Forever 21 Now Ripping Off Kurt Cobain

A mass-produced version of his DIY Flipper t-shirt? Yup, Cobain’s definitely rolling around in his grave.

Forever 21 Now Ripping Off Kurt Cobain

Forever 21 has a well-established reputation for ripping off independent designers and selling blatant copies of their work to a mass-market audience for a drastically reduced price. That’s not exactly news.

But they just took it to a whole new place, ripping off the handmade Flipper t-shirt that Kurt Cobain wore on SNL in 1992. He made it by drawing on a plain t-shirt with marker — petty much the pinnacle of the DIY punk tee. But now you can buy a sweatshop-produced version for $16.90. That’s pretty much the opposite of the DIY punk ethos.

This is definitely not the first time a corporate brand has co-opted something independent and re-branded it as an attempt to capture some faux form of rebellion — it’s not even the first time Forever 21 has done it. They had a scuffle with the ’80s punk band Minor Threat a couple of years ago when they ripped their logo off for a t-shirt.

But this one feels especially egregious. Maybe it’s because it’s Cobain. Or maybe it’s because it’s Forever 21, and there couldn’t be a clothing brand farther away from the very concept and spirit behind the original shirt. It’s also hilariously ironic how a brand that prints Bible verses on their bags and whose owner likes to tout his Christian ideals appears to have no problem whatsoever with stealing when it makes them money.

Whatever it is, if you really want to wear a Flipper tee, buy a plain shirt and a Sharpie and make it yourself. Or better yet, come up with something different.