You walk into class the first day after break and sit down next to a girl with a friendly smile. She introduces herself and you have the same basic “so where are you from?” conversation. Then, out of nowhere, she points at your shirt. “I love your shirt! Ugh, I’m a huge fan of them.”
You smile and nod, with a “yeah, they’re great!” even though you feel slightly uncomfortable. The truth is, you’ve barely even listened to Nirvana. You’ve heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit” like once in your friend’s room.
I admit, I used to hate on people who wore band tees to be trendy, even composing an indignant tweet about the issue. To see someone sporting the logo of a band I love and support without knowing about their music annoyed me. Looking back, I realize that my irritation was unnecessary.
Is it so wrong to wear a band tee even if you’ve never listened to the songs? Fashion is about freedom, and you are not hurting anyone by pairing that black Arctic Monkeys AM shirt with your favorite Topshop Jamie jeans and flannel, or that soft ACDC raglan tee with your pajama bottoms. The logo of a band, or album art, can appeal to someone purely because of the design. It is no one’s right to decide who “deserves” to wear a design on his or her chest. Anyone could wear a shirt with a Chinese character on it, even if they cannot read or understand it, because they like the way it looks.
The band tee, and the graphic t-shirt in general, is just another fashion item that people choose to add to their closets. Even if they did get that Guns N’ Roses sweatshirt from Forever21 instead of at some obscure thrift store, who cares?
So next time that one kid asks you to “name 5 songs,” just smile and remind him that it really isn’t that serious.
-Eugenie Jiwon Shin
Images Courtesy of: Vogue