Initially conceived as part of a larger research based project on the aesthetics of “coolness” in contemporary design, (and largely inspired by Thomas Frank’s essay “Why Johnny Can’t Dissent,” read it HERE🔗) I set out to map out some kind of unified theory of cool, especially as it pertained to the phenomenon of brands appropriating (co-opting, if you will) the language and symbols of youth culture. CO-OP’t is the result; a fictional clothing brand that tries to visualize a world where the gap between the “cool” “underground” and the corporate mainstream has finally been worn away.

In a world where William S. Burroughs and David Lynch are making ads for Nike and Playstation and the aesthetics of youthful restlessness have been distilled into a concise set of brand guidelines, its hard to say the word “counterculture” with a straight face. CO–OP’t is an exercise in design fiction(!) that seeks to poke at the already porous boundary between culture and commerce by exaggerating its most ridiculous elements.
What if the next streetwear collection wasn’t for Carhartt or Nike but Avery Dennison or CityMD? What would it look like if instead of lagging 5 years behind youth culture, brands finally figured out how to keep pace with it? Dictate its norms? Haunted by the implications of those questions I designed a series of hip promotional apparel for a group of exceptionally uncool brands (Spectrum, Quicken Loans, CityMD, Lysol Brand New Day, Avery Dennison RFID) meant to appeal to streetwear conscious, sign-value obsessed youth. Our culture may be in a freefall but at least advertisers finally get us, y’know?