It’s printed on the back of a Cav Empt jacket – but what does it mean?
The Cav Empt MD Coin-Op Existence Jacket has a big patch on the back. On that patch, like a lot of other SS22 Cav Empt pieces, including this Signal t-shirt, are the words: an industrial regime of pure signifiers stripped of meaning.
The accompanying imagery is existential and minimalist, and in the case of the t-shirt, dark and mysterious.
If you Google the set of the words, there are no exact matches – at least, not in anything Google has access to. Google’s smart suggestions point you towards the work of Jean Baudrillard, a French theorist famous for his work on hyperreality. Cav Empt’s sentence does conjure his pattern of thought, where, like the Matrix, or the idea that we live in a simulation, Baudrillard suggests we’d be unable to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality. Is this what Cav Empt is getting at?
Cav Empt has a dystopic reputation, and is well known for pointing us, through graphics, in the direction of philosophical thought.
Interestingly, the work of Baudrillard eventually stemmed into semiotics, a field dedicated to studying the deeper meaning of signs. In the semiotics of fashion, ways of wearing things are used as cultural designators that allow non-verbal communication. If you, in the 80s and 90s, were wearing a pair of adidas, a Stone Island jacket and happened to be standing in a football stadium, the non-verbal signs might all be telling of a certain group you belonged to.
The phrase, ‘an industrial regime of pure signifiers stripped of meaning’ might well be hinting at the changing face of fashion. Fashion – the regime – is all signs. Everything. But have its signs lost their meaning? Can signs ever lose meaning?
To buy Cav Empt might be to prescribe to the idea that it’s all lost meaning. That fashion is empty and vacuous. Apart from Cav Empt, of course, who’re poking fun at it from the inside.
Anyway, it’s all just clothes and thoughts.
Wellgosh has got a good selection of Cav Empt and as well as being philosophically poignant it looks good too.