The Story Of OBEY

The Story Of OBEY

In the landscape of contemporary streetwear, few brands have managed to embed themselves into the cultural zeitgeist as deeply as Obey Clothing. Founded in 2001 by artist Shepard Fairey, Obey Clothing is more than just a fashion label; it's a movement, an extension of Fairey's art, and a medium through which he communicates his politically charged messages. The genesis of Obey Clothing can be traced back to Fairey's time at the Rhode Island School of Design, where his Andre the Giant Has a Posse sticker campaign captured the imagination of the East Coast. This campaign laid the groundwork for what would become the iconic Obey Giant logo, symbolizing a fusion of art, political activism, and streetwear.

The Birth of an Icon: The Obey Logo

The inception of the Obey logo is a tale of evolution and adaptation. Initially born from Shepard Fairey's sticker campaign featuring Andre the Giant, the logo was redesigned in the face of a trademark lawsuit threat in 1994. Fairey transformed the image of the wrestler into the now-iconic Obey logo, coupled with the slogan lifted from John Carpenter’s cult classic, "They Live". This redesign was not merely an artistic pivot but a reinforcement of the brand's ethos, merging visual artistry with a message that encourages people to question their surroundings and the media they consume.

The Philosophy Behind Obey Clothing

Obey Clothing stands as a testament to Fairey's experiment in Phenomenology, a concept borrowed from philosopher Martin Heidegger. Heidegger's notion—that the essence of being is revealed through our experiences—resonates through Obey's designs and slogans. The brand's essence, according to Fairey, is an invitation to self-reflection and societal observation, encapsulated in the provocative slogan "Obey". This philosophical underpinning elevates the brand beyond its physical offerings, proposing that Obey is not just about the clothes one wears but about engaging with the world critically.

A Legacy of Collaboration and Influence

Obey Clothing has transcended its roots as a skateboarding and street art apparel brand to become a significant player in the broader fashion industry. Its collaborations with streetwear giants like HUF, artists such as Cope2 and Keith Haring, and even legacy brands like Levi’s, showcase its versatility and widespread appeal. Each collaboration is a melding of Fairey's vision with that of other creative minds, producing unique pieces that are both collectible and wearable statements against conformity.

Shop the latest pieces from OBEY here.

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