Collaboration with L.A. apparel heavyweight Entireworld celebrates Ed Ruscha: OKLA with limited-run T-shirt
Why just look at the art when you can wear it? With a new collaboration between Oklahoma Contemporary and L.A.-based apparel company Entireworld, you can. Inspired by the newly opened Ed Ruscha: OKLA exhibition, this limited-run, high-quality T-shirt featuring Ruscha's Oklahoma-E is available now at Shop Contemporary, in person and online.
For Entireworld CEO Scott Sternberg, the collaboration was an opportunity to reconnect with the contemporary art legend in a new context. "Ed's been part of my brand universe since 2012, modeling for two campaigns over the years," he said. "So we jumped at the opportunity to commemorate the opening and make a T-shirt with his work."
Sternberg made a name for himself as one of the premiere fashion designers in the United States through the cult success of his first clothing line, Band of Outsiders, in 2003 — and recently with features in places like The New York Times Magazine and elsewhere detailing Entireworld's response to the COVID-19 crisis through high-fashion loungewear.
The Oklahoma-E offering is the first graphic tee in Entireworld's history, and the partnership leading to this ultra-comfy collector's item was what you might call a perfect fit. "It really made a lot of sense, considering their relationship with the artist, their commitment to high-quality standards and their work with other contemporary artists," said Oklahoma Contemporary Artistic Director Jeremiah Matthew Davis.
Retail and Visitor Experience Manager Garrett Colton got his start in the fashion and design industry of Los Angeles with Sternberg's Band of Outsiders. ("Working there was my business school," he said.) Given Colton's connection to the Entireworld team, and the brand's connection to Ruscha, teaming up for this rarified event offered something much more than a retail opportunity. "This is such a special show, and I didn't want to just work with any T-shirt manufacturer," Colton said. "I wanted there to be more meaning behind it, kind of another link to Ed's orbit."
The result of this collaboration is unusual not only for an art center retail store, but also for Ruscha himself. "We knew a T-shirt could be a potentially interesting thing to have in the shop," Davis said. "It's really rare for Ed to work in this kind of format. He typically doesn't have his work printed on T-shirts. There are only a handful that have ever been produced."
With the wheels in motion — greased in no small part by Colton's "retail right-hand" Becca West — there was no question what piece of artwork should be at the center. "We knew we wanted Oklahoma-E, because of its connection to Ed's time throwing papers here, with the faithful rendering of the Sunday Oklahoman. It just seemed like the right image," Davis said.
Editor's note: Buy your official Ed Ruscha: OKLA T-shirt at Shop Contemporary in the first-floor lobby at NW 11th and Broadway in Oklahoma City, or order online while supplies last at Entireworld.
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