I first came across FUCT in the pages of Thrasher around 1993. Their advertisements stood out amongst all the others by being far more subversive and dare I say, cooler than all the other wanna be radical labels that paid for space within the magazine. They were bold, post modern and announced their presence without really saying who they were or indeed, giving many clues as to what they did. Hooked on their anti-advertising, I discovered one of the first and without doubt the best ‘street wear’ clothing label ever devised. FUCT.
Advertisements from early 1990s Thrasher (Pictures stolen from the Web)
Founded in Los Angeles by Erik Brunetti in 1991, the label co-opted pop culture icons like the poster for Jaws, the gangsters from Goodfellas and faces of Kiss and used them Jamie Reid style on their tee-shirts, hoodies and caps. The well worn Ford styled ‘FUCK’ from many a 1960s counter cultural tee-shirt was recycled into their logo whilst the apes from 1968’s ‘Planet of the Apes’, found themselves holding crack pipes and peering out from the underside of decks.
Growing up in pre-internet Australia, their oeuvre was both exceedingly hard to get and ridiculously expensive if ever found. No one would recognise it if worn, except for other skaters and wearing it while skating, it would usually get messed up. It did have a nice shock value though and sporting it and watching people smirk or snarl when they read the logo or saw the pictures was part of the fun, and eventually I managed to afford and get my hands on a few items, including this well-loved hooded top as seen below. [In case you wonder why I still have it, I am planning on giving it to my grand children].
It was painful to see Bathing Ape later co-opt and essentially steal Brunetti’s ideas and found an entire label based around one set of designs, but I digress…
As the reason I am writing this is to show some love for the recently released Fuct hardcover book. Truthfully it was released a while back, but time is a cruel mistress… Nonetheless, it is a cornucopia of great pictures and wild ideas laid bare, and it sketches the story of FUCT while supplying plenty of pictures of ideas, sketches and design processes.
Cover sleeve and embossed hard cover…
Shows iterations of the aforementioned Goodfellas and Ape designs…
Over time Brunetti’s tastes evolved towards a sympathy with the late 1960s and early 1970s counterculture and the designs take on unique elements of those times, including the use of Sharon Tate’s and Anita Pallenberg’s faces in advertising material, a series of designs based around Vietnam (such as grunt’s helmets a’la the cover of Michael Herr’s Dispatches and patches worn by special forces), Easy Rider magazine style artwork, Playboy and Gilbert Shelton cartoons. Of particular note, is the fact that Brunetti managed to successfully trademark the Symbionese Liberation Army’s seven headed serpent logo. Presumably no wished to claim credit for it, or if they did, they were dead or in jail.
However, it is this kind of idea that makes FUCT who they are, and in a world filled with sell-outs that cash-out at every available opportunity, I am grateful that they still exist and are still seditious over 20 years on from the label’s inception. Check it out if time and inclination permits…
Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
You can find the book at http://www.amazon.com/FUCT-Erik-Brunetti/dp/0847839664
Fuct’s website is http://www.fuct.com
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