The Hundreds X Coachella T-shirt: So many memes
Before the echoes of Coachella 2011 have faded into the ether for good, I felt compelled to revisit the dusty polo fields of Indio to share my personal favorite fashion moment of the festival -- as well as to provide a link to the "best and worst" fashion gallery our compatriots over at Brand X have compiled.
While it might seem an insurmountable task to be more memorable than anything the feather-festooned, tanned, tattooed, tweaked and neon-streaked madcap crowd was wearing, one of the T-shirts I found for sale around the side of the sprawling merchandise tent did just that.
Around the corner from the towering display of straight-forward band and festival T-shirts (a Kanye West one bore a George Condo portrait of the singer, a Coachella 2011 shirt depicted a palm tree playing a guitar) was a plywood-walled boutique that sold a selection of limited-edition artist shirts designed by the likes of Tim Biskup and Gary Baseman, where I found a black T-shirt bearing a quixotic mash-up of air-brushed images that included a penguin, a Stealth Bomber, a bald eagle, the Death Star (from "Star Wars"), a Native American wearing a war bonnet headdress and, wait for it ... a narwhal jumping over a cheeseburger.
"It looks like five of those air-brushed vans from the '70s all collided," observed my wife as I plunked down $35 for the shirt -- which had been created by Los Angeles based streetwear label The Hundreds. (Or, as my sister-in-law put it upon her first viewing: "So many memes!")
After two days of slack-jawed reactions to the shirt -- followed by many furrowed brows and the ocassional outburst of laughter, I decided to track down co-founder and creative director Bobby Kims -- who goes by Bobby Hundreds -- to get the back story.
"Last year we did a really straight-forward T-shirt," Hundreds explained. "It was a version of the original Woodstock logo but with the dove sitting on a bomb instead of a guitar neck. So this time around we decided to make something appropriate for the ultimate hipster convention."
Riffing on the kind of air-brushed nature/fantasy T-shirt designs native to souvenir shops "it took me and our graphic designer Benjie less than 15 minutes to come up with it," Hundreds said.
Oh, and they're not kidding about the limited-edition part either. According to Hundreds, only 200 to 300 were even made -- all of which were sold exclusively on the festival grounds.
"We didn't sell them in our store or online and we've been getting tons of calls and emails from people who want one."
Proof positive that it's always a good idea to strike while the irony's hot.
-- Adam Tschorn
Photo: The design, which appeared on the front of the limited-edition the Hundreds X Coachella T-shirt sold exclusively during the April 15 to 17 festival in Indio, Calif. Credit: The Hundreds.