True Colors: how an A24 t-shirt became a staple in the downtown wardrobe

The Grailed website is the go-to place in the streetwear world to find rare and coveted clothing for resale by fashion enthusiasts, often at very low prices compared to the retail price. A 2017 Louis Vuitton x Supreme backpack will set you back $ 35,000. An Off-White x Burton snowboard? That’s just over $ 18,000 at press time. Chrome Hearts Matching Chrome Hearts: Activate the Platinum Card. Lately, right next to all the coveted totem poles of drop culture, a booming part of the resale site has been dealing with a weird variant of hypebeast lust: promotional products for movies produced or distributed by A24. , the boutique movie studio started by three mid-career Hollywood executives in 2012 that spawned the kind of cult appeal once reserved for skate brands and some punk bands. Most of the stitching shirts with images from A24 films were probably produced for the cost of a decent tee, ink, and maybe some clothing dye, but can be sold on Grailed for more than $ 200; hoodies can fetch $ 500.

“It all came together and now A24 has a streetwear brand,” said Lawrence Schlossman, a former Grailed brand manager who now co-hosts the hit men’s fashion podcast Throwing shots. He mentioned in passing that even with his large collection of designer grails, he owns an A24 shirt and wears it often.

That A24 currently has a handful of movies in the Oscars conversation that’s now going on, including Now Playing Mike Mills‘s go! Go on and Sean baker‘s Red rocket, which features the former MTV VJ Simon rex in an escape role – could have something to do with the brand’s current appeal. But there’s more than that, enough to warrant at least one True Colors investigative column as the holidays bring us fully into Oscar season. So when did movie studios start chasing after? Just a few years ago, even the idea that anyone care about people coming out movies was enough to Robert pattinson to express disbelief at the idea of ​​being contacted for a story. “It’s crazy that there is an article about a distribution company,” Pattinson said. GQ. “This is completely crazy.” (For the record, A24 went into production in 2016. Its principals declined to be interviewed for this story.)

But when it comes to independent film companies, none in recent history has A24’s manic track record. After the first theatrical release by the company of the now forgotten Roman coppola project featuring Charlie Sheen, the company kicked off a streak of hot years with films capturing the zeitgeist like spring breakers and The bling ring, and the A24 movie of 2016 Moonlight won the Oscar for best film. They also lit up the box office with buzzing horror hits like Hereditary and Environment.

And they used that buzz to sell t-shirts that fashion geeks fight for, proving that we now live in a world where skate fans and sneakerheads swap grails made by Hollywood costumes to promote a movie. of art and testing. Previously, the merchandise was just what a band signed to an indie label like SST and sold on a folding table near the stage after the show, alongside stickers and CDs. Skateboard brands have made t-shirts so that their skaters can feature the logo not only under the bridge but on the chest. The merch wave has of course been at its peak for quite some time, probably since the mid-2010s, when all of the Paris Fashion Week models wore t-shirts made by the skate magazine. Mocker, and Kanye west sold $ 90 worth of hoodies celebrating a unique event Pablo’s life Evening listening at Madison Square Garden, despite estimates that some of its sweaters cost as little as $ 20 to make. (They can now double-sell on Grailed.)

The emergence of everyday clothing as an object of haute couture had a whiff of a conceptual art project, a Duchampian attitude in which a urinal could be transformed into a museum-worthy sculpture simply because the artist had it. said. Obviously, a studio that runs hundreds of items on a dedicated shop page on their website wants fans of their movies to covet the A24 dog leashes and A24 beach towels.

But what they might not have expected is that the idea of ​​an A24 fandom would become their whole philosophy. Coastal elites who think Lit-mag tote bags are basic have started signing up for snapbacks and A24 hoodies with the seriousness of a Knicks fan wearing blue and orange in the garden . On dating apps, there have been reports of 20+ years stating, in the box where you describe your personality: “A24”. Of course, celebrities got wind of the mania. In September 2020, Emma Stone came out of his 40s wearing a white hat emblazoned with the studio logo, and in February 2021, Hunter Schafer, star of the A24 product Euphoria, braved the snow in Manhattan with a peach-colored version.

Perhaps the key to A24’s merch supremacy lies in its taste for collaboration; Right from the start, they brought in leaders in streetwear and tasteful clothing to lend a hand in terms of design and, well, influence.

“Any graphic-focused streetwear studio would appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with A24,” Schlossman said. “It can serve as a platform for an employee. To some extent, they have a choice of litter.

Elijah Funk, half the duo behind hipster streetwear titans Online Ceramics, who made clothes based on A24 movies, including Sainte Maud, The Lighthouse, and Environment, explained that the feeling is mutual when I spoke to him this week.

“I go to Reddit and there are kids like A24 – it’s a whole way of life,” Funk said. “Their merchandise is sold, it’s a real streetwear product. “

The mysterious Chicago-based appropriation graphic tee collective Boot Boyz Biz has teamed up with A24 for a Uncut Gems T-shirt that’s now on Grailed for $ 105. (“Rare. Sold out in seconds,” the listing reads.) A24 also brought in the speed-metal and splatterpunk duo Brain Dead, launched by Angelenos. Kyle Ng and Ed Davis, to lend their imprimatur to a range of A24 products.

Elizabeth J. Harless