Given that graphic print t-shirts comprise a massive part of what we deem ‘streetwear’, it can be hard for brands or designers to stand out amidst a constant flood of product. Sure, you can reach for the low-hanging fruit and copy whatever’s hot at the moment – pockets, tie-dye etc., but to really stand out with just the humble graphic print t-shirt in your arsenal can be hard. One brand that has risen well above this challenge is Rockwell by Parra. The brand was started in Amsterdam by Dutch artist Piet Parra. As well as performing as a musician with the band Le Le, Parra is also responsible for producing eye-catching artwork of his own as well as working on his Rockwell brand. With art shows in Paris, Los Angeles and Milan, Parra’s distinctive style has garnered acclaim from all corners.
I first came across Parra’s artwork through his various commissions and collaborations with brands such as Nike and Vans. In my previous life working for a high street footwear chain, I came across a Parra take on the classic Vans Era that utilised that now-familiar colour palette of blue, orange, red and pink. This strong use of colour runs throughout both Parra’s artwork and the graphics he contributes to Rockwell. I still kick myself for not picking up a pair when I had the chance. The Spring 2013 collection of Rockwell by Parra continues this tradition of bold use of colour along with Parra’s surreal and darkly comic imagery. We also see some interesting new pieces coming through in the shape of the Chopped Head shirt and polo shirt. Of course, the main draw here is the range of graphic t-shirts and they certainly don’t disappoint this season. On top of being one of only a handful of stockists of this brand in the UK, we’re also offering a FREE Rockwell by Parra Tote Bag with all full-price Rockwell orders placed at Urban Industry (while stock lasts).