In addition to being one of fashion's favorite streetwear poster children, Harlem-born rapper A$AP Rocky is also trying his hand as a fashion designer and somewhat unsurprisingly, his designs may not be all that original. The rapper's very newly-launched e-commerce site, A$AP Mob Shop, which stocks the rapper's tees, sweatshirts, and hats, etc., began offering its Fall/Winter 2013 wares, including a Raf Simons "parody" tee that reads "RAPH THIMONS MURDERAH" t-shirt, last week. This may sound/look familiar, as the rapper has been spotted in similar tees a few times since early last year, but also because he isn't actually the originator of the design.
It appears that the RAFH THIMONS MURDERAH design (pictured above) originated in September 2011, when one of the founders of up-and-coming Southern California-based brand, FN-TN (also known as FANTOME), posted it to his personal Tumblr page, vph-mcse-p(and then started selling the design on a t-shirt). The design was subsequently reposted by A$AP on its official Tumblr page in late October 2011. Thereafter (beginning in January 2012), A$AP Rocky was spotted in several different "RAPH THIMONS MURDERAH" t-shirts that, according to the founders of FN-TM, were not made by their brand or made with their consent. In October 2012, FN-TM's tees gained a bit of internet fame, as seen in shout outs from Four Pins founder Lawrence Schlossman, and bloggers Yimmy Yayo and Third Look, among others, and have since completely sold out. A$AP Rocky put his lookalike tees up for sale just less than a year later.
We caught up with the founders of FN-TM, who are less than pleased about A$AP's tees. They said: "Seeing our shirts sold at a much lower cost [A$AP is selling them for $30, as opposed to FN-TM's $42 price tag], presented without any care, and have poor design standards was outrageously offending. We know that high fashion parody tees have been going on ever since the golden age of streetwear 5+ years ago, and it didn't bother us too much when ASAP first made it because they never sold it to the public. But now that they've started selling it, that's when we think they've crossed the line."
So, while FN-TM does not have a trademark over the RAFH THIMONS MURDERAH saying and while A$AP changed the spelling from RAFH to RAPH, it seems the copying is pretty blatant here, especially given the fact that A$AP reblogged FN-TM's original Tumblr post containing the design. Take sides and fight it out in the comments section below ...
FN-TM's tee (left) & A$AP Rocky's version (right)