Six Awful Examples of Disney’s Urban Fashion

Urban Mickey

What was Disney thinking when they introduced their “Graphic Edge Collection” last fall?


Corporations that try to appropriate urban culture for profit simply end up looking out of touch and dishonest. They become to urban culture what wiggers are to the hip hop world.
Urban Mickey

Seriously?!? This is what someone in Disney’s consumer products thinks graffiti looks like? Researching what you’re recreating is apparently not part of the job description.
Urban Mickey

Believe it or not, somebody earned a paycheck to create this aesthetic monstrosity.
Urban Mickey

Someone at Disney momentarily lapsed into thinking they were a twenty-year-old hipster that designs shirts for Threadless competitions.
Urban Mickey

“Graphic Edge” is another way of saying “stiffly posed and poorly drawn character.”
Urban Mickey

Remember how well it worked out for Warner Bros. back in the Nineties?
Urban Warners


  • Stephan

    These are amazing. I know you posted these to put them down, but I’m getting the gum one and the realistic mouse one.

    The diffirence between that and the 90s one? A huge sense of humor. The kind these fossilized logos haven’t head since the invention of television.

  • http://www.vitaminsteve.com Steve Flack

    I remember it working out really well for WB in the 1990′s. Those clothes were a big hit for people my age then. Sure, we regret it now, but still.

    Also, I like the realistic mouse dressed as Mickey.

    • amid

      It worked out really well for Warner Bros. only if you consider all the WB stores going out of business less than a decade after they opened to be a success.

      • Stephan

        It was flawed bussiness model, not Looney Tunes street wear. Looney Tunes streetwear sold like gangbusters. Hell, Space Jam could be seen as an expansion of that (Looney Tunes and shoes) and the film was a hit!

      • tedzey

        I can’t believe that store’s gone! I always looked forward to going there as a kid! It’s where I founded a collection of VHSes containing original looney tunes shorts like “what’s opera doc” and “baton bunny.” And no lie, but those shirts were cool when I was 4 years old! I could understand how corny it is now as an adult, but for a kid, that was the shit!

      • 2011 Preteen

        Right. Everyone knows we can’t ever talk about the Warner Bros. Store without mentioning how the went out of business! Of course. It’s not like it’s a BAD MEMORY anyway.

        Back to the point, not sure why it worked for them. The Tunes are much more irreverent than any of the Disney character, with Donald coming close.

      • http://www.vitaminsteve.com Steve Flack

        The Warner Bros Studio Store went out of business for many reasons, and none of them are because they sold some hip-hop related clothing. They closed the studio stores because after the failure of the AOL/Time Warner merger, they decided that it wasn’t worth staying in the retail game when they could just license out the characters to other companies, instead of manufacturing and managing an entire chain of retail stores, which expanded way too fast. Disney did the same thing at the same time, selling their entire chain of Disney Stores to The Children’s Place. Of course, they later re-purchased the chain, but they technically never left the retail game with their theme parks, opposed to WB who got out of the theme park game at the same time they closed their retail end.

    • Funkybat

      I don’t recall ever seeing the “hip-hop/urban” Looney Tunes in any WB Studio Store. I assumed that all of those shirts and paraphernalia was unlicensed, similar to the “black Mickey and Minnie” stuff of the late 80s.

      I don’t care for most of the “graphic edge” stuff, though the “ghetto Goofy” is (probably unintentionally) amusing, and the realistic Mickey Mouse is funny. I would probably buy that one if I saw it for under $25. Still, this does have the air of “trying too hard.” Reminds me of a shirt I saw for sale at Disneyland last year, it had 30′s Mickey sitting in a meditative pose in front of a peace sign and psychedelic colors and lettering. I’d probably buy that before most of these shirts…

  • Adam

    Those Warner Bros designs are back at my local WalMart, I was saddened to learn.

    • TsimoneTseTse

      The gangsta ‘toons are still poppin’ with my middle school students (and their parents/grandparents)

      Nothing says “i got ‘tude” like a pissed Tweety

  • http://www.rauchbrothers.com Tim Rauch

    wuuuuut so fresh

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/OriginalGagBonkerss OriginalGagBonkers

    The first image isn’t so bad. All it is, is Mickey’s shoe being stuck on chewed gum. But most of those are rather bland and eyebrow raising. I think the goofy one would be better if it was Max though(i mean, it does seem more suitable for him). But the last one looks like they are trying to re-create Runaway brain Mickey but are doing it horribly wrong.

