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2014: Another Year In Merch

2014 saw a new rising of the band Christmas jumper and ornaments, tie-dye didn’t die and KIGH called it a day. Yes, 2014 is now nothing more than a misty eyed memory so before 2015 gets truly underway, let’s take a moment to sort out our best bits. Festivals aplenty, many merches, and pure gold moments are all noted in this time capsule of sorts and as you journey with us we’re sure you’ll agree that this new year has plenty to live up to.

We were lucky enough to attend some of the best festivals in the Northern Hemisphere over the last year. This included seeing Brand New and The Menzingers smash it at Pirate Satellite Festival in Stuttgart, chatting with Against Me! at Donington’s Download, ditching our black uniform for a very pink Slam Dunk (North of course – our ageing bones can’t handle the triple threat these days), meeting our heroes Jimmy Eat World at Reading, and monkeying around with Dillinger and the Punktastic film crew at Hevy, but it was Punk Rock Holiday which gave us far more than we ever could have bargained for.

Perfect weather, a perfect location and one dreamy line up saw us gather up a troop of pals and head to Tolmin, Slovenia for 5 days of unadulterated punk, hardcore and Reel Big Fish dance parties. Punk Rock Holiday is home to merch as radical and politically charged as the bands on the bill, and thanks in no small part to Hammer Slammers (shot, slam and splash!) and the best tofu burgers anywhere on the planet, the merch lust was strong here.

Spending all afternoon relaxing on a tranquil river as Europe’s premier punk soothes last night’s hangover, moving only to rock, shot or cool off. Here, we enjoyed discovering new-to-us acts Ants and Wolf Down – the merch of both became firm favourites very very quickly. By dusk everyone had migrated to the forest for more punk, plum shots and the likes of Gnarwolves, Ignite, NOFX, A Wilhelm Scream and Raised Fist. PRH is truly one of the finest fests in the world and we cannot recommend it highly enough.

Our bread and butter. The true apple of our eye. Yes, 2014 saw us celebrate and shop much merch and clobber from across the globe and learn some lessons along the way.

Top 3 tees:
Against Me! – True Trans Tee
Our love for Against Me! is no secret. ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ was THE album of 2014 and sets at Download Festival plus one hell of a headline tour cemented their place at the top. We picked this shirt up at the London Electric Ballroom show and, well, we love the damn thing.

The Menzingers – Killers Flowers Tee
The Boombox Tee, inspired by insanely excellent track ‘I Don’t Wanna Be An Arsehole Anymore’, sold out in minutes so The Menzingers released this gem which we immediately snapped up. To be fair, it’s a completely ridiculous design. The Menzingers have been stand out this year with their album ‘Rented World’ hitting the top 3 of our favourite 2014 albums list and their explosive set at London’s Old Blue Last cementing our adoration.

Deftones – Los Deftones Baseball Tee
I have a lot of love for this tee and Tom’s White Pony shirt, but as a pair of savvy online shoppers we regrettably failed to dig into the FAQs and subsequently were stung with a £25 charge. On top of shipping. The lesson: Beware the hidden customs charges that come as standard from Deftone’s Merch Direct store. Nothing in the shopping journey mentions anything at all about possible extra charges, and customer service aren’t the most helpful in this situation. A shame when the store and merch is so rad. UK/EU store please!

The Best Of The Rest
This last 12 months took us around the world and finding merch in far flung places: Cuba, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Germany to name just a few stops. Blau Costa Verde, Cuba resort tees and caps screamed MS Paint, which in a world of wonderful illustrators and merch designers, was surprisingly endearing.

Spending an afternoon wandering the halls of the Saatchi Gallery’s East Meets West Exhibition was more than eye opening. Amongst the juxtaposed adverts and notions of capitalism vs. communism, our favourite piece was the intimate skeletons. No particular reason, but every body needs somebody to love, right? Naturally, we exited through the gift shop but to be brutally honest the crazy prices put us off and we left empty handed.

Drop Dead launches have peppered the last 12 months and, well, we love getting a sneak peak at the new lines as they emerge. Winter 14 was in bloom: shirt/kilts and fur lined parkers won our heart faux-sure, and we were so made up by The Simpsons DD make-over that the Slaughter Is The Best Medicine Holdall is never far on our bigger trips.

Film played a part in our year as we solved crimes and were left dumbfounded by a real-life Jessica Rabbit at Secret Cinema’s screening of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ at the Troxy. Little White Lies’ ‘One Night Only’ Coen Brother’s Exhibition showcased talents from globally renowned illustrators including Telegramme Paper Co. who have recently revamped their site – which look totally bodacious by the way and was listed as one of Shopify’s 46 Remarkable Websites.

2014 also saw two of our favourite merch companies go from strength to strength. Silver Bullet’s roster is spreading far and wide, and in the last year they brought the amazing Glamour Kills to our shores. Kings of social media, Awesome Merch extended their product mix to include awesome heritage backpacks. Oh, and Speaking Tongues was launched.

Sure, 2015 has a lot to live up to but with tickets to The Movielife in NYC and one or two tricks up our sleeve, we’re so excited to get stuck in and unveil some new and exciting things over the next 12 months.