Jay-Z has enjoyed a successful career in music, and has dabbled in the fashion world with his Rocawear line. The Roc-a-fella logo in itself has been repeatedly criticized for its symbolism ”“ it looks very much like an illuminated pyramid under certain circumstances. What others may not know is the rapper is also affiliated with the the clothing company ‘Artful Dodger.’ If you’ve ever seen some of the clothing designs, then you’d see why this connection raises a few eyebrows.
Artful Dodger is a New York City based clothing line that dates back to around 2006. Initially hitting the fashion scene as a European contemporary men’s street wear line, the first designs were the brainchild of Scott Langton who founded the company. It was reported that the line was acquired by none other than Jay-Z to promote the Iconix Brand.
Designs were supposedly slated to undergo a limited release of premium clothing. However, the Artful Dodger line of clothing is still available today ”“ you can purchase an array of T-shirts, shirts, and hoodies from Amazon.com. There are currently more than 50 articles of clothing available.
Scott Langton stayed on as creative director of the brand, initially being sold in boutiques and specialty stores throughout the U.S. and United Kingdom.
The name from the company comes from the 19th century character named the Artful Dodger, who was the leader of a shrewd collection of young men who caused mischief throughout the UK. Hip hop enthusiasts embraced the clothing in the United States ”“ inspired by the likes of Lupe Fiasco and Pharrell, who represented a blend of urban street and skateboard fashion.
Some of the imagery that appears on various clothing pieces is questionable. You see nods to chaos, the Illuminati, and other symbolism that sends a negative message or promotes a reckless lifestyle.
Online, the presence of the clothing company is chaotic, especially in the realm of social media.
On the website for the clothing company, the about page states: ” The ARTFUL DODGER is an ambitious individual who is creative, rebellious and most of all untraditional. He cannot and does not want to be defined. Ageless yet youthful he is not afraid to be himself. His style sculpted by the work of his peers whether film directors graphic designers, writers or musicians the ARTFUL DODGER is always a part of what is next.”
The tagline of the Artful Dodger Twitter page is very telling. Simply put, it says “FOR THE BETTER DRESSER ”“ The Devils in the Details.”
The About page of the Artful Dodger Facebook page states: “KICK A** ~ DIE YOUNG. NEVER BE FORGOTTEN” What kind of messages does this send out to impressionable youth, who are most likely the majority of people that would be interested in the company.
The makers and promoters of the clothing encourage people to cause mischief and have fun while doing it. Artful Dodger clothing not only incorporates triangle and pyramids, but also utilizes other significant symbolism, such as snakes, skulls, stars, lightning bolts, and eagles.
A few designs to note:
”¢ The’ Kick A**, Die Young’ T-Shirt: The questionable imagery found in the ‘Kick A**, Die Young’ T-shirt starts with the initial message. Once again, the company is encouraging people to embrace chaos, and die young. The sign for Anarchy is found within the lettering of the shirt.
”¢ Sequined Vishnu T-Shirt: The choice to incorporate the Hindu god Vishnu (seen as a Supreme God of the religion) is interesting since some people (including Masons) believe that the “trilateral name for god is composed of three Hindu gods: Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. Siva (or Shiva), which for some, is actually a synonym for Satan.
”¢ ‘Skull & Blood’ T-Shirt: Features a combination of skulls, stars and eagles, which look quite similar to other disturbing imagery of the past.
”¢ Tennis Skeleton T-Shirt: On the sleeves, there is snake imagery, while skulls are incorporated into the piece.