Can you imagine being arrested for wearing a t-shirt nowadays?
It happened in the late 1970’s. Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren opened their shop ‘Let it rock’ at 430 Kings Road, Chelsea. At first they only customized garments, but pretty soon they started making their own t-shirts and Punk-fashion was born.
Cutting holes, ripping and tearing down the sleeves at first, soon followed by decorating with zippers,studs and chains… Then sewing on chicken bones, which were boiled and then holes drilled in , writing ‘rock’ and later ‘fuck’.
In 1975, they collaborated with drawing-artist Tom of Finland and put out a t-shirt with two naked cowboys. A salesman at the store was arrested and fined for indecency and Vivienne and Malcolm were prosecuted under the obscenity laws for ‘exposing to public view an indecent exhibition’.
The t-shirt was modelled by Sex Pistol bassist Sid Vicious and became an iconic part of punk history….
Comment by Nat of the Nat Reed Gallery:
The art work was not by Tom Of Finalnd, it was by Jim French, AKA Rip Colt.
Also, it was not a collaboration with the artist, Mclaren and Westwood used it without permission (or even seeking it) and French never received a penny of the profit.