Gorilla’s and guns are a terrible idea to use as branding art for clothes aimed towards a black demographic. The gun is definitely more acceptable than the Gorilla because the Gorilla has racial connotations. H&M produced a t-shirt a few years ago with a monkey on it, and used a black child to model it which caused an uproar throughout society. In a completely race blind society this would have been of no significance, but in these strange times, that was deemed to be insensitive and racist. This is how the black entertainment world has got you fucked up. Now we have a talented and prominent black UK grime artist, JHus, who consistently raps about killing other black people, now selling T-shirts to a working class demographic for £200 a piece with Gorillas on them. The Twighlight zone has come to us in its brightest form, sporting Nike air Jordans and eating fried chicken, this is nuts! I admire the diversification of a business but the thought process that goes in to selecting the design & price point for these clothes is beyond warped. In these situations it’s important to see what the market does, because the market determines what becomes relevant or not, but I cannot see how continuing on a path like this can make you a fashion success.
J Hus makes good music, and with the right people around him he could’ve launched a massively successful brand appealing to the demographic at a tempting price point but £200 for t-shirt is what Monclear, Paul Smith and Alexander McQueen charge and those are well established high end brands. It’s been said, that the black consumer is more than willing to spend money on Monclear type brands, typically owned by white people, but they won’t spend on black owned fashion labels, That comparison isn’t equivalent, because Monclear, LVMH, Balenciaga, Gucci etc have been around for decades and the prestige that comes with a high end brand over the years has allowed them to develop and maintain a high end price point. The established designers aren’t targeting teenagers going to school or young adults in their first jobs. When you’re charging someone £200 for a t-shirt, you shouldn’t want them to buy just one t-shirt. You would have faith that the value of your brand appeals to people who will buy multiple £200 t-shirts, with the £40 socks etc. If you’re a street rapper with no successful experience in fashion, it is highly unlikely that you can break into the high-end market in the UK without some kind of established corporate backing. I said highly unlikely because it has been done before, Kanye West is the perfect example.
Fashion designers have deliberately gone out of their way to make sure shoes and clothes stand out. They stand out so much that it’s difficult not to notice them even if you’re trying not to, because they look so shit. Yes, we’ve gone through various fashion era’s but I think we’ve got to a point where we’re just confused. Some of the Balenciaga designs are terrible, but they sell. Kanye West Trainers, look like shoes for people who have walking difficulties and then it starts a trend. Gucci, Dsquared, Loubiton the list goes on, of brands who seem to be in competition with each other for making the ugliest shoe. People still buy it. Brand is more important than design as people seem to want to be seen in something because the name is recognised at the cost of it looking good. Again, Twighlight world shit. I don’t think J Hus’s brand has explored this eccentric sector of the consumer market because the clothes look normal, but the Gorilla was a poor choice from a social perspective. We can see where the high end brands are Street brands like Stussy, Off White and Supreme have a broader range of quality products which can be more affordable than the high end brand items on the market. How the market determines what becomes popular is impossible to detect but there have been plenty of rappers attempting to break into the fashion world and have failed.