Iggy Pop Doesn’t Need A Shirt, But You Need His

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Published July 29, 2010

PHOTO BY PATRICK MCMULLAN

 

 

Iggy Pop will never forget buying his first band T-shirt. “It was T Rex,” he said, grinning nostalgically at the launch of Archive 1887’s Iggy Pop tee, which took place last night at Barney’s Co-Op. Of the collection, for which Pop will serve as namesake, core muse, and brand ambassador, he explained: “Band Ts are emotional items…Nobody needs to buy a damn shirt or a pair of pants. You need one or two shirts! The rest of it is only worth wearing if it’s art and conveys something personal.” He loved that first T-Rex shirt to death, in the way only a fervent adolescent admirer can. “That shirt is long gone now, sadly,” said Pop who, ironically, decided to remain shirtless for the evening. “But our history together is well-documented in photos!”

It’s a fitting anecdote for the occasion, as the visual framework for Archive 1887’s latest collection is rooted in the emotional intensity of 60s and 70s era rock iconography, and the photography that immortalized it. A collaborative endeavor between Pop, Barney’s, The Thread Shop, and Sony Music, the collection extensively focuses on Iggy and The Stooges in their more memorable poses—Pop in a backbend on stage, their 1969 cover shoot—generational kindred spirits like Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Johnny Cash, and Pink Floyd all have their sartorial moment to shine, too.

“Mick Rock, Lynn Goldsmith, Jim Marshall,” are among the cinematic heavyweights whose imagery defines the collection, Pop said. “Luckily, I had veto power over the images used; I had my own ideas about what I wanted to include, though they generally wanted to stick to the most familiar visuals. I didn’t want the same old shit. At least, I managed to get Shepard Fairey involved!”

As the Archive 1887 project sees the band shirt elevated to a subtle art form, it concurrently heightens the fashion industry’s growing investment in a particular ideal of heightened rock decadence, and in Pop himself, the man who embodies that era-defining insouciance best.

Why so much interest in Pop these days? “He’s rad,” Greig Bennett, creative director of The Thread Shop and Archive 1887 collaborator confirmed. “Unlike many of our favorite icons–Miles Davis, Johnny Cash–he’s still with us. He’s here, he’s rockin’, he symbolizes an entire culture.” Helpfully, he also happens to be great friends with Barney’s creative director Simon Doonan, who shared a few drinks and laughs with Pop last night.

Pop described his resurgent popularity his own way: “It’s funny. In the past few years, higher-end retailers have shown a sudden interest in putting my image on different things—and offering me good money to do it. As soon as I  had a chance to get away from my usual merchandiser, who weren’t creative and were manufacturing some quick and easy schmatas. I decided to take my image to a new market.”

And he holds no reservations about leasing that image out to as many outlets as possible. “I want to be a lamp, I want to be a fragrance!” he laughed. “I want to do anything and everything. I want to always have a presence in society. I don’t care what it is, really. I can do a car insurance ad in England, if it’s cool.” He paused. “I just did that, actually.”

The Archive 1887 Iggy Pop collection, which hits stores this week, is sold at Barney’s