Just A Tee is an anti-brand brand that aims to address the subconscious consumerist nature society has adopted and accepted. ‘Obedience’, ‘Conformity’ and ‘Narcissism’ are key elements which make up the subconscious nature of the consumer. Just A Tee uses these key elements as the foundation of its brand ethos but at the same time asks the consumer to question ‘Who’s in Control?’.
The semblance of control is that the consumer can choose the design, they can choose to wear the item or not, but ultimately if worn and washed, the design fades to nothing. Just A Tee offers a service which enables the consumer to return the now blank t-shirt for another temporary printed design at a discounted price. Control is now back with Just A Tee.
A brand should not define what you wear, who you are, who you wear it for, or where you wear it. Just A Tee focusses on moving the subconscious to the conscious, so that the consumer is aware that what they are buying into is the brand, but at the end of the day, it is only an item of clothing. It doesn’t matter about the brand it is just a t-shirt.
This service is designed for an audience aged between 18-29. This audience believes that brands are an important aspect of their lifestyle, heavily influenced by the use of social media and the need to be part of a ‘brand community’. They believe brands define who they are as individuals and how they need to be perceived by others. The target audience are unaware that brands are taking advantage of what they socially value, in order to make money and profit.
The fading and eventual disappearance of the Just A Tee designs are an attempt to disrupt the current behavioural patterns of consumers by disassociating the brand from the product. The consumer is left with Just A Tee.
“What do people do subconsciously the most but resist the most consciously if they’re confronted with it directly” (Shepard Fairey, Wired, 2011). This ideology suggests that unless consumers are directly approached with the concept of obedience they will subconsciously accept it. This can be considered one of the driving forces behind unessential consumption.
Brands don’t sell – people buy. Brands cannot sell something the consumer doesn’t want (Campaign Magazine, 2017). However, brands can sell what people think they need (i.e. being accepted as part of a brand community, expressing their online persona and the need to conform). This begs the question, are consumers really in control of what they consume? Brands develop their product and services centred around their consumers subconscious ‘needs’ to ensure the success and longevity of the company (He, H., Li, Y. and Harris, L., 2012).
I am no exception to being influenced by the concepts of obedience, conformity and narcissism associated with brands, even if I like to believe I am not. I’m often under the notion that is necessary to only wear my Nike shoes with my Nike socks to appear cool and flashy to both myself and other people. There’s no way I’m breaching the worshipped logo commandments, the first commandment being never wearing Nike with Adidas (Bergl, S, GQ Magazine, 2017). But then it gets me thinking, it’s just a sock, it shouldn’t matter what socks I wear with what shoes, but for some reason it does matter, it matters that much that I have to change what I’m wearing. A sock should just be a sock. However, when a logo or a brand name is slapped onto it , it becomes more than just a sock, it represents how I want to appear to not only other people but also to myself. So in conclusion, I’m no different to the controlled and obedient society in John Carpenter’s 1988 film ‘They Live’. As a result, I want to raise awareness of this issue and challenge the concept of consumerism and conformity, just as ‘They Live’ helped me. All because a sock should just be a sock, a shoe just a shoe and a t-shirt should just be a t-shirt.