The clothing line Forever 21, which is known for their cheap, knock-off designer duds sported by the masses of pre-teens and adolescents who swarm to the overstocked stores in search of inexpensive clothing that will make them look cool, might have more in common with us than we thought. The store seems to be a fan of Minor Threat as well, or at least is a fan of the profits they can make from selling shirts sporting the band’s logo without permission.
We might be making a lofty assumption here, but when we saw a Forever 21 branded, Minor Threat shirt posted on You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice, we had to guess that the people buying the shirt probably have no idea who Minor Threat even is, and most likely think that the shirt’s logo is just some hip-version of those glittery “Daddy’s Lil’ Princess” shirts the store sold just a few years ago.
For just a mere $14.90 you too can rock a massed produced Minor Threat tee, whose logo is taken from the band’s 1983 album Out Of Step, but watch out, because Minor Threat doesn’t mess around with Copyright infringement. In 2005 Nike copied the cover of Minor Threat’s first EP for a promo poster for a skateboarding tour called “Major Threat.” Again in 2005, Minor Threat also butted heads with Fox, who used a few seconds of the band’s “Salad Days” during an NFL broadcast without Dischord Records or the band’s permission.
So instead of assuming, we figured to go directly to the source and ask Dischord ourselves about the t-shirt in question. All things press-person at Dischord, Alec Bourgeois, provided us with this statement regarding the shirt as well as the band’s current outlook on licensing:
“This is an unauthorized shirt and it is still unclear whether the shirt was produced by Forever 21 or if it is a bootleg that they just happen to carry. Either way the members of Minor Threat are looking into it and Forever 21 will be asked to stop selling it.
In the beginning, Minor Threat did not license anything and any shirts you saw were screened by band member Jeff Nelson. But Jeff stopped screening shirts and over the years the band members realized that the shirts were going to be made with or without their permission, so they may as well authorize a couple friendly printers in order to better control the quality, content and revenue.
The band and the label tend to deal with bootleg shirts on a case by case basis, acknowledging the vast difference between kids screening shirts for friends and professional printing studios screening shirts for profit. Obviously this absurd Forever 21 shirt falls under the ‘unacceptable’ category.”
Forever 21 is no stranger to style-stealing, and is known for getting in trouble with designers like Diane von Furstenberg and Gwen Stefani. We suggest the store reconsider their Minor Threat t-shirt idea, but from the looks of it, Forever 21 — whose owner is of strong Christian faith — doesn’t seem to have any problems stealing. The irony of it all is killer.