Itemized: Bjorn Copeland’s Silk Scarf for United Bamboo

November 17, 2009

Every week a different FADER staff member will pick a clothing item or accessory that he or she has lately been spending a lot of time with—or would like to—and write a little love letter to it. We would’ve done a column on who we’re dating but that seemed a little bit much. This week Matthew Schnipper writes about the silk scarf Bjorn Copeland designed for United Bamboo.

The first time I bought a silk scarf it was because I was not broke. Well, it wasn’t that I was broke before, I just never had any money in the first place. Broke implies that you have lost all your money. If you are a post-college kid with no job who lives with your parents, you’re not broke, you’re just a loser waiting to get out of a hole. So when I got my first real grownup job I got my sister a mint green vintage Gucci scarf for the holidays. My sister lives in Vermont, like in the top of Vermont closer to Canada than the rest of America. She does not need to receive a silk scarf in December, she needs socks lined with polar bear fur. But I just wanted to floss.

The first time I bought something Bjorn Copeland designed I had just finished middle school. I was in Boston for the day to celebrate my birthday with my parents and my two friends who I later stopped hanging out with because they got so into doing mescaline and that just seemed weird for 15. But for a day, we got lunch and bought some records at Newbury Comics. I don’t remember if I knew Black Dice, Copeland’s band, specifically, or, more likely, bought the record because it was on Gravity, the same label as Man as the Bastard who probably changed my life, but I know it looked fucked up and I wanted it. It was bright yellow and textured, Black Dice written repeatedly next to a nun lady with a cutout face. It sounded similarly bizarre, somewhere between lawless noise and punchy hardcore. It was, for me then, perfect.

This scarf that Copeland designed for United Bamboo, that I’m seeing four years after buying my sister that mostly unworn scarf and 12 since that first Black Dice record, isn’t a meeting of high/low cultures. Copeland has since become a well-known, if not exactly majorly successful artist. Black Dice, with whom his art is integrally tied, has released a plethora of albums since the Gravity 7-inch, all of which feature his art as their visual imprint, slashed visages and infinite repetition in the radiant glow of pastel and neon. This scarf is maybe a little more serious than either, an in between space of art and commerce, creativity dangling soft in the breeze. As a man, there is no real way for me to wear this. Primarily because it is a silk scarf. It’s got a boob and kind of looks like a stoned skull. It also looks like fruit, the warm orange of citrus and the easy hue of blueberries. I’m about to move and I want to hang this. But that seems looming, pretentious. It’s a scarf, not an artwork. Maybe I should buy this for a pretty girl and see if she wears it, little litmus test. If I can afford silk and my girl can sport hypercolor puke then maybe it’s a match made.

From The Collection:

Itemized: Bjorn Copeland’s Silk Scarf for United Bamboo