Microsoft’s Latest Upgrade: Softwear
Softwear, the company’s new line of graphic tees designed by hip-hop artist Common and “inspired by the 1980s when both Microsoft and hip-hop really came of age.” The software giant’s foray into fashion is intended to conjure a sense of nostalgic hipness around the brand, while reacting to the “I’m a PC” stereotype made popular by Apple. The shirts, which will hit select stores in the US on Dec 15, incorporate old DOS iconography, geek vernacular, and a retro-futuristic aesthetic into some surprisingly stylish designs. Softwear’s two lines, Classic and Common’s designs, can be previewed at Microsoft’s Softwear site, where viewers can also learn about the impetus and story behind the concept, narrated by Common.
Wear Lyrics on Your Tee with i/denti/tee
Monday saw the launch of i/denti/tee, a new line of t-shirts that allows music lovers to express their passion for music by wearing their favorite lyrics on their chest. Partnerships with Apple iTunes and Edun Live (the environmentally responsible clothing line founded by Bono and his wife Ali Hewson) cover legal issues from the music side and sourcing issues from the product side.
Tees are supplied by Edun, which employs a “grow-to-sew” model: from the cotton to the spinning process to the sewing, all is done in sub-Saharan Africa. Lyrics are “supplied,” so to speak, by iTunes. All lyrics have been legally cleared by the publisher, and every purchase gets you a code to download 10 songs for free at iTunes.
Of course, there’s also a social, user-generated component: Users can pick from a pre-cleared set of lyrics (U2, Jay-Z, Coldplay, to name a few) or they can submit their own favorite lyric, garner support for it, and get it cleared to print and wear.