This week's featured outfit: I break out the PABLO tee and immediately regret my decision. 

Kanye West x Gildan/Uniqlo/Vans (photo by Kristen Lovely)

Kanye West x Gildan/Uniqlo/Vans (photo by Kristen Lovely)

According to the internet, this is the coolest t-shirt I own. That burgundy/red combo gets looks like none other, but when people see the back, they really lose it. Strangers in elevators ask me about "that shirt." Kids on the street wonder how I got "that colorway." People who know nothing about fashion except for destroyed jeans and Ultra Boosts even make #coolteen side comments like, "yo, sh*t's dope." In other words, putting on the PABLO tee makes me instantly cool - despite the fact that it's a typographic joke hastily printed on Gildan t-shirt blanks. But that's besides the point, because hell, you're cool now. 

If you listen to fashion advertising, being cool (ex. buying then wearing this shirt) is the goal of all goals. By donning this shirt, then, I am an achiever. I have won.  

Kanye West x   Gildan/Uniqlo/Ray-Ban/Timex (photo by Kristen Lovely)

Kanye West x Gildan/Uniqlo/Ray-Ban/Timex (photo by Kristen Lovely)

There's only one problem: I actively despise wearing it. The PABLO tee is the streetwear equivalent of Hard Rock Cafe merch: it shows you've been somewhere others see as remotely impressive, but lacked even the ounce of taste required to commemorate it modestly.

The conversations I have surrounding this shirt are borderline painful. My personal favorite happened when someone in an Anti Social Social Club tee (another #sick Hard Rock Cafe equivalent) asked me where I got the shirt.

"Oh, I went to the fashion show livestream." "What fashion show?"  

"Kanye's Yeezy Season 3 fashion line show. He livestreamed it from Madison Square Garden this February. It was a really cool event." "Oh really? I thought he just did the shoes."

For all intents and purposes, the PABLO shirt is a siren call to the legions who are content copying trends in appearance alone without an ounce of appreciation for the work that made something desirable in the first place. In other words, it's streetwear tourism. By putting it on, you become Disney Dad - just replace REO Speedwagon with a surface knowledge of the Kanye discography. 

Kanye West x   Gildan/Uniqlo/Vans (photo by Kristen Lovely)

Kanye West x Gildan/Uniqlo/Vans (photo by Kristen Lovely)

I only wear this shirt when I feel like being seen as #streetwear confers some sort of social advantage - for example, when I want to be taken seriously at a downtown sneaker store. No one expects a lanky white kid to care about ACRONYM jackets and Y-3 sneakers unless he looks the part, and oh boy, is this the mother of all codeswitches. 

Outside of those rare #streetwear moments, however, I tend to stick with clothes that are a little less gaudy. At the very least, I try to err on the side of garments that don't carry enough easily-digested pretension to cause strangers to ask me if I know Kanye West.

So in other words, yeah, I don't wear it much. I just don't think it's a cool t-shirt.



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