GIMME PiL

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Gimme Five is one of the most important UK streetwear lines in history, but I suspect that it was overlooked for a few reasons. Firstly, it was on sale in accounts that held hype product like visvim and Supreme, thus Michael Kopelman’s brand sit in the shadows. Secondly, its distribution was scarce, the line was barely marketed and releases were sporadic. Thirdly, I ended up getting confused between what was Gimme Five and what was Goodenough UK, seeing as they both came from the same place (like Very Ape and some Stüssy UK pieces). What pieces I have managed to evade multiple clothing culls not through nostalgia, but on quality and design alone. There was a lot to love: the little sleeve logo on sweats, the choice of blank, a time when you could leave the origin brand’s label in the collar alongside yours without someone crying about it in a Facebook group, the esoteric music references, a straight-up Dawn of the Dead shirt to coincide with Joel Martin bringing back the movie’s incidental music from beyond the grave and the Blue Harvest themed design I wore to a screening of The Force Awakens to see of any nerds would bite with an “I see what you did there” point (they didn’t).

In 2016, the distributor/consultancy/design firm is back with garms, starting with a collection that brings longtime associate and legendary British photographer Dennis Morris, whose PiL – First Issue to Metal Box exhibition opened at the ICA last week. Morris’s visual work is as integral to Public Image Limited as the sound — especially given the group’s confrontational early interviews about the brand’s role as a corporation — and nobody made John Lydon look as good as he did. Looking back at the A Bitta Pill book recently, I was struck by how sharp Lydon is in that Kenny MacDonald zoot suited early shoot. Given his subsequent love of Comme des Garçons and Japanese design, I recall him getting quite annoyed at any perception that he doesn’t care for fashion during a brief conversation a few years ago, but he definitely scrubbed up well post-Pistols. This was the definitive lineup, even though I still think 1986’s Album is a masterpiece. Both tees are in the Gimme Five online store right now, and it’s good to see that logo in the neck all over again.

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