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we investigate

Where are all of your favourite emo clothes brands now? We investigate

Drop Dead, Glamour Kills, TWLOHA. All of your old favourites.

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THE INTERNET’S OBSESSION with the Ten Year Challenge earlier this month has served as a reminder of how far we have all come since 2009. 

For many people, 2009 was the beginning of the end for the ‘emo phase’. The teenagers who hung around at Central Bank were faced with a big decision. Do you gracefully drift back into life as a normal person? Trading in your copy of Kerrang for a copy of NME? Do you start listening to The Kooks now? 

Or do you double down on this whole emo thing, to prove to your mam that it wasn’t just a phase, by sliding over to Wikihow to search “How to be a scene kid”, while listening to Just Got Paid, Let’s Get Laid by The Millionaires? (:

Those who chose the former probably went on to lead very happy and stable lives. Those who chose the latter probably still listen to Steer Clear on Spotify, in the year of our Lord, 2019. There’s nothing wrong with that. You do you. 

These people, who remained dedicated to their lifestyle choices, were probably very big fans of brands like Drop Dead Clothing, which was set up by Bring Me The Horizon front-man Oli Sykes. Or maybe they preferred Glamour Kills, a clothing brand which had multiple collaborations with All Time Low singer Alex Gaskarth. There were plenty of brands like this over the years, and like us, you’re probably wondering what the hell ever happened to them. Wonder no more. We have done some research.

1. Drop Dead 

1358948853 Drop Dead Drop Dead

 Surprisingly, Drop Dead is still alive and kicking, with an actual store located in Sheffield and another in London. They’ve completely changed their offering in the way of clothes, evolving from very simple graphic t-shirts, to jackets, jeans, shoes, etc. The clothes are a bit more expensive now, too. Here’s a little taste of what’s currently on offer:

PastedImage-36556 Drop Dead Drop Dead

PastedImage-33878 Drop Dead Drop Dead

Pretty unexpected, really.

2. Glamour Kills

You might remember Glamour Kills for their iconic flying pig t-shirt…

guystealpig Glamour Kills Glamour Kills

Or maybe you remember some of their other clothes, like this t-shirt that was way ahead of Calvin Klein’s “I ____ in my Calvins” campaign.

m_5202dc2fabe75c57c80207bc Poshmark Poshmark

Well, we had a little dig around the internet and discovered that Glamour Kills is no more. They haven’t posted to any of their social media platforms since the 26th of January 2017, where they advertised a sale in which they were offering 70% off everything on the website. 

You might be thinking, “Oh, maybe they were just having a clear out and they’ll be back eventually.” That seems unlikely, as the website is now gone and replaced with this: 


The end of an era. 

3. To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA)

hayley-williams-and-to-write-love-on-her-arms-girls-love-zip-hood-black-zip-hoodie-gallery Hayley Williams / Twitter Hayley Williams / Twitter / Twitter

Now, To Write Love On Her Arms was a little bit different to Glamour Kills and Drop Dead in that it was a non-profit organisation set up to help people with addictions, depression and self-harm issues. Their motto was, “Love Is The Movement”, which might ring a bell if you can’t quite remember them. 

MovementBlackShirt_1024x1024 TWLOHA TWLOHA

While TWLOHA was a massive commercial success, it has been involved in a number of controversies, as people accused them of ‘glamourising’ self-harm, and donating to anti-gay, pro-life American religious organisations. There doesn’t appear to be any evidence online that there is any actual substance to these claims, however. 


So that’s what TWLOHA looked like back in the day, and here is what it looks like in 2019:

PastedImage-86905 TWLOHA TWLOHA

I’m not sure that seeing “You Are Not Alone” printed on the leg of someone’s tracksuit bottoms will make a huge difference to somebody suffering with depression, but okay. TWLOHA hasn’t changed as drastically as Drop Dead has over the last decade, but they definitely hired a new graphic designer. All of the designs look like generic quotes you’d see on a notebook in Penneys.

