The Revenge Of The Band Hoodie
Photograph by Mr Paolo Zerbini
The sweater that defined the 1990s gig scene is back. Only this time it's (actually) cool. Here are the best to buy now. .
And just when you thought you were safe. Yes, the infernal engine of style has shifted another one of its fiery gears, transmogrifying yet another sartorial anathema into something that we’re all probably going to buy into in the coming months, the consequences be damned. We’re talking here about the much maligned band hoodie, a garment predominantly worn by sulky suburban teenagers in the late 1990s, and widely distributed by market stalls in Camden Lock (before they all turned into branches of Starbucks and Foot Locker). Now such is the zeitgeist, best encapsulated by the defiantly counter-intuitive, banlieue-inspired wares of Parisian buzz-brand Vetements (which makes its debut on MR PORTER today), that wearing one of the below has become something of an insidery, anti-everything style statement. No, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you do fancy taking a sip, scroll down to find out how you can make the look work for you (without immediately reverting to the mindset of your local childhood skate park, circa 1998).
The artisanal leatherworkers and designers behind Tokyo’s Blackmeans are out-and-out rockers. As they told MR PORTER when we filmed them for our recent Meet the Makers film, they don’t just take inspiration from the punk lifestyle, they live it. The above hoodie, therefore, is a result of genuine reverence for punk memorabilia, embellished with Dead Kennedys-esque insignia on the shoulder and a giant eagle on the back. Play up its vintage, tough-guy credentials with a lightly distressed checked flannel shirt from Blackmeans compatriot Neighborhood.
In this multi-panelled hoodie, Maison Margiela applies its deconstructive tendencies to the band-merch archetype, reworking three different rock-inspired prints into a pleasing, graphic composition. Given that this is more of a thinking-man’s approach, we recommend a cleaner style (and some crisp, turned-up chinos) to go with it – think Californian skater and you’re on track.
Mr Demna Gvasalia, the man behind the much-hyped brand Vetements, and the current creative director of historic couture house Balenciaga, has made a name for himself by drawing references from areas that, traditionally, have been ignored by the annals of high fashion. This head-turning, oversized hoodie is a case in point, inspired as it is by the spidery logos of early 1990s extreme metal bands, and featuring an in-your-face back print that can only be politely described as “somewhat divisive”. What makes it transcend its inspiration, however, is the slouchy, deliberately oversized cut and unusually heavyweight cotton in which its rendered, which gives the whole thing a certain weightiness worthy of all the buzz around the brand. Of course, this is a piece you’ve really got to commit to – styling it with blue jeans and a pair of Vans isn’t really going to fly. Instead, opt for some equally daring skinny jeans (with angry-looking rips) from Alexander McQueen – another brand that has always courted the controversial.