Ballyhoo: The new clothing brand asking us why we care about designer labels so much

Beating the hype culture of designer fashion labels, this new brand from creative studio Uncommon attempts to make us more sceptical of our relationships with brands, hype and value through a t-shirt design concept.

30 September 2021

You’ve heard of the Supreme drops, the Palace drops and the Stone Island drops. The hype culture surrounding brands is infectious. People will queue from the early hours of the morning (and sometimes through the middle of the night) to spend thousands on items simply for the label attached to the garment.

But the team at studio Uncommon want to scrutinise this process directly through the garments themselves. “Why are we waiting in line to wrap ourselves in logo wear? What makes some pieces resell at astronomical prices?” asks Jonas Roth, creative director at Uncommon Creative studio in London. “The hype economy has taken on a life of its own with platforms like StockX and Goat listing sneakers and streetwear items for skyrocketing prices.”

To take this concept further, Uncommon created the line Ballyhoo: with t-shirts priced from $0.99 to $1,000,000.00, with 100 editions of each price label. “The price range reflects prices from unbranded mass-produced bargains to super hyped resells and out of this world extravagant luxury most people will never be able to afford,” Roth expands.

Roth is interested in the idea of a logo as a statement and so he wished to explore this concept, along with the rest of the team at Uncommon. “Maybe logos are simply cotton embroidered statements of success,” he asks, “a way to show the world just how deep your Prada pockets are. Swooshes and box logos worn like badges of honour.”


Courtesy of Ballyhoo, 2021.


Courtesy of Ballyhoo, 2021.


Courtesy of Ballyhoo, 2021.

Sometimes, the world of hyper-desirable brands seems absurd: who can forget the Supreme bricks that went for $30 and resold at prices of $1000. “For years we’ve seen high end fashion brands entering the streetwear scene, driving up prices on everything from t-shirts to sneakers,” says Roth. The inspiration for this project, he states, simply came from asking questions about these trends. “What are we paying for?”

When it came to actually creating the t-shirts, it was important for Uncommon to find the right supplier with organic, high-quality cotton and for for the production setup to allow the team to print on demand to avoid waste. One of the biggest challenges for the launch of the line was the pandemic: “We were ready to launch just as the virus broke out. It was really hard to find the right moment after that, somehow talking about the love of brands and values seemed less relevant than before lockdown. To be honest, it might have changed these relationships and peoples’ priorities now.” Roth refers to how the retail industry took a massive hit during the pandemic, with people not only being limited to physically buying clothing, but less importance was placed on our clothing choices and our looks.

“It goes without saying,” argues Roth, “that fast fashion and the ‘throwaway’ culture has a devastating impact on our world. The time of sweatshops and climate polluting clothes hopefully belongs in the past.”

You can buy limited stock of Ballyhoo t-shirts online.

GalleryJames Copeman: Ballyhoo (Copyright © Uncommon, 2021)


Courtesy of Ballyhoo, 2021.

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James Copeman: Ballyhoo (Copyright © Uncommon, 2021)

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About the Author

Dalia Al-Dujaili

Dalia is a freelance writer, producer and editor based in London. She’s currently the digital editor of Azeema, and the editor-in-chief of The Road to Nowhere Magazine. Previously, she was news writer at It’s Nice That, after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh.

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