So, you're online, gently browsing thru the Disney Store, looking for a gift you need to buy to your sister-in-law's children and gee isn't it hard to choose between all these pink tshirts and princesses outfits. Well, there are a few branded tshirts with The NightMare Before Christmas and that's a success among many, many Disneypark fans but that was as far as it went for Disney in terms of brutal originality... Until now as Disney has just released a Tshirt direclty inspired from Joy Division's iconic sleeve "Unknown Pleasures".
Most of the alternative music websites are going awol about it and while i'm sure Disney's lawyers have prepared themselves to return Joy Division's lawyers phonecalls any moment now, one can wonder about the rather distateful feel behind it. It is one thing to name a gloomy rock band after what if historically a group of enslaved jewish women forced to have sex with german offciers in the concentration camps, it is a totally different matter to use that specific cover design to make a commercial tshirt one hope to sell a lot to keep the investors happy and see many young, and less young, visitors of the Disney Parks gently stroll around in this tshirt with ice cream cones in their hands and a bag full of merchandising.
At the same time, it's interesting to see how something that was rather obscure, frankly gloomy and dark is slowly immerging two generations later and now deemed commercial enough to have a Disney executive accepting the project and initialise it. It really shows up how popular cultue will eventually digest and re-offer most sub-cultures to the mainstream crowd. Take Gothic for instance: when Edwards Scissorhands came out (it was Tom Cruise who originally cast instead of Johnny Depp. Kinda kills the vibe, doesn't it ?), it was well accepted by critics and public alike, slowly sending gothics imagery and feels towards a then very unaware mainstream audience. Nowadays, Gothic imagery is everywhere, from fashion to movies, from the über successfull franchise Twilight to...Disney selling Nightmare Before Christmas' tshirts to 12 years old girls and one should brace for impact as next year Ridley Scott movie Prometheus is sure to send airborne a few more Giger imagery spores...
Same thing happen everytime: a sub-culture lives underground and makes a few thousand teenagers living the time of their live knowing what they do is unique to them and their parents would most likely hate it: it gives them further identity and a springboard to newer things. And that sub-culture might sink in, and disappear as a leading frontwave to be slowly emerging years later in something that has morph: takes Skrillex for example. This young US star has taken an underground sonic stamp that was slowly dying in Europe, mix it with his own influences and made it big in the US with it, going mainstream...Most sub-cultures will eventually die to be reborn years later.
The Joy Division like Mickey tshirt is sold out by the way.
Marketing operation was a success.
Awaiting further instructions.