‘I Want Young American Urban Spaces No. 87’


A man walks through Düsseldorf and asks random strangers if they know what's on their T-shirts. None does. I should note that about half of them are foreigners, to judge by their accents.

Herewith a taxonomy of T-shirt inscriptions, some from the video above, some not:

  1. Invented athletic team / college logo: 'Holister College Varsity Lacrose No. 1'
  2. Random strung-together phrases evoking freedom, the open road, crazy parties, and the like: 'California Roadster Valley Team'
  3. Gnomic phraselets: 'Urban Spaces', 'I Want Young American'
  4. Spurious brand names / series numbers: 'Brothers Denim Mfg. Since 1887 No. 7754'

The place being evoked is always America, you never see something like 'Hull Danger Warriors' or 'Yorkshire Youth Movement No. 445'. I always ask Germans wearing these things why they bought this T-shirt or jacket and what the random phrase on it means to them, but — like the people in the video — they're never able to explain.

3 thoughts on “‘I Want Young American Urban Spaces No. 87’

  1. “The place being evoked is always America”, yes, because America epitomises the Western world and freedom like no other place. In the same way, you will find a lot of Asians who “westernize”/Americanize their first names when moving to the western world, while you will probably never find an American or European who when moving to Asia would change their first name in order to appeal to Chinese or Koreans.


  2. To add to what Heskey said, many (if not most/all) of these shirts are printed and sometimes also designed in Asia. Some of them even are in fact great examples of Chinglish (or otherwise “bad” English by non-native speakers). So what do we have here:
    – people in Europe
    – wearing shirts designed by Asians
    – whose idea of “dream” is the American one

    Ain’t globalisation something?


  3. there´s a joke that says that “Hollister” might be the biggest College in Brazil because you´ll see lots of teens/young adults wearing those shirts and hoodies everywhere.

    A&F, Hollister and Aeropostale: I thought that the stupid idea of wearing the same t-shirts like a teenage expensive “uniforns” died back in the 90´s with GAP, Banana Republic, Hard Rock Café etc…


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