    • http://jourdyn.tumblr.com Jody

      I thought the same thing, Max would’ve been a better choice if only because it fits the character.

  • Jorge Garrido

    I miss the 90s…

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Well, at least someone remembers it (I miss my high school days the most from that period).

  • http://silphscope.blogspot.com Ariel

    These aren’t that bad…except for the stoner-eyes Goofy. But epic lol at Porky Pig in a wifebeater and Jughead hat.

  • Lawrence Miles

    At least Donald was spared.

    • Funkybat

      Maybe, maybe not. There could be a lot more merch in this line. I doubt they would have Goofy and not Donald, the Disney Trinity tends to stick together.

    • http://kecky.blogspot.com kecky

      There’s a realistic duck shirt too.

  • http://www.animationanomaly.com Charles Kenny (The Animation Anomaly)

    Yeesh, that olive green Mickey one is an assault on the eyes.

    And yes, at least Warner Bros. attempted to make themselves relevant and contemporary in the 90s with the likes of Space Jam. I haven’t seen anything from Disney to support or indeed, inspire these product lines. :(

  • JohnnyM

    I also dig the Realistic Mouse one. the Goofy cartoon giving a ´tude is also well done. Sure the cap is horrible but that´s just my taste.
    No need to be a hater.

  • WSarah

    WOW.. I remember the urban Looney Tunes stuff! I had a couple of t-shirts and a poster… I recall being kinda popular because of it. in my defense, I was 12-13. haha But those urban Looney Tunes were big back then. I remember how awesome the Warner Bros stores were. Man, I miss that over priced store.

    I do like the real mouse dressed as Mickey. Not sure I would wear it, but I like it.

  • Dean Champagne

    The realistic mouse shirt might not even be part of this line.

    Yeah, they suck, but who cares? This shit is everywhere. I was once given a gift of a line dancing cowboy Fred Flintstone with some kind of Achey Breaky reference on it (by my mother, if you must know) and it was more of a eye blight than any of the above could ever be.

    • Funkybat

      I hope you put that Fred Flintstone away in an attic instead of the circular file. It will probably be valuable to the hipsters of the year 2020, and you could make a pretty penny on eBay or whatever replaces it.

  • http://www.leestilldraws.blogspot.com Lee

    Cringe.

    Although I like the concept of the realistic mouse, it just hasn’t been pulled off too well.

  • http://cocopunk.com andy o

    I expected some real atrocities, but these aren’t very bad at all. I don’t know what’s up with olive green Mickey with Bono glasses, but the others won’t age as badly as the WB example.

    I especially like the real mouse dressed like Mickey. I’m not sure why you think a twenty-year old making Threadless-like designs is a bad thing.

    • amid

      Andy – There’s nothing wrong with a twenty-year-old making designs on Threadless. My point, however, was that Disney is a multi-billion dollar corporation that employs professional designers and artists, and should be held to a higher aesthetic standard.

      • Stephan

        I don’t think there’s anything higher than an original vision. What would be the alternative? And why is being young so bad? What would you rather have, young Paul McCartney, or old Paul McCarney?

      • JohnnyM

        sumin´up your declarations:
        you are saying the aesthetic standards of any 20 year old designing for threadless are low.

        I beg to differ.

      • Jimbotron

        A higher aesthetic standard? There’s plenty of Threadless designs that are much more visually pleasing and better-rendered than a lot of the officially licensed-character apparel that emanates from the Disney/Warner design farms.

        I think the key word we’re leaving out of this discussion is *authenticity*.

      • MichaelDair

        When a twenty-year-old does something like this, it’s done to buck the establishment -whatever that establishment may be.

        When the establishment does it to itself, it’s just cheap commercialism. It does not carry the same weight- or the value.

      • Stephan

        What if its just funny? Does the establishment HAVE to be stodgy?

  • http://she-thing.blogspot.com/ Caty

    Ha, Space Jam drove me nuts when it came out (I think I was about 6) I loved it. Now I see that thing was filled of commercial crap, but I don’t care, it still has its charm.