PastedImage-494 TWLOHA TWLOHA

4. Baby Cakes

Baby cakes 19 Babycakes Babycakes

Firstly, let’s take a moment to reflect on when people used to do that weird claw pose in Bebo and Myspace photos. Kids on Instagram getting 400 likes on a “Off out x” pic will never know how hard our generation had to grind to get attention on photographs, and we couldn’t even measure it on likes because Bebo hadn’t got a feature for that. It was comments or nothing. 

Now, let’s discuss Baby Cakes. Set up a 20-year-old Manchester lad called Paul Griffiths in 2007, he managed to make £1 million in a single year after launching the garish brand. The empire extended to include sunglasses and an electro-pop label, and like Drop Dead, they had a store IRL too. 

m_5997c113bcd4a78b6605151b Poshmark Poshmark

The last record of Baby Cake’s existence as a clothes store online is in a tweet from founder Paul Griffiths posted in March 2017, when he hinted that they were going to launch a range of backpacks. It’s not clear whether or not this plan came to fruition, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it was scrapped because Griffiths has been busy with loads of other stuff in the meantime. 

He makes music under the name XXCX and is working on a social app for people with hearing impairments and their friends, that will transcribe calls and conversations in real-time into text.

5. Cheer Up! Clothing

This clothing brand was set up by You Me At Six bassist Matt Barnes and Edward Thomas in 2007, because in the early days of the internet, before people were arguing with fascists all day, people had nothing to do with their free-time except for start bands and alternative clothing lines. 

Their logo was a milkshake, which in the early days of the brand took centre stage in the designs:

430485_10151043724516507_2103739041_n (1) Cheer Up Clothing / Facebook Cheer Up Clothing / Facebook / Facebook

And towards the end of Cheer Up! Clothing’s history, it was shrunk down into a tiny Ralph Lauren Polo sized logo. 

10390174_10152103674576507_6918567859024013292_n Cheer Up / Facebook Cheer Up / Facebook / Facebook

Cheer Up! announced that they were shutting down on Facebook in 2016, just shy of their 10th birthday. Unlike all of the other brands that just disappeared off the face of the planet without warning anybody, they let all of their customers know the end was nigh. 

6. Down But Not Out 

While You Me At Six’s bassist was busy with Cheer Up! Clothing, the band’s front-man Josh Franceschi was running his own t-shirt line called Down But Not Out. They started out with graphic t-shirts like this one:

unisex-down-but-not-out-diner-violet-on-white-tee-141-p DBNO Clothing DBNO Clothing

And towards the end they extended their range to include other items of clothing, like the denim jacket below that is very clearly photoshopped onto a human’s body. Look at the way it’s sitting on the jeans, completely unnaturally. 

PastedImage-46985 DBNO DBNO

In April 2015, Josh decided to call it a day with an announcement on social media where he told customers “It has proved to be quite time-consuming over the years.” Was it time consuming, or was it because ASOS essentially killed a lot of these brands? Who knows. 

7. Criminal Damage 

Criminal Damage is actually a lot older than you’d think. Set up in 1991, it’s still knocking around today. In 2010, they must have made a killing off the plaid shirt trend at the time (which in hindsight was awful). Remember when every man in Dublin was knocking around in one of these, a pair of chinos and a pair of vans? 

5198527-2 Criminal Damage Criminal Damage

criminal-damage-red-jack-check-shirt-with-47-back-print-product-1-22799886-3-215319719-normal Criminal Damage Criminal Damage

Criminal Damage made the very wise decision of allowing Topman and ASOS to stock their clothes, so that explains how they’re still going. At the moment, here’s what they’ve got on offer. 

PastedImage-37413 Criminal Damage Criminal Damage

PastedImage-10995 Criminal Damage Criminal Damage

It’s like if one of the men’s clothes shops in the Ilac did a collab with a former Geordie Shore star who makes a living doing appearances at teen discos. 

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