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Debbie Harry and Shepard Fairey Team Up for Obey Fashion Line

The project coincides with the 40-year anniversary of Blondie's debut album.

artnet.com – 27th December 2016

by Eileen Kinsella

Music legend Debbie Harry is donning a new hat, assuming the role of designer for Shepard Fairey‘s “Obey” clothing line, according to a report in Women’s Wear Daily. (WWD).

The line is scheduled to be released next fall, and coincides with the 40-year anniversary of Blondie’s debut at the now-defunct (yet still illustrious) CBGB nightclub on the Bowery in New York’s East Village.

Fairey, who is best known for his “Hope” poster featuring President Barack Obama, told WWD that Blondie is one of his all-time favorite bands, and that his fascination only intensified over the years as he became interested in punk music and the CBGB scene, including bands such as the Ramones and the Talking Heads. WWD quotes Fairey as calling Harry “an amazing vocalist, lyricist, style icon, beauty and embodiment of NYC cool.”

Shepard Fairey’s design of Debbie Harry. Courtesy of Shepard Fairey.

Harry’s offering is described as a “women infused” line that will be a special edition. Fairey created an illustration for an Obey hoodie two years ago that was based on a photo of Harry with a zebra background, taken by Blondie co-founder Chris Stein. The $75 hoodie was reportedly an immediate sell-out.

Of course this is not the first time that Harry has served as an artist’s muse. Two years ago, Sotheby’s offered a 1980 work of the the iconic singer (estimate: $2.5–3.5 million) that was consigned by the estate of Peter B. Lewis, chairman of Progressive Insurance Company and former board chairman of the Guggenheim Museum.

In a 1985 video on MTV, Warhol created a digital portrait of Harry on the Amiga computer. He also autographed Harry’s leg to celebrate that she was decked out in bright Stephen Sprouse clothing inspired by . . .Warhol of course.

Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry
Executed in 1980, this work was later signed, dated
1987 and inscribed XX Love Debbie Harry on the overlap. (estimate: $2.5–3.5 million) Photo: Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Among many of Fairey’s other pop culture appearances, we loved his stint on Portlandia as an employee at an art supply store in which the show’s stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein poked fun at commonly used art student material, like broken televisions, baby doll parts, and American flags.

WWD says Fairey is planning “a big solo project” in Los Angeles this year and will also be honored in February at Art Wynwood in Miami with the Art Wynwood Tony Goldman Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award, presented in partnership with Wynwood Walls.


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