    As for the shirts, it wouldn’t be surprising the horrible drawings were made on purpose just for modern sales.

  • Bill

    C’mon, you just not hep to the jive!

    Okay, I’ll agree they are pretty bad, except the real mouse one.

  • http://bruandboegie.co.za Mike

    I like the gum one.

  • http://[email protected] sean

    all you need is some neon yellows and oranges in there and I’d grab one in a second. goddamn these are ugly as hell.

  • Nancy Beiman

    We were doing trendy consumer merchandise for Disney in the Eighties. (Think: Minnie in legwarmers and headbands, Mickey in a sharkskin suit with Hawaiian shirt.) But actually, about 80% of the Disney merchandise, maybe more, originated with the licensing companies, and we could not check on them all. As for this stuff, it will be discontinued if no one buys it. Someone obviously thought there was a market for it.

  • tedzey

    I can’t believe it, but I drew the original disney characters as ganstas when I was in the 6th grade! WHERE’S MY MILLIONS-QUADRILLIONS OF DOLLARS?!

  • Matt

    Amid, before putting down something based solely on your aesthetic opinions, how about you do some research on how well these things are SELLING… Which you may or may not be aware is the ultimate goal here.

    The fact is, coming from someone who works in sales at Hollywood Studios, these are some of our best sellers. Especially the realistic mouse and realistic duck as Mickey and Donald.

    Whether or not these will go down in history as fantastic art doesn’t matter. Disney is a multi-billion dollar corporation, like you said. Which means they’re concerned about making money. Well, Amid, I hate to break it to you, but this kind of stuff is what is making money today.

    • NC

      So based on that logic Transformers is a masterpiece.

      • Mark Morgan

        No, NC, Transformers (the Michael Bay films at least) are not masterpieces but they are profitable. The point that Matt was trying to make is that Disney is trying to see what appeals to a mass audience which cares more about its ideas of what is ‘in’ than it does about what is well designed art.

        And in that he’s right. Honestly, how many people off the street know about good composition, design, or layout? They don’t. To paraphrase an old saying “They may not know art, but they know what they like.”

        (And for the record, Transformers as created by Sunbow Productions as well as the Beast Wars Spinoff and the comics by Simon Furman … now those were works of art! Everything else more or less either works or sucks to varying degrees.)

  • The Gee

    Higher Aesthetic Standards?
    Isn’t that being too generous? Or is that being disingenuous?

    If it were a indy artsy project, would that be applauded and celebrated?

    Or, is Disney –or any other company– just not allowed to try and fail? They do all the time. But, the expectation should be a grand slam each time out? And, should you be a part of market that desires crappy t-shirt designs?

    It’s a so-so collection of t-shirts. Nothing more than that….. Scratch that. It isn’t a “collection.” It is a “selection”.

  • http://2dwannabe.blogspot.com robcat2075

    I like the gum gag. I’m surprised no one beat them to it.

    I don’t see any reason for panic here. They’re trying stuff and are willing to not take themselves too seriously.

    They’re just t-shirts, not religious icons. Although a Madonna and Mickey might be worth a try.

  • http://highlyrecommended.blogspot.com Satorical

    Here’s the ad hominem part: Matt, you’re part of the problem.

    Here’s the reasoned response part: There was enough money to build The House because The Mouse was charming. Money should be exchanged for creative excellence. Anything less dilutes the brand.

    • Funkybat

      I suspect the retort would be;

      “what was charming and marketable in 1930 or 1950 is passe and bland to today’s kids. Nobody over 6 and under 40 wears a “straight” Mickey Mouse shirt unless they are in the middle of a visit to the Magic Kingdom. This is what appeals to today’s youth.”

      I am not sure I’d entirely agree with that, since there was plenty of heartfelt and un-ironic stuff coming out of Disney in the 80s and 90s that was popular and made money. The Disney Afternoon was a pretty attitude-free zone, for instance. But it is true that what “the kids” go for these days is not entirely the same.

