Back in Black (And White): The Classic Rock T-Shirt Renaissance

By Playboy Staff

<p>What's better than that old Bob Dylan shirt you wear when you don't have to be anywhere? Nothing. </p>

One of these days, that threadbare Def Leppard (or Ramones or Hüsker Dü or Bob Dylan) T-shirt is going to give up the ghost. Instead of trolling eBay and bidding on someone else’s hand-me-down nostalgia, you can start fresh but still rock the vote for your favorite band with a tee from one of the many designers who collaborate with musicians. (Street-style pioneer Supreme has a Misfits line; Hurley had a Weezer series.) The best of the bunch are graphic and black-and-white, avoid the bombastic rock T-shirt clichés and go with anything you’ll wear this summer. Here’s how to get in on the act,

  1. Led Head

Pay tribute to Led Zeppelin’s true genius, drummer John Bonham (apologies to Jones, Plant and Page), with this supersoft T-shirt from audiophile fashion designer John Varvatos. ($98)

  1. Bowie Life

Paul Smith designed this official T-shirt for Bowie’s new album, The Next Day. ($145)

  1. Go Blondie

Dolce & Gabbana meets Debbie Harry with this tee. Available at$265)­

Knocked Off

The smart take on the rock T-shirt came from the streets. Fans with access to design software and silk screens took rock imagery and stripped it down to its most basic, graphic elements. A few classics (from left to right): The first names of the Ramones spelled out in Helvetica spawned countless imitators; pop ska legends the Specials’ checkerboard design can’t fail; Black Flag’s four bars have become the punk rock aesthetic benchmark; the New York City tee says John Lennon without saying “John Lennon”; Joy Division’s ethereal Unknown Pleasures album art is art in itself.


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