The Top 5 Most Forced Tie-ins in the History of Fashion


It’s too easy to say every crazy Ed Hardy shirt, Tapout design, or any pair of pants with text on the buttocks is crap. Sometimes, designers and well-meaning individuals attempt to mix the worlds of fashion and licensing, with sickening results. All of these attempts required genuine effort, but they mixed with poor foresight, design, and bad licensing choices to cause some fashion disasters.

Marc Ecko’s Limited Edition Storm Trooper Full-Mask Hoodie

I’ll admit, this sounded like a great idea at first. I wanted one—a fashionable, designer hoodie that turned into an instant Halloween costume when you zipped it all the way up. The initial $120 price-tag didn’t scare off buyers either, with the hoodies selling for double the price online after initial sellouts.

There are several problems with the “Full Mask” aspects of these hoodies, but one member of the line, the Storm Trooper, stands above the rest. The head isn’t shaped correctly, and when you are in full Storm Trooper mode, you, well, um … there’s no really easy way to say this, but you look a bit like a rapist.

At the very least, you look like a rather creepy person wearing a $120 white hoodie that will turn grey and be covered in stains within weeks. The Boba Fett and Darth Vader hoodies are a little more palatable, but they don’t make up for this disaster.

Bow Ties Adorned With College Logos

Want to take a reasonably classy, rare accessory and destroy it? It’s simple. Toss a college football logo on it. These licensed (and unlicensed) pieces of apparel could pop up wherever someone is refusing to give up on wearing something that supports their “team”: christenings, funerals, weddings, political rallies, etc.

I can understand wearing a necktie with tiny logos of your Alma-mater on it, but there’s not a whole lot of space on a bow tie, let alone enough space to cram 1.5 x 1.5-inch versions of a giant elephant or tiger on the fabric. These bow ties make houndstooth hats look classy.

The ADIDAS 2010 Star Wars Collection

Adidas created a line of Star Wars-inspired sneakers in 2010, with some coming in packaging that is designed to resemble the blister-packed Star Wars toys many of us played with as kids. The shoes retailed from $80 to $250 depending on the bells and whistles of the accompanying shoe. Several of the shoes go for more on the aftermarket, with the ZX 800 Boba Fetts pulling $300 to $400 online if they are still sealed in the blister pack.

A couple inclusions in the line just do not work out, however. Do you really want to pay a couple of hundred dollars for a pair of shoes  with a screen-printed image from A New Hope on them? They look like something I would buy my 4-year-old nephew. They still lack wheels and they cost 20 times as much.

The choice of the Emperor as a “character” blister pack was definitely an odd one. Who wants sneakers featuring an elderly guy shooting blue lightning bolts on them? If they came with wheels, they might be worth it. Besides, shouldn’t the Galactic Emperor’s shoes essentially be a pair of comfy house slippers that he hides under his black robe?

Marc Ecko’s Halo Apparel

Ecko returns to the list with his line of loud, garish shirts inspired by Microsoft’s Halo series of games. The decision to go with the Halo franchise puzzles me. Why would Halo fans want oddly styled T-shirts that cost $40? No matter how hard you try, you will never, ever look snazzy in one of these T-shirts.

The sayings emblazoned on a couple of the shirts don’t benefit them either: “Free Head Shots” and “Seek and Destroy” are layered over a seizure-inducing amount of graphics. The simpler shirts in the line that look like “copy and paste” images of Master Chief are better, but suffer as the images surround an Ecko rhino logo. An inventive fan could do a lot more with a color ink-jet printer and some iron-ons.

What person in marketing gave the go on this time-bomb of a project? If you must wear a Halo shirt, stick to the simple Halo logo on a black shirt—a modern classic.

Major League Baseball Coffins

Not quite fashion, but it’s the last thing your loved ones will see you in. The idea of “my dead body lying in a coffin adorned with the logo of my favorite sports team (the Nashville Predators of the NHL, thanks for asking)” makes me want to vomit in the same way the phrase “man cave” sends stomach acid into my esophagus.

The Christy Vault Company of California received the official license from Major League baseball to create “limited edition” caskets and urns. Regardless of the limited edition nature, please don’t rush out to buy your husband, boyfriend, or significant other one. Imagine the tragedy that would ensue at your funeral if someone pre-ordered your coffin, and your team switched logos a couple of months before?

Image Sources: geekologie, hideyourarms,  highsnobiety, ifitshipitshere, monstermarketplace, multiplayerblog, 1.bp.blogspot

Keith Veronese has a Ph.D. in chemistry and regularly writes for Gawker Media's science site, io9. His worked has appeared on the Gawker Media sites Lifehacker, Deadspin, Kotaku, and Jezebel in addition to Paste Magazine, AMOG, So Jones, Hip Hop Press, and FormatMag. Keith also has a non-fiction book in the works, Plugged In: Comic Book Professionals Working in the Video Game Industry, which will be released by TwoMorrows Publishing later this year.

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