      Mickey Mouse and cartoons in general were seen as old hat and “just for kids” in the 70s, we all love it because many of us were kids in the 70s and 80s. Adults back then didn’t generally express a lot of interest in Disney movies or Looney Tunes, that was Saturday morning stuff to keep the kids occupied. Animation is a lot more prominent in adult pop culture today than it perhaps has ever been. But the “unmodified” classic characters of yore appeal mostly to young kids and people over 30. Maybe if Looney Tunes and classic Disney shorts were shown on the Disney Channel and Cartoon Network instead of niche channels & collector’s DVD sets, kids would have more appreciation for classic cartoons as they are.

  • Luke

    Amid, Warner Brothers stores going out of business was actually a major mistake on their part. The stores were nor necessarilly performing poorlly, however, WB thought shutting them down would save them money. But, it did the exact opposite, they lost money. So in a way, yes, they were a success. Does them being a success mean they are good? No, they are trendy garbage.

    I hate this kind of stuff. The edgy, hip, cookie cutter fashion trends. Then again, I don’t like the idea of any trends. These are in poor taste, and even if they sell well, they are not good.

    • Funkybat

      I don’t take great offense at any of this, I get out of shape if a change to the characters is “permanent” or is extremely bad, such as “Loonatics.”

      These “fashion items” will have their 15 minutes and fade away, fated to become a curio of a certain time and place. Put them on the shelf next to the “Disco Mickey and Minnie” records and Mickey in a sharkskin jacket with a dress shirt untucked. Compared to some of the “genius” ideas that have be imposed on the characters over the decades, these are hardly a great offense.

  • Bruce Wright

    Who knew Porky was gay?

    ….Well actually, who DIDN’T?

  • jarable

    I’m with Amid here. I’ve seen amateur art on etsy, deviant art and threadless that looks much more interesting than this. It could , nay, should be better.
    And yes it will sell boatloads. Good for you. And it will be worn once or twice, end up left in a closet until it’s tossed in the trash or off to the thrift store.
    Circle of Life.

  • Demetre

    I think you’re scraping the barrel for news here. I mean we all know Disney is mostly interested profits not culture. This makes me think of middle aged men dressing like teenagers.

    • TsimoneTseTse

      Scraping the barrel just got him a boatload of hits & posts

      Congrats

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/VujadeEntertainment#p/u/0/3HaupcJwAdk Steve Schnier

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with exploring new and different variations of an established character. The anime-themed Disney characters are cute/interesting and I assume that they sell. Finding a niche in the urban market seems to make sense.

  • http://MrFun'sBlog Floyd Norman

    Marketing rules. Sadly, it infects every area of the company, including animation. This company sold its soul years ago. Pathetic.

  • Richard

    One Mickey t-shirt reads “Bloc 28″. That is a series of Mickey related art created by modern grafiti artists . I have a Bloc 28 calander.

  • rezz

    ” My point, however, was that Disney is a multi-billion dollar corporation that employs professional designers and artists, and should be held to a higher aesthetic standard.”

    Actually an interesting fact, a lot of the art team is made up of interns. The character team is really small and they have been there for more than 15years.

    There’s so much red tape there too……I would say these shirts are awful. I couldn’t imagine the sad soul that would wear these and think it was cool but this is edgy for disney…considering all the artist hands are tied by an non artist giving art instructions. How can you have something original if 6 people are giving you different feed back?

    A camel is a horse designed by committee.

  • Gobo

    All I know is that when I went to WDW with my jaded, too-cool-for-kids-stuff 12-year old nephew a few months ago, he went absolutely nuts for the new urban grungy clothes and told me which shirts to buy so that I’d “look awesome”.

    You can kvetch about Disney “losing its soul”, but I’d say it’s just smart marketing and brand massaging.

  • CallmetheDevil

    Yeah, these designs could have been a lot better. Though I have to admit, I like the hat (the one with the dripping paint, the yellow one is pretty awful) and probably would buy it depending on the price. This may mean I need to take some time learning about fashion…

  • Scarabim

    Gah, how horrible. They look like cheap knockoffs, not Disney gear.

    Quit messing with the classics, you dumb Disney suits. Let Mickey be Mickey.

  • Aj

    I like some of them and not others, there is nothing wrong with these. But a fun fact: You don’t have to buy them. In fact if you don’t buy them, they wont make more. Its pretty neat how that works.

