Art Basel Miami Beach

If You Buy One of Diesel's Million-Dollar Miami Condo Shirts, You Are a Villain

If You Buy One of Diesel's  Million-Dollar Miami Condo Shirts, You Are a Villain
Courtesy of Diesel

There isn't much to say, fashion-wise, about Diesel's latest line of Miami T-shirts. For prices ranging from an upsetting $370,000 to a fully unconscionable $5.5 million, the Italian fashion brand will sell you a cotton shirt that "comes with" a Miami condominium.

As fashion, the shirts — which show the floor plan of Diesel's new Wynwood condos — are boxy and unflattering and look like something you'd wear while painting drywall after a divorce. But everyone on Earth knows this stunt is stupid, including the brand itself, which described the move as "unmistakably and ironically DIESEL" in press materials yesterday. Interested parties can buy the so-called shirts beginning today, just in time for Miami Art Week.

"How does a storied luxury brand communicate its foray into residential real estate?" the company asks rhetorically in its press release. "By selling clothes of course. DIESEL has created an unconventional, bold approach to the process of buying an apartment. Introducing 'The Condo T-Shirts — The Most Expensive T-Shirts Ever,' a range of 143 unique t-shirts, each featuring a corresponding floorplan of an actual DIESEL Wynwood unit and retailing for the approximate cost of a new dwelling." Cool.

In the grand scheme of things, the clothing here is obviously meaningless. If you'd spend $1.3 million on just a shirt, you are too dumb to be reading this column and to be commanding millions of dollars in capital investments. Please donate your fortune to someone smarter. As stated earlier, the shirts don't matter as fashion and could just as easily have Garfield or clipart of a baseball or Jeb! 2016 on them and they'd have the same impact. The clothes aren't valuable as wearable items so much as they are artifacts of an era in which Miami's real-estate industry ran roughshod over the town, and the city ceded control of its assets to some of the most boring people alive.

The shirts are an abject lesson in Doing Basel Wrong. Yes, Art Basel is an orgiastic display of wealth perpetrated by a collection of people who should, in fairness, almost all probably be guillotined. But most of those people are at least trying to be outlandish, and if you can stomach all the yachts and drugs and obscene amounts of money being thrown around town all week, Art Basel at least makes for interesting people-watching. You might, you know, see someone wearing a hat shaped like a Bundt cake. But this? This is just goddamn boring:
click to enlarge COURTESY OF DIESEL
Courtesy of Diesel
And though the shirts are unbearably dumb-looking, they're boring in an instructive way, in that Diesel hired an agency to come up with literally anything interesting to do with or say about a condo complex, and this is the best they could produce.

New Times this week chronicled how Miami's investor class, having conquered Wynwood over the past decade, has now set its sights on neighboring Allapattah and Little Haiti. Miami's political and cultural elite — essentially small-time politicians and the lawyers and real-estate interests who mostly fund them — have done next to zero to halt this march or even demand basic concessions to stop developers from running working-class or even burgeoning, so-called cool neighborhoods into the ground.

By the time the Diesel complex opens, Wynwood will have lost its chief art museum, its arthouse cinema, many of its most popular bars, and virtually anything that made the place even remotely fun for tourists or locals. All that will be left is a series of real-estate brokers cracking bottles of champagne, stocking condos as investments for their foreign clients, and conveniently throwing their free T-shirts in the garbage on their way to the airport.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.