Genius, formerly known as Rap Genius, a platform on which writers and artists can annotate lyrics and “the internet,” which also has an editorial arm, which now describes itself as a media company, is launching a clothing line. It’s called The 1997 Collection, and it’s apparently inspired by pop culture from the year 1997.
In its announcement post, Genius outlines the collection’s references explicitly: Hype Williams’ fisheye lens, Fiona Apple’s ‘97 VMAs speech, Notorious B.I.G., underground NYC nightclub The Tunnel, Titanic, Wu Tang, and the phrase “girl power.”
The ‘90s are so far back they’re dead
The collection, full of oversized hoodies ($60), graphic tees ($30), and distressed dad caps ($30), will already look familiar to anyone with a passing interest in streetwear, because the line’s aesthetic references are as obvious as its pop culture ones. The designs of ‘90s tour swag, The Life of Pablo merch, skate faves like Cav Empt, smaller brands like Pleasures, and high-fashion brands like Vetements are all reflected in this collection. The ‘90s are back baby, and at least Genius had the lack of shame to admit it wanted in on the revival.
As Digiday points out, this is not the first time Genius has released merch, but it is the company’s biggest collection yet. The company has previously sold Genius-branded hats and tees, including a Pusha T collaboration during Art Basel last year.
Earlier this year, after laying off a quarter of the staff, Genius co-founder Tom Lehman said he would be taking “a careful look” at the company’s “priorities.” Part of Genius’ problem has always seemed to be that it just can’t decide what its priorities actually are. Genius hops from project to project hoping something will stick, like a college senior who suddenly decides to try woodworking after realizing he just spent four years dedicated to philosophy.
In an interview with The Verge in March, Lehman said the company would start to turn its focus to video, and Digiday reports that a series of videos will roll out on Genius’ social media platforms to promote the merch.
If you want some Genius merch, you can shop here. Maybe instead of customer reviews, they’ll let you annotate your purchases.