OBEY Clothing was founded on the art, design and ideals of Shepard Fairey. What started for Fairey with an absurd sticker he created in 1989 while studying at the Rhode Island School of Design has since evolved into a worldwide street art campaign, as well as an acclaimed body of fine art.
The OBEY campaign is rooted in the "Do It Yourself" counterculture of punk rock and skateboarding, but it has also taken cues from popular culture, commercial marketing and political messaging. Fairey steeps his ideology and iconography in self-empowerment. With biting sarcasm verging on reverse psychology, he goads viewers, using the imperative "obey" to take heed of the propagandists out to bend the world to their agendas.
OBEY Clothing was formed in 2001 as an extension to Shepard's range of work. Aligning with his views as a populist, T-shirts and clothing were viewed as another canvas to get his art and message to the people. The clothing is heavily inspired by classic military design, work wear basics, as well as the same elements and cultural movements Shepard has based his art career on. Through designers Mike Ternosky and Erin Wignall, Shepard works to create designs that represent his influences, ideals and philosophy. Part of that philosophy has been working with other artists and musicians such as clothing collaborations with influential Detroit rock band the MC5 and hip-hop pioneers Public Enemy. OBEY Clothing is unique in its ability to appeal to a wide spectrum of people. The range of reference points and strong visual identity resonate amongst different observers and allows the brand to remain relevant and progressive.
OBEY is about variety and experience, thinking about your surroundings and questioning the purpose. Stay tuned for the next chapter, as the canvas will undoubtedly continue to change and evolve. All in the name of fun and observation. The medium is the message.