Chalk one up for the bootleggers: a popular Bristol Street Wear tee that uses the iconic Nike swoosh to support British politician Jeremy Corbyn is the latest addition to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The prestigious UK museum, home to the world’s largest collection of decorative arts, has recently announced the acquisition of the hugely popular, $25 graphic tee.
For non-Anglophiles, this is basically the British equivalent of displaying a Bernie Sanders tee in the Met’s Costume Institute. Jeremy Corbyn, a British political who has served as Leader of the Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition since 2015, commanded a sizable percentage of the youth vote and became a youth culture icon (see: Corbynmania) in this summer’s snap general election. While Corbyn was ultimately unable to command a majority, his cult status drove young voters to the polls in record numbers and evidently created quite the influence on the fashion world.
The immense popularity of the Bristol Street Wear Tee — and Corbyn’s candidacy — shows an increasing youth interest in left wing politics and a desire to express these views through fashion. Other examples of political products, like the pussy hats popularized at the Women’s March, will also be displayed.
Bristol Street Wear, which donated the t-shirt, said it was "great to see the typically dismissed art form, ‘bootlegs’, given pride of place" at the iconic museum. "This T-shirt spoke to so many people. It was immediate, it was fun, it started debates, it was censored and it even got us into trouble – everything good art should.”
Tristram Hunt, a former Labour MP and Corbyn critic who now runs the V&A, said: “As the nation’s storehouse for contemporary design and fashion, we are delighted to acquire the Corbyn T-shirt. It is also a rather strong statement of our belief in curatorial autonomy.”
Meanwhile, Corinna Gardner, keeper of the V&A’s design, architecture and digital department, said the shirt, "captures the current vogue for slogan tees and the growing influence of street wear brands," the Guardian reported. Regardless of your opinions on politics (or logomania), now is your chance to get your hands on your own slice of history.