Bowlcut Garms is the brand that has passers by doing double takes around London. Its T-shirt designs cheekily appropriate and poke fun at major U.K. brands and public figures — see the "Rasclart" take on Reebok, and the design that declares David Cameron a "Wasteman."
The designs are the creation of Joe, a DJ and promoter, and Aisha, an art director. (Reached by email, both declined to give their surnames or ages.) “We had a fair bit of time off over Christmas last year and started making T-shirt designs to entertain ourselves,” they explained. “We’d WhatsApp the designs to each other, and try and merk the last design with something better.” Just like that, Bowlcut was born.
Over the past eight months, Bowlcut has released over 30 designs. Among the most popular have been the “BumBaClart” tee, featuring the BBC logo, and the “Mandem” flip of the Marlboro cigarette logo. It might be relatively new, but the brand already counts cool Londoners like radio presenter Maya Jama (above), musician Faze Miyake, and BBC Three's Kurupt FM as fans.
As well as the tongue-in-cheek humor, there’s an obvious political slant to Bowlcut's shirts. “We've been called an anti-establishment brand and we'd agree with this to a certain extent,” they wrote. “There's a huge feeling of disparity between the 1% and the rest of society. We're pretty chilled, happy people, but there's a lot to be pissed off about [in the U.K. today] between the dodgy politicians and bankers. I guess our designs represent these feelings of unrest.”
Bowlcut's political edge doesn't stop with a broadly anti-establishment attitude, though — Joe and Aisha also used their brand to actively campaign and raise money for causes, most notably with the “Stop Killing The Mandem” T-shirt in aid of Black Lives Matter. “Novelist is one of our favourite grime artists,” they explained. “We saw him holding a placard in London with the words 'Stop Killing The Mandem' at a Black Lives Matter demo, and got inspired.” They made a T-shirt with the slogan, sending all profits to the Black Lives Matter Network. If you move fast, there’s still a handful left.
Watch out this year for more from Bowlcut Garms, including sweats, hoodies, jackets, and “a collab with a brand which is so big it feels silly to say it out loud.” In the meantime, shop their T-shirts here.