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  • Annika Oyung Larson

Film Imagery in Gen-Z Fashion

How Heaven, Supreme and other brands are bringing '90s and '00s niche nostalgia to a younger generation with prints, photoshoots and "vintage objects".

In a world where your identity is tied to the media you consume, what better way to let people know you are cool than by wearing a still image from your favorite movie literally on your sleeve? Recently, brands that strategically market towards Gen-Z consumers have begun reproducing film shots from niche movies on clothing items. With the rise of TikTok, announcing your enjoyment of less mainstream music, artists, and cinema has become a way to create a subversive persona. Wearing pieces with references to that media signals that you are part of an exclusive club that understands and appreciates what is being portrayed. Brands like Heaven by Marc Jacobs and Supreme have recently capitalized on Gen-Z's fascination with artsy ‘90s and 2000s movies by incorporating shots from films like Sofia Coppola's Virgin Suicides and Harmony Korine's Kids.

Sofia Coppola and Harmony Korine's films developed cult followings and have been rediscovered by Gen-Z and incorporated into their aesthetics. Harmony Korine's aesthetic is frequently associated with the ‘90s New York style due to his depiction of the youth culture and skateboarding scene in Kids. As a result, his films have had a resurgence in recent years among pretentious film bros, skateboarders, and male manipulators alike. He even shot the Supreme Spring/Summer 2022 campaign promo pictures featuring memed it-girl Julia Fox and pro-skaters Tyshawn Jones, Sean Pablo, and Mathias Sauvignon.

Supreme's Spring/Summer 2022 campaign featured Gummo Jerseys with Chloe Sevigny's pouty face printed across the front. On Grailed, the resale prices of the jerseys are upwards of $300. The collection also included hoodies and t-shirts with prints of the promotional poster and other famous stills from the film. Similarly, Heaven by Marc Jacobs released a collection of items featuring images of Kirsten Dunst in her role of Lux Lisbon in Sofia Coppola's 2006 movie adaptation of The Virgin Suicides. The pastel hued images of Dunst can also be found across the internet in "ballet-core" starter packs alongside baby pink outfits, Lana Del Rey album covers, and other coquettish items.

Heaven also sells collectibles from Harmony Korine's movies. The website lists a black and white Zine with images from his movie Trash Humpers and a vintage Gummo poster, retailing on their website for $70 and $65, respectively. Owning items featuring iconography from the works of these older movies indicates you are well-read and belong to an in-group that knows about these niche projects. Heaven's social media feed is filled with images of niche music references. Old editorial shoots of artists like Björk and behind-the-scenes shots of young Marc Jacobs are plastered on their Instagram. In addition, they posted a VHS copy of Aphex Twin's "Windowlicker" that was part of a "Heaven Curation" of vintage objects for the brand.

Only one Heaven store exists, and it is located on Fairfax Ave in LA, a block down the street from Supreme and Tyler the Creator's Golf stores. The few times I have gone to the physical Heaven location, I was greeted coldly by the two niche internet microcelebrity employees behind the counter. The store almost seemed to have been decorated to be Instagrammed. One store wall is just a mirror that has appeared in dozens of influencers' stories and posts. On the opposite wall is a large Smashing Pumpkins poster, previously a Sonic Youth poster that had gotten switched out after the new drop, a Heaven brand mini rug, and an oversized colorful chair that doubles as an art piece. Memorabilia from music and films that seem to fit the aesthetic of whatever Heaven drop was most recent is displayed on shelves around the store. The decor changes intermittently, with the storefront being mostly Virgin suicides themed last year, displaying posters of the film and early scripts during the release of the Lux Lisbon clothes. In the U.S, only two other Marc Jacobs stores carry a limited selection of items from Heaven. Items can also be purchased online on the Heaven by Marc Jacobs site and SSENSE. Popular pieces usually sell out fast and are resold on Depop for much more than their retail price. The limited amount creates a feeling of exclusivity. Not everyone can be cool, but if you buy something from Heaven, maybe you have a fighting chance.

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