  • Jeff Kurtti

    What’s unfortunate is manifold:

    1) Plain poor design. Not just ugly, but uninformed; putting characters in situations that have nothing to do with their long-standing and strong identities, or that belittle their history,

    2) That an organization that continues to base so much of its business on the strength of its culture can prostitute their core characters in such a blatant way, and that does nothing to build on those characters, or have any cultural value beyond desire for profit,

    3) That “relevance” is seen not in playing up the characters’ strengths and long-standing identities in a new and unique fashion, but rather in dressing them up in “whatever the kids are into.”

    4) That, rather than using those built-in strengths to lead a design trend in pop fashion, they choose to ape an already-tired “Urban Fashion.”

    It’s “Disco Mickey Mouse,” writ large and without tongue in cheek.

  • Vanessa

    Graphic Edge, Bloc 28, and all the other lines with the same “urban edge” are insulting to the characters that are represented. Not only that, but this stuff is glorifying illegal activity. Sure graffiti can be art, but how many kids and teens are going to do it on a canvas rather than on someone’s fence or garage? Not many.

    And no, it isn’t Disney’s fault that graffiti in Anaheim is at an all time high, but they certainly are not helping the community by making tagging seem cool and fun. Come up with clever, well designed merchandise that plays to the strengths of your characters and Attractions and that will sell too! This stuff is a big seller because it takes up a very large percentage of all of the stores. People will buy what is available wether or not it is good product.

    • http://www.kecky.net kecky

      “This stuff is a big seller because it takes up a very large percentage of all of the stores. People will buy what is available wether or not it is good product.”

      If that’s true… why make the effort at all???

      People have different definitions of what makes something a good product, is all. Clearly Amid’s definition is different from that of the average Disney tourist.

  • http://www.theAMIGOunit.com nelson

    they were thinking lets merge with Banksy

    • Shatterdaddy

      Yeah – especially the “realistic” mouse one. Banksy probably just threw up.
      These are embarrassing and sad.

  • Thomas Hatch

    Google image search > Mickey Mouse disco

  • http://www.allofmyheroes.blogspot.com/ Jeaux Janovsky

    i don’t really see a problem with them. someone out there is bound to like them. just not my cup of tea though, but eh.

  • Gerard de Souza

    I would bet the logic behind it is to cut into the bootleg market. I do not know how big such a market is but how many of us have seen badly drawn unlicensed characters on Tees? ALOT of folks can’t tell the difference, so they might as well do deliberate amatuerish art of their characters.

  • Matt

    Satorical – yes, it would be fantastic if money could in turn be exchanged for creative excellence. But if you can find me a multi-billion dollar corporation that has chosen to do that first, and worry about more money second, please let me know, because I’ll try and get a new job there. But the fact is that more money comes first, and creative excellence comes second. Unfortunate, but true. It’s NEVER going to change. I’d rather accept that now and look at things from that perspective, then not accept that and be unhappy with everything that is created.

    I feel like none of you have ever been to Disney World, and have no idea what kind of things that guests at the parks look for. Like many have said, these are not well done. But the general, non-creative public sees this: “Oh! Mickey has gum on his shoe! Hahaha that’s cute. I should buy that for someone I know.” That’s the attitude that a LOT of guests at the parks have.

    • http://highlyrecommended.blogspot.com Satorical

      Carl Sagan was asked “what’s the harm?” in astrology. His reply: “It rots the brain.” He thought pseudo-science took something away from real science, which has a hard enough time finding an audience.

      Similarly, if lowest common denominator creative pap is allowed a pass, it’s bad for creative businesses overall. People inevitably begin to paint everything with the same brush. It’s arguably why TV cartoons were a wasteland for so long prior to Ren & Stimpy.

      Consider video games: in the Atari boom of the late 70s-early 80s, Atari licensed every game developer willing to pay its fee. The result was a market flooded with bad games (E.T. was the worst offender). People got tired of crappy games and the market collapsed. It took a strict attention to quality by Nintendo to revive it.

      Bottom line: it’s *bad business* overall to make anything less than something great or to think only of short-term profits.

      • TsimoneTseTse

        ….and then again …

        bad publicity is STILL publicity.

