UNDRCRWN have been doing the funny tee thing beautifully for a decade now. When you’re doing this kind of thing, there’s a thin line between smart execution and stuff so awful it makes you chew your knuckle off, and this NYC brand seems to get it right with the sport and hip-hop references. Just as fellow New Yorkers No Mas have an affiliated design agency, UNDRCRWN really excel on the graphic execution of gear that’s really just one awesome in-joke. The Coogi-themed jerseys and NWA Lakers designs stay classic and having designers like Dustin Canalin on deck means that they seem to be able to realise an idea well enough to make it more than just a wacky one-wear deal. The Fashion Killa line does the job (shouts to False Idolz for doing the outside-the-concert bootleg aesthetic well too), with that Shawn Brauch Pen & Pixel mentality on deck to make these Karl Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren and Phil Knight shirts the best 1999 bootleg tees you never owned. Those lightning strikes and sunglasses represent these industry leaders as demigods. Ralph’s car game and LIFE magazine flag knit get incorporated on his design, celebrating hip-hop’s love of his work better than attempts to homage Polo Sport bits overtly ever have done. All three are on the brand’s site right now, so it’s probably worth grabbing one (or a few) before the dreaded cease and desist inevitably arrives.



2 thoughts on “KARL, PHIL & RALPH

  1. I’ve been a big Undrcrwn supporter since back when there tees came in cereal boxes, and they’re still capable of some brilliant designs, the Billy Hoyle caricature one being my favourite of late.

    So it’s coming from a place of brand love when I say that some of their recent stuff has been really uninspired and rushed. At times the site feels like a glorified Cafe Press store, with a slew of tees, mugs and other paraphernalia retreading the same, years-old designs (the OG Coming to America tee with the ‘University of the United States’ arch lettering is way better than the current one,which literally looks like a Xerox), and quickie cash-in tees of Drake aren’t worthy of comparison to, say, the Tribe Called Quest / De La designs that Nike bit a few years back.. There was even an Iverson tee from earlier this year which clearly had to be revised due to the fact that the original printing deprived him of one of his fingers, although the least inspired / most opportunistic tee this year has to be the ‘SWISH’ one.

    Still, Dustin and Undrcrwn are still, as you rightfully say, deserving of props, not least one because a complete stranger gave ME props on my Sonics Dynasty tee earlier this year. I’ve got a ton of Undrcrwn tees and I look forward to buying future classics comparable with the ‘Me Myself & I’ Kobe number or, classic of classics, the Donovan McNabb as Ghostface Killah one.

  2. UNDRCRWN has great designs to their shirts and tees. From the designs that I have seen thus far from searching through the internet and seeing on this website, they are unique. Up in the north I have also seen some of these tees.

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