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Only Anarchists Are Pretty: New Fragment x Peel + Lift Anarchy Shirt goes on sale as The Pool opens in Aoyoama

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Among the lines launching Tokyo’s new fashion and music retail outlet The Pool is a collaboration between Japanese streetwear labels Fragment and Peel + Lift on a fresh version of the 1976 Anarchy Shirt design by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.

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The reissue, in four versions, is a stripped down reproduction of one of the original variants created by McLaren and Westwood to be worn by the Sex Pistols and for sale in their shop at 430 King’s Road in its incarnations as Sex and Seditionaries.

“I had been a student in the 60s, and the anarchic student movements in France really framed my critique,” McLaren told me in 2007.  “This particular shirt celebrated that.”

The original designs used as a base the deadstock Wemblex brand shirts stored in boxes at McLaren & Westwood’s flat in Clapham, south London in the mid-70s. “They were pin-striped and made in cheap cotton in the early 60s when the ‘pin-through’ collar style – an American look – was fashionable,” said McLaren.

“I wore and wore them and then, one day, Vivienne decided to paint stripes over one. She showed it to me and together we customised it, using my son’s stencil set, with slogans such as “Only Anarchists Are Pretty” and “Dangerously Close To Love”.

“As well as layering the stencils to increase the impact, I attached silk patches of Karl Marx I discovered in shops in Chinatown which sold Maoist literature.  I chose him because his book started the Socialist and workers’ movements in the 19th century. Also, Vivienne and I liked his beard.

“Marx was a writer/author, a creator of ideas, not a politician like Lenin. Marx represented a greater significance and was important to us because he lived in London at one point.”

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//The four versions of the Fragment/Peel+Lift collaboration, including “secret” Marx patch hidden behind the breast pocket//

In blue or white cotton, the new Fragment x Peel + Lift shirt conforms to the body type of the Wemblex shirts and toys with the placement of patches of Karl Marx and an inverted Nazi eagle and stencilled slogans, including the statement Only Anarchists Are Pretty.

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//The shirt in Hiroshi Fujiwara’s collection. Photo courtesy HF//

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//Fujiwara’s previous repro collaboration with Peel + Lift//

The new line is based on a McLaren/Westwood shirt in the collection of Hiroshi Fujiwara, the streetwear guru whose interests include Fragment and The Pool. In 2013 he collaborated with Peel + Lift on another Anarchy Shirt reissue which featured all the patches incorporated into the original design.

This run was limited to 30 garments, around the number painstakingly made by McLaren and Westwood in the autumn of 1976, as detailed in my three-part series into the genesis and realisation of this important artefact of the punk era:

The Roots Of The Anarchy Shirt Part 1: Of Course All The Revolutionaries Are Pretty!

The Roots Of The Anarchy Shirt Part 2: The Black Hand Gang

The Roots Of The Anarchy Shirt Part 3: Leaving The 20th Century

Sex Pistols’ guitarists Glen Matlock and Steve Jones and acolyte Jordan wore Anarchy Shirt variants for this performance on 1976 British TV magazine show So It Goes:

The Pool – which opens on Saturday (April 5) and is backed by JUN Group, which owns menswear brands Uniform Experiment and Sophnet – takes its name not just from Fujiwara’s Soundpool show on Japanese radio station J-Wave, but also from the fact that it occupies the ground floor space of a building in Aoyoama which was formerly the residents’ swimming pool.

Visit Fragment Design here, Peel+Lift here and JUN Group here.

The Pool is at Tokyo Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, 5-chome, 12-24. The website is here.

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Author: / Published: Apr 2nd, 2014 / Category: 1970s, 430 King's Road, Boutiques, Collections, Fashion, King's Road, London, Malcolm McLaren, Situationism, Tokyo / Comments: None

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