The Great Rock And Roll Swindle
It turns out even the great MOTH Malcom McLaren isn’t immune to a little swindle now and then. His historic punk clothing line—originally titled *SEX*, but eventually known as *Seditionaries*—has run into a nasty counterfeiting trade run by Simon Easton. Of course, the 30-year-old threads are collector’s items by now, so the price tags get pretty high. WWD reports that Easton has sold 80,000 UKP worth of fake merch to collectors, including artist Damien Hirst.
McLaren comments in the article, “I would never have thought 30 years ago when I was making this stuff on my kitchen table that someone would want to copy it like a Goya or a Van Gogh.” Of course, knowing McLaren, the thought has probably crossed his mind dozens of times, but it’s a little too flattering. The clothes are more like history than fashion or art. The reason collectors and museums are clamoring for them—and creating a market for counterfeits—is because of McLaren’s own swindle. His SEX shop in 1977’s London was the first time anyone had thought of charging top dollar for ripped, stained clothing.
He did it all with a knowing smirk, but it didn’t stop him from getting rich. Surely he wouldn’t begrudge a fellow con man a swindle of his own?
- — Russell Brandom