        I remember in the 60/70′s as Disney designers grew older, Mickey started wearing long polyester looking golf pants, big collar shirts & a pork pie hat (okay, thats kinda cool…..well,if your Charlie Sheen)& Minnie wore chiffon looking, long dresses as if she was playing at the Hollywood Palace. Then they unveiled the WORST non traditional clothing design – Mickey in this bulky stiffly drawn, powder blue wedding singer tuxedo.
        Please let me know, because I must have missed the cartoon where Mickey was playing accordian in a backyard California wedding.

        You know the Disney veterans were about to retire & BY GUM, they were taking Mickey with ‘em! (Even John Hench admitted to painting gray hair on Mickey)

        I personally believe it was THOSE fashion choices, and not bad management, that caused the near collapse of Disney in the 80′s!

  • Shatterdaddy

    These are embarrassing and sad.

  • http://braveandboldbackgroundpaint.blogspot.com/ William Joseph Dunn
  • Magnusson

    DISNEY attempts to market the characters it has extended the copyright on for almost a century because it has been unable to come up with new ideas in decades, and we are supposed to be surprised that the result is half-assed?

    This is Disney we’re talking about. Hell, this is any American media conglomerate.

  • Andy

    The point is…what? Humor? Ha-ha. Mickey has gum stuck to his shoe. Fail. Recycling ancient copyrighted images for profit? WIN!

  • http://mrscriblam.tumblr.com mrscriblam

    goddamnit mickey you’re like 80 stop trying to be cool

  • whippersnapper

    What’s all the fuss about? I’ve seen licensed merchandise that looks much worse than this. Heck, I’d buy that first shirt up there.

    I’ve got to agree with robcat2075, here. This whole thing is a non-issue.

  • Toonio

    Seems like Disney execs are consuming crack; Banksy advises we should let them.

  • http://dtoons.com/conroy Failing Art Student

    A lot of those designs are kind of ugly and stupid. But I find the Goofy one hilarious, and I’d actually buy a t-shirt of that.

  • Jeff

    I remember seeing an image on some guy’s blog of an “urban” Popeye and Bluto. I think it may have been the guy who drew the artwork on the Popeye DVDs, but I’m not sure. (Sorry, I tried finding the link again but couldn’t.)

    Also, Robot Chicken once did a sketch about the hip-hop WB characters.

  • Mat

    I own this whole collection. I don’t know what the problem is.

  • The Flea

    Yeah, the shirts are lame, but who gives a sh*t? Disney’s been doing this crap for years. What’s new?
    http://www.movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/63/MPW-31846

    • TsimoneTseTse

      Yea, but that was sububan and safe

      not urban and SCARY!!!!!

  • http://deaniac.deviantart.com Deaniac

    Honestly…I think the realistic-mouse-with-Mickey-shorts is funny. I’m not even stressing out over the rest. They’re really not that bad.

  • Steven M.

    Thats just pitiful. Shame on you, Disney.

  • Sandypants

    this is simply embarrassing. I understand that there will always be differing opinions on CB… but come on, people. These shirts fucking suck… hard.

  • purin

    I really like the Goofy one. The hat’s not bad, either.

    But some of them seem like art done in protest against Disney, and not tongue in cheek self-mocking.

    It’s not that something like this can’t be done successfully. There’s this Snow White shirt I have that’s kind of dark and sketchy (but still Snow White, though maybe a little more clever looking than normal) that I love. Although, when most clothing features familiar clip art, one kind of jumps at anything a little more original.

    They probably could do a whole line of cool clothes based on Epic Mickey.

  • http://www.kecky.net kecky

    I’m not a big fan of these examples, and the poorly done realistic Mickey & Donald shirts made me cringe when I first saw them in stores, but I do find some of the other “urban” merchandise quite appealing. A lot of the items are really fun and well-designed, even if they’re not really what I want to put on my own body.

    Personally I like to see Disney using Mickey and their other classic characters in ways that go beyond the generic red-yellow-black-white-stock-posed-clipart-Mickey t-shirts. I like that kids can impress everyone at their high school with their style AND still be proud Disney nerds. They’re not going to employ earth-shatteringly innovative design, no, because the idea is still to sell thousands of these things to tourists who come to Florida and just want to buy their Mickey ears and their pin lanyards and their princess dresses and maybe some cool t-shirts to show everyone what an awesome vacation they had.

