OBEY Clothing



Mike Ternosky & Grace Lee



OBEY clothing was founded in 2001 as an extension of artist Shepard Fairey’s work. Fairey’s signature Andre the Giant Has a Posse campaign, featuring the famous 520-pound wrestler, was seen plastered all over the East coast throughout his time studying a BFA in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. A redesigned OBEY Giant sticker became the icon of OBEY Clothing which now fuses classic military looks and workwear basics with an ever-changing but consistently politically provocative philosophy. The now quintessential OBEY logo and and slogan has appeared across collaborations with other streetwear giants like HUF, graffiti artist Cope2Keith Haring and even Levi’s.


A 1994 trademark lawsuit threat forced Fairey to create a redesigned version of his Andre the Giant sticker. He developed the wrestler’s face into its now iconic logo, joined by the ubiquitous OBEY slogan taken from John Carpenter’s 1988 cult classic They Live.


Fairey describes the OBEY propaganda as an experiment in Phenomenology. Quoting Heidegger on OBEYGIANT.com, he describes Phenomenology as “the process of letting things manifest themselves.” With a philosophy of “the medium is the message,” Fairey claims OBEY is about questioning purpose and your surroundings. But ultimately, argues that while OBEY itself has no real meaning, it is reflective of the personality and sensibilities of the consumer.


Official Launch - After gaining popularity with the sticker campaign, Fairey officially launched Obey Clothing as a streetwear brand in 2001. The brand's name was inspired by the "Obey Giant" image, which had become a symbol of counterculture and political dissent.


Obey Clothing continued to grow in popularity, expanding its product line to include graphic tees, hoodies, hats, and accessories. The brand's unique blend of street art, activism, and fashion caught the attention of the mainstream, earning it recognition in the streetwear and urban fashion communities.


Obey Clothing began collaborating with other artists and brands, further elevating its status in the fashion industry. Collaborations with iconic brands like Levi's and Nike, as well as artists such as Keith Haring and Barry McGee, solidified Obey's reputation as a creative and innovative bran


Obey collaborates with the Keith Haring Foundation to release a limited edition range of designs for the brand’s fall collection. 


Following the backlash in earlier years about the ethical practices of the company, Obey becomes officially Fairtrade certified and releases a special collection to mark this.


Fairey creates special school walkout posters for students protesting gun violence in the US and also teams up with Adidas Skateboarding to design a limited edition Samba ADV skate shoe for Beyond The Streets.

In 2023 the brand continues to release streetwear for both men and women and continues its journey into ethical sustainability.

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