Photo illustration by the god Ben Park.

A Yohji Yamamoto Bootleg T-Shirt for Your Haters

You look like you're wearing a rare fashion collectible, but you're actually just wearing a well-executed bootleg!

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Jan 17 2018, 4:00pm

Photo illustration by the god Ben Park.

We all have that one uber-talented friend: the person who can do it all. My friend James W. Mataitis Bailey, aka Yimmy Yayo, is that man. (Why "Yimmy Yayo"? Just another part of the enduring mystery.) He can take an excellent photograph, design an eye-catching flyer; he can even build a website with his own two well-manicured Australian hands! You may know him through his wildly popular (and useful) blog where he posts reference images of all sorts, or maybe you follow him on Instagram. He truly excels on all platforms.

Luckily for me, Yayo has applied his excellent taste to a clever bootleg t-shirt. Our hero happens to share initials with the legendary Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto. For his spring/summer 2007 menswear show, Yamamoto sent a model down a runway in a black short-sleeve t-shirt that said very plainly, “YY He Is Useless”—a quick dig at his haters. Yayo remade the t-shirt (on a Gildan blank, of course) and sent it to his friends and family as a holiday gift. A particular kind of person might see me and think I’m wearing an extremely rare fashion collectible, but then they would look at the rest of my outfit and realize I am just a Regular Joe in a well-executed bootleg t-shirt. And you know what? I am perfectly OK with that.

The original useless moment. Photograph by Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho for Getty Images.
The t-shirt in all its useless glory.