Today’s menswear show from fashion pranksters Vetements displayed the best T-shirts designer Demna Gvasalia has to offer, though you’d be forgiven for thinking they were from Spencer’s Gifts. From T-shirts reading “I Survived Swine Flu So Now I’m Vegan” to texting hoodies, there was something for the most edgy gamer in your life. But the best — or at least the most historically interesting — was undoubtedly the shirt that read “Corporate Magazines Still Suck A Lot.”
Without any context, “Corporate Magazines Still Suck A Lot” makes sense. Conde Nast is struggling, every publication that pivoted to video is struggling, and there are too many full-look outfits on magazine covers. But take a trip back to 1992 with me. The reference — and the styling of the outfit — begins with Kurt Cobain.
It was a different time, I am told. Nirvana was just arriving on the scene as a grungy alternative to the feathered perfectness of the ’80s. Magazines had lots of money. And Rolling Stone wanted Nirvana on its cover. What’s an up-and-coming band with underground, punk roots to do? Cobain appeared on the cover in a shirt reading “Corporate Magazines Still Suck,” his clout goggles, pink hair, and a cardigan. Once an icon, always an icon.
Full disclosure: I was minus 3 years old when this all went down, and when I first saw this photo (without the Rolling Stone text), I thought it was a Vetements ad. Dave Grohl looks like he could be on the runway — that’s all I’m saying.