Last year, the rock writer Bob Mehr published Trouble Boys, an acclaimed biography of midwestern punk legends the Replacements. Sometime since then, the Japanese designer Takahiro Miyashita came across the book, and decided to heavily incorporate its title and ‘Mats-centric imagery into his fall fashion line. Mehr, who apparently had no involvement with the line, posted a cheerfully baffled update about the situation on Instagram and Twitter today, writing that it was one of “many weird/cool/unexpected things that have happened as a result” of the book.
Mehr included images of Miyashita’s shirts, which use the Trouble Boys name and cover font, several Replacements album titles and covers, and, for whatever reason, imagery from the classic Scorsese flick Taxi Driver. “Have to consult with a lawyer properly, but since titles and fonts are not copyright protected, me and the designer and publisher are probably out of luck,” he wrote, adding that “the whole thing just struck me as kinda ridiculous.” Take a look below.
Among the many weird/cool/unexpected things that have happened as a result of the publication of my Replacements bio, "Trouble Boys," this has to rank very high. Apparently, a well known high fashion designer in Japan, Takahiro Miyashita and his company Takahiromiyashita The Soloist, have cribbed the title/cover of my book (designed by @alexcamlin) and various Replacements LPs as part of his fall fashion line (called Alternative Tentacles, btw). It's mostly a series of longsleeve shirts that mash-up the 'Mats with Travis Bickle from "Taxi Driver." Go figure. Anyway, it's all too bizarre to contemplate. Especially as each shirt retails for about $200-$300 a pop! Don't let anyone tell you that your dreams can't come true. All my life I wanted to be a designer's muse – the Cher to someone's Bob Mackie – and now I've finally made it! *(I should add that I had no idea about this until a friend in Japan tipped me off. I get no cut of this, so please don't splurge for a $300 t-shirt on my account. Have to consult with a lawyer properly, but since titles and fonts are not copyright protected, me and the designer and publisher are probably out of luck. I don't think the cover photographers have any recourse either since their original images aren't being reproduced. The band — who have been informed — may have some claim, though their name is almost entirely absent from the clothes. Anyway, the whole thing just struck me as kinda ridiculous when I saw it and so I wanted to share) #troubleboys #thereplacements
Googling around reveals some of the shirts for sale on Japanese websites for around 18,000 yen, or about $165 U.S. In addition to the Replacements tees, Miyashita is also selling several other notable shirts: one that references Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles label, another with a Ben Franklin quote that was previously appropriated by Bob Dylan, another with a scribbled image of the Beatles. There’s also a “You talkin’ to me?” Taxi Driver tee that is one of the most insane garments of clothing I’ve ever seen. If you’re the type of person who can actually pull off these long-sleeved streetwear tees that are currently all the rage, you might consider the one with Travis Bickle taking off his Army jacket to reveal a Let It Be shirt.
This article originally appeared on Spin.