    I can’t imagine that too many Cartoon Brew readers have enough hip-hop cred to be authentically offended by this supposed poserism, so why all the hate? Disney has come out with far, far more hideous and obnoxious garbage. They tried something new, and this time it worked and made them lots of money.

    I’d rather see a whole park full of guests wearing these than one more “I’m Grumpy Because You’re Dopey” or “Spoiled Brat” Tinkerbell shirt.

  • http://goldenagecartoons.com Matthew Hunter

    The “Gangsta Looney
    Tunes” shirts were around before the Warner Bros. stores…you could find them anywhere. We all wore them as kids, they were kind of a fad. All the studios did it…I remember seeing Betty Boop and Bullwinkle and the Simpsons and Tiny Toons dressed up “urban” on shirts too.

    The Warner Bros. stores went out of business because they started pushing “acquired” properties to the forefront. Toward the end, finding a Bugs Bunny t-shirt was like searching for a needle in a haystack, you had to sift through all the Pokemon, Scooby Doo and WWE Wrestling crap first. Then they started selling Harry Potter stuff, and even video games. They lost faith in their tried and true model and went off the rails…something Warner Bros. as a company seems to be very good at.

    • http://ramapithblog.blogspot.com David Gerstein

      That’s right.

      There was also what I might call “all-the-eggs-in-one-basket syndrome.”

      Tweety and Scooby-Doo happened to be selling marginally better than other product at some point, so the decision was made to push Scooby product over anything else, and let Tweety rule the Looney Tunes brand.

      I remember older marketing studies that showed “cute” Tweety merch as being a huge turn-on to little girls, but an active turnoff to boys, older kids and everyone else. Similarly, Scooby-Doo was huge in the nostalgia market, but a turnoff to other sectors.
      To stress these particular characters meant big money in the short term, but great damage to the Warner brand in the long term.
      A product can sell to 35% of your customers, which might be statistically better than all of your other products; but if it actively repels 65% (whereas other products don’t), that’s a problem.

      When nothing matters beyond the next quarter, you can commit longterm suicide and be applauded.
      I recall standing in a European airport WB Studio Store as Looney Tunes played on a huge monitor. Shoppers came in to watch the cartoons and browsed the merch; that was the point.
      A 1980s Scooby cartoon appeared on the monitor. Most shoppers saw it and left, some complaining.

  • http://www.sibsy.blogspot.com Sibsy

    Why is this even an issue? Who cares? It’s just clothing, they’ve been doing this stuff forever…it’s fashion, and it, like most other forms of art is subjective.

    Different strokes.

    • The Gee

      That’s pretty much it.

      A lot of this type of product is cheap. It is tacky.
      So, to expect some high level of art to it is to expect way too much.

      This is on par with free t-shirts that beer companies give to people and which eventually end up scattered in used clothes stores everywhere. It just isn’t something which should be held in the highest regard, as a product goes.

      If it were a storybook/picture book…that would be different.

  • Marc Baker

    Imagine if they did this to images of their tween stars. Then again, it’s not that hard to see Miley Cyrus hanging out with the Hollywood hussies, and their corrupt lifestyle.

  • Silence Dogood

    *shudder*
    These are not my cup of tea.
    There is a clever way to sell something (ie realistic mouse is fun) and then their are downright sinful ways…(eyes everything else)

  • Malo

    These designs are fifteen years late.

  • mara

    mrehhh….i like 3/6 of these shirts.

    So Disney gets a 50%….still a failing grade, but being mediocre and pandering to the new generation is what they do best.

    the realistic mouse is really cute, i cannot lie.

  • Steve Stanchfield

    The bigger picture is that these particular designs really look like a quick idea that they didn’t want to do a whole (design) book for, so various things were slapped together and made into a ‘line’. If you look though any of the ‘style guides’ made for licensed products, they are pretty iron clad, with background patterns, colors and drawing totally set up for the company making the product to follow- the disney ones are usually even more specific and particular than many other companies. My thought is that this one was a quick idea with limited products, or maybe a quick custom job for one company.

    • The Gee

      Yes.

