Teen pop-punk T-shirt specialists PacSun have switched gears: The company is now teaming with popular rappers to lock down their cool cachet. You may recall that they sold official Yeezus tour T-shirts back in 2013. However, their latest collaboration backfired this weekend due to the United States Flag Code. PacSun’s “A$AP Worldwide A$AP T-Shirt” is their joint venture with Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky, whose new album At.Long.Last.A$AP dropped just before midnight last night.
For those who are unfamiliar with the A$AP Mob and Rocky, the upside down flag has been part of their group’s imagery for quite some time. Within that context, ASAP agreeing to let the company put the symbol on a T-shirt is just them letting PacSun incorporate imagery that’s been associated with Rocky for a while. But to the innocent bystander — especially during Memorial Day weekend, when the focus is on veterans — PacSun is flagrantly disrespecting America’s foremost symbol of freedom.
Here’s an excerpt from The United States Flag Code:
The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
A$AP’s own clothing brand A$AP Worldwide frequently uses symbols that defy religious and patriotic conventions; it’s literally part of their brand. The code continues:
The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.
So no one show those who complained the artwork for Rocky’s debut album, either. It’s almost as though… Rocky knows what he’s doing and is purposefully defying these rules? Anyway, PacSun’s primary aim is to make money since they’re beholden to the public and corporate interests. Hence, they issued an apology for the unwitting offense via Facebook:
As a retailer grounded in youth culture, PacSun values artistic and creative expression through the brands that we sell in our stores. Out of respect for those who have put their lives on the line for our country, we have decided to stop selling the licensed flag t-shirt and are removing it from our stores and website immediately. We thank the men and women in uniform for their extraordinary service.
-Pacific Sunwear, Inc.
Plenty of customers threatened to boycott when they saw the shirt:
But some don’t agree with the decision:
He has a point about the state of country. Maybe PacSun should further familiarize themselves with an artist’s aesthetic before they collaborate again. No comment yet from the A$AP camp, who are probably still basking in the warm glow the album release. We’ll update if/when they speak on the matter.