery of our decaying mass of individuality. love it!