      That’s partially why in the first comment I wrote how it looks more like a selection than a collection.

      They are just random. Random styles by different artists work in a collection of comic book pin-ups. No one would expect there to be sameness or something consistent. With T-shirts, well, there are clothing lines. Things are made to entice people into buying as much of the line as possible.

      Maybe on some weird level that was kept in mind for those t-shirts but it doesn’t look like it was. But, hey, it was obviously a marketing-led concept and not some creator-led endeavor. (if that makes sense. no offense to folks in marketing but…)

  • Alissa

    Wow, talk about ugly.

    However, the realistic mouse is cute. It really shouldn’t be on a shirt though. Maybe an iron-on patch would be better?

  • Wincey

    The only thing I miss about the WB stores is that I didn’t complete my WB-decaled Fiestaware collection before they went kaput.

  • Vanessa

    For those of you that don’t have to clean graffiti off of your property every week or month:

    http://www.ocregister.com/news/disney-287861-graffiti-items.html

  • dbenson

    Back in the 70′s I had a shirt with burlap attachments on the front and back. Imprinted on the burlap was a Renaissance painting improved by a smirking, mustachioed Mickey. I gave it up only when the images laundered out of the burlap, and with decades of hindsight I still think it looked cooler than these.

  • chipper

    I think the Tweety is kind of cute, but probably in a way that wasn’t intended. It’s because he looks like a young kid, and young kids in clothes that are too big for them are cute.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Very funny how you put the Warner Bros. at the end because I was thinking about that Warner Bros. gang banger art work while looking at the Disney artwork.

  • Anoniguy

    I would wear the hell out of that Goofy shirt. I like it, a lot. But yeah, these are still the second coming of the Warner shirts from the nineties. Reminds me of all the girls in junior high/high school with me who were so super ghetto, but loved their gangster tweety backpacks.

  • Anonymous

    I’m pretty sure hipsters don’t actually design t-shirts for threadless competitions.

  • http://jourdyn.tumblr.com Jody

    I like…the idea of these shirts if that makes any sense. I can remember being a kid loving the “urban” Looney Tunes stuff. (That Porky though, lolwut) but even now that Bugs still appeals to me for some reason.

    I hope this is a bit of a test, seeing how well they sell and then going back and making them better, with better ideas.

  • Andy Rose

    Disco Mickey Mouse was okay because it was tongue-in-cheek? Yeah, I’m sure Disney was thinking, “Hey, let’s make all this stuff as a satire on current market trends. We got where we are today by ridiculing what is currently in fashion with the mass audience.” And then, if they discovered a customer taking Disco Mickey unironically, Disney insisted on getting the product back for a full refund.

  • http://christianscartooncorner.blogspot.com/ Christian

    There was one item I saw at a Warner Bros. store about fifteen years ago that I would still love to have. It was a 1940′s era desk lamp with a Green Lantern logo on it. It was aesthetically perfect any way you looked at it. Maybe they still have some sitting around collecting dust somewhere.

    I should’ve bought it when I saw it. But the people there were kind of pushy and wanted me to get some “Warner Bros. Studio Store Credit Card.”

  • ZigZag
  • Rebecca4th

    While I don’t always agree with you Amid, I am siding with you on this one. Why the heck does Mickey have gum on his shoe?! How is that urban?! It’s more like a bad day of walking into work. It’s almost like they are trying to mimic Andy Warhol. I’m guessing the realistic mickey mouse tee is a nod (*cough* rip-off *cough*) of Banksy’s work? I know it’s supposed to be marketing Disney to a different pool of customers, but this is just blah. It really just screams out ” Hey! I’m some lame attempt at contemporary art in fashion! Buy me! I’m cultured!” Maybe Michael Eisner weaseled his way back in! Are the Straight to DVD sequels going to be returning as well? Perhaps a sequel to Home on the Range!! How exciting!* (*aka sarcasm)

  • http://pencilsadncoffee.com Lucky

    i love all of these apart from goofy, i wanna buy them all if i had the cash. You can hate them all you want, you’re obviously not the target market

  • Vanessa

    Disney should be more respectful of the epidemic in their very own neighborhood:

    http://www.ocregister.com/news/tagging-289797-beating-anaheim.html