Corny instructional designs are taking off on t-shirts and other accessories

June 08, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

How’s this for functional fashion? Clothes and accessories that slyly mimic instructional diagrams — think airplane emergency cards or educational manuals — are taking off. Andre Wiesmayr, creative director of the Tokyo-based design house Final Home, says the ”phoniness” of air emergency cards inspires (and amuses) him: ”They’re such extreme situations, and everyone pictured seems so calm.” Brad Pitt and Beck are fans of the line, which includes T-shirts with cheeky postmodern ”How to Use Final Home” diagrams. Word is Drew Barrymore snapped up items from NYC-based Loop’s travel-inspired Transversion line: vinyl accessories and bags that designer China Young says evoke ”nonsense scenarios.” (No kidding. One vignette shows a woman stuffing sacks of money into an overhead compartment.) Young, who sells to high-end boutiques like NYC’s Henri Bendel and L.A.’s Fred Segal, says his goods also take a potshot at mass production. ”Technology these days moves so fast…. People relate to these IKEA-like diagrams. A lot of times [they] don’t make any sense, so you have to poke fun.” Best of all, there’s no